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Laws of mourning


Rabbi David Sperling

Kislev 12, 5777
Am I allowed to go on a vacation with my husband during my year of mourning? Can we have a family Chanukah party? Can I buy jewelery?
Shalom, Thank you for your question. May you be comforted for your loss. The laws of mourning are often hard to exactly define, and there are variant customs between different communities. None the less, I will try to answer your questions briefly. As to taking a vacation. The Shulchan Aruch (Yoreh Daeh 380, 25) writes that the mourner may not take business trips. However the Aruch HaShulchan writes that this is only talking about when traveling in a large caravan which involved rejoicing along the way, and was very public. And whilst there are those who write to refrain from even pleasure strolls during the year of mourning (Yosef Ometz), this is not agreed upon by all opinions. Based on this – it would depend on what type of vacation you are referring to. If it is an organized group package, it would be more problematic. If though it is a more private vacation which is taken to give you and your husband quiet time together, and where you can relax and "get away from it all", it would be allowed. The general rule is – the more public and party like it is, the more forbidden it is, and the more private and restrained it is the more permitted it is. As to having a chanukah party – it is permitted to have your immediate family over for a Chanukah celebration. Of course you will have to refrain from music. In connection with buying jewelry – it is permitted to buy new utensils during the year of mourning. (See Mourning in Halacha, Rav Goldberg, Chapter 38,5). Blessings.
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