RH is MIL’s first Yahrzeit…how should we adjust traditional celebration?

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    Every year, Mrs. CTL and I host the asst family members for Rosh HaShanah. The house is full and the kitchens are in full gear. Assorted relatives use this time not only as the start of the Yomin Noraim, but a chance to catch up with each other on the happenings since we gather at Pesach.
    Normally, with RH starting on Sunday night, we’d have a houseful for Shabbos, a big family breakfast on Sunday morning, and get ready for RH.
    Last year, Mrs. CTL’s mother was niftara in our home while the children and grandchildren were on the middle of the first night seudah. This year as the women light yuntif candles, a yahrzeit candle will also be lit. Mrs. CTL will not be in a joyful mood.

    So, do we not have the entire family this year?
    Do we ask one of our children to host and go there for the seudah (three are in easy walking distance)?

    This is the first case of a yuntif yarhzeit Mrs. CTL or I have ever had to deal with.

    Appreciate stories of how you deal with yuntif yahrzeit in your family, especially the first year.


    CTL: Before we reply, did you ask Mrs. CTL what she prefers?

    Personally, I do not recall what we did for my grandmother’s first yahrtzeit on the second day of sukkos 40 years ago.

    馃崼Syag Lchochma

    I know that for myself the last thing i wanted was to feel even more lonely than the empty place setting was already making me.

    from Long Island

    Years ago my Mom was niftar erev Pesach. That year Pesach passed in a blur what with being an Onen at the Sedurim and kevurah in Israel during Chol Ha’Moed.

    I was afraid that every year the Pesach sedurim would be sad for everyone, so I asked my kids/family to prepare/remember their favorite story/experience with my Mom. Sharing those stories, during the Seder brought my Mom “back to the table” and really made Pesach a wonderful chag again.

    Ask your wife what she prefers. The first Chagim are always the hardest.

    Avi K

    In any case, RH is not such a day for celebration as it is yom hadin.


    Whilst not directly answering, Pesach Krohn’s advice about Pesach was that it’s absolutely normal to cry at the Seder. Which was good advice, seeing as that’s what happened. So feeling sad is just normal. Don’t expect not to be.


    Yes, I have asked Mrs. CTL what she wants, and to be blunt, she would prefer that the yuntif would be over with already. She has no enthuasim for the preparation and tumult of all the family together. Yet, I feel she will miss it, if after all these years we downplay the holidays.

    and as for Avi K, you may have read I posted about the Shabbos and Sunday morning before RH when the family would all be here as well.

    Last year was horrendous, as MIL was niftara during the seuda in our home and nothing could be done until Tzom Gedalia. Mrs. CTL is also concerned the youngest grandchildren might have trepidation sitting down to the yuntif meal and wondering if another tragedy will occur.


    CTL: If I remember correctly you have had family “celebrations” this past year (bris of a grandson) so a family get together may not necessarily trigger bad memories in the minds of the younger grandchildren. I am not a psychologist so I am not talking with any specialized training.

    I can understand Mrs. CTL’s feelings as my father’s petirah was two weeks before chanukah and I was far from being in a celebratory mood.

    Since your wife has already expressed certain feelings, maybe it would be a good idea to move the seudos to one of your children, but have them ask your wife to come help with preparations. My .02

    Either way your family should have a nechomah from the petirah of Mrs. CTL’s mother and may she be a “MELITZAH YESHARAH” for your entire mishpacha.

    Avi K

    CTL, as a matter of fact, some people have a custom to fast on erev RH until Chatzot. As for the youngest grandchildren how old are they? They might not even remember. My father’s mother died when I was one year old and I have no recollection of her or even a recollection of a childhood recollection.


    Avi K: While you are correct it a the yom hadin, there is still an aspect of yom tov to it as stated in Nechemiah 8:10-12 –

    10 – 讬讜址讬旨止郑讗诪侄专 诇指讛侄帧诐 诇职讻讜旨蜘 讗执讻职诇吱讜旨 诪址砖讈职诪址谞旨执譁讬诐 讜旨砖讈职转郑讜旨 诪址诪职转旨址拽旨执謼讬诐 讜职砖讈执诇职讞謿讜旨 诪指谞讜止转謾 诇职讗值郑讬谉 谞指讻郑讜止谉 诇謹讜止 讻旨执纸讬志拽指讚芝讜止砖讈 讛址讬旨謻讜止诐 诇址纸讗植讚止谞值謶讬谞讜旨 讜职讗址诇志转旨值郑注指爪值謹讘讜旨 讻旨执纸讬志讞侄讚职讜址芝转 讬职讛止讜指謻讛 讛执芝讬讗 诪指纸注只讝旨职讻侄纸诐:
    11: 讬讗讜职讛址纸诇职讜执讬旨执譃诐 诪址讞职砖讈执謿讬诐 诇职讻指诇志讛指注指诐謾 诇值讗诪止郑专 讛址謹住旨讜旨 讻旨执纸讬志讛址讬旨謻讜止诐 拽指讚止謶砖讈 讜职讗址诇志转旨值纸注指爪值纸讘讜旨:
    12: 讬讘讜址讬旨值纸诇职讻吱讜旨 讻指诇志讛指注指譁诐 诇侄纸讗直讻止謿诇 讜职诇执砖讈职转旨讜止转謾 讜旨诇职砖讈址诇旨址郑讞 诪指谞謹讜止转 讜职诇址纸注植砖讉謻讜止转 砖讉执诪职讞指郑讛 讙职讚讜止诇指謶讛 讻旨执謿讬 讛值讘执謾讬谞讜旨謾 讘旨址讚旨职讘指专执謹讬诐 讗植砖讈侄芝专 讛讜止讚执謻讬注讜旨 诇指讛侄纸诐:

    10: And he said to them, “Go, eat fat foods and drink sweet drinks and send portions to whoever has nothing prepared, for the day is holy to our Lord, and do not be sad, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
    11: And the Levites quieted all the people, saying, “Hush, for the day is holy, and do not be sad.”
    12: Then all the people went to eat and to drink and to send portions and to rejoice greatly, for they understood the words that they informed them of.


    There were grandchildren at the seudah table last year at the time of death who are now aged 4-22.
    Literally, one of the nurses came to the table from my MIL’s bedroom and asked Mrs. CTL and myself and our adult daughters to hurry in to say goodbye. She was niftara within 3 minutes of leaving the table. The grandchildren were certainly aware of what happened. The youngest were bundled off to the house next door with my DIL’s in charge. The older granchildren remained in the house and attended the mais or said tehillim. Motzei yuntif the mais was removed for tahara and burial the next morning.

    At Pesach, a couple of the 5-8 yer olds asked who was going to die this yuntif and end the meal early. One even asked if we could move the afikomen ransom up to the beginning of the seder. None of the kids have gone into what was bubbe’s suite since. We’ve completely redecorated and turned it into an office. No one would feel comfortable sleeping there.

    One of my great grandfathers died when I was two. I don’t have many memories of him, but he didn’t die in the house when I was there. I was in CT and he died in a Brooklyn hospital at age 103.

    Avram in MD


    I’m so sorry to hear about your family’s loss.

    “Yes, I have asked Mrs. CTL what she wants, and to be blunt, she would prefer that the yuntif would be over with already. She has no enthuasim for the preparation and tumult of all the family together. Yet, I feel she will miss it, if after all these years we downplay the holidays.”

    It sounds like you don’t have clarity on what she really wants to do for Rosh Hashana – possibly because she herself doesn’t know. Personally, I wouldn’t move forward with any plans that involve my wife having to deal with any preparation and tumult based solely on a feeling. I would make every effort to relieve that burden unless she explicitly says she wants to make the yom tov, even with assurances that nobody will be disappointed if she doesn’t host. If you have children able and willing to make the yom tov and you can join them, I’d jump on that. If she ultimately misses it, there is Sukkos soon after, and please G-d next year.


    CTL: Has a decision been made yet?


    Mrs. CTL and our daughters and daughters in law reached a decision last night.
    Sunday morning after shul we’ll hold an unveiling for MIL, then a simple dairy lunch in our yard.
    The seudos will be at our home. The girls will do the cooking and serving.
    ONLY children, spouses and grandchildren will be here, no nieces, nephews, cousins, machatunim, etc. will be here.
    No guests will sleep here.
    My eldest sister will host my side of the family for the evening seudos, but all will gather at the compound after shul for Tashlich and lunch.
    We’ll try to keep everything low key. We’ll all go to shul for davening instead of family services in our home. I have let the Rav and gabbai know that we’ll be using our family seats this year and that they are not available for use by guests or other shul members.

    This is the current plan, BUT as they say: Man plans and G-d laughs
    it may all change………….

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