Beth Abraham Orthodox Synagogue

Today's Date

29 Heshvan 5778

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The Seven Days of Mourning

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  1. Work (for situations with partners, employees, etc. one should check with a competent Orthodox Rabbi before the burial takes place in order to make arrangements.)
    1. Regular, necessay housework (House-cleaning, dishwashing...) and food preparation are permitted.
    2. We are required to provide financial assistance to poor people, so that they can afford to take off from work during shiva (seven days of initial mourning).
  2. Mourners may not wash or bathe except for the face, hands and feet with cool water (using cosmetics in also included in this prohibition).
    1. If the person needs to bathe to remove dirt (not for included in this prohibition).
    2. A woman of marriageable age (or a bride) may beautify herself even during the seven-day period.
  3. They may not wear leather shoes.
  4. They may not have intimate relations (not even on Shabbos).
  5. They may not stucly Torah (because it causes happiness). A mourner may study Iyov, Kinos, the sad portions of Yermiyahu and the laws of mourning. He may not study other sciences or read things (i.e. newspapers) that will take his mind away from his mourning. (Aruch Hashulchan) He may study works of Mussar. (Sdei Chemed, Aveilus 25)
  6. They may not greet others. If someone does greet a mourner after the first three days, he may respond in a low voice.
  7. They may not wash or clean clothing or change into clean clothing.
  8. They may not speak excessively nor engage in laughter and rejoicing as it says: "May they remain silent." This prohibition is understood from the fact that they may not even say "Shalom" to others.
    A mourner may also not hold a child in his lap or engage in similar activities that may lead to laughter. (Rambam, Aveilus 5:20)
  9. He may not shave or take a haircut (hair combing is permitted).
  10. He may not cut his nails with a utensil but he is allowed to bite or pull them off.
  11. He may not sit on a seat. One who is ill or in an unusual situation should consult a competent Orthodox Rabbi for exceptions to the above.
  12. A mourner may not go out of his house during the first week. However, he may leave the house to sleep elsewhere in the evenings if there is a need for it.
  13. On the seventh day, after the morning-visitors leave(or after the time they would normally leave), the seven-day period is over. It is customary for some friends to assist the mourners in rising from the floor.
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