Rules in Sitting Shiva

Sitting Shiva is a week-long period of mourning after a Jewish relative has passed away.  The goal of sitting shiva is to comfort the bereaved and to honor the deceased. Mourners are considered Nihum Avelim (comforting mourners) after returning from the funeral.

  • A shiva should be done in the house of the deceased. If possible, gather all mourners in the house together.
  • Remove the outer signs of mourning by covering mirrors. It is believed that the act of covering mirrors foster inner reflections.
  • Mourners are encouraged not to work during the entire week.
  • Light a ner daluk (Shiva candle) and keep the candle burning during the entire week.
  • Refrain from having intercourse during the shiva.
  • Mourners should sit on mattresses or stools that are less than 30 centimeters in height.
  • Remove your shoes when you arrive home from the funeral. Also, refrain from wearing leather shoes during the entire week.
  • Mourners should not learn Torah.
  • Mourners should not leave their homes as well as attend joyous events.
  • It is part of Jewish tradition to visit the grave on the 7th and 30th day after the death.
  • It is customary for the friends of the deceased to arrange a Seudat Havra’ah. Participate by eating the meal they will prepare. The meal usually consists of hard-boiled eggs, bread, and other round foods. recommends Mourner’s KaddishBands which were created to help with the passing of a family member, friend, or loved one, consistent with the recital of the Mourner’s Kaddish.

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