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 Hilchos Kriyas Shema 71 (page 210)
 מתחילת סימן עא עד סעיף ב

Performing Mitzvos in the Proximity of a Dead Body
Davening Near a Dead Body
Aninus on Shabbos and Yom Tov

Performing mitzvos in the proximity of a dead body
It is forbidden to study Torah, daven or recite berachos within four amos of a dead person or grave. It is likewise forbidden to wear exposed tzitzis or tefillin in the vicinity of a dead body. Performing mitzvos near a meis gives the appearance of teasing the deceased who can no longer perform mitzvos. In calculating distance from a corpse, the poskim debate whether a large room which houses a dead body or grave should be treated as only four amos despite its actual size. Even berachos like those on thunder and lightning, which must be recited shortly after an event, should not be recited near a meis. Someone who read Shema in the vicinity of a dead body must repeat it later when he is away from the meis. Someone who recited a beracha, however, should not repeat it after moving away from the deceased.
( סעיף ז וס"ק טו-יז; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 30 ו־31)
Davening near a dead body
Although it is forbidden to recite berachos or daven near a meis or grave, one may daven on behalf of the deceased and mention divrei Torah in his honor (e.g. during a eulogy) in his presence. It is likewise permitted to recite Tehillim or other prayers in the vicinity of the graves of tzadikim. According to many poskim it is permissible to recite tefillas haderech when transporting a meis, since the purpose of the prayer-that the trip should pass safely-benefits the deceased as well. It is permissible to think about Torah near the deceased. The poskim discuss whether it is permissible to recite Tehillim near the dead body to protect it from mazikim while it awaits burial. It is permissible to daven and study near a cave which houses a grave (e.g. the cave which houses the grave of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai).
( ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 29, 30 ו־32)

Aninus on Shabbos and Yom Tov
The rules of aninus do not apply on Shabbos, unless the relative is somehow involved in the funeral preparations on Shabbos. The rules of aninus apply on Yom Tov if the funeral will be held on Yom Tov. (A funeral can be held on the first day of Yom Tov if a goy handles all the melachos involved.) The rules of aninus apply on the second day of Yom Tov if it is possible to hold the funeral on that day, even if there are no plans to do so. The rules of aninuns do not apply on Yom Tov evening unless the funeral will be held that night. There is a discussion amongst the poskim as to whether an onen is permitted to study Torah on Shabbos or Yom Tov.
( סעיף ב וס"ק ט ו־יא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 23 ו־27)

  • The term onen describes someone whose close relative (i.e. father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter or wife) died but has not yet been buried. During this period it is forbidden for him to perform all mitzvos, whether d'oraisa or d'rabonon.
  • An onen may not violate any mitzvos lo sa'aseh, whether d'oraisa or d'rabonon. He may, however, eat without a beracha. The poskim discuss whether washing before eating is a requirement from which he is exempt or a prohibition for which he is responsible.
  • Someone who did not get to daven until close to the end of zeman tefilla should skip parts of pesukei d'zimra (as explained in siman 52:1) to enable himself to recite Shemoneh Esrei before it is too late. If there is not enough time, he may even skip all of pesukei d'zimra including Baruch Sheamar and Yishtabach.

  • Holding a funeral before reciting the morning kriyas Shema

  • The prohibition of leaving a deceased overnight

  • How far must one accompany the funeral?



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.