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?


4 Answers 4


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...


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.


My own thought about this is as follows: "Makom" specifically alludes to the fact that God does not inhabit this world; this world inhabits Him. Put another way, the existence of the world is transient in relation to God; God has intrinsic existence and He is the ultimate axis vis-a-vis creation. The pain of grief comes from the feeling that your loved one is gone, you don't see him/her anymore, you are separated, detached. But death is really an illusion - from God's point of view, almost nothing has changed: He still sees and relates to both the soul of the niftar and the avel simultaneously just as when he/she was alive, even as they no longer see each other. So from that perspective, they are in reality still together, their bond endures, they are both still encompassed in the same Makom just as before.


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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