Ask the Rabbi

  • Family and Society
  • Yartzeit - Memorial Day

First Yahrzeit - Widower


Rabbi David Sperling

Iyyar 27, 5774
Hello, and thank you in advance for your time. My friend’s elderly mother passed away last year. The husband of the deceased (widower) is still living. Three months ago, the widower began seeing a woman. The yahrzeit is planned for June 3rd. Would it be appropriate for the widower to bring the new woman he has been seeing with him to the yahrzeit of his deceased wife? The new woman never knew the deceased, and was not acquainted with the the widower until 3 months ago. Thank you for your consideration.
Shalom, Thank you for your question. Often in cases like this there can be some tension between the children and new lady friend of their father. The children may feel that their father is somehow being "unfaithful" to their dead mother. On the other hand, the father may feel that his children are being unreasonable, and "butting in" to his own life and happiness. Therefore one needs to be very careful with giving advice in such cases. Both sides need to come to an understanding, and to try to see the situation from the other's point of view. From a halachic perspective, there are no laws about who can or cannot attend a yahrzeit event. On the other hand it is forbidden in Jewish law to have strife and fighting. With this in mind, I suggest that everyone involved keeps in mind that the greatest blessing they can bring to the deceased is to have Shalom and love between all. Blessings.
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