Shivah House

Shivah is essentially a state of being, a time wherein we focus our minds and thoughts about
our loved one and our new obligation to keep their memories alive and to perpetuate their
time on this world. To facilitate this there are a number of Halachos and Minhagim, many of
which are obligatory and others which are community dependant. Please speak with Rabbi
Dovid if you have any further questions.

There are only seven people who are classed as principle mourners: a spouse, father,
mother, sister, brother, son and daughter. Further relatives as well as the spouse, parent or
child etc of a mourner do not keep the strict laws of mourning, but will understandably be in
a state of mourning and should behave accordingly.

Unless interrupted by a Yom Tov, Shivah lasts 7 days from the time of the funeral with even
a part of the day counted as a full day. So if the funeral was late on a Tuesday afternoon,
Shivah ends on Monday morning after Shacharis. During Shabbos, outward signs of
mourning are not observed and one should attend Shul wearing normal Shabbos clothes,
although it is not correct to attend the Kiddush, and most people will not go to the Kiddush
during Shloshim, the first month of mourning.

Preparing the house for a mourner:

• All mirrors should be covered. This excludes those in a bedroom for example that the
mourner will not be using.

• A candle should be lit that will last for the week of Shivah (the Shul office usually has
a few in stock), alternatively light a new 24 hour Yartzheit candle each day of the

*The above needs to be done in any house where a principle mourner will be
staying, even if the prayers will be done in another house or in the Shul.

Preparing the Shivah house for prayers:

In addition to the above:
• Arrange for the requisite number of low Shiva chairs from the Shul office. If the
mourner will have difficulty using such a low chair, speak with Rabbi Dovid.

• Arrange for the Prayer books from the Shul and ascertain which way is Mizrach.

• Two candles should be lit during the prayer service. These can be extinguished and
reused at the next prayer.

• Decide on ‘quiet and meal times’, and put a notice on the door.

Food is NOT offered to those visiting (unless they have travelled long distances), and visitors
should wait for the mourners to initiate the conversation.