What's Jewish about Values?​​​​​​​AKA The Value of ValuesAn exploration into BaMidbar Wilderness Therapy's Core Values

** The Small Print: When reading the text please use whatever gender pronoun you are comfortable associating the text with, as well as how you identify God/G-d/G!d/Creator/Lord/Mother Nature/Hashem/Aibishter/Master of the Universe/The Divine/...

  • We have a mission statement, we have a phase system, why do we have values?
  • What is Jewish about values?

We Asked 21 Rabbis: Is There Such A Thing As Jewish Values?

Aaron Potek, Pluralist, Gather DC: We have a unique calendar, history, and culture with unique texts, practices, and wisdom. But unique values? No. Trying to claim any value as uniquely Jewish is dangerous — it implies no one else shares that value and can easily lead to a false sense of moral superiority. Judaism doesn’t have a monopoly on any value. But that doesn’t mean it is valueless. Like any moral system, halacha (Jewish law) is about figuring out which values to prioritize in each situation. Judaism also offers unique perspectives on how to enact different values. Besides, there is still value in reaffirming non-unique values.

Rebecca W. Sirbu, Post-Denominational, Rabbis Without Borders: Judaism is a unique and special tradition. However, many of the values we teach can be found in other religions and groups. What is unique about Judaism is the way everything comes together. We have our own language, history, sacred texts, culture, music and art. We express what are universal values in specifically Jewish ways.

Read more: https://forward.com/opinion/388394/we-asked-21-rabbis-is-there-such-a-thing-as-jewish-values/


Once, while a king was hunting in the forest, night fell earlier than expected. The king and his entourage could not find the path back to the palace. After hours of wandering, they glimpsed a light glowing in the distance. Feeling optimistic, they headed toward it.

The flickering light illuminated a small cottage, which was occupied by an old man. The host warmly invited his guests to stay for the night, and diligently cared for their needs. Before leaving, the king invited the old man to the palace to repay him for his kindness.

When the appointed time arrived, the king offered the old man his most precious singing bird, one that the king so delighted at listening to that he placed it adjacent to his bed. Although the king regretted losing the bird, he was pleased to reciprocate the good deed.

On another trip to the forest, the king surprised the old man with a visit. In the midst of conversation, the king inquired after the extraordinary bird.

“Oh, the bird?” asked the old man. “It was scrumptious. As soon as I got home, I treated myself…”


Ok... That's great. Why can't we just read the core-values print out at home and call it. Why are we spending our precious time together discussing our values?

What is Hitlamdut?

Rabbi Shela Peltz Weinberg

“Cultivating awareness, sometimes called curiosity, investigation or beginner's mind.”

...שוב מעשה בגוי אחד שבא לפני שמאי אמר לו גיירני על מנת שתלמדני כל התורה כולה כשאני עומד על רגל אחת דחפו באמת הבנין שבידו בא לפני הלל גייריה אמר לו דעלך סני לחברך לא תעביד זו היא כל התורה כולה ואידך פירושה הוא זיל גמור...

Excerpt from the Talmud

...There was another incident involving one gentile who came before Shammai and said to Shammai: Convert me on condition that you teach me the entire Torah while I am standing on one foot. Shammai pushed him away with the builder’s cubit in his hand. This was a common measuring stick and Shammai was a builder by trade. The same gentile came before Hillel. He converted him and said to him: That which is hateful to you do not do to another; that is the entire Torah, and the rest is its interpretation. Go study...

We are a Jewish organization that makes the space for halachik (Jewish Law) practice, weekly Torah study, and daily prayer. Here comes Rabbi Hillel who states the most important value of the Torah is how we treat each other. ?!

The question we need to ask and what we will be spending the rest of our time exploring is:

If Rabbi Hillel's idea is the bases for all of Torah what is our responsibility to each ourselves, each other, our team, our participants, our parents and community members?


Kavod Ka-Vod: Honor, dignity, and respect for ourselves and all of God's creations.

(יב) כַּבֵּ֥ד אֶת־אָבִ֖יךָ וְאֶת־אִמֶּ֑ךָ לְמַ֙עַן֙ יַאֲרִכ֣וּן יָמֶ֔יךָ עַ֚ל הָאֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁר־יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהֶ֖יךָ נֹתֵ֥ן לָֽךְ׃ (ס)
(12) Honor your father and your mother, that you may long endure on the land that the LORD your God is assigning to you.

(א) בֶּן זוֹמָא אוֹמֵר, אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קיט) מִכָּל מְלַמְּדַי הִשְׂכַּלְתִּי כִּי עֵדְוֹתֶיךָ שִׂיחָה לִּי. אֵיזֶהוּ גִבּוֹר, הַכּוֹבֵשׁ אֶת יִצְרוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (משלי טז) טוֹב אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם מִגִּבּוֹר וּמשֵׁל בְּרוּחוֹ מִלֹּכֵד עִיר. אֵיזֶהוּ עָשִׁיר, הַשָּׂמֵחַ בְּחֶלְקוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (תהלים קכח) יְגִיעַ כַּפֶּיךָ כִּי תֹאכֵל אַשְׁרֶיךָ וְטוֹב לָךְ. אַשְׁרֶיךָ, בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה. וְטוֹב לָךְ, לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא. אֵיזֶהוּ מְכֻבָּד, הַמְכַבֵּד אֶת הַבְּרִיּוֹת, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל א ב) כִּי מְכַבְּדַי אֲכַבֵּד וּבֹזַי יֵקָלּוּ:

(1) Ben Zoma says: Who is the wise one? He who learns from all men, as it says, "I have acquired understanding from all my teachers" (Psalms 119:99). Who is the mighty one? He who conquers his impulse, as it says, "slowness to anger is better than a mighty person and the ruler of his spirit than the conqueror of a city." (Proverbs 16:32). Who is the rich one? He who is happy with his lot, as it says, "When you eat [from] the work of your hands, you will be happy, and it will be well with you" (Psalms 128:2). "You will be happy" in this world, and "it will be well with you" in the world to come. Who is honored? He who honors the created beings, as it says, "For those who honor Me, I will honor; and those who despise Me will be held in little esteem" (I Samuel 2:30).

(ל) לָכֵ֗ן נְאֻם־יְהוָה֮ אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵל֒ אָמ֣וֹר אָמַ֔רְתִּי בֵּֽיתְךָ֙ וּבֵ֣ית אָבִ֔יךָ יִתְהַלְּכ֥וּ לְפָנַ֖י עַד־עוֹלָ֑ם וְעַתָּ֤ה נְאֻם־יְהוָה֙ חָלִ֣ילָה לִּ֔י כִּֽי־מְכַבְּדַ֥י אֲכַבֵּ֖ד וּבֹזַ֥י יֵקָֽלּוּ׃
(30) Assuredly—declares the LORD, the God of Israel—I intended for you and your father’s house to remain in My service forever. But now—declares the LORD—far be it from Me! For I honor those who honor Me, but those who spurn Me shall be dishonored.

Background to this text: Story of slow corruption during the times of the first Temple. Eli- the high priest has sons who are not following the laws (stealing sacrifices and sleeping around) and a prophet comes and tells Eli his downfall.


  • Why is Kavod used in the 10 commandments and not Ahavah, love?
  • What type of Kavod do you think the Peirkei Avot is alluding to?
  • Does it seem fair that one is only honored if he/she/they honors another person?
    • Is Kavod something earned or just given because we are "created beings"
      • Who/what falls under the category of "created beings"

The Take Away:

  • What are some ideas we can implement in our work spaces and interactions with each other that align with the value of Kavod?

Simcha See-mi-cha: Finding joyful Jewish meaning in every aspect of our lives.

Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks:

"We can survive the failures and defeats if we never lose the capacity for joy. On Sukkot, we leave the security and comfort of our houses and live in a shack exposed to the wind, the cold and the rain. Yet we call it zeman simchatenu, our season of joy. That is no small part of what it is to be a Jew."

(א) ברם, כגון דא צריך לאודעי כלל גדול. כי: כמו שנצחון לנצח דבר גשמי, כגון שני אנשים המתאבקים זה עם זה להפיל זה את זה, הנה אם האחד הוא בעצלות וכבדות ינוצח בקל ויפול גם אם הוא גבור יותר מחבירו, ככה ממש בנצחון היצר, אי אפשר לנצחו בעצלות וכבדות, הנמשכות מעצבות וטמטום הלב כאבן, כי אם בזריזות, הנמשכת משמחה ופתיחת הלב וטהרתו מכל נדנוד דאגה ועצב בעולם.

והיינו השמחה האמיתית בה' אלהיו, הבאה אחר העצב האמיתי לעתים מזומנים על עונותיו במר נפשו ולב נשבר, שעל-ידי זה נשברה רוח הטומאה וסטרא-אחרא ומחיצה של ברזל המפסקת בינו לאביו שבשמים.

ומקרא מלא דבר הכתוב: (דברים כח מז): "תחת אשר לא עבדת את ה' אלהיך בשמחה וגו'". ונודע לכל פירוש האר"י ז"ל על פסוק זה.

: As it is the verse in the Torah > Because you did not serve YAWA your God in joy, etc. and it is known what the ARI said about that.

In truth, at this point there is a general principle you need to know. Let's compare this to winning any other competition, one in the physical realm. Think of two men who are wrestling with one another, each attempting to throw the other down. If one of them would be lazy and sluggish, he would be easily beaten—even if he were stronger than the other.

The same applies when it comes to winning against the yetzer, inclination: You can't beat it while in a state of laziness and sluggishness which are symptoms of depression and a fossilized heart. The only way to win is with the zeal that comes out of joy and a wide open heart, free from any nuance of worry or anxiety in the world.

And what is it that can be gained? It is the true joy in Havayeh your G‑d that comes after a true sadness at designated times over one's sins with a bitter soul and a broken heart. Through this, the spirit of tumah, the Other Side and the iron curtain separating between you and your Heavenly Father are broken. >

(מז) תַּ֗חַת אֲשֶׁ֤ר לֹא־עָבַ֙דְתָּ֙ אֶת־יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֶ֔יךָ בְּשִׂמְחָ֖ה וּבְט֣וּב לֵבָ֑ב מֵרֹ֖ב כֹּֽל׃
(47) Because you would not serve the LORD your God in joy and gladness over the abundance of everything,


  • What is the difference between happiness and joy?
  • Why does it take leaving our comfort zones and live in a sukka, hut during the holiday of Sukkot to be able to experience Simcha?
  • Is it possible for Simcha to be a constant?

The Takeaway:

  • How can I ensure moments of Simcha in my work both on the mountain and remotely?
    • What tools do I need in place to be able to share these personal moments with others?
  • How can we as a team celebrate participants moments of Simcha?
    • As an individual
    • With the group
    • With his/her/their parents

Growth- Accepting the challenges of personal transformation in every important way.

(כ) וְאַתָּ֞ה תְּצַוֶּ֣ה ׀ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל וְיִקְח֨וּ אֵלֶ֜יךָ שֶׁ֣מֶן זַ֥יִת זָ֛ךְ כָּתִ֖ית לַמָּא֑וֹר לְהַעֲלֹ֥ת נֵ֖ר תָּמִֽיד׃
(20) You shall further instruct the Israelites to bring you clear oil of beaten olives for lighting, for kindling lamps regularly.
(ב) כתית. הַזֵּיתִים כּוֹתֵשׁ בַּמַּכְתֶּשֶׁת וְאֵינוֹ טוֹחֲנָן בָּרֵחַיִם, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה בוֹ שְׁמָרִים, וְאַחַר שֶׁהוֹצִיא טִפָּה רִאשׁוֹנָה מַכְנִיסָן לָרֵחַיִם וְטוֹחֲנָן; וְהַשֶּׁמֶן הַשֵּׁנִי פָּסוּל לַמְּנוֹרָה וְכָשֵׁר לִמְנָחוֹת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר כָּתִית לַמָּאוֹר – וְלֹא כָתִית לַמְּנָחוֹת (מנחות פ"ו):
(2) כתית BEATEN — he pounds the olives in a mortar and must not grind them in a mill, so that there may be no lees; and after he has thus extracted the first drop of oil he may bring them into the mill and grind them. The second oil (that obtained by grinding) is unfitted for use in the candelabrum but is permissible for the meal-offerings (which had to be mingled with oil) since it is said here, “Beaten for the light”, and hence it is not essential that it should be beaten for the meal-offerings (Menachot 86a; cf. Rashi on Exodus 29:40).


  • What does it mean to be challenged?
  • Although it may seem cruel to the olive, when pressed it gives oil. How does this relate to creating a Challenge by Choice structor?
    • Is struggling is good?

The Takeaway:

  • Do I need to be challenged in my work?
    • If yes, how and why?
  • How can I create a way to chart my growth?
    • What does growth look like for me and my team?
    • How can we support each other in this process?
  • How can we create options and give real power to the participants to choose?

Kehilla Keh-hee-lah- Community and Connection- to God, our families, the Jewish people, our communities, and the natural world.

ריטב"א ראש השנה כט עמוד א

שאע"פ שהמצות מוטלות על כל אחד הרי כל ישראל ערבין זה לזה וכולם כגוף אחד וכערב הפורע חוב חבירו.

Ritva Rosh Hashanah 29a

Because even though the commandments are placed upon each individual, all Israel are guarantors of one another, and they are all a single body, and it is like a guarantor who repays the debt of his friend.

(ד) עַכְשָׁו נוֹהֲגִים שֶׁאַחַר שֶׁנִּגְמַר סְתִימַת הַקֶבֶר מֵעָפָר אוֹ לְאַחַר שֶׁהָפַךְ הָאָבֵל פָּנָיו מִן הַמֵּת, חוֹלְצִין מִנְעָל וְסַנְדָּל וּמַרְחִיקִין מְעַט מִבֵּית הַקְבָרוֹת, וְאוֹמְרִים קַדִּישׁ דְּהוּא עָתִיד לְחַדְּתָא עָלְמָא, וְאַחַר כָּךְ תּוֹלְשִׁין עָפָר וְתוֹלְשִׁין עֲשָׂבִים, וּמַשְׁלִיכִים אַחַר גֵוָם וְרוֹחֲצִין יְדֵיהֶם בְּמַיִם. הַגָּה: יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים שֶׁיּוֹשְׁבִים ז''פ, מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהָרוּחוֹת מְלַוּוֹת אוֹתוֹ, וְכָל זְמַן שֶׁיּוֹשְׁבִין, בּוֹרְחִין מִמֶּנּוּ (מהרי''ל בִּתְשׁוּבָה כ''ג בְּשֵׁם י''א). וּבִמְדִינוֹת אֵלּוּ לֹא נָהֲגוּ לֵישֵׁב רַק ג''פ, אַחַר שֶׁרָחֲצוּ הַיָּדַיִם, וְאוֹמְרִים כָּל פַּעַם: וִיהִי נֹעַם וְגו' (תְּהִלִּים צ, יז), יוֹשֵׁב בְּסֵתֶר (תְּהִלִּים צא, א) וְגו' וּכְשֶׁנִּקְבָּר הַמֵּת בְּיוֹם טוֹב, יְכוֹלִין לֵישֵׁב כָּךְ ג''פ כְּמוֹ בַּחֹל (מ''כ בְּהַגָּהוֹת מִנְהָגִים). וְהוּא הַדִּין אִם נִקְבַּר סָמוּךְ לְשַׁבָּת, עוֹשִׂין כֵּן בְּשַׁבָּת. וְנָהֲגוּ לְהַקְפִּיד אִם יִכָּנֵס אָדָם לְבַיִת אַחֵר קֹדֶם שֶׁיִּרְחַץ וְיֵשֵׁב ג''פ, וּמִנְהַג אֲבוֹתֵינוּ תּוֹרָה (שָׁם במהרי''ל). וְנִמְצָא בְּמִדְרָשׁוֹת לוֹמַר קַדִּישׁ עַל אָב (כָּל בּוֹ וריב''ש בְּשֵׁם תַּנְחוּמָא וְסִפְרִי, וּבְחַיֵּי בְּשֵׁם מַסֶכֶת כַּלָּה, וּבֵית יוֹסֵף בְּשֵׁם הַזֹּהַר, וּבְאוֹר זָרוּעַ בְּשֵׁם תַּנָּא דְּבֵי אֵלִיָּהוּ רַבָּא) ; עַל כֵּן נָהֲגוּ לוֹמַר עַל אָב וָאֵם קַדִּישׁ בַּתְרָא י''ב חֹדֶשׁ, וְכֵן נָהֲגוּ לְהַפְטִיר בַּנָּבִיא, וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל עַרְבִית בְּמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּתוֹת שֶׁהוּא הַזְּמַן שֶׁחוֹזְרִין הַנְּשָׁמוֹת לְגֵיהִנֹּם, וּכְשֶׁהַבֵּן מִתְפַּלֵּל וּמְקַדֵּשׁ בָּרַבִּים, פּוֹדֶה אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ מִן הַגֵּיהִנֹּם (כָּל בּוֹ בְּשֵׁם הַגָּהוֹת). וְנָהֲגוּ לוֹמַר קַדִּישׁ עַל הָאֵם אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהָאָב חַי עֲדַיִן, אֵינוֹ בְּיָדוֹ לִמְחוֹת לִבְנוֹ שֶׁלֹּא יֹאמַר קַדִּישׁ עַל אִמּוֹ (סְבָרַת הַבֵּית יוֹסֵף עַל פִּי הַמִּנְהָג). מִצְוָה לְהִתְעַנּוֹת בְּיוֹם שֶׁמֵּת אָב אוֹ אֵם (ריב''ש וְכָל בּוֹ). שְׁלֹשָׁה אַחִין וְאִישׁ נָכְרִי, הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה אַחִין נוֹטְלִין הַשְּׁלֹשָׁה קַדִּישִׁין וְהָאוֹמֵר נוֹטֵל קַדִּישׁ אֶחָד. וְנָהֲגוּ שֶׁאִם מַגִּיעַ לְאָדָם יוֹם שֶׁמֵּת בּוֹ אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ, שֶׁאוֹמְרִים עֲלֵיהֶם קַדִּישׁ יָתוֹם לְעוֹלָם, וּמִי שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל כָּל הַתְּפִלָּה, מִתְפַּלֵּל; וְאִם יֵשׁ אֲבֵלִים אֲחֵרִים, נָהֲגוּ שֶׁתּוֹךְ שִׁבְעָה לְאֶבְלָם הֵם קוֹדְמִים, וְאֵין לוֹ קַדִּישׁ כְּלָל; תּוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים, יֵשׁ לוֹ קַדִּישׁ אֶחָד; לְאַחַר ל', כָּל הַקַּדִּישִׁים שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ הַיּוֹם הֵם שֶׁלּוֹ. וּמוֹנִין שִׁבְעָה וְל' מִיּוֹם הַקְּבוּרָה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא שָׁמַע הָאָבֵל מִיָּד (במהרי''ל). וְאִם נָכְרִי הוּא כְּאֶחָד מִבְּנֵי הָעִיר לְעִנְיַן קַדִּישׁ זוֹ, הוֹלְכִים אַחַר הַמִּנְהָג (אָגוּר). וְאֵין מָקוֹם לְקַדִּישׁ זוֹ אֶלָּא עַל אָב וָאֵם בִּלְבַד, אֲבָל לֹא בִּשְׁאָר קְרוֹבִים (בְּאוֹר זָרוּעַ). וְאִם אֵין בב''ה אָבֵל עַל אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ, אוֹמֵר אוֹתוֹ קַדִּישׁ מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ אָב וָאֵם, בְּעַד כָּל מֵתֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. (שָׁם) וְיֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁנָּהֲגוּ שֶׁשְּׁאָר קְרוֹבִים אוֹמְרִים קַדִּישׁ עַל קְרוֹבֵיהֶם כְּשֶׁאֵין אֲבֵלִים עַל אֲבִיהֶם וְאִמָּם, וְיֵשׁ מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ יֵשׁ אֲבֵלִים עַל אֲבִיהֶם וְאִמָּם, אוֹמְרִים שְׁאָר קְרוֹבִים, אֶלָּא שֶׁעוֹשִׂים פְּשָׁרָה בֵּינֵיהֶם שֶׁאֵין אוֹמְרִים כָּל כָּךְ קַדִּישִׁים כְּמוֹ הָאֲבֵלִים עַל אָב וָאֵם (מהרי''ק שֹׁרֶשׁ מ''ד) ; וְהוֹלְכִין בְּכָל זֶה אַחַר הַמִּנְהָג, וּבִלְבַד שֶׁיְּהֵא מִנְהָג קָבוּעַ בָּעִיר. וְהָאֲבֵלִים אוֹמְרִים קַדִּישׁ אֲפִלּוּ בְּשַׁבָּת וְיוֹם טוֹב (בְּאוֹר זָרוּעַ בְּשֵׁם ר''י מקורבי''ל), אֲבָל לֹא נָהֲגוּ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל בְּשַׁבָּת וְיוֹם טוֹב (כֵּן הוּא בִּתְשׁוּבַת מהרי''ל), אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין אִסּוּר בַּדָּבָר, אֲבָל בִּימוֹת הַחֹל, מִי שֶׁיּוֹדֵעַ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל, יִתְפַּלֵּל וְיוֹתֵר מוֹעִיל מִקַּדִּישׁ יָתוֹם שֶׁלֹּא נִתְקַן אֶלָּא לִקְטַנִּים; וּמִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל כָּל הַתְּפִלָּה, יִתְפַּלֵּל לַמְנַצֵּחַ וּבָא לְצִיּוֹן וְכו' (בְּאוֹר זָרוּעַ). וְנָהֲגוּ שֶׁאֵין אוֹמְרִים קַדִּישׁ וּתְפִלָּה רַק י''א חֳדָשִׁים, כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יַעֲשׂוּ אֲבִיהֶם וְאִמָּם רְשָׁעִים, כִּי מִשְׁפַּט רָשָׁע י''ב חֹדֶשׁ. וְאִם הָיוּ אֲבֵלִים כָּאן וּבָאוּ אַחַר כָּךְ אֲבֵלִים אֲחֵרִים, הַשְּׁנִיִּים יֵשׁ לָהֶם הַקַּדִּישִׁים וְהַתְּפִלּוֹת כָּל ל' יוֹם מִיּוֹם הַקְּבוּרָה, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁלֹּא שָׁמְעוּ. יֵשׁ אוֹמְרִים דְּמוּמָר שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג בְּיַד עוֹבְדֵי כּוֹכָבִים, בָּנָיו אוֹמְרִים עָלָיו קַדִּישׁ (הרד''כ בַּיִת י''א ובב''ז) וְעַיֵּן לְעֵיל סִימָן ש''מ.

(4) Nowadays it is customary that after the closing of the grave with earth has been completed, — or after the mourner turned his face from the corpse,16 supra § 375, 2. — they [the mourners] remove [their] shoes and sandals,17 infra § 382 Gloss end. and keep away a short [distance] from the burial grounds18At least four cubits, for the law is that a corpse takes possession of this distance. Cf. supra § 367, 6. If the interment takes place at night, Ẓidduk ha-Din and Kaddish are not recited at the cemetery. infra § 401, 6 Gloss. and [then] say Kaddish,32 Glos. [viz., 'May His great Name be magnified and sanctified in] the world that He will create anew etc.,'19Tur on the authority of T.H. after which they detach earth20And one says, ‘He remembereth that we are dust’ (Ps. CIII, 14). and pluck grass21An allusion to the resurrection of the dead. One says, ‘And they of the city shall flourish like the grass of the earth’ (Is. XXVI, 19). Kol Bo writes that the grass is plucked together with the earth and thrown above the head, alluding to ‘and threw dust upon their heads toward heaven’ (Job. II, 12). Cf. Y. Sota II, 2(18a); Num. R. IX, 20, where the explanation is advanced why in the case of a woman suspected of faithlessness (סוטה) the Torah (Num. V, 12-31) required water, earth and writing in order to test her. ‘Water’ indicates whence a person comes; ‘earth,’ — whither one goes; ‘writing,’ — before whom one is destined to give an account (v. Aboth III, 1). The same symbolism may be seen here. An additional reason is that it alludes to purification from uncleanness through water, ashes and the hyssop (Num. XIX) — T.H. Grass may be plucked even on Ḥol ha-Moed (the weekday of the Festival). [out of the ground] and cast it behind their back and wash their hands with water.22This has reference only to one who accompanied the corpse to the cemetery and returned after burial, but not to one who merely escorts the bier and returns before burial — A.H. When washing the hands one should say, ‘our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it … Forgive, O Lord, Thy people Israel … So shalt thou put away the innocent blood from the midst of thee’ (Deut. XXI, 7-9) — Tur. The custom to place a glass or vessel containing water in a house of mourning should be abolished, for this is considered a heathen practice. However, a candle or lamp should be lit, for ‘the soul of man is the lamp of the Lord’ (Prov. XX, 27) — A.H. The candle should be lit for the entire seven days of mourning, even when the person died during the Festival in which case mourning rites begin after the Festival, — yet the candle or lamp should be lit forthwith — Naḥlath Shibah. Gloss: Some say that [after burial] they sit down seven times23 supra § 366, n. 1. because the [evil] spirits follow him,24The corpse. and so long as they sit down, they25The evil spirits. flee from him;26MaHaRIL Resp. 23 on the authority of ‘some say’G. and in these countries the custom prevails to sit down only three times after they have washed their hands, and each time [they sit down] they say, 'And let the graciousness of the Lord our God be upon us etc.'27Ps. XC, 17. 'O thou that dwellest in the covert of the most High etc..'28Ibid. XCI, and should be recited seven times as follows: a) until the word כי incl. b) until מלאכיו incl. c) until יצוה incl. d) until לך incl. e) until לשמרך incl. f) until בכל incl. g) until דרכיך incl. — TaZ, ShaK. When the corpse is buried on a Festival, one may six thus three times as on a weekday.29I found this stated in Hag. MinhagimG. Likewise, if one was buried close to [the advent of] the Sabbath, this is done [even] on the Sabbath. It is the adopted practice to be particular with one lest he enter another house before he washes [his hands]30One should not take the burial implements, e.g., the spade or shovel directly from another person’s hands. The same applies to the vessel of water used for washing one’s hands. Those who did not visit the burial grounds for thirty days, say, ‘Blessed be the Lord … who formed you in judgment.’ Siddur. and sits down three times, and the custom of our ancestors is [considered binding] law.31MaHaRIL ibid.G. For the expression ‘the custom of our ancestors is law,’ v. Men. 20b, Tosaf. s.v. נפסל. In the Midrashim32 Glos. it is found that one should recite Keddish32 Glos. for a father.33Kol Bo; RIBaSh on the authority of Tanḥ. (Noaḥ II (Bub.); Sifre; Baḥya (comment. to Shofetim end) on the authority of Mas. Kal. (ed. Coronel pp. 4b, 19b); B.Yos. on the authority of Zohar (Ruth) ; Or Zaru‘a (ed. Jitomir II, 11) on the authority of Tanna debe Eliyahu Rabba — G. Cf. also the following sources: Otiyyoth de R. Akiba s.v. zayin; Tanna debe Eliyahu Zuta XII, XVII; Menorath ha-Maor I, 1, Pt. II, § 1; Menashe b. Israel, Nishmath Ḥayyim II, 27; Test of Abraham a, XIV; San. 104a; Gen. R. § 63; Sefer Ḥasidim (ed. Wiztinetzki) n. 32; J.E. Vol. VII, p. 401-2. All the above references stress the redeeming powers of the Kaddish recited by a son for his father. If one is survived only by daughters, the latter are not permitted to recite the Kaddish in the Synagogue, but they should respond by saying ‘Amen’ when the Kaddish is said in the Synagogue — P.Tesh. Cf. Kol Bo(G) p. 375, n. 33. Therefore, it is the adopted practice to recite the last Kaddish [concluding the services]34The Kaddish recited after עלינו. twelve months for a father and mother.35Thereby the souls of one’s parents are redeemed from the torture of the Gehenna. Cf. ‘Ed. II, 10; R.H. 17a. Likewise, is it common usage [for a mourner] to recite the Haftarah32 Glos. in the Prophets and to lead the services at the evening prayers at the conclusion of the Sabbath, which is the time when the souls [of the departed] return to Gehenna; and when the [mourning] son leads the Services and sanctifies [the name of God] in public, he [thereby] redeems his father and mother from Gehenna.36Kol Bo on the authority of Hag.G. It is the adopted usage to recite Kaddish for one's mother although the father is still living,37If both are living one should not say the mourner’s Kaddish. One may however, say the Kaddish de Rabbanan (scholars’ Kaddish) — P.Tesh. [and the latter] has no right to prevent his son from reciting Kaddish for his mother.38Thus the opinion of B.Yos. in accordance with the accepted custom — G. It is a religious duty to fast on the day that one's father and mother died.39RIBaSh and Kol BoG. Cf. Sheb. 20a and infra § 378, If one finds it difficult to fast, he should contribute money to the poor. Throughout the twelve month period of mourning one should study Mishna (including the Yahrzeit day), for Mishna (משנה) is comprised of the same letters as נשמה (-soul). This has a redeeming influence. [In the case of] three brothers and a stranger40e., one who is not their brother although he is a resident in the community — ShaK. [with respect to the rules of precedence concerning the recital of Kaddish, — the law is that] the three brothers get [priority to recite] three Kaddishim,32 Glos. and the other41The stranger. gets [priority to recite] one Kaddish.42For we guide ourselves with respect to the rules of precedence in accordance with the living and not the dead. Mourners should recite the Kaddish in unison — P.Tesh. It is customary that when the day on which one's father or mother died, arrives, one always recites the mourner's43Lit. ‘orphan’s.’ Kaddish for them. One who knows how to lead the entire Service should do so. However, if there are other mourners [present], it is customary that within the seven days of their mourning [period], they take precedence and he44The one observing the Yahrzeit. has no [priority] rights [regarding] the Kaddish at all; if within [their] thirty [days of mourning], he has [priority rights to recite] one Kaddish;45Some, however, hold that a Yahrzeit takes precedence over one who is within the thirty days of the observance of mourning rites. TaZ. [if] after [their] thirty [days of mourning], — all the Kaddishim of that day belong to him.46The following is a summary of the laws of precedence with respect to the recital of Kaddish based upon ShaK, TaZ and the Later Authorities: a) A resident takes precedence over a stranger; b) It is only the first time a stranger comes to the services that he has a right to lead the service and has priority rights to recite one Kaddish where the resident has similar rights; c) Some adopt the practice that a stranger is on an equal footing with a resident with respect to Kaddish, as long as he is a permanent resident in the city, even if he does not pay taxes; d) One who is within the seven days of his mourning period, whether a resident or a stranger, whether of minority or majority age, takes precedence over the other mourners with respect to all the Kaddishim recited, and even if a Festival arrived at which time the seven or thirty days of mourning become annulled (v. infra § 399), it does not apply to the recital of Kaddish. Furthermore, with respect to Kaddish we do not apply the principle ‘that part of the day is considered as the whole day.’ This means that one is regarded to be within his seven or thirty days with respect to the recital of Kaddish until seven or thirty complete days have passed. As to the observance of mourning rites, the above principle applies (v. infra § 395) ; e) One who is within his thirty days of mourning and one observing Yahrzeit each have a right to recite one Kaddish; f) One who is within his thirty days of mourning takes precedence over one observing Yahrzeit, although the latter has a right to recite one Kaddish (v. however, supra n. 45) ; g) If there are many observing Yahrzeit, the one who is within his thirty days is overridden; h) If there are many observing Yahrzeit and one who is within his seven days of mourning, the latter has a right to one Kaddish and the others cast lots; i) If there are many who are within their thirty days of mourning, one observing Yahrzeit and one within his twelve month period of mourning, the latter is overridden entirely, and all the Kaddishim of that day belong to the one observing Yahrzeit; j) The Kaddish recited after the daily Psalm (שיר של יום) and after the Sabbath Psalm (מזמור שיר ליום השבת) belong to the mourners. In general, the laws of precedence have no fundamental basis in Jewish Law, and nowadays all recite the KaddishA.H. The seven and thirty [days of mourning] are counted from the day of burial, even if [the mourner] had not heard [the death report] forthwith.47MaHaRIL — G. Whether a stranger is regarded as one of the townspeople with respect to this Kaddish, we follow the accepted practice.48Agur on the authority of MaHaRILG. This [above-mentioned] Kaddish applies49Lit. ‘there is no place … but.’ only [where it is recited] for a father and mother alone, but not [in the case of] other near-of-kin.50Benjamin Ze’ebG. If there is no one present in the Synagogue who is in mourning for one's father or mother, that Kaddish51e., the mourner’s Kaddish. may be recited by one who has no father and mother on behalf of all the dead of Israel.52Ibid.G. There are localities where it is customary that other [surviving] near-of-kin recite Kaddish for their relations where [the latter leave] no parental mourners; and there are localities where even if there are parental mourners, the other [surviving] near-of-kin [may also] recite [the Kaddish], only that they [the latter] make a mutual agreement not to recite as many Kaddishim as would the mourners for a father and mother [proper].53MaHaRIK, Rt. 44 — G. In this entire [matter] we follow the accepted custom, provided the custom is fixed in the [particular] city. The mourners recite Kaddish even on the Sabbath and Festivals,54Benjamin Ze’eb on the authority of RI of CorbeilG. One who suffered a bereavement on the Sabbath or Festival at which time it was impossible to bury the corpse, may recite the Kaddish on the Sabbath or the Festival, even before the corpse is interred. This ruling, however, does not apply to a weekday, for then he is an Onen and is exempt from Tefillah etc. (v. supra § 341) — TaZ. however, ShaK in Nek. ha-Kesef and also Ḥid. ha-Gershuni who oppose TaZ. but it is not customary for them to lead the services on the Sabbath and Festivals,55Thus in MaHaRIL Resp.G. This applies likewise to a day on which Hallel is recited, unless there is no one available to lead the services or if one is a permanent Congregational reader of prayers. On Rosh Ḥodesh and Ḥol ha-Moed in the evening, the mourner may lead the services, but not at the morning service — A.H. although there exists no prohibition against [this] matter. However, during the weekdays, whoever knows how to lead the Services, should do so, and [this] is [even] more efficacious than [reciting] the mourner's43Lit. ‘orphan’s.’ Kaddish, which was instituted [originally] only for minors.56The fundamental Kaddishim are those recited during the services. Those recited at the conclusion of the service, e.g., the Kaddish said after עלינו or the daily Psalm שיר של יום were instituted only for minors. Hence, it is most important for one to lead the services and be afforded the opportunity to recite the Kaddishim during the service. Many people err in this and are under the impression that the Kaddish recited at the conclusion of the services is fundamental — A.H. And one who knows not how to lead the entire Service, should lead the Service [at least] from [the section beginning with] 'For the chief musician etc.,'57Ps. 'And a redeemer shall come to Zion etc.'58ובא לציון. This Kaddish is more efficacious than the one concluding the service. Benjamin Ze’ebG. Should the mourner happen to lead the services in another Synagogue where the version (נוסח) of the service ritual differs from that of his own Svnagogue (e.g., if his custom is to pray in the Ashkenazic version and he comes to a Sephardic Synagogue or vice versa), — he is permitted to change to the service ritual of the Synagogue he happens to be in — Kol Bo(G). It is the adopted custom to recite Kaddish and lead the Services only for eleven months59Less one day, even if it is a leap year. All the Kaddishim of that day belong to him. However, one observing Yahrzeit on that day has a right to one Kaddish. so that [children] should not consider their father and mother wicked, for the judgment of a wicked person [in Gehenna lasts] twelve months.60One whose father was a wicked person should recite Kaddish for twelve months. If there were mourners present here,61e., at the Synagogue services. and later other mourners came, — the latter have [priority with respect to] the Kaddish and [leading] the Services throughout the thirty days [of their mourning] from the day of burial, although [the latter] did not hear [the death report until later].62e., they were not present at the death or burial. Some say that [in the case of] an apostate Jew who was murdered by heathens, [the law is that] his children recite Kaddish for him.63RaDaK and Benjamin Ze’eb and cf supra § 340, 5 — G. The reason is that having been murdered his sins are forgiven.

The point of bringing in this text is to highlight that even in the worst of times when someone wants to just crawl away from the world and grieve we are instructed to show up in community. The mourner's Kaddish is only recited with a Minyan, cohort of at least 10 people.

1. Grief is a shared burdon

2. It's a reminder to the mourner to seek life outside of their personal space and sadness

3. It's a reminder for the community to provide a shoulder to lean on


  • Who is responsible for establishing a Kehilla?
  • How is this done?
    • Community-wide
    • Connection to God
    • Families
    • Jewish people
    • Natural world

The Takeaway:

  • How do we become a cohesive community when we are all working remotely?
  • What is the difference between a functioning team and cohesive community?
    • Does feedback and support fall under this value?
      • ​​​​​​​If yes, how? ​​​​​​​
      • If not, why?

(יח) לֹֽא־תִקֹּ֤ם וְלֹֽא־תִטֹּר֙ אֶת־בְּנֵ֣י עַמֶּ֔ךָ וְאָֽהַבְתָּ֥ לְרֵעֲךָ֖ כָּמ֑וֹךָ אֲנִ֖י יְהוָֽה׃

(18) Thou shalt not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

The Wrap Up:

Rabbi Hillel stated do not do unto others what you would not do to yourself. The positive commandment of- love your fellow as yourself.

How does one love their fellow?

1- Hello

2- Good bye

3- I love you

4- What is your story?

How do I love myself?

1- Hello

2- Good bye

3- I love me

4- What is my story?

...and the rest is just opinion.