Wednesday, 11 February 2015
but with 'comforters' like Reish Lakish, is it any surprise that the mourners need 10 cups of wine.... 10!
ok. make it 14 cups...
this page refers to brachot said to a mourner, and a story of Resh Lakish visiting R. Chaya after his child died. The verses he gets his colleague to quote aren't exactly comforting - children die as God punishes the parents, young men are all evil and deserve God's anger, and isn't God great! Even the talmud finds this odd and remarks that these aren't comforting words to a mourner. Also on this page is the practice for mourners to drink 10 cups of wine. 3 pre-meal as a aperitif, 3 during the meal, 4 as a digestif post-meal to echo the 4 blessings in grace after meals. another 4 were added to the 10, until they noticed that people were getting too drunk. so they went back to 10.
this seems to be a Jewish mourning custom that has fallen out of practice. Saying stupid 'frum' things to people in time of grief however, is timeless.