Visiting the Mourners

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  1. It is a great mitzvah to visit a mourner, and it is considered a kindness to the relatives and to the deceased whose soul is also in mourning.
  2. A visitor may not begin to speak but he should sit by silently until the mourner begins. (The mourner can begin by saying "Blessed is the Truthful Judge.") The mourner may not greet others by saying shalom; and he may not receive greetings from others.
  3. The mourner sits up front on the ground.
  4. The topic of conversation should be about the merits of the deceased, not topics that will distract from the loss, such as sports, clothing, business, parties, cars, etc.
  5. The mourner should not say, "My punishments have not equalled my sins," indicating that he is deserving of more punishment. (Even if it is true, one should not voice such thoughts as it may bring on more suffering.)
  6. One may not tell the mourner, "What can you do, it is impossible to change Hashem's decisions," but rather we say, "Whatever Hashem does if for the good, and He knows best. He knows what is really good, and we should accept his decree with love."
  7. As soon as the mourner indicates that his visitors may leave, they should not delay. (Be considerate, do not overdo your visit or stay late.)
  8. Upon leaving, one should say, "May Hashem comfort you among the other mourners of Tzion and Jerusalem."
  9. It is customary to cover the mirrors in a house of mourning.
  10. It is proper to have a minyan for prayer three times a day at the house of mourning. After the morning and afternoon prayers, an additional Psalm, chapter 49, is recited. It is also good for the others to learn mishnayos for the benefit of the neshamah of the deceased.
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