A MOURNER ON THE ROAD
(Beraisa): If a traveler finds out he has become a mourner, he must cut down on his business. If this is not possible, he should do business in a manner in which he is subordinate to his travelling companions.
MISCELLANEOUS RULES ABOUT OVERTURNING BEDS
(Beraisa): There is a dispute as to when the beds should be overturned.
(R. Eliezer): When the deceased is taken from the house.
(R. Yehoshua): When the coffin is closed.
A Beraisa discusses what is done for Shabbos:
Friday afternoon the beds are turned upright (see above, 24a, 4:j [counting from 23b]). But the mourners do not sit on them until Shabbos.
Saturday night the beds are turned over again, even if the Shiv'ah finishes on Sunday.
A Beraisa describes which beds must be overturned.
Not only the mourner's bed, but all beds in the house must be overturned.
If a brother dies, all the surviving brothers must overturn their beds (although they don't live in the house of the deceased - Ritva).
A couch not used for lying on, but for storage of items, need not be overturned.
A Dargash does not have to be overturned, but should be stood up on its side (Rashi MS.).
(Raban Shimon Ben Gamliel): For a Dargash, the supporting straps (of the mattress) should be loosened, thus allowing the Dargash to fall by itself.
Question: What is a Dargash, anyway?
(Ula): A good-luck couch, that is just for decoration (Rashi in Sanhedrin), not use.
Question: A Mishnah elsewhere says that a king, when receiving his mourner's meal, sits on a Dargash. If a Dargash is usually not sat on, why should he suddenly sit on it now?
Answer: We should not be surprised at this change of routine, just as it is a change of routine that other people bring him food to eat.
Question: Why shouldn't this kind of bed require overturning?
Answer: It is like a bed made for storage (above, 2:c:3).
Question: The above Beraisa said that for a Dargash the supporting straps (of the mattress) should be loosened. A good-luck bed does not have any such straps! Ula's explanation of Dargash is thus rejected.
(Rabin): A leather-covered bed or couch.
Fact: A bed's straps go over the bed frame; a Dargash's straps are inserted through holes in the wooden frame.
Halachah: R. Yehoshua Ben Levi ruled like Raban Shimon Ben Gamliel.
If a bed has posts extending upwards (e.g., to hold a canopy) (and thus cannot be overturned) it should be stood on its side.
A Beraisa states that it is not good enough to sleep somewhere other than the bed (such as a chair, or even on the floor); the bed must be overturned.
BERAISA ABOUT TIDYING UP IN THE MOURNER'S HOUSE
A Beraisa makes two points:
One may sweep and wash the floor and do the dishes in the mourner's house.
Fragrances and incenses are not to be brought into the mourner's house.
Question: Another Beraisa says that no Berachah is said on the spices or incense in a mourner's house - implying that these things are there.
Answer: This second Beraisa is talking about the house set aside for the consolers, not the actual mourner's house.
MISHNAH - SOME RULES ABOUT MOURNING AND FUNERALS
The mourner's meal should not be brought in fancy containers or platters, but in a simple basket.
Birkas Aveilim is not recited on Chol ha'Mo'ed, but the Shurah ceremony after the burial is held, and consolations visits are held, but the people should make it short and are then dismissed. Similarly, the bier should not be placed in the street for a Hesped on Chol ha'Mo'ed
A woman's bier is never placed in the street for a Hesped, for it is not respectful to her.
GEMARA - SEVERAL BERAISOS ABOUT CHANGES MADE IN MOURNING PRACTICES FOR SOCIAL REASONS
Originally rich people received their mourner's meal in silver and gold containers, while poor people received theirs in simiple baskets. This caused the poor to be embarrassed, and it was instituted that everyone should receive their mourner's meal in simple baskets.
Originally drinks were served to rich mourners in crystal glasses, while the poor were served in inferior glasses. This caused embarrassment to the poor, and it was instituted that everyone should receive their drinks in inferior glasses.
Originally rich people's bodies were exposed to lie in state, while poor people's bodies were not (because they were emaciated and not pleasant to look at). This caused the poor to be embarrassed, and it was instituted that all bodies should be covered.
Originally rich people's bodies were carried on Dargashes (see above, 2:c:5), while poor people's bodies were carried on regular stretchers. This caused the poor to be embarrassed, and it was instituted that everyone should be carried on regular stretchers.
Originally incense was burned under the bodies of those who died of intestinal disease only. This caused living people with intestinal disease embarrassment, and it was instituted that incense should be burned under all bodies.
Originally all articles that came into contact with a woman who had been a Nidah were immersed in a Mikveh after her death. This caused embarrassment to living women who were Nidos, so it was instituted that the articles of all women should be immersed after their deaths.
Originally all articles that came into contact with a man who had been a Zav were immersed in a Mikveh after his death. This caused embarrassment to living men who were Zavim, so it was instituted that the articles of all people should be immersed after their deaths.
Originally people spent so much money on fancy shrouds that people sometimes abandoned their loved ones rather than incur the great expense. Then Raban Gamliel left instructions to be buried himself in a very simple shroud, and people followed his example.
(Rav Papa): Nowadays people even use shrouds of cheap canvas.
ELABORATION ON MISHNAH'S CURBING OF FUNERIAL RITES ON CHOL HA'MO'ED
(R. Papa): The avoidance of Hesped on Chol ha'Mo'ed (4:b) does not apply to a Torah scholar. It goes without saying that a Hesped may be made on Chanukah and Purim.
Even the Torah scholar may not have a Hesped (on Chol ha'Mo'ed, etc.), however, except in the presence of the body.
Question: R. Kahana said a Hesped for a Talmid Chacham although the deceased was not present.
Answer: The day the sad news is received is equivalent to having the Talmid Chacham's bier present.
DESCRIPTIONS AND RULES FOR GESTURES OF MOURNING.
To Sofed is to beat the chest in mourning.
To Metape'ach is to clap the hands in mourning.
To Mekales is to stamp the feet in mourning.
A Beraisa states that one should not do Mekales with sandals but with shoes, because a sandal might slip and hurt his foot.
ETIQUETTE AND RULES FOR MOURNERS AND CONSOLERS
(R. Yochanan): Consolers should not hang around too long; once the mourner nods his head (a sign of consolation) they should leave.
(R. Yochanan): Everyone must stand up for a Nasi, except for a mourner and a sick person.
(R. Yochanan): One should not say, "Sit down" (which in Hebrew could also mean "stay there") to a mourner or sick person.
(Rav): A mourner may not eat his own food (but only that of others) on the first day. This is derived from Yechezkel.
(Rav): When there is a death in town everyone must refrain from work.
(R. Hamnuna): If there is a Chevra Kadisha they need not refrain.
(Rav): One may not grieve too much over their departed relative.
A Beraisa (Rabbeinu Chananel) says the same idea, and derives it from a Pasuk, and elaborates: Three days are for crying, seven for Hesped, thirty days for refraining from cutting hair and wearing pressed clothes. It is inappropriate to do more than that.
At this point the Gemara discusses the rest of the Pasuk quoted above (8:g).
(R. Levi): For the first three days a mourner should feel as if his life is at risk, for the rest of Shiv'ah less so, from then on (for twelve months - Tosfos) less so.