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To comfort a mourner you should say words that will lead him to thank G-d for what he has.

True Consolation

True Consolation

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True Consolation
To comfort a mourner you should say words that will lead him to thank G-d for what he has.

Rabbi Yehuda opened his discourse with [a quote from where Elihu, the youngest of Job's friends, starts his words of comfort to the mourning Job by saying:] "Hear my words you wise men; listen to me you who have knowledge." (Job 34:2)

He who goes into a mourner's house to comfort a mourner should beforehand think out the words he will say….

Come and see what is written: "And his [Elihu's] anger flared up against his three friends, because they had found no answer [to Job's complaints against G‑d], and yet condemned Job [because he continued misconstruing the tragic events which befell him and blamed G‑d]." (Job 32:3) They said words of comfort to Job, but these didn't ease his mourning. From here we learn that he who goes into a mourner's house to comfort a mourner should [beforehand] think out the words he will say [so that they should be fitting and appropriate to the mourner being comforted]. After all, Job's friends all said truthful [and wise] things, but they were not [wise enough to know how] to comfort him. The reason is because to comfort a mourner you have to say things that will make him give thanks [to G‑d] for that which he has.

This is not easy to do because a mourner feels agonized and tormented and is full of pain and suffering. As a result, one must strengthen his feeling of self-worth and praise his ability to accept pain and suffering with love.

By doing this, the mourner is encouraged to accept the harsh penalty with love, and give thanks to the Holy One.

Job subsequently… accepted upon himself the justice wrought by the Heavenly Court….

If a mourner can be drawn to give thanks for his predicament, then he can come back to viewing reality as it is, orchestrated by a loving G‑d. Mourning is a form of punishment. By accepting the suffering as justified, the mourner himself becomes justified and rectified and is vindicated from the judgment hanging over him. This is the concept of "measure for measure". As you behave to others, including G‑d, so will those others behave towards you.

What is written? "And Elihu waited to speak to Job, because they [his other friends] were older than he in days [but not in wisdom]." (Job 32:4)

The word for "waited" used in this verse is also used in the verse: "Our soul waits for the L-rd; He is our help and our shield". (Psalms 33:2) Just as that verse indicates a specific form of "waiting" - anticipation of imminent salvation, so our text uses the word "waiting" to describe the effect of Elihu's words in encouraging him to look forward to better days and his personal salvation. That he succeeded is shown by Job's response.

For Job subsequently gave thanks to the Holy One, blessed be He, and accepted upon himself the justice wrought by the Heavenly Court.


Zohar p. 176b; translation and commentary by Simcha-Shmuel Treister

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Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, also know by the acronym "Rashbi," lived in the Holy Land in the 2nd century C.E. A disciple of Rabbi Akiva, Rashbi played a key role in the transmission of Torah, both as an important Talmudic sage and as author of the Zohar, the most fundamental work of Kabbalah. He was buried in Meron, Israel, west of Safed.
Shmuel-Simcha Treister is a lawyer from New Zealand who made aliya to Safed with his family in 1993 to study Zohar. He continues doing so to this day. He also works in the Ascent multi-media center.
The Zohar is a basic work of Kabbalah authored by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his students (2nd century CE). English translation of annotated selections by Rabbi Moshe Miller (Morristown, N.J.: Fiftieth Gate Publications, 2000) includes a detailed introduction covering the history and basic concepts of Kabbalah. Volume 1 (36 pp.) covers the first half of the first of the original’s three volumes. It is available online from our store, KabbalaOnline Shop.
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