Greeting an Avel

407 Greeting an Avel 

The issur (prohibition) of she’ilas shalom (extending a greeting) to an avel (mourner) who lost a sibling, spouse, or child, is in effect until the shloshim (thirty days from the day of burial); for one who lost a parent, the issur is in effect for twelve months. Some poskim are lenient and say that the greetings we commonly use nowadays, such as “Good morning”, or the like, are not considered she’ilas shalom.. Therefore, if one meets a friend who is in mourning, instead of saying the traditional “Shalom aleichem”, they should use a different form of greeting such as “Baruch haba” (Welcome). It should be noted that some poskim say that even “Shalom aleichem” is permitted nowadays. On the other hand, other poskim disagree, and say one may not greet a mourner in any way at all, even if using words other than “Shalom aleichem”. However, when one meets their father or mother the mitzvah of kibbud av vaeim applies, and one may be lenient. The halachah is the same when meeting one’s teacher, since the mitzvah of derech eretz (showing respect) applies.

Practical Halacha: One minute a day. By Horav Yosef Yeshaya Braun, shlita, Mara D'asra and member of the Badatz of Crown Heights.