The True Judge

Question

Dear Rabbi,

I recently lost my father very suddenly due to a heart attack. I am not somebody who is prone to depression, but 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!

, , 4 months

Answers

  1. Please accept my condolences on the passing of your father. As the traditional Jewish blessing to mourners conveys: “May God console you and the whole family among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.”

    Although it is possible that you will never really return to your same exact 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. Hopefully they will help your eventual 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 occurred. 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 (in my opinion) 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. This prayer can be short and in your own words. The main thing is that it comes from your heart and that 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.

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

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

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team