Before instructing the Jewish people to desist from self-injury as part of the mourning process for dead departed relatives, Moses informs the nation that they are all the “children of God”. He goes on to say: “you are a people consecrated to God: He chose you from among all other peoples on earth to be His treasured nation.”
Addressing this fascinating topic, Rabbi Dunner first talks about ancient pagan mourning rituals, sharing recent academic research that explains the strange practice of cutting flesh to mourn close relatives. He then goes on to share a foundational Nesivos Sholom that explores the importance of a close relationship with God, like a son to a father.
Quoting among others, the Zohar, Ibn Ezra, the Baal Shem Tov, and the Noam Elimelech, the Nesivos Sholom paints a vivid picture of how we should relate to God, and explains why it is specifically in relation to forbidden mourning practices that this concept emerges in the Torah.