Get the best of content every week!
Find answers to fascinating Jewish questions, enjoy holiday tips and guides, read real-life stories and more!

Rambam - 1 Chapter a Day

Avel - Chapter 9

Show content in:

Avel - Chapter 9


Whenever a person rends his garments after the loss of a relative other than a parent, he may sew the tear after the seven days of mourning and mend it after thirty days. For one's father and mother, he may sew the tear after thirty days, but may never mend it. A woman should rend her garments and sew them immediately, even when she lost a father or mother, as an expression of modesty.


כָּל הַקְּרָעִים שֶׁקּוֹרֵעַ אָדָם עַל שְׁאָר קְרוֹבָיו. שׁוֹלֵל הַקֶּרַע לְאַחַר שִׁבְעָה וּמְאַחֶה לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים. עַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ שׁוֹלֵל לְאַחַר שְׁלֹשִׁים וְאֵינוֹ מְאַחֶה לְעוֹלָם. וְהָאִשָּׁה קוֹרַעַת וְשׁוֹלֶלֶת מִיָּד אֲפִלּוּ עַל אָבִיהָ וְעַל אִמָּהּ מִפְּנֵי הַצְּנִיעוּת:


Just as a person must rend his garments for the loss of his father and mother; so, too, he is obligated to rend his garments for the loss of a teacher who instructed him in the Torah, a nasi, the av beit din, the majority of the community who were slain, the cursing of God's name, the burning of a Torah scroll, when seeing the cities of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple in their destruction.


כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁקּוֹרֵעַ אָדָם עַל אָבִיו וְעַל אִמּוֹ כָּךְ חַיָּב לִקְרֹעַ עַל רַבּוֹ שֶׁלִּמְּדוֹ תּוֹרָה. וְעַל הַנָּשִׂיא וְעַל אַב בֵּית דִּין. וְעַל רֹב הַצִּבּוּר שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג. וְעַל בִּרְכַּת הַשֵּׁם. וְעַל סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה שֶׁנִּשְׂרַף. וְעַל עָרֵי יְהוּדָה וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם. וְעַל הַמִּקְדָּשׁ:


All of these tears should be rent to the extent that one reveals his heart and they should never be mended. Although they should never be mended, they may be sewed irregularly, sewn after the sides are wound or twisted together, or sewn like ladders. All that was forbidden was Alexandrian mending.

Whenever a person tears a garment in a place where it was sewn irregularly or sewn after the sides were wound and twisted together, his act is of no consequence. If, however, he rips a garment where it has been mended in an Alexandrian manner, it is of consequence.

Even one turns a rent garment upside down and makes its collar its hem, he should not mend it.


כָּל אֵלּוּ הַקְּרָעִים קוֹרֵעַ עַד שֶׁמְּגַלֶּה אֶת לִבּוֹ וְאֵינוֹ מְאַחֶה לְעוֹלָם. וְאַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵין מִתְאַחִין מֻתָּר לְשׁוֹלְלָן לְמָלְלָן וּלְלַקְּטָן וְלַעֲשׂוֹתָם כְּמִין סֻלָּמוֹת. וְלֹא אָסְרוּ אֶלָּא בְּאִחוּי אֲלֶכְּסַנְדְּרִי בִּלְבַד. וְכָל הַקּוֹרֵעַ מִתּוֹךְ הַשָּׁלָל אוֹ הַמֶּלֶל אוֹ הַלִּקּוּט לֹא עָשָׂה כְּלוּם אֲבָל קוֹרֵעַ מִתּוֹךְ הָאִחוּי הָאֲלֶכְּסַנְדְּרִי בִּלְבַד. אֲפִלּוּ הָפַךְ הַכְּלִי וְנַעֲשָׂה שְׂפָתוֹ לְמַטָּה לֹא יְאַחֶה:


Just as the seller may not mend it; so, too, the purchaser may not. Therefore the seller must notify the purchaser that this tear may not be mended.


וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁהַמּוֹכֵר אָסוּר לְאַחוֹתוֹ כָּךְ הַלּוֹקֵחַ. לְפִיכָךְ הַמּוֹכֵר צָרִיךְ לְהוֹדִיעַ לַלּוֹקֵחַ שֶׁקֶּרַע זֶה אֵינוֹ מִתְאַחֶה:


What is the source that teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments at his teacher's death just as he rends his garments for his father? II Kings 2:12 states: "He was calling out: 'My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen.' And then he no longer saw him. And he took hold of his garments and tore them into two halves." This teaches that one must rip apart the collar.


וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁקּוֹרֵעַ עַל רַבּוֹ כְּדֶרֶךְ שֶׁקּוֹרֵעַ עַל אָבִיו. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב ב יב) "וְהוּא מְצַעֵק אָבִי אָבִי רֶכֶב יִשְׂרָאֵל וּפָרָשָׁיו וְלֹא רָאָהוּ עוֹד וַיַּחֲזֵק בִּבְגָדָיו וַיִּקְרָעֵם לִשְׁנַיִם קְרָעִים". מִכָּאן שֶׁחַיָּב לְהַבְדִּיל הַשָּׂפָה:


What is the source that teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments at the death of the nasi, the av beit din, and a report that the majority of the community have been slain? II Samuel 1:11-12 relates: "David took hold of his garments and rent them as did all the people who were with him. They mourned, they cried, and they fasted until the evening for Saul - the nasi - for his son Jonathan - the av beit din - and for the people of God and the House of Israel for they fell by the sword" - this is an unfavorable report.


וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁקּוֹרְעִין עַל הַנָּשִׂיא וְעַל אַב בֵּית דִּין וְעַל שְׁמוּעָה שֶׁבָּאָה שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג רֹב צִבּוּר. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (שמואל ב א יא) "וַיַּחֲזֵק דָּוִד בִּבְגָדָו וַיִּקְרָעֵם וְגַם כָּל הָאֲנָשִׁים אֲשֶׁר אִתּוֹ" (שמואל ב א יב) "וַיִּסְפְּדוּ וַיִּבְכּוּ וַיָּצֻמוּ עַד הָעָרֶב". (שמואל ב א יב) "עַל שָׁאוּל" זֶה נָשִׂיא. (שמואל ב א יב) "וְעַל יְהוֹנָתָן בְּנוֹ" זֶה אַב בֵּית דִּין. (שמואל ב א יב) "וְעַל עַם ה' וְעַל בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי נָפְלוּ בֶּחָרֶב" זוֹ שְׁמוּעָה רָעָה:


What is the source which teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments when hearing the blasphemy of God's name? II Kings 18:37 states: "And Elyakim ben Chilkiyah who oversaw the palace, Shevna the scribe, and Yoach ben Asaf the secretary, came to Chizkiyahu with rent garments." Just as one who hears the blasphemy itself must rend his garments; so, too, one who hears the report of the blasphemy from the listeners must rend his garments.


וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁקּוֹרְעִין עַל בִּרְכַּת הַשֵּׁם. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (מלכים ב יח לז) "וַיָּבֹא אֶלְיָקִים בֶּן חִלְקִיָּהוּ אֲשֶׁר עַל הַבַּיִת וְשֶׁבְנָא הַסֹּפֵר וְיוֹאָח בֶּן אָסָף הַמַּזְכִּיר אֶל חִזְקִיָּהוּ קְרוּעֵי בְגָדִים". אֶחָד הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ וְאֶחָד הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ מִפִּי שׁוֹמֵעַ חַיָּבִין לִקְרֹעַ:


The witnesses are not obligated to rend their garments when they testify in court, for they already tore them when they heard the blasphemy.


וְהָעֵדִים אֵין חַיָּבִין לִקְרֹעַ כְּשֶׁיָּעִידוּ בְּבֵית דִּין. שֶׁכְּבָר קָרְעוּ בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ:


What is the source which teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments for a Torah scroll that is burnt? Jeremiah 36:23-24 states: "And it came to pass that when Yehudi would read three or four columns... until the entire scroll was consumed by the fire in the hearth. And neither the king nor his servants became fearful, nor did they rend their garments." Implied is that one is obligated to rend one's garments.

One is obligated to rend one's garments only because of a Torah scroll that was burnt arrogantly as in the incident cited. One is obligated to rend one's garments twice: once for the parchment and once for the writing, as ibid.:27 states: "After the king burnt the scroll and the words."


וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁקּוֹרְעִין עַל סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה שֶׁנִּשְׂרַף. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה לו כג) "וַיְהִי כִּקְרוֹא יְהוּדִי שָׁלֹשׁ דְּלָתוֹת וְאַרְבָּעָה" וְגוֹ' (ירמיה לו כג) "עַד תֹּם כָּל הַמְּגִלָּה עַל הָאֵשׁ אֲשֶׁר עַל הָאָח" (ירמיה לו כד) "וְלֹא פָחֲדוּ וְלֹא קָרְעוּ אֶת בִּגְדֵיהֶם הַמֶּלֶךְ וְכָל עֲבָדָיו". מִכְלַל שֶׁחַיָּבִין לִקְרֹעַ. וְאֵין חַיָּבִין לִקְרֹעַ אֶלָּא עַל סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה שֶׁנִּשְׂרַף בִּזְרוֹעַ כְּמַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁהָיָה. וְחַיָּב לִקְרֹעַ שְׁתֵּי קְרִיעוֹת אַחַת עַל הַגְּוִיל וְאַחַת עַל הַכְּתָב. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה לו כז) "אַחֲרֵי שְׂרֹף הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת הַמְּגִלָּה וְאֶת הַדְּבָרִים":


What is the source which teaches that one is obligated to rend his garments when seeing the cities of Judah, Jerusalem, and the Temple in their destruction? Jeremiah 41:5 relates: "Men came from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, eighty men with their beards shaven and their garments rent."


וּמִנַּיִן שֶׁקּוֹרְעִין עַל עָרֵי יְהוּדָה וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם וְעַל הַמִּקְדָּשׁ שֶׁחָרְבוּ. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (ירמיה מא ה) "וַיָּבֹאוּ אֲנָשִׁים מִשְּׁכֶם וּמִשִּׁילֹה וּמִשֹּׁמְרוֹן שְׁמֹנִים אִישׁ מְגֻלְּחֵי זָקָן וּקְרֻעֵי בְגָדִים":


Whoever is present with a dying person at the time his soul expires is obligated to rend his garments even if he is not his relative. Similarly, when a virtuous person dies, everyone is obligated to rend his garments because of him, even though he is not a sage. They tear them a handbreadth as other mourners do. When, however, a sage dies, everyone is considered as his relative. They rend their garments for him until they reveal their hearts and uncover their right arms. The house of study of that sage should be discontinued for all seven days of mourning.

Torah scholars have universally accepted the custom of rending their garments for a handbreadth in respect for each other even though they are equal in stature and neither of them teaches the other.


כָּל מִי שֶׁעָמַד עִם הַמֵּת בִּשְׁעַת יְצִיאַת נִשְׁמָתוֹ אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ קְרוֹבוֹ חַיָּב לִקְרֹעַ וְכֵן אָדָם כָּשֵׁר שֶׁמֵּת הַכּל חַיָּבִין לִקְרֹעַ עָלָיו אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ חָכָם. וְקוֹרְעִין טֶפַח כִּשְׁאָר הָאֲבֵלִים. אֲבָל חָכָם שֶׁמֵּת הַכּל קְרוֹבָיו וְהַכּל קוֹרְעִין עָלָיו עַד שֶׁמְּגַלִּין אֶת לִבָּם וְחוֹלְצִין מִיָּמִין. וּבֵית מִדְרָשׁוֹ שֶׁל אוֹתוֹ חָכָם בָּטֵל כָּל שִׁבְעָה. וּכְבָר נָהֲגוּ תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים בְּכָל מָקוֹם לִקְרֹעַ זֶה עַל זֶה טֶפַח. אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהֵן שָׁוִין וְאֵין אֶחָד מֵהֶם מְלַמֵּד אֶת חֲבֵרוֹ:


Whenever a person rends his garments because of a sage who dies, as soon as he turns away from the bier, he may sew it irregularly. It appears to me that when a person rends his garments for a sage, he may mend them on the following day. For even when his teacher dies, one should mourn for him for only one day, either the day of his death or the day he hears the report of his death.

Similarly, it appears to me that a person who rends his garments because of the death of the nasi or the like may sew them irregularly on the following day even though he may never mend them.


כָּל הַקּוֹרְעִים עַל הֶחָכָם שֶׁמֵּת כֵּיוָן שֶׁהֶחְזִירוּ פְּנֵיהֶן מֵאֲחוֹרֵי הַמִּטָּה שׁוֹלְלִין. וְיֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁהַקּוֹרֵעַ עַל הֶחָכָם מְאַחֶה לְמָחָר שֶׁאֲפִלּוּ רַבּוֹ שֶׁמֵּת אֵין מִתְאַבֵּל עָלָיו אֶלָּא יוֹם אֶחָד בִּלְבַד אוֹ יוֹם מִיתָה אוֹ יוֹם שְׁמוּעָה. כֵּן יֵרָאֶה לִי שֶׁהַקּוֹרֵעַ עַל הַנָּשִׂיא וְכַיּוֹצֵא בּוֹ שׁוֹלֵל לְמָחָר אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁאֵינוֹ מְאַחֶה עֲלֵיהֶם לְעוֹלָם:


When a report comes that a sage has died, we rend our garments only at the time he is eulogized. This is the honor granted to him. One may sew the garment that day and mend it on the following day.


חָכָם שֶׁבָּאָה שְׁמוּעָתוֹ שֶׁמֵּת אֵין קוֹרְעִין עָלָיו אֶלָּא בִּשְׁעַת הֶסְפֵּדוֹ וְזֶהוּ כְּבוֹדוֹ. וְשׁוֹלֵל בּוֹ בַּיּוֹם וּמְאַחֶה לְמָחָר:


When the Av Beit Din dies, everyone rends their garments because of him and uncovers their left arm. All of the houses of study in the city are discontinued. The members of the synagogue enter the synagogue and change their places. Those who sit at the south should sit at the north and those who sit at the north should sit at the south.


אַב בֵּית דִּין שֶׁמֵּת הַכּל קוֹרְעִין עָלָיו וְחוֹלְצִין מִשְּׂמֹאל וְכָל בָּתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת שֶׁבְּעִירוֹ בְּטֵלִין. וּבְנֵי בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת נִכְנָסִין לְבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת. וּמְשַׁנִּין אֶת מְקוֹמָן. הַיּוֹשְׁבִין בַּדָּרוֹם יֵשְׁבוּ בַּצָּפוֹן. וְהַיּוֹשְׁבִים בַּצָּפוֹן יֵשְׁבוּ בַּדָּרוֹם:


When a nasi dies, everyone rends their garments because of him and uncovers both arms. All of the houses of study are discontinued. The members of the synagogue enter the synagogue on the Sabbath, call seven men to the Torah reading and depart. They should not stroll in the market place, but instead should sit together in families mourning the entire day.


נָשִׂיא שֶׁמֵּת הַכּל קוֹרְעִין עָלָיו. וְחוֹלְצִין שְׁתֵּי הַיָּדַיִם מִכָּאן וּמִכָּאן. וּבְכָל בָּתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת בְּטֵלִים. וּבְנֵי בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת נִכְנָסִין בְּשַׁבָּת לְבֵית הַכְּנֶסֶת וְקוֹרְאִין שִׁבְעָה. וְלֹא יְטַיְּלוּ בַּשּׁוּק אֶלָּא יוֹשְׁבִין מִשְׁפָּחוֹת מִשְׁפָּחוֹת דָּוִים כָּל הַיּוֹם:

Published and copyright by Moznaim Publications, all rights reserved.
To purchase this book or the entire series, please click here.
The text on this page contains sacred literature. Please do not deface or discard.
Vowelized Hebrew text courtesy Torat Emet under CC 2.5 license.
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.
Download Rambam Study Schedules: 3 Chapters | 1 Chapter | Daily Mitzvah