Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
 
Print Version

Email this article to a friend


82. The Mourner - Avel

We are commanded to mourn for lost relatives, as it says "[Such things happened to me;] if I eat a sin-offering today will it be good in the eyes of Ha-Shem?".1 The relatives for whom one must mourn are father, mother, son and daughter; brother and sister (rabbinically, even on the mother's side); and (rabbinically) husband and wife. One whose relative is not yet buried is forbidden to eat meat or drink wine and is excused from all the [positive] commandments of the Torah.a

A mourner or anyone present at the moment of death is required to tear his clothes. Mourning begins at burial, or (if the body is being sent elsewhere for burial) when it is turned over to those who will bury it, or when one hears that burial has taken place, or when hope has been lost that burial will be possible. It is forbidden to delay burial except to do honor to the deceased, as it says "For you shall bury him".2 It is forbidden to derive benefit from the dead, their garments, coffins, or graves.b

For seven days (all but the first of which are a rabbinical institution) a mourner is forbidden to cut his hair, wash or anoint his body, wear leather shoes, uncover his head, wash his clothes, do unnecessary work, study Torah, greet anyone, sit on a chair, or have sexual relations. For the remainder of 30 days he is forbidden to cut his hair, wash his clothes, marry, participate in festivities, or travel on business. For parents these last prohibitions extend to twelve months or until he is ridiculed by his friends. If one hears of a relative's death after 30 days he need only mourn briefly on that day. One should not mourn publicly on the sabbath. There is no mourning on a festival, and the occurrence of a festival terminates mourning that has already begun. One should not mourn excessively.c

We are rabbinically commanded to extend hospitality to travellers, to participate in marriages and funerals, to visit the sick, and to comfort the mourner; these things are in the category of "You shall love your friend as yourself"3 -- do to others what you would like them to do to you.d

A male priest is forbidden to come into contact with a corpse but he is permitted to do so for close relatives, as it says "[Say to the priests, the sons of Aaron:...] he shall not become impure for any soul of his people except for his close relation -- for his mother and for his father and for his son and for his daughter and for his brother and for his virgin sister".4 The high priest may not even become impure for a relative, as it says "[But the priest who is greater than his brothers...] he shall not come upon any dead person; he shall not become impure for his father or for his mother".5,e

Sources:

1. Lev. 10:19 a. 1:1; 2:1; 4:6
2. Deut. 21:23 b. 1:2-5; 7:1; 8:1; 9:11; 12:1; 14:13,21; Sanhedrin 15:8
3. Lev. 19:18 c. 1:1; 5:1; 6:2,7ff; 7:1; 10:1,3; 13:1
4. Lev. 21:1-3 d. 14:1
5. Lev. 21:10-11 e. 2:6; 3:1,6,11



 






ARTICLES ON VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

To Achieve Your Goals and not Cause Jealousy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5770

The Challenges Ahead
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

True Riches
Shlomo Katz - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Yosef Recognizes His Brothers
- 5773

Interpreting Dreams
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5771

Torah Values
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

> There to Share
Rabbi Label Lam - 5763

The Strong and the Weak
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Analyzing The Imagery of A Familiar Chanukah Poem
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Everyday Miracles
Rabbi Pinchas Avruch - 5764

Thanks a Lot!
Rabbi Raymond Beyda - 5764

Torah Study - - Doing It Our Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

ArtScroll

Light From Darkness, Take Two
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

The Inns and Outs of Galus
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5761

The Master Plan
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5763

“So you Think You’re The Man, Alexander?” (Insights for Chanukah)
Jon Erlbaum - 0



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information