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Duchaning in mourner's house

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Rabbi David Sperling

Cheshvan 28, 5772
Question
Is there duchaning in a bet Avel? What if the Avel who is the Baal tefila is a Kohen as well as his sons. Does he duchan? thanks
Answer
Shalom, The custom is not to do "duchaning" (the cohanim giving the priestly blessing - nesiat kapayim in Hebrew) in a house of mourning, and hence, any cohanim present go out of the room before the chazan recites "retzay". If the mourner is himself a cohen, he also leaves the room before "retzay". There is an argument if the chazan in the mourner's house should recite "elokainu ve'lokay avotainu", which is usually recited when there are no cohanim to bless the congregation, All this being said - the custom in the holy city of Jerusalem is to have the cohanim perform the priestly blessing in the house of mourning (see Gesher HaHaim 20, 3-5). If the mourner is the chazan, another person recites the words of the blessing for the cohen to repeat ("yevarechacha:...). If the mourner himself is a cohen, he also performs the blessing. If there is no cohen then "elokainu ve'lokay avotainu" is said. The practice of the Sephardim is to perform the priestly blessing in the house of mourning - except for the mourner himself if he is a cohen, and he only says the blessing on Shabbat when mourning is not allowed (Yabiah Omer 4,32). [source - Tefillah KeHilchatah, Rav Y. Fooks, 24, 25]. Blessings, D. Sperling.
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