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Attending friend’s shiva while mourning own parents

Rabbi David SperlingIyyar 10, 5775
225
Question
I am an avel mourning my parents -- post-shloshim by a few days. This week, a friend’s mother died. Can I (and should I) attend their shiva? Is there any proscription on attending another’s shiva? What if I don’t feel up to it emotionally?
Answer
Shalom, Thank you for your question. There is no prohibition for a person in their year of mourning for their parents to attend a shiva house. In fact, in certain cases a mourner may even leave their own shiva house to take part in the funeral of another close relative. It is certainly a great mitzvah to comfort others in their time of need, and show your respect and love for the departed and those mourning them. As to whether you can emotionally handle going to the shiva – it is very hard for me to give you any clear advice without personally knowing you and your situation. Let me just say that, as with all one's efforts to serve Hashem, you need to judge where you have the strength and ability to spend your energies. If this is beyond your emotional capabilities, then you are exempt – however, let me bless you with the hope that the good L-rd grant you the strength to rise from your own sorrow and be able to give comfort to others. May you know only joy and light. Blessings.
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