Greeting people while visiting a cemetery

Greetings and Shalom Aleichem in a cemetery:[1]

One may not greet others in a cemetery while [a burial is taking place and] the deceased is in the cemetery.[2] This applies even in a large city.[3] If there is no corpse in the cemetery, it is permitted to greet others if one is a four distance Amos from any graves [or if there is a Mechitza of 80 centimeters surrounding the grave[4]]. If one is within four Amos of a grave [and there is no Mechitza of 80 centimeters surrounding the grave] it is forbidden to greet others in that vicinity.[5] [Today, however, many are lenient in this matter and permit greeting others.[6] Others argue against this custom.[7] Practically, one may only be lenient regarding saying good morning and other greetings of the like, however not regarding the words “Shalom Aleichem.”[8]]


[1] Yoreh Deah 343:2; Nitei Gavriel 86:7

[2] Rama ibid; Terumos Hadeshen 2:25 in name of Sefer Chassidim 741

[3] Shach 343:3; Terumos Hadeshen 2:25 in name of Sefer Chassidim 741

[4] Beis Hillel 343

[5] Rama ibid; Terumos Hadeshen ibid

[6] Beis Lechem Yehuda 343; See Rama 385:1

The reason: As the greetings of today are not considered like the greetings of back then. [Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid; See Rama ibid] This is not a justifiable reason, as according to this reason one should be able to greet the mourners even within Shloshim, and we have not found any Posek who is lenient in this matter. [Shach 385:2; See also M”A 554:21; Rav Akiva Eiger 385:1] Some Poskim however justify this custom based on the fact that majority of today’s greetings do not involve saying the word Shalom but rather simply good morning and the like, and these greetings are not prohibited under Sheilas Shalom. [Beir Heiytiv 385:2 and Gilyon Maharsha ibid based on Admur 89:3 and Beis Yosef in name of Riy; Likewise, the Darkei Moshe 89 states that it is only considered Shalom if one mentions Hashem’s name]

[7] Beis Lechem Yehuda ibid in name of M”A 554:21; See Shach ibid brought in previous footnote

[8] Elya Raba O.C. 554:20 Tishe Beav; See Beir Heiytiv 385:2 in previous footnotes!

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