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Why, when comforting a mourner at the completion of a Shiva visit, do we refer to G-d as Hamakom? We say Hamakom Yanachem Eschem - why not Hashem Yenachem or Elokim Yenachem?

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Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/70273 – msh210 Apr 11 at 5:37
up vote 8 down vote accepted

From an article on aish.com by Rabbi Yisrael Rutman:

...a person who has lost a loved one often feels that he has been abandoned by God; that there is no God where he is. We say to the mourner, therefore, that HaMakom should comfort him: We pray that he be blessed by a renewed awareness of God's presence, even in the grief-stricken place in which he now finds himself...

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I suspect another influence on this is that according to Midrash, in Temple times, mourners would enter the Temple and be told:

השוכן בבית הזה ינחמך

May the One whose Presence is felt here grant you consolation

If so it would make a lot of sense that in post-Temple times, the greeting became:

May the One beyond space grant you consolation.

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The loss is felt as a void in one's life - an empty space . Only G-D who is called HAMAKOM in that HE IS THE SPACE OF THE WORLD BUT THE WORLD IS NOT HIS SPACE. This means the existence is within G-D so G-D is the space.

Since nothing in the world can make up for the void except for G-D who is and fills all space we express the wish that G-D will fill that void and make the heart whole.

btw MAKOM is the square of the SHEM HAVA-Y-AH according to the ARIZAL.

  • 10 square = 100
  • 5 square = 25
  • 6 square = 36
  • 5 square = 25.

this totals 186, which is also the numerical value of MAKOM in HEBREW

  • mem=40
  • kuf = 100
  • vov=6
  • mem=40
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