The Midrash in Koheles Rabbah (7:4 in the Warsaw numbering) writes (translation follows Artscroll, chapter 7, page 31):

נולד אדם הכל שמחין מת הכל בוכין. ואינו כן אלא נולד אדם ואין שמחין לו שאין יודעין באיזה פרק ומעשים יעמוד אם צדיק אם רשע אם טוב אם רע. ומת הם צריכין לשמוח שנפטר בשם טוב ויצא מן העולם בשלום.

When a person is born, everyone rejoices, and when he dies, everyone weeps. But it should not be so. Rather, when a person is born, people should not rejoice over him, for they do not know which challenging situations and actions he will have to stand up to, whether he will be a Tzadik or a Rasha, whether good or evil. But when he dies, then they should rejoice, for it is then that they can see that he has departed from the world with a good name and he has left the world in peace.

The Midrash illustrates with a parable: people rejoice over a ship leaving the harbor but not over one entering. It really should be the other way around - the one leaving could get hit by storms, winds, and hurricanes, while the one entering should be rejoiced upon for its successful arrival.

In practice, though, this isn’t the case. Although it’s certainly natural for one to rejoice over a newborn and for one to mourn over the loss of a close one, why do we not find any Halacha that dictates that we should do the opposite?

(It should be pointed out that one reason given for Lag BaOmer is celebrating R’ Shimon bar Yochai’s life - not mourning his death. See Aruch HaShulchan 493:7, and further here.)

  • Huh? Is there a halakha mandating crying? If so, cite it. If not, then we have people's natural reactions. Nothing strange about that. Asking why there is no halakha to celebrate deaths is not very strong; many things make sense, but aren't halakhot. Lastly, your mention of a shiva house is distracting and introduces unnecessary details, as the Midrash says nothing about shiva houses.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 5:29
  • Inasmuch as one was imperfect at time of death, others ought to mourn. How many perfect people do you think there are?
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 5:32
  • Additionally upon the loss of a truly great person, we mourn the loss, as the Talmud states that a righteous person is only lost to his generation.
    – mevaqesh
    Commented Sep 24, 2017 at 5:34
  • People cry bc they are sad. This isn't Halacha but simply commenting on what people do and offering an ideal reaction versus a human one.
    – Laser123
    Commented Sep 25, 2017 at 13:18


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