Jewish tradition exhorts us to properly mourn the passing of a loved one, and sets the practices and rituals that facilitate and give expression to our feelings of loss and grief. At the same time, however, it establishes a sequence of time frames through which the intensity of our mourning is progressively mitigated, from the most intense mourning that is observed in the hours after a death, to the seven-day "shivah" observed following the burial, to the 30-day shloshim period, and so on. Mourning is a show of respect to the departed and to his or her place in our lives...In other words, we must mourn, but we must also set boundaries to our mourning. To not mourn at all, or to plunge into an abyss of grief and remain trapped on its bottom--both these extremes are detrimental, both to the living and to the soul of the departed. Mourning is a crucial stage in the healing of those who experienced the loss. But the soul of the departed does not desire that those remaining in this world remain paralyzed by grief. On the contrary, the soul's greatest benefit comes from its loved ones' return to active, even joyous life, in which their feelings of love and veneration translate into deeds that honor the departed soul and attest to its continuing influence in our world. Jewish tradition provides a framework to channel and express our grief over the loss of a loved one, from the stupefying grief of Aninut, to the seclusion, break from routine, and receiving of condolence of the Shivah, to the subsequent resumption of everyday life whilst continuing certain mourning rituals during the Sheloshim and the First Year. It is important to meticulously observe these guidelines and rituals; it is equally important that they not be exceeded. At times, the mourner may not consciously feel the degree or type of grief and mourning these rituals convey; other times, he or she may not feel prepared to "move on" to the next, lesser phase of mourning. Yet the wisdom of adhering to the observances and timetables established by the Torah has been attested to time and again by anyone who, Gd forbid, undergoes this process. The Torah's mourning laws provide the outlet and validation for our grief so crucial to the healing process, as well as the framework to graduate from one level of mourning to another, until our loss is integrated as a constructive, and not, Gd forbid, destructive, force in our lives. But the traditional mourning practices are not only about us and how we deal with our grief. They are, first and foremost, about the person whom we mourn. The mourning and memorializing rituals mandated by the Torah empower us with the spiritual tools with which to honor the departed soul and assist its elevation to its new, higher state of life. Five phases of mourning correspond to five stages of the soul's ascent These (five) phases of mourning also correspond with the stages of the soul's "ascent," as it gradually disengages from the material world and assumes a less palpable--though no less real--presence in our lives. The world was created with humanity as its focus. This took a full cycle of time: seven days. When creation is reversed and the human soul returns to its source, that, too, is marked with a week's cycle: the Shivah, seven days which the closest relatives devote exclusively to mourning the soul's departure, and the extended family, friends and community comfort them with their presence, their empathy, and their words of consolation. We must mourn, but we must also set boundaries to our mourning. The traditional words spoken to the mourner during Shivah are: "May Gd console you, together with all mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.