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Shloshim Observances

Shloshim Observances

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The Sheloshim, or 30-day period, constitutes the full mourning for all relatives other than father and mother.

Mourning for those bereaved of their parents terminates at the end of 12 Hebrew months.

The counting of sheloshim follows the principles used in counting shiva, as detailed above.

  1. A portion of a day is equal to the full day. Thus, sheloshim ends after the synagogue service on the morning of the thirtieth day.

  2. The period technically commences after interment, not after death. Thus, for example, if burial took place on Monday afternoon, sheloshim ends four weeks later on Tuesday morning.

  3. Unlike shiva, a festival does not cancel the sheloshim period unless the observance of shiva had already ended prior to the onset of the holiday.

Following is a brief review of the sheloshim observances. (For details see the pertinent chapters above.)

  1. The following practices are observed only during shiva, and are not practiced during sheloshim:

    a. Sitting on a low stool

    b. Remaining indoors

    c. Wearing of non-leather shoes

    d. Abstention from marital relations

    e. Prohibition of work

    f. Prohibition of studying Torah

  2. The following prohibitions continue in force and are to be observed during shiva and during sheloshim under normal circumstances:

    a. Haircutting, shaving, nailcutting, bathing, and the wearing of new clothes or newly laundered clothes.

    b. Getting married

    c. Attending parties

    d. Greetings may be extended by the mourner, but others should not inquire after his "shalom" as, obviously, he is not experiencing peace. So gifts, including Purim gifts, are not to be sent to the mourner. On Purim, however, the mourner is obligated to send gifts to others, as prescribed by tradition.

Purim and Hanukkah Observances

Purim

Purim does not cancel Shiva. There is a de-emphasis of public mourning as on the Sabbath (some hold there is no mourning at all), but private mourning must be observed. Thus, sitting on the low stool and the removal of regular shoes are not required on Purim. Similarly, Purim observances, such as the festival meal (the meat and wine, but without the rejoicing) and the sending of gifts--mishlo'ach manot--are obligatory upon the mourner as upon all Jews. Also the mourner should attend the Megillah reading at the synagogue, and if he is the only person capable of reading it publicly, he is obliged to do so. Wherever possible, though, the mourner during Shiva should not read publicly or lead services on Purim. Shushan Purim, celebrated the day following Purim, should be observed as Purim proper only when the mourner has always observed it as festive day.

Hanukkah

Hanukkah, too, does not cancel shiva. Indeed, while important religious authorities held that there is no mourning on Purim, and surely no public mourning, Hanukkah provides no such relief, and all mourning observances must be kept. Hanukkah festival observances, such as the kindling of candles, is obligatory ; and the mourner, but not the onen, should recite all three blessings including shehecheyanu, the prayer to God for sustaining us in life "unto this time." However, he should not kindle the menorah in behalf of the congregation, and in so doing publicly proclaim these words, since the joy it naturally evokes is not in harmony with this period of distress in his life. The mourner does not recite the Hallel prayer in the house of shiva because these are psalms of joy. He should, however, absent himself briefly so that the other worshippers may recite it as required. In the synagogue proper, the mourner should recite the Hallel. Other Hanukkah procedures are discussed elsewhere in this book.

The Jewish Way in Death and Mourning by Rabbi Maurice Lamm. To purchase the book click here.
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