If you find the task of writing a Shiva card intimidating, you are not alone. Many struggle to find the words to express the sadness and sympathy they feel for the card’s recipient, or perhaps are afraid of saying the wrong thing. After all, death is so monumental that it seems impossible to fit a message about it in a few lines of text. However, when you find yourself faced with this challenge, the first thing to remember is that so long as your message comes from your heart, your recipient will appreciate what you have to say no matter the actual words. The truth is that he or she is likely overwhelmed with grief and they will feel most comforted by the fact that you reached out to them by sending the gift to which this card is attached.
Once you have overcome the pressure of writing the card, it is important to make sure that your message is in your own voice. Don’t use language that is more formal than you would usually use when speaking with the recipient – the card needs to be personal, not forced. The message should also be reflective of your relationship with the deceased. If you knew this person through business, your message should be less personal than if it were a family member or close friend. If you don’t know where to start, here are some popular ideas at Challah Connection, a leading online kosher gift company specializing in Shiva and sympathy gifts:
- Wishing Your Family Love, Support And Our Deepest Sympathy During This Difficult Time
- Our Warmest Thoughts And Prayers Are With You During This Time Of Sorrow
- With Our Heartfelt Sympathy
- With Deepest Sympathy
- We Are So Sorry For Your Loss. You Are In Our Thoughts
- Our Deepest Sympathy At This Difficult Time
And for the more traditional or religious:
- May G-D Comfort You Among The Mourners Of Zion And Jerusalem
Jane Moritz, owner of Challah Connection, says that the company’s most popular gift card reads, “May [deceased]’s memory be a blessing to all who knew him/her.” It is special because it allows you to specifically refer to the deceased, therefore providing an opportunity for the recipient to think of that person . If you don’t know his or her name, it is acceptable to use “your mother” or “your brother.” Jane also points out that it is in keeping with Jewish tradition of never forgetting those who have died. “In Judaism, it is important that we always remember those who have passed away. That’s why this particular message is so poinant – it triggers warm thoughts of the deceased.”
Besides using the ideas above, you may wish to add a line or two about the deceased. “She always had the warmest smile ready for me.” Or “Her beautiful gardens will always remind me of her.” Remember, if you have been out of touch with the family for some time or if you knew the deceased and not the family, be sure to include some information in the card to let the receiver know who you are.
As a reminder, don’t forget to sign your card. Very often, cards are not signed, which actually causes stress on the recipients since they will most likely want to send you a thank you note. If there is no name, they will have to take the time to find out this information.
No matter which words you decide to use, remember that your card’s recipient will undoubtedly appreciate them. It is the meaning of the message and the action of sending the card in the first place that mean the most. Keep the card personal and from your heart and you cannot go wrong.