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Going to a Festive Meal

  1. It is forbidden for a mourner within the first 30 days of mourning to go to any meal of friends.[1]
  2. During shloshim it is forbidden to go to a meal which includes dancing and music since it is considered festive.[2] Every wedding is considered festive. A brit milah is also considered festive.[3]
  3. During shloshim it is permitted for the avel to host a mitzvah seudah if he is the baal simcha as long as there is no singing, music, or dancing. For example, it is permitted to for him to make a festive meal if he is making a siyum. It is permitted to host a bar mitzvah meal on the day one's son becomes a bar mitzvah or on another day if the child makes a drasha. It is permitted to host a shalom zachar for one's son.[4]
  4. It is permitted for a mourner within shloshim to go to a melava malka fundraising meal if there will be no music.[5]

Changing Seats in Shul

  1. The minhag is for a mourner not to sit in his own seat in shul for shloshim and for a parent for 12 months.[6] Instead he should pick another seat at least 4 amot from his original seat.[7]
  2. According to Sephardim one doesn't change his seat on Shabbat so as not to publicize his mourning.[8] However, Ashkenazim change their seats even for Shabbat.[9]


  1. Gemara Moed Katan 22b states that during shloshim it is forbidden to go to a meal of friends unless there is a rotation of those who have meals together and it is the mourner's turn to pay it back. This is codified by Tur and Shulchan Aruch YD 391:2.
  2. The Masechet Semachot 9:15 states that it is permitted for a mourner within 12 months for a parent to go to a festive meal for a mitzvah. There is a dispute if this leniency applies to other relatives within 30 days. The Raavad understood that this only permitted after shloshim and within 12 months. The Ramban however argues that it applies to a mourner other than for a parent within shloshim. The Rama quotes the opinion of the Raavad. The Shach, therefore, explains that for all relatives it is only permitted to go to a festive meal for a mitzvah after shloshim. Yet, the Bach argues that we should permit for mourners other than for a parent within shloshim. Rabbi Akiva Eiger and the Dagul Mirvavah agree. Badei Hashulchan 391 isn't certain how we hold.
  3. Shulchan Aruch and Rama 391:2
  4. The Nemukei Yosef (Moed Katan 14a s.v. al) writes that Masechet Semachot which permitted going to a meal during aveilut was referring to a mitzvah meal that doesn't include simcha. Trumat Hadeshen 268 writes that going to a milah or pidyon haben is permitted for an avel during shloshim since the baby is in pain from the milah so there isn't simcha. Based on the Trumat Hadeshen the Rama YD 391:2 writes that it is permitted for an avel within shloshim to go to a meal that doesn't have simcha. However, the Rama adds that the minhag is not to go to any meal within 12 months for a parent or shloshim for another relative. The Gilyon Maharsha 391 quotes the Knesset Hagedola who writes that a siyum, bar mitzvah, seuda for a shidduch, shalom zachar, and a chinuch habayit are considered a seudat mitzvah. Shach 246:27 permitted a mourner within 12 months to go to a siyum. The Badei Hashulchan 391:28-9 writes that according to the Rama's minhag one may not go to any seudah of a mitzvah unless one is the baal hasimcha such as he is the one who made the siyum, his son's bar mitzvah, and his son's shalom zachar as long as there is no singing, music, or dancing.
  5. Badei Hashulchan 391:30. Maharam Shik YD 368 suggested that if one's intent isn't to listen to the music it is permitted to play music as an avel since it is like a dvar sheino mitchaven and since music is a type of prohibition that is only if you benefit, additionally music won't cheer up an avel but only make him more sad, and lastly it is a pesik reisha with a derabbanan prohibition. He concludes that his calculation must not be correct. Badei Hashulchan 391:3 biurim s.v. lo yichnos explains why he believes that this idea is incorrect. Since in the end of the day he is going to listen to music we can't employ the idea of an unintentional act. The main prohibition is the result of listening to music and not the action. In Badei Hashulchan 391:30 he applies this logic to forbid going to a melava malka where there will be music and one's intent won't be to listen to the music.
  6. The Tur 393 quotes the Masechet Semachot that a mourner needs to change his seat for the second week when he returns to shul. The Hagahot Maimoniyot (responsa Avel 20) writes that Ri didn't return to his seat until after the third week since otherwise he wouldn't be able to speak regularly. The Darkei Moshe 393:5 suggests that based on this, the minhag was not to return to one's regular seat until after shloshim and for a parent until after 12 months. He also quotes the Maharil who supports the minhag for another reason. The Rama 393:3 therefore quotes the minhag.
  7. Pitchei Teshuva 393:7 quoting the Chamudei Doniel
  8. Shulchan Aruch 393:4, Birkei Yosef 393:4 citing the Arizal, Chazon Ovadia (Aveilut v. 3 p. 87)
  9. Nemukei Yosef (b”b 49a), Rama 393:4, Shach 393:7