It is What it Is
Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November…
Four weeks and two days.
The name for the first month following the burial of a loved one.
It means ‘thirty.’
I have often remarked that when it comes to names, we Jews aren’t from the creative folks. Our terms lean towards the practical rather than the poetic.
מְזוּזָה Mezuzah. You know, that small box we put up on the doorpost? It literally means ‘doorpost.’
See what I mean?
שְׁלוֹשִׁים Sh’loshim concludes the initial thrity-day mourning period after the burial of a loved one. Though not as intense as the first week, this period too has its restrictions as it eases the mourner back into life. Unless the mourner is the son or daughter of the deceased.
For them, they leave the other mourners behind as they continue the rest of the journey towards the first anniversary of the death. Depending upon one’s family history, the one year anniversary is known as either yahrtzeit,יאָרצײַט, which means “Time (of) Year”(Ashkenazic) or as nakhala, נחלה, which means “heritage” or “inheritance” (Sephardic).
They are not alone, as other family members are there to offer support. And yet, it is they who bear the continued grief as they find their way in the world without their parent.
What poetic name, then, could be affixed to what concludes mourning for some, but not for all?
Sometimes the practical makes more of a statement.