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Dealing with Death


I recently lost my father very suddenly due to a heart attack. I am not somebody who is prone to depression, rather a generally happy and optimistic person. Nevertheless, his sudden death has left me reeling and I don’t know what to do. Can you please help me deal with this and find a way to continue my same happy life as before? Thanks a million! answered:

Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father. May God console you and the whole family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.

Although I doubt that you will ever really return to your “same” happy life since you cannot be together with your father any longer in this world, I will share a few thoughts with you that I have found helpful situations of severe mourning and grief. I hope they will help you eventually return to a wonderful state of happiness and optimism.

The main thing to realize is that God controls all of Creation. He is Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent. He is the “True Judge”. There is a good reason why what happened happened, and although you and everyone else do not know the reason, God has a good reason why it happened. This fundamental Jewish concept is reason to accept everything that happens in this world as happening for a reason and be at peace with what happens.

Besides trying to internalize this core belief of Judaism, I suggest being proactive in two specific ways, which are extremely beneficial to your beloved father now, and are not all that difficult to do.

One thing you can do is to pray for him; in particular that God will always treat him with great mercy, and reward him in the Afterlife with a reward much greater than anything imaginable in this world. The prayer can be short and in your own words; the main thing is that it comes from your heart and you are speaking to God. In addition, I suggest you give charity in his merit, to help elevate and better his existence in the Afterlife.

What I write is based on the teachings of the great Rabbis throughout all generations in history.

We are taught: “The dead are helped when the living pray for them, or give charity for their sake. It is thus written, ‘Charity saves from death’ (Proverbs 11:4) — from death in this world, and from death in the next world. (Sefer Chasidim)

Please feel free to write again any time, and may you know no more sorrow — only much happiness and success.

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