Mourning and Fasting on Chanukah and Purim

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Mourning and Fasting on Chanuka

  1. If a relative passes away on Chanuka one must keep all the practices of Avelut, including ripping one’s clothing for the dead and comforting the mourner. [1]
  2. One should conduct a eulogy during Chanuka because Chanuka is a time of Simcha and Hallel except for a Chacham on the day of death. [2] A teacher of Torah who set times to learn is considered a Chacham to eulogize on Chanuka during the Levayah. [3]
  3. One is not allowed to fast on Chanuka, and so if one’s parent’s Yehrzheit falls out on Chanuka (according to those who fast for one’s parent’s yehrzeit) one should fast one of the days prior to Chanuka. [4]
  4. One is allowed to fast or do a eulogy the day before or after Chanuka. Some say that one should be strict not to fast the day before Chanuka Lechatchila. [5]
  5. If one did fast on Chanuka one should make it up by fasting again after Chanuka. [6]
  6. One shouldn’t go to visit cemeteries during Chanuka (and especially Chol HaMoed) because it generates sadness and a eulogy of the deceased. One has what to rely on to visit the graves of Tzadikkim during Chanuka and Chol HaMoed. [7]
  7. Some have the Minhag not to say Kaddish for their parents on Chanuka, however it’s a wrong Minhag and one should continue saying Kaddish even on Chanuka. [8]

Permitted and Forbidden activities on Chanuka

  1. There is a long standing practice that women wouldn’t do work during the half hour that the candles are lit. The practice is meant to highlight the fact that we don’t use the light of the candles for our benefit. One shouldn’t be lenient in this practice except for Ochel Nefesh needs for food such as cooking and baking. [9]
  2. Some had the Minhag not to do any work on Chanuka but this is a wrong Minhag and should be stopped because leads to excessive idleness. [10]

Related pages

  1. See also Mourning.


  1. Yalkut Yosef Moadim 192.
  2. Shabbat 21b says that it’s forbidden to eulogize on Chanuka. However Megilah 3b and moed Katan 26b says for a Chacham it’s permitted on Moed and all the more so for Chanuka. S”A 670:3 rules this that it’s forbidden except for a Chacham. Mahariv, Magan Avraham (C”M 547) and Chaye Aam says nowadays we don’t have a Chacham. However the Maharamit, Birkei Yosef (C”M 15:2), Orach Mishpat 4:17 in name of Maharshal (Bava Kama 2), Nezirut Shimshon, Aruch HaShulchan, Shaar Shlomo Zorafa 135, and Sh”t Yabea Omer Y”D 9:46 allow it even nowadays.
  3. Sh”t Shaar Shlomo Zorafa 135 and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 670:6).
  4. S”A 670:1 based on Shabbat 21b says it’s forbidden to fast on Chanuka.
  5. S”A 686:1 based on Tosfot (Tanit 18) and Rosh (Megilah Perek Kama). However, Mishna Brurah 686:1 brings Bach and Pri Chadash that say one isn’t allowed to fast the day before Chanuka. Mishna Brurah 686:1 says that since it’s permitted to fast the day before and after Chanuka (S”A 686:1) one is allowed to do a eulogy because a eulogy is more lenient than a fast (Shaar Tzion 686:1). See further, Sh”t Har HaKarmel O”C 10, and Sh”t Divrei Moshe 1:37
  6. S”A 568:5
  7. Gesher HaChaim and Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 192) based on Bet Yosef (Y”D 344) who forbids going to cemeteries on Rosh Chodesh. Ben Ish Chai allows going to graves on Tzaddikim even on Chol HaMoed and Moed LeChol Chai argues that one shouldn’t go to the cemetery at all.
  8. Yalkut Yosef Moadim pg 193.
  9. This practice is brought down by Tur and S”A (670:1). Mor Ukesiah 670 explains that the practice is to show that it’s forbidden to use the light of the candles. Eliyah Raba 670:2, Derech Chaim, Lekutei Mahrich Kaf HaChaim 670:8, and Mishna Brurah 670:4 say that it’s only forbidden during the half hour of lighting which is a mitzvah against the Magan Avraham 670:2 in name of the Maglei Tzedek who says that it applies as long as the candles are lit. Sh”t Kinyan Torah 7:52 writes if it forbidden for melacha by comparing the time to Yom tov melachot which are permitted on Yom Tov are permitted. So holds Yalkut Yosef (Moadim pg 190)
  10. So says Shiltei Giborim and Sh”t Chacham Tzvi 89 brought down by Mishna Burah 670:5 and Yalkut Yosef (Kitzur S”A 670:3).