From the Rav’s Desk: 1) Tikkun for eating non-Kosher 2) Mourning a non-Frum relative

  1. Question: [Monday, 14th Kisleiv 5781]

Dear Rabbi,


I was unfortunately shocked to discover that I accidentally ate a food that was not kosher. I honestly thought that it had a Hashgacha, as there is a similar product under the same brand with a Hashgacha, and only after I ate it did I discover that it does not have one, and the ingredients include nonkosher meat. What should I do? I feel very bad and would like to do a Tikkun.


I’m sorry to hear of what happened. First and foremost, the Tikkun needs to be in the realm of Kashrus, that from now on you be more careful in checking the products that you buy and eat, whether food or beverage, and that you take upon yourself to strengthen yourself in eating a more Mehadrin level of Kashrus. For example, if until now you were not careful with Pas Yisrael, or Bishul Yisrael under products that you are lenient in then you should try to be careful in this from now on. You can view what happened as in arousal from heaven to bring you to be even more careful in kosher than before, and thereby turn the accidental sin into a merit. In addition, you should be careful to separate money for charity every single day prior to the morning prayers, as well as make sure to say at least one Psalm of Tehillim after the prayers every single day. You can also separate money for charity in the Gematria of Neveila, which is 87. You should also Daven to Hashem to help refine yourself from the effect of the nonkosher food, and study the laws of Kashrus until you are expert in them. The main emphasis should be on the first point and all the other mentioned Tikkunim are in your hands to choose which one to do and if you want you can do all of them.

Sources: See Igros Kodesh 16:247 for the first three Tikkunim mentioned. Igros Kodesh 12:408; Shulchan Menachem 3:131; Avnei Yashpei 3:76; Lashon Chachamim 2:49


  1. Question: [Monday, 14th Kisleiv 5781]

Am I obligated to mourn for a relative who passed away who was not religious? Not only was he not religious but he was actually very antireligious and was an acclaimed atheist. I really don’t think that he deserves to be mourned, as he caused me and my parents a lot of suffering and honestly, I really don’t feel like mourning him.


The widespread custom is to mourn him even in such a case, and so is my suggestion to you, although technically you may choose not to do so, so long as it is with consent of the rest of your family and it will not cause any family members any shame.

Explanation: From the letter of the law, the relatives of a heretic are not required to mourn his passing and actually should not do so. A Jew who desecrates Shabbos in public is under this definition. Nonetheless, there are few caveats to this ruling:

  • Some say that if the relative who died is defined as a Tinok Shenishba than he is to be mourned as usual.
  • The parents of the relative should mourn regardless
  • Even the other relatives may choose to mourn his passing out of sadness that the relative died without Teshuvah, or if not doing so will infringe on the families honor.
  • Practically, the widespread custom today is for relatives to mourn the passing of nonreligious relatives.

Bottom line, based on all this, I would direct you to mourn his passing as a tikkun for his soul. However, technically, if you choose you may abstain, so long as it is with consent of the rest of your family and it will not cause any family members any shame.

Sources: See Michaber Y.D. 345:5-6; Rama 340:4; Chasam Sofer 326, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 345:3; Maharshag 1:25; Tzitz Eliezer 13:94; There he references to: Mordechai Moed Katan 886 [regarding Tinok Shenishba]; Maharam Rothenberg 544; Radbaz 3:558; Levush 345:6; Chochmas Adam 156:6; Chasam Sofer 202; Shevet Sofer 108; Nitei Gavriel 126:10-14; My teacher Harav Yaakov Yosef z”l would regularly direct people in the above situation that they do not have to mourn at all and may be lenient in all the mourning laws. Nonetheless, the widespread custom is as I stated above. See here for further details on this matter:


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