Chapter 31: The laws of a cemetery and its visitation

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Chapter 31: The laws of a cemetery and its visitation[1]

The laws associated with a cemetery and visiting of a Kever

Introduction:

This chapter will discuss all the details relevant towards grave visiting, including the times that one should and should not go, the people who should and should not go, the behavioral restrictions applicable at a gravesite, the laws pertinent to a cemetery, and the laws and customs followed prior and post the visitation. While the main focus of this chapter is in regard to visiting the gravesite of a relative, we will also include the Halachas relevant towards visiting the gravesite of Tzadikim; the times that one should and should not go, the behavioral restrictions applicable at the gravesite, and the laws and customs followed prior and post the visitation. In general, all the laws and customs brought throughout this chapter regarding cemeteries and graves applies likewise towards the grave of a Tzaddik and its visitation, unless explicitly stated otherwise.

 

 

Checklist upon visiting a gravesite:

  • One is not to eat any food prior to visiting a grave site. Nevertheless, one is to be particular to drink before visiting.
  • One who is impure due to nocturnal emission [Keri], or any release of seed, may not visit a cemetery until he immerses in a Mikveh.
  • One who has not visited a cemetery [in thirty days] is to recite the following blessing upon seeing it:

ברוך אתה יי אלקינו מלך העולם אשר יצר אתכם בדין וזן אתכם בדין וכלכל אתכם בדין והמית אתכם בדין ויודע מספר כלכם והוא עתיד להחיותכם ולקיים אתכם בדין: ברוך אתה יי מחייה המתים: [2]

  • One is to distribute charity at the gravesite [prior to Davening there].
  • Some are accustomed to reciting the following seven Psalms upon erecting the Matzeiva: Tehillim 33, 16, 17, 72, 91, 104, 130.  One then says Psalm 119 in accordance to the name of the deceased and the name of his mother, as well as the word Neshamah.  The documented Chabad custom, however, is to recite the Psalms printed in the Maaneh Lashon, which include 25, 34, 111, 112, 119 and from 120 until 150. This is then followed by Vayehi Noam, Yosheiv Beseiser, and Ana Bekoach. The Rebbe was witnessed to follow the former custom upon visiting the grave of his brother in-law, the Rashag, by his first Yahrzeit.
  • At the grave of a Tzaddik one is to pray to Hashem to answer his prayers in the merit of the Tzaddikim. Likewise, one may ask the Tzaddik to intervene on one’s behalf and pray to G-d for the matters which he needs. It is customary to recite a compilation of Psalm’s and prayers assembled in the booklet entitled “Maaneh Lashon” upon visiting a gravesite of a Tzaddik.[3] It is likewise customary to write a Pa”n and read it by the Ohel, tearing it upon concluding its reading and placing it near the burial site. It is best to read the Pa”n towards the area of the Tzaddik’s holy feet. If there are two Tzaddikim buried adjacent to each other then it is to be read in between the graves by the feet.
  • One may not enter a cemetery with Tzitzis that are revealed to the open. Thus, one is to stick his Tzitzis into his pants prior to entering into the cemetery.
  • It is customary to light a candle by the Kever.
  • Although it is forbidden to Daven, learn Torah, or wear Tallis and Tefillin, within four Amos of a Kever, nevertheless, the custom is to permit reciting Tehillim and learn Mishnayos near the grave in his memory.
  • Many have the custom of encircling the grave. The Rebbe would circle the grave one time prior to leaving.
  • Many are accustomed to place a hand on the grave upon praying. One is to place specifically his left hand on the grave.
  • One is to wash one’s hands three times inconsecutively after leaving the cemetery. One is to wash his hands prior to entering into a house. The custom is not to dry the hands upon leaving.
  • Some are accustomed to throw grass or earth behind their back after leaving a cemetery.

1. The allowance, custom, purpose, and reason for visiting graves:[4]

A. The Biblical and Halachic source and custom for visiting graves:

It is a Jewish custom dating back to Biblical times, to visit the burial grounds of one’s relatives. We find that Kaleiv, in his touring trip of Eretz Yisrael, made a stop in Chevron, to pray by the Kever of our forefathers, the Avos.[5] We likewise find, that Rachel was specifically buried on the road to Chevron so her descendants could visit her at a time of need and have her pray to Hashem on their behalf.[6] This custom of visitations and prayer by the grave is not just limited to Kivrei Tzadikim[7], but was also practiced in regards to one’s relatives, even if they were not considered Tzadikim, as recorded in the Zohar[8] and Poskim.[9] Furthermore, the Talmud[10] and Poskim[11] direct that at certain times one is to visit a cemetery in order to arouse one to do Teshuvah, even if relatives or Tzadikim are not buried there. Furthermore, some Poskim[12] rule that if the graves of Jews are unavailable, then one is to visit even the graves of gentiles, for this purpose of arousing one to do Teshuvah. Nonetheless, one is not to over increase on the visitation of graves and is not to go unnecessarily.[13] See Halacha C for why visiting graves does not transgress the prohibition of Doreish El Hameisim.

B. The purpose and reason for visiting graves:

There are four reasons recorded behind the custom of visiting graves. As stated above, one is avoid visiting graves unnecessarily.

  1. Elevate the soul of the deceased:[14] One of the purposes of visiting graves is to Daven on behalf of the deceased, in his merit, and help affect an elevation of his soul above in heaven.
  2. So the deceased intervenes on one’s behalf:[15] Another reason for visiting graves is in order to inform the soul of any issues that one may be facing, and have them pray one one’s behalf. [The Zohar[16] states as follows: When one visits a grave to beseech him about a certain problem, the Nefesh of the deceased goes and awakens the Ruach of the deceased, which then goes and awakens the Neshamah of the deceased, and effects that Hashem have mercy on the world.] See Halacha 8J for the full details in how to pray!
  3. Teshuvah:[17] Another reason for visiting graves is in order to arouse oneself in Teshuvah, as while one is by a grave he remembers the day of death, and how his evil ways will lead to the same outcome as those buried there.
  4. Request forgiveness from the deceased:[18] One who sinned against the deceased is to visit his grave and request forgiveness from him, saying “I have sinned against the G-d of Israel, and this individual who I sinned against.” The following order is practiced: If the grave is within a three Parsa[19] distance, one is required to go barefoot to the grave together with ten other people and ask forgiveness from the deceased. If the grave of the person is further than a three Parsa distance, one may send a messenger together with another ten people, to the grave to ask forgiveness from the deceased.[20]

C. The prohibition of Doresh El Hameisim [i.e. Necromancy] and the allowance to visit graves:

The Torah[21] prohibits a Jew from exhuming the spirit of the dead. This prohibition is listed as one of the 365 negative commands, and is active in all times and in all places. Some Poskim[22] have understood that this prohibition includes a restriction against visiting graves and praying there, due to it being similar to the exhuming of the dead. Practically, however, the above prohibition was given an exact definition in the Talmud[23], Rishonim[24] and Poskim[25], and does not apply to visiting a grave, if one does not perform the further actions included in the definition of “Doreish El Hameisim.” One only transgresses the prohibition of Doreish El Hameisim if he fasts and sleeps in the cemetery [or does other actions[26]] for the sake of exhuming the soul of the dead and have the evil spirit dwell upon him [or appear to him in a dream and speak to him[27]].[28] Likewise, one only transgresses the prohibition if he speaks to the body of the dead, and not the soul.[29] Likewise, one only transgresses if he does one of the above listed impure actions for the sake of exhuming the soul and speaking to it, however, it is permitted to use the names of Hashem, and other pure means to get the soul to speak with him.[30] Certainly if the soul comes and speaks to him without any action, no transgression has been done.[31] Practically, due to all the above reasons, visiting the grave of a relative or Tzaddik does not touch upon this prohibition at all, as one has no intent to have the soul speak to him, and one is doing no action in preparation for this, and thus the Halachic ruling and widespread custom is to permit visiting gravesites.[32] Nonetheless, various customs have been adapted to be followed upon visiting a gravesite, in order to negate a liking to this prohibition as much as possible, as will be explained in this Chapter.[33]

 

2. Which graves to visit-Tzadikim/Reshaim/Relatives:

A. Visiting the gravesite of Tzadikim:[34]

As stated above, the custom of visiting the burial grounds of a Tzaddik is Biblically sourced, and has been done throughout the generations. It is mentioned in the Talmud[35], Zohar[36], the Shulchan Aruch, and later codifiers.[37]

The benefits of visiting the resting place of Tzaddikim: One who prays by the gravesite of a person, arouses the soul of that person in heaven to ask for mercy on one’s behalf.[38] The dead are made aware of what occurs below upon them being visited and are saddened to hear of the suffering of those alive.[39] If not for the prayers of the dead on behalf of the living, the world would be unable to exist.[40] The visiting of a gravesite of a Tzaddik assists one to merit to true repentance and saves him from both physical and spiritual suffering. Likewise, the main Tikkun for the sin of Pegam Habris is accomplished through visiting the gravesite of a Tzaddik.[41]

Leaving Eretz Yisrael to visit Kivrei Tzadikim:[42] It is permitted to temporarily leave Eretz Yisrael for the sake of visiting the graves of Tzadikim in the Diaspora.

 

B. Visiting the gravesite of Reshaim and Gentiles:

Reshaim:[43] One is not to visit the grave of a Rasha, as doing so causes Mazikim [damaging spirits] to attach to him.

Gentile cemetery:[44] [Based on the above statement, one is not to visit the graves of gentiles.[45]] However, one may visit the graves of [righteous] gentiles [i.e. non-idol worshipers[46]], for the purpose of arousing one to do Teshuvah, if the graves of Jews are not available in one’s vicinity. [However, graves, and cemeteries which contain statues of idols, are certainly not to be visited.[47] Accordingly, one is to beware not to enter a Christian cemetery which contains crosses on the graves, even for the sake of Teshuvah. Furthermore, from the teachings of the Arizal it is implied that one is to completely avoid visiting the grave of a gentile.[48]]

C. Visiting the gravesite of relatives:[49]

It is customary to visit the gravesite of deceased relatives, due to the reasons enumerated in Halacha 1B. It is customary to visit their graves on specific dates, as will be explained in the next Halacha. [Some are accustomed not to visit the graves of their deceased children r”l, even if they are older. This custom, however, does not have any known source, and is not required to be abided by.[50] One does not visit the Kever of a Nefel.[51]]

 

D. Visiting the gravesite of one’s Rebbe:[52]

It is customary to visit the gravesite of one’s Rebbe.

 

E. Visiting the graves in one’s city:[53]

One who has a Jewish cemetery in his city is to avoid visiting cemeteries of other cities for the sake of praying there, [unless there is a specific Tzaddik or relative who he plans to visit there[54]].

 Q&A

Should one nullify his day of learning for the sake of visiting Kevarim?[55]

Some Rabbanim rule that a Bochur in Yeshivah should not nullify his day of learning to do so, as it is of greater merit for the soul to increase in learning on his behalf. 

May one who remarried visit the Kever of his previous wife or her previous husband?[56]

The custom is for a woman who remarried not to visit the grave of her first husband, and for a man who remarried not to visit the grave of his first wife. Due to this, it is customary for the spouse to visit the grave of their previous spouse prior to remarrying. 

 

3. The accustomed dates for visiting the grave of the deceased relative:[57]

It is customary to visit the grave of the deceased on certain dates throughout the first year of mourning, and in future years, on the day of the Yahrzeit. During the first year, some avoid visiting the grave on days other than the dates brought below, in order not to burden the soul of the deceased, as explained in C.[58] After the first year, there are no restrictions, and one may visit the grave whenever he desires, so long as it is not on a day that graves are not visited, as explained in Halacha 3. Nonetheless, one is not to over increase on the visitation of graves and is not to go unnecessarily.[59] The following are the details of this matter.

 

A. End of Shiva:

Some[60] are accustomed to go to the cemetery and visit the grave of the deceased on the seventh day of Shiva, after the Aveilim get up from Shiva after Shacharis. Others[61] are not accustomed to visit the cemetery on the seventh day. [If the seventh day falls on Shabbos or Rosh Chodesh, one is not to go that day[62] and is rather to go the day after.[63] If Yom Tov falls during the Shiva, some say to visit the Kever on Isru Chag while others say to visit only after seven days have passed from burial.[64]]

Seventh days falls on day that we do not visit graves [i.e. Shabbos]: See Halacha 3!

 

May one visit the grave during Shiva?[65]

One is not to visit the grave during Shiva, until the end of Shiva. This applies for both relatives and non-relatives.

B. Shloshim:[66]

Some communities are accustomed to go to the cemetery and visit the grave of the deceased on the day of Shloshim. [Others, however, are not accustomed to visit the cemetery at the end of the Shloshim.[67]]

Shloshim falls on day that we do not visit graves [i.e. Shabbos]: See Halacha 3!

C. End of 12th month:[68]

Some[69] are accustomed to go to the cemetery and visit the grave of the deceased on the last day of mourning, which is the last day of the 12th month.[70] [By a non-leap year this day falls out the day before the Yahrzeit.[71] By a leap year, it falls one month before the Yahrzeit. Accordingly, due to the custom to also visit the grave on the day of the Yahrzeit, at the conclusion of the first year one should visit the grave twice, one day after the other, or by a leap year, one month after the other [i.e. once on the end of the 12 months and again on the Yahrzeit].[72] Due to however the difficulty involved in visiting the cemetery twice in close proximity, the widespread custom is not visit the cemetery at all on the last day of the 12th month, and to only visit the cemetery on the day of the Yahrzeit.[73] This especially applies during a non-leap year in which the Yahrzeit falls out on the day after the end of the 12 months, of which the widespread custom is to only visit the grave on the Yahrzeit.[74] Nonetheless, at the conclusion of the first year, some prefer to visit only at the end of the 12th months and not on the day of the Yahrzeit, as this custom is more well sourced in the Poskim.[75]]

End of 12 months falls on day that we do not visit graves [i.e. Shabbos]: See Halacha 3!

 When is one to visit the grave; 12 months from the passing or from the burial?[76]

One is to visit the grave 12 months from the date of passing even if the burial took place several days later.

Visiting the grave during the first year, outside the above dates:[77]

During the first year, many avoid visiting the grave on days other than the dates brought above, in order not to burden the soul of the deceased.[78] Others, however, are not accustomed to be particular in this matter, and visit the grave anytime within the 12 months.[79] This especially applies to Kivrei Tzadikim.[80] Practically, if there is no set custom in one’s community there is room to be lenient, especially in the months of Elul and Tishrei.[81] One who is particular in this matter, may nevertheless visit the grave of another relative in the same cemetery even if they are buried near each other. In such a case, he is to stand a distance from the grave of the relative who passed away within the year.[82] Even those who are particular not to visit the grave during the first year, may do so on the day of the Hakamas Matzeiva.[83]

D. Hakamas Matzeiva:

There is no obligation for family members to be by the establishing of the Matzeiva ceremony, and in previous times it was actually rare to have family present.[84] Nonetheless, today it is common practice for the family to visit the grave in honor of the establishing of the Matzeiva. See Chapter 30 for the full details of this subject

E. Yahrzeit:[85]

It is customary to visit the Kever of the deceased on the day of the Yahrzeit. [If one is unable to visit the cemetery on the day of the Yahrzeit, then he is to visit it within three days before or after the Yahrzeit.[86]]

On the first Yahrzeit: In the first year, some are accustomed to go to the cemetery and visit the grave of the deceased on the last day of mourning, which is the last day of the 12th month. Many who do so do not visit the cemetery again on the day of the Yahrzeit during that first year. Others, however, only visit the Kever on the day of the Yahrzeit even by the first year, and so is the widespread custom. See Halacha C for the full details of this subject!

Yahrzeit falls on day that we do not visit graves: See Halacha 3!

 Q&A

What is one to do if he is unable to visit the cemetery for the Yahrzeit?

See Chapter 28 Halacha 8!

 

Should one nullify his day of learning for the sake of visiting the Kever on the above dates?[87]

Some Rabbanim rule that a Bochur in Yeshivah should not nullify his day of learning to do so, as it is a greater merit for the soul of the deceased for one to increase in learning on his behalf. 

F. Prior to Wedding:[88]

A Chasan or Kallah whose father or mother passed away is to visit the grave prior to the wedding and invite his parent/s to the wedding.

 

4. Auspicious and accustomed times for visiting Kevarim throughout the year:

Erev Rosh Hashanah:[89] It is customary of some communities to visit the gravesite [of a Tzaddik[90]] on Erev Rosh Hashanah [after Shacharis[91]] and increase in supplication while there.[92] [The Chabad custom is to visit the gravesite of the Rebbeim on Erev Rosh Hashanah.[93] Those who live nearby go to the Ohel of the [Rebbe] and Rebbe Rayatz in Queens.[94] One is not required to visit a gravesite if it is an area of danger.[95] Others are accustomed to visit Kivrei Tzadikim throughout the month of Elul, Selichos.[96]]

Erev Yom Kippur:[97] Some communities have the custom to visit gravesites on Erev Yom Kippur in order to increase in charity while there. This is a good custom. The charity that is given by the cemetery is the worth of the chickens used for Kapparos, known as Pidyon Kapparos. It is therefore proper to give charity in correspondence to the amount of Kapparos he used for his family. [This practice was not witnessed amongst the Chabad Rebbeim and is not the custom of Anash.[98]] One is not to say any supplication [while at the cemetery] other than that which was established by our forbearers, as one does not say Tachanun on this day.[99]

Erev Rosh Chodesh and on the 15th of each month:[100] It is an auspicious time to visit the gravesite of Tzaddikim on Erev Rosh Chodesh and on the 15th of each month. These are the main times that one is to visit the tomb of Tzaddikim. [The Rebbe was accustomed to visit the Tziyon of the Rebbe Rayatz on Erev Rosh Chodesh.]

Tisha Be’av:[101] One is to visit a [Jewish[102]] cemetery after the conclusion of Shacharis, on Tisha Be’av.[103] [This is not the Chabad custom.[104]]

Fast days:[105] On a fast day that has been set for the sake of supplicating for rain, one is to visit a cemetery after the conclusion of Shacharis, and cry and supplicate there to G-d, understanding the message that if the people do not repent they will end up dead like those in the cemetery.[106] According to this, if a Jewish cemetery is not available, then they are to visit the graves of gentiles [who are not idol worshipers[107]].[108] [However, from the teachings of the Arizal it is implied that one is to completely avoid visiting the grave of a gentile. [109] The Rebbe was particular not to visit any Kevarim on a public fast day, being one is unable to drink beforehand.[110] See Halacha 6A!]

 

5. Date restrictions: Dates on which we abstain from visiting gravesites:[111]

There are certain days of joy in which visiting a grave is restricted or forbidden. These days are: Purim[112], Chanukah[113], Rosh Chodesh[114], Shabbos, and Yom Tov.[115] In this Halacha, we will discuss the days of restriction and what one is to do if the above-mentioned accustomed dates of visitation fall on one of these dates.

 

A. Shabbos & Yom Tov, Chol Hamoed:[116]

One is to avoid visiting a cemetery on Shabbos, or Yom Tov [or Chol Hamoed[117]]. This applies likewise to Kivrei Tzadikim.[118] [One may however visit the cemetery on the eve of these days, Erev Shabbos, Erev Yom Tov, even after midday.[119] Likewise, one may visit a Kever on Chol Hamoed for the sake of Davening for one who is sick.[120]]

If the last day of Shiva falls on Shabbos or Yom Tov: If the last day of Shiva, falls on Shabbos or Yom Tov, then one is not to go that day [even if it is within walking distance].[121] Some say that in such a case, he is to go the day after Shabbos or Yom Tov.[122] However, others say that one is not to go at all in such a case.[123] If Yom Tov falls during the Shiva, some say to visit the Kever on Isru Chag while others say to visit only after seven days from burial have passed.[124]

If the Yahrzeit falls on Shabbos or Yom Tov:[125] If the Yahrzeit[126] falls on Shabbos or Yom Tov, then one is not to go that day and is rather to go the day before. See Chapter 28 Halacha 14B!

If the Yahrzeit is on Chol Hamoed:[127] If Yahrzeit[128] falls on Chol Hamoed, one is to visit the cemetery on Erev Yom Tov. [Nonetheless, some are accustomed to visit the cemetery on Chol Hamoed, or after Yom Tov.]

B. Rosh Chodesh:[129]

Some Poskim[130] write one is not to visit a cemetery on Rosh Chodesh.[131] However, today the custom is to allow visiting graves on Rosh Chodesh.[132] Nevertheless, one is not to recite the Maaneh Lashon or other lamentations, although he may make requests, or recite Tehillim.[133] One may certainly visit the grave of a Tzaddik on Rosh Chodesh to pray for an ill person.[134] [One may visit a grave on Erev Rosh Chodesh even after midday.[135]]

If the last day of Shiva falls on Rosh Chodesh: If the last day of Shiva falls on Rosh Chodesh, then one is not to go that day.[136] Some say that he is to go the day after Rosh Chodesh.[137] However, others say that one is not to go at all in such a case.[138]

If the Yahrzeit falls on Rosh Chodesh: If the Yahrzeit[139] falls on Rosh Chodesh, then one is to visit the grave on Erev Rosh Chodesh.[140] If this is not possible, then one is to visit the grave the day after Rosh Chodesh.[141]

C. Chanukah:[142]

One is not to visit a cemetery during Chanukah. [However, there are those who are lenient in this matter[143], and so is the prevalent custom.[144]] One may visit a cemetery on Erev Chanukah. According to all one may visit the graves of Tzaddikim during Chanukah.

If the last day of Shiva falls on Chanukah: The above restriction against visiting a grave on Chanukah applies even if one desires to visit the grave of a relative at the conclusion of Shiva, Shloshim or even a Yahrzeit.[145] Thus, if the last day of Shiva, falls on Chanukah, then one is not to go that day and is rather to go after Chanukah. [However, there are those who are lenient in this matter, as stated above. Seemingly, an Avel may certainly be lenient to visit the grave at the end of Shiva, just as the Poskim rule regarding Purim, as brought next.]

If the Yahrzeit falls on Chanukah: The above restriction against visiting a grave on Chanukah includes even if one desires to visit the grave of a relative at the conclusion of Shloshim, 12 months, or even a Yahrzeit. Thus, if the Yahrzeit[146] falls on Chanukah, then one is not to go that day and is rather to go on Erev Chanukah. [However, there are those who are lenient in this matter, as stated above.]

 

D. Purim:[147]

One may not to visit a cemetery on Purim. [One may, however, visit a grave on Erev Purim.[148]]

An Avel at the conclusion of Shiva: An Avel may visit the grave of his relative at the end of Shiva. Those people who are not Aveilim, are not to participate in the visitation. [Some however write that even an Avel at the end of Shiva should not visit the cemetery.] An Avel, however, may visit the grave of his relative at the last day of Shiva on Erev Purim.[149]

If the Yahrzeit falls on Purim: If the Yahrzeit[150] falls on Purim, then one is to visit the grave on Erev Purim. If this is not possible, then one is to visit the grave the day after Purim.

Shushan Purim: It requires further analysis if it is permitted to visit a cemetery on Shushan Purim, unless one lives in Jerusalem and is celebrating Purim on that day, in which case he may not visit.[151] The relatives of the deceased however may certainly visit the cemetery at the conclusion of Shiva.[152]

E. Month of Nissan?[153]

Some[154] are accustomed not to visit cemeteries throughout the month of Nissan. There are those who rule that visiting the gravesites of Tzaddikim is an exception, and may be visited anytime throughout the month. Many however are accustomed to visit cemeteries during the month of Nissan just like any other time of the year.[155] The Rebbe was accustomed to visit the Tziyon of the Rebbe Rayatz in the month of Nissan on various occasions.[156]

If the last day of Shiva falls in Nissan: Seemingly, an Avel may be lenient to visit the grave at the end of Shiva, just as the Poskim rule regarding Purim, as brought above.

If the Yahrzeit is during Nissan:[157] If the Yahrzeit[158] is during the month of Nissan, then some[159] are accustomed to visit the grave on Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan. Many however are accustomed to visit cemeteries during the month of Nissan just like any other time of the year.[160]

 Summary:

One is to avoid visiting a cemetery on Purim, Chanukah, Rosh Chodesh, Shabbos, and Yom Tov. [One may however visit the cemetery on the eve of these days, Erev Shabbos, Erev Rosh Chodesh, etc, even after midday.] Some are accustomed not to visit cemeteries throughout the month of Nissan. However, practically, today the custom has become to visit graves on Rosh Chodesh and Chanukah, and many are also accustomed to visit cemeteries during the month of Nissan, just like any other time of the year. One who does so is not to recite the Maaneh Lashon or other lamentations, although he may make requests while at the grave, or recite Tehillim. One may certainly visit the grave of Tzaddik on Rosh Chodesh to pray for an ill person.

 

Seventh day of Shiva: If the last day of Shiva falls on Shabbos, Yom Tov or Rosh Chodesh, then one is not to go that day. An Avel may be lenient to visit the grave at the end of Shiva, if it falls on Purim, Chanukah, or the month of Nissan.

Yahrzeit: One who has a Yahrzeit on Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah or Purim is to visit the grave on Erev Rosh Chodesh/Purim/Chanukah, or the day after Rosh Chodesh/Purim/Chanukah. One who has a Yahrzeit on Shabbos or Yom Tov is to visit the cemetery on Erev Shabbos/Yom Tov.

6. Day Restrictions-Night versus day & repeated visitation:

A. May one visit a cemetery at night?[161]

Some avoid visiting a cemetery at night.[162] However the widespread custom is to visit graves even at night.

B. Visiting a Kever twice in one day:[163]

One is not allowed to visit the same gravesite twice in one day. [Some[164] write that so long as one is still within four Amos of the grave, then one may return to pray. Furthermore, some[165] write that so long as one has not yet left the cemetery, he may return to the grave.]

7. People restrictions-Kohanim/Pregnant/Nidda/children/Seven years absence/Baal Keri:

A. Kohen:[166]

See Chapter 9 Halacha 1 for the full details of this matter!

The general prohibition of impurity: It is forbidden for a male[167] Kohen[168] to come into contact with a grave, or the tombstone that rests on a grave.[169] He may not even enter within four Amos of either a corpse[170] or grave[171], unless there is a Mechitza of ten Tefachim surrounding him or the grave.[172] He may not walk under an item which is hovering over a body or grave, such as a tree or tent or building.[173] He may, however, stand outside the building/house that contains the corpse, even within four Amos of its walls, and he may even touch the walls.[174] However, some Poskim[175] are stringent to prohibit standing within four Amos of the walls.

Visiting a cemetery:[176] It is forbidden for a Kohen to enter a cemetery unless he remains at least a four Amos distance from any graves, or walks with a wall like structure that is at least 10 Tefachim high surrounding him, in which case he must only distance himself 4 Tefachim from the graves.[177] In addition, he must beware not to walk under any item that hovers over the graves.[178] If the above is guarded, he may enter even into a gated cemetery.

Car:[179] A Kohen who remains in his car is protected from any impurity, and he may thus enter the cemetery grounds in his car and remain inside it throughout the burial.

Yahrzeit:[180] A Kohen may visit the cemetery of his parent on the day of the Yahrzeit, or other auspicious time, if he stands near the cemetery from the outside. Doing so is considered as if he has visited them.

B. May Kohanim visit Kivrei Tzaddikim?[181]

Many Poskim[182] rule it is forbidden for Kohanim to visit the gravesite of Tzaddikim.[183] Nevertheless, many Kohanim are lenient in this, especially with regards to visiting their Rebbe’s Kever.[184] Practically a Kohen may not to be lenient[185] and so is the vintage Chabad custom[186], and the practical directive given by the Rebbe.[187] Kohanim who desire to merit the advantage of praying by the gravesite of a Tzaddik are to stand a distance from the cemetery or grave, in view of the grave, and pour their hearts to Hashem from there.[188]

Mearas Hamachpeila:[189] It is permitted for Kohanim to visit the burial site of the forefathers in Chevron known as the Mearas Hamachpeila, and so is the practical custom. However, there are Poskim[190] who are stringent.

Kever Rachel: Kohanim are not to enter into Kever Rachel.[191] However, some are lenient as stated above.[192]

Rashbi: Kohanim are not to enter into the building of the Tziyon of Rashbi in Meiron.[193] Likewise, care must be taken while ascending the mountain, to walk only through the special path for Kohanim.[194] However, some Poskim are lenient as stated above.[195]

The Rebbe’s Ohel: The Ohel of the Rebbe is set up in a way that allows Kohanim to access the Ohel through a special path that contains dividers of ten Tefach on each side.[196] It is forbidden for Kohanim to extend their hand past these dividers. The Kever itself is unroofed[197] and is surrounded by a short wall [of at least ten Tefach] which is a distance of at least four Tefach from the grave. This allows the Kohanim to stand anywhere near the wall.[198] It is permitted for them to stand even in the front area of the Kever where the tombstone is found.[199] Nevertheless, care must be taken not to extend the hand past the wall surrounding the Kever. Thus, when throwing the Pa”n, the Kohen is to do so from behind the wall or give it to a friend to do so.[200]

C. Pregnant wife of Kohen and other pregnant women visiting cemeteries:[201]

Not married to Kohen: From the letter of the law, it is permitted for a pregnant woman to enter a cemetery.[202] However, many women are accustomed not to visit a cemetery when they are pregnant.[203] Those who have received such a custom are to abide by it.[204] However, it is permitted for them to visit the grave of a Tzaddik, or the grave of a loved one, on the day of the Yahrzeit and the like.[205] Many women are lenient in all cases, as is the letter of the law.[206]

Wife of a Kohen: It is permitted for the pregnant wife of a Kohen to enter a cemetery.[207] Nonetheless, some Poskim[208] rule it is proper to be stringent not to do so [even on a Yahrzeit or by Kivrei Tzaddikim]. This especially applies if she knows that the gender of the child is male[209] or she is at the end of her term and is ready for birth.[210] Nevertheless, even in such a case, most Poskim rule it is allowed from the letter of the law.[211]

D. Nidda-May a woman visit a cemetery when she is menstruating?[212]

It is customary for women to avoid visiting a cemetery during the days that they are a Nidda.[213] Some Poskim[214] rule this applies even during the seven clean days, until she immerses in a Mikveh. Other Poskim[215], however, rule it only applies during the actual flow and hence she may visit a gravesite during the seven clean days [as well as single girls may visit at all times that she is not actively menstruating[216]]. Practically a woman may be lenient in a time of need to go during her clean days.[217] Furthermore, if not going will cause her great distress then she may be lenient even when seeing the actual flow.[218] Nevertheless, in such a case it is best for her to stand four Amos away from the Kever.[219] Based on above, a woman may be lenient to visit the Kever in the following instances, even while menstruating: 1) Yahrzeit of her parents, or Hakamas Matzeiva.[220] 2) She is leaving town and not returning for a while.[221]

Does the above custom apply even to Kivrei Tzaddikim?[222] Some Poskim[223] write that the above custom to abstain from visiting a cemetery during Nidda times applies even to Kivrei Tzaddikim. Other Poskim[224], however, rule it does not apply to Kivrei Tzaddikim. Practically, many women are accustomed to only be stringent during the actual flow and not during the seven clean days [or by a single girl when she is not having her flow].[225] This is the widespread custom followed by women regarding going on Lag Baomer to Meiron, that they are only stringent when seeing the actual flow.[226]

E. Children-May one bring children to a cemetery?

There is no Halachic prohibition against bringing children to a grave or cemetery, if the child is not a Kohen. This applies even if the child is of a very young age, such as a newborn.[227] Nevertheless, some are careful to avoid doing so.[228] Practically, one may do so if he so chooses, or in a time of need.  

F. Visiting the grave of a parent after seven years of absence:[229]

Some are accustomed to follow that if they did not visit the grave of a parent within seven years, then they may no longer visit it again.[230] Others[231] are only careful after ten years of absence. Some Poskim[232], however, argue that one may visit a parent’s grave even after absence of many years and there is no need to be particular in the above. Practically, it is permitted to visit a grave of a parent even after the passing of seven years.[233] Nevertheless, when seven years have passed, it is customary to send a messenger [such as the grave keeper] to the grave prior to the child’s visitation, to inform the parent that his child is coming to visit.[234] Likewise, the child is to separate charity in honor of the parent prior to visiting.[235]

Grandparents and other relatives:[236] The above custom is only with regards to the grave of a parent, however the grave of a grandparent, or other relative, may be visited even initially after many years of absence.

 Summary:

One who has not visited the grave of a parent in seven years is to send a messenger to the grave to notify the parent of his arrival. Likewise, he is to give charity prior to the visitation.

G. Baal Keri:[237]

One who is impure due to nocturnal emission [Keri], or any release of seed, may not visit a cemetery until he immerses in a Mikveh.[238] [He may, however, stand from a distance of four Amos from the grave/cemetery and pray from there.[239]]

 

Going alone to a cemetery:[240]

One is to avoid going by himself to a cemetery.

 

Mental illness:[241]

One who suffers from mental illness is to avoid visiting graves and cemeteries.

8. The ceremony followed upon visiting the cemetery:[242]

A. Eating and drinking prior to the visit:[243]

Some Poskim[244] rule one is not to eat or drink anything prior to visiting the gravesite of a Tzaddik, or of a relative. [Thus, starting from Alos of that day, until after the visitation, one is to fast.] Others[245], however, rule one is to have a small snack prior to visiting a gravesite, although he is not to eat a full meal.[246] Practically, the Chabad custom is not to eat any food prior to visiting a grave site, although one is to be particular to drink before visiting.[247] [The Rebbe was particular about this custom and that others should follow it.[248] On the other hand, there were instances that Rebbe and Chassidim ate something small prior to visiting.[249] The Rebbe was particular not to visit Kevarim on a public fast day, being one is unable to drink beforehand.[250]]

B. Immersing in a Mikveh:[251]

One who is impure due to nocturnal emission [Keri], or any release of seed, may not visit a cemetery until he immerses in a Mikveh.[252] [Many are particular to never visit a cemetery prior to immersing in a Mikveh even if they are not impure due to Keri.[253] The Rebbe immersed in the Mikveh each time prior to visiting the Ohel of his father in-law.[254] Many are accustomed to immerse in a Mikveh also after the visitation.[255]]

C. Davening with a Minyan:[256]

On the day one visits the Kever of a Tzaddik, one is to be particular to Daven with a Minyan.

D. Washing hands prior to entering the cemetery?

Some Poskim[257] rule that one is to wash his hands prior to walking into a cemetery. Other Poskim[258], however, question this ruling and do not require washing beforehand.

E. Saying the blessing of Asher Yatzar Eschem Badin:[259]

One who has not visited a cemetery [in thirty days] is to recite the following blessing upon seeing it:

ברוך אתה יי אלקינו מלך העולם אשר יצר אתכם בדין וזן אתכם בדין וכלכל אתכם בדין והמית אתכם בדין ויודע מספר כלכם והוא עתיד להחיותכם ולקיים אתכם בדין: ברוך אתה יי מחייה המתים:[260]

How often is the blessing recited?[261] All the blessings that are said over the sight of an item [i.e. Birchas Hareiyah], such as the blessing said over seeing a cemetery, is not to be repeated within thirty days of the previous sighting and subsequent blessing. The thirty days are counted starting from the day of sight [and blessing]. (For example, if he saw [the cemetery and said a blessing] on Sunday, then if he sees the item again on Tuesday four weeks later, he may say the blessing again.[262]) [Thus, the blessing may be repeated beginning from the 31st day from the original sighting. For example, if one visited the cemetery on the 1st of Marcheshvan and said the blessing, and then re-saw it again on the 30th of Marcheshvan, a blessing is not repeated. If, however he saw it on the 1st of Kisleiv, the blessing must be repeated.]

If one saw a different cemetery within thirty days:[263] If one saw a different cemetery within thirty days of seeing the previous cemetery, then the blessing is not to be repeated.[264] [This applies even if the second cemetery is in a different city.[265] This applies even if one did not recite a blessing upon seeing the first cemetery.[266]]

The blessing said upon seeing a grave of a gentile:[267] Upon seeing the grave of a gentile one is to say the verse[268] “Bosha Imchem, Meod Chafra Yoladas-chem. Hinei Acharis Goyim Midbar Tziyah Ve’arava.”

Q&A

Where should the blessing be said; inside or outside the cemetery? 

The blessing may be recited from outside the cemetery, in view of the grave, even if one does not plan on entering the cemetery.[269] However, some Poskim[270] rule that the blessing is specifically to be said upon entering the cemetery. It may even be said within four Amos of the grave.[271] Practically, if one plans to enter the cemetery, then he is to delay saying the blessing until he enters within four Amos near the graves.[272]

 

Is the blessing recited upon seeing a single grave?

Some Poskim[273] rule the blessing of Asher Yatzar Eschem Badin is recited even if one sees a single Jewish grave. Other Poskim[274] rule a blessing is only recited if he sees two graves or more. Practically, the blessing is not recited upon seeing a single grave.[275]

If one lives near a cemetery and sees it from his window, may he say the blessing upon entering it?

Some Poskim[276] rule the blessing may be recited upon entering the cemetery, so long as one has not entered it for thirty days. Other Poskim[277], however, rule the blessing may not be said. Practically, a blessing is not to be recited.[278]

If a new grave was added [i.e. person buried] in the cemetery since one last recited the blessing, may the blessing be repeated even prior to the passing of thirty days?

Some Poskim[279] rule that a new blessing is to be repeated even within thirty days if a new grave was added. [Accordingly, in a large city in which there are new burials on a daily basis, the blessing may be repeated daily.[280]] Other Poskim[281], however, rule it is not to be recited.

May the blessing upon seeing a cemetery be recited on Shabbos?[282]

Yes.

Is the blessing of Dayan Haemes to be repeated upon seeing the grave of one’s parent after the passing of thirty days?

Some Poskim[283] suggest that the blessing of Dayan Haemes is to be repeated every thirty days upon seeing the grave of his parent. Practically, the blessing is not said upon seeing one’s parents grave even after much time has passed.[284]

Does an Onen say the blessing upon seeing a cemetery at the time of the burial?[285]

No. The blessing is not recited by the Onen at all, neither before nor after the burial.[286]

F. Giving charity:[287]

One is to distribute charity at the gravesite [prior to Davening there[288]].

G. Taking off the shoes:[289]

As a sign of respect, it is accustomed to remove the shoes prior to entering into the Rebbe’s Ohel.

H. Placing a hand on the grave and Hishtatchus: [290]

Many are accustomed to place a hand on the grave upon praying. One is to place specifically his left hand on the grave.

Hishtatchus:[291] Hishtatchus is the general term used for the Mitzvah of visiting a Tzaddik’s grave. It literally means prostrating, as the ideal Mitzvah of being by a Tzaddik’s grave is to prostrate oneself over the grave and recite prayer. It is for this reason that many are accustomed to try to at least touch the grave while visiting.

I. How to pray by the gravesite:

Where to stand:[292] It is best to stand towards the area of the feet of the interred.

The prayer on the grave: When one arrives at the grave, some are accustomed to recite the following prayer near the grave “May it be G-d’s will that the resting place of so and so be with honor and may his merit stand for me in my favor”[293] Upon placing the left hand on the grave, one is to say the verse in Yeshayah 58:11:[294]

“ונחך ה׳ תמיד והשביע בצחצחות נפשך ועצמותך יחליץ והיית כגן רוה וכמוצא מים אשר לא יכזבו מימיו”

After the above verse is recited, one says “Tishkav Beshalom Ad Ba Menachem Mashmiei Shalom.” [The above prayers are omitted from the Chabad Seder of Maaneh Lashon, and are seemingly not recited according to our custom. Sephardim are accustomed to reciting Hashkavos on the grave, however, the Arizal[295] negated the recital of Hashkavos, and they are thus to be omitted or at least diminished.[296]]

How to ask for requests by a gravesite: At the grave of a Tzaddik, one is to pray to Hashem to answer his prayers in the merit of the Tzaddikim.[297] Likewise one may ask the Tzaddik to intervene on one’s behalf and pray to G-d for the matters which he needs.[298]

Maaneh Lashon: It is customary to recite a compilation of Psalm’s and prayers entitled “Maaneh Lashon” upon visiting a gravesite of a Tzaddik.[299] There exist various versions of this compilation.[300] The Chabad Nussach of Maaneh Lashon was compiled by Rabbi Dov Ber of Lubavitch, known as the Mittler Rebbe, on occasion of his visits to the burial site of his father, Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, in Haditch. This Maaneh Lashon was reprinted by the Rebbe in the year 1950 shortly after the Histalkus of his father in-law, the Rebbe Rayatz.[301]

Pan: It is customary to write a Pa”n and read it by the Ohel of the Tzaddik.[302] [One tears it upon concluding its reading and places it near the burial site. It is best to read the Pa”n towards the area of the Tzaddik’s holy feet. If there are two Tzaddikim buried there, then it is to be read in between the graves by the feet.[303]]

Tehillim:[304] Some are accustomed to reciting the following seven Psalms upon visiting a grave: Tehillim 33, 16, 17, 72, 91, 104, 130.[305] One then says Psalm 119 in accordance to the name of the deceased and the name of his mother, as well as the word Neshamah.[306] The documented Chabad custom, however, is to recite the Psalms printed in the Maaneh Lashon, which include 25, 34, 111, 112, 119 and from 120 until 150.[307] This is then followed by Vayehi Noam, Yosheiv Beseiser, and Ana Bekoach.[308] The Rebbe was witnessed to follow the former custom upon visiting the grave of his brother in-law, the Rashag, by the first Yahrzeit.[309]

Kaddish:[310] Some are accustomed to reciting Kaddish Yasom after the completion of the Tehillim.

Keil Malei Rachamim:[311] Some are accustomed to reciting Keil Malei Rachamim after the completion of the Tehillim and the recital of Kaddish Yasom. [Some omit the prayer of Keil Malei Rachamim on days that Tachanun is omitted while others recite it.[312]]

Crying:[313] One is to avoid crying over the death of the deceased upon visiting the grave, as the Sages allocated three days for crying and not longer.

J. Lighting a Candle:[314]

It is customary to light a candle on the Kever, being that on it resides the soul of the deceased. Upon lighting the candle, one is to say, “I am lighting this candle in merit of the soul named so and so.” [As soon as the Rebbe reached the part in the Maaneh Lashon of “Hareini Madlik Halamp,” the Rebbe would light a candle.]

 

K. Encircling the grave:[315]

Many have the custom of encircling the grave.[316] [The Rebbe would circle the grave one time prior to leaving. One is to encircle it from the right side.]

L. Placing a stone on the grave:[317]

Many have a custom to place a stone on the grave prior to leaving. The reason behind this custom is to leave a sign that one had visited the grave, out of respect for the dead. [It was never witnessed that the Rebbe placed a stone on a grave.[318]]

M. Kissing the Kever:

Some are accustomed to kiss the Matzeiva prior to leaving the cemetery.[319]  This is not the widespread custom.[320]

9. Restrictions applicable while at the gravesite or cemetery:

This Halacha will discuss the various restrictions, and code of behavior, applicable within a cemetery, or near a grave. There are three forms of restrictions applicable in a cemetery, or near a grave:

  • Loeg Larash: Not to do actions that are considered to be mocking the deceased.
  • Kalus Rosh: Not to do actions which are frivolous and unbefitting of the serious nature of the cemetery.
  • Benefit: Not to benefit from the cemetery.

A new cemetery:[321] The restrictions only apply in a cemetery which already contains graves, however, a new area designated for burial, and which will eventually serve as a cemetery, does not contain these restrictions.

A. Wearing Tzitzis in a cemetery or near a grave or corpse:[322]

One may not enter a cemetery while wearing Tzitzis that are revealed to the open.[323] This applies both to a Tallis Gadol and a Tallis Katan.[324] If, however, the Tzitzis are covered and are not apparent at all to the outside, then it is permitted to enter the cemetery wearing it.[325] [This applies even to a Tallis Katan.[326] Thus prior to entering into a cemetery one is to tuck his Tzitzis into his pants, or pocket in a way that it will no longer be visible.]

Within four Amos of an open cemetery or grave:[327] One who enters within four Amos [192 cm] of a grave, or of a [open] cemetery, is considered as if he entered inside the cemetery, and is thus required to cover his Tzitzis as explained above.

A closed cemetery:[328] By a closed cemetery that has a wall or fence surrounding it, one should be stringent not to enter into the cemetery while wearing [revealed] Tzitzis, even if he is a great distance from the actual graves.[329] However, outside the walls of the cemetery, one may wear revealed Tzitzis even if he is within four cubits of a grave that is behind the wall.[330]

 Q&A

May one wear a Tallis Gadol/Katan over his clothing in a cemetery if the actual Tzitzis are tucked in?

Some Poskim[331] rule it is permitted to do so. Other Poskim[332] rule it is forbidden to do so by a Tallis Gadol. Practically, one is to avoid wearing a revealed Tallis Gadol anywhere within the parameters of a cemetery, even if the Tzitzis are covered.[333]

B. Wearing Tefillin in a cemetery, or near a grave, or corpse:[334]

It is forbidden to enter within a four-cubit radius of a corpse or grave while wearing [revealed] Tefillin on one’s head [or arm[335]], as this is considered an act of scoffing the dead [i.e. Loeg Larash].

Tefillin is covered:[336] The above prohibition only applies if the Tefillin are uncovered. If, however, the Tefillin is covered, then it is permitted to enter a cemetery while wearing the Tefillin in all cases, as it does not consist of Loeg Larash. In such a case, the entire Tefillin must be covered, including the hand Tefillin, head Tefillin and the straps of the [head and hand] Tefillin. Thus, although one may enter while wearing the hand Tefillin, being that it is [naturally] covered [by one’s sleeve], nevertheless one must be careful that the straps which are wrapped around one’s finger are also covered.[337]

Entering into a closed cemetery:[338] By a closed cemetery that has a wall or fence surrounding it, one should be stringent not enter into the cemetery while wearing [revealed] Tefillin on his head, even if he is a great distance from the actual graves.[339]

Outside the cemetery:[340] However, outside the walls of the cemetery, one may wear revealed Tefillin even if he is within four cubits of a grave that is behind the wall.[341]

 Q&A on Tallis and Tefillin

May one wear revealed Tefillin or Tzitzis in a gentile cemetery, or near a gentile grave?[342]

Yes.[343]

 

May one wear revealed Tefillin or Tzitzis near the grave [or corpse] of a Jewish woman?

Some Poskim[344] rule it is permitted to do so [if one is not near other graves].[345] However other Poskim[346] rule it is forbidden.

 

May one wear revealed Tefillin or Tzitzis near the grave [or corpse] of a Jewish child?[347]

No.[348]

May one wear Tallis and Tefillin near the gravesite of a Tzaddik?

Yes.[349] However, one may only do so if he is not near the gravesites of any other Jew.[350]

 

May one join a funeral wearing Tallis and Tefillin?

If one does not enter within four cubits radius of the corpse, then it is permitted to do so if the funeral is taking place in an outside setting.[351] If however the corpse is lying inside a room, then according to some Poskim[352] it is forbidden to enter into that room with revealed Tallis and Tefillin even if one is more than four cubit distance from the corpse.

May one enter into a morgue wearing Tallis and Tefillin?

If there are no corpses in the room, then it is allowed. If, however, there are corpses in the room, then some Poskim[353]  rule it is forbidden to enter into such a room with revealed Tallis and Tefillin even if one is more than four-cubit distance from the corpse.

C. Davening and learning Torah in a cemetery, or near a grave, or corpse:[354]

It is forbidden to Daven [or say Kaddish[355]], or learn Torah, within four Amos of a corpse, Kever, or within a cemetery.[356] This applies even against learning Torah by heart, unless it is done for the honor of the dead.[357] [Thus, it is permitted to Daven or learn Torah in merit of the deceased, and for his benefit, even if one is within four Amos of the grave.[358] Thus, one may recite Tehillim near the grave and learn Mishnayos there in his memory.[359]]

At a distance from the grave/cemetery:[360] If one distanced himself four Amos from the grave, he may learn and Daven even if he sees the grave or cemetery.

Outside the cemetery:[361] Outside the walls of the cemetery, one may learn Torah and Daven even if he is within four cubits of a grave that is behind the wall.[362]

Q&A

Davening with a Minyan and learning Torah by Kivrei Tzadikim:

Although it is forbidden to Daven, learn Torah, or wear Tallis and Tefillin, within four Amos of a Kever, or within a cemetery, as stated above, nevertheless, the custom is to permit Davening and Torah learning near the Kever of a Tzaddik, and thus we see Minyanim for prayers take place by the Kever of Rachel Imeinu, the Avos in Chevron, the Rambam, the Rebbe’s Ohel and many other Kevarim throughout the world.[363] This is permitted under several grounds, which are independent of each other: 1) The prayer that takes place by the Tzaddik is done in merit of the Tzaddik, and is thus considered for his benefit.[364] 2) It is common to build a Mechitza around the Kever, and it is permitted to Daven even within four Amos of a Kever if there is a Mechitza surrounding it.[365] 3) The Kevarim of the Tzadikim in Eretz Yisrael were customarily buried with an Ohel Tefach which thus prevents the Tuma from rising, and in essence separates the people from the Kever similar to a Mechitza.[366] 4) Learning and Davening by the Avos and Imahos is permitted, as they lived prior to the giving of the Torah and hence the concept of Loeg Larash does not apply to them.[367] The above allowance only applies if the Kever of the Tzaddik is segregated from other Kevarim. If, however, the grave is in the midst of other graves without a Mechitza to separate between them, then it is forbidden to Daven there.[368] 

 

D. Bringing a Sefer Torah into a cemetery:[369]

It is forbidden to bring a Sefer Torah into a cemetery. [This applies even if one does not plan to learn from it in the cemetery.[370] Some Poskim[371], however, suggest that the prohibition only applies if one reads from the Sefer Torah. If, however, one does not read from the Sefer Torah then there is no prohibition to enter it into a cemetery. Practically, one is to be stringent.]

 

E. Greetings/Shalom Aleichem:[372]

One may not greet others in a cemetery while [a burial is taking place and] the deceased is in the cemetery.[373] This applies even in a large city.[374] 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[375]]. If one is within four Amos of the grave [and there is no Mechitza of 80 centimeters surrounding the grave] it is forbidden to greet others in that vicinity.[376] [Today, however, many are lenient in this matter and permit greeting others.[377] Others argue against this custom.[378] One may only be lenient regarding saying good morning and other greetings of the like, however not regarding the words “Shalom Aleichem.”[379]]

F. Frivolity & Kalus Rosh:[380]

It is forbidden to act in a lightheaded way, or way of frivolousness [i.e. Kalus Rosh], in a cemetery.[381] [This applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves.[382]]

G. Going to the bathroom in a cemetery:[383]

It is forbidden to go to the bathroom in a cemetery.[384] [This applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves.[385] Thus, the bathrooms are to be built at the edge of the cemetery, away from the graves.]

H. Eating and drinking in a cemetery:[386]

It is forbidden to eat or drink inside of a cemetery.[387] [This applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves, as explained in the Q&A. This applies even if one already said a blessing elsewhere and will not have to recite a new blessing in the cemetery. All the more so is it forbidden to say a blessing over food in a cemetery.]

Q&A

May one enter food into a cemetery?[388]

There is no prohibition against entering food or drink into a cemetery, and the food does not contract impurity or an evil spirit through doing so. It goes without saying that there is no issue with eating foods and drinks that entered a cemetery.

 

May one eat or drink in the cemetery if one is a distance of four Amos from any of the graves?[389]

No.

 

May one eat or drink near Kivrei Tzaddikim?

If the grave is inside a cemetery, then it is forbidden to do so due to the other graves that are around. If, however, the Tzaddik’s burial place is in its own grounds, and not within a cemetery, then seemingly it is permitted to eat and drink near the Kever[390], or inside the Tziyon, and so is the widespread custom.[391]

May one sleep in a cemetery?[392]

No.

I. Reading and studying:[393]

It is forbidden to read or study [Torah and perhaps even mundane literature[394]] inside of a cemetery. [This applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves.[395]]

J. Reading the words on the Matzeiva:[396]

One is not to read the words on the gravestone/Matzeiva[397] if it contains protruding words. However, words that are flat or engraved may be read.[398]

K. Cheshbonos-Budgeting and accounting:[399]

It is forbidden to do accounting of one’s finances [or the finances of a public institution[400]] inside of a cemetery.[401] [This applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves.[402]]

L. Grazing animals:[403]

It is forbidden to graze one’s animals inside of a cemetery. [This applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves.[404]]

M. Channeling water:[405]

It is forbidden to channel water through a cemetery. [This applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves.[406]]

N. Using as a shortcut:[407]

It is forbidden to walk through a cemetery as a short cut to get to the other side. [This applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves.[408] It goes without saying that one may not build a road through a cemetery.[409]]

O. Using its earth, flowers, plants, and fruits:

Herbs/grass/plants:[410] It is forbidden to collect herbs [i.e. plants and flowers] from a cemetery.[411] If one did so for the sake of the cemetery, [such as for the sake of tidying the lawn of the cemetery] then the cut produce is to be burnt.[412] [Some Poskim[413] rule that this applies throughout the entire cemetery, even if one is a distance of four Amos from the graves. Other Poskim[414], however, rule that the prohibition only applies to the herbs and grass that grow on the actual grave.]

Fruits of a tree and vegetables:[415] It is permitted to gather [and eat vegetables[416] and] fruits from trees which are planted in a cemetery, so long as they were not planted [and do not grow] over the actual graves.[417] However, it is forbidden to benefit from the fruits of trees that grow on the actual graves.[418] [In some cemeteries, it was customary for the Gabbai to collect the fruits of the trees of the cemetery and sell the fruits and donate the funds to charity.[419] Those cemeteries which are accustomed to plant trees within them, are to be careful to only do so in areas of land that are certain to not contain graves.[420]]

Gathering earth:[421] It is forbidden to remove earth from the grave, even [according to those Poskim who rule that[422]] this earth is permitted in benefit.

Medicinal purposes:[423] It is permitted to take herbs, grass, or earth from the cemetery to use for medicinal purposes [if it cannot be found or purchased in the vicinity].[424] [If, however, it is available in the vicinity, then one may not take it from the cemetery even for medicinal purposes simply to save money.[425]]

For the sake of the cemetery:[426] It is permitted to sell the herbs and fruits of the cemetery for the sake of upkeep and honor of the cemetery, if the community cannot afford it otherwise. This applies even to the fruits and herbs that grow on the actual graves.

P. Sitting on tombstone:

It is forbidden to sit on a grave due to the prohibition against receiving benefit from it.[427] Likewise, it is forbidden to lean on the grave.[428]  See Halacha 11 for the full details of this subject!

Q. Stepping on graves:[429]

It is forbidden to step on a grave unnecessarily.[430] It is permitted for those carrying the body of the deceased during burial to step on other graves if necessary.[431] The same applies regarding anyone who desires to reach a certain location in the cemetery, that if necessary, he may step on a grave while walking.[432] [However, one may not sit on the grave, as stated above. Likewise, one may not remain standing on it.[433]]

10. Customs applicable upon leaving a gravesite:[434]

A. Washing the hands after leaving a cemetery:[435]

One who walks amongst graves [i.e. enters a cemetery[436]] is required to wash his hands [immediately[437]] afterwards [being that the evil spirits escorts the person until he washes[438]]. [One is to wash his hands only after he exits the cemetery, prior to entering a home, as explained in the Q&A.]

Washing with water:[439] The hands must be cleaned specifically with water. It does not suffice to clean the hands in other ways [such as to rub them on something].[440]

How many times to wash:[441]Although from the letter of the law washing one time suffices, the custom is to wash one’s hands three times inconsecutively after leaving a cemetery.

Drying the hands:[442] Some are accustomed not to dry the hands with a towel after the washing and rather let the hands dry on its own.[443] It is noted that this was the custom of the Rebbe.[444]

Learning Torah and eating/drinking prior to washing:[445] The above washing is only in order to remove impurity, and does not prevent one from studying Torah or praying. [Nevertheless, it is best to wash the hands immediately after the above actions, in order to remove the impurity right away, as stated above.]

What occurs if one does not wash his hands?[446] If one did not wash his hands after any of the above actions, then if he is a Torah scholar, he will forget his learning. If he is a layman, he will lose his mind.[447]

 Q&A on when and where to wash the hands

May one wash his hands in the cemetery?[448]

One is to wash his hands only after first distancing himself four Amos from the cemetery.

 

Is one to wash his hands prior to entering a house?[449]

Yes.

Q&A on scenarios that require washing

If one entered a non-Jewish cemetery, must he wash his hands upon leaving?

Some Poskim[450] question whether one is obligated to wash his hands afterwards. Practically, one is to wash his hands afterwards.[451]

If one entered a cemetery and remained a distance from the graves, is he required to wash his hands upon leaving?[452]

Yes.

 

If one walked under a tree that grows in a cemetery must he wash his hands afterwards?

Some[453] write one is to wash his hands afterwards just like one who entered a cemetery.

 

Q&A on Kivrei Tzadikim

Must one wash his hands after leaving the burial grounds of Tzaddikim?[454]

The custom is not to wash hands after leaving the resting place of a Tzaddik unless the Tzaddik is buried in a cemetery, or near other graves.[455]

B. Washing the face after leaving a cemetery:

Some Poskim[456] write one is to wash his face after leaving a cemetery. Others[457] however write that the custom is not to be particular to do so.

C. Throwing grass, or earth, behind the back after leaving a cemetery:[458]

Some are accustomed to throw grass, or earth, behind their back after leaving a cemetery. [The Rebbe’s custom: Prior to leaving the Ohel, the Rebbe would tear grass from the ground three times and throw it behind him.[459] This is not to be done on Chol Hamoed.[460]]

D. Immersing in a Mikveh:[461]

Some are accustomed to immersing in a Mikveh after visiting a cemetery.[462]

The Rebbe’s customs upon visiting the Ohel:[463]

Non-leather shoes: The Rebbe would wear non-leather shoes to the Ohel, similar to the shoes worn on Tishe Beav and Yom Kippur.

Knocking on the door: The Rebbe would knock on the door of the Ohel twice prior to entering, symbolizing asking permission prior to entering.

Maaneh Lashon: Immediately upon entering the Ohel, the Rebbe would begin saying the Maaneh Lashon.

Lights candle: As soon as the Rebbe reached the part in the Maaneh Lashon of “Hareini Madlik Halamp,” the Rebbe would light a candle.

Reading the Pa”n: The Rebbe would read the Pa”n, tearing off any blank area of paper from the Pa”n, and place the Pa”n in the Ohel.

Encircling the Ohel: Upon completing the reading of the Pa”n, the Rebbe would encircle the Ohel one time.

Exiting: Upon exiting, the Rebbe would stop by the door and recite the Yehi Ratzon which concludes the Maaneh Lashon.

Throwing grass: Prior to entering the car, the Rebbe would tear grass from the ground three times and throw it behind him.

11. Benefiting from a grave or mausoleum:[464]

It is [Biblically[465]] forbidden to benefit from a grave. This refers to an over ground structure that was built for a grave, such as a mausoleum [i.e. Kever Shel Binyan], however, the earth and ground area of the grave is not forbidden.[466] [Thus, the earth surrounding the top, floor, and sides of a grave is not forbidden in benefit. Likewise, graves that are built within mountains and caves, known as Kevurat Sanhedrin or Kuchin, are completely permitted in benefit from all sides, even on top.[467]] However, some Poskim[468] rule that all the earth that was removed from the grave and then returned for the burial, is likewise forbidden in benefit.[469] [According to this opinion, it is forbidden to step on graves.[470] Likewise, it is forbidden to sit on a grave.[471]] However, other Poskim[472] argue and permit [to benefit from the earth used for burial, and hence one may walk or even sit on a grave].[473] [Practically, the custom is like the former/stringent opinion.[474]] See Halacha 8Q and Chapter 4 Halacha 1C!

Benefiting from the Matzeiva:[475] Some Poskim[476] rule that a Matzeiva which was erected on a grave is [forbidden in benefit and thus] it is forbidden to sit on it. [Likewise, it is forbidden to lean on it. Likewise, it is forbidden to sell a broken Matzeiva, or use its broken pieces of stone for any purpose.[477] It is likewise forbidden to recycle its use for other Matzeivos.] However, other Poskim[478] argue and permit it.[479] [Practically, the custom is like the stringent opinion.[480] Thus, it is forbidden to sell a Matzeiva even for the purpose of building a nicer Matzeiva, and even if the buyer will use the Matzeiva for another grave.[481] If, however, the Matzeiva was not yet used for the grave, then it is permitted in benefit.[482]]

Grave of a Nefel:[483] The above prohibition to benefit from a grave applies even to grave of a Nefel.

Benefiting prior to the burial:[484] The above prohibition to benefit from a grave only applies if the grave/mausoleum was built for the sake of a deceased, and he was actually buried in it. If, however, the grave/mausoleum was built for the sake of burial and a burial did not take place in it, then it remains permitted in benefit. Thus, prior to the burial, the grave/mausoleum, is permitted in benefit.

If the body is unearthed, and if the body was buried on condition to be unearthed:[485] The above prohibition to benefit from the grave/mausoleum applies even if the burial was done on condition to later unearth the body. However, this only applies if the grave was dug, or mausoleum was built, with intent to use for burial. If, however, it was not built for this intent, and one then decided to bury in it, then if the body was buried with intent to be later unearthed and buried elsewhere, then the grave/mausoleum becomes permitted in benefit after the body is removed. If, however, the body was buried with intent to remain there forever, then the grave/mausoleum remains forbidden in benefit even if it was not built for the sake of burial, and even if the body was later unearthed. Furthermore, if after the burial an additional structure was built around the grave for the sake of the deceased, then it is forbidden in benefit forever even if the burial was done with intent for the body to be later unearthed and buried elsewhere, and even if the grave/mausoleum was not originally built for the purpose of burial. If, however, one removes the added structure from the grave/mausoleum, then it returns to become permitted in benefit after the body is unearthed, in the above case.[486] If the person was buried in the area without permission, and was not a Meis Mitzvah, then he may be unearthed and buried elsewhere, and the grave/mausoleum is permitted in benefit.[487] Nevertheless, in all cases that the grave/mausoleum remains permitted in benefit, it should not be used for a belittling purpose, such as a barn and the like.[488]

 Q&A

May one break a Matzeiva for the sake of making more space in a cemetery?[489]

There is danger, and a possible prohibition, involved in damaging the Matzeiva of a grave, and therefore it is not to be done.

12. The order for inaugurating a new cemetery:[490]

There are various customs and rituals involved in the designation and inauguration of a new plot of land to be used for burial, to become a cemetery, or to join an existing cemetery. These include:

  • Fast: The members of the Chevra Kadisha fast on this day, at the very least until midday or after the Hakafos.
  • Mikveh: The members of the Chevra Kadisha are to immerse in a Mikveh on this day.
  • Seder of Tefilos and Hakafos:[491] The Baal Shem Tov instructed that a certain order of Hakafos and Tefilos should be done upon inaugurating a cemetery. The prayers include various psalms [Tehillim 102-104, Yeshayah 42, Vayehi Noam] which are recited from different corners of the cemetery. This is followed by Ana Bekoach, Parshas Hatamid and Ketores.[492] The order is as follows: The new area designated for burial is to be circled a total of seven times by at least a Minyan of Jews. By each of the seven encirclings, the above Psalms are recited. They begin from the southeast corner with the saying of Psalm 102, and then begin walking from there towards the northeast corner, all the while saying Vayehi Noam until they arrive. When they arrive to the northeast corner, they say Psalm 103. They then walk from there towards the northwest corner, all the while saying Vayehi Noam until they arrive. When they arrive at the northwest corner, they say Psalm 104. They then walk from there towards the southwest corner, all the while saying Vayehi Noam until they arrive. When they arrive at the southwest corner, they say Psalm 42 from Yeshaya [and then complete the circle by walking to the southeast corner]. This is done for a total of seven times. At the conclusion of each of the seven Hakafos they recite Ana Bekoach.
  • Building the fence/wall:[493] One is to begin building the fence or wall around the cemetery from the southern side, and not from the northern side.
  • Slaughtering and burying a rooster:[494] Some are accustomed to burying a male chicken in the new cemetery prior to any other burial.
  • Shomer:[495] Some are accustomed to place a Shomer by a new cemetery, until the first burial, or burials, take place.

________________________________

[1] See Pnei Baruch 37; Nitei Gavriel Volume 2 80-92; 95-96

[2] The following additional Nussach is added in Maaneh Lashon:

אתה גיבור לעולם אדני, מחיה מתים אתה, רב להושיע מכלכל חיים בחסד מחיה מתים ברחמים רבים, סומך נופלים, ורופא חולים, ומתיר אסורים, ומקים אמונתו לישני עפר. מי כמוך בעל גבורות ומי דומה לך, מלך ממית ומחייה ומצמיח ישועה: ונאמן אתה להחיות מתים.

[3] One can download a PDF of the Chabad Maaneh Lashon [Kehos 2000] at: www.hebrewbooks.org:15693

[4] See in length Sefer “Hilula Detzadikaya” and Inyanei Hilula Derashbi, printed in Taamei Haminhagim, for many sources on the custom of visiting Kevarim and Kivrei Tzadikim

[5] Sotah 34b

[6] Rashi

[7] Source for Kivrei Tzadikim:  Sotah 34b regarding Kalev; Michaber 344:20 based on Tur and Rav Haiy Gaon who mentions visitations of the grave of Chacham, Aluf, Vegaon at different periods within the first year; Rama 581:4 regarding visiting Kivrei Tzadikim on Erev Rosh Hashanah; M”A 581:16 “That one is to be Mishtateiach on Kivrei Tzaddikim”; Drashos Maharil; Elya Raba 581:39; Levush 579; Peri Megadim 581:16; Machatzis Hashekel 581:16; M”E 581:50; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13; M”B 581:27; Kaf Hachaim 581:95 and 98; Minchas Elazar 1:68 [brings many proofs from Midrashim; Talmud; Zohar]; Alef Hamagen 581:113; Minchas Yitzchak 8:53; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:21; Maharam Shick 293 for a list of opinions on this matter;

[8] Zohar Terumah p. 141b; Achareiy Mos p. 70

[9] Shach Y.D. 179:15 in name of Y.D. Bach 217 “The Jewish people have already held on to this custom, and there is no prohibition”; Bach ibid states [after bringing the Maharam Ben Baruch who prohibits grave visiting] “The Jewish people have already held on to this custom, and there is no one who protests , and it has a source in the Zohar, to Daven by the grave of one’s forefathers to be saved from punishment in their merit, and there is already a  Seder Tefila printed for those who visit the graves of their forefathers, and no Rav should make people abstain and nullify this custom”; M”A 696:5 regarding Shiva that some are accustomed to do so for all deceased relatives at different periods of the year, such as the end of Shiva; Sefer Chassidim 450 “The deceased receive benefit when their loved ones visit their graves and request that their souls be given benefit, and indeed up on high they do give the soul benefit as a result.” Mavor Yabok Sifsei Rinanos 23; Gilyon Maharsha 179:15; See Maharil Hilchos Taanis; Poskim brought in Makor Chesed 3 on Sefer Chassidim 450; Peri Haretz 3:2; Mishmeres Shalom Hei 28; Toras Yekusiel Tinyana 92; See also Sefarim quoted in previous footnotes, Halacha B and in Halacha 3 regarding the Yahrzeit and other times of year that it is accustomed to visit the grave of the deceased.

Other opinions: Some Poskim prohibit, or discourage, the visiting of graves and praying there, due to it being similar to the prohibition of Doreish El Hameisim. [Teshuvas Maharam Baruch [Rav Chaim Paltiel] 164, brought in Shach Y.D. 179:13 and Bach 217:51, that “Those who make a vow to visit the cemetery, it slightly seems like Doresh El Hameisim, as the allowance of Kaleiv was because it was a holy place of the Avos and he wanted his prayers to be heard. Likewise, we find a source for visiting a grave to ask for forgiveness. However, those who women and people who don’t know this. I do not know why they visit, and I am accustomed to refrain them from doing so”; See M”A 559:11 in name of Arizal that one should only go for the Levayah, especially if one is a Baal Keri, implying that one should avoid visiting graves; Directive of Gr”a to his family, brought in Mishmeres Shalom Hei 31, that they should never visit cemeteries at all due to the abundance of Kelipos found there. This applies especially to women, and all the tragedies come due to this. Gesher Hachaim 29:8 that so is the custom of many not to visit graves; Custom of Brisk and Chazon Ish and Steipler; See Nitei Gavriel 82:7 footnote 15]

[10] Taanis 16a regarding fast for rain; Yuma 87a; Chagiga 16b; 22b; Makos 5b regarding asking forgiveness from deceased

[11] Michaber 579:3 regarding fast for rain; Admur 606:5 and Michaber 606:2 regarding asking forgiveness from deceased

[12] Rama 579:3 “According to this, if a Jewish cemetery is not available, then they are to visit the graves of gentiles.”; M”A 559:15; M”B 559:41; See Halacha D!

[13] M”A 559:11 in name of Arizal; See Nitei Gavriel 82:7

[14] Sefer Chassidim 450 “The deceased receive benefit when their loved ones visit their graves and request that their souls be given benefit, and indeed up on high they do give the soul benefit as a result.” 

[15] Taanis 16a “In order so they pray on our behalf”; M”A 579:11; 559:15 in name of Shelah; Zohar Acharei Mos 71a and Terumah p. 141b [brought next]; Sefer Chassidim 450 “In addition, when asked, the souls in heaven pray on behalf of those alive.”; Bach Y.D. 217 “One may Daven by the grave of one’s forefathers to be saved from punishment in their merit”; Drashos Maharil; Elya Raba 581:39; Levush 579; Peri Megadim 581:16; Machatzis Hashekel 581:16; M”E 581:50; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13; M”B 581:27; Kaf Hachaim 581:95 and 98; Minchas Elazar 1:68 [brings many proofs from Midrashim; Talmud; Zohar]; Alef Hamagen 581:113; Minchas Yitzchak 8:53; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:21; Maharam Shick 293 for a list of opinions on this matter

[16] Zohar Acharei Mos 71a; Terumah p. 141b

[17] Michaber 579:1

[18] Admur 606:5; Michaber 606:2; Yuma 87a; Chagiga 16b; 22b; Makos 5b

[19] Approximately 5 hours of walking.

[20] Admur ibid; M”A 606:7; Rashal Yam Shel Shlomo 50

[21] Devarim 18:11

[22] Teshuvas Maharam Baruch [Rav Chaim Paltiel] 164, brought in Shach Y.D. 179:13 and Bach 217:51, that “Those who make a vow to visit the cemetery, it slightly seems like Doresh El Hameisim, as the allowance of Kaleiv was because it was a holy place of the Avos and he wanted his prayers to be heard. Likewise we find a source for visiting a grave to ask for forgiveness. However, those who women and people who don’t know this. I do not know why they visit, and I am accustomed to refrain them from doing so”; See M”A 559:11 in name of Arizal that one should only go for the Levayah, especially if one is a Baal Keri, implying that one should avoid visiting graves; Directive of Gr”a to his family, brought in Mishmeres Shalom Hei 31, that they should never visit cemeteries at all due to the abundance of Kelipos found there. This applies especially to women, and all the tragedies come due to this. Gesher Hachaim 29:8 that so is the custom of many not to visit graves; Custom of Brisk and Chazon Ish and Steipler; See Nitei Gavriel 82:7 footnote 15]

[23] Sanhedrin 65b

[24] Rambam Avodas Kochavim 11:13

[25] Michaber Y.D. 179:13; See Beis Yosef 179:2 in greater length

[26] See Rambam Avodas Koachavim 11:13 [brought in Beis Yosef 179:14] “And other people wear special garments, and say special chants, and offer incense and sleep there alone, in order so the soul of the dead come and speak to him in a dream. The general rule is that whoever does any action for the sake of having the soul of the dead come inform him of things, receives lashes.”;

[27] Rambam Avodas Koachavim 11:13; See Gittin 56b that Unkelus the Ger, prior to his conversion, exhumed the souls of his uncle Titus, Balaam, and Oso Ish, and questioned them as to how the Jewish people are viewed up on high, and whether they suggest him to convert.

[28] Michaber Y.D. 179:13; Tur 179; Rambam Avodas Koachavim 11:13 [However, there he writes “In order so the spirit of the dead visit him in a dream and answer his questions, as stated above]; Sanhedrin 65b; See Gemara ibid and Poskim ibid there that other forms of necromancy which are defined as Ov or Yidoni and not Doresh El Hameisim. However, see Bach 179 in name of Semag Lavin 56 that he also transgresses Doreish El Hameisim by these other forms, in addition to the Ov and Yidoni transgression

[29] See Rama 179:14 “And some Poskim rule that it is permitted to make the soul of the deceased swear to appear to him to answer his questions and the prohibition is only on swearing the body.”; Darkei Moshe 179:5 in negation of Beis Yosef; Hagahos Maimanis on Rambam ibid letter 8 in name of Yireim 334-335 in explanation of  Maaseh Deshmuel and Ruchos Misapros brought in Brachos 18b regarding how Shmuel [the Amora] talked to the soul of a deceased father; Shibbuleiy Haleket 10, brought in Bircheiy Yosef 179; Shach 179:16 in name of Levush in defense of Rama and Yireim that according to Kabalah there is a difference between the body and its soul, versus the actual soul; Birkeiy Yosef 179 seems to defend the opinion of the Yireim against the arguments of the Michaber; See Zohar Acharei Mos p. 71b that Doreish Eol Hameisim does not apply to the Jewish people and Tzadikim as they are still alive in Gan Eden

The reason: As the Torah only prohibits talking to the dead, and the soul is not dead. [See Beis Yosef ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to talk even to the soul of the deceased, alone, without the body. [Michaber 179:14; See Beis Yosef 179 in length in negation of Yireim ibid and his proofs, however see Darkei Moshe ibid, Shach ibid and Birkeiy Yosef ibid for arguments against his negations]

[30] Explanation of Beis Yosef 179:14 to Maaseh Deshmuel and Ruchos Misapros “The case of Shmuel [the Amora] was done while he was awake and through Hashem’s names.. If one does no action and simply mentions names which causes the spirits to come and talk to him while awake its possible it is not forbidden due to Doresh El Hameisim”; See Perisha 179:23 that it is only forbidden when done with intent for the evil spirit to reside on him. However, if he does the actions with intent to simply hear the speech of the souls, then it is permitted; See Zohar Acharei Mos p. 71b that Doreish Eol Hameisim only applies when one does so with sorcery, as do the gentiles

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that it is forbidden due to Doresh El Hameisim to do anything to bring souls of the dead to speak to him, even if the above actions of fasting and sleeping in the cemetery were not done. [Implication of Rama in Darkei Moshe 179:4; Implication of Rabbeinu Yerucham Nesiv 17:5, as understood by Beis Yosef and Darkei Moshe ibid, regarding swearing a dead person to come appear. The Beis Yosef ibid learns from this ruling of Rabbeinu Yerucham, that it negates his previous suggestion brought above; Practically, the Rama ibid does not rule like Rabbeinu Yerucham, although this is because he holds it is permitted to speak to the soul of the dead, in contrast to the body, however to do any action to speak to the body, including using names, would be forbidden according to the Rama. So is understood from Darkei Moshe 179:4]

[31] Beis Yosef 179:14 “He did not starve himself or do any other action to hear their voices”; Perisha 179:23

[32] Shach Y.D. 179:15 in name of Y.D. Bach 217 “The Jewish people have already held on to this custom, and there is no prohibition”; Bach ibid states [after bringing the Maharam Ben Baruch who prohibits grave visiting] “The Jewish people have already held on to this custom, and there is no one who protests , and it has a source in the Zohar, to Daven by the grave of one’s forefathers to be saved from punishment in their merit, and there is already a  Seder Tefila printed for those who visit the graves of their forefathers, and no Rav should make people abstain and nullify this custom”; Sotah 34b regarding Kalev; Taanis 16a; Zohar Terumah p. 141b; Achareiy Mos p. 70; Michaber 344:20 based on Tur and Rav Haiy Gaon who mentions visitations of the grave of Chacham, Aluf, Vegaon at different periods within the first year; Rama 581:4 regarding visiting Kivrei Tzadikim on Erev Rosh Hashanah; M”A 581:16 “That one is to be Mishtateiach on Kivrei Tzaddikim”; Drashos Maharil; M”A 696:5 regarding Shiva that some are accustomed to do so for all deceased relatives at different periods of the year, such as the end of Shiva; Sefer Chassidim 450 “The deceased receive benefit when their loved ones visit their graves and request that their souls be given benefit, and indeed up on high they do give the soul benefit as a result.” Mavor Yabok Sifsei Rinanos 23; Gilyon Maharsha 179:15; Elya Raba 581:39; Levush 579; Peri Megadim 581:16; Machatzis Hashekel 581:16; M”E 581:50; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13; M”B 581:27; Kaf Hachaim 581:95 and 98; Minchas Elazar 1:68 [brings many proofs from Midrashim; Talmud; Zohar]; Alef Hamagen 581:113; Minchas Yitzchak 8:53; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:21; Maharam Shick 293 for a list of opinions on this matter;

[33] See Halacha 6A regarding fasting

[34] See Nitei Gavriel 90 for various customs associated with Kivrei Tzadikim

[35] Sotah 34b regarding Kalev; Taanis 16a [on certain fast days one is to visit a gravesite. One of the reasons mentioned is in order so they pray on our behalf]

[36] Zohar Terumah p. 141b; Achareiy Mos p. 70

[37] Michaber 344:20 based on Tur and Rav Haiy Gaon who mentions visitations of the grave of Chacham, Aluf, Vegaon at different periods within the first year; Rama 581:4 regarding visiting Kivrei Tzadikim on Erev Rosh Hashanah; M”A 581:16 “That one is to be Mishtateiach on Kivrei Tzaddikim”; Drashos Maharil; Elya Raba 581:39; Levush 579; Peri Megadim 581:16; Machatzis Hashekel 581:16; M”E 581:50; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13; M”B 581:27; Kaf Hachaim 581:95 and 98; Minchas Elazar 1:68 [brings many proofs from Midrashim; Talmud; Zohar]; Alef Hamagen 581:113; Minchas Yitzchak 8:53; Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:21; Maharam Shick 293 for a list of opinions on this matter;

[38] Shlah brought in Alef Hamagen 581:113

[39] Maharam Shick 293; Alef Hamagen ibid

[40] Midrash Raba Vayikra 36:3; See Minchas Elazar 1:68

[41] Alef Lamateh 581:110

[42] Birkeiy Yosef 568; Peri Haretz E.H. 3:11; Shaareiy Teshuvah 568:20; Sdei Chemed Eretz Yisrael 37; Nitei Gavriel 90:4

[43] Chayeh Adam 135:5; Kaf Hachaim 581:90; Nitei Gavriel Volume 2 80:9; Vetzaruch Iyun from Rama 579:3 who states one is to visit the Kevarim of gentiles if the Kevarim of Jews are not available. Perhaps, however, the Rama refers to the Kevarim of righteous gentiles. Alternatively, for purposes of arousing one in Teshuvah, one may visit even the Kevarim of Reshaim. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[44] Rama 579:3 regarding fast days for rain “According to this, if a Jewish cemetery is not available, then they are to visit the graves of gentiles.”; M”A 559:15 regarding Tisha Beav; Chayeh Adam 135:22; M”B 559:41; Kaf Hachaim 559:81; Nitei Gavriel 81:13

[45] In addition to the above sources, See M”A 579:11 “Due to the above reason of Teshuvah [explained next], it is permitted to visit the graves of gentiles”, thus implying that it is forbidden to do so under other circumstances

[46] See Poskim in next footnote!

[47] M”B 579:14; Kaf Hachaim 579:20

[48] See Kaf Hachaim 559:81 based on Shaar Hagilgulim p. 63 that Rav Chaim Vital once went to the Kever of a gentile, and the gentile wanted to injure him; Likewise, Tosefes Chaim on Chayeh Adam 135:51 states based on Shaar Hamitzvos that “Under no circumstances may one visit the grave of a gentile, as its considered like Doreish El Hameisim”; See Zohar Acharei Mos p. 71b that Doreish El Hameisim applies specifically when visiting the gentile idol worshipers and not when visiting a Jewish grave; Nitei Gavriel 81:13

[49] See Poskim in Halacha 1A

[50] See Nitei Gavriel 80 footnote 1

[51] Nitei Gavriel 80:10

[52] Mavor Yabok Sifsei Rinanos 23; Nitei Gavriel 80:2

[53] Rav Yehuda Hachassid Azharos Nosafos 5; See Betzel Hachochma 4:30; Nitei Gavriel 89

[54] Makor Chesed ibid; Nitei Gavriel ibid

[55] Nitei Gavriel 76:3; 80:1

[56] Nitei Gavriel 80:5-6; See Gesher Hachaim 29:8

[57] See Pnei Baruch 37; Nitei Gavriel Volume 2 80-84

[58] See Tur 344 in name of Kol Bo “And one visits him on the day of the Shloshim, and no longer”; Mishmeres Shalom Hei 26; Gesher Hachaim 29:2; Maharam Brisk 2:29; See Nitei Gavriel 81 footnote 3 and 10 based on Zohar that during the first year the soul knows of his own suffering and cannot be bothered with suffering of others; See Nitei Gavriel 81:4-7 for all the opinions on this matter!; See Igros Kodesh 4:173; 9:301

[59] See M”A 559:11 in name of Arizal that one should only go for the Levayah, especially if one is a Baal Keri, implying that one should avoid visiting graves. Seemingly, however, this excludes the graves of Tzadikim, and perhaps even that of close relatives, although from it we can learn that it is discouraged to visit graves unnecessarily. [See Minchas Elazar 1:68; Toras Chaim Sofer 581:12; Nitei Gavriel 82:9]

[60] M”A 696:5 in name of Maharash Levi 13:25; Michaber 344:20 based on Tur and Rav Haiy Gaon regarding a Chacham, Aluf, Vegaon, and some are accustomed to do so for all deceased relatives as brought in M”A ibid; Poskim brought in Nitei Gavriel 136:17 footnote 25; Volume 2 81:2

[61] Aruch Hashulchan 344:12 that this Minhag is no longer practiced today

[62] Kol Bo brought in Beir Hagoleh Yoreh Deah 344:20 [regarding Rosh Chodesh even if falls on seventh of Shiva] Shaar Hayichudim of Arizal p. 5 [the souls are not by the graves]; Alef Hamagen 581:110; Mishmeres Shalom 5:129

[63] Gesher Hachaim; Nitei Gavriel 136:19

[64] See Nitei Gavriel 136:20

[65] Implication of Arizal in Taamei Hamitzvos Parshas Vayechi; Directive of Minchas Yitzchak; Nitei Gavriel 81:1

[66] Michaber 344:20 based on Tur and Rav Haiy Gaon regarding a Chacham, Aluf, Vegaon, and some are accustomed to do so for all deceased relatives; Ramban; Rokeiach 316; Mavor Yabok; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 37:3; 81:4

[67] Aruch Hashulchan 344:12 that this Minhag is no longer practiced today; Kinyan Torah 119; Nitei Gavriel Vol. 2 81:4

[68] See Nitei Gavriel 76:9

[69] Michaber 344:20 based on Tur and Rav Haiy Gaon regarding a Chacham, Aluf, Vegaon, and some are accustomed to do so for all deceased relatives; Nitei Gavriel 65:22; See also Michaber O.C. 547:8 and Y.D. 347:3 that the custom is to recite Hespedim and say Hazkara at the end of the 12th month

[70] The reason: As the soul of the deceased is elevated on the 12th month to Heaven and does not come back down again. [Perisha 344:31

[71] See Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 35 that this custom refers to the last day of the 12th month and not to the next day which is the Yahrzeit, Upashut

[72] Nitei Gavriel 76:9

[73] Aruch Hashulchan 344:12 that this Minhag of going at the end of the 12th month is no longer practiced today; Tzitz Eliezer 17:43 and that so is Minhag Yerushalayim; See Gesher Hachaim 29 who does not mention the end of 12 months; By a non-leap year that the Yahrzeit falls the day after the end of 12 months, the widespread custom is to only visit by the Yahrzeit. Furthermore, even by a leap year some write they do not visit at the end of the 12 months. [See Pnei Baruch and Nitei Gavriel 65 footnote 36-37 and 76:9]

[74] Nitei Gavriel 65 footnote 36

[75] Nitei Gavriel 76:9 footnote 9

[76] See Chapter 23 Halacha 1C and Chapter 28 Halacha 1A regarding the dispute between Shach/Taz and the final Chabad custom to follow the day of death; However, see Nitei Gavriel 65:22 who writes one is to visit the grave 12 months from the burial.

[77] See Igros Kodesh 9:301 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:328] “Regarding visiting your fathers Kever during the 12 months, it is dependent on the Minhag of the community, as there are places who are careful in this during the first 12 months. However, if there is no set custom and especially during the months of Elul and Tishreiy, then it is not a big deal for him to go.” See Nitei Gavriel 81:4-7 for all the opinions on this matter!

[78] See Tur 344 in name of Kol Bo “And one visits him on the day of the Shloshim, and no longer”; Maharam Brisk 2:29; Mishmeres Shalom Hei 26; Gesher Hachaim 29:2; Kinyan Torah 119; See Nitei Gavriel 81 footnote 3 and 10 based on Zohar that during the first year the soul knows of his own suffering and cannot be bothered with suffering of others; Igros Kodesh ibid

[79] See Igros Kodesh ibid; Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote 12 in name of Kol Bo that there is no source for this custom and in name of Melamed Lehoil 144 that in a time of need one may be lenient

[80] Divrei Torah 1:28; Nitei Gavriel 81 footnote 14

[81] Igros Kodesh ibid

[82] Igros Kodesh 4:173, printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:328

[83] Maharam Brisk ibid; Nitei Gavriel 81:6

[84] See Nitei Gavriel 67:3; Orchos Rabbeinu in name of Steipler and Rav Chaim Kanievsky that doing so was never a Jewish custom, and it was taken from the gentiles.

[85] Rashi Yevamos 122a regarding Yahrzeit of Tzaddik; Kav Hayashar 71; Kesav Sofer Y.D. 179; Mishmeres Shalom Yud 16; Nitei Gavriel 71:18; Chapter 76:1 footnote 1 in length

[86] Nitei Gavriel 76:18

[87] Nitei Gavriel 76:3

[88] Nitei Gavriel 82:5

[89] Rama 581:4

[90] M”A 581:16 “That one is to be Mishtateiach on Kivrei Tzaddikim”; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13

[91] Kitzur SHU”A 128:13

The Chabad custom? In Lubavitch the custom was to visit the gravesite immediately after Selichos, prior to Davening Shacharis. [Reshimos Devarim 326; Otzer Minhagei Chabad 43] However the Rebbeim, would visit the gravesite only after midday. [ibid]

[92] The reason: The burial area of a Tzaddik is holy and pure and due to this one’s prayers are accepted above. [Drashos Maharil; Elya Raba 581:39; M”B 581:27; Kaf Hachaim 581:94] The Sefer Chassidim 450 elaborates on the greatness of visiting the grave of one’s forefathers.

[93] This was the vintage custom practiced in Lubavitch, to visit the gravesite of the Rebbeim on Erev Rosh Hashanah. [Koveitz Lubavitch 5:70]  The Rebbe Rashab would travel to the Ohel of his father, the Rebbe Maharash, and the Tzemach Tzedek. The Rebbe Rayatz would visit the Ohel of his father, the Rebbe Rashab, in Rostov. [Otzer Minhagei Chabad 44]

[94] Sefer Haminhagim p. 117 [English] The Rebbe would visit the Ohel of his father in-law the Rebbe Rayatz on Erev Rosh Hashanah after midday. The Rebbe would stay there for many hours until the time of Mincha. While there the Rebbe would read thousands of names that he received from people all over the world to arouse mercy on their behalf. [Otzer Minhagei Chabad 47-48]

[95] Drashos Maharil; Elya Raba 581:39; Kaf Hachaim 581:94

[96] Nitei Gavriel 82:3

[97] Admur 605:5; Rama 605:1 in name of Maharil

[98] See Otzer Minhagei Chabad p. 184

[99] Admur ibid; M”A 605:5

[100] Maharam Chagiz; Or Tzadikim 3; Nimukei Orach Chaim 224:5; Kaf Hachaim 581:98; Alef Hamagen 581:110; Nitei Gavriel 82:1

[101] Rama 559:10; Beis Yosef 559; Tosfos Taanis 16a; Nitei Gavriel 81:12

[102] M”A 559:15 in name of Shelah p. 200; M”B 559:41; Kaf Hachaim 559:81

Visiting gentile graves: If there are no Jewish cemeteries in the vicinity then one is to visit the cemetery of gentiles. [M”A ibid; M”B ibid; See Rama 579:3 “According to this, if a Jewish cemetery is not available, then they are to visit the graves of gentiles.”] However, from the teachings of the Arizal it is implied that one is to completely avoid visiting the grave of a gentile. [See Kaf Hachaim 559:81 based on Shaar Hagilgulim p. 63 that Rav Chaim Vital once went to the Kever of a gentile, and the gentile wanted to injure him; Likewise, Tosefes Chaim on Chayeh Adam 135:51 states based on Shaar Hamitzvos that “Under no circumstances may one visit the grave of a gentile, as its considered like Doreish El Hameisim”]

[103] The reason: In order to pray and have the dead arouse mercy for us. Alternatively, it is in order to arouse us in Teshuvah. [See M”A and M”B ibid]

[104] Sefer Haminhagim p. 97 [English]; Igros Kodesh 11:307; See Nimukei Orach Chaim 559

[105] Michaber 579:1

[106] Michaber ibid

[107] See M”B 579:14; Kaf Hachaim 579:20

[108] Rama 579:3; M”A 559:15; M”B 559:41; Kaf Hachaim 559:81; See M”A 579:11, and 559:15 in name of Shelah, who explains that one must go specifically to a Jewish cemetery, as another reason behind the visitation is to supplicate that the deceased intervene and pray on their behalf, and for this one must go specifically to Kivrei Yisrael. Nevertheless, as is evident from the conclusion of M”A 559:15, he is not coming to negate the ruling of the Rama ibid, but simply to overstate the importance of visiting Kivrei Yisrael even on a fast day, and only if there are no Jewish graves available is it allowed to go to Kivrei Akum.

[109] See Kaf Hachaim 559:81 based on Shaar Hagilgulim p. 63 that Rav Chaim Vital once went to the Kever of a gentile, and the gentile wanted to injure him; Likewise, Tosefes Chaim on Chayeh Adam 135:51 states based on Shaar Hamitzvos that “Under no circumstances may one visit the grave of a gentile, as its considered like Doreish El Hameisim”

[110] Nitei Gavriel 86 footnote 7

[111] See Gesher Hachaim chapter 29; Nitei Gavriel 80-83:1-4; PP. 620-646

[112] M”A 696:5 in name of Mahrash Halevi 13; Kneses Hagedola 696; Olas Shabbos 696:2; Elya Raba 696:3; M”B 696:8; Kaf Hachaim 696:17

[113] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 22; Kaf Hachaim 670:23; Piskeiy Teshuvos 670:1

[114] Kol Bo brought in Beir Hagoleh Yoreh Deah 344:20 [regarding Rosh Chodesh even if falls on seventh of Shiva] Alef Hamagen 581:110; Mishmeres Shalom 5:129

[115] Shaar Hayichudim of Arizal p. 5 [the souls are not by the graves]; Alef Hamagen 581:110; Mishmeres Shalom 5:129

The reason: As on these days the souls of the Tzaddik are not found in their graves. [Arizal in Shaar Hayichudim p. 5]

[116] Shaar Hayichudim of Arizal p. 5 [the souls are not by the graves]; Alef Hamagen 581:110; Mishmeres Shalom 5:129

The reason: As on these days the souls of the Tzaddik are not found in their graves. [Arizal in Shaar Hayichudim p. 5]

[117] Gesher Hachaim 29; See Nitei Gavriel 83:4

[118] See Nitei Gavriel 81 footnote 1

[119] Nitei Gavriel 82:11 that there is no source in Poskim to say otherwise; Orchos Rabbeinu p. 304; The Rebbe would visit the Ohel after midday on Erev Rosh Hashanah and Erev Rosh Chodesh and say Maaneh Lashon

[120] Nitei Gavriel 83:4

[121] Kol Bo brought in Beir Hagoleh Yoreh Deah 344/20 [regarding Rosh Chodesh even if falls on seventh of Shiva] Shaar Hayichudim of Arizal p. 5 [the souls are not by the graves]; Alef Hamagen 581/110; Mishmeres Shalom 5/129

[122] Gesher Hachaim 29:6; Nitei Gavriel 136/19; Vol. 2 81:3

[123] Nitei Gavriel 81:3 in name of Eisan Aryeh 107

[124] See Nitei Gavriel 136/20

[125] Conclusion of Rebbe in Igros Kodesh 8:125; 14:324; Likkutei Sichos 19:132 regarding Tzedaka; Toras Menachem 19:31 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:323-324]

[126] Vetzaruch Iyun regarding the Shloshim and end of 12 months if one should go the day before or the day after. See Nitei Gavriel 83:4 that one may go on Chol Hamoed in such a case

[127] See Nitei Gavriel 76:14-15 for different customs, he concludes in footnote 22 that the widespread custom is to visit on Erev Yom Tov.

[128] Vetzaruch Iyun regarding the Shloshim and end of 12 months if one should go the day before or the day after.

[129] See Gesher Hachaim chapter 29; Nitei Gavriel 83:1-4

[130] Kol Bo brought in Beir Hagoleh Yoreh Deah 344:20 [regarding Rosh Chodesh even if falls on seventh of Shiva]; Shaar Hayichudim of Arizal p. 5 [the souls are not by the graves]; Alef Lamagen 581:110; Mishmeres Shalom 5:129

[131] The reason: As on these days the souls of the Tzaddik are not found in their graves. [Arizal in Shaar Hayichudim p. 5]

[132] Gesher Hachaim Vol. 1 ch. 29 [p. 259]; Nitei Gavriel 83:3 footnote 3; Daas Torah 581 [brought in Nitei Gavriel ibid]

The reason: As the avoidance is only to prostrate oneself on the grave and recite the accustomed lamentations [Maaneh Lashon]. However, to pray by the grave was never intended to be forbidden even by the above Poskim. [Gesher Hachaim]

[133] Nitei Gavriel ibid

[134] Mishmeres Shalom 5:29

[135] Nitei Gavriel 82:11 that there is no source in Poskim to say otherwise; Orchos Rabbeinu p. 304; The Rebbe would visit the Ohel after midday on Erev Rosh Hashanah and Erev Rosh Chodesh and say Maaneh Lashon

[136] Kol Bo brought in Beir Hagoleh Yoreh Deah 344/20 [regarding Rosh Chodesh even if falls on seventh of Shiva] Shaar Hayichudim of Arizal p. 5 [the souls are not by the graves]; Alef Hamagen 581/110; Mishmeres Shalom 5/129

[137] Gesher Hachaim 29:6; Nitei Gavriel 136/19; Vol. 2 81:3

[138] Nitei Gavriel 81:3 in name of Eisan Aryeh 107

[139] Vetzaruch Iyun regarding the Shloshim and end of 12 months if one should go the day before or the day after.

[140] Ikarei Hadaat 36:35; Kaf Hachaim 568:94 regarding a Yahrzeit that falls on Shabbos; See also Likkutei Sichos 19 p. 130 regarding Tzedaka; Igros Kodesh 14:324; Sefer Hasichos 10th Shevat 1957; See Michaber 569:9 who equates Shabbos and Rosh Chodesh regarding delaying the fast, and thus just as we [Ashkenazim] rule to precede the fast to Friday, so too we precede the visiting of the grave to Erev Rosh Chodesh. See Halacha 15B!

[141] See Gesher Hachaim 32:5; Opinions regarding Shabbos, brought in Halacha 15B!

[142] Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 22; Kaf Hachaim 670/23; Piskeiy Teshuvos 670/1; Nitei Gavriel 83:5

[143] Brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos 670/1

[144] Gesher Hachaim 1 p. 259

[145] The reason: As one is not is not to say a eulogy during Chanukah and by going to the gravesite one arouses mourning.

[146] Vetzaruch Iyun regarding the Shloshim and end of 12 months if one should go the day before or the day after.

[147] M”A 696/5 in name of Mahrash Halevi 13; Kneses Hagedola 696; Olas Shabbos 696/2; Elya Raba 696/3; M”B 696/8; Kaf Hachaim 696/17

[148] Gesher Hachaim 1 p. 259

Ruling of M”A ibid: The M”A ibid rules that it is forbidden to visit the grave even on Erev Purim. That however only refers to a case that the Aveilus is ending on Purim, as then people will mistakenly think that Purim ends Aveilus. If however the Aveilus truly ended on Erev Purim, the M”A never negates the visitation. See also next footnote.

[149] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 696 footnote 16 who explains the ruling of the M”A 696/5 to forbid going to a grave site on Erev Purim to only be referring to the women who lament over the grave, however the Avel may visit he grave at the end of Shiva.

[150] Vetzaruch Iyun regarding the Shloshim and end of 12 months if one should go the day before or the day after.

[151] The M”A ibid does not mention any issue with visiting on the 15th and only mentions his law regarding the 14th. Although we do not recite Hespeidim on any day that Tachanun is not recited, nevertheless, this does not mean that we do not visit cemeteries. However, we fine regarding Chanukah and the month of Nissan that the Poskim write not to visit the grave due to the prohibition against eulogies, as visiting a grave can lead to eulogies, and perhaps the same should apply to Shushan Purim. [See Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 22; Kaf Hachaim 670/23; Piskeiy Teshuvos 670/1]

[152] As rules M”A ibid regarding Purim itself

[153] Nitei Gavriel Pesach 3/8 [p. 54]; Aveilus 83:8-9

[154] See Nitei Gavriel ibid; Gesher Hachaim 1 p. 259

[155] Gesher Hachaim 1 p. 259

[156] Otzer Minhagei Chabad 15 [p. 13]

[157] Nitei Gavriel Pesach 3/8 [p. 54]; Aveilus 76:17; 83:8-9

[158] Vetzaruch Iyun regarding the Shloshim and end of 12 months if one should go the day before or the day after.

[159] See Nitei Gavriel ibid; Gesher Hachaim 1 p. 259; Directive of Rebbe to asker to visit the Kever on Erev Rosh Chodesh Nissan, brought in Hiskashrus 609:18, Shulchan Menachem 5:329

[160] Gesher Hachaim 1 p. 259

[161] Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2:82-10

[162] Divrei Torah 3:44

The reason: Perhaps this is due to that the side of Gevura and evil is stronger at night and hence we avoid entering the area. Alternatively the reason is because one does not recite Tehillim at night until midnight. [Nitei Gavriel ibid]

[163] M”A 581:16; Elya Raba 224:7; Kitzur Shlah Rosh Hashanah in name of Mahraiy; Tzavaas Rav Yehuda Hachassid 12; Reb Chaim Vital in Taamei Hamitzvos Vayechi; Alef Hamagen 581:109; M”B 581:27; Kaf Hachaim 224:44; 581:96; See Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2 88:4

[164] Shivim Temarim on Tzavaas Rav Yehuda Hachassid ibid

[165] Likkutei Halachos on Tzavaas Rav Yehuda Hachassid

[166] Michaber 369:1

[167] Kohenes: A female Kohen is not prohibited from defiling herself to Tumas Meis. [Michaber 373:2]

[168] Baal Mum: This prohibition applies even to a Kohen who is a Baal Mum. [Michaber 373:2]

Chalal: A Kohen who is a [Biblical] Chalal is not prohibited from defiling himself to Tumas Meis. [Michaber 373:2] However, a Rabbinical Chalal is Biblically prohibited from defiling himself to Tumas Meis. [Shach 373:2 in name of Bach]

[169] Michaber 369:1

What areas of the grave give off Tumas Ohel: If the grave contains a Chalal Tefach [vacuum of 8 centimeters within], and does not contain a Tefach Pasuach, as is common today for the grave to contain a vacuum between it and the body, and the grave is completely closed off, then the entire grave stone gives off Biblical impurity, even from the areas that do not contain the actual body under them. If, however, the grave does not contain a Challal Tefach, then only the area opposite the body gives off Tumas Ohel. [Taz 372:1; However, see Pischeiy Teshuvah 372:2 that if there is Challal Tefach there is only Rabbinical Tuma] If it contains a vacuum of a Tefach but also contains a Tefach Pasuach, then it only gives off Rabbinical impurity over the grave. [See Shach 372:2]

[170] Michaber 371:5 “It is forbidden to come within four Amos of the corpse or grave”; Derisha, brought in Shach 371:18;

Other opinions regarding funeral: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to be within four Amos of the body of the deceased throughout the funeral [so long as one is not under the same Ohel. It is thus permitted for a Kohen to give a Hesped within four Amos from the body. [Shach 371:18; Rokeiach 315; Yeish Makilin in Perisha ibid; Chochmas Adam 159:14; Kitzur SHU”A 202:8; Nitei Gavriel 130:4] Practically, the custom is to be stringent to distant oneself four Amos from the body due to fear of Ohel Hameis. [Gesher Hachaim p. 79; Nitei Gavriel ibid]

[171] See Pischeiy Teshuvah 371:14 that we measure the four Amos from the corpse and not the grave.

[172] Michaber 371:5; Chochmas Adam 159:14

Is this prohibition Biblical or Rabbinical? The prohibition of being within four Amos of the deceased is a Rabbinical decree. [See Shach 371:18]

[173] Michaber 369:1; 371:1 in greater detail

[174] Rama 371:5

[175] Shach 371:19 in name of Bach

[176] See Nitei Gavriel 130:20

[177] Michaber 371:5

[178] Michaber 369:1; 371:1 in greater detail

[179] Igros Kodesh

[180] Nitei Gavriel 76:11 in name of Dudaei Hasadeh 21; See Makor Chesed 450:2 on Sefer Chassidim 450 that there is Talmudic basis for this custom of a Kohen visiting the grave from a distance, as the Gemara in Bava Basra 58b states that Abayey came to the Kever of Tuvi Bar Masan, and Abayey was a Kohen, as he was from the family of Eily, as stated in Yevamos 105b;  Likewise, in Brachos 18b it states that Shmuel went to the courtyard of the grave, and Shmuel was a Kohen as understood from Megillah 22a

[181] For a thorough analysis on this subject see: Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2:91; Shulchan Menachem 5:330; Ishkavta Derebbe p. 103; Kovetz Beis Aron Veyisrael 76 p. 116 and the sources mentioned there.

Background:

The Ramban [Emor] states that “those which pass away through Neshika do not give off impurity, as only those that die due to the bite of the Nachash have impurity. This then is the meaning that Tzaddikim don’t give impurity.” This is likewise brought in the Zohar [Vayishlach 168]; Chinuch Mitzvas 263; Panim Yafos Chukas; A similar statement is brought in Midrash Mishleiy 9:2 that Eliyahu Hanavi [who is a Kohen] buried Rebbe Akiva. When asked by Rebbe Yehoshua on what basis did he allow himself to deal with the corpse Eliyahu replied “             By my life Rebbe Yehoshua my son, G-d forbid, Tzaddikim do not have impurity and neither do their students.” However, the Tosfos [Bava Metzia 114b] explains that in truth the real allowance was because Rebbe Akiva was considered a Meis Mitzvah. Alternatively, says Tosfos, Eliyahu was not a Kohen at all, but rather from the children of Rachel.

[182] Halachos Ketanos 1:177; Pischeiy Teshuvah 372:2; Alef Hamagen 581:111; Peas Hashulchan 2:18; Kitzur SHU”A 202:14; Tuv Taam Vadaas 2:231; Netza Shorek 108; Sheiris Yehuda [brother of Baal Hatanya] Miluim 35; Igros Kodesh 11:220; 6:348; Likkutei Sichos 18:234 [brought in Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag 3:150; Shulchan Menachem 5:330] Shaareiy Tzedek by Chayeh Adam; Divrei Yechezkel 1; Zayis Ranan 2:27; Rav Shmuel Salant [is Biblical prohibition], brought in Tzitz Eliezer 10:1; Ishkavta Derebbe p. 103; See Sdei Chemed Asifas Dinim Eretz Yisrael; Aveilus; Rosh Hashanah that majority of Achronim which he brings are stringent.

The reason: As the burial site of Tzaddikim give off impurity. [Tosfos Bava Metzia 114b]

[183] To touch the grave is a Biblical prohibition. [Rambam Tumas Meis 2:15; Sheiris Yehuda ibid] To be within four Amos of the grave is a Rabbinical prohibition. [Michaber 371:5; Sotah 44a] To be within the same building as the grave [Ohel] is a Biblical prohibition. [Rambam Tumas Meis 2:15; Michaber 371:1] See there however regarding if the Kever is surrounded by a Golel and Dofek.

[184] Brought in Sdei Chemed ibid; Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag ibid; The following Poskim justify the practice of those Kohanim that visit the gravesite of a Tzaddik: Minchas Elazar 3:64 based on Arizal; Mahrash Alfandri 1:23; Pnei David of Chida; Igara Dekala Behaloscha [brought in Nitei Gavriel ibid] that so is the custom of Kohanim in Eretz Yisrael; Sheiris Yehuda ibid mentions that the custom in Eretz Yisrael is to visit the gravesite of the Tanaaim, however he explains the reason is because it was built with Poseiach Tefach and hence the Tuma does not spread.

The reason: The burial grounds of Tzaddikim do not give off Tuma. [Ramban Emor; Zohar Vayishlach 168; Chinuch Mitzvas 263; Panim Yafos Chukas; Midrash Mishleiy 9:2] Alternatively, we assume the Aron is built in a way that the Tuma escapes [Poseiach Tefach] and there are Poskim that say the impurity today is only Rabbinical and hence for the great Mitzvah of Hishtatchus we are lenient. [Minchas Elazar ibid]

Opinion of Arizal: There is a story recorded of the Arizal sending a student which was a Kohen to Daven by the gravesite of one of the Tanaaim. The Minchas Elazar ibid uses this as a proof that it is allowed to do so. See Nitei Gavriel ibid for a list of Poskim who argue on this assertion.

[185] Alef Hamagen ibid; Nitei Gavriel 91:1 that the Poskim conclude it is forbidden.

[186] Teshuvah of the Maharil [printed in Hatamim 6:38; Shut Sheiris Yehuda Hosafos 35] writes that it is a Biblical prohibition even if the person buried is a Tzaddik Gamur, and only regarding the Rabbinical prohibition of being near [within 4 Amos] of the grave can one be lenient due to the great Mitzvah of going to Kivrei Tzaddikim. However even regarding this matter he concludes that one is to fix whatever is able to be fixed and hence he directed that in Haditch a Mechitza is to be established to allow Kohanim to come to the Ohel even Rabbinically. In Lubavitch the Ohel had signs stating “until here may Kohanim walk”. [Rebbe ibid; Ishkavta Derebbe ibid]

[187] Letters printed in Shulchan Menachem ibid and Shaareiy Halacha Uminhag ibid based on Teshuvah of the Maharil and so directed the Rebbe that a Mechitza be built surrounding the Ohel of his father in law. [Ishkavta Derebbe ibid] See also Likkutei Sichos 18:234 footnote 55; Hisvadyos 1951:172; Sichas Yud Shvat 1954

[188] Alef Hamagen 581:11; Certainly, their prayers will be answered in merit of the Tzaddik just as if they were standing near the grave itself. [ibid]; See Makor Chesed 450:2 on Sefer Chassidim 450 that there is Talmudic basis for this custom of a Kohen visiting the grave from a distance, as the Gemara in Bava Basra 58b states that Abayey came to the Kever of Tuvi Bar Masan, and Abayey was a Kohen, as he was from the family of Eily, as stated in Yevamos 105b;  Likewise, in Brachos 18b it states that Shmuel went to the courtyard of the grave, and Shmuel was a Kohen as understood from Megillah 22a

[189] This is based on a known tradition handed down from many generations. The reason for the allowance is because the Avos are buried inside a cave within a cave in a way that does not give off impurity. [Heard from Rav Asher Lemel Cohen and that so was the custom of his father [a great Gaon and Posek in Jerusalem] Rav Avraham Hirsh; See Yoreh Deah 371:1; Rambam Tumas Meis 20:1] See Igros Kodesh 11:220 that although in general a Kohen may not enter near the grave of Tzaddikim, regarding entering specific gravesites of Tzaddikim one is to verify by trustworthy people that have a tradition in this matter. Rav Yaakov Bloy z”l of the Eida Hachareidis stated that many are lenient regarding these areas. [Kovetz Beis Aaron Veyisrael 76 p. 116]

[190] Minchas Elazar 3:64 based on Baba Basra 58a [There it states that the Kevarim of the Avos were marked to beware Kohanim from the area]

The reason: As the head of Esav, which was Jewish Heretic, was buried there, and he certainly gives off impurity. However the Tzaddikim themselves don’t give off impurity. [ibid] The Admur of Satmar was stringent like this opinion. [Koveitz Beis Aaron Veyisrael ibid]

[191] Heard directly from Rav Asher Lemel Cohen and that so was the custom of his father [a great Gaon and Posek in Jerusalem] Rav Avraham Hirsh Cohen [unlike that which was printed in his name in Beis Aaron Veyisrael ibid]; Nitei Gavriel 91:2 that so is the ruling of most Gedolei Yisrael [Admurim of Belz; Satmar; Lubavitch; Rav Moshe Feinstein; Minchas Yitzchak; Rav SZ”A.] Zayis Ranan 2:27; Rav Shmuel Salant [is Biblical prohibition], brought in Tzitz Eliezer 10:1; Nisivei Am [Minhagei Yerushalayim Beis Keil] 372; Yalkut Yosef 7:281 in name of Yabia Omer and Yechaveh Daas

[192] See Tzitz Eliezer 16:18 [Many Gedolim allowed Kohanim to visit Kever Rachel]; See Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2:91-2 footnote 3 for opinions that allowed going to Kever Rachel; Rav Yaakov Bloy z”l of the Eida Hachareidis stated that many are lenient regarding these areas. [See Kovetz Beis Aaron Veyisrael 76 p. 116]

[193] Nitei Gavriel 91:2 that so is the ruling of most Gedolei Yisrael [Admurim of Belz; Satmar; Lubavitch; Rav Moshe Feinstein; Minchas Yitzchak; Rav SZ”A.]

The Rebbe’s opinion: As stated above, the Rebbe [Igros Kodesh 11:220] writes that every individual Kever requires a particular tradition regarding it. Regarding the Tziyon in Meiron Rav Naftali Hakohen Rot relates that when he had his first private audience with the Rebbe the Rebbe asked him if he enters into the Tziyon of Rashbi. When he answered affirmatively the Rebbe wondered at this with a great exclamation. The Rebbe then asked him why he does so and he did not reply. The Rebbe said that perhaps there is a special arraignment by the Tziyon to allow Kohanim, such as an Ohel within an Ohel. Nonetheless from that point and on Rav Naftali Rot stopped entering into the Tziyon in Meiron. [Koveitz Beis Aaron Veyisrael ibid]

[194] As there are unknown graves buried in many areas of the mountain.

[195] See Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2:91-2 footnote 3 that many Kohanim have a tradition that it is permitted to enter and that so was practiced by many Kohanim of esteemed lineage; Torah scholarship and knowledge of Kabala. See there for the opinions that defend the practice of going into the Tziyon. I heard from Rav Asher Lemel Cohen that Kohanim may enter into the building as there is a tradition that the Tziyon was built in a way which allows the impurity to escape [Poseiach Tefach] and hence there is no status of an Ohel.

[196] This is a recent development. In prior times access was made either through driving a car until the Ohel [Ohel Zaruk-see Igros Kodesh 6:348] or having Levim and Yisraelim surround the Kohen, hence forming a Mechitza. [See Igros Kodesh 3:342; Hiskashrus 884] Later on a special box of ten Tefach high that surrounded the Kohanim would be used to enter through the path until the Tziyon. Recently a Mechitza was put up on both sides hence dividing the path from the impurity of the cemetery completely.

[197] Hence avoiding the prohibition of an Ohel for the Kohanim.

[198] Yoreh Deah 371:5; Igros Kodesh 6:348; Ishkavta Derebbe p. 106

Background

The Michaber ibid states that although it is [Rabbinically] forbidden for a Kohen to be within four Amos of a Kever, nevertheless if it is surrounded by a wall of ten Tefach high then one is only required to distance oneself four Tefach from the Kever.

[199] As when the Tomb stone was built it was distanced more than four Tefach from the body and hence it acts as part of the Mechitza to allow Kohanim to be next to it. [Heard from Rav Asher Lemel Cohen who verified the matter through those in charge of the Ohel.]

[200] Harav Asher Lemel Cohen; the Rebbe would direct Kohanim to be careful regarding these last two matters. [Hiskashrus 884] Regarding if they may touch the wall-see Rama 371 :5 that the Kohen may touch the walls of a house that contains a corpse.

[201] Minchas Yitzchak 10:42; Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2:84-4

[202] Pashut as there is no source for forbidding it, and so is proved from the fact the Poskim [below] bring that even the wife of a Kohen that is pregnant may enter a cemetery, and as writes the Kneses Hagedola [brought in Birkeiy Yosef 343:4] that even by the pregnant wife of a Kohen those who are stringent are doing Minhag Borus [custom of ignorance], hence certainly the wife of a Yisrael is allowed.

[203] This custom has no known source. A number of possible reasons are suggested: 1) Perhaps this is due to the fact that it is proper for the pregnant wife of a Kohen to avoid a cemetery, and hence we see that the fetus can receive impurity. Now since we await the rebuilding of the Temple every day the women avoid going to a cemetery, as if the Temple is rebuilt while they are still pregnant they will be able to give over their pure sons to perform the necessary actions required for the Para Aduma. [Minchas Yitzchak ibid; See Parah Mishneh 3:2] 2) Alternatively, it is because they desire to avoid any impurity during the pregnancy. [Nitei Gavriel ibid; See Sheivet Hamussar 24]

[204] Poskim ibid based on Rashba that we do not differ a tradition received from righteous women even if we have 600,000 proofs against it. [brought in Heishiv Moshe 13]

[205] Nitei Gavriel ibid

[206] Heard from Rav Asher Lemel Hakohen

[207] Shach Y.D. 371:1; Rokeiach 366; M”A 343:2; Radbaz 200; Kneses Hagedola [brought in Birkeiy Yosef 343:4-there he writes it’s a Minhag Borus to be stringent] Derech Hachaim; Chochmas Adam 160:1; Kitzur SHU”A 202:15; M”B 343:3; See Pischeiy Teshuvah 371:1; Gilyon Maharsha 371; Darkei Chesed p. 208

The reason: As there is a Safek Sfeika; perhaps the fetus is a female and perhaps it will be a stillborn. [Shach ibid; Rokeiach ibid] Alternatively a fetus cannot receive impurity as it is considered within a Beis Hablia. [M”A ibid; Radbaz 200, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 371:1; See there that even the Rokeiach agrees to this.] Others however argue that a fetus is considered part of the mother [Yerech Imo] and hence can contract impurity even during pregnancy. [Birkeiy Yosef 343:1]

[208] Birkeiy Yosef 343:4; Kaf Hachaim 343:4; Minchas Yitzchak 1042

The reason: As if in truth the child is a boy he contracts impurity. [This is proven from fact the Rokeiach only allows it due to Safek Sfeika. See previous footnote for the dispute regarding Beis Hablia] Hence, it is proper to initially avoid doing so. [ibid]

[209] As then there is no longer a Safek Sfeika according to the Rokeiach [as learns Birkeiy Yosef ibid], although according to many Poskim this would still remain permitted being that the fetus is considered within a Beis Hablia, as brought from M”A ibid and Radbaz ibid and so is evident from other Poskim mentioned in next footnote] See Even Yisrael 8:77 that deals with this question in regards to giving birth in a hospital that is not careful about Tumas Meis. He concludes there that ultrasounds are not 100% accurate, and that it is for the needs of a Yoledes who is in Sakana and hence she may choose to go to whatever hospital she wishes. Nevertheless, she is not initially to take an ultrasound and hence remove the Safek Sfeika. This is all with regards to which hospital to give birth and does not relate to a pregnant woman entering a Beis Hakevaros if she knows the child is male. It is understood that in such a case there are more Poskim who rule stringently.

[210] Sheilas Yaavetz 2:174 forbids in such a case [as the child may be born]; opinion in Darkei Chesed p. 208; Most Poskim however permit even in such a case, as the Safek Sfeika still remains. [M”B 343:3; Radbaz ibid brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid, that this was the original case of allowance written by the Rokeiach; Betzeil Hachochmah 3:105]

[211] See previous footnotes; and so ruled to me Harav Asher Lemel Cohen that practically it is not accustomed to be stringent.

[212] See Taharah Kehalacha 14:129; Nitei Gavriel Aveilus Vol. 2 84; Piskeiy Teshuvos 88:9

[213] Pischeiy Teshuvah Y.D. 195:19 in name of Chamudei Daniel; Chayeh Adam 3:38; Aruch Hashulchan 195:28; Kaf Hachaim 88:12; Kitzur Dinei Taharah 3:25

The reason: This is due to the impurity found in a cemetery which can attach itself to the woman during Nidda. [Peri Hasadeh 4:94] See Hakdama of Shut Mahram Shick for a frightening episode that occurred with the daughter of the Mahram Shick when she visited her mother’s grave despite being a Nidda, and against the wishes of her father. The Mahram Shick testifies that he had to use G-d’s holy names in order to save her from damage.
Dam Besulin: A Kallah may visit a cemetery when she is seeing blood of Dam Besulin. [See Divrei Moshe 1:54]

Dam Tohar: A woman after birth may go to a cemetery when seeing Dam Tohar [after her first Mikveh, before 40/80 days pass from birth of boy/girl]. [See Daas Torah 88]

[214] Chayeh Adam 3:38; M”B 88:7; Kaf Hachaim 88:12; Shiureiy Shevet Halevy p. 274; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid; See Nitei Gavriel ibid who also brings from: Tirosh Veyitzhar 146; Taharas Yisrael 195:51; Kneses Yechezkal Sefaradi “Nun” 89; Maharam Shick in Hakdama.

[215] Shulchan Melachim Dinei Nidda Veyoledes 5 [p. 35]; Peri Hasadeh 4:93 [questions Chayeh Adam]; Taharah Kehalacha ibid footnote 279; See Nitei Gavriel ibid that also brings from: Chemdas Moshe 62; Leket Hakemach 88; Beir Mordechai 195; Divrei Shalom 4:154; Poskim brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 73 and that so is Minhag Yerushalayim

[216] See Shulchan Melachim ibid “As otherwise any single girl or woman, whether she is still a Besula or is widowed or divorced will never be able to go to a cemetery”

[217] Shiureiy Shevet Halevi p. 274; Taharah Kehalacha ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[218] Daas Torah 88 in name of Chemdas Moshe 62; Shulchan Melachim Dinei Nidda Veyoledes 5 [p. 35]; Nitei Gavriel ibid; Taharah Kehalacha ibid

[219] Shiureiy Shevet Halevi ibid; Nitei Gavriel ibid; Taharah Kehalacha ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[220] Shulchan Melachim ibid; Nitei Gavriel ibid; Taharah Kehalacha

[221] Shulchan Melachim ibid; See Orchos Chaim 88 in name of Maharsham, brought in Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid footnote 76

[222] Taharah Kehalacha 14:130

[223] Chibas Yerushalayim Mamar “Ranenu Tzaddikim” 3, brought in Taharah Kehalacha ibid footnote 283; See Nitei Gavriel ibid that also brings from: Kneses Yechezkal Sefaradi “Nun” 89 that in Bagdad the custom was to avoid visiting Kivrei Tzaddikim until they went to Mikveh; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid that so was directive of Chida regarding Kever Rashbi

[224] Beir Mordechai in name of Asher Ledavid p. 35, brought in Taharah Kehalacha ibid footnote 283

[225] Taharah Kehalacha ibid; I was told by Rav Moshe Y. L. Landau, chief Rabbi of Bnei Brak, that practically this is the custom a woman is to follow and hence they are not to go to the Ohel when seeing an actual flow, but they may go during the other days.

[226] Taharah Kehalacha ibid in name of “Elderly women of prestige families” in Yerushalayim.

[227] No such prohibition or warning is mentioned in any of the Poskim

[228] So is accustomed by some families. There is no known source for this adherence, and it is seemingly similar to the adherence of some to not enter a cemetery while pregnant, due to the impurity.

[229] See Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2 85:5-12; Shulchan Menachem 5:328

[230] Custom recorded in Tirosh Veyitzhar 146; Dudaei Sadeh 38; Mishmeres Shalom Hei 132 [however states that if never went before then permitted]; Maharam Brisk 44; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel ibid footnote

The reason: The reason for this is due to worry that the parent will be particular over the fact the child has not visited in so long and may even cause a persecution against the child above. [See Dudaei Sadeh ibid; Pnei Baruch 37 footnote 47]

Women: See Nitei Gavriel 84:9 for a dispute regarding if this applies also to married women who did not visit. See Igros Kodesh 24:338 which involved a question from a woman. It is however unclear if she was single or married.

[231] Afrasakta Deanya 168 in name of Divrei Chaim, however only regarding if all sons did not visit; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel ibid 84:5 footnote 6

[232] Darkei Chaim Veshalom 1012; Shem Mishimon 14 based on story in Zohar; Yosef Daas 355 based on fact Kaleiv visited Kivrei Avos after ten years; Yalkut Daas Vadin p. 159; Hisorerus Teshuvah Y.D. 187; Gesher Hachaim 29:16; Divrei Yoel 104; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel ibid 84:5 footnote 8

[233] Likkutei Sichos 20:647; Toras Menachem 3:267 “The custom used to be not to visit and now the custom is to visit after sending a messenger” [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:328]

[234] Tirosh Veyitzhar 146; Hisorerus Teshuvah Y.D. 187; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 85:11 footnote 15; Likkutei Sichos 20:647 “Some are accustomed to send a messenger and give charity even though this is not necessary”; Toras Menachem 3:267 “The custom used to be not to visit and now the custom is to visit after sending a messenger”; [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:328] This advice was not mentioned in Igros Kodesh 24:338

[235] Likkutei Sichos 20:647 “Some are accustomed to send a messenger and give charity even though this is not necessary”; Igros Kodesh 24:338 “Give charity before and after. [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:328] In the above letter [Igros Kodesh 24:338] the Rebbe advised a woman who had not visited the grave in seven years to a) immerse in a Mikveh that day, before going. b) Fix the Matzeiva or a matter of the like; c) Give charity before and afterwards.

[236] Tirosh Veyitzhar 146; Dudaei Sadeh 38; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 85:12 footnote 17

[237] M”A 559:15 in name of Arizal; Chayeh Adam 138:8; Misgeres Hashulchan 344:16; Alef Hamagen 581:109; Kaf Hachaim 581:90; See Chikrei Minhagim p. 273; Nitei Gavriel 86:3-4

[238] One who visits the cemetery prior to immersion causes the Kelipos to cleave to him. [ibid]

[239] See Chayeh Adam 135:22; M”B ibid

[240] Mishmeres Shalom Hei 29 in name of Yifei Laleiv; Nitei Gavriel 80:7

[241] Mishmeres Shalom Hei 29 in name of Maharsham; Nitei Gavriel 80:8

[242] See Darkei Chesed p. 275; Nitei Gavriel Chapter 67

[243] See Gesher Hachaim 1:29; Nitei Gavriel Aveilus Vol. 2 86:2; See Chikrei Minhagim 4:121 for a lengthy discussion on this subject; Hiskashrus 703 footnote 25 and 885

[244] Alef Hamagen 581:109; Gesher Hachaim 1 29:4 in name of Maaneh Lashon; Yalkut Avraham 581; Luach Dvar Yom Beyomo; Likkutei Tzevi Kol Bo p. 244

[245] Custom in Alef Hamagen ibid; Yalkut Avraham 581

[246] The reason: Fasting is problematic, as it appears similar to the forbidden procedure of arousing the dead [Doreish El Hameisim] which consists of fasting and then sleeping overnight near the grave. [Sanhedrin 65b] Thus, to avoid this issue, the above Poskim write that some are accustomed to taste something before they enter but not to actually eat a meal. [ibid]

[247] Sefer Haminhagim p. 168 [English]; Igros Kodesh 3:279; 9:301 [regarding Kivrei Avos- See Hiskashrus 885]; 24:263 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:327]; Igros Kodesh Rayatz 6:282; See Hiskashrus 703 footnote 25 regarding the

Custom of Rebbe Rashab: The Rebbe Rayatz records that when the Rebbe Rashab visited the Ohel of the Baal Shem Tov in Mezibuz he was fasting. [Igros Kodesh Rayatz ibid; See also Likkutei Dibburim 4:37 p. 1354 that the Rebbe Rayatz was fasting when he visited the Ohel] The Rebbe commented on this that it requires further analysis if this is a directive for the public being that he was told by the Rebbe Rayatz to drink.

[248] The Rebbe once told a Bochur who ate prior to visiting the Ohel that he needs mercy/Rachmanus. [Hosafos to Sichas Kodesh 5710 p. 226] In Igros Kodesh 24:263 the Rebbe implies that if one does eat beforehand, it is better that he does not visit the Ohel.

[249] Rav Binyamin Klein said that there were times that the Rebbe ate chocolate prior to visiting. [Hiskashrus ibid footnote 25]; Rabbi Leibel Groner related that Rabbi Yehuda Kalman Marlow A”H ruled that one may eat foods with a blessing of Shehakol prior to visiting. [Rabbi Yossi Marlow Sheyich’ was unable to confirm this statement]; The Rebbe Rayatz ate Mezonos prior to visiting the Kever of the Arizal and Kever Rachel. [Hiskashrus ibid] See Hiskashrus 412 

[250] Nitei Gavriel 86 footnote 7

[251] M”A 559:15; Chayeh Adam 138:8; Alef Hamagen 581:109; Kaf Hachaim 581:90; Nitei Gavriel 86:3-4; See Chikrei Minhagim 4:121 for a lengthy discussion on this subject

[252] One who visits the cemetery prior to immersion causes the Kelipos to cleave to him. [ibid]

[253]  Pela Yoetz 9; Nimukeiy Orach Chaim 559:10; Custom of Chida, brought in Magal Tov p. 94; Igros Kodesh 9:301; 24:263 [the Rebbe gave a directive to the asker to immerse prior to visiting the Ohel]; So is recorded of the Rebbe Rashab, upon visiting the Ohel of the Baal Shem Tov, that he searched for a Kosher Mikveh and immersed in it prior to the visitation. [Igros Kodesh Rayatz 6:280] See Igros Kodesh 9:301 that one is to immerse on the day he visits his father’s Kever; See also Sefer Hasichos 5705:111; Nitei Gavriel ibid

[254] Chikrei Minhagim p. 274

[255] Moed Lechol Chaiy 12:4; Custom of Chida, brought in Magal Tov p. 94; Nitei Gavriel 92:5

[256] Igros Kodesh 24:263, brought in Shulchan Menachem 5:173

[257] M”A 4:20 in name of Teshuvos Maharil; M”B 4:42

[258] See Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:25 footnote 247

[259] Seder Birchas Hanehenin 13:11; Luach 12:18; Michaber 224:12; Brachos 58b; Alef Hamagen 581:109; Nitei Gavriel 85

[260] Nussach in Seder ibid; See Beis David 93 and Kaf Hachaim 224:48 for additional versions

The following additional Nussach is added in Maaneh Lashon [Mavor Yabok Sifsei Rinanos 20; Shach 376:6 regarding Levaya; Nitei Gavriel 85:1 that one should say Morid Hatal in summer]

אתה גיבור לעולם אדני, מחיה מתים אתה, רב להושיע מכלכל חיים בחסד מחיה מתים ברחמים רבים, סומך נופלים, ורופא חולים, ומתיר אסורים, ומקים אמונתו לישני עפר. מי כמוך בעל גבורות ומי דומה לך, מלך ממית ומחייה ומצמיח ישועה: ונאמן אתה להחיות מתים.

[261] Seder 13:13; Luach 12:19; Michaber 224:13; Tur and Rosh; Tosfos Brachos 54a

[262] Admur Seder ibid in parentheses and Luach 12:5; Abudarham, brought in M”A 218:4; Elya Raba 218:2; Mateh Yehuda 224:2; Nimukei Orach Chaim 224

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that we do not include into the thirty days the day in which the original sighting and blessing took place. Accordingly, if the blessing was recited on Sunday, it may only be repeated on Wednesday, four weeks later. [M”A 218:4; Implication of Levush 218; Chayeh Adam 68:4; Aruch Hashulchan 218:5; Kaf Hachaim 218:12 that so rule Achronim; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 218:4; Nitei Halachos 82:2]

[263] Admur Seder and Luach ibid; Olas Tamid 224:6; Elya Raba end of 225; Mateh Yehuda ibid; Yad Eliyahu 30 based on M”A ibid, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 224:9; Pischeiy Teshuvah 224 in name of Amudei Or; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 224:38; Implication of M”B 224:17; Nimukei Orach Chaim 224:4 “Safek Brachos Lihakel”; See Nitei Gavriel 73:4; 85:4-5

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule a blessing is recited upon seeing another grave. [Halachos Ketanos 1:112; Birkeiy Yosef 224:6 in name of Radaz 2:296 and Rav Avraham Azulai; Beir Heiytiv 224:9; Shaareiy Teshuvah 224:9; Leket Yosher Y.D. p. 99; Orchos Chaim of Rav Avraham Halevi; Shulchan Hatahor 224:5; Kitzur SHU”A 60:12; Birchas Habayis 29:8; Aruch Hashulchan 224:8; Keren Ledavid 58; Yabia Omer 5:7; Beir Moshe 2:17; Many Rishonim and Achronim in Nitei Gavriel 73:4 footnote 10-11; 85:4-8; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 224:11 footnote 58]

[264] The reason: As all the corpses have the same status and all receive the same judgment. It is not similar to the honor of a king and wisdom of a Sage which differentiates between kings and Sages, and hence it suffices to recite one blessing each day. [Admur in Luach ibid; Yad Eliyahu ibid]

[265] Luach ibid

[266] See Q&A for a dispute in this matter!

[267] Luach 12:18 [omitted from Seder 13:11]; Michaber 224:12; Brachos 58b; See Nimukei Orach Chaim 224

[268] Yirmiya 50:12

[269] Setimas Kol Haposkim; Aruch Hashulchan 224:8 regarding a Kohen and one who is driving that he may say the blessing from a distance; Piskeiy Teshuvos 224:10

[270] See Ashel Avraham Butchach 224 who questions if one must be inside the cemetery; Aruch Hashulchan ibid that he is to initially enter the cemetery and recite it within four Amos of the grave; Likkutei Maharich Seder Brachos; Birchas Habayis 29:8; Gesher Hachaim p. 311; Tzitz Eliezer 7:49; Betzeil Hachochma 3:40; Beir Moshe 2:13; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 3:80; Piskeiy Teshuvos 224:10

[271] Aruch Hashulchan ibid; See Poskim in previous footnote; Nitei Gavriel 73:3 footnote 8 and 85 footnote 17

The reason: Although it is forbidden to recite a blessing while inside the cemetery or within four Amos of a grave due to Loeg Larash [See Michaber Y.D. 367:3 and 6] nevertheless, this blessing may and should be recited specifically within the cemetery, and may be said even within four Amos of the grave.

[272] Aruch Hashulchan ibid; Nitei Gavriel 85:10

[273] Radbaz 2:296, brought in Beir Heiytiv 224:8

[274] Halachos Ketanos 1:212, brought in Beir Heiytiv ibid; Yad Eliyahu 31, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 224:9; Aruch Hashulchan 224:8; M”B 224:16; Piskeiy Teshuvos 224:10; Nitei Gavriel 85:2 concludes to recite without Shem Umalchus

[275] Poskim ibid

[276] Peri Haretz 1:7, brought in Birkeiy Yosef 224:4, Shaareiy Teshuvah 224:9, Kaf Hachaim 224:37; Nitei Gavriel 85:9

[277] Tzeror Hakesef 1, brought in Birkeiy Yosef ibid, Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid, Kaf Hachaim ibid; Amudei Or 4; Sdei Chemed Asifas Dinim Brachos 2:17

[278] Kaf Hachaim ibid; Betzel Hachochmah 2:14; Piskeiy Teshuvos 224:11

[279] Maharikash in name of Radbaz 3:569, brought in Birkeiy Yosef 224:5, Shaareiy Teshuvah 224:9; Mamar Mordechai 224:4; Nimukei Orach Chaim 224 that this applies according to all; Aruch Hashulchan 224:8; Kaf Hachaim 224:39; Piskeiy Teshuvos 224:11; Rishonim and Poskim brought in Nitei Gavriel 85:6 footnote 13

[280] See Nimukei Orach Chaim ibid

[281] Birkeiy Yosef ibid in name of Halachos Ketanos, brought in Shaareiy Teshuvah 224:9; Rav SZ”A in Halichos Shlomo 23:34

[282] Mahariy Asad Y.D. 371:1; Pesach Hadvir; Sdei Chemed Brachos 2:17; Kaf Hachaim 224:48; Piskeiy Teshuvos 224:10; See Nitei Gavriel 85:12

[283] Halachos Ketanos 1:212

[284] Conclusion of Halachos Ketanos 2:178; Kaf Hachaim 224:40; Nitei Gavriel 85:12

[285] Kaf Hachaim 224:37 in name of Ashel Avraham; Pnei Baruch Onen 12; Poskim in Nitei Gavriel 73:1 footnote 5

Other customs: See other customs brought in Nitei Gavriel ibid.

[286] The reason: As before the burial, the Onen is exempt from all Mitzvos and after the burial, since he was exempt at the original sighting, he remains exempt afterwards as well. [Poskim ibid]

[287] Rama 581:7; M”A 52581: 17; Igros Kodesh 24:363

[288] M”A 581:17; Rashal; Shlah 213; Mateh Moshe 789; Kneses Hagedola 581:10; Elya Raba 581:39; M”B 581:27; Kaf Hachaim 581:97

[289] Ishkavta Derebbe p. 107; Nitei Gavriel 90:5

[290] Seder Maaneh Lashon; Birkeiy Yosef 224:7 in name of his grandfather the Chesed Leavraham; Shaareiy Teshuvah 224:8; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13; Nitei Gavriel 67:2; See Sheiris Yehuda Miluim 35 that the custom of Hishtatchus is to actually touch or lean on the grave.

[291] Minchas Elazar 1:64 based on Kisvei Arizal; Sheiris Yehuda ibid

[292] Hiskashrus 884 based on Reshimos of Rebbe Rayatz regarding the custom of his father in Lubavitch

[293] Elya Raba 224:7; Beir Heiytiv 224:8 in name of Drashos Maharam Minoshtite 490; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13; Kaf Hachaim 224:41; 581:92; Alef Hamagen 581:110; Nitei Gavriel 67:2

[294] Birkeiy Yosef 224:7 in name of his grandfather the Chesed Leavraham; Shaareiy Teshuvah 224:8; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13; Torah Lishma 520; Kaf Hachaim 581:92; Alef Hamagen 581:110; Kaf Hachaim 224:42; See Seder Maaneh Lashon; Nitei Gavriel 67:2

[295] Shaar Hamitzvos Parshas Vayechi that if the deceased is not befitting then it is actually damaging for him

[296] Kaf Hachaim 224:43; See Nitei Gavriel 86:19; Mavor Yabok Sifsei Tzedek p. 55 [for Nussach of Hashkavos]; Rav Poalim 4:38 [defends custom despite words of Arizal]

[297] Bach Y.D. 217 “One may Daven by the grave of one’s forefathers to be saved from punishment in their merit”; Drashos Maharil; Elya Raba 581:39; Machatzis Hashekel 581:16; M”B 581:27;

Other Opinions: The Ritva writes that one is not to Daven inside a cemetery due to the prohibition of Loeg Larash and rather he is to Daven outside the cemetery. [Machazik Bracha 581:7; Kaf Hachaim 581:91]

[298] Peri Megadim 581:16 based on the prayers found in the Maaneh Lashon; Kaf Hachaim 581:95 and 98 based on Shlah; Minchas Elazar 1:68 [brings many proofs from Midrashim; Talmud; Zohar]; Alef Hamagen 581:113; Minchas Yitzchak 8:53;  Piskeiy Teshuvos 581:21; See Maharam Shick 293 for a list of opinions on this matter; See Taanis 16a “So they arouse mercy on our behalf”; Sefer Chassidim 450 “In addition, when asked, the souls in heaven pray on behalf of those alive.”; Zohar Terumah p. 141b; Nitei Gavriel 86:14

Other Opinions: Some Poskim are of the opinion that it is forbidden to ask the Tzaddik to intervene on ones behalf due to Doresh El Hameisim and one may only pray to Hashem in the merit of the Tzaddik. [See Drashos Maharil; Elya Raba 581:39; Levush 579; Machatzis Hashekel 581:16; M”E 581:50; M”B 581:27; Kitzur SHU”A 128:13 which writes one is not to place his focus on the Tzaddik. See also Bach Y.D. 217 “One may Daven by the grave of one’s forefathers to be saved from punishment in their merit

[299] Sefer Haminhagim p. 117 [English]

[300] The “Maaneh Lashon” is mentioned in numerous Poskim. [See Beis Lechem Yehuda 391:7; Peri Megadim 581 A”A 16; Lechem Hapanim 376] The earliest printed Maaneh Lashon that I have found was published in 1627 and can be found on www.hebrewbooks.org:9445. See Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 2:86 footnote 23 for all the different dialects and the differences of the Seder compiled by the Mittler Rebbe and others. The Chabad Nussach of Maaneh Lashon contains the following: Tehillim 33; Nishmas until Yishtabach; Tehillim 90-Vayehi Noam etc; Tehillim 25; 34; 111; 112;119; 120-134; 142; 143; Vayehi Noam-Yoshev Beseiser-Ana Bekoach.

[301] One can download a PDF of the Chabad Maaneh Lashon [Kehos 2000] at: www.hebrewbooks.org:15693

[302] Otzer Minhagei Chabad 48

[303] Hiskashrus 884 based on Reshimos of Rebbe Rayatz regarding the custom of his father in Lubavitch

[304] Darkei Chesed p. 275; See Nitei Gavriel 67:4-9

[305] Darkei Chesed ibid; Gesher Hachaim 29; Nitei Gavriel 67 footnote 13 [and so writes Seder Minhagei Yahrzeit Chabad based on this] that so was the custom of the Rebbe; Nitei Gavriel 67:9; 86:15 footnote 23 in length for many different Minhagim

[306] Darkei Chesed ibid; See Siddur Beis Yaakov regarding a Yahrzeit; Nitei Gavriel 67:4 in name of Sefarim [see there that some also say Tehillim corresponding to the word Ben in 119]

[307] Darkei Chesed ibid, and so is printed in the Maaneh Lashon to be said when visiting the Kever; ; See however Nitei Gavriel 67 footnote 13 who writes the Chabad custom is like the previous Minhag [and so writes Seder Minhagei Yahrzeit Chabad based on this], to say Tehillim 33, 16, 17, 72, 91, 104, 130 and that so was done by the Rebbe by the Matzeiva of the Rashag and the Rebbetzin; When the Rebbe was asked as to which Psalms to recite when erecting the Matzeiva, he directed the asker to ask Rabbanei Anash as to their custom. [See Igros Kodesh 4:173]

[308] Darkei Chesed p. 275; Nitei Gavriel 67:5-6

[309] See previous footnotes

[310] Darkei Chesed p. 275

[311] Darkei Chesed p. 275; Nitei Gavriel 67:5

[312] Nitei Gavriel 72:6

[313] See Michaber 394:1; Moed Katan 27b; Nitei Gavriel 67:23

[314] Torah Lishma 520; Seder Maaneh Lashon; Betzel Hachochmah 4:29; Nitei Gavriel 67:3; 76:6

[315] M”A 581:16; Aguda; Shlah 213; Kneses Hagedola 581:10; Mateh Moshe 789; M”B 581:27; Kaf Hachaim 581:92; Nitei Gavriel 86:18

[316] This is based on a story of a woman who once had a sick child and she encircled the Azara and he recovered. [Aguda ibid]

[317] Drashos Maharash [teacher of Maharil]; Elya Raba 224:7; Kitzur Shlah Miseches Rosh Hashanah; Beir Heiytiv 224:8; Kaf Hachaim 224:41; 581:92

[318] Hiskashrus 884; Rav Eli Landa relates that he never saw this custom amongst Anash; However, Rav Levi Garelik writes that some do place it

[319] See Beis Yosef 376 in name of Kol Bo 114; Orchos Chaim Avel; Mishmeres Shalom Zayin 51; Darkei Chaim Veshalom 783; Yabia Omer 4:35; Nitei Gavriel 80:16; 67:21

[320] Darkei Moshe 376

[321] Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[322] Admur 23:1-2; Michaber O.C. 23:1 and Y.D. 367:4; Brachos 18b regarding Tefillin and a Sefer Torah; Rabbeinu Yonah ibid

[323] The reason: As it appears like one is scoffing at the dead, as it expresses that they are poor and exempt from Mitzvos and are not able to fulfill them, while we do fulfill them. [23:1; Brachos 18a] The souls of the dead stand above their grave and are able to see the Tzitzis if they are revealed. [Arizal in Shaar Hamitzvos Vayechi; Kaf Hachaim 23:1]

Tying the Tzitzis strings to each other: Some are accustomed upon entering into a cemetery to tie the Tzitzis of two corners to each other in order to nullify the Mitzvah of Tzitzis from them [and hence allow one to enter the cemetery with the Tzitzis revealed]. However, in truth this does not help at all, as although the Tzitzis are tied to each other, nevertheless the Mitzvah of Tzitzis is not nullified through doing so, as he intends to return and untie them. [Admur 23:3; Michaber O.C. 23:2 and Y.D. 367:5; M”A 23:1]

[324] The reason, and custom in previous times: As today we only wear Tzitzis [both the Tallis Gadol and Katan] for the sake of the Mitzvah and not for the sake of garbing our body, and hence it is forbidden to enter a cemetery wearing them revealed, even if they do not drag on the grave, being that it appears to be scoffing the dead. However, in previous times, it was permitted to enter with a four cornered garment that had Tzitzis so long as the Tzitzis did not drag on the actual grave, as in those times all their clothing were made with four corners and had Tzitzis attached to them. It was hence not practical to require them to remove all their clothing upon entering a cemetery. [Admur 23:1-2; Michaber Y.D. 367:42] 

[325] Admur ibid; Michaber Y.D. 367:4; Poskim ibid

[326] Implication of Admur ibid; Shach 367:4; Taz 367:1; Bach 367; Rashal; Perisha; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 23:2

Custom of Terumas Hadeshen: The Terumos Hadeshen was accustomed to remove the Tallis Katan prior to entering into a cemetery. He did not suffice with it being covered under his clothing. [Leket Yosher p. 11]

[327] Admur 23:4; Michaber 23:3

[328] Admur 45:1 regarding Tefillin and the same would apply regarding Tzitzis

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to enter the cemetery so long as one is a distance of four Amos from the grave. [Poskim in Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[329] Admur ibid; Taz 23:1; Shach Yoreh Deah 344:11; Elya Raba 23:3; M”B 45:1; See Biur Halacha 45:1; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 23:4

The reason: As perhaps he will unknowingly enter into the four-cubit radius of a grave. [ibid]

[330] Admur ibid; Michaber Yoreh Deah 367:6; Rashba 3:300

The reason: As the wall separates the cemetery from the outside and thus there is no apparent act of scoffing by doing so. [ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to stand within four Amos of the cemetery even if he is outside the cemetery. [M”A 45:1]

[331] M”B 23:3 based implication of Beis Yosef

[332] P”M 23 [brought in M”B ibid]; implication of Bach and Perisha 23:1 in name of Rashal; Aruch Hashulchan 23:2

[333] Piskeiy Teshuvos 23:1

[334] Admur 45:1-2; Michaber O.C. 45:1 and Y.D. 367:2; Brachos 18a; See Piskeiy Teshuvos 45:1

[335] See Admur 45:2

[336] Admur 45:2; Michaber O.C. and Y.D. ibid; Rashba, brought in Beis Yosef 23

[337] Admur ibid; Taz 45:2; M”B 45:3; Kaf Hachaim 45:4

[338] Admur 45:1

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to enter the cemetery so long as one is a distance of four Amos from the grave. [Poskim in Kaf Hachaim ibid]

[339] Admur ibid; Taz 23:1; Shach Yoreh Deah 344:11; Elya Raba 23:3; M”B 45:1; See Biur Halacha 45:1; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 23:4

The reason: As perhaps he will unknowingly enter into the four-cubit radius of a grave. [ibid]

[340] Admur ibid; Michaber Yoreh Deah 367:6; Rashba 3:300

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to stand within four Amos of the cemetery even if he is outside the cemetery. [M”A 45:1]

[341] The reason: As the wall separates the cemetery from the outside and thus there is no apparent act of scoffing by doing so. [ibid]

[342] See M”B 23:5

[343] The reason: As the concept of Loeg Larash and Mitzvos do not apply to a gentile.

[344] Elya Raba 23:3 in name of Maharitz Tzehelin [Perek Eizehu Neshech 12a], brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 367:1; Peri Megadim 23 A”A 2; M”B 23:5

[345] The reason: As they are not liable in the Mitzvah of Tzitzis anytime in their life. [M”B ibid] and we do not suspect they have a Gilgul of a male soul. [Kaf Hachaim 23:3]

[346] Mishneh Lemelech 13:9; Tzelach Brachos 3b; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 23:3 that even Maharitz Tzehelin ruled its forbidden; Poskim in Pischeiy Teshuvah Yoreh Deah 367:1; Nitei Gavriel 87:2

[347] Elya Raba 23:3 in name of Maharit Tzehlin; Peri Megadim 23 A”A 2; M”B 23:5; Kaf Hachaim 23:3

[348] The reason: As perhaps the soul of a child is considered a Gadol. [ibid]

[349] Minchas Elazar 3:53; Devar Yehoshua 4:16; Tzitz Eliezer 10:10; 19:2; Piskeiy Teshuvos 23:1

[350] Pashut!; Piskeiy Teshuvos 23:1

[351] Piskeiy Teshuvos 45:1

[352] Ateres Zekeinim, brought in Kaf Hachaim 45:3, and M”B 45:2. However the Magen Giborim, also brought in M”B ibid argues and rules that even within the same room it is only forbidden when standing within four cubits of the corpse.

[353] Ateres Zekeinim, brought in Kaf Hachaim 45:3, and M”B 45:2. However the Magen Giborim, also brought in M”B ibid argues and rules that even within the same room it is only forbidden when standing within four cubits of the corpse.

[354] Michaber Y.D. 367:3 “One may not walk into a cemetery , or within four Amos of a corpse or Kever with a Sefer Torah in his hand and to read from it, or Daven”; Michaber 282:4 “One may not read from the Sefer Torah until he distances himself four Amos from the corpse or cemetery”; Rama 368:1 regarding “Viein Korin Viein Shonin” as learns Gr”a that it is due to Loeg Larash; So rule regarding Shema: Admur 71:6; Bach 71; Taz 71:5; Michaber 71:7; Brachos 18a; So rule regarding Davening: Michaber Y.D. 367:3 and 6;

[355] Shach 367:3; Rashal; Derisha 367; Bach 367

[356] The reason: This is forbidden due to the verse [Mishleiy 17:5] “Loeg Larash Cheref Oseihu.” [Admur ibid]

[357] Michaber 367:3

[358] Michaber Y.D. 367:3 “Even by heart one may not read words of Torah unless it is done for the honor of the dead”; 344:17 “It is permitted to speak words of Torah in relation to the deceased and in respect of the deceased even within his four cubits.”; Radbaz Chadashos 254; Birkeiy Yosef 344:7 “So is the custom amongst all Israel to say a Derush in front of the deceased and before the Kever and learn Torah there in his merit; Zechor Leavraham Lamed; Misgeres Hashulchan 344; Sdei Chemed 115; Kaf Hachaim 23:1 “If one learns by the Kever in honor of the deceased, there is no prohibition of “Loeg Larash,” as he is doing so for his honor.”; Minchas Elazar ibid that we Daven by Kivrei Tzaddikim in their honor and to elevate their soul and receive their assistance in elevating our prayers to Heaven; See Pesach Hadvir 45:4; Gesher Hachaim 29:10; Nitei Gavriel 76:8

Other opinions: See Tosfos Bava Kama 16b from whom it is implied that one may not learn Torah near a Kever even in honor of the deceased, unless he is a distance of four Amos from the grave. See Minchas Elazar ibid

[359] Nitei Gavriel ibid

[360] Michaber 367:6

[361] Michaber 367:6; Admur 45:2; Rashba 3:300

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to stand within four Amos of the cemetery even if he is outside the cemetery. [M”A 45:1]

[362] The reason: As the wall separates the cemetery from the outside and thus there is no apparent act of scoffing by doing so. [ibid]

[363] Chida in Shem Hagedolim Erech Elazar Ben Nasam? that the custom is to Daven near the Kevarim of Tzadikim; Minchas Elazar 3:53 that the custom is to Daven with a Minyan on Rosh Chodesh with sefer Torah by Kever Rachel, and the custom dating back many generations is to Daven near the Kever of Rashbi, and that so is permitted by all Kivrei Tzadikim and so is implied from Maharit Tzulin in Chidushim to that one may Daven near the Kever of Choni Hamagil; Devar Yehoshua 4:16; Tzitz Eliezer 10:10; 19:2; Even Yaakov 36; Piskeiy Teshuvos 23:1

[364] Michaber Y.D. 367:3 “Even by heart one may not read words of Torah unless it is done for the honor of the dead”; 344:17 “It is permitted to speak words of Torah in relation to the deceased and in respect of the deceased even within his four cubits.”; Radbaz Chadashos 254; Birkeiy Yosef 344:7 “So is the custom amongst all Israel to say a Derush in front of the deceased and before the Kever and learn Torah there in his merit; Zechor Leavraham Lamed; Misgeres Hashulchan 344; Sdei Chemed 115; Kaf Hachaim 23:1 “If one learns by the Kever in honor of the deceased, there is no prohibition of “Loeg Larash,” as he is doing so for his honor.”; Minchas Elazar ibid that we Daven by Kivrei Tzaddikim in their honor and to elevate their soul and receive their assistance in elevating our prayers to Heaven; Mishmeres Shalom Lamed 42 in name of Poskim; See Pesach Hadvir 45:4; Gesher Hachaim 29:10; Nitei Gavriel 10:8 footnote 15; Vol. 2 76:8

Other opinions: See Tosfos Bava Kama 16b from whom it is implied that one may not learn Torah near a Kever even in honor of the deceased, unless he is a distance of four Amos from the grave. See Minchas Elazar ibid

[365] Admur 23:1-2; 45:1; 71:6; Michaber Y.D. 367:6; Rashba 3:300; Minchas Elazar ibid

The reason: As the wall separates the cemetery from the outside and thus there is no apparent act of scoffing by doing so. [ibid]

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to stand within four Amos of the cemetery even if he is outside the cemetery. [M”A 45:1]

[366] See Emek Sheilasa 14:6 and Zekan Aaron 2:85 that since the Kever is dug more than ten Tefach, it is a different Reshus; Minchas Elazar ibid; Tzitz Eliezer ibid

[367] Minchas Elazar ibid

[368] See Tzelach Brachos 3 and 18; Minchas Elazar ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 23:1

[369] Michaber Y.D. 282:4 “One may not hold a Sefer Torah and enter a bathroom, bathhouse, or cemetery, even if it is bound and covered. In his bag.”; Taz 282:3; Noda Beyehuda Tinyana O.C. 109 that although this is not explicit in the Talmud or Poskim, so is the Halacha based on Rambam and Zohar and thus “Chalila to do so”; See Pischeiy Teshuvah 282:4; 367:2

[370] Implication of Michaber ibid, as explains Taz ibid; Beis Yosef Y.D. 382; Elya Raba 23:3; Pischeiy Olam 23:4; Kaf Hachaim 23:8; Poskim ibid

[371] Implication of Michaber 367:3 “In his hand and read from it”, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 282:4;

[372] 343:2

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

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

[375] Beis Hillel 343

[376] Rama ibid; Terumos Hadeshen ibid

[377] Besi Lechem Yehuda 3243; See Rama 385:1

The reason: As the greetings of today are not considered like the greetings of back then. [Beis Lechem Yehuda; 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] This allowance however only applies after the Shloshim. [See Elya Raba O.C. 554:20; See Q&A!]

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

[379] Elya Raba O.C. 554:20; See Beir Heiytiv 385:2 in previous footnote!

[380] Michaber 368:1

[381] The reason: This is forbidden to be done due to the respect for the deceased. [Shach 368:1]

[382] Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[383] Rama 368:1; Kol Bo

[384] The reason: This is forbidden to be done due to the prohibition of Kalus Rosh, and the obligation to respect the deceased. [Rama ibid as explained in Shach 368:1]

[385] Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[386] Rama Y.D. 368:1; Semag

[387] The reason: Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to eat and drink in a cemetery due to it being belittling of the dead. [Biur Hagr”a ibid; implication of Rama and Michaber ibid; Implication of Megillah 29; Aruch Hashulchan 368:1] Other Poskim rule it is forbidden being that cemeteries are forbidden in benefit, and hence one may not use it to benefit from food. [Gilyon Maharsha ibid; Rambam 14:13]

[388] Poskim in Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 92:4 footnote 5; See Eiruvin 31a “One may make an Eiruv for a Kohen with Tahor Terumah in a cemetery” thus proving there is no issue of impurity entering the food.

[389] Admur 45:1 regarding Tefillin and the same would apply in this regard; Implication of wording of Michaber ibid that the prohibition applies to the entire cemetery; Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1 regarding areas that have been designated as a cemetery, and certainly this would apply to all areas of the cemetery that are designated for burial.

[390] As Tzadikim are considered alive even when dead, as we find a similar allowance to Daven and wear Tefillin near the Kever of a Tzaddik

[391] So is the widespread custom in Eretz Hakodesh near all the Kivrei Tzadikim that have their own Tziyon.

[392] See Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[393] Rama Y.D. 368:1; Semag; Rambam, brought in Aruch Hashulchan 368:2;

[394] So is implied from Setimas Harama and Rambam ibid who lists the prohibition together with other matters that are forbidden due to Kalus Rosh and benefit, thus implying all subjects of reading are forbidden and not just subjects of Torah which contain the prohibition of Loeg Larash. So is also implied from the fact the Rama needed to repeat this prohibition even though the Michaber 367:3 already stated that learning is forbidden. However, some Poskim learn that this prohibition is simply due to Loeg Larash [See Biur Hagr”a 368; Aruch Hashulchan ibid] thus implying that it only refers to Torah learning; Vetzaruch Iyun

[395] Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[396] See that one who reads the writing on a grave forgets his learning; explains that this is specifically by protruding letters.

[397] Horiyos 13b; Peri Chadash O.C. 2; P”M 2 A”A 1; M”B 2:2; Nitei Gavriel 86:20

[398] Arizal in Taamei Hamitzvos Vayechi [in end]; Igros Kodesh 13:94

[399] Rama Y.D. 368:1; Beis Yosef in name of Rabbeinu Yerucham

[400] Shach 368:2

[401] The reason: This is forbidden to be done due to the prohibition of Kalus Rosh and obligation to respect the deceased. [Rama ibid as explained in Shach 368:1]

[402] Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[403] Michaber Y.D. 368:1

[404] Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[405] Michaber Y.D. 368:1

[406] Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[407] Michaber Y.D. 368:1

[408] Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:1

[409] See Rama 368:2; Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:4

[410] Michaber Y.D. 368:1; See Chasam Sofer 327, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:2 regarding if the congregation is Mochel

[411] The reason: This is forbidden out of respect for the deceased. [Rama ibid] It, however, is not forbidden due to being prohibited in benefit. This applies even according to the stringent opinion in 364:1, and it is hence permitted to be collected for certain needs, as explained below. [See Chasam Sofer 327, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:2]

[412] The reason: This burning is due to a fine, or in order so people do not suspect that one is taking the produce for self-use. [Shach 368:3]

[413] Bach 368, brought in Rav Akiva Eiger 368

[414] Implication of Rama 368:1 as explains Rav Akiva Eiger 368; Maharikash

[415] Michaber 368:2 and Rama 368:1

[416] So rule regarding Ginos, which seemingly refers to vegetables and grains: Shach 368:4; Bach 368; Rav Akiva Eiger 368

[417] Michaber ibid; Tosfos; Rosh; Mordechai

[418] Implication of Michaber ibid; Rama 368:1; Beir Hagoleh ibid in explanation of Michaber and Rama

[419] Shach 368:4; Bach 368; Beis Yosef 368; Mordechai; See Chasam Sofer 327, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:2, that it is customary to sell the produce for the sake of purchasing Tachrichin and burying the poor, or to heal the sick, and other necessities of the paupers, and “A Jewish custom is Torah and should not be questioned”

[420] Shach 368:4; Bach 368

[421] Rama 368:1; Implication of Rosh and Mordechai

[422] See Beir Hagoleh

[423] Rama 368:1; Mordechai

[424] The reason: As the fruits and herbs are permitted in benefit even according to the stringent opinion in 364:1, and is hence permitted to be used in a time of need. [See Chasam Sofer 327, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:2]

[425] Shivas Tziyon 62, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 368:3

[426] Rama 368:1; Terumos Hadeshen 284; Maryu 50

[427] Taz 364:1; Rashal, based on 1st opinion in Rama ibid; Tur in name of Rebbe Yeshaya

[428] Shach 364:3; Taz 364:1; Bach 364; Haghos Ashri

[429] Taz 364:1; See also Chochmas Adam 158:12; Nitei Gavriel 75:8

[430] Taz ibid; Rashal in understanding of Hagahos Ashri, brought in Taz ibid, that it is forbidden to step on it as it is forbidden in benefit; Yad Eliyahu 54, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:2, that it is only permitted for the sake of a Mitzvah; Kitzur SHU”A ibid

The reason: Some Poskim explain that it is forbidden to step on a grave being that it is forbidden in benefit. [Rashal in understanding of Hagahos Ashri, brought in Taz ibid; Kitzur SHU”A ibid] Other Poskim explain that although there is no real benefit received from standing on it, as it is easier to stand on solid ground then on a grave. Nevertheless, standing on a grave is not respectful to the dead, and is hence only permitted for the sake of a Mitzvah. [Yad Eliyahu 54; Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:2]

[431] Rashbam on Bava Basra 101, brought in Taz ibid

The reason: Although a grave is forbidden in benefit, there is no real benefit received from stepping on it, as it is easier to walk on solid ground then over a grave. Nevertheless, walking on a grave is not respectful to the dead, and is hence only permitted for the sake of a Mitzvah. [Yad Eliyahu 54; Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:2]

[432] Taz ibid; Kitzur SHU”A ibid

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule that the allowance to step on a grave is only if it is for the need of a Mitzvah. [Yad Eliyahu 54; Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:2]

[433] Implication of Taz ibid that only a temporary walk over is permitted; However, see Yad Eliyahu 54, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:2, who implies that even standing on a grave for the sake of a Mitzvah is permitted.

[434] See Nitei Gavriel chapter 92

[435] For the full details of this subject see our Sefer “Awaking like a Jew” chapter 4 Halacha 4J!

[436] Between the graves is explained to refer to a cemetery. [M”A 4:20 in name of Teshuvos Maharil 23; Kol Bo; Chayeh Adam 2:5; Kitzur SH”A 2:9; M”B  4:42; Gesher Hachaim 16:8; Kaf Hachaim 4:76; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:25]

Opinion of Admur: The Rama 4:18 writes “one who walks between the dead.” The M”A records that this means a cemetery. Admur does not record either the wording of the M”A or the Rama and rather he writes “between the graves”. Vetzaruch Iyun if there is any practical ramification between graves or a cemetery.

[437] Rav Asher Lemel HaKohen, Rav of Anash Beitar, related to me that one time his father, the renowned Posek Rav Avraham Hirsh Hakohen approached the sink to wash his hands on the upper floor of 770. He then noticed the Rebbe behind him and quickly let him through to wash his hands first. After washing his hands, the Rebbe told him that he needed to “cut the line” as he was by the cemetery [of his father in-law] and did not want to delay the removal of impurity. Seemingly, at that time, there was no place to wash hands at the actual cemetery.

[438] M”A 4:20 in name of Teshuvos Maharil; This applies according to all. See Halacha 2 in footnotes.

[439] Admur Kama 4:18; M”A 4:17 in name of Mordechai; Taz 4:13; Elya Raba 4:12; Poskim in Kaf Hachaim 4:60

[440] The reason: The reason for this is because an impure spirit resides on one’s hands after these actions are done. [Ketzos Hashulchan 2:11; Kisei Eliyahu 4:6; Levush and Olas Tamid 4:18; Admur 97:3 and Peri Migadim Ashel Avraham 227:2]

Other opinions regarding if wiping the hands removes impurity: Some Poskim suggest that perhaps even wiping the hands on an item, such as a stone, can remove the impurity. [Birchas Avraham mentioned in Olas Tamid 4:13; Elya Raba 4:12; Kaf Hachaim 4:101] Olas Tamid ibid negates this opinion.

[441] Elya Raba 4:12; Machatzis Hashekel 4:17; Soles Belula 4:14; Machazik Bracha 4:6 in name of Makor Chaim; Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 16; Kaf Hachaim 4:61; M”B 4:39; Ketzos Hashulchan 2 footnote 29 regarding Levaya; Olas Tamid; Shlah Shaar Haosiyos 9; Lev Chaim 1:63; Kaf Hachaim [Falagi] 7:26; Ruach Chaim 4:3; Chesed Lealafim brought in Kaf Hachaim 4:61; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:25 footnote 241; Rabbi Leibel Groner related to me that the Rebbe would wash his hands three times and then turn over the washing basin.

Other opinions-Ruling of Admur in Shulchan Aruch: Some Poskim rule that one is not required to wash three times. [Kama 4:18; M”A 4:17; Seder Hayom; Kneses Hagedola] Nevertheless, the custom today has become to follow the opinions brought above.

[442] Nitei Gavriel 92:2 footnote 3 in name of members of Chevra Kadisha and Rebbe

[443] As is recorded regarding a Levayah [See Beis Lechem Yehuda 376:4 as the custom of Jerusalem; Shiyurei Kneses Hagedola 376:10; Gesher Hachaim ibid

Other Opinions: Some Poskim rule it is not necessary to avoid drying the hands after washing even after a Levaya. [Ikarei Daat 35:7; Siddur Beis Oveid; Gilyon Maharsha; See Kaf Hachaim 4:78; Ben Ish Chaiy Toldos 16 rules one may be lenient to dry the hands in a cold area.]

[444] So writes Nitei Gavriel ibid

[445] Admur 7:2; 613:4; 92:6; Seder Birchas Hanehenin 13:17; M”B 4:61 and 227:11; Peri Megadim 227 A.A. 2 explicitly allows saying a blessing before washing hands from impurity; Maharsham 4:148 brought in Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 2:5 regarding learning while cutting nails; and so rules Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:32; 237:8; Nitei Gavriel 92:3

Background:

In 7:2 Admur rules that one who used the bathroom may learn Torah and say blessings unless he touched his Erva or feces. Now in 4:18 Admur explicitly rules that one who uses the bathroom must wash his hands. Hence we clearly see a difference between washing hands from filth and washing from impurity, in which case of the latter it is not an impediment for Torah learning.

The reason: The impurity which comes as a result of the above actions is not the same type of impurity as that which resides when one awakens from sleeping at night, and thus it does not hold the restriction mentioned prior to washing hands in the morning.

Other Opinions: Kaf Hachaim [Falagi] and Chesed Lealafim [brought in Kaf Hachaim 4:61] learn that all the laws that apply prior to morning washing likewise apply towards one who has the impure spirit through leaving the bathroom, cemetery, and the like. So rules Kaf Hachaim 227:16 that a blessing may not be said until one washes his hands.

[446] Kama 4:18; See Kaf Hachaim 4:61; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:18

[447] This means to say that he will come to sin, as one does not sin unless a spirit of insanity enters him. [Elya Raba 4:13; Kaf Hachaim 4:89]

[448] Gesher Hachaim 16:8

[449] Rama 376:4 regarding Levayah; Ishkavta Derebbe p. 107 learns this applies even when leaving a cemetery, and so seems from Chochmas Adam 158:29, Vetzaruch Iyun from Piskeiy Teshuvos 4 footnote 244

[450] Yad Halevy 30

[451] Nitei Gavriel 92:6

[452] Ishkavta Derebbe p. 107

Opinion of Admur: The Magen Avraham 4:20 defines “between the dead” to mean a cemetery. Thus, according to him it seems that one must wash the hands even if he was not near the actual grave. However, Admur omitted this explanation and rather wrote “between the graves”. Vetzaruch Iyun if there is any ramification between this wording and the wording of the M”A.

[453] Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:25 in name of Meoreir Yisheinim

[454] Ishkavta Derebbe p. 106; Beis Rebbe “Harav Hakadosh Miberditchiv”; Piskeiy Teshuvos 4:25

Background:

The Alter Rebbe visited the resting place of Reb Levi Yitzchak of Berditchiv after he passed away. After Admur left the grave he was offered water to wash his hands and Admur replied that he does not need to wash his hands as the gravesite of Tzaddikim do not cause impurity.” [Beis Rebbe ibid] Practically this is the custom of the Chassidim not to wash hands after leaving the resting site of the Rebbeim, as was seen amongst Chasidim that visited the burial grounds of the Rebbe Maharash and Tzemach Tzedek [which are positioned in the entrance to the cemetery in Lubavitch]. Likewise the Rebbe Rashab would not wash hands after visiting the gravesite of his father the Rebbe Maharash. The reason for this is because although even the grave of a Tzaddik gives off impurity it nevertheless is a holy place and does not give off the evil spirit, and the entire purpose of washing the hands is to remove the evil spirit. [Ishkavta Derebbe ibid]

[455] Thus, those who visit the Rebbe’s Ohel in Queens must wash hands afterwards being that it is within a cemetery. This was also the Rebbe’s custom. [Ishkavta Derebbe ibid]

[456] M”A 4:20 in name of Teshuvos Maharil; M”B 4:42 in name of Artzos Chaim

[457] Darkei Moshe 376:7

[458] Elya Raba 224:7 in name of Drashos Mahrash; Beir Heiytiv 224:8; Kaf Hachaim 224:41; Gesher Hachaim 16:9 as rules Michaber Yoreh Deah 376:5 regarding a Levaya

[459] Hiskashrus 884

[460] Michaber 547:12 as is understood by Mamar Mordechai ibid and Kneses Hagedola 376; Kaf Hachaim 547:43 in name of Shulchan Gavoa 547:23

Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to do so even on Chol Hamoed. [Hamabit 27; Elya Raba: Zuta 547, brought in Beir Heiytiv 547:7]

[461] M”A 559:15; Chayeh Adam 138:8; Alef Hamagen 581:109; Kaf Hachaim 581:90; Nitei Gavriel 86:3-4; Chikrei Minhagim p. 273

[462] Moed Lechol Chaiy 12:4; Custom of Chida, brought in Magal Tov p. 94; Nitei Gavriel 92:5

[463] Compiled based on the accounts of the Rebbe’s secretaries; Published in Hiskashrus 884

[464] Michaber 364:1

Building a Shul, home or other structure on top of a cemetery or area in which bones were found: See Chavos Yair, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:4 in length.

Are the walls of a cemetery permitted in benefit? See Chasam Sofer 335, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:3

[465] See Shach 364:1

[466] Michaber ibid; Sanhedrin 46b

The reason: The prohibition against benefiting from a grave is learned from the prohibition against benefiting from idolatry. Now, just as idolatry is not forbidden if it is attached to the ground, so too, the natural part of the grave that remains attached to the ground is not forbidden in benefit. However, the structure built on top of the grave is forbidden in benefit is forbidden in benefit, as it was first detached and only then reattached [i.e. Talush Ulibasof Chibru], just as we rule regarding idolatry. [Shach 364:1; See Michaber 145:3]

[467] Shach 364:2; Perisha 364

[468] 1st opinion in Rama ibid; Tur in name of Rebbe Yeshaya

If the earth used for the burial was mixed with permitted earth: Some Poskim rule that only the first layer of earth placed over the body of the deceased is forbidden in benefit while the remaining earth is permitted. Furthermore, if all the earth was mixed together and majority of the earth placed was permitted, then all the earth is permitted in benefit. [Teshuvas Rebbe Akiva Eiger 45, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:1] However, see Taz 526:2 and M”A 526:10 who implies that all the earth placed is for the sake of burial, and is hence all forbidden in benefit. [Pischeiy Teshuvah ibid]

[469] The reason: As this earth is also in the status of Talush Ulibasof Chibru, which is forbidden in benefit, as explained in the previous footnote. [Rama ibid]

[470] Shach 364:3; Bach 364; Beir Hagoleh 364; Hagahos Ashri; See Yad Eiyahu 94, brought in Rav Akiva Eiger 364:1 and Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:2; See Halacha 7H for the full details of this subject!

The reason: Some Poskim explain that it is forbidden to step on a grave being that it is forbidden in benefit. [Rashal in understanding of Hagahos Ashri, brought in Taz ibid; Kitzur SHU”A ibid] Other Poskim explain that although there is no real benefit received from standing on it, as it is easier to stand on solid ground then on a grave. Nevertheless, standing on a grave is not respectful to the dead, and is hence only permitted for the sake of a Mitzvah. [Yad Eliyahu 54; Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:2]

[471] Taz 364:1; Rashal

[472] Michaber ibid; 2nd opinion in Rama ibid; Tur in name of Rosh; See Shach 364:5 and 12; See Teshuvas Rebbe Akiva Eiger 45, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:1 [and previous footnotes] that even according to Rabbeinu Yeshayah the earth over the graves of today are permitted in benefit being there is majority earth which was never prohibited;

[473] The reason: As they learn that the Sages of the Talmud only forbade the building of an over ground grave, such as a mausoleum, and not the structure built on top of an underground grave. [Taz 364:1]

[474] Shach 364:3 [See, however Shach 364:5 and 12]; Bach 364

[475] See Michaber/Rama 364:1; Michaber 363:5-6 regarding the casket

[476] 1st opinion in Rama ibid; Tur in name of Rebbe Yeshaya; Hagahos Ashri in name of Or Zarua

[477] Shach 364:3; Taz 364:1; Bach 364; Haghos Ashri

[478] 2nd opinion in Rama ibid; Tur in name of Rosh; See Yad Eiyahu 94, brought in Rav Akiva Eiger 364:1

[479] The reason: As they learn that the Sages of the Talmud only forbade the building of an over ground grave, such as a mausoleum, and not the structure built on top of an underground grave. [Taz 364:1]

[480] Shach 364:3; Taz 364:1; Rashal; Bach 364; Radbaz 2:741; Birkeiy Yosef; Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:3

[481] Birkeiy Yosef, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:3, unlike Kiryas Melech Rav 2:27 who permits it Lehalacha and not Lemaaseh

[482] Michaber 364:1; See Pischeiy Teshuvah 364:7 in name of Shivas Tziyon 58 regarding if one may sell a Matzeiva made for his parent, prior to it being used.

[483] Michaber 364:1

[484] Michaber ibid

[485] Michaber 364:1; See Rav Akiva Eiger 364 in name of Ran

[486] Michaber ibid

[487] Michaber 364:2; See Michaber 364:5 regarding if the grave was moved due to it being damaging to the public, if it is permitted in benefit

[488] Michaber 364:6

[489] See Shevet Halevi 5:176; Igros Kodesh 14:211 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 5:285]

[490] Gesher Hachaim 27:10; Nitei Gavriel 95-96

[491] See Keser Shem Tov Hosafos 268; Nitei Gavriel 95:15; See Poskim there, including Shagas Aryeh Chadashos p. 61; Divrei Chaim Y.D. 2:135; Maharam Shick 357

[492] The prayers are printed in various Sefarim, including Darkei Chesed p. 276, Nitei Gavriel 95:20-22

[493] Directive of Baal Shem Tov ibid

[494] Mavor Yabok Sefas Emes 1 in name of Rav Yehuda Hachassid; See Beir Heiytiv 179; Chasam Sofer Y.D. 138; Nitei Gavriel 95:27

[495] See Nitei Gavriel 96

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