My wife and I have recently lost our baby girl at 29 weeks for unanswerable reasons though various tests have been completed. We know that we must place all our trust in YHVH and His Words.rWhat does Jewish Wisdom speak of mourning versus grieving?The Book of Job has been speaking much louder to me at this time. Can you offer guidance as we study through Job’s experience and restoration?Thank you
∼ Scott S.
We not only deeply sympathize with you, but having undergone the same experience (twice) we empathize as well. Your hearts had already expanded to include a daughter and now your extended hands will be empty. Truly, even if medical tests discover a heart defect or other complication that wasn’t compatible with life, you would still be grieving. The happy dreams you were imagining won’t come to fruition.
As emotional as this experience is, please don’t look to Job as a role model. A baby in the womb is in a unique position, different from a live-born child. Ancient Jewish wisdom does not proscribe the mourning rituals for a fetus that are so important when, God-forbid, a child dies, as happened to Job.
A baby in-utero straddles the line between life and no life. In almost all circumstances, it is not our place to end that potential life (hence the prohibition on abortion) but we also should recognize that it is not yet an independently living being. Since God Himself called back this life, we can only believe that for some reason that only He knows, the soul of your baby needed a home for the short time she was in your wife’s womb. When that needed time passed, you and your wife fulfilled your role in God’s plan for this particular soul. The baby’s soul completed its task on earth. Although you had hoped for something different, the pregnancy was not “wasted” but a holy mission in whose fulfillment you participated.
We wish you much opportunity for rejoicing soon,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin