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Mourning in Halacha

 

In response to various questions regarding proper halachic procedures regarding the laws of “Aveilus” or mourning, I shall attempt to clarify some of these matters.

A common error of observance of “Shiva” is made on erev Shabbos when some interrupt the “Shiva” after the noon hour:  This is absolutely incorrect, since the obligation to follow the rules and restrictions of “Shiva” must be followed until the time of “Mincha Ketana”, which is about two and a half hours before sunset.  (See Sefer Chaim Ubracha for all concurring opinions.)

In the matter of the proper form of “Kriah”, the rending of the garment which is obligatory on all male or female mourners, the use of ribbons attached to clothing in order to avoid rending the actual garment is incorrect. The laws of “Kriah” clearly outline the procedure directed towards the tearing of the garment itself which the mourner is wearing. The rules are stated in the Shulchan Aruch as to which garments must be torn and how it is to be done. If one is remiss at doing this in the proper manner, there is a lack of fulfillment of the “Halacha.”  Unfortunately the tendency of some mourners to dress in their best and most expensive clothes because of perceived societal customs results in a resistance to the halachos of “Kriah” which have greater stringency than the rules of “Aveilus” (Yorah Deah, 340). Officiants of funerals should resist the spurious use of ribbons through sensitive but persuasive explanations of the rules of “Kriah.”.

 

HaRav Gedalia Dov Schwartz, Shlit"a
Rosh Beth Din

HaRav Yona Reiss, Shlit"a
Av Beth Din

 

Rabbi Sholem Fishbane
Kashruth Administrator

Rabbi Levi Mostofsky
Executive Director

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