Siman 344שמ״ד
1 א

חיוב ההספד וגודל שכרו וכיצד ועל מי מספידין. ובו כ' סעיפים:
מצוה גדולה להספיד על המת כראוי ומצותו שירים קולו לומר עליו דברים המשברים את הלב כדי להרבות בכיה ולהזכיר שבחו ואסור להפליג בשבחו יותר מדאי אלא מזכירין מדות טובות שבו ומוסיפין בהם קצת רק שלא יפליג ואם לא היו בו מדות טובות כלל לא יזכיר עליו וחכם וחסיד מזכירין להם חכמתם וחסידותם וכל המזכיר על מי שלא היה בו כלל או שמוסיף להפליג יותר מדאי על מה שהיה בו גורם רעה לעצמו ולמת:

It is an important religious duty to lament the dead fittingly;1Shab. 105b. and the religious duty [is fulfilled] when one raises his voice [in funereal lamentations] to utter over him [the dead] words which break the heart in order to cause much weeping, and to mention his praise.2Ber. 6b and Rashi ibid. s.v. דלויי; Y.M.K. III, 5(82d): ‘If one sheds tears for a worthy person, the Holy One, blessed be He, counts them and places them in His treasure house.’ Shab. ibid.: ‘He who is slothful to lament a Sage deserves to be buried alive … and will not prolong his days.’ It is forbidden to over-praise him too much, save to mention his good characteristic features [to which] a little may be added,3The reason for the additional praise may be explained as follows: In the performance of a religious duty, e.g., if one dispensed charity, we assume that had a little more been required of him he would have given the additional amount too. Hence, we may add a little to his praise — TaZ. Or, since it is very difficult to give an exact and precise evaluation of one’s deeds in words, consequently, it is better to add a little more praise in speaking of one’s characteristic features — A.H. provided one does not overexaggerate. And if he possessed no good characteristic features whatever, one should not mention [this] regarding him. [With respect to] a Sage and a pious man one may mention their wisdom and piety [respectively].4Sem(H). III, 6; Y.Naz. VII, 1(56a); Shab. 153a; Meg. 28b; M.K. 28b; San. 11a. And one who mentions [aught] regarding one who did not possess [it] at all, or exaggerates too much that which he did possess, causes harm to himself5Ber. 62a. and to the dead.6Asheri, M.K. c. The same applies to inscriptions on tombstones — Ḥ.Adam.

2 ב

כשם שמספידין על האנשים כך מספידין על הנשים כראוי להן. (ונספדות בין האנשים וחכמים) (טור):

Just as [funerary] lamentations are made for men, so too, are [funerary] lamentations made for women as is fitting for them.7Yad, Ebel XII, 5, derived from Meg. 28b: ‘Rafram had a funerary lamentation made for his daughter-in-law in the Synagogue, saying, ‘To pay honour to me and the dead all the people will come.’ R.H. 25a: ‘On that day the mother of Ben Zaza died, and Rabban Gamaliel made a great funerary lamentation for her etc.’ Cf. also Ket. 72a top. Nowadays the law is that a corpse should not be taken into a Synagogue save in the case of a well known Rabbinic scholar — Kol Bo(G) I, pp. 13, 99-100. infra pars. 19-20. And they are lamented amongst men and scholars.8TurG.

3 ג

במקום שרגילין להשכיר מקוננות להספיד חייב להשכיר מקוננות להספיד על אשתו ואם לא רצה בא אביה ומשכיר ומוציא ממנו בעל כרחו:

In a locality where it is customary to hire wailing women to make the lamentation, one is dutibound to hire wailing women to make the lamentation for his wife. If he [the husband] was unwilling [to provide wailing women], her father comes and provides [this] and collects from him [the husband] against his will.9Sem(H). XIV, 7. also Ket. 46b, Mishna: ‘Even the poorest in Israel should provide not less than two flutes and one wailing woman.’ Cf. Tosef (Ẓ). Ket. IV, 2.

4 ד

קטן בן כמה שנים יהיה כשמספידין עליו עניים בני חמשה עשירים בני ששה בני זקנים כבני עניים אבל צדוק הדין וקדיש אומרים על תינוק משעברו עליו שלשים יום: הגה ואין נוהגים כן אלא עד שיהיה בן י"ב חדש שיוצא במטה כדלקמן סימן שנ"ג סעיף ה':

How old must an infant be with respect to making a lamentation for him? — With respect to the poor10The poor man suffers more grief on the loss of a child since this is his only joy — Rashi. [a lamentation is made] for children of five years old; with respect to the rich, for children of six years old, and with respect to the children of elders, they are [regarded] as the children of the poor.11M.K. 24b. Sem(H). III, 2-4 for variants. However, one should recite Zidduk Haddin and Kaddish for an infant [who died] after thirty days have passed [from birth].12Tur on the authority of R. Hai Gaon. Thus also N in T.H. Gloss: We do not follow this practice13To recite Ẓidduk Haddin and Kaddish for an infant thirty days old. unless the infant is twelve months old14ShaK rules that the former custom should be adopted. and is taken out [for burial] on a bier as explained infra § 353, par. 5.

5 ה

בני עשירים ובני חכמים מוסיפין קצת על שבח מעשיהם:

[In the case of] the children of the rich and the children of scholars, one may add a little to the praise of their deeds.15Sem(H). III, 4 cited by Asheri, M.K. c. This is done out of deference to their parents — Shak. Regarding the consciousness of the dead until the Golel closes the grave, v. Shab. 152b.

6 ו

תינוק שיודע לישא וליתן מספידין אותו במעשה עצמו ואם אין לו מעשים מספידין אותו במעשה אבותיו ואם אין להם מעשים מספידין להם במעשה קרוביו:

For a child who knows how to argue,16For the expression נושא ונותן in the sense of ‘to argue’ or ‘to debate,’ v. Tanḥ. Shemoth s. 18. a lamentation is made on account of his own deeds; and if he has no deeds, a lamentation is made for him on account of his parents' deeds;17The parent’s deeds are mentioned. Similarly, in the case of his relatives stated anon. and if they [the parents] possess no deeds, a lamentation is made for them18The reading אותו ‘him,’ as in the other cases would be more correct. on account of the deeds of his relatives.19Sem(H). III, 5.

7 ז

הכלה מספידין אותה בין במעשה אביה בין במעשה בעלה:

For a20Lit. ‘the.’ daughter-in-law a lamentation is made both on account of her father's deeds as well as on account of her husband's deeds.21Sem(H). ibid. Ket. 48a, 61a: ‘For she rises with him but does not go down with him,’ which means that the wife rises to the husband’s social position and can claim its comforts and advantages, if it be a higher one than her own, but she does not suffer his disadvantages. Consequently, a lamentation is made for her on account of her husband’s deeds too. This ruling refers to the seven days of the wedding-feast — A.H.

8 ח

המחותך והמסורס והנפלים ובן ח' וכן בן ט' מת והעובד כוכבים והעבדים אין מתעסקין להספד וללוות:

[For an embryo that came out] by pieces or with its feet foremost;22 Nid. III, 5. for premature-born children; for a [viable] birth [which takes place after] eight [months of pregnancy] or a still birth [after] nine [months of pregnancy]; for a heathen or slaves, one does not engage in making a lamentation nor does one follow the funeral procession.23Sem(H). I, 8-9. One must however, attend to the preparations of the bier and the burial — Tur. Although we have seen (supra par. 4) that a lamentation is never made for a child before it is five years old, and the present case would follow a fortiori, nevertheless, in the case of a normal birth one may, if he so desires, have a lamentation made even prior to that age. Not so, however, in the cases enumerated here — A.H.

9 ט

יורשים שאינן רוצים לפרוע שכר הספדן מוציאין מהם בעל כרחם:

Heirs who refuse to pay the honorarium of the funerary orator are made to pay against their will.24In accord with the final decision of the Talmud (San. 46b) that a funeral lamentation is made in honour of the dead and not the living. Hence, the heirs cannot dispense with it and are obliged to pay. For this reason we comply with the instructions of a person who dies that no lamentation be made for him. also Ḥ.M. § 253, 30. This law however, is applicable only if the heirs inherited the estate of the deceased. Otherwise, they cannot be made to pay the honorarium against their will (v. infra § 348, 2) — ShaK.

10 י

מי שצוה שלא יספדוהו שומעין לו. (אבל אם צוה שלא לנהוג עליו ז' וגזירת שלשים אין שומעין לו) (מהרי"ו סימן ד'):

One who left instructions that no lamentation be made for him, is obeyed.25San. ibid. However, if a prominent scholar leaves such instructions he may be disobeyed. Cases are cited by the Codifiers where such instructions left by very prominent scholars, were not followed — P.Tesh. Others make no distinction between illiterate or learned people with respect to this ruling. In both cases no funeral oration should be pronounced — Bir. Yos. But if one instructed not to observe for him the seven or the restrictions of the thirty [days of mourning] is not obeyed.26MaHaRIW s. 7 — G. Some hold, contra Isserles, that even with respect to the observance of the seven days of mourning and the rending of garments, the instructions of the deceased should be obeyed, since these too, fall into the category of ‘honouring the dead.’ Others agree with IsserlesP. Tesh. however, R. A. Eger a.l. If parents instructed children not to observe the mourning period of twelve months, their wishes should be carried out. The reason for this is that since this mourning period applies to parents only and not to other dead, it becomes part of the Biblical injunction of ‘honouring parents’ — ShaK. If one instructs that the Kaddish be not recited for him, he is obeyed — P.Tesh.

11 יא

איסור תלישת שיער וכן שריטה על מת בסימן ק"פ:

The prohibition against tearing the hair or lacerating the flesh [in token of mourning] for a dead person, is found [supra] § 180.

12 יב

העם העוסקים בהספד כל זמן שהמת מוטל לפניהם נשמטים אחד אחד וקורין את שמע ומתפללין אין המת מוטל לפניהם הם יושבים וקורין והאונן יושב ודומם הם עומדים ומתפללין והוא מצדיק עליו את הדין ואומר יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהי שתגדור פרצותינו ופרצות עמך בית ישראל:

The people who are engaged in the lamentation, as long as the corpse lies before them, they slip out one by one and read the Shema and recite the Tefillah;27Were this permitted in the presence of the dead, it would be considered ‘mocking or deriding the poor,’ i.e. the dead (v. Prov. XVII, 5). Cf. supra § 341, n. 4. [if] the corpse does not lie before them,28e., either the lamentation is not made in the same room wherein the corpse lies, or if in the same room, not within four cubits of the dead. they sit and read [the Shema] and the Onen sits in silence;29An Onen is exempt from these. supra § 341. they stand and recite the Tefillah and he acknowledges the justice of the [Divine] verdict, and says, 'May it be Thy Will, O Lord, my God, that Thou repare our breaches and the breaches of Thy people the House of Israel.'30Ber. 19a. Cf. Y.San. II, 2(20a); Y.Ber. III, 2(6b).

13 יג

לאחר קבורה מפסיקין ההספד בין לקריאת שמע בין לתפלה. (ועיין באורח חיים סימן ע"ב):

After burial, the lamentation is interrupted both for the purpose of reading the Shema as well as [the recital of] the Tefillah.31O.H. § 72 — G. This ruling follows from supra par. 12. According to N in T.H. (who, it seems had a different reading in Y. ibid.), before burial, in the presence of the dead, one may slip out to read the Shema but not to recite the Tefillah, contra Caro (supra par. 12) — W.G.

14 יד

אין עושין שני הספדין בעיר אחת אלא א"כ יש שם רוב עם ליחלק לשנים ויהיה בכל הספד עם כדי צרכו:

Two lamentations32For the same person — N. are not made [simultaneously] in the same city, unless there is a multitude of people that could be divided into two [groups, so that] at every lamentation there will be a sufficient number of people [present].33Sem(H). XI, 5.

15 טו

אין עושים שני הספדים בעיר אחת אלא אם כן יש כדי לספר שבחיו של זה ושבחיו של זה:

Two lamentations34For two persons — N. are not made [simultaneously] in the same city, unless there is [a funerary orator available] in order to tell the praises of one [dead] and [another funerary orator to tell] the praises of the other [dead].35Sem(H). ibid. Ḥid. Hagahoth for additional comments on the source of this law in Sem. The translation follows here the interpretation of A.H.

16 טז

אין אומרים בפני המת אלא דברים של מת כגון צרכי קבורתו והספד אבל שאר כל דבר אסור והני מילי בדברי תורה אבל במילי דעלמא לית לן בה:

One may discuss in the presence of the corpse only those matters which concern the dead person, e.g., [matters pertaining to] his burial needs and lamentation; but all other matters are forbidden.36 supra par. 12, n. 27. And this ruling obtains only with respect to Torah discussions, but in [the case of] secular matters we do not mind.37Ber. 3b in accord with the first version. Thus also Alfasi, Asheri and others. According to this ruling it seems that Caro holds that Torah discussions are forbidden even outside of the four cubits from the corpse, and secular matters are permitted even within the four cubits. BaḤ rules that Torah discussions are forbidden even outside of the four cubits and secular matters are forbidden only within the four cubits. Matters which concern the dead, if they fall into the category of Torah discussions, are permitted within the four cubits. The common practice is to expound Aggadic material and Biblical verses leading to the praise of the dead, even within his four cubits (v. infra par. 17). The entire room in which a corpse lies is considered four cubits — ShaK. Cf. also Shab. 153a; Y.Naz. VII, 1(56a); Sem(H). III, 6.

17 יז

מותר לומר פסוקים ודרשה לכבוד המת בתוך ארבע אמותיו או בבית הקברות (מהרא"י בביאור מא"ח לדעת רמ"ה):

It is permissible to recite Biblical verses and [render] expositions in honour of the dead person38Contrary to those whose sole desire is to demonstrate their speaking ability — TaZ. If one receives a report of a death after twelve months had elapsed from the time of death, a lamentation is no longer made — T.H. within his four cubits,39For outside of his four cubits it is permitted in any case. Y.Ber. III, 1(6a); Y.Naz. VII, 1(6a) — W.G. or on the cemetery.40R. Isaac Abuhab in commentary to (Tur) O.Ḥ. in accord with R. Mord. HaleviG. This is derived from B.K. 16b: ‘And they did him honour at his death’ (II Chron. XXXII, 33), this indicates that they set up an academy near his sepulchre.’ From this we learn that if, for the sake of honouring the dead, one studies or expounds the law in the latter’s presence, it is not disrespectful. N.Yos. to M.K. ibid.

18 יח

חכם שמת בית מדרשו בטל שסופדין אותו כל שבעה אבל שאר מדרשות עוסקין בתורה אפי' בשעת הספד ואחר ההספד אין תלמידיו מתקבצים בבית מדרשו אלא מתחברים שנים שנים ולומדים בבתיהם. אב בית דין שמת כל מדרשות שבעיר בטלין והרגילין להתפלל בב"ה משנים מקומם. נשיא שמת כל בתי מדרשות שבכל מקום שמספידין אותו בטלים ואחר ההספד אין נכנסים לבית המדרש אלא מתחברי' שנים שנים ולומדין בבתיה' וכל בני העיר מתפללים בבית האבל בין בחול בין בשבת חוץ מקריאת התורה בשבת ושני וחמישי שקורין בב"ה ולא [יטיילו] בשוק אלא יושבים משפחות משפחות ודוים כל היום:

When a Hakam41 Glos. dies, his Academy is in recess, for they make a lamentation for him throughout the seven [days of mourning]; but [all] the other Academies engage in [the study of] the Torah, even during the time that the lamentation is held; and after the lamentation his disciples do not assemble in his Academy,42M.K. 22b. but join in pairs and study at their homes.43Tur, derived from Asheri on the authority of RaBaD. When an Ab Beth Din41 Glos. dies, all the Academies of the city are in recess, and those who are in the habit of saying their prayers [the Tefillah] in the Synagogue, change their [customary] places.44M.K. ibid.: ‘Those who sit in the north sit in the south, and those who ordinarily sit in the south sit in the north.’ When a Nasi41 Glos. dies, all Academies, wherever a lamentation is made for him, are in recess; and after the lamentation, they do not enter the Academy, but join in pairs and study at their homes, and all the townspeople say their prayers [the Tefillah] in the house of mourning, both on a weekday and on the Sabbath save the reading of [the weekly portions] of the Torah on the Sabbath, the second and the fifth [days of the week] which they read in the Synagogue. And they should not walk about in the street, but they sit [at home] in family groups and feel the affliction all day.45Ibid. Yad, Ebel IX, 13-15.

19 יט

מספידין תלמידי חכמי' ונשותיהם בב"ה ובבית המדרש אבל לא שאר העם:

Lamentations are made for scholars and their wives in the Synagogue and in the Academy, but not for the rest of the people.46Meg. 28b. supra par. 2, n. 7.

20 כ

חכם ואלוף וגאון מכניסין אותו לבית המדרש ומניחין המטה במקום שהיה דורש וסופדין אותו שם וכשמוציאים המטה סופדים אותו עד בית הקברות וביום הז' עולים לבית הקברות ומבקרין אותו וכן ביום שלשים ותכלית י"ב חדש מבקרין ומשכיבין אותו:

A Hakam41 Glos. or an Aluf41 Glos. or a Gaon41 Glos. is brought into the Academy47For the entire ruling v. Tur a.l. on the authority of R. Hai Gaon. and the bier is placed on the spot where he used to lecture and a lamentation is made for him there, and when they take the bier out they make a lamentation for him until [they reach] the cemetery, and on the seventh day they go up to the cemetery and visit him,48Unless the seventh day falls on Rosh Ḥodesh. and likewise on the thirtieth day, and [thus] for twelve complete months they visit [him] and recite the Hashkabah.41 Glos.