Chapter 16: Nichum Aveilim

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Chapter 16: Nichum Aveilim[1]

1. The Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim:

It is a great Mitzvah to comfort the mourners. Some Poskim[2] rule it is a Biblical Mitzvah. Other Poskim[3] rule the Mitzvah is only Rabbinical. The Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim is even greater than the Mitzvah of Bikur Cholim.[4] So great is this Mitzvah that it is even permitted for a Kohen to contaminate himself with Rabbinical impurity [i.e. Beis Haperas; Eretz Hamim] for the sake of performing Nichum Aveilim.[5]

In scripture:[6] We find that Hashem comforted Yitzchak after the passing of Avraham[7], and that Hashem comforted Yaakov after the passing of Yitzchak.[8]

Comforting an enemy:[9] One is not to comfort his enemy on the passing of his relative.[10] Nevertheless, practically, this matter is dependent on the level of hatred and enmity that they share.[11] [One may however send a messenger to the mourner to ask permission to visit, and so is the custom today for people in rifts to comfort each other during Shiva in order to bring peace.[12]]

Comforting gentiles:[13] One is to comfort gentile mourners due to Darkei Shalom.

Does the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim apply to comforting the relatives of a Nefel who passed away?[14] The Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim does not apply to a Nefel. We do not formally comfort the relatives of a Nefel who passed away neither by the burial or afterwards. This applies to any child who passed away below the age of thirty days, even if one is sure that the child was carried to term, of nine full months.

 

Q&A

Can one fulfill the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim through the telephone?

Some[15] rule one is not to fulfill the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim through the telephone.[16] Practically, one may fulfill the Mitzvah through the telephone if he is unable to pay a personal visit.[17]

 

Can the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim be performed through writing, or through email?

Some[18] rule one is not to fulfill the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim through writing.[19] Practically, one may fulfill the Mitzvah through writing if he is unable to pay a personal visit.[20]

Can the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim be performed through a messenger?[21]

One may fulfill the Mitzvah through sending a messenger to comfort the mourner in one’s name.

 

May one Avel comfort another Avel?[22]

Yes.

 

May one comfort many mourners simultaneously?

Yes. If, however, the mourners present are sitting Shiva for two different people, then one is to say words of comfort to each mourner individually[23], although the parting phrase of Hamakom Yinachem may be said to all the mourners simultaneously.[24]

 

Accepting the condolences:[25]

The Avel is required to acknowledge and accept the condolences in order for the comforter to fulfill the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim.

 

Women’s section:[26]

The Shiva home should contain a women’s area that is sectioned off for the female mourners to be comforted by other women. One can place a Mechitza in the room, or simply have different sections of the house for the men and women.

 

Educating children:[27]

One is to educate his children [who have reached the age of Chinuch] to fulfill the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim and thus take them with him upon visiting an Avel.

 

2. When to comfort the mourners and perform Nichum Aveilim:

Before Shiva:[28] One is not to comfort the Avel prior to the Shiva, before the burial. After the burial, the custom is to have those present line up in rows opposite each other and wish the mourners “Hamakom Yinachem” while the [male] mourners pass in-between them.[29]

During Shiva: One is to comfort an Avel during the Shiva. This applies even in the first three days of Shiva and even at night.[30] One is to comfort the Avel each time he visits him during Shiva.[31]

After Shiva: See Halacha 7!

Comforting on Shabbos:[32] It is permitted to comfort an Avel on Shabbos.[33] It is even permitted to comfort the Avel in the same wording as used during the week “May Hashem comfort you.”[34] Nevertheless [one is not to arrange to comfort the Avel specifically on Shabbos and is rather to arrange to visit him during the week as] it was with difficulty that the Sages allowed comforting an Avel on Shabbos.[35] It is therefore improper to do like those who do not visit the Avel throughout the week, and only visit him on Shabbos.[36] [Practically, it is no longer customary to comfort the Avel on Shabbos.[37] Nevertheless, if one feels that doing so will gladden the mourner, then one is not to hesitate to do so.[38]]

Erev Shabbos:[39] Some are accustomed that on Erev Shabbos the Avel enters the Shul prior to sunset[40] and the saying of Mizmor Shir Leyom Hashabbos and the congregation then comforts the Avel. [Practically, this is accustomed only amongst Ashkenazi communities. It is not accustomed amongst Chassidic or Sephardic communities.[41]]

Q&A

From what day of Shiva may one begin visiting the mourner to comfort him?[42]

Some[43] are accustomed not to visit the mourner prior to the third day of Shiva. Others[44] however rule it is permitted to visit the Avel within the first three days of Shiva and there is no reason to refrain from doing so. Practically, one is to visit the Avel to offer condolences even within the first three days of Shiva.[45]

 

At what time in the day/night may one visit/comfort the Avel?

One may comfort the Avel at any time, unless specific hours have been posted.

 

May one visit/comfort the Avel prior to prayer?[46]

Some write it is permitted to do so.

Should one visit the Avel in a group or individually?[47]

It is proper to comfort the Avel individually rather than come in large groups, in order so he constantly has people comforting him throughout the day.

 

May one visit/comfort the Avel at night?[48]

Yes. However, one is to take caution not to visit the Shiva home too late at night in order not to be a burden onto the Avel.

May one comfort the Avel on Yom Tov and Chol Hamoed?[49]

Yes.

How often is one to comfort the Avel during Shiva?[50]

The Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim is fulfilled each time one visits the Avel during the Shiva. Thus, one is to comfort the Avel each time he visits him during Shiva, and part from him with the saying of the accustomed blessing of “Hamakom Yinachem.”

3. Sitting during the comforting/Nichum Aveilim:[51]

Sitting-The mourners: The mourners/Aveilim are required to sit on the floor [or a low stool[52]] during the time that they are being comforted by others.[53] They are not to be standing or walking around during the visitation of those comforting them.[54] [Practically, it is permitted for the mourners to stand and walk around if there are many visitors, and it is uncomfortable to remain sitting throughout all the sessions of comforting.[55] Nevertheless, the Avel is to be particular to sit while the accustomed concluding statement of comfort “Hamakom Yinachem” is recited to them.]

Sitting-The comforters: The people who come to comfort the mourner are to sit on the ground just as is required of the mourners.[56] Nevertheless, if the mourner forgives his honor and allows them to sit on regular chairs, it is permitted for them to do so. Practically, the custom today is for the comforters to sit on regular chairs, as it is accepted that the mourners forgive their honor in this regard.[57] [Some are accustomed to comfort the mourners while standing.[58]]

Standing for a Torah scholar/elder:[59] An Avel during Shiva is not obligated [and is not allowed[60]] to stand in the presence of even the Gadol Hador, [and certainly is not obligated to stand for a Torah scholar or elder].[61] [He may however slightly lift up his body in their honor.[62] The comforters, however, are to stand when a Torah scholar or elderly man enters.]

 

4. Conversing with the Avel

A. Mourner must open the conversation:[63]

The comforters are not permitted to begin conversing [with the Avel] until the Avel speaks to them [or gives them some other sign of approval[64]].[65] [Some Aveilim have the custom of greeting the comforters with the saying of Baruch Dayan Haemes.[66]]

 

Q&A

Must the Avel begin speaking to each individual?[67]

No. It suffices for him to begin speaking with any person in the group of comforters, and this then gives all the other people present permission to speak.

 

May one say “Hamakom Yinachem” to the Avel prior to him beginning to speak?[68]

Yes.

 

What are the comforters to do if the mourner does not begin to speak?[69]

If the comforters see that the mourner is not speaking due to shyness, or embarrassment, or due to his great pain, or due to not being aware of the law, then they may begin to speak before him. Alternatively, in the latter case, one can tell the Avel that he is to begin to speak in order for them to speak, as explained next.

May one tell the Avel that he is to begin speaking in order so the comforters can speak?[70]

Yes.

B. Greeting the mourner or the comforters:

See Chapter 19 Halacha 4 for the full details of this Halacha!

Avel greeting others: It is forbidden for a mourner to greet people throughout Shiva. If a person greets him, he may reply to their greeting after three days into Shiva. After the Shiva, the Avel may inquire of the wellbeing of any person. It is permitted for the Avel to greet others on Shabbos and Yom Tov, even within Shiva.

Others greeting the Avel: It is forbidden for people to greet the Avel throughout Shiva, until the Shloshim. It is permitted to greet an Avel on Shabbos and Yom Tov, unless their custom is to be stringent.

Farewell greetings to the comforters:[71] If many people have come to comfort the mourners, the mourners may respectfully part with them by saying “Go to your houses in peace/Lechu Lebeischem Beshalom.”[72] [This applies even within the first three days of Aveilus.[73]]

 

Q&A

May comforters exchange greetings in the Shiva home?

Some Poskim[74] rule that greetings are not to be exchanged in the Shiva home even between the comforters, amongst themselves, [and they are hence not to greet each other with Shalom, or good afternoon and the like].

Nodding head:

It is permitted for the mourner or comforter to nod his head as a greeting.  However, some Poskim are stringent.

Shaking hands:

It is permitted for the Avel and others to shake hands, such as upon greeting each other with a blessing of Mazal Tov, or upon comforting the mourner and the like. 

May an Avel be congratulated for a Simcha, or congratulate others for their Simcha?

A mourner may say Mazal Tov/Congratulations to his friend upon the occasion of a Simcha. Likewise, others may wish him Mazal Tov on the occasion of a Simcha that he has.

May an Avel give a blessing to others and may he be blessed by others?

Yes. They may thus wish each other a Kesiva Vechasima Tova when sitting Shiva during the Yamim Noraim.[75]

May an Avel thank visitors for coming?

Yes. He may likewise say Yasher Koach to the visitors.

C. Topics of conversation with the Avel:

The comforters should prepare their conversation prior to arriving at the Shiva home.[76] The comforters should tell the mourners good matters to the point that they rejoice him, and he returns to have a happy countenance.[77] They are to tell him matters that bring him to justify the ways of Hashem and accept his decrees with love.[78]

Words of Torah:[79] One is not to speak words of Torah [that do not relate to the Aveilus] in the Shiva home and rather the comforters are to sit there quietly [at times that they are not saying words of comfort to the Avel]. [Nevertheless, the custom today is to allow learning Torah in the Shiva home even in front of the Avel.[80]]

Mundane matters:[81] The comforters are not to speak of [mundane] matters with the mourners unless it is a necessity. [They may however slightly[82] speak of even mundane matters in order to lighten the mood of the mourner.[83]]

Not to tell the Avel to sit down:[84] One is not to tell an Avel, or a sick person, to sit down, as it implies that he is to sit and remain in his state of mourning or illness. [One may however tell him that he does not need to stand, or other indirect term.[85] The Avel may tell others to sit down.]

Not to arouse judgment:[86] The mourner is not to say regarding his suffering “I have not yet received enough suffering to cover my sins” and other statements of the like [which convey that he is deserving of greater punishment], as one is not to open his mouth for the Satan.

Not to say to the Avel what can you do, it wasn’t in your control:[87] A person is not to tell the Avel “What can you do, as its beyond your control” as this statement sound like blasphemy, as it implied that if it was in his control then he would have changed it. Rather, he is to accept Hashem’s decree with love. [This means to say that the Avel is to accept the tragedy as the will of Hashem, and not be saddened over the fact that he did not have his way.[88]]

Praying for the deceased:

Some[89] write that the comforters are to pray and arouse Divine mercy on behalf of the deceased. Nonetheless, it is not the custom to do so.[90]

 

Sitting in silence:

Some are accustomed to entering the home and not to say anything other than the customary wishes of Hamakom Yinachem that the comforter offers the mourner upon exiting the home. This is also considered a form of Nichum Aveilim.[91] Nevertheless, the main comforting is fulfilled through speaking with the Avel.[92]

 

Saying Hakam upon mentioning the name of the deceased:

Regarding saying Hareini Kaparas Mishkavo upon mentioning one’s deceased parent-see Chapter 23 Halacha 18!

 

The Avel’s conversation-Stories and eulogies:

The seven days of Shiva were given for eulogies.[93] Although the Chabad custom is not to eulogize, nevertheless, we do say stories of the deceased.[94] 

Q&A

May a comforter recite words of Torah in front of an Avel and may the Avel listen to the words of Torah being said?

Ideally, one is not to speak words of Torah [that do not relate to the Aveilus] in the Shiva home and rather the comforters are to sit there quietly [at the times that they are not saying words of comfort to the Avel].[95] Nevertheless, the custom is to recite words of Torah in the Shiva home.[96] They may recite words of Torah even in front of the Avel and even if the Avel will listen to the words of Torah being said.[97]

D. Birchas Aveilim:[98]

In previous times, it was customary to recite a number of blessings in the middle of the street, or in the house of the Avel, during each day of Shiva. These blessings included: 1) A blessing on a Kos Shel Bracha; 2) Blessing of Menachem Aveilim; 3) Blessing of Mechayeh Meisim; 4) Other blessings with Hashem’s name, as they saw fit. However, the blessings were only said if there was a Panim Chadashos present. Practically, these blessings are no longer recited today, as to begin with they were never obligatory but rather optional.[99]

5. Learning Mishnayos in the Shiva home:

See Chapter 17!

6. For how long may the comforters remain by the Avel?

Not to talk extensively:[100] It is forbidden [for the Avel and comforters] to talk extensively.[101]

Time to leave:[102] When the Avel nods his head to the comforters in a gesture that expresses his wishes to end the visitation, the comforters are no longer permitted to remain by him [so that he not be a burden onto the Avel[103]].[104] [The comforters are to be sensitive and pay attention as to if the Avel now desires to be left alone, and are hence to end their visitation.[105]]

7. The parting statement:[106]

Upon exiting from visiting the Avel, the [Ashkenazi] custom is to bless the Avel “Hamakom Yinachem Eschem[107] Besoch Shaar Avlei Tziyon Veyerushalayim/May Hashem comfort you amongst all the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem.” [The Sephardic custom is to say “Tenechumu Min Hashamayim.[108] The parting statement may and should be recited in whatever language one feels comfortable. This statement represents the conclusion of one’s condolences and is to be preceded by other words of comfort, when applicable.[109] Some[110] are accustomed to adding the words “Lo Tosifu Ledava Od/You should know no more sorrow” or “I wish you a long life.” In some condolence letters, the Rebbe concluded the accustomed statement of condolences of Hamakom Yinachem with a blessing that “From now on, may only good and kindness find you for the rest of your days.”[111]]

Answering Amen:[112] The Aveilim [and all those present] are to answer Amen upon hearing the above statement of blessing recited. [Likewise, the mourners are to return and bless the comforters in exchange for their blessing.[113]]

Saying good bye: The mourners and comforters may not say good bye, and other farewell messages of the like due to the prohibition of Sheilas Shalom, as stated above in E. Rather, they are to nod to each other to symbolize their farewell.

Q&A

Is a man to comfort and wish the above parting statement also to female mourners?[114]

Yes.

 

How often is one to say the parting statement to the Avel during Shiva?[115]

One is to comfort the Avel each time he visits him during Shiva, and is to part from him with the saying of the accustomed blessing of “Hamakom Yinachem.”

Is one to say the above statement to each individual mourner or does it suffice to say it to many mourners simultaneously?[116]

It is not necessary to state the above parting blessing individually to each mourner and one may recite the above statement to many mourners simultaneously. This applies even if there are mourners present who are sitting Shiva for two different people.[117]

May many comforters say the above statement simultaneously?[118]

Yes, this may be done in a time of need.

 

8.  Comforting after Shiva:[119]

Comforting an Avel for the passing of a parent: One who is in mourning for a parent may be comforted by others for the first 12 months. After 12 months, he is not to directly comfort him for the loss. This means that he is not to mention the name of the deceased to the mourner, but is to simply say “Tisnachem/Be comforted.” [The custom today however is not to say even “Tisnachem”.[120]]

Comforting an Avel for other relatives: One who is in mourning for other relatives may be comforted by others for the first 30 days. After 30 days he is not to directly comfort him for the loss. This means that he is not to mention the name of the deceased to the mourner, but is to simply say “be comforted.” [The custom today however is not to say even “Tisnachem” after the Shloshim.”[121]]

Comforting an Avel for the passing of his wife: One who is in mourning for his wife, and has since remarried, may not be comforted for her passing inside his home. Outside his home, if he is met outside, one may say “Be comforted” in a soft tone and with a heavy heart. If he did not remarry, he may be comforted until three festivals pass from the time of burial. After 30 days, he is not to be directly comforted for the loss. This means that the comforter is not to mention the name of the deceased to the mourner, but is to simply say “be comforted.” [The custom today however is not to say even “Tisnachem” after the Shloshim.”[122]]

 

Miscellaneous Q&A on Nichum Aveilim

May people who are Menachem Avel eat food in the Shiva home?

The widespread Ashkenazi custom is not to eat any foods in any Shiva house throughout Shiva, while the Sephardic custom is to the contrary, to honor the visitors with food. Many Chabad Rabbanim have testified to this custom of avoiding eating and that one is to abide by it. However, there are Chassidishe homes that offer the comforters food and drink. See Chapter 19 Halacha 1 for the full details of this subject!

 

May a comforter bring a baby to the Shiva home?

One is to avoid doing so if possible.  See Chapter 19 Halacha 16C for the full details of this subject!

                                                                                                 

May a community meeting take place in the house of the Avel during Shiva?[123]

No, unless it involves a case of loss.

May an Avel travel during Shiva in order to be in close proximity to his friends, for the sake of being comforted?

No. This is unlike the allowance that some people practice today to travel to the area of the comforters.  Practically, in a case of need a Rav is to be contacted. See Chapter 19 Halacha 17 for the full details of this matter!

Charity fund:[124]

Setting up a charity fund for the sake of the orphans of the Avel is included in the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim.

 _________________________

[1] See Tur 376; Pnei Baruch 11; Nitei Gavriel 85-90

[2] Rabbeinu Yona Brachos chapter 3 11b in Rif, and Tosfos Yom Tov on Mishnah Brachos 3:2 in name of Rabbeinu Yona, recorded in Igros Kodesh 3:248

[3] Rambam Avel 14:1 “A Rabbinical positive command”

[4] Rama 335:10; Kol Bo

The reason: As in Nichum Aveilim one performs Chesed with both the mourners and the deceased. [See Rambam Avel 14:37]

[5] Michaber 372:1; M”B 224:13

[6] Kitzur SHU”A 207:1

[7] Sota 14a based on Bereishis 25:11

[8] See Bereishis 35:9 and Rashi there

[9] Rama 335:2

[10] The reason: As the Avel may feel that the visitor is happy for his pain, and this will add even more pain to the Avel. [Rama ibid]

[11] Shach 335:2

[12] Aruch Hashulchan 335:6

[13] Michaber 367:1; Gittin 61a

[14] Michaber 353:4; Nitei Gavriel 135:37

[15] Pnei Baruch 11:12 in name of Minchas David 72

[16] The reason: As Nichum Aveilim is meant to be Chesed for the live and the deceased, and this is only accomplished when one physically visits the Shiva home.

[17] Igros Moshe 4:40-11; Beir Moshe 2:106; Igros Kodesh 24:276 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:277-279] regarding writing, and the same would apply regarding a telephone

The reason: As the main point is that the Avel becomes comforted, which is accomplished even through the telephone. So is proven from the fact one can perform Nichum Aveilim through a messenger, as brought in Shmuel Beis 10:3. [Rebbe ibid]

[18] See Pnei Baruch 11:12 in name of Minchas David 72 regarding the telephone, and even more so would this apply regarding writing a letter.

[19] The reason: As Nichum Aveilim is meant to be Chesed for the live and the deceased, and this is only accomplished when one physically visits the Shiva home.

[20] Igros Kodesh 24:276 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:277-279]; Neviim Shmuel 2 10:3; The Rebbe fulfilled Nichum Aveilim at times through a Shliach who brought a written letter of condolences to the Avel

The reason: As the main point is that the Avel becomes comforted, which is accomplished even in writing, and the deceased does not mind whether he is consoled through writing or orally. So is proven from the fact one can perform Nichum Aveilim through a messenger, as brought in Shmuel Beis 10:3. [Rebbe ibid]

[21] Igros Kodesh 24:276 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:277-279]; Shmuel Beis 10:3; The Rebbe fulfilled Nichum Aveilim at times through a Shliach who brought a written letter of condolences to the Avel

[22] Rabbeinu Yona Brachos chapter 3; Darkei Hachaim Hashmatos 4:1; Igros Kodesh 3:248 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:279]; Nitei Gavriel 85:6 footnote 8; However, see Piskei Maharash Lublin that they are not to comfort each other

[23] Michaber 354:1 in next footnote

[24] See Michaber 354:1 that one does not give comfort to two mourners of two different people simultaneously, as perhaps one of those deceased is greater in honor than the other, unless one knows that they are of equal stature and praise. One may however state the regular parting blessing to them simultaneously, as there is nothing added in the statement when it is said for a greater person who died. [See Nitei Gavriel 85:14 in name of Poskim]

[25] Mavor Yabok Sifsei Renanos 19; Toldos Harashba 1:18; Abudarahm 3; Nitei Gavriel 85:5 footnote 6

[26] Nitei Gavriel 85:8 footnote 10

[27] Mavor Yabok Sefas Emes 37; Reishis Chochmah Mamar Gidul Banim; Nitei Gavriel 85:15

[28] Mishnah Avos 4:22 “Don’t comfort him while the corpse is lying before him”

[29] Miseches Semachos 1:10 and Brachos 16b “After the burial the Aveilim stand in rows and receive condolences”; Rashbatz brought in Midrash Shmuel Avos 4:22

[30] See Q&A!

[31] See Q&A!

[32] Admur 287:2-3; See Kaf Hachaim 287:1-4; Piskeiy Teshuvos 287:1; Pnei Baruch 11:10

[33] Admur 287:2; Michaber 287:1; Shabbos 12a

[34] Admur ibid; M”A 287; Tur Y.D. 393

The reason: As through saying it in this language, which is a request that Hashem comfort him, one will not come to arouse him to cry. [Admur ibid; Derisha Y.D. ibid; Machatzis Hashekel 287:1]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is to change the normal form of comforting on Shabbos and say, “Shabbos Hi Melinachem Unechama Kerova Lavo.” [Bach and Rashal brought in M”A 287:1; Taz 287:1; M”B 287:2-3] Other Poskim rule one is to say “Shabbat Shalom” and not more. [Kneses Hagedola 287:2; Kaf Hachaim 287:4]

[35] Admur 287:3; Shabbos 12b; M”A 287:1; Elya Raba 287:1; Machazik Bracha 287:3;

The reason: As this may lead one to become saddened together with the Avel. [Admur ibid]

[36] Admur ibid; M”A 287:1

[37] Aruch Hashulchan 287:3; Nimukei Orach Chaim 287:1; Daas Kedoshim 395:1; Darkei Hachaim 4:13; Gesher Hachaim; Kol Bo [Greenwald]; Pnei Baruch 11 footnote 21; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; Nitei Gavriel 86:8

[38] Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid based on Nimukei Orach Chaim ibid; Seder Hayom; Shevet Halevi 4:53; Betzeil Hachochma 2:44

[39] Beir Hagoleh 393:10 based on Pirkei Derebbe Eliezer 16; Taz 526:1; Piskei Mahrash Melublin 40; P”M 287 A”A 1; M”B 287:3; See Nitei Gavriel 86:6-7

[40] Taz ibid; P”M ibid

[41] Nitei Gavriel ibid

[42] See Gesher Hachaim 20:5-5; Pnei Baruch 11:6; Nitei Gavriel 86:1; Toras Menachem 1988 2:349 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:276]

[43] Mishmeres Shalom Nun 12 in name of Tuv Taam Vedaas Gimel 2:239 based on Moed Katan 27 that the first three days are for crying; Daas Torah 376 in name of Tanchuma that an Avel within the first three days does not receive condolence; Gesher Hachaim 20:5-5; Kol Bo [Greenwald] 4:2-53; Darkei Chesed 25:5; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 1

[44] Rambam 13:2 “Every day of Shiva people come to comfort him”; Tur 376:4 describes that Nichum Aveilim was done daily for each of the seven days of Shiva; Daas Torah ibid in his conclusion based on fact that regarding Tefillin the Talmud/Poskim discuss Panim Chadashos visiting on the second day; Rebbe in Toras Menachem ibid that so is implied from Miseches Semachos 1:10 and Brachos 16b “After the burial the Aveilim stand in rows and receive condolences”; Kesubos 8b mentions Nichum Aveilim on the second day; Avos 4:22; Rashbatz brought in Midrash Shmuel Avos 4:22; Maharil Semachos “He went to comfort him on the second day”; Maharil Teshuvah 23 in name of Rashbam Baba Basra 100b  “After the burial one escorts the Avel home and comforts him”; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 2

[45] Rebbe ibid in Toras Menachem

The reason: The Rebbe in the above Sicha discussed the opinions regarding this matter and after brining many proofs from the Talmud and Rishonim that doing so is permitted and was accustomed, the Rebbe concludes that one is to specifically do so in order to perform the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim and Ahavas Yisrael at its first opportunity and hence help nullify the reason for the exile which brought about the concept of death. This Sicha was stated on the first day of Shiva for the Histalkus of the Rebbetzin on 22nd of Shevat.

[46] Ishei Yisrael 13 footnote 32; Nitei Gavriel 86:9; Piskeiy Teshuvos 89:12; See Admur 89:3

[47] Yosef Ometz p. 329; Nitei Gavriel 85:3

[48] Pnei Baruch ibid in name of Kol Bo [Greenwald] and Gesher Hachaim; Nitei Gavriel 86:5 and footnote 10 in name of Poskim who bring proofs to negate the custom of some people to not visit the home at night; However see Yalkut Yosef brought there that perhaps the reason for the custom not to visit at night is because the purpose of the visit is to sweeten the severities and at night the severities are very powerful.

[49] Machazik Bracha 287:2; Kaf Hachaim 283:3

[50] Darkei Hachaim 4:2; Nitei Gavriel 85:2 footnote 3

[51] 387:1

[52] See Chapter 19 Halacha 2!

[53] Michaber 387:1; Shach 387:1 in name of Perisha; Taz 387:1; Rashal, brought in Taz ibid

[54] Shach ibid in name of Perisha; Taz ibid; See Leket Yosher p. 91; Hisorerus Teshuvah 193; Nitei Gavriel 88:3 footnote 3

[55] See Divrei Malkiel 92; Nitei Gavriel 88:3 footnote 4

[56] Michaber 387:1

[57] Shach 387:1 in name of Perisha; Taz 387:1 in name of Rashal

[58] Leket Yosher p. 91; Nitei Gavriel 88:2 footnote 2

[59] Rama 376:1

[60] Aruch Hashulchan 376:4; Ramban in Toras Hadam; Rabbeinu Yerucham 25; brought in Nitei Gavriel 89:4 footnote 6

[61] The reason: As standing up in such a state of mourning is not considered a Hiddur. [Shvus Yaakov 3:26] Alternatively, because the Aveilim are busy. [Levush, brought in Gilyon Maharsha 376] The practical ramification is regarding Tishe Beav. [Gilyon Maharsha ibid] Alternatively, because it is forbidden to tell the Avel to sit down. [Aruch Hashulchan ibid]

[62] Teshuvah Meahava 3 376; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 89:4 footnote 7

[63] Michaber 376:1; Moed Katan 28b

[64] See Igros Kodesh 24:276 that if the mourner opens a letter of condolences there is no greater “starting of conversation than this”; See also Reshimos Hayoman p. 413 that the Rebbe Rayatz directed a few times that they should not wait until he begins to speak [brought in Toras Menachem 5:278] Hence, from here we see there is no need for the Avel to actually talk, as long as he gives his consent.

[65] The reason: This is done in order so the Avel express some sign of anguish and mourning to the comforters and hence have the comforters reply back with words of condolences. [Levush 376] Alternatively, the reason is because the Avel is obligated to accept Hashem’s decree as justifiable, as brought in the prayer of Tziduk Hadin. [Aruch Hashulchan 376]

[66] Beis Yosef 376 in name of Ramban in name of Rav Haiy Gaon

[67] Igros Kodesh 24:276 [brought in Toras Menachem 5:278] based on Iyov 2 and end of Moed Katan

[68] Perisha 393:3; Pnei Baruch 10 footnote 5 in name of Rav SZ”A; See Nitei Gavriel 87:7 footnote 8

[69] Tzitz Eliezer 17; Nitei Gavriel 87:6

[70] Tur 376 as explained in Perisha 376:24 and Bach; Nitei Gavriel 87:8 footnote 9

[71] Rama 385:1; Nemukei Yosef; Hagahos Maimanis; Mordechai; Chochmas Adam 165:12; Kitzur SHU”A 210:7;

[72] The reason: As he is doing so out of respect of the public, and greetings of such nature are permitted. [Rama ibid]

[73] Gesher Hachaim 21:7-3

[74] Aruch Hashulchan 385:4; Nitei Gavriel 89:1

[75] Nachamu Ami p. 68 in name of his father Rav A.C. Naah

[76] See Shevet Halevi 213 based on Zohar Korach

[77] Shelah beginning of Pesachim p. 144a; Mateh Moshe 85; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 87:1 footnote 1

[78] Mavor Yabok Sifsei Renanos 19

[79] Michaber 378:7; Moed Katan 23a

[80] See Q&A!

[81] See Rama 334:2 and Yosef Daas 376 that it is a Kal Vachomer from the prohibition of learning Torah and so can be implied from the ruling of the Michaber in 378:7 that “they are rather to sit quietly”

[82] See Rama 386:1; Nitei Gavriel 87:12

[83] Yosef Daas 376 brought in Nitei Gavriel 87 footnote 3

[84] Michaber 376:2; Moed Katan 27b

[85] Nitei Gavriel 89:5 in name of Nimukei Yosef Moed Katan 27b and Daas Torah 376:2

[86] Rama 376:2

[87] Rama 376:2; Baba Kama 38a; See Taz 376:1 for an explanation of this statement, and the difference between how David said it and others

[88] Taz ibid

[89] Mavor Yabok Imrei Noam 35; See Nitei Gavriel 87 footnote 2

[90] Answer of Rebbe printed in Nitei Gavriel 87 footnote 3; Shulchan Menachem 5:279

[91] Perisha 393:3

[92] Hapardes Rashi Avel; Machzor Vitri p. 244; Shivlei Halekey Semachos; Tanya Rabasi 66; Igros Moshe 5:20; See Nitei Gavriel 87:9 footnote 10

[93] See Chapter 11 Halacha 2!

[94] Likkutei Sichos 2:504, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:270

[95] Michaber 378:7; Moed Katan 23a

[96] Aruch Hashulchan 378:8; Toras Menachem 41:45, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:27

[97] Toras Menachem 41:45, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:27; Peir Eitz Chaim 24, brought in Nitei Gavriel 106 footnote 9; Regarding however hearing Torah prior to Birchas Hatorah see our Sefer “Awaking like a Jew” Chapter 9 Halacha 4 in Q&A for dispute in Poskim

The reason: Doing so is not prohibited due to the prohibition against the Avel learning Torah as this prohibition applies only to the Avel and not to others. See Shulchan Menachem ibid footnote 15 that Rav Gustman said a Pilpul on the law of Shomeia Keoneh before the Rebbe during Shiva, and concluded to prove that it is forbidden for people to recite Divrei Torah in front of the Avel. The Rebbe however jested and said “The entire reason behind the prohibition is due to joy, and you can imagine the lack of joy there is when the Avel must hear words of Torah that he has questions on and may nevertheless not ask him the questions”

[98] Tur 376:4

[99] Tur ibid; Omitted from Shulchan Aruch

[100] Rama 386:1; Rambam 5; Kol Bo

[101] The reason: If it is forbidden for the Avel and comforter to exchange greetings, then certainly it is forbidden for them to talk extensively. [Rama ibid]

[102] Michaber 376:1; Moed Katan 27b

[103] Rambam Avel 13:2; Meiri Moed Katan ibid

[104] The nodding of the head is a form of saying good bye, although since an Avel is prohibited from saying Shalom therefore he must nod in its stead. [Ramban Moed Katan 28b]

[105] Aruch Hashulchan 376

[106] Perisha 393:3; Piskeiy Maharash Melublin Mem; Maharil; Pnei Baruch 11:5; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 90:1 footnote 1

Other customs: Some are accustomed to say “Min Hashamayim Tenachamu” [Mavor Yabok Sifsei Renanos 19]

[107] Some write that by a Yachid one is to say “Osecha”. [Pnei Baruch ibid; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel ibid; So wrote the Rebbe Rayatz to the Rebbe after the passing of his father in Igros Kodesh Rayatz 12:394] Others however say that one is to say Eschem even if there is only one Avel present. [see Nitei Gavriel ibid; See Taz 242:14 regarding using a Lashon Kavod to ones teacher] In the Rebbe’s letter of condolences to the Baba Sali he wrote “Hamakom Yinachemכת”ר  and the rest of the Aveilim..”; Some write that when relatives comfort the Avel they are to add “and us” to the statement. [Nitei Gavriel 90:8 in name of Shvus Yaakov 3:98

[108] Yalkut Yosef Aveilus 26:3

[109] Igros Moshe 5:20

[110] See Keser Shem Tov p. 707 and Nitei Gavriel 90 footnote 1 in name of Shivlei Haleket Semachos 14

[111] Letter of condolences of Rebbe to the Baba Salli upon the passing of his son, printed in Menachem Meishiv Nafshi p. 5

[112] Admur 189:6 “Whoever blesses another Jew it is a Mitzvah to answer Amen to his blessing.”; M”A 215:3 in name of Midrash; brought in Chesed Lealafim 215:4; Kaf Hachaim 215:11; Toras Menachem 1988 2:245 and 597 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:280] that this especially applies to the blessing said to an Avel; Rav SZ”A, brought in Pnei Baruch ibid; Nitei Gavriel 90:2

[113] Toras Menachem 1988 2:380 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:280]

The reason: As when a Jew blesses another Jew, he is to return him a blessing, otherwise he is considered a Gazlan [Brachos 6b] and so is the custom of all Jewry that when one person wishes him Shalom Aleichem, he answers Aleichem Shalom. [Rebbe ibid]

[114] Gesher Hachaim 20:5-1; Chelkas Yaakov 3:38; Pnei Baruch 11:11; Nitei Gavriel 85:9 footnote 11 that so was done by Gedolei Yisrael to comfort also the women mourners; Beir Moshe 107; See Eizer Mikodesh E.H. 21:6 that one may bless and wish Mazal Tov to a woman

[115] Darkei Hachaim 4:2; Nitei Gavriel 85:2 footnote 3

[116] Nitei Gavriel 85:14 and 90:3

[117] See Michaber 354:1 that one does not give comfort to two mourners of two different people simultaneously, as perhaps one of those deceased is greater in honor than the other, unless one knows that they are of equal stature and praise. One may however state the regular parting blessing to them simultaneously, as there is nothing added in the statement when it is said for a greater person who died. [See Nitei Gavriel 85:14 in name of Poskim]

[118] Nitei Gavriel 90:9

[119] Michaber 385:2; Moed Katan 21b; See Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 11:1-3; See there footnote 1 that it is unclear if the intent of this Halacha is to say that one fulfills the Mitzvah of Nichum Aveilim even after Shloshim or 12 months, and if the regulated comforting is an obligation or not.

[120] Aruch Hashulchan 385:3; However, see Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 3 that seemingly the Aruch Hashulchan’s ruling refers only to other relatives after Shloshim, while an Avel for a parent is comforted with Tisnachem after 12 months.

[121] Aruch Hashulchan 385:3

[122] Aruch Hashulchan 385:3

[123] Nitei Gavriel 112:27

[124] Ahavas Chesed 3:5

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