[Written by Rabbi Moishe Lebovits]
KOF-K Kosher Supervision
Volume 5 and Piskei Harav Yisroel Belsky zt”l vol 1 (reprint – hard cover) Coming Soon!!
There are many halachic issues that pertain to the mitzvah of being menachem avel. Who begins to talk first? What should one talk to the avel about? When should one come to be menachem avel? Why are the mirrors covered in an avel’s home? May an item be removed from the avel’s home? In this issue, we will discuss the halachos and customs of an avel’s home.
Learning Hilchos Aveilus
Many people are hesitant to learn Maseches Moed Kattan because it talks about inyanei aveilus, and they are concerned that this might create an ayin hara that would result in some harmful event R”l. The Sefer Chassidim comments that before learning this masechta one should daven to Hashem that nothing bad will happen to him. He maintains that Maseches Moed Kattan is a meis mitzvah since some people don’t learn it for fear that something bad will happen, so if one wishes to learn it he is doing a great mitzvah. The Knesses Hagedolah says that there is only a concern if one learns it with a group of people, but learning alone is permitted. This masechta is included in the Daf Yomi cycle so it would seem that one may learn it. Furthermore, most Rishonim have a pirush on this masechta. When one learns this masechta he should not delve into it as deeply as he does with other masechtos, but he should learn it quickly.
Even if one would avoid learning hilchos aveilus, there is no need to abstain from learning hilchos menachem avel, since they pertain to one coming to console the aveilim. If one did not learn these halachos then he would not know what to do.
There is a big mitzvah to console someone who lost a relative. The pasuk says that it is better to go to a beis avel than to go to a party. We see that Hashem consoled Yitzchak after Avraham Avinu was niftar.
Hashem did so to Yaakov after he lost Yitzchak as well. Therefore, even a great person should go be menachem avel a person of lower stature. (An avel does not have to rise in respect for anyone of great stature because he is immersed in his pain.)
There is a discussion in the poskim if this is included in the mitzvah of doing kindness mid’Oraisa or mid’Rabbanan. Some say that one should train a child to go be menachem avel as well, although the custom seems to be lenient.
The Main Focus of the Mitzvah
When one is menachem avel, he should realize that the main focus is to console the mourners from their pain. Some say it is a tikkun to the deceased by coming to be menachem avel, since the davening there brings a pleasant feeling for the deceased. The customary phrase is “HaMakom yenachem eschem besoch sha’ar aveili Tzion v’Yerushalayim.” Some say that the nusach of eschem (lashon rabim) is said even when being menachem one avel. Some say that the aveilim answer amen after the brachah.
Some explain the nusach as follows: When one consoles an avel, he does not know if it will be effective. However, we know that Hashem always takes care of the good of the tzibbur, and any nechamah which includes the tzibbur will be accepted. Therefore, we add Yerushalayim to the nechamah, which is a consolation for the tzibbur.
Although one can be yotzei the mitzvah with this one phrase, it is better to actually engage the mourner in conversation and ease his pain (see below).
Nichum Aveilim or Bikur Cholim?
Where to Sit – Where to Visit the Aveilim
Some say that the aveilim should sit where the niftar died, while others argue that this is only important when there is no avel, and a group davens in the niftar’s home out of honor for the niftar. However, if aveilim are sitting shivah, that itself is an honor for the niftar. Therefore, the custom is that the aveilim sit wherever they find it convenient. They may even sit in different homes. However, most maintain that the aveilim should sit where the niftar lived.
Sitting or Standing
According to the letter of the law, the ones who come to console the mourners should sit on the floor (if the mourners are sitting on the floor). One must feel the pain of the mourners, and this cannot be accomplished while standing. However, mourners do not sit on the floor today, so they are mochel and allow the visitors to sit on a chair.
Some say that one should sit when being menachem avel. Others are lenient and allow standing, particularly if there is no room to sit. Some say that the phrase of haMakom need not be said while sitting.
Whom to Be Menachem
One should not be menachem if he is not on good terms with the mourner, since it will cause additional pain.
A man may comfort a woman and vice versa. When visiting a woman, one should be careful to avoid any questions of yichud. Some say he should stand outside of the room and say the nusach to the woman.
It is preferable that men and women who are mourning the loss of a relative should not sit in the same room since there will be a lack of tznius when people come to be menachem avel.
Some say that there is a mitzvah for the aveilim to be menachem each other as well.
One should console a non-Jew who lost a relative if avoiding it would result in friction.
On the Telephone / Letter
A phone call can console the mourner, but will not create a pleasant experience for the deceased. Therefore, it is best to visit in person. If it is not possible, one may communicate by telephone letter, or fax.
Talking to the Mourner
When going to be menachem avel, the mourner has to start the conversation before one talks to him. Some explain that one is supposed to say that Hashem’s judgment was fair, and the avel is supposed to say it first. Others say that it is the mourner’s way of showing that he is ready to be consoled. One can say, “Hashem should console you,” before the mourners begin to talk. Some permit the visitors to initiate the conversation if the mourner signals that he is ready to talk.
In addition, asking about the deceased’s life and manners is permitted even before the mourners begin talking. An avel who took the phone to speak with someone is considered as if the avel began talking.
Many people ignore this rule. Some explain that in times past, some mourners did not talk at all, so it was necessary to wait for him to initiate the conversation. Today the mourners talk, so one may begin talking even if the mourner is quiet. Others say that as long as the mourner began to talk to someone in the beginning of the day, anyone who comes afterwards can begin talking before the mourner starts talking to him.
If the mourner does not begin talking one is allowed to open his remarks before the mourner does. Furthermore, it can happen that the mourner does not know he is supposed to start, in which case the visitors may initiate the conversation. Finally, some say that if one merely says, “haMakom etc.” it is not considered talking.
What to Discuss with the Mourners
As mentioned above, many people who come to be menachem avel simply say “haMakom etc.” It is questionable whether this satisfies the purpose of nichum aveilim; however, many feel this is sufficient. There are many proofs from the Gemara and other sefarim that the main goal is to say words of nechamah (words which console the mourner). For example, one should talk about the kindness and goodness of the deceased. Some say that one should mention that the niftar merited being near the tzaddikim.
One may not tell the mourners, “What can we do,” or, “You can deal with it.” Use your intelligence when talking to mourners. It is worthwhile to prepare your words before you go to be menachem avel.
Sometimes, the very fact that someone came to the mourner’s home is a nechamah for the mourner, since it shows honor for the mourner. In such situations, one has fulfilled the mitzvah of nichum aveilim without saying a word. Nonetheless, the main point of nichum aveilim is that one should strive to say words of nechamah to the avel, and a small part of the mitzvah is fulfilled by just saying “haMakom.” Some maintain that irrelevant topics such as politics should be avoided, since they do not help console the mourner. If these discussions relieve the pain of the mourner, they are permitted.
Those who come to daven at the beis avel, then say “haMakom,” and leave right away, have lost the main focus of nichum aveilim.
Saying Shalom to an Avel
An avel should not be greeted with shalom or shalom aleichem, and he should not greet others in this fashion. The reason is that the avel is not at peace with himself. The people who are menachem avel should not greet each other with shalom either.
Saying Hello / Good Morning / Good Evening / Mazel Tov
There are some who permit saying hello, good morning or good evening to an avel. According to them, this is not like saying shalom, while others disagree. One may say mazel tov to a mourner.
Being Menachem Many Mourners
One can be menachem many mourners who are sitting in one house, and there is no need to be menachem each one separately. In addition, the accepted nusach of “haMakom” can be said to many aveilim at one time.
Coming More Than Once
Some say that there is no need to visit the avel more than once, while others say that one should go all seven days of the shivah to be menachem avel. The accepted custom is to go once, but if one has other words of nechamah which would console mourners then there is a mitzvah to visit again.
Chassan / Kallah
Some say that a chassan and kallah should not be menachem avel during the days of sheva brachos, even if the mourner is a relative. Others permit this from the second day of sheva brachos and on.
Many at One Time
Some say that it is better for a large group of people to come at one time than one at a time, since it brings more nechamah to the mourners.
When to Leave
In the days of the Gemara, the avel would nod his head to indicate that he wanted the visitors to leave. This is not practiced today. Instead, one should be sensitive to the avel’s nonverbal cues, and understand when it is time to leave. This is also comforting to the mourners, since they can be alone when they want privacy.
When to Be Menachem Avel
First Three Days
The first three days of mourning are set aside for crying. Therefore, some say that one should not be menachem avel during that time, since the face of the niftar is still fresh in the mourner’s mind and he will not be consoled. Others explain that a visit might cause the avel to feel an obligation to talk, even if he is not up to it. However, if one is going just to say “haMakom” it is permitted. Those who daven at the beis avel may certainly do so during the first three days. If one will not be able to visit later in the week, then he may go during the first three days.
Others say that one should certainly visit during the first three days since the mourners are often sitting alone and it is a great mitzvah to console them at this time. Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l said that custom in Lita was to be menachem avel during the first three days. This is the custom of many other gedolim as well.
Shabbos / Yom Tov
According to the letter of the law, nichum aveilim is permitted on Shabbos. Nevertheless, the custom among Ashkenazim is to refrain from visiting. The custom is not to be menachem avel on Yom Tov. Nonetheless, if one knows that his visit will give comfort to the mourner, then it is a mitzvah to be menachem avel on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
Some have the custom to be menachem avel on Chol Hamoed.
One should not be menachem avel until after chatzos on Tishah B’Av. It is permitted to say “haMakom” even before chatzos.
Some Customs at a Beis Avel
Many reasons are given for this custom. Some say that looking in a mirror causes joy, and this is not a time for joy. During the mourning period, one should be concentrating on the end of life and not on his appearance. Therefore, the mirrors are covered.
Others offer a different reason: It is prohibited to daven opposite a mirror, as it is difficult to concentrate, and it looks like one is bowing to his reflection. Since davening takes place in the mourner’s home, the custom is to cover the mirrors.
The rule used to be that the beds should be turned over. This indicated that the man must separate from his wife while he is an avel. Today, we cover the mirrors instead. Logically, it should be necessary to turn over the mirrors, and covering them would not suffice. Nonetheless, the custom is to cover them.
There is no need to cover the mirrors on Shabbos.
It is questionable whether a mourner has to cover the mirrors in his own home if he is not sitting shivah there.
Taking from a Beis Avel
Many have the custom not to remove anything from a beis avel until after the shivah, because of the ruach ra’ah that is present. Even items borrowed by the avel, like sefarim, remain until after shivah. Some say that there is no issur involved in removing food, while others say that the whole concern is taking from the room where the niftar died. Others only prohibit actually taking the food from the hands of the mourners, but anything that is not taken from their hands is permitted. Furthermore, some say if it is something which is not meant for the avel to use one should not take it, but if it is money or something else which is meant to take out it is permitted. For example, food which is made for others to have enjoyment from is not a problem of removing from a beis avel. Even according to the stringent view, one who lives in the home may remove food. Some say that this custom has no basis whatsoever, and there are no restrictions at all.
The Steipler zt”l refused to use a chair which was taken out of a beis avel, even though it was brought out for him to rest on the landing.
There is a custom to give cake and shnapps after Shacharis in a beis avel. One may partake of these refreshments even if he holds of the strict opinion.
If there is so much food that people brought to the home and it will be thrown out one may partake in the food.
If one’s father is sitting shivah and one’s mother has food in the freezer for Shabbos and wishes to give it to her son or daughter and their family for Shabbos the food may be taken out of the home.
L’ma’aseh, one need not be makpid on this, but he may if he wishes to.
Some have the custom to cover pictures in the shivah home.
Offering a Hand to an Avel
Some say that one should not offer his hand to an avel or to someone else at a beis avel because of loeg l’rosh (making the avel jealous that he cannot be so friendly since he cannot say shalom). Others only restrict this to the avel, but permit a handshake with other visitors. Still others permit even shaking the hand of an avel and saying shalom. However, the custom in any case is to be stringent.
Bringing Food to a Beis Avel
During the shivah many people bring food to the beis avel. Is this practice permitted?
Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l permits this since it is a way of showing comfort to the aveilim.
 261:pages 225-226, see Yosef Ometz page 270, Minhag Yisrael Torah Y.D. 246:29, Asei Lecha Rav 8:66, Be’er Moshe intro to second volume page 4, Derech Sichah 2:page 328. Refer to Yehuda Ya’aleh 2:248 on why some do not learn it. Refer to Kovetz Zera Yaakov 14:page 190:33-34, page 191:37. The Yalkut Yosef intro to volume 7, pages 2-3 says if one is learning inyanei aveilus for the needs of the tzibbur he has nothing to worry about. (Quoting the opinion of Harav Ben-zion Abba Shaul zt”l, see Zecher L’Avraham 5760:pages 899-900.)
 Y.D. 245:3.
 She’arim Metzuyanim B’halachah beginning of Moed Kattan.
 Sefer Chassidim ibid., Kaf Hachaim 116:189, Tov Yehoshua 2:18:4, Shemiras Haguf V’hanefesh 89:1.
 Refer to Igros Moshe Y.D. 4:60:4 which says all have to learn these halachos.
 Zecher Avraham 5760:page 894. Refer to Sheilas Hametzuos 3:pages 107-108 quoting the opinion of Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a.
 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:1.
 Refer to Bereishis 37:34-35, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 376:1. Refer to Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 119:15 where it is stated that the Steipler zt”l went to great lengths to be menachem avel (and mevaker choleh). Refer to Toras Chaim page 161:9.
 Koheles 7:2.
 Bereishis 25:11, Maseches Sotah 14a, Darchei Hachaim 4:1, see Sifsei Chachamim “d’ei.”
 Bereishis 35:9, Rashi “vayivarech,” Michtav M’Eliyahu 4:page 342.
 V’ein Lamo Michshol 6:pages 299-300. See Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 481 if one should be menachem an avel whom one does not know well.
 Maseches Moed Kattan 27b, Rama Y.D. 376:1, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:2, Darchei Hachaim 4:5. Refer to Rivevos Ephraim 7:230 if an avel has to get up if a sefer Torah passes by.
 Levush Y.D. 376:1.
 Rabbeinu Yonah Maseches Brachos 3:page 22, ”Mishnah,” Darchei Hachaim 4:1:footnote 1. Refer to Pele Yoetz “nechamah” page 410 (new), Ahavas Chessed 3:6:page 282, Salmas Chaim 625 (old), Pirkei D’Rabbi Elazar 16. Some say included in this is to make sure the mourners have food to eat, etc. (Teshuvos V’hanhagos 3:378). Refer to Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 481.
 Rambam Hilchos Avel 14:1, Mishnah Berurah 224:13.
 Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 85:15, Chai Pinchas page 120, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 508.
 Ahavas Chessed 3:6:page 283.
 Teshuvos V’hanhagos 1:691, 2:587.
 V’ein Lamo Michshol 6:page 306:footnote 14. See Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 496-497.
 Refer to Rivevos Ephraim 5:559 why we say “haMakom.” Also see Tzitz Eliezer 17:7:1.
 Prisha 393:3, Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 287:3, Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 90:1, Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 24. Refer to Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 116:1 quoting this as the custom of the Steipler zt”l. Some say “lo sosifu l’da’avah od” (Teshuvos V’hanhagos 4:274:9:7 says this is the custom of Yerushalayim). Refer to Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 494-495, Tziyanei Halachah pages 302-303. See Teshuvos V’hanhagos 3:378, 5:309:18 on this phrase.
 Opinion of Harav Elyashiv zt”l quoted in Halichos Bein Adam L’chaveiro 27:footnote 47, Tziyanei Halachah pages 313-314. The Gesher Hachaim 20:5:8 says one should say “oscha” when going to be menachem avel one person. Some are unsure about this (Chai Pinchas page 116, see Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 489, Nitei Gavriel Aveilus 90:1).
 Pnei Baruch 11:footnote 9, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 1:691, 3:377, 4:274:9:9, 5:309:19, Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 90:2, Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 24 quoting the opinion of Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l, V’zos Habrachah page 188, see Halichos Chaim 2:page 150:312 and Ashrei Ha’ish Y.D. 2:page 305:27 who argue. See Tziyanei Halachah pages 301-302.
 As explained by Harav Yaakov Kamenetsky zt”l in B’mechitzas Rabbeinu page 185. Refer to Teshuvos V’hanhagos 3:378 for an explanation of these words.
 Ahavas Chessed 3:6:page 283. See Igros Moshe O.C. 5:20:21, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 496-499.
 Rambam Hilchos Avel 14:7, Rama Y.D. 335:10, Shach 11, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:1, Asei Lecha Rav 2:page 52.
 Rambam ibid. Refer to Nechamas Sara 8:page 252 if one should leave his learning to be menachem avel. Refer to Tzitz Eliezer 5 Ramas Rochel 19 when bikur cholim is before nichum aveilim. Refer to Teshuvos V’hanhagos 5:309:11 which discusses if it is correct to publicize in the newspapers where a person is sitting shivah in order for more people to come.
 Aruch Hashulchan 376:7, Darchei Hachaim 4:8. Refer to Rama Y.D. 376:3, 384:3.
 Avnei Yushpei 2:82, 6:142:6.
 Rosh Maseches Moed Kattan 3:98, Rambam Hilchos Avel 13:3, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 387:1, Taz 1, Leket Yosher page 91, Levush 1, Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 376:2, Moadim U’zmanim 5:341.
 Levush Y.D. 387:1.
 Nechamas Sara 8:page 252.
 Moadim U’zmanim 5:341.
 Shach Y.D. 387:2, Leket Yosher page 91, Darchei Hachaim 4:3, Moadim U’zmanim 5:341, Nechamas Sara 8:page 252, Chai Pinchas page 114:24. See Divrei Malkiel 2:92, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 5:309, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 483-484.
 Derech Sichah 1:page 125, B’mechitzas Rabbeinu page 189.
 Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 117:5.
 Nechamas Sara 8:page 252.
 Igros Moshe O.C. 5:20:21, Divrei Chachamim page 227:133:footnote 133 quoting this from many gedolim. See She’eilas Rav 2:1:24:20. Refer to Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 483.
 Rama Y.D. 335:2, Shach 2, Chai Pinchas page 120.
 Chelkas Yaakov Y.D. 223, Gesher Hachaim 20:5:1, Badei Hashulchan 376:1, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 491-492, She’arim Metzuyanim B’halachah 207:1, Be’er Moshe 2:107. Some refrained from doing so (Orchos Rabbeinu 1:page 313:31).
 She’arim Metzuyanim B’halachah 207:1.
 Without any other talking [if it is not a relative] (Teshuvos V’hanhagos 2:590).
 Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 117:6, see ibid. 7, Masei Ish 5:page 22, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 4:274:9:5, Yalkut Yosef Bikur Cholim V’aveilus page 432:7.
 Be’er Moshe 2:107, Chai Pinchas page 116, Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 85:7. Refer to Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 492.
 Darchei Hachaim hashmatos to 4:1, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 1:691, Sha’arei Halachah U’minhag Y.D. pages 367. Refer to Chai Pinchas page 119 which argues.
 Rashba Maseches Gittin 61a “hu,” Meishiv K’halachah Y.D. 9.
 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:40:11, Orchos Rabbeinu 4:pages 118-119:13, V’ein Lamo Michshol 6:pages 306-307. Refer to Chai Pinchas page 116, Aleinu L’shabei’ach 5:page 692, Ashrei Ha’ish Y.D. 2:page 305:26, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 487-489.
 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:40:11, Be’er Moshe 2:104, Electric 7:33, Rivevos Ephraim 3:610, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 2:587, Yechaveh Da’as 3:83, Yabia Omer Y.D. 10:48, Minchas Yitzchak 2:84, Derech Sichah pages 125-126 quoting the opinion of Harav Elyashiv zt”l, Badei Hashulchan 376:6, Yalkut Yosef Bikur Cholim V’aveilus pages 434-435, Tziyanei Halachah page 313. There is no problem with an avel talking on the telephone (Rivevos Ephraim 3:377, Igros Moshe ibid.). Refer to She’arim Metzuyanim B’halachah kuntres acharon 207:4:page 413.
 Sha’arei Halachah U’minhag 3:page 367, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 488, Orchos Rabbeinu 1:page 317, 4:pages 119-120:16, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 2:587.
 Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 85:11.
 Maseches Moed Kattan 28b, Rambam Hilchos Avel 13:3, Beis Yosef Y.D. 376, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 376:1, Leket Yosher Y.D. page 91, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:1, Aruch Hashulchan 1. There is no need for the mourners to start talking about the deceased first (Chai Pinchas page 118). See Tziyanei Halachah page 297.
 Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 376:1.
 Levush 376:1, Nechamas Sara page 250.
 Igros Moshe O.C. 5:20:21.
 Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 23.
 Chai Pinchas page 118.
 Chai Pinchas page 119.
 Refer to Rambam Hilchos Avel 5:20, see Brachos 6b, Maharsha Maseches Brachos ibid.
 Teshuvos V’hanhagos 3:376, see Divrei Chachamim page 230:140.
 Opinion of the author of the Tzitz Eliezer quoted in Pnei Baruch page 472. This was printed later on in Tzitz Eliezer 17:45:4. See Masei Ish 5:page 108, Ve’aleihu Lo Yeibol Y.D. 2:page 147:169, Tziyanei Halachah page 297, Badei Hashulchan 376:5.
 Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 24, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 3:376, 4:274:6. Refer to Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 117:4 quoting the opinion of the Chazon Ish zt”l.
 Chai Pinchas page 118.
 Nechamas Sara ibid., Chai Pinchas page 118, Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 24, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 501. Refer to Prisha Y.D. 393:3.
 Refer to Ahavas Chessed 3:5, Igros Moshe O.C. 5:20:21.
 Refer to Maseches Moed Kattan 27b, 28b, Kesubos 8b, Rashi in Sanhedrin 113a “bi tama.” Refer to Nechamas Sara 7:pages 246-248.
 Refer to Ohr Hachaim on Bereishis 37:35.
 Refer to Pele Yoetz “nechamah” pages 410-411, see Chai Pinchas page 117.
 Teshuvos V’hanhagos 4:274:9:1
 Kli Yakar Bereishis 37:35. Refer to Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 28.
 Refer to Rama Y.D. 376:2.
 V’ein Lamo Michshol 5:page 166:1.
 Nechamas Sara 7:page 248, see Levush 376:1.
 Darchei Moshe 375:4, Nechamas Sara ibid.
 Nechamas Sara ibid:page 250.
 Teshuvos V’hanhagos 1:691, 3:376 4:274:9:1. Refer to Rivevos Ephraim 3:377, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 506-507.
 Refer to Chai Pinchas page 119.
 V’ein Lamo Michshol 6:pages 305-306.
 Leket Yosher O.C. page 110, Be’er Moshe 4:106, Yaskil Avdi Y.D. 6:25. Refer to Maseches Moed Kattan 15a, Rambam Hilchos Avel 5:20, Shulchan Aruch Y.D. 385:1.
 Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 385:4.
 Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 385:1. Refer to Levush Y.D. 385:1.
 Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 385:4.
 Refer to Salmas Chaim 621 which is stringent. In addition, the B’tzel Hachachmah 5:72 is stringent. Refer to B’tzel Hachachmah 5:70.
 Leket Yosher O.C. page 110, Be’er Moshe 4:106, Yaskil Avdi Y.D. 6:25.
 Salmas Chaim 622 (old), Sridei Eish 2:111. See Teshuvos V’hanhagos 5:309:31 about saying good Shabbos to an avel.
 Chai Pinchas page 118.
 Teshuvos V’hanhagos 5:309:26, Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 90:3:footnote 6.
 Rivevos Ephraim 8:105:3.
 Darchei Hachaim 4:2:footnote 2.
 Nechamas Sara 8:pages 252-253. See Ashrei Ha’ish Y.D. 2:page 304:21, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 485, Yalkut Yosef Bikur Cholim V’aveilus page 435:10.
 Gesher Hachaim 20:5:6, Chai Pinchas page 116.
 B’tzel Hachachmah 2:44 in great depth.
 V’ein Lamo Michshol 6:page 305. Refer to Maseches Moed Kattan 21b.
 Maseches Moed Kattan 27b.
 Rambam Hilchos Avel 13:3, Tur Y.D. 376, Beis Yosef, Shulchan Aruch 376:1, Levush 1. Refer to Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 207:1.
 Aruch Hashulchan Y.D. 376:3, Gesher Hachaim 20:5:7.
 Levush Y.D. 376:1.
 Refer to Rama Y.D. 393:1. See Tziyanei Halachah page 303.
 Some say this starts from the day of death as opposed to the day of shivah (refer to She’arim Metzuyanim B’halachah 207:1).
 Pele Yoetz “bechiya” pages 38-39.
 Darchei Hachaim hashmatos to 4:1, Da’as Torah Y.D. 376:1, Gesher Hachaim 20:5:5, Teshuvos V’hanhagos 3:377. Refer to Midrash Rabbah Vayikra 18:1, Ginzei Yosef 74:2:page 177, Sha’arei Halachah U’minhag Y.D. pages 365-366, Magen Shaul 69, Cheshev Ha’efod 3:98.
 Gesher Hachaim 20:footnote 8.
 Teshuvos V’hanhagos 4:274:9:2:footnote 2. See Yalkut Yosef Bikur Cholim V’aveilus page 431:5.
 Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 86:2:footnote 7.
 Gesher Hachaim 20:5:5, Chai Pinchas page 119. Refer to ibid. which is unsure if the three days start from the day of death or from the days of shivah.
 Bereishis 37:35.
 Emes L’Yaakov Y.D. 376:footnote 223.
 Habayis Hayehudi 3:page 264, Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 22. Refer to Be’er Sarim 3:75, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 504-505.
 Refer to Yalkut Avraham hashmatos to Y.D. 376, Orchos Rabbeinu 1:page 313:30, 4:page 116:1 quoting this as the custom of the Steipler zt”l, and page 117:4 quoting the custom of the Chazon Ish zt”l, Chuko Mamtakim 1:pages 21-22 quoting the opinion of Harav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l, see ibid:footnote 21 quoting the opinion of Harav Zilber zt”l, Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 86:footnote 2, Dinim V’hanhagos of the Chazon Ish 4:24. Refer to Rambam Hilchos Avel 13:2.
 Kol Bo (Aveilus) page 297, Ginzei Yosef 74:page 177:2, Badei Hashulchan 376:1, Gesher Hachaim 20:5:4, Yabia Omer Y.D. 10:48, Chai Pinchas page 119. Refer to V’yalkut Yosef year 12:181 which brings a reason not to go be menachem avel at night. See Afrakisisa D’anya 4:372:3.
 Nitei Gavriel (Aveilus) 86:8, Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 27, Halichos Bein Adam L’chaveiro 27:7, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:page 505.
 Maseches Shabbos 12a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 287:1, Tur Y.D. 393, Kaf Hachaim O.C. 287:4, Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 118:12, Nishmas Shabbos 2:376. Refer to B’tzel Hachachmah 2:44:6. See Kovetz Bais Aharon V’Yisrael 84:pages 146-147.
 Mishnah Berurah O.C. 287:1, Nemukei Orach Chaim O.C. 287:1, Gesher Hachaim 20:2, Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 287: 3, Y.D. 393:10, Nishmas Yisrael 1:24:pages 490-491, Chai Pinchas page 116, B’tzel Hachachmah 2:44:7, Tziyanei Halachah page 304.
 Darchei Hachaim 4:14.
 Sha’arei Teshuvah O.C. 287, Biur Halachah O.C. 287 “v’chein.” In regard to which nusach to say, see Mishnah Berurah ibid:3. See Aruch Hashulchan O.C. 287:3.
 Refer to Maseches Sukkah 41b, Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 118:11. Refer to Rivevos Ephraim 4:153:7, 6:274. Others say the custom is not to be menachem avel on Chol Hamoed (Tziyanei Halachah page 306, see Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:172).
 Igros Moshe O.C. 5:20:22.
 Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 65:8. Refer to Shemiras Haguf V’hanefesh 202:2. Some say it is because of ruach ra’ah which is present in a beis avel (Ginzei Yosef page 330).
 Darchei Hachaim 32:5.
 Refer to Kol Bo (Aveilus) page 262:11. Some say to turn over the mirrors (V’yalkut Yosef 14:110:page 42).
 Ibid., see Yabia Omer Y.D. 4:35:3.
 Teshuvos V’hanhagos 2:585, see Asifos Gershon page 7-8 because of davening there. Refer to Ta’amei Haminhagim page 435 in the footnote.
 Radvaz 106, Be’er Heitiv 90:30, Mishnah Berurah 70. The Yabia Omer Y.D. 4:35:3 says since davening takes place in a beis avel the mirrors are covered. If no davening takes place then one would not have to cover the mirrors (ibid.). See Miyum Hahalachah 2:31.
 Mishnah Berurah 71, Aruch Hashulchan 28.
 Kol Bo ibid., Chelek Levi Y.D. 132:page 123, Yabia Omer 4:Y.D. 35:3, Shevet Hakehasi 6:401.
 Yabia Omer Y.D. 4:35:3.
 Shevet Hakehasi 6:401.
 Chai Pinchas page 56.
 Pnei Baruch page 501, Ashrei Ha’ish Y.D. 2:page 303:18.
 Rav Akiva Eiger Y.D. 376, Beis Lechem Yehuda Y.D. 376, Elyah Rabbah 224:7, Darchei Hachaim 32:4, Aruch Hashulchan 11, Kaf Hachaim O.C. 224:46, Yabia Omer Y.D. 4:35:4, Gesher Hachaim 20:12, Mishneh Halachos 7:206.
 B’mechitzas Rabbeinu page 189.
 Yabia Omer Y.D. 4:35:4, Halichos Chaim 2:page 149:310.
 Misgeres Hashulchan Y.D. 376:page 177b, Darchei Hachaim 32:4, Chai Pinchas page 57.
 Refer to Chai Pinchas page 57.
 Chuko Mamtakim 1:page 20:footnote 15.
 Chai Pinchas page 57.
 Rivevos Ephraim 8:406:3.
 Yosef Ometz page 330, Chaim B’yad Y.D. 125:15.
 Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 118:8. For this reason the Steipler zt”l did not want to bring his cane when he went to be menachem avel (Orchos Rabbeinu 4:page 118:9).
 Refer to Chai Pinchas page 57.
 Halichos Chaim 2:page 149:footnote 270.
 Yabia Omer Y.D. 4:35:4.
 Pnei Baruch 10:4, Chai Pinchas page 56.
 Rivevos Ephraim 3:375, 5:557:1, 7:401, Be’er Moshe 4:107.
 Har Tzvi Y.D. 290, Yaskil Avdi Y.D. 6:25:5, Sridei Eish 2:111, Yabia Omer Y.D. 4:35:10.
 Chai Pinchas page 60. Refer to Yaskil Avdi Y.D. 6:25:5, Sridei Eish 2:111 which are lenient.
 Torah Lishmah 516.
 Chai Pinchas page 58.
 Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:168. See Introduction to Beis Hayehudi 3 in the letter of Harav D’bliski shlit”a, as well as Beis Hayehudi 35:8.