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A mourner must sit on a over-turned bed and may not sit on a chair, a bed, a mortar, or even on the ground.
A mourner is prohibited to do work, bathe, use rubbing oil, have marital relations, or to wear shoes. He may also not learn Torah. (1)
There is a dispute between Rebbi Eliezer and Rebbi Yehoshua regarding the extent of the prohibition for a mourner to wear Tefilin. (2)
The first three days of the mourning period it is prohibited to do work even if he is very poor, to go to the house of another mourner, or to greet his friend with Shalom. (3)
Out of respect for a public gathering it is permitted to wish them Shalom even during the first three days of the mourning period.
A person that meets his friend within his thirty days mourning period (or within the twelve month mourning period for the death of a parent) should comfort him and refrain from greeting him with Shalom. If he meets him after thirty days, he may greet him with Shalom and should refrain from comforting him.
After the seven day mourning period is completed, it is permitted for the mourner to greet others with Shalom. However, others should not greet the mourner with Shalom. (4)
After the thirty-day mourning period for a relative or after the twelve month mourning period for a parent, one may offer subtle words of comfort.
According to the Tana Kama, if mourners who were within a close proximity arrived at the house of mourning within the first three days, he counts the seven days of mourning together with the other mourners. (5)


1. A mourner may not read from the Torah, Nevi'im or Kesuvim, and also may not learn Mishnah, Midrash, Halachos, Shas and Agados. However if he was needed by the public (for his Torah lectures) he may learn Torah.
2. Rebbi Eliezer holds a mourner may wear Tefilin starting from the third day of the mourning period and if people arrive for the first time on the third day, he does not have to remove the Tefilin. Rebbi Yehoshua holds that he may start wearing Tefilin starting from the second day, but if people arrive for the first time on the second day, he must remove them.
3. After three days it is permitted for a mourner to do work covertly in his house, to go to the house of another mourner as long as he sits together with the other mourners, and to return a greeting of Shalom, but he may not initiate the greeting.
4. If others make the mistake to greet a mourner within the thirty day mourning period, he may respond in kind. However, during the first three days he should notify them that he is a mourner and should not return the greeting.
5. Rebbi Shimon holds that even if he arrives on the seventh day from a close proximity, he counts the mourning period together with the other mourners. However they both agree that if it was the elder of the mourners that was away, he must count his own seven days of mourning.


The Maharitz says that the prohibition for a mourner to wear Tefilin on the first day is only if the death and burial are on the same day. The reason for that is that the first day of mourning is a Torah obligation only when the burial is on the same day as the death. But if the burial is on the following night, then even the first day of mourning is not a Torah obligation and it is only mid'Rabanan. When the mourning period is only mid'Rabanan the mourners must put on Tefilin. The Nodah b'Yehudah argues because the Ramban says that a mourner may not wear Tefilin during the first day of mourning even if he only found out about the death at a later date (as long as it is within thirty days). There is no Torah obligation for the mourning period if he only finds out about the death later on, yet it is forbidden to wear Tefilin the first day. Therefore in the case where the burial and death are not on the same day, even though it is only mid'Rabanan the mourner may not wear Tefilin. (Dagul m'Revavah)


Since a mourner may not greet people with Shalom, it is certainly forbidden for a mourner to speak excessively. If a large crowd comes to comfort the mourner, out of respect for the crowd it is permitted for the mourner to tell them to go to their houses with Shalom. There are those that are lenient nowadays with regards to greeting a mourner with Shalom. There is no obvious reason for this leniency unless you say that our manner of greeting is not the same as greeting with the word Shalom. (Shulchan Aruch YD 385:1)

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