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Spilling water on Shabbos if a neighbor passed away
Our next door neighbor unfortunately passed away suddenly this past Shabbos in his house. I know that Halacha states that when a neighbor passes away, then one must spill out all the water in the home. We were not sure if this applies also on Shabbos. We have a number of bottles of water at home, as well as a water filter, as well as the hot water urn. Would all this need to be spilled?
You may be lenient and not spill the water on Shabbos. However, after Shabbos, you should spill some water.
It is recorded in the Rishonim and Poskim that when a neighbor passes away, it is customary to spill all of the drawn water in the neighborhood, which is defined as two houses next door. Several reasons are given behind this custom: a) There is danger involved if one does not spill the water. as the angel of death places a drop of poisonous blood into the water, and one who drinks from it endangers his life. The Tashbatz writes that a person once drank this water and died shortly afterwards. b) This is done to publicize that there is a death and prevent the need of verbally informing people, as one who informs another of a death is considered to be “spreading evil tongue.”
Now, regarding if this applies even on Shabbos, some Poskim rule that it does not apply on Shabbos as we do not publicize a death on Shabbos, as well as that the angel of death does not enter his sword in the water on Shabbos. However, other Poskim argue on this conclusion and rule that one is to be stringent and spill the water even on Shabbos. Practically, the Pischeiy Teshuvah concludes that one should spill the water after Shabbos and later Achronim write that it suffices to spill a small amount of water after Shabbos, and so is our conclusion above.
Sources: See regarding the custom of spilling the water when a neighbor passed away: Michaber Y.D. 339:5; Rama O.C. 455:1; Admur O.C. 206:14; 455:15; Kol Bo; Mordechai Remez 593; Kitzur SHU”A 194:9; See Gesher Hachaim 3; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 186:1 See regarding if this applies on Shabbos: Yes: Birkeiy Yosef 339:9, brought in Kitzur SHU”A ibid; Pischeiy Teshuvah 339:4 concludes to spill after Shabbos; Mishmeres Shalom Mem-34 in name of Tuv Taam Vadas concludes it suffices to spill a slight amount of water on Moztei Shabbos; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 186:7 No: Shemesh Tzedakah Y.D. 36; Tosfos Shabbos 211:1, brought in Rav Akiva Eiger 339; Poskim ibid, brought in Pischeiy Teshuvah 339:4; Kitzur SHU”A 194:9; Aruch Hashulchan; Mishmeres Shalom Mem-34 in name of Tuv Taam Vadas; Sefer Shemiras Haguf Vihanefesh [Lerner] 186:7 footnote 7