1

It is forbidden to grieve excessively over the dead, as it is said, "Do not weep for the dead, and do not bemoan him."1 Our Sages of blessed memory, said,2 "Is it possible to say so? But it means, "Do not weep for the dead excessively, and do not bemoan him inordinately." How should one mourn? Three days are appropriate for weeping, seven days for mourning, and thirty days for abstaining from wearing ironed clothes, and from having the hair cut. Thereafter the Holy One, blessed is He, says, "You are not permitted to show him more compassion than I do." Our Sages, of blessed memory, said,3 "One who grieves excessively over the dead, will have cause to weep over another death." This applies only when the deceased was an ordinary person, but if he was a Torah scholar, he is mourned in proportion to his wisdom. Nevertheless, you should not weep over him more than thirty days, for he is not greater than Moshe Rabbeinu, peace unto him, of whom it is written, "And the Children of Yisrael wept for Moshe thirty days."4

א

אֵין מִתְקַשִּׁין עַל הַמֵּת יוֹתֵר מִדָּי, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, אַל תִּבְכּוּ לְמֵת וְאַל תָּנוּדוּ לוֹ. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמֵינוּ, זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, וְכִי אֶפְשָׁר לוֹמַר כֵּן. אֶלָּא עַל תִּבְכּוּ לְמֵת יוֹתֵר מִדָּי, וְאַל תָּנוּדוּ לוֹ יוֹתֵר מִכְּשִׁעוּר. הָא כֵּיצַד. שְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים לְבֶכִי, שִׁבְעָה לְהֶסְפֵּד, וּשְׁלשִׁים לְגִהוּץ וּלְתִסְפֹּרֶת (וְכִמְבֹאָר לְעֵיל). מִכָּאן וְאֵילָךְ, אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אִי אַתֶּם רַשָּׁאִים לְרַחֵם עָלָיו יוֹתֵר מִמֶּנִּי. וְאָמְרוּ חֲכָמֵינוּ, זכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, כָּל הַמִּתְקַשֶּׁה עַל הַמֵּת יוֹתֵר מִדָּי, עַל מֵת אַחֵר הוּא בוֹכֶה. בַּמֶּה דְבָרִים אֲמּוּרִים, בִּשְׁאָר הָעָם. אֲבָל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם, הַכֹּל לְפִי חָכְמָתוֹ. וּמִכָּל מָקוֹם, אֵין בּוֹכִין עָלָיו יוֹתֵר מִשְּׁלשִׁים יוֹם, דְּלָא עָדִיף מִמּשֶׁה רַבֵּנוּ, עָלָיו הַשָּׁלוֹם, דִּכְתִיב בּוֹ, וַיִבְכּוּ בְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל אֶת משֶׁה וְגוֹ'. שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם.

2

Our Rabbis of blessed memory, said,5 "When a family member dies, the entire family has cause for concern." To what can this be compared? To an arch made of stone, when one stone shakes all of them are insecure. In other words, severe judgement hovers over them, until it is gradually diminished. For during the first seven days of mourning the sword is drawn, and up to thirty days it is gradually withdrawn, and is not returned to its sheath until after twelve months. Therefore, during the first three days the mourner should perceive himself as if the sword is resting between his shoulders; from the third day to the seventh day, as if it were standing in a corner, facing him; from the seventh day to the thirtieth as if it were passing before him in the street. And thereafter during the entire year, the severe judgement still hangs over that family. If a son is born in that family, the entire family is healed [saved]. This is true only if a male child was born; for when a male comes to this world, peace comes to the world. Likewise when a member of a group dies, judgement hangs over the entire group, and they all have cause to be concerned.

ב

אָמְרוּ רַבּוֹתֵינוּ, זִכְרוֹנָם לִבְרָכָה, אֶחָד מִבְּנֵי הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה שֶׁמֵּת, יִדְאֲגוּ כָּל הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה. מָֹשָל לְמָה הַדָּבָר דּוֹמֶה, לְכִפָּה שֶל אֲבָנִים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁנִּזְדַּעזְעָה אַחַת מֵהֶן, נִזְדַּעְזְעוּ כֻלָן. כְּלוֹמַר, שֶׁמִּדַת הַדִּין מָתוּחָה כְנֶגְדָּם עַד שֶׁתִּתְרַפֶּה מְעַט מְעָט. כִּי כָל שִׁבְעָה, הַחֶרֶב שְׁלוּפָה, וְעַד שְׁלֹשִׁים, הִיא רוֹפֶפֶת, וְאֵינָהּ חוֹזֶרֶת לְתַעְרָהּ עַד אַחַר שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר חֹדֶשׁ. לְפִיכָךְ שְׁלשָׁה יָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים, יִרְאֶה הָאָבֵל אֶת עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ חֶרֶב מֻנַּחַת לוֹ בֵּין כְתֵפָיו. מִשְּׁלֹשָׁה וְעַד שִׁבְעָה, כְּאִלּוּ זְקוּפָה כְנֶגְדּוֹ בְּקֶרֶן זָוִית. מִשִּׁבְעָה וְעַד שְׁלֹשִׁים, כְּאִלּוּ עוֹבֶרֶת לְפָנָיו בַּשּׁוּק. וְאַחַר כָּךְ כָּל אוֹתָהּ הַשָּׁנָה, עֲדַיִן מִדַּת הַדִּין מְתוּחָה כְּנֶגֶד אוֹתָה הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה. וְאִם נוֹלַד בֵּן זָכָר בְּאוֹתָה מִשְׁפָּחָה, נִתְרַפְּאָה כָּל הַמִּשְׁפָּחָה. וְדַוְּקָא זָכָר. דְזָכָר בָּא לָעוֹלָם, שָׁלוֹם בָּא לָעוֹלָם. וְכֵן אֶחָד מֵהַחֲבוּרָה שֶׁמֵּת, מִדַּת הַדִּין מְתוּחָה כְּנֶגֶד כָּל הַחֲבוּרָה וְיִדְאֲגו כֻלָּם.

3

He who does not mourn, in the manner the Sages have ordained, is considered a heartless person. But he should arouse himself from his sleep, examine his deeds with fear and anxiety, and repent and then, perhaps he may be spared from the sword of the angel of death. For it is said, "You have smitten them, but they were not greived,"6 which indicates that a person must awaken, examine [his deeds] and repent.

ג

כָּל מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִתְאַבֵּל כְּמוֹ שֶׁצִוּוּ חֲכָמִים, הֲרֵי זֶה אַכְזָר. אֶלָּא יֵעוֹר מִשְׁנָתוֹ, וְיִפְחַד וְיִדְאַג וִיפַשְׁפֵּשׁ בְּמַעֲשָׂיו, וְיַחֲזֹר בִּתְשׁוּבָה, אוּלַי יִנָצֵל מֵחַרְבּוֹ שֶׁל מַלְאַךְ הַמָּוֶת. הֲרֵי הוּא אוֹמֵר, הִכִּיתָה אֹתָם וְלֹא חָלוּ, מִכְּלָל שֶׁצָּרִיךְ לְהָקִיץ וְלָחוּל וְלַחֲזוֹר בִּתשׁוּבָה.