Why are Mirrors Covered During Shiva?


Have you ever seen the mirrors covered during a shiva call and wondered, “Why are mirrors covered during shiva?” One of the most commonly asked shiva-related questions is easily explained. 

In times of mourning, Jewish customs and rituals provide comfort and guidance for grieving families. One such tradition that Jews observe during the Jewish mourning period of Shiva is the covering of mirrors. The profound significance behind this practice dates back centuries with several reasons why there is valuable symbolism for those mourning the loss of a loved one.

1. Honoring the Deceased:

The customs and rituals observed during the Jewish mourning period of Shiva are designed to honor and remember the life of the recently deceased. By covering mirrors in the house, mourners redirect their focus towards reflection and introspection, rather than vanity and personal appearance. This act helps mourners remember values and virtues embodied by the departed, fostering an atmosphere of remembrance and reverence.

2. Focusing Inward:

During the Shiva period, mourners are encouraged to turn their attention inward, reflecting on their emotions and memories of the departed. By covering mirrors, Jewish tradition symbolically reminds mourners to avoid distractions caused by their outward appearance. This allows for meaningful self-reflection, fostering an environment conducive to spiritual and emotional healing.

3. Diminishing the Boundary Between Worlds:

The loss of a loved one often leaves us yearning for connection and understanding. Covering mirrors during Shiva is believed to help diminish the boundary between the physical and spiritual realms. Many believe that by blocking one’s reflection, mourners can easily connect with the departed soul, enabling a sense of closeness and continuity beyond the physical world.

4. Respecting Privacy:

Shiva is a time of deep vulnerability. Therefore, as mourners grapple with sorrow and grief, it is important to provide them with a safe, private space for mourning and reflection. Covering mirrors serves as a symbolic reminder of the need for privacy during this sensitive time, shielding mourners from their reflections and allowing them to process emotions without unnecessary distractions.

5. Embracing Impermanence:

Covering mirrors also serves as a reminder of the ephemeral nature of life. Judaism teaches that material possessions are ultimately transient. Thus, by momentarily concealing mirrors, mourners acknowledge and accept the impermanence of physical appearances and worldly attachments. Through this practice, Jewish tradition encourages individuals to focus on the everlasting essence of the soul and the memories shared with the departed loved one.

We Are Here To Help!

Our funeral directors at Star of David Memorial Chapels on Long Island, New York, are here to guide you through difficult times. Whether it is for funeral pre-planning, funeral arrangements, or providing Shiva resources, we are here for you. Please get in touch with us at 631-454-9600.

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