Spiritual Tools: The Three Weeks: Honoring the Mourners
Rabbi Yossi the son of Rabbi Bun said: “Those who stand in the presence of the dead at a funeral are not standing in honor of the deceased, but rather in honor of those who are performing an act of loving kindness for the deceased (Jerusalem Talmud, Bikkurim 3:3).”
Rabbi Yossi is reminding us of our obligation to honor those who perform acts of loving kindness for the deceased. During the Three Weeks we should pay attention to and honor those who perform acts of loving kindness for the destroyed Jerusalem and Temple!
There are people who assiduously work to restore that which has been destroyed both physically and spiritually. We live in a time when we are privileged to be able to physically work on rebuilding Jerusalem. These are the people who are performing acts of loving kindness for the deceased.
Those who work on repairing the sins that lead to the destruction of the Temple, especially the sin of baseless hatred, and work to help people build and rebuild relationships, and to create an environment in which we all admire, respect, and love each other, are doing the spiritual acts of loving kindness for the deceased.
We are taught that those who mourn the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash are actively working to rebuild it. The mourners are performing an act of Chesed for the deceased.
Even if we do not know how to become active participants in these acts of loving kindness for the deceased we can at least follow Rabbi Yossi’s teaching, and honor those performing the Chesed.