From the Rav’s Desk: Following mourning customs if a relative is reburied

Question: [Wednesday, 21st Marcheshvan, 5782]

My sibling is being reburied today from his current resting spot to a grave in Eretz Yisrael. My question is do I, and any of my siblings, and the children of the deceased have to keep any mourning laws as a result?


The act of unearthing a body and reburying it elsewhere, carries various laws of mourning for the seven relatives on the day of the unearthing, which is defined as the day that the deceased is removed from his current grave [irrelevant of how long it takes for him to be reburied]. If a relative heard about the unearthing on a later date, even the next day, he does not follow any mourning laws, as they only apply on that same day of the unearthing. There is no requirement to inform relatives of the unearthing, and on the contrary, one is to avoid doing so.

Relatives who are aware of the unearthing are to keep the following laws on that day:

  1. Shiva: All the seven relatives [son, daughter, brother, sister, father, daughter, and wife unless she remarried] are to keep all the laws of Shiva on the day of the unearthing. The mourning lasts until the nighttime of that day of the unearthing, even if the remains were yet to be reburied.
  2. Aninus: The Aninus laws are not followed at all in this process and hence the relatives may eat meat and drink wine. However, the relatives are exempt from all Mitzvos until the remains are reburied.
  3. Keriah: Keriah must be reperformed by the relatives on the day of the unearthing.
  4. Seudas Havraha: A limited form of comforting and Seudas Havraah takes place on the day of reburial.

Sources: See Michaber and Rama Y.D. 403:1-3; Shach 403:2; Pischeiy Teshuvah 403:1-2; Chasam Sofer 355; Pnei Baruch 40; See regarding Aninus: Chasam Sofer 353; Pischeiy Teshuvos 403:1; Noda Beyehuda Kama 88; Chazon Ish Y.D. 313; Pnei Baruch 40 footnote 2; Some Poskim rule the relatives are not exempt from Mitzvos unless they are physically involved in the unearthing, transporting, or burial. [Igros Moshe Y.D. 3:161; Cheshev Haeifod 2:83; Chelkas Yaakov 2:46; See Pnei Baruch ibid] see regarding if he was unearthed and reburied in a coffin: Har Tzevi Y.D. 296; Minchas Elazar 4:12; Gesher Hachaim 12; Chazon Ish 213:1; Pnei Baruch 40:5

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