Women going to Levaya

May women attend a Levaya?

Women are permitted and obligated to attend funerals just like men.[1] Some communities are accustomed for women to attend and walk ahead of the casket. Others are accustomed for the women to attend and walk behind the casket.[2] [Some communities are accustomed for women not to attend a funeral.[3] The Chabad custom is to allow women to attend a funeral, and one is not to be stringent in this matter.[4] The women however are to remain stationary and are not to follow the casket as it begins to move.[5] The women are to remain separated from the men throughout the funeral proceedings.[6]]

Attending the burial:[7] Women are not to attend the burial that proceeds after the Levaya, and if they desire to do so they are to be persuaded not to attend.[8] [The Chabad custom however is to allow women to attend the burial, and they may enter into the cemetery where the burial will take place.[9] The women are to remain separated from the men throughout the funeral proceedings.[10]]

Not to look at women after the Levayah:[11] Throughout the proceedings of the funeral and burial it is forbidden to look at the faces of the women attending the funeral/burial.[12] This applies while the women are at the funeral and when the women return from the funeral or burial. For this reason the men may not stand in front of the women when they return from the funeral, and they are not to greet them face to face. Rather the man are to follow either in back of them or in front of them. Upon returning from the funeral, the men are to exit through a different route in order not to greet the women. In the event that one comes to face with the women he is to skip four Amos [6 feet] from his current position, and if there is a river present he is to cross it. Alternatively, if there is another route, he is to take that route. If there is a wall he is to stand behind the wall until the women pass. If this too is not possible then one is to turn his face away from the women and say the verse “Vayomer Hashem El Ha Satan Yigar Hashme Becha etc” until all the women pass. (If however there are less than seven women present, there is no need to worry so much of this matter.[13])

 

 

May a pregnant woman attend a Levaya?[14]

Yes. However some are accustomed not to do so.

 


[1] See Michaber 359/1; Admur Shemiras Haguf 10; Nitei Gavriel 65/1

[2] Michaber 359/1

[3] Maavor Yabok ; Teshuvah Meahava 3/359; See glosses of Beis Lechem Yehuda, Beis Hillel, Nitei Gavriel 68/2

[4] Igros Kodesh 31 printed in Shulchan Menachem 5/265

[5] Rav Leibal Groner in reply to the author

[6] ibid

[7] Michaber 359/2; Shach 359/2; Gesher Hachaim; Nitei Gavriel 68/5

[8] The reason: This is due to danger. [Shach ibid]

[9] Rav Leibal Groner in reply to the author

[10] ibid

[11] Admur Shemiras Haguf 10; Brachos 51a; See Shach 359/2

[12] The reason: As the angle of death dances and walks in front of the women, and he has permission to cause them damage, as he ascends and prosecutes and descends and takes another life. [Admur ibid; Gemara ibid; Zohar Vayakhel 196]

[13] Admur ibid; Zohar ibid

[14] Nitei Gavriel 67/7

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