Checklist for visiting gravesite

 

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: [1]

  • One is to distribute charity at the gravesite [prior to Davening there].
  • 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 “Maanah Lashon” upon visiting a gravesite of a Tzaddik.[2] 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.
  • Many have the custom of encircling the grave. The Rebbe would circle the grave one time prior to leaving.
  • As a sign of respect it is accustomed to remove the shoes prior to entering into the Rebbe’s Ohel.
  • Many are accustomed to place a hand on the grave upon praying [see next regarding Hishtatchus]. 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.
  • Some are accustomed to throw grass or earth behind their back after leaving a cemetery.

 


[1] 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.

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

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