Practices in the Mourner's House

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Greeting Others

  1. Many poskim hold that it is permitted to greet someone other than the mourners in the house of an avel. [1]

Bringing Food out of the Mourner's House

  1. Some have the practice not to bring food out of the shiva house[2] if the person died at home[3]. However, many are lenient about this.[4]

Lighting a Candle

  1. The minhag is to light a candle for the neshama of the deceased during the shiva and it is done even over Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed.[5]
  2. Some say that one can fulfill this minhag with electric lights.[6]

Covering the Mirrors

  1. The minhag is to cover the mirrors in the mourner's house.[7]
  2. Even though the halacha is that it is permitted to sweep the floors in a house of mourning some have the minhag not to. Even those who have such a minhag can sweep before Shabbat.[8]

Davening

  1. The Sages instituted certain additions to Birkat Hamazon said at the beis ha'avel, although customs differ as to the details.[9]
  2. The minhag is to say Tehillim chapter 49 after Shacharit and Mincha. It is good also to learn mishnayot there for the Iylui Nishama. [10]
  3. It is permitted for the mourner to say the regular order of davening including the Akeda, Korbanot, Eizhu Mekoman, Rabbi Yishmael, and Pesukei Dzimra[11] including Mizmor Ltodah[12] and Az Yashir[13], and Ketoret[14].
  4. A mourner for a parent can be a shaliach tzibbur but a mourner for another relative shouldn't be shaliach tzibbur unless no else who can do it.[15]
  5. A Sephardic cohen who is in mourning doesn't do birkat kohanim during shiva but should leave the shul when the shaliach tzibbur called kohanim.[16] On Shabbat he does if he's the only kohen in the shul so that it doesn't appear to be public mourning on Shabbat.[17] Ashkenazim hold that a kohen who is in mourning for the entire shloshim or for a parent for the entire 12 months doesn't do birkat kohanim.[18]
  6. There is no tachanun in a mourning's house even if the mourner isn't there.[19] The congregation doesn't need to make it up afterwards when they go home.[20]
  7. It is permitted to transport a sefer torah to a mourner's house.[21]
  8. Kaddish titkabel is said in a mourner's house.[22]

On Shabbat

  1. The minhag is to say Bameh Madlikin in a mourner's house on Shabbat.[23]
  2. In Uva Letzion at the mourner's house in mincha Shabbat they shouldn't skip the pasuk of v'ani zot otherwise it would be public mourning.[24]
  3. It is better not to say Tzidkatcha at Shabbat mincha a mourner's house.[25]
  4. It is proper to say Veyehey Noam on Motzei Shabbat in a mourner's house.[26]
  5. In havdalah a mourner can make a bracha on besamim.[27]
  6. Some say that the avel can say Shalom Aleichem if he is saying kiddush levana since his intent isn't really to greet people.[28]

Hallel

  1. On Rosh Chodesh, the Ashkenazic minhag is not to say hallel in a mourner's house and they don't need to make it up when they go home[29], but the Sephardic minhag is to say it after the congregation leaves the room of the mourner or the mourner leaves the room. If there's no minhag the congregation can say hallel but the mourner shouldn't say it.[30]
  2. On Chanuka, the Ashkenazic minhag is that no hallel is said in the mourner's house but it should be made up when they go home.[31] Sephardim would say hallel on Chanuka in a mourner's home.[32]

Birkat Hamazon

  1. In a mourner's house, the mourner and others eating with him[33], in the fourth bracha of Birkat Hamazon say a different text than the usual one. The text is ברוך אתה ה' אלוהינו מלך העולם האל אבינו מלכנו בוראנו גואלנו (רוענו רועה ישראל הטוב והמטיב לכל אל שבכל יום ויום הוא הטיב הוא מטיב הוא ייטיב לנו) [קדשנו קדוש יעקב] המלך החי הטוב והמטיב אל אמת דיין אמת שופט בצדק לוקח במשפט[34] ושליט בעולמו לעשות בו כרצונו כי כל דרכיו משפט שהכל שלו ואנחנו עמו ועבדיו ובכל אנחנו חייבים להודות לו ולברכו גודר פרצות בישראל הוא יגדור את הפרצה הזאת בישראל לחיים.[35] Many have the practice not to say it but the better minhag is to say it.[36] Some say that it is only said with a zimmun of 10 but the halacha is that it can really be said by an individual.[37]

Sources

  1. Chazon Ovadia Aveilut v. 3 p. 28, Tzitz Eliezer (Ramat Rachel 5:51). See however Aruch Hashulchan 385 and 343:4 who is strict. (See Chazon Ovadia Aveilut v. 1 p. 324) who seems to agree with the Aruch Hashulchan.)
  2. Eliya Rabba 224:8, Aruch Hashulchan 376:11
  3. Tzitz Eliezer (Even Yakov no. 44:4)
  4. Yosef Ometz p. 192. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 60) writes that if a person isn't concerned there is no problem to take food out of a mourner's house. Minchat Shlomo 2:99:2 writes that there is no concern of taking money out of a mourner's house since it isn't designated to stay in that house.
  5. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3, p. 54), Mishna Brurah 548:3
  6. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3, p. 54)
  7. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 52) explains that the the minhag to cover the mirrors is based on the fact that people daven there and it is forbidden to daven in front of a mirror. He adds that the Chatom Sofer is quoted as saying that the covering of the mirrors functions in place of turning over the beds.
  8. Chazon Ovadia (Taniyot p. 214) cited by Mishna Brurah Tiferet 250:16
  9. Brachos 46b, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 379:1
  10. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:5
  11. Chazon Ovadia Aveilut v. 3 p. 1. By Tisha B'av, Shulchan Aruch 554:4 rules that a mourner can say his regular order of davening and it isn't prohibited because of learning.
  12. Chazon Ovadia Aveilut v. 3 p. 4. The Mishna Brurah 51:22 writes that Mizmor Ltodah is said on Tisha Bav.
  13. Chazon Ovadia Aveilut v. 3 p. 5. Kaf Hachaim 559:32 writes that the minhag is to say Az Yashir on Tisha Bav.
  14. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut 3 p. 27). Kaf Hachaim 559:48 writes that on Tisha Bav it is permitted to say shir shel yom and ketoret.
  15. Shulchan Aruch YD 384:3 writes that a mourner shouldn't be the shaliach tzibbur unless no one else can do it. However, Rama 376 writes that it is more effective for a mourner to be a shaliach tzibbur than to say the mourner's kaddish. Maharam Shik 370 writes that it is permitted today for a mourner to be a shaliach tzibbur even according to Shulchan Aruch because the shaliacha tizbbur isn't fulfilling anyone's obligation. Chazon Ovadia v. 3 p. 6 rules that it is permitted for the mourner for a parent to be a shaliach tzibbur even if someone else could do it.
  16. Shulchan Aruch 128:43
  17. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 8)
  18. Rama 128:43
  19. Bet Yosef 131:4 quotes the Shibolei Haleket who says that there's no mourning in a mourner's home because mourning is compared to Yom Tov. However, the Levush writes that there's no tachanun since it isn't appropriate to bring up Hashem's attribute of justice in the mourner's house. Shulchan Aruch OC 131:4 rules that there's no tachnun in a mourner's house. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 14) writes that potentially a practical difference between these two reasons is whether there is tachanun if the mourner isn't there. He concludes that the minhag is not to say tachanun even if the mourner isn't there. Mishna Brurah 131:20 writes that the Eliyah Rabba wasn't sure if they should say tachanun if the mourner isn't there.
  20. Mishna Brurah 131:20. He adds that for Vehu Rachum one should make it up at home but there's some who are lenient even about that.
  21. Chazon Ovadia Aveilut v. 3 p. 18. He presents several reasons. 1) Maharam Paduah 88 permits moving a sefer torah if there is an aron to house the sefer torah. 2) The Eliyah Rabba 135:18 and Biur Halacha 135 permit moving a sefer torah for a minyan that can't get to a place where they have a sefer torah. 3) Binyan Shel Simcha 5 writes that since a mourner is compared to a king it is permitted to move a sefer torah for his honor.
  22. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 24) citing Rabbi Akiva Eiger (responsa 2:24) that kaddish titkabel is only skipped on Tisha Bav so that it shouldn't appear as though kaddish is said over the kinot but not in a mourner's house.
  23. Chazon Ovadia v. 3 p. 39 writes that the minhag is to say bameh madlikin in a mourner's home since Shabbat already started and there's no mourning publically on Shabbat. Also, it is permitted to learn in a mourner's house for the sake of the soul.
  24. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 48) writes that during the week there is a difference of opinions whether v'ani zot is said in Uva Letzion. The Mahari Geyitz says not to say it and the Avudraham says that some said it. However, on Shabbat it should be said otherwise it would be public mourning.
  25. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 49) quotes the Orchot Chaim and Avudraham who write that Tzidkatcha is said at Shabbat mincha. He explains though that they might be holding the Tzidkatcha is said on a day when there's no tachanun unless there is no hallel. However, Kaf Hachaim 292:18 writes that since there's tachanun in a mourner's house there's no Tzidkatcha.
  26. Ben Ish Chai (Vayetzei no. 6), Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 49)
  27. Chazon Ovadia v. 3 p. 50 permits making besamim in a mourner's home in havdalah. He quotes the Yaskil Avdi 6:19:2 who explains that even though the gemara moed katan 27a states that one shouldn't bring besamim to a mourner's house, since the besamim in havdalah is only for the mitzvah it is permitted. He adds that this was the minhag. However, he quotes that Rav Elyashiv (Shiurim moed katan 27a) that the mourner shouldn't make besamim in havdalah.
  28. Minchat Shlomo 2:96:13
  29. Mishna Brurah 131:20
  30. Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 27). Ben Ish Chai (Shana Sheni, Vayikra no. 15) writes that they don't say hallel in a mourner's house on Rosh Chodesh.
  31. Mishna Brurah 131:20
  32. Ben Ish Chai (Shana Sheni, Vayikra no. 15), Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 37)
  33. Mishna Brurah 189:6
  34. Tosfot Brachot 46b s.v. mar quotes the Bahag who said that you shouldn’t say loke’ach nefashot bmishpat since sometimes people die without sin. However, Tosfot argues. Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 34b s.v. petach) explains that even though sometimes people die without sin we mean that Hashem’s justice is fair in all cases. Bet Hillel 379:1 says that we mean that usually people die because of sin. Shulchan Aruch YD 379:1 holds like Tosfot.
  35. Gemara Brachot 46b, Rambam Brachot 2:8, Shulchan Aruch YD 379:1, Shulchan Aruch OC 189:2. Shach 379:1 adds the phrase in parenthesis and the Shulchan Aruch has the words in the brackets. Mishna Brurah 189:7 mentions both practices.
  36. Rav Schachter (Brachot Shiur 91 min 10) said that the minhag is not to say it at all but it isn’t right. Gesher Hachaim 1:20:2:12 p. 173 writes that it isn't the minhag today to recite this bracha.
  37. Nitai Gavriel 1:100:2 p. 527 writes that the minhag not to say it is because of the opinion of Tosfot that it is only said when there is a zimun of ten but the halacha really is that it can be said by an individual.