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Chapter 141:20
Laws of the Megillah

20. A mourner ("avel") during "shivah" (1) should observe all the laws of mourning [on Purim], and is forbidden to attend any kind of celebration. However, wearing shoes and sitting on a chair are permitted because these are activities that are obvious to all (2). It is preferable that he gather a "minyan" (3) to his home for the Megillah reading, however, if that is not possible, he should pray at home, and then go to synagogue to hear the Megillah (4). If [Purim] falls on Saturday night, he should go to synagogue on Shabbos afternoon after the third meal ("Seuda Shlishis") before sunset (and stay there for the evening service and Megillah reading) (5). During the daytime [hours of Purim, the mourner] may go to synagogue for both praying and to hear the Megillah.


(1) The first seven days after the burial of a member of one's immediate family (parents, siblings, children or spouse).

(2) There is a dispute among the later authorities ("acharonim") as to whether the laws of mourning apply on the day that Purim is celebrated. The present custom is that only the aspects of mourning that can be kept private ("devorim she'batzinah") are observed (Shulchan Aruch 496:4).

(3) Ten adult males (including the mourner himself).

(4) A mourner during "shivah" is not permitted to leave his house (or the house where he has chosen to spend the first seven days of mourning), except for certain circumstances, such as performing certain mitzvos. The reason for this prohibition is so that the mourner doesn't get distracted from mourning. Since it is a mitzvah to hear the Megillah with a minyan, if he can't gather ten men to his home, he may go to synagogue.

(5) A mourner during "shivah" is permitted to go to shul on Shabbos.


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