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By Rabbi Dr. Azriel Rosenfeld | Series: | Level:

Mourning is required after the death of a parent, child, sibling, or spouse (374:4) but not for more distant relatives (see 374:6-7) or for a child who dies before it is 30 days old (see 374:8-9;378:6) or for a slave (see 377:1). A child who reaches majority after burial of a relative is not required to mourn (396:3). On mourning for a teacher or scholar see 374:10-11;394:2.

Mourning begins when burial is complete, or (by the relatives who remain behind) when the body is taken away for burial (see 375:1-2), or when the relatives have given up hope of burial (341:4), or when they hear about a death within seven days of the burial (see 375:8-9,11), or three days after their relative was known to have been dying (339:2). A person who hears about a relative’s death within 30 days must observe the seven and 30 days of mourning (see below); if he hears about it after 30 days he observes mourning by briefly removing his shoes, and for a parent he also observes the things that extend beyond 30 days (395:2;402:1-11). A person who knows about a death is not required to tell the relatives (see 402:12), but a person who hears about a relative’s death from a believable source is required to mourn (397:1-2). On mourning after a disinterment or a reburial see 375:3 and 403:1-5; on situations where burial is impossible see 375:4-7.

We are required to console mourners; this takes precedence over visiting the sick (335:10). On consolation procedures see 376:1-3,378:7. A mourner’s first meal on the day of the burial must be provided by others; see 378:1-3,5,8-13. On grace after meals in the house of a mourner see 379:1-4. It is customary to hold prayer services for seven days in a house where someone has died even if no mourners are present (376:3;389:3). It is customary for a mourner to lead prayers, and to recite the KADDISH, especially for a parent, for 11 months as well as on the anniversary of the death; see 376:4. It is customary to fast on the anniversary of a parent’s death (see 402:12) and to fast when a scholar dies (378:4).

A mourner is forbidden to wear TEFILLIN (phylacteries) on the first day (see 388:1-2); to work or do business, wash his body or clothes, wear leather shoes, sit on a chair, have sexual relations, study Torah, or greet people, for seven days; and to iron or repair his clothes, cut his hair, or participate in festive activities for 30 days (380:1), and longer (up to 12 months) when mourning for a parent (see 380:24-25;385:1-3;389:3,5; 390:4;391:2-3;393:2;399:4). On the prohibition of work and business and on others doing them for the mourner see 380:2-25; on washing and cosmetics see 381:1-6; on shoes see 382:1-5; on sitting (and on covering the head) see 386:1 and 387:1-2; on sexual relations see 342:1 and 383:1-2; on Torah study see 384:1-2,4-5; on greeting see 343:2 and 385:1-3; on care for clothes see 389:1-8; on cutting the hair see 390:1-7; on festive activities see 391:1-3 and 393:2; on marriage (and remarriage) see 342:1 and 392:1-3. A mourner should not go out of his home or occupy his regular place (e.g., in the synagogue); see 393:1-4. On a mourner participating in religious ceremonies or being part of a religious quorum see 379:5;384:2-3,391:3;400:1.

These periods of mourning should be observed faithfully but need not be prolonged, and a person should not mourn excessively; see 394:1,4-6 and 398:1. If a person did not observe the seven days of mourning at all he may observe them until the 30 days are over, but if he kept them in part he need not complete them (396:1-2). The seven or 30 days are regarded as completed when the last day has begun (see 395:1), but this is not true for the 12 months that are observed for a parent (395:3). On cases when the periods of mourning for two relatives overlap see 375:10; 381:4;389:1;390:3;402:9.

The Sabbath counts as one of the seven days, although the mourner only observes the private restrictions then (400:1-2;402:7,10). If a holiday occurs while the seven or 30 days are being observed it terminates them. If mourning did not begin before the holiday it must be observed after the holiday, but outside the land of Israel the last day of the holiday counts toward the seven days, and in any case the entire holiday counts toward the 30 days (399:1-14). On funeral and mourning observances on the intermediate days of the holidays, New Moons, CHANUKAH, and PURIM see 401:1-7.

Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 ProjectGenesis, Inc.