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  • Year of Mourning for Parents

Dates for mourner in leap year


Rabbi David Sperling

Elul 24, 5774
Dear Rabbis, My dear mother passed away on Lamed Kislev, which was 3rd Dec, 2013. She was buried on the next day Aleph Tevet. My questions are: 1) Until when should I say kaddish? 2) When does the year of mourning end? 3) When is the 1st yahrzeit, and when in subsequent years? 4) I live in Israel, but my mother is buried abroad. After 12 months is there anything I should do, or wait until 13 months for the yahrzeit? I know this is complicated, as there is a leap year, date of death is not date of burial, and she died on Lamed Kisev which does not always exist. Thank you in advance
Shalom, Thank you for your question. 1) Kaddish is said for eleven months from the day of the burial. In your case if the burial was on 1st of Tevet, then 11 full months finishes on the last day of Tishray (Friday, the 30th – lamed – Tishray 5775, up to and including Mincha – 24th October 2014). [That is because this year was a leap year and had 2 Adars]. 2) The twelve months of mourning are also counted from the day of burial, and so in your case will end at the conclusion of Shabbat, 29th of Cheshvan 5775 (22nd November 2014). 3) The yahrzeit is the date of the death, and not of the burial (some hold that when there were 3 or more days between the death and burial, the first yahrzeit is counted from the day of the burial, and the subsequent years use the date of death – but in your case where the burial was only one day after the death, all agree that the day of the death is the yahrzeit). So, in your case the yahrzeit will be the Sunday night / Monday day 30th of Kislev 5775 (first day of Rosh Hodesh Tevet) [the night of the 29th of December and the day of the 30th]. - There is much discussion as to how to calculate the yahrzeits from the 30th of Kislev, which does not always appear in the calendar. In your case, as both the year of death, and the first yahrzeit fall in years that do have a 30th of Kislev, you will always mark the yahrzeit on (the first day of) Rosh Hodesh Tevet. That is, in a year that has 30 days in Kislev, the yahrzeit will be on the first day of Rosh Hodesh, the 30th of Kislev, and in a year that has only 29 days in Kislev, when Rosh Hodesh Tevet is only one day, which is the 1st of Tevet, that Rosh Hodesh day will be the yahrzeit. [This follows the Aruch HaShulchan and the Igrot Moshe (Y.D. 3, 159) – see Mourning in Halacha, Rabbi Goldberg, chapter 44, law 38]. 4) Some people have the custom of visiting the grave at the conclusion of the 12 months mourning, even though it is not the yahrzeit (because of the leap year). However, as your mother is buried overseas, you should not travel out of Israel especially for this, and rather follow the practice of those who only visit the grave on the yahrzeit (if you were planning to do so at all). You should certainly mark the yahrzeit whether you be Israel, or at the grave. May her memory be for blessing.
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