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Pregnant and Visiting Cemetery

Pregnant and Visiting Cemetery

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Question:

The tombstone consecration for a good friend of mine is coming up next week. I am currently seven months pregnant, and I have been told it is generally not the done thing for pregnant women to go to a cemetery. On the other hand, I do want to be there to honor my friend's memory. What do you think?

Answer:

This is the most common question I am asked. Fascinatingly, though it is a widespread custom for a pregnant woman to avoid going to the cemetery, there is no written source in Jewish law that expressly forbids it. This is an interesting example of a tradition thatWhen you are creating life, it is better to avoid contact with death women took upon themselves without being told. And this tradition is carefully guarded and well known, even more than some outright laws. You will see why.

Jewish mothers have known for thousands of years what modern research is only recently discovering. The unborn child is affected by the spiritual and emotional state of the mother. Her moods, her attitudes, and her surroundings are imprinted on the body and soul of the child.

This is why the cemetery is not the right place for a pregnant woman. When you are creating life, it is better to avoid contact with death. The morbid and deathly energy of a cemetery is starkly in contrast to the process taking place inside a pregnant woman. Her focus should remain on the beginning of life, not the end.

Furthermore, feelings of excessive grief or distress may disturb the otherwise peaceful time in the womb. Sometimes emotional pain is unavoidable in life, but we don't have to seek it out. An expecting mother may be fragile and delicate at the best of times. Attending a funeral or consecration may cause an exaggerated reaction that could have been avoided.

Since this is not a law but a custom, there are some exceptions allowed. If she feels that not going may itself cause even more distress, she should go. Some examples would be the funeral of a close friend or relative, visiting the grave of a parent on the anniversary of passing, and visiting the grave of a holy person to pray for a healthy birth.

In the end, it is up to you

In the end it is up to you to decide what is best. But if you choose not to go, you should not feel at all guilty. Your dear late friend will not be offended. In the world of souls they understand these things. And then in a couple of months, when you feel up to it, you could visit the cemetery yourself to pay your respects.

May G‑d bless you with an easy birth, a healthy child, and only happy times.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Moshe kapoier Brooklyn December 7, 2017

Well said Daniel Reply

Daniel Cordock Ledyard December 6, 2017

Cemeteries are tough... I know too well how hard it is on everybody involved... If a pregnant mother want's to see her beloved off at that time, it's her prerogative. It allows an opportunity for a memory with her past and future. We should all be very respectful for those who've died and those who still have so much left to do. Reply

Andy January 1, 2017

A nebulous answer if ever there was one ! Reply

Moshe kapoier September 17, 2017
in response to Andy:

Nu, lets hear a better one from you Reply

Yisroel Cotlar Cary, NC September 6, 2016

As mentioned in the article, the main Halachic works (Code of Jewish Law, etc) does not address this issue. Rather, it is a tradition with the various reasons behind it written in later works. Reply

Anonymous Amsterdam September 2, 2016

What does the Halacha say? Reply

Anonymous June 17, 2014

I wouldn't visit the cemetery, at least until the child is born. When my wife was pregnant, we would cross to the other side of the street when walking past a cemetery. You and your child are receptive to deep unconditional love, as mentioned above, that may not be the case of those that have been entombed in the plots. I'd stay way. Is it really that necessary it visit NOW? Wait a few more months till after your child is born. Reply

John Scottsdale May 18, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

It sounds to me that, by crossing the street, and obsessing about it, your wife experienced more stress than if both of you simply had behaved normally. As for, is it necessary to visit now, I guess that depends. There is only going to be one day on which the funeral is held, one day on which the tombstone consecration is going to be done, so if you want to be there on that day . . . Reply

Anonymous west palm beach April 15, 2014

Comfort For many people, visiting a cemetery is a type of comfort as they pray, seek Hashem, and think of the wonderful things about departed loved ones.
In that case, I cannot imagine a cemetery visit as a negative. Reply

Anonymous Monroe, New York via chabadorange.com April 3, 2014

cemetery visit by a woman who is pregnant. I Think it is all about the spirit of the woman carrying the child. Yes, stressful situations can be stressful on pregnancy. But if this woman is going to honor a loved one, a friend, she is filled with love. She is brave and honoring her duty and her heart's desire to keep her friends memory whole. It is fulfilling to her soul and therefore her baby's soul. Reply

Anonymous Pompano, FL via chabadboynton.com March 31, 2014

cemetery Visit While Pregnant I am in total agreement with the spirit of an unborn child sensing the feeling of the mother and outside world. However, I just wanted to comment that if a pregnant woman is visiting the grave site of a dearly departed loved one, the child may not feel grief, but deep unconditional love. I would consider this a benefit. Reply

Anonymous Thornhill September 15, 2017
in response to Anonymous:

Can someone please look at The Rambam, Hilcot Aveilut, 4:4 which states explicitly that everyone should not visit the cemetery. Specifically for women, Rav Yosef Karo in his Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh Deah, Chapter 359 says that women should not visit the cemetery under any circumstances. Reply

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