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The Mitzvah to Mourn

  1. There is a major dispute if aveilut is deoritta or derabbanan. The consensus is that it is derabbanan. [1]
  2. An important aspect of mourning is doing teshuva. Anyone who doesn't mourner like chazal instructed is considered cruel.[2]
  3. It is improper to mourn a deceased one more than chazal instructed. However, for a talmid chacham it is permitted but still it is only permitted to cry over the death until 30 days and give eulogies until 12 months. [3]

Beginning of Aveilut

  1. A person would have to mourn based on a source from one witness, even if it is secondhand, or even a non-Jew if he is speaking casually.[4]


  1. The geonim hold that the first day is deoritta, while the Tosfot hold that aveilut is completely derabbanan. Shulchan Aruch 398:1 holds that it is deoritta but the minhag cited in Shulchan Aruch 399:13 holds that it is derabbanan. Shach 398:2 writes that we hold it is derabbanan.
  2. Rambam (Avel 13:12), Shulchan Aruch 394:6. See Birkei Yosef 395 who writes that it is inappropriate if a person doesn't cry even one tear during the first three days after the death of a relative unless he is holding back from crying because of marit ayin.
  3. Shulchan Aruch 394:1-2
  4. Shulchan Aruch YD 397:1