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Exemption from Mitzvot

  1. An onen is exempt from all mitzvot.[1]
  2. An onen is exempt from all brachot including Brachot HaNehenin. [2]
  3. A person who became a mourner after the time for Shacharit or Mincha began and didn’t yet pray, some say he’s obligated to make Tashlumin and some argue [3]

A Mourner Wearing Tefillin

  1. A mourner is exempt from Tefillin the first day of Aveilut[4] even if the first day of aveilut is the day of the burial and not the day of the death. [5] In such a case, where the first day of aveilut isn't the same day as the death, according to Sephardim, one may rely on the practice not to wear Tefillin, however, it is proper to wear Tefillin without a bracha after the burial in private.[6]
  2. A mourner must have a proper concentration when wearing Tefillin even if one is in mourning and therefore one should not wear Tefillin during the eulogies or while one is crying.[7]


  1. Gemara Moed Katan 23b, Rambam (Hilchot Avel 4:6), Mishna Brurah 71:4
  2. The Rash MeShantz (Mishna Damai 1:4 s.v. UMazminin Alav) implies that an onen is obligated to say brachot for himself but may not exempt others, but this is not how Rashi (SOURCE) explains the mishna. The Mishna Brurah 71:4 writes that an onen is exempt from all brachot.
  3. Mishna Brurah 71, Magen Giborim and Derech HaChaim hold that a person is chayav, while the Yad Efrayim (Aninut 29), Birkei Yosef 341:17, Chachmat Shlomo 71, and Sh”t Shevet HaLevi 6:11 hold that one is exempt from Tashlumin.
    • The Gemara (Ketubot 6b, Sukkah 25b, Moed Katan 15a) states that a mourner is exempt from wearing Tefillin since Hashem commanded Yechezkel to abstain from wearing Tefillin when he was mourning his wife and by implication we learn that a regular mourner doesn't wear Tefillin. For how long does this apply? The Gemara (Moed Katan 21a) cites a dispute between Rabbi Eliezer and Rabbi Yehoshua whether it applies for 2 or 3 days. The Rif (Moed Katan 13a), Rambam (Avel 4:9), Rosh (Moed Katan 3:37), and Tur and Shulchan Aruch OC 38:5 hold like Rabbi Yehoshua who says that the mourner is exempt the first two days.
    • Regarding the second day according to Rabbi Yehoshua and the third day according to Rabbi Eliezer, Rashi explains that only a mourner is only exempt for a fraction of the day based on the concept of Miksat HaYom KeKulo (part of the day is like a complete day). Tosfot 21a, Rosh (Moed Katan 3:37), Raavad (cited by Ramban Torat HaAdam Inyan HaAveilut n. 67), and Ran (Sukkah 11a s.v. Aval) agree that a portion of the day needs to be observed in mourning without tefillin, before the mourner may wear tefillin. The Rosh holds that one only needs to wait until a bit after Netz HaChama and the Raavad says one needs to wait until the minyan with those comforting the mourner. However, Ramban (Torat HaAdam, Inyan HaAveilut n. 67) writes that according to the Rif (Moed Katan 13a) and Rambam (Avel 4:9) one can wear the Tefillin on the second day without waiting at all. Bach (YD 388) holds like the Ramban. However, Shulchan Aruch YD 388:1 explicitly rules like the Rosh that one must wait until after Netz.
    • Rosh (Moed Katan 3:3) discusses whether this exemption is Biblical or rabbinic and seems to favor the approach of the exempt being rabbinic.
  4. Taz 38:3, Mishna Brurah 38:16. See Pitchei Teshuva YD 388 who cites a dispute between the Maharitaz and the Dagul Mirvavah whether one is obligated or exempt. The Maharitaz believes that one is obligated since the first day of aveilut is only biblical if it is both the day of death and the day of burial and one is only exempt from Tefillin when mourning is biblical. The Dagul Mirvavah and others disagree. See Ramban (Torat HaAdam, Inyan HaAveilut n. 81) who seems to hold like the Maharitaz.
  5. Yabia Omer YD 2:27
  6. Torat HaAdam (Inyan HaAveilut n. 67), Shulchan Aruch YD 388:2. Magen Avraham 38:6 asks how a mourner could be obligated in Tefillin if someone who is emotionally tormented and can't concentrate is exempt from Tefillin. He answers based on a Gemara Ketubot 6b that we encourage the mourner to settle his thoughts and reach a state of mind when he is able to wear Tefillin.