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SA Organisations

Comforting our people

  • MichaelSieff
I was recently privileged to hear a talk by Rachelle Fraenkel, Israeli mother of Naftali, the boy who was murdered by Hamas together with his two friends Gilad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah in 2014.
by MICHAEL SIEFF | Aug 17, 2016

When she was thanked for her truly inspiring words she turned to the audience and offered her gratitude to everyone - in Israel, in South Africa, and throughout the entire world - for their support during the ordeal and the comfort that poured in following the tragic news of her son’s death.

Offering comfort after loss is fundamental to Judaism, as is the idea that all periods of grief must be followed by rebirth and rebuilding.   

We have just come out of the three weeks of mourning - an intense period that concluded with the fast of Tisha B’Av on Sunday.  The Shabbat ahead of us is Shabbat Nachamu - the Shabbat of Comfort.

There are few experiences in life more painful, or inevitable, than losing a loved one. We see this in our work at the cemetery where we encounter distraught and heartbroken families. At that time the pain could be too new, too raw for comfort to be meaningful. 

Time and perspective may be needed and the week of shiva provides consolation with its carefully constructed processes that allow for families to sit with others who knew and loved the deceased, to remember, to heal. 

After that, life goes on and so must the living. But that’s not always easy. Most people these days recognise the benefits of therapy. Talking about our thoughts and feelings with an objective, confidential professional can be immensely comforting.    

The truth is that time, alone, does not heal unless we use it well, and talking about one’s pain is often the gateway to regaining joy, hope and meaning in life.

The Chev offers help through our Nechama Bereavement Services whose counsellors are professionally trained and experienced in helping people who are grieving - providing context, perspective, support and understanding.

There are many beautiful moments in life and there are also some dark ones. Regardless of what we are currently experiencing, we should remember that King Solomon wore a ring engraved with the words, “this too shall pass”. 

The wisest man in history knew that the wheel of life would continue to turn and that the sun would come out again. In the meantime, we should all take advantage of the opportunity to find comfort and support where it is offered and to give comfort where it is needed.

May our partnership continue to thrive.  Feedback@jhbchev.co.za

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