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Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Avel - Chapter 6, Avel - Chapter 7, Avel - Chapter 8

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Avel - Chapter 6

1

According to Rabbinic Law, a mourner should observe some of the mourning practices for 30 days. Which source did our Sages use as a support for the concept of 30 days? Deuteronomy 21:13 states: "And she shall cry for her father and mother for a month." Implied is that a mourner will feel discomfort for a month.

א

מִדִבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים שֶׁיִּהְיֶה הָאָבֵל נוֹהֵג בְּמִקְצָת דִּבְרֵי אֲבֵלוּת כָּל שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וּמִנַּיִן סָמְכוּ חֲכָמִים לִשְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים כא יג) "וּבָכְתָה אֶת אָבִיהָ וְאֶת אִמָּהּ יֶרַח יָמִים". מִכְלַל שֶׁהָאָבֵל מִצְטַעֵר כָּל שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם:

2

These are the practices forbidden to a mourner for the entire 30-day period. He is forbidden to cut his hair, to wear freshly ironed clothing, to marry, to enter a celebration of friends, and to go on a business trip to another city; five matters in all.

ב

וְאֵלּוּ דְּבָרִים שֶׁהָאָבֵל אָסוּר בָּהֶן כָּל שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. אָסוּר בְּתִסְפֹּרֶת. וּבְגִהוּץ. וּבְנִשּׂוּאִין. וּבְשִׂמְחַת מֵרֵעוּת. וְלֵילֵךְ בִּסְחוֹרָה מִמְּדִינָה לִמְדִינָה. הַכּל חֲמִשָּׁה דְּבָרִים:

3

What does the prohibition against cutting one's hair involve? Just as it is forbidden to cut any of the hair of one's body, to shave one's mustache, or to cut one's nails with a utensil through the seven days of mourning;66 so, too, he is forbidden throughout these 30 days.

To whom does the above apply? To a man. A woman, by contrast, is permitted to remove hair after seven days although a man must wait 30. For one's father or mother, a man is obligated to let his hair grow until it becomes noticeably long or until his colleagues rebuke him for not attending to his appearance.

ג

בְּתִסְפֹּרֶת כֵּיצַד. כְּשֵׁם שֶׁאָסוּר לְסַפֵּר כָּל שְׂעַר גּוּפוֹ. אוֹ לְגַלֵּחַ שְׂפָמוֹ. אוֹ לָקֹץ צִפָּרְנָיו בִּכְלִי כָּל שִׁבְעָה. כָּךְ אָסוּר כָּל שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בְּאִישׁ. אֲבָל בְּאִשָּׁה מֻתֶּרֶת בִּנְטִילַת שֵׂעָר לְאַחַר שִׁבְעָה וְהָאִישׁ עַד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וְעַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ חַיָּב לְגַדֵּל שְׂעָרוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּשְׁלַח פֶּרַע אוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּגְעֲרוּ בּוֹ חֲבֵרָיו:

4

Similarly, a mourner is forbidden to wear new white clothes that have been ironed for 30 days. This applies to both a man and a woman. If they are colored and ironed, it is permitted. Similarly, if they are not new although they are white and ironed, it is permitted. There is no prohibition against wearing linen clothes that were ironed.

After 30 days, one may wear ironed clothes, even if one is in mourning for one's father or mother.

ד

וְכֵן אָסוּר לִלְבּשׁ כֵּלִים לְבָנִים חֲדָשִׁים וּמְגֹהָצִין כָּל שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. אֶחָד הָאִישׁ וְאֶחָד הָאִשָּׁה. הָיוּ צְבוּעִין וּמְגֹהָצִין מֻתָּרִין. וְכֵן אִם לֹא הָיוּ חֲדָשִׁים אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן לְבָנִים וּמְגֹהָצִין מֻתָּרִין. וּכְלֵי פִּשְׁתָּן אֵין בָּהֶן מִשּׁוּם גִּהוּץ. וּלְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם מֻתָּר בְּגִהוּץ אֲפִלּוּ עַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ:

5

What does the prohibition against marriage involve? It is forbidden to marry a woman throughout these 30 days. It is, however, permitted to consecrate her even on the day of the death of one's relative.

When a man's wife dies, if he already fulfilled the mitzvah of procreation, and he has someone to attend to him and he does not have young children, he may not remarry until three festivals pass. If, however, a person has not fulfilled the mitzvah of procreation, or fulfilled the mitzvah and has young children, or does not have someone to attend to him, he is permitted to consecrate and marry immediately. It is, however, forbidden for him to enter into relations with his wife until 30 days have passed. Similarly, a woman who was in mourning should not enter into relations until 30 days have passed.

ה

בְּנִשּׂוּאִין כֵּיצַד. אָסוּר לִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה כָּל שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וּמֻתָּר לְאָרְשָׂהּ אֲפִלּוּ בְּיוֹם הַמִּיתָה. וּמִי שֶׁמֵּתָה אִשְׁתּוֹ אִם כְּבָר קִיֵּם מִצְוַת פְּרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה וְיֵשׁ לוֹ מִי שֶׁיְּשַׁמְּשֶׁנּוּ וְאֵין לוֹ בָּנִים קְטַנִּים הֲרֵי זֶה אָסוּר לִשָּׂא אִשָּׁה אַחֶרֶת עַד שֶׁיַּעַבְרוּ עָלָיו שְׁלֹשָׁה רְגָלִים. אֲבָל מִי שֶׁלֹּא קִיֵּם מִצְוַת פְּרִיָּה וּרְבִיָּה אוֹ שֶׁקִּיֵּם וְיֵשׁ לוֹ בָּנִים קְטַנִּים אוֹ שֶׁאֵין לוֹ מִי שֶׁיְּשַׁמְּשֶׁנּוּ הֲרֵי זֶה מֻתָּר לְאָרְשָׂהּ וְלִכְנֹס מִיָּד. וְאָסוּר לוֹ לָבוֹא עָלֶיהָ עַד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וְכֵן הָאִשָּׁה שֶׁהָיְתָה אֲבֵלָה לֹא תִּבָּעֵל עַד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם:

6

A friendly get-together which a person is obligated to requite immediately may be held immediately after the seven days of mourning. If, however, he is not obligated to requite such a gathering, he is forbidden to enter one until 30 days pass.

ו

שִׂמְחַת מֵרֵעוּת שֶׁהָיָה חַיָּב לִפְרֹעַ אוֹתָהּ מִיָּד. מֻתָּר לַעֲשׂוֹתָהּ מִיָּד לְאַחַר שִׁבְעָה. אֲבָל אִם אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לְפָרְעָהּ אָסוּר לְהִכָּנֵס לָהּ עַד שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם:

7

When does the above apply? When one is mourning for other deceased persons. When mourning for one's father or mother, by contrast, under all circumstances, one is forbidden to enter a friendly gathering for twelve months.

ז

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּשְׁאָר כָּל מֵתִים. אֲבָל עַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ בֵּין כָּךְ וּבֵין כָּךְ לֹא יִכָּנֵס לְשִׂמְחַת מֵרֵעוּת עַד י''ב חֹדֶשׁ:

8

When mourning for all other deceased persons, one is permitted to go on a business trip immediately after 30 days pass. When mourning for one's father or mother, by contrast, one should not go until his colleagues rebuke him and tell him: "Come with us."

ח

עַל כָּל הַמֵּתִים כֻּלָּן מֻתָּר לֵילֵךְ בִּסְחוֹרָה לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים. עַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ עַד שֶׁיִּגְעֲרוּ בּוֹ חֲבֵרָיו וְיֹאמְרוּ לוֹ לֵךְ עִמָּנוּ:

9

When mourning for all other deceased persons, if one desires, one may reduce his business activities. If he does not desire, he need not reduce them. When mourning for one's father or mother, by contrast, one should reduce one's business activities.

ט

עַל כָּל הַמֵּתִים כֻּלָּן רָצָה מְמַעֵט בְּעִסְקוֹ רָצָה אֵינוֹ מְמַעֵט. עַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ מְמַעֵט בְּעִסְקוֹ:

10

When a person is journeying from place to place, he should minimize his commercial activity if possible. If not, he should purchase the articles he needs for his journey and articles which are necessary to maintain his existence.

י

הַהוֹלֵךְ מִמָּקוֹם לְמָקוֹם אִם יָכוֹל לְמַעֵט בְּעִסְקוֹ יְמַעֵט וְאִם לָאו יִקְנֶה צָרְכֵי הַדֶּרֶךְ וּדְבָרִים שֶׁיֵּשׁ בָּהֶן חַיֵּי נֶפֶשׁ:

11

When a person's husband, wife, father, or mother was crucified in a city, it is forbidden for him to dwell in that city until the flesh of the corpse decomposes. If it is a major metropolis like Antioch, one may dwell in the other portion of the city, where one's relatives are not crucified.

יא

מִי שֶׁהָיָה בַּעְלָהּ צָלוּב בָּעִיר אוֹ אִשְׁתּוֹ צְלוּבָה אוֹ אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ. אָסוּר לוֹ לִשְׁכֹּן בְּאוֹתָהּ הָעִיר עַד שֶׁיִּכְלֶה הַבָּשָׂר. וְאִם הָיְתָה עִיר גְּדוֹלָה כְּאַנְטוֹכְיָא יֵשׁ לוֹ לִשְׁכֹּן בַּצַּד הָאַחֵר שֶׁאֵינָן צְלוּבִין בּוֹ:

12

Even a portion of the seventh day is considered as the entire day and is counted both as part of the seven days of acute mourning and the 30 days of mourning. Therefore it is permissible to launder, to wash, and to perform other activities on the seventh day. Similarly, even a portion of the thirtieth day is considered as the entire day and it is permitted to cut one's hair and iron one's clothes on that day.

יב

יוֹם שְׁבִיעִי מִקְצָתוֹ כְּכֻלּוֹ וְהוּא עוֹלֶה לְכָאן וּלְכָאן. וּלְפִיכָךְ מֻתָּר לְכַבֵּס וְלִרְחֹץ וְלַעֲשׂוֹת שְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים בְּיוֹם שְׁבִיעִי. וְכֵן יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים מִקְצָתוֹ כְּכֻלּוֹ וּמֻתָּר לְסַפֵּר וּלְגַהֵץ בְּיוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים:

13

The following laws apply when one suffers several losses for which he is required to mourn one after the other. If his hair grows overly long, he may trim it with a razor, but not with scissors. He may wash his clothes in water, but not with soap or using sand. He may wash his entire body in cold water, but not in hot water.

Similarly, when one suffers repeated losses for which he must mourn after arriving from an overseas journey, being released from captivity or prison, being released from a ban of ostracism under which he had being placed, being absolved from a vow which he had taken, or emerging from a state of ritual impurity to one of purity, he may cut his hair in the midst of the period of mourning. The rationale is that one period of mourning followed the other and the people did not have the opportunity to care for themselves.

יג

מִי שֶׁתְּכָפוּהוּ אֲבָלָיו וְהִכְבִּיד שְׂעָרוֹ מֵקֵל בְּתַעַר לֹא בְּמִסְפָּרַיִם. וּמְכַבֵּס כְּסוּתוֹ בְּמַיִם אֲבָל לֹא בְּנֶתֶר וְלֹא בְּחוֹל. וְרוֹחֵץ כָּל גּוּפוֹ בְּצוֹנֵן אֲבָל לֹא בְּחַמִּין. וְכֵן מִי שֶׁתְּכָפוּהוּ אֲבָלָיו וּבָא מִמְּדִינַת הַיָּם וּמִבֵּית הַשִּׁבְיָה. אוֹ שֶׁיָּצָא מִבֵּית הָאֲסוּרִים. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מְנֻדֶּה וְהֻתַּר. אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה מֻדָּר וְנִשְׁאַל עַל נִדְרוֹ וְהֻתַּר. וְכָל הַיּוֹצֵא מִטֻּמְאָה לְטָהֳרָה. הֲרֵי אֵלּוּ מְגַלְּחִין בִּימֵי אֶבְלָם הוֹאִיל וּתְכָפָם אֵבֶל אַחַר אֵבֶל וְלֹא מָצְאוּ פְּנַאי:

Avel - Chapter 7

1

The following rules apply when a person receives a report that a close relative of his died. If he received the report within 30 days of the person's death - even on the thirtieth day itself - it is considered a proximate report. He must observe the seven days of mourning from the time he receives the report. He must rend his garments and count 30 days for the prohibition against cutting one's hair and the other factors from that date. The general principle is: The day on which he hears the report is like the day of the person's burial.

If, however, a person receives a report after 30 days, it is considered as a distant report. He observes mourning rites for only one day and is not required to rend his garments. It is as if the day of the report is both the seventh day and the thirtieth day. And we follow the principle: A portion of the day is considered as the entire day.

א

מִי שֶׁבָּאָה לוֹ שְׁמוּעָה שֶׁמֵּת לוֹ קָרוֹב. אִם בְּתוֹךְ שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם הִגִּיעָה הַשְּׁמוּעָה אֲפִלּוּ יוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים עַצְמוֹ הֲרֵי זוֹ שְׁמוּעָה קְרוֹבָה. וְחַיָּב לִנְהֹג שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי אֲבֵלוּת מִיּוֹם שֶׁהִגִּיעָה הַשְּׁמוּעָה. וְקוֹרֵעַ וּמוֹנֶה שְׁלֹשִׁים לְאִסּוּר הַתִּסְפֹּרֶת עִם שְׁאָר הַדְּבָרִים. כְּלָלוֹ שֶׁל דָּבָר יוֹם שְׁמוּעָתוֹ הַקְּרוֹבָה כְּיוֹם הַקְּבוּרָה. אֲבָל אִם הִגִּיעָה לוֹ הַשְּׁמוּעָה אַחַר הַשְּׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם הֲרֵי זוֹ שְׁמוּעָה רְחוֹקָה וְאֵינָהּ נוֹהֶגֶת אֶלָּא יוֹם אֶחָד וְאֵינוֹ קוֹרֵעַ. וּכְאִלּוּ יוֹם הַשְּׁמוּעָה הוּא יוֹם שְׁבִיעִי וְיוֹם שְׁלֹשִׁים וּמִקְצָת הַיּוֹם כְּכֻלּוֹ:

2

What is implied by the statement: A portion of the day is considered as the entire day? Once one observed the mourning rites for a certain time He is permitted to wear shoes, wash, anoint himself, and cut his hair during the remainder of the day. Similarly, he has license not to observe any of the mourning rites.

ב

כֵּיצַד מִקְצָת הַיּוֹם כְּכֻלּוֹ. כֵּיוָן שֶׁנָּהַג אֲבֵלוּת שָׁעָה אַחַת כְּאִלּוּ נָהַג כָּל הַיּוֹם כֻּלּוֹ. וּמֻתָּר לִנְעל וְלִרְחֹץ וְלָסוּךְ וּלְגַלֵּחַ בִּשְׁאָר הַיּוֹם. וְכֵן הוּא מֻתָּר בְּכָל הַדְּבָרִים:

3

When a person hears a proximate report in the midst of a festival or on the Sabbath and after the Sabbath or after the festival, the report will become distant, the Sabbath or the festival are counted for him. Thus he observes only one day of mourning after the festival or after the Sabbath. And a portion of the day is considered as the entire day as explained.

ג

מִי שֶׁבָּאָה לוֹ שְׁמוּעָה קְרוֹבָה בְּתוֹךְ הָרֶגֶל אוֹ בְּיוֹם שַׁבָּת וּלְאַחַר שַׁבָּת אוֹ אַחַר הָרֶגֶל נַעֲשֵׂית רְחוֹקָה. עוֹלֶה לוֹ וְאֵינוֹ נוֹהֵג לְאַחַר הָרֶגֶל אוֹ לְאַחַר הַשַּׁבָּת אֶלָּא יוֹם אֶחָד בִּלְבַד. וּמִקְצָת הַיּוֹם כְּכֻלּוֹ כְּמוֹ שֶׁבֵּאַרְנוּ:

4

The following rules apply when a close relative of a person dies and that person does not know until he comes to that place. If he was in a close place, e.g., within ten parseot away, and thus he could come in one day, even if he came on the seventh day, if he finds people offering comfort to the person of greatest stature in the family, it is considered as if he was together with them and he counts with them the remainder of the 30 days. This applies even if they had already begun to rise, as long as he finds comforters, he counts with the other mourners.

If he did not find comforters, he counts for himself. Similarly, if he comes from a distant place, even if he comes on the second day, he counts seven and thirty days for himself from the day he comes.

ד

מִי שֶׁמֵּת לוֹ קָרוֹב וְלֹא יָדַע עַד שֶׁבָּא. אִם הָיָה בְּמָקוֹם קָרוֹב שֶׁהוּא מַהֲלַךְ עֲשָׂרָה פַּרְסָאוֹת שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר שֶׁיָּבוֹא בְּיוֹם אֶחָד. אֲפִלּוּ בָּא בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי. אִם מָצָא מְנַחֲמִים אֵצֶל גְּדוֹל הַבַּיִת אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁנִּנְעֲרוּ לַעֲמֹד הוֹאִיל וּמָצָא מְנַחֲמִים עוֹלֶה לוֹ וּמוֹנֶה עִמָּהֶן תַּשְׁלוּם שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וְאִם לֹא מָצָא מְנַחֲמִים מוֹנֶה לְעַצְמוֹ. וְכֵן אִם הָיָה בְּמָקוֹם רָחוֹק אֲפִלּוּ בָּא בְּיוֹם שֵׁנִי מוֹנֶה לְעַצְמוֹ שִׁבְעָה וּשְׁלֹשִׁים מִיּוֹם שֶׁבָּא:

5

During the first three days of mourning, a mourner does not even go the house of another mourner. From that time onward, he may go, but he does not sit together with those offering comfort, but with those receiving comfort. He should not leave the entrance to his house to go any place for the entire first week. During the second week, he may leave his home, but should not sit in his ordinary place. During the third week, he may sit in his ordinary place, but should not speak in his ordinary manner. During the fourth week, he is like any other person.

ה

אָבֵל בִּשְׁלֹשָׁה יָמִים הָרִאשׁוֹנִים אֵינוֹ הוֹלֵךְ אֲפִלּוּ לְבֵית אָבֵל אַחֵר. מִכָּאן וְאֵילָךְ הוֹלֵךְ וְאֵינוֹ יוֹשֵׁב בִּמְקוֹם הַמְנַחֲמִין אֶלָּא בִּמְקוֹם הַמִּתְנַחֲמִין. וְלֹא יֵצֵא לְמָקוֹם אַחֵר מִפֶּתַח בֵּיתוֹ כָּל שַׁבָּת הָרִאשׁוֹנָה. שְׁנִיָּה יוֹצֵא וְאֵינוֹ יוֹשֵׁב בִּמְקוֹמוֹ. שְׁלִישִׁית יוֹשֵׁב בִּמְקוֹמוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מְדַבֵּר כְּדַרְכּוֹ. רְבִיעִית הֲרֵי הוּא כְּכָל אָדָם:

6

The High Priest is obligated to observe all the mourning practices, except that he is forbidden to rend the upper portion of his garments, to let his hair grow long, or to follow the bier in the funeral procession.

The entire Jewish people come to his house to comfort him. When they bring him the meal of comfort, all of the people must sit on the ground; he, by contrast, sits on a bench. When they comfort him, they tell him: "We are atonement for you." And he tells them: "May you be blessed from heaven."

If he desires to comfort others, the deputee has him positioned among the people. And he tells the mourners: "Be comforted."

ו

כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל חַיָּב בְּכָל דִּבְרֵי אֲבֵלוּת. אֶלָּא שֶׁאָסוּר לוֹ לִקְרֹעַ בְּגָדָיו לְמַעְלָה וּלְגַדֵּל פֶּרַע וְלָצֵאת אַחַר הַמִּטָּה. וְכָל הָעָם בָּאִין לְנַחֲמוֹ לְבֵיתוֹ. וּכְשֶׁמַּבְרִין אוֹתוֹ כָּל הָעָם מְסֻבִּין עַל הָאָרֶץ וְהוּא מֵסֵב עַל הַסַּפְסָל. וְאוֹמְרִין לוֹ כְּשֶׁמְּנַחֲמִין אוֹתוֹ אָנוּ כַּפָּרָתְךָ וְהוּא אוֹמֵר לָהֶם תִּתְבָּרְכוּ מִן הַשָּׁמַיִם. וְאִם רָצָה לְנַחֵם אֲחֵרִים הַמְמֻנֶּה מְמַצְּעוֹ בְּתוֹךְ הָעָם וְאוֹמֵר לָהֶם תְּנֻחֲמוּ:

7

Similarly, a king is obligated to observe all the mourning practices, except that he does not leave his palace in the funeral procession for his dead. Needless to say, this applies with regard to other deceased. Nor does he comfort mourners. King David followed Avner's funeral procession only to show the people that he was not slain because of David's desire.

ז

וְכֵן הַמֶּלֶךְ חַיָּב בְּכָל דִּבְרֵי אֲבֵלוּת אֶלָּא שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא מִפֶּתַח פַּלְטֵרִין שֶׁלּוֹ אַחַר מֵתוֹ. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לוֹמַר אַחַר מֵתִים אֲחֵרִים. וְאֵינוֹ מְנַחֵם אֲבֵלִים. וְלֹא יָצָא דָּוִד אַחַר אַבְנֵר אֶלָּא לְהוֹדִיעַ לָעָם שֶׁלֹּא נֶהֱרַג בִּרְצוֹנוֹ:

8

No one enters the king's presence to comfort him except his servants and those who are given permission to enter. They do not have permission to speak words of comfort except what he allows them. When they serve him the meal of comfort, all of the others recline on the ground and he reclines on a dargesh.

ח

אֵין אָדָם נִכְנָס לַמֶּלֶךְ לְנַחֲמוֹ אֶלָּא עֲבָדָיו וּמִי שֶׁנָּתַן לוֹ רְשׁוּת לְהִכָּנֵס. וְאֵין לָהֶן רְשׁוּת לְדַבֵּר לוֹ דִּבְרֵי תַּנְחוּמִין אֶלָּא כְּפִי מַה שֶּׁיַּרְשֶׁה אוֹתָם. וּכְשֶׁמַּבְרִין אוֹתוֹ כָּל הָעָם מְסֻבִּין עַל הָאָרֶץ וְהוּא מֵסֵב עַל הַדַּרְגָּשׁ:

Avel - Chapter 8

1

A mourner is obligated to rend his garments for his dead, as can be derived from Leviticus 10:6: "Do not rend your garments lest you die." Implied is that others must rend their garments.

One must rend one's garments only while standing, as II Samuel 13:31 states: "And the king stood and rent his garments."

Where does one rend his garment? In front. If one rends his garment from the back or from the sides or from the bottom, he does not fulfill the obligation to rend his garments, with the exception of a High Priest who must rend his garment from the bottom.

א

אָבֵל חַיָּב לִקְרֹעַ עַל מֵתוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ויקרא י ו) "וּבִגְדֵיכֶם לֹא תִפְרֹמוּ וְלֹא תָמֻתוּ" הָא אַחֵר חַיָּב לִפְרֹם. וְאֵין קְרִיעָה אֶלָּא מְעֻמָּד. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל ב יג לא) "וַיָּקָם הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיִּקְרַע אֶת בְּגָדָיו". וּמֵהֵיכָן קוֹרֵעַ. מִלְּפָנָיו. וְהַקּוֹרֵעַ מֵאַחֲרָיו אוֹ מִן הַצְּדָדִין אוֹ מִלְּמַטָּה לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבַת קְרִיעָה. אֶלָּא כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁהוּא פּוֹרֵם מִלְּמַטָּה:

2

What is the required measure for the tear? A handbreadth. It is not necessary to rip apart the border of the garment. One may rend his garments with a utensil.

One may rend one's garments inside, not in the presence of others. Therefore he may place his hand inside his garment and tear it modestly. He is only obligated to tear his upper garment.

ב

כַּמָּה שִׁעוּר הַקֶּרַע. טֶפַח. וְאֵין צָרִיךְ לְהַבְדִּיל שְׂפַת הַבֶּגֶד. וּמֻתָּר לוֹ לִקְרֹעַ בִּכְלִי. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לִקְרֹעַ בִּפְנִים שֶׁלֹּא בִּפְנֵי אָדָם. לְפִיכָךְ יֵשׁ לוֹ לְהַכְנִיס יָדוֹ בִּפְנִים וְקוֹרֵעַ בְּצִנְעָה. וְאֵינוֹ חַיָּב לִקְרֹעַ אֶלָּא בֶּגֶד הָעֶלְיוֹן בִּלְבַד:

3

For the entire seven days of mourning, he keeps the tear in front of him. If he desires to change his garments, he may. He is not required to rend the second garment, for any tear that is not made at the time of emotional excitement, is not a tear.

When does the above apply? With regard to other deceased persons aside from his father and mother. For his father and mother, by contrast, he must rend his garment until he reveals his heart. He must rip apart the border of the garment; he may not tear it with a utensil, and must tear it outside, in the presence of people at large.

He must tear all the garments he is wearing. His underwear - i.e., the garments worn next to his flesh - need not be ripped. If he changes his clothes, he is required to rend them for all seven days. Similarly, for his father and mother, he uncovers his shoulder and takes his forearm out from his garment, revealing his shoulder and his forearm. He passes before the bier in this manner. After his father and his mother are buried, however, he is not required to uncover his shoulder.

ג

כָּל שִׁבְעַת יְמֵי אֲבֵלוּת הַקֶּרַע לְפָנִים וְאִם בָּא לְהַחְלִיף מַחְלִיף וְאֵינוֹ קוֹרֵעַ קֶרַע אַחֵר. שֶׁכָּל קֶרַע שֶׁאֵינוֹ בִּשְׁעַת חִמּוּם אֵינוֹ קֶרַע. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּשְׁאָר הַמֵּתִים חוּץ מֵאָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ. אֲבָל עַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ קוֹרֵעַ עַד שֶׁמְּגַלֶּה אֶת לִבּוֹ. וּמַבְדִּיל שְׂפַת הַבֶּגֶד וְאֵינוֹ קוֹרֵעַ בִּכְלִי אֶלָּא בְּיָדוֹ מִבַּחוּץ בִּפְנֵי כָּל הָעָם וְקוֹרֵעַ כָּל הַבְּגָדִים שֶׁעָלָיו. וּבֶגֶד הַזֵּעָה הַדָּבוּק לִבְשָׂרוֹ אֵינוֹ מְעַכֵּב. וְאִם הֶחְלִיף בֶּגֶד אַחֵר חַיָּב לִקְרֹעַ כָּל שִׁבְעָה. וְכֵן עַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ חוֹלֵץ כְּתֵפוֹ וּמוֹצִיא זְרוֹעוֹ מִן הֶחָלוּק עַד שֶׁיִּתְגַּלֶּה כְּתֵפוֹ וּזְרוֹעוֹ. וְהוֹלֵךְ כָּךְ לִפְנֵי הַמִּטָּה. וְאַחַר שֶׁיִּקָּבֵר אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ אֵינוֹ חַיָּב לַחְלֹץ:

4

A child's garments should be torn to create sorrow.

When a dangerously ill person loses a close relative, we do not rend his garments, nor do we notify him lest he lose control of his emotions. We silence the women in his presence.

ד

קוֹרְעִין לְקָטָן מִפְּנֵי עָגְמַת נֶפֶשׁ. וְחוֹלֶה שֶׁמֵּת לוֹ מֵת אֵין מְקַרְעִין לוֹ וְלֹא מוֹדִיעִין לוֹ שֶׁלֹּא תִּטָּרֵף עָלָיו דַּעְתּוֹ. וּמְשַׁתְּקִין אֶת הַנָּשִׁים מִפָּנָיו:

5

A person should rend his garments when his father-in-law and mother-in-law dies as an expression of honor for his wife. Similarly, a woman should rend her garments for her father-in-law and mother-in-law as an expression of honor for her husband.

ה

וְקוֹרֵעַ אָדָם עַל חָמִיו וְעַל חֲמוֹתוֹ מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד אִשְׁתּוֹ. וְכֵן הָאִשָּׁה קוֹרַעַת עַל חָמִיהָ וְעַל חֲמוֹתָהּ מִפְּנֵי כְּבוֹד בַּעְלָהּ:

6

When a person does not have an outer garment to tear at the time of a person's passing and he obtains a garment within the seven days of mourning, he is obligated to tear it. After seven days, he is not obligated to tear it. For his father and mother, he is obligated to tear it even if he obtains it after the seven days, but within the 30 days.

Whenever a person goes out wearing a torn garment before the dead implying that he tore the garment because of them, he is deceiving people and degrading the honor of the dead and the living.

ו

מִי שֶׁאֵין לוֹ חָלוּק לִקְרֹעַ וְנִזְדַּמֵּן לוֹ חָלוּק בְּתוֹךְ שִׁבְעָה קוֹרֵעַ. לְאַחַר שִׁבְעָה אֵינוֹ קוֹרֵעַ. וְעַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ אֲפִלּוּ לְאַחַר שִׁבְעָה קוֹרֵעַ כָּל שְׁלֹשִׁים יוֹם. וְכָל הַיּוֹצֵא בְּבֶגֶד קָרוּעַ לִפְנֵי מֵתִים כְּלוֹמַר שֶׁהוּא קָרַע עַתָּה עֲלֵיהֶן. הֲרֵי זֶה גּוֹנֵב דַּעַת הַבְּרִיּוֹת וְזִלְזֵל בִּכְבוֹד הַחַיִּים וְהַמֵּתִים:

7

When one tells a colleague: "Lend me your cloak so that I can visit my father who is dangerously ill," if, when he visits him, he finds that he died, he should rend the garment, mend it, and return it, reimbursing the owner for the tear. If he does not notify him that he is going to visit a person who is dangerously ill, he should not touch the garment.

ז

הָאוֹמֵר לַחֲבֵרוֹ הַשְׁאִילֵנִי חֲלוּקְךָ וַאֲבַקֵּר אֶת אָבִי שֶׁהוּא חוֹלֶה וְהָלַךְ וּמְצָאוֹ שֶׁמֵּת. קוֹרֵעַ וּמְאַחֶה וּמַחֲזִיר לוֹ אֶת חֲלוּקוֹ וְנוֹתֵן לוֹ דְּמֵי קִרְעוֹ. וְאִם לֹא הוֹדִיעוֹ שֶׁהוּא מְבַקֵּר לוֹ חוֹלֶה הֲרֵי זֶה לֹא יִגַּע בּוֹ:

8

The following rules apply when one has a dangerously ill person in his home, that person faints and he thinks that he has died and hence, he rends his garments, the sick person regains consciousness and then dies. If he dies immediately after the garments are torn, he need not rend his garments again. If he dies after even a short time has past, he must rend his garments again.

Similar concepts apply if someone tells a person that his father died and he therefore rent his garments and then it was discovered that his son died or if someone told him that a person close to him died, he thought it was his father and rent his garments and then he discovered that it was his son. If he realized the true situation immediately afterwards, he fulfilled the obligation to rend his garments. If he did not realize this until afterwards, he did not fulfill his obligation and is obligated to rend his garments again.

ח

מִי שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ חוֹלֶה בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ וְנִתְעַלֵּף וְסָבוּר שֶׁמֵּת וְקָרַע וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת. אִם בְּתוֹךְ כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר אֵינוֹ חוֹזֵר וְקוֹרֵעַ. וְאִם לְאַחַר כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר מֵת חוֹזֵר וְקוֹרֵעַ קֶרַע אַחֵר. וְכֵן מִי שֶׁאָמְרוּ לוֹ מֵת אָבִיו וְקָרַע וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִמְצָא שֶׁמֵּת בְּנוֹ. אָמְרוּ לוֹ מֵת לוֹ מֵת וְכַסָּבוּר שֶׁאָבִיו וְקָרַע וְאַחַר כָּךְ נִמְצָא בְּנוֹ. אִם תּוֹךְ כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר נוֹדַע לוֹ אֲמִתַּת הַדָּבָר יָצָא יְדֵי קְרִיעָה וְאִם לְאַחַר כְּדֵי דִּבּוּר לֹא יָצָא וְחַיָּב לִקְרוֹעַ קֶרַע אַחֵר:

9

When many close relatives die at once, a person should rend his garments once for all of them. If his father or mother are among them, he should rend his garments once for all the others, and once for his father or mother.

ט

מִי שֶׁמֵּתוּ לוֹ מֵתִים הַרְבֵּה כְּאֶחָד קוֹרֵעַ קֶרַע אֶחָד לְכֻלָּם. הָיָה בִּכְלָלָן אָבִיו אוֹ אִמּוֹ קוֹרֵעַ עַל כֻּלָּן קֶרַע אֶחָד וְעַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ קֶרַע אַחֵר:

10

The following rules apply when a person's close relative dies, he rends his garments because of him and then another close relative dies. If the second relative dies within the seven days of mourning, he should tear his garments again. If it is after the seven days, he need only add the slightest amount to the original tear.

If a third close relative dies after the seven days of mourning for the second, again, he need only add the slightest amount to the original tear. And he can continue in this manner until he reaches his navel. Once he reaches his navel, he should distance himself at least three thumbbreadths and rend the garment again.

When the garment is entirely torn in front, he may turn it around. When its upper portion is entirely torn, he may make the bottom the top.

If he was told: "Your father died," and he rent his garments and after the seven days of mourning, his son died and he extended the tear, he may mend the lower tear, but not the upper tear as will be explained. If he was told: "Your son died," and he rent his garments and after the seven days of mourning, his father died, he may not merely extend the tear. Instead, he must make a new tear. For extending a tear is not sufficient for his father and mother.

י

מִי שֶׁמֵּת לוֹ מֵת וְקָרַע עָלָיו וְאַחַר כָּךְ מֵת לוֹ מֵת אַחֵר. אִם בְּתוֹךְ שִׁבְעָה קוֹרֵעַ קֶרַע אַחֵר וְאִם לְאַחַר שִׁבְעָה מוֹסִיף עַל הַקֶּרַע הָרִאשׁוֹן כָּל שֶׁהוּא. מֵת לוֹ מֵת שְׁלִישִׁי אַחַר שִׁבְעָה שֶׁל שֵׁנִי מוֹסִיף כָּל שֶׁהוּא וְכֵן מוֹסִיף וְהוֹלֵךְ עַד טַבּוּרוֹ. הִגִּיעַ לְטַבּוּרוֹ מַרְחִיק שָׁלֹשׁ אֶצְבָּעוֹת וְקוֹרֵעַ. נִתְמַלֵּא מִלְּפָנָיו מַחְזִירוֹ לַאֲחוֹרָיו. נִתְמַלֵּא מִלְּמַעְלָה הוֹפְכוֹ לְמַטָּה. אָמְרוּ לוֹ מֵת אָבִיו וְקָרַע וְאַחַר שִׁבְעָה מֵת בְּנוֹ וְהוֹסִיף. מִתְאַחֶה הַתַּחְתּוֹן וְלֹא הָעֶלְיוֹן כְּמוֹ שֶׁיִּתְבָּאֵר. אָמְרוּ לוֹ מֵת בְּנוֹ וְקָרַע וְאַחַר שִׁבְעָה מֵת אָבִיו אֵינוֹ מוֹסִיף אֶלָּא קוֹרֵעַ קֶרַע אַחֵר. שֶׁאֵין אָבִיו וְאִמּוֹ בְּתוֹסֶפֶת:

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The Mishneh Torah was the Rambam's (Rabbi Moses ben Maimon) magnum opus, a work spanning hundreds of chapters and describing all of the laws mentioned in the Torah. To this day it is the only work that details all of Jewish observance, including those laws which are only applicable when the Holy Temple is in place. Participating in one of the annual study cycles of these laws (3 chapters/day, 1 chapter/day, or Sefer Hamitzvot) is a way we can play a small but essential part in rebuilding the final Temple.
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