Thursday, August 18, 2011

Getting to Know Neighbors Better

As many of you know, I sometimes help at homes "sitting shiva," mourning according to Jewish Law.  The mourner is forbidden to do anything for him/herself, like preparing food and cleaning up.  This is extremely hard for some people.  Ahh hah!  I just realized that the "this" isn't clear.  Does it mean helping at a mourner's home or being the mourner and restricted, forced to just sit and be served?

Actually, both can be difficult.  The logistics can be complicated when you're trying to help and don't know how the kitchen is set up.  A kosher kitchen is easier when there are some labels to indicate what's dairy, meat and parve.  It's best if a "non-sitting shiva" relative or close friend gives a quick tour or if there are written instructions. 

The family in mourning is the take charge type, and they ended up giving me a lot of tips, like showing me a spare fridge full of bottled drinks.  There were about a dozen family members of the "first degree" actually sitting shiva and some of their spouses were also extremely helpful.  A son-in-law willingly threw out the heavy bag of garbage.  A daughter-in-law worked with me and told me that I needn't worry when my shift was over.  She'd take full responsibility.  Davka, her mother was the first to do a great "chesed" for me and take care of my youngest, so I could visit the older ones, when he was hospitalized at the age of two weeks.

Even though I've known the family for thirty years, I was surprised, amazed and extremely impressed at the inner dynamics.

Why don't we make more efforts to be involved with friends and neighbors during ordinary times?


Leora said...

Sounds like a family that knows how to work together. Kol hakavod to them. Glad you can help them out - I'm sure they appreciate it, even if there are a lot of spouses.

Batya said...

Leora, there are three generations living together in the same home, small apartments for the young families. very special,

HaMakom yenachem...