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God promises that parents will no longer witness the death of their children, and the verse concludes, “I will let you count the fullness of your days.” Of the multitude of gifts the Torah could have promised for the future, the Torah chooses to highlight the removal of the trauma of child loss and its harsh pain.
The Torah is well aware that until that great era of blessing arrives, we continue to grapple with this heartbreaking mystery, and struggle to cope with one of life’s greatest tragedies.
According to our sages, the act symbolizes the permanent tear in one’s heart.
Jacob’s family and friends try to comfort him for his loss, says the Torah “…but he refused to be comforted” ().
Caring friends can also show love and sympathy by sending an email or a note on each birthday of the deceased child or on each yahrtzeit, or support a project that the family may have initiated in the child’s memory.
People can also give to other charities or perform other acts of kindness and let the parents know that they have done so in the child’s memory.
Jacob says to his sons: I have lived for so many years as a shakhul, please don’t let this happen to me again.Thousands of parents experience child loss each year: miscarriages and stillborn births, infant death, death from sickness and disease, children killed by terrorism or acts of violence, children killed in accidents, and sometimes there are children who pass away suddenly without warning, without explanation.There is no one term in English for a parent who loses a child.It establishes a word specifically for parents who endure the bitterness and pain of child loss.One who loses his parents is an orphan; bereaved spouses become widows and widowers.