Shiva is the seven day mourning period in Judaism that follows the death of a close family member. During shiva, it is traditional to wear muted colors as a sign of respect. Common colors that people attending the shiva wear are shades of black, blue, gray and white.
Typically, it is best to avoid wearing anything that is too loud or flashy. It is also important to dress modestly, as people are coming to pay their respects to the deceased. Clothing that is too short or tight may be seen as disrespectful.
Headwear is at the discretion of the attendees, although some women may choose to wear a hat or scarf as a sign of respect.
Do you need to wear black to shiva?
No, you don’t need to specifically wear black to shiva, although it is expected to dress conservatively and respectfully. The traditional color to wear to shiva is black, as it symbolizes mourning, but you are not necessarily required to wear black.
Different communities have different customs around the somber event, so it is important to ask a member of the family which is hosting shiva what the expectations are. If black is not considered appropriate to wear, then you should consider wearing navy blue or dark gray.
In any case, you should try to avoid bright colors, logos or slogans, and consider wearing something of a longer length – such as a dress or skirt – rather than shorts. Though the length of shiva may vary, it is usually observed between 3 and 7 days, so comfortable attire is recommended.
What is forbidden during shiva?
Shiva, the seven-day period of grief observed by Jews following the death of a close relative, is marked by a number of religious prohibitions.
Throughout this period, a mourner is forbidden from engaging in any joyful activities, such as attending parties, sporting events, or concerts. Shaving, haircuts, and other personal grooming activities are also forbidden as a sign of mourning.
Negotiations, legal proceedings, and business activities are all suspended during shiva, and a mourner is also not allowed to perform any manual labor. It is also considered disrespectful to leave the house during shiva or to send or receive mail.
People who are observing shiva should spend as much time as possible in prayer or studying religious texts. A mourner can talk about the deceased and recount personal stories in an effort to honor the person’s memory.
In general, the period of shiva should be spent in a respectful manner.
Ultimately, each family and tradition may have its own unique rules and observances around shiva, so it is important to confer with a rabbi or other religious leader if you have questions.
Do you bring something to a shiva?
Yes, it is appropriate to bring something to a shiva. The items that are usually brought to a shiva are food, such as challah, fruit, and baked goods. Food can be a comforting presence for mourners and can help nourish them during a difficult time.
Bringing food is also considered a mitzvah, or an act of kindness. Other items that may be brought to a shiva are flowers, a shiva candle, or a shiva book. Bringing a book is one way to commemorate a loved one’s memory and helps with the grieving process.
People can also bring cards and other forms of condolence, such as a donation to a charity in the person’s name. It is important to check with the family beforehand before bringing a gift to a shiva, as they may have other preferences.
What to do when visiting someone sitting shiva?
When visiting someone sitting shiva, it is important to show respect and support and to understand the significance of the mourning period. A person sitting shiva will be deeply grieving, so it is important to be mindful of the particular needs and sorrows of the individual and their family.
It is respectful to greet the mourner, but it is also respectful to remain silent in order to provide a respectful atmosphere for mourning. When approaching the mourner, a simple gesture such as placing a hand on their shoulder, or placing an arm around them to hug can help comfort them and offer support.
It is also important to stay for an extended period of time, as shiva is a time for people to connect with family and friends and to receive emotional support from those close to them. For example, if it is appropriate for the family, be willing to help out with practical tasks or providing meals for the family.
Above all, it is important to be a kind and supportive presence to the mourner and their family.
Do you have to dress up for shiva?
Whether or not to dress up for shiva (the Jewish mourning period of seven days) really depends on the type of service, community, and the individual’s personal preference. In some communities, people will attend shiva dressed formally; in others, more casual dress is more common.
In general, it is best to be respectful and to take cues from the mourners. It is not necessary to be ‘over-dressed’, nor is it entirely necessary to be in complete awe and uncomfortable in your attire.
If you are unsure of what is acceptable, it would be best to contact someone from the mourning family or from the local community to find out what the custom is in that area. It is also important to take into consideration the weather and season.
For example, if you are attending a summer shiva and it is very hot outside, it is probably best not to wear heavy winter clothes. In conclusion, the most important thing to take into consideration when attending shiva is to respect the mourners and the customs of the community.
How long should you stay at a shiva call?
The length of time you stay at any shiva call is highly dependent on the local custom and the individual circumstances. Generally speaking, though, it is customary to stay for a minimum of one full hour.
However, ideally, given the close relationship you have with the bereaved family, it is important to stay for as long as possible. If you feel uncomfortable staying for the entire shiva call, it is better to stay for 45 minutes, or even 30 minutes if the family is expecting an influx of visitors.
It is important to remember that the purpose of a shiva call is to provide comfort to the bereaved family, and spending extended periods of time with them is an important part of that comfort. It is also valuable for other visitors to be around, so that the bereaved family does not feel alone during this difficult time.
Can you change clothes during shiva?
No, you are not allowed to change clothes during the seven-day period of shiva. The tradition is to keep the mourner in the same clothing throughout the entire period. The clothing should be kept simple and not fancy.
This is a sign of mourning and helps to remind the mourner of their loss. It also helps the mourner to stay focused on the grieving process instead of thinking about things like fashion choices or other mundane matters.
Also, during shiva, it is traditional to keep the mourner’s head covered, as a sign of respect for the deceased.
What happens when you sit shiva?
When someone goes into shiva, the seven-day Jewish mourning period observed after the death of a loved one, it is a time to reflect on the life lost and to grieve and mourn together. During this time, the mourners physically sit and focus on the death and what it means.
There are some specific customs that occur during shiva including the following:
•Close family members sit on low chairs or benches and recite Psalms and prayers.
•The mourner might receive visitors who come to offer condolences and comfort.
•The mourner should avoid any type of work and should leave his/her home only to go to the synagogue or cemetery.
•A memorial candle is lit in the home and remains lit for the entire seven-day mourning period.
•Friends and family gather together to offer support to the mourner.
•Eating warm, nourishing meals during shiva is encouraged since it assists in comforting the mourners.
•The mourner may receive gifts such as food, or their dresser or closet may be rearranged as a sign of comfort and respect.
•Personalized words of comfort from those in attendance at the shiva may be offered to the mourner.
•Midway through shiva, a small meal is served to signify a return to life.
•Toward the end of shiva, flowers may be brought to signify the beauty of life.
•At the conclusion of shiva, a prayer service called the Havdalah is held to mark the end of the mourning period.
Can you drink alcohol at a shiva?
No, it is not appropriate to drink alcohol at a shiva. Shiva is a seven-day period of mourning and is observed by members of the Jewish faith. During this period, friends and family of the deceased come to the home of the deceased to express their condolences and provide comfort and support to the bereaved family.
The focus during Shiva is on grief, support, and prayer. It is a time of solemn reflection and mourning, and drinking alcohol is seen as inappropriate and disrespectful.
What not to say at a shiva house?
When visiting a shiva house, it is important to be mindful of your words. Although there are many things you can say that can bring comfort and support to those grieving, there are also a few things to avoid.
Some things you should never say at a shiva house include:
• “I know how you feel.” This phrase can make it seem like you are minimizing the other person’s unique experience.
• “It was meant to be.” This can come off as dismissive and even insensitive.
• “At least…” Starting a sentence like this is unhelpful and can give the impression of invalidating their emotions.
• “Time heals all wounds.” This may be true, but it can come off as a bit trite in a moment of grief.
• “Everything happens for a reason.” Even if you believe this, avoid saying it at a shiva house.
Instead of saying any of these things, it may be best to just listen to the person grieving without trying to provide trite explanations or platitudes. Offering your presence and empathy can be just as comforting.
What is appropriate to bring to a shiva call?
When attending a shiva, it is appropriate to bring a sympathy card and a memorial donation to the deceased person’s charity of choice, if possible. Other acceptable gifts to bring include fruit, pastries, and baked goods.
Flowers are not usually brought to the shiva call, since flowers are typically a celebratory gesture rather than a condolence. Gifts of food for the bereaved family are also appreciated. When in doubt, a supportive hug or handshake and kind words can be the best gift of all.
What is the etiquette for attending a shiva?
Shiva is a Jewish mourning ritual that is traditionally observed for seven days after a funeral. The goal of shiva is to provide support to the bereaved family and friends and to honor the deceased. During shiva, the bereaved family and their close friends remain at home and receive visitors who come to honor the memory of the departed.
When attending a shiva, it is important to be mindful of the sorrowful atmosphere and the sensitivity of the bereaved. It is customary to bring a condolence gift to the home (such as a food item or flowers) but it is not necessary.
It is also polite to dress modestly and to keep conversation light and meaningful.
When entering the home, it is customary to offer condolences to each person present. It is alright to ask the family questions about their loved one and to share fond memories if appropriate; however, it is important to avoid discussing medical details about their loved one, unless asked about it by the family.
It is polite to remain for 15 to 30 minutes or longer if invited. Shiva concludes when the casket is lowered. At that time, it is appropriate to offer words of comfort to the bereaved family and to thank them for allowing you to visit them during their time of mourning.
What is the protocol for non-Jews at shiva?
If you are not Jewish and you are attending a shiva, there are a few important protocols to follow. As a non-Jewish guest, you should be sure to show respect for the mourners and their traditions.
First and foremost, you should wear modest clothing that is more somber. Bright colors or flashy clothing should be avoided. You should also try to arrive in time to be respectful of an appointed starting time, giving the mourners time to prepare without disrupting their own grieving process.
When you arrive, you may be asked to sign a memorial book. It is important to do this if asked, though all mourners may not be asked, and do not feel as if you have to ask, either.
Typically, during the shiva, it is not appropriate to enter a room where the family is sitting shiva. Instead, it is encouraged to wait outside or in the hallway until you are invited in. If you are invited in, you should try not to stay for too long, and let the mourners have time for their own grieving.
When in the presence of the mourners, it is important to remain silent as a sign of respect. Instead of speaking words of comfort, it is best to focus on comforting through a quiet presence. If you want to offer your sympathies, it is best to write a note or a condolence card.
Shiva is an important part of the Jewish grieving process, and as a non-Jewish guest you should do your best to be respectful of the family’s need for space and support.
What is something to send for Shiva?
A common gift to send for Shiva is flowers. Flowers are often used in various religious and cultural ceremonies and Shiva is no different. Sending a bouquet of beautiful flowers as a token of your respect, gratitude and admiration for Shiva is seen as a way of expressing your love and devotion for the deity.
Alternatively, fresh fruits and sweets can be sent as a symbolic offering for the god. Fruits such as bananas, oranges and apples are particularly common offerings for Shiva, as well as more traditional sweets like laddus, jalebis and pedas.
Additionally, any kind of religious book or a copy of the Bhagavad Gita is also seen as an appropriate gift.