Bookstore Glossary Library Links News Publications Timeline Virtual Israel Experience
Anti-Semitism Biography History Holocaust Israel Israel Education Myths & Facts Politics Religion Travel US & Israel Vital Stats Women
donate subscribe Contact About Home


SHELOSHIM (Heb. שְׁלשִׁים; "thirty"), designation of 30 days of mourning after the death of close relatives (parents, child, brother, sister, husband, wife) counted from the time of the burial. According to halakhah, the bereaved has to observe the following *mourning rites during this period: (1) not to wear new clothes (or even festive clothes on Sabbaths and festivals); (2) not to shave or have a haircut; (3) not to participate at festivities, including weddings, circumcision, and pidyon ha-ben (see Redemption of *Firstborn) meals except if it is the birth of his own child; (4) not to marry; (5) to abstain from going to entertainments. It is also customary to change one's permanent seat in the synagogue during the sheloshim period. If the 30th day falls on a Sabbath, the mourning period terminates before the entrance of the Sabbath; shaving and haircutting, however, may not be performed until Sunday.

The three *pilgrim festivals and Rosh Ha-Shanah cause the sheloshim period to be shortened in the following way: If the mourner observes the mourning rites of *shivah for at least one hour prior to the commencement of Passover or Shavuot, the shivah is waived and the observance of sheloshim is reduced to 15 days after the festival. In the case of *Sukkot, the mourner has to observe the sheloshim for only eight days after the festival. If the mourner observes at least one hour of shivah before the commencement of Rosh Ha-Shanah, the shivah is waived and the Day of Atonement annuls the sheloshim; if he observes one hour's mourning before the Day of Atonement, shivah is waived and the subsequent Sukkot festival annuls the sheloshim. The minor festivals of Ḥanukkah and Purim do not shorten the sheloshim. Should a person learn of the passing of one of his close relatives within 30 days of his death (shemu'ah kerovah), he has to observe the complete mourning rites of shivah and sheloshim. If, however, the news reaches him more than 30 days after the death (shemu'ah reḥokah), the mourning rites of shivah and sheloshim are observed for only one hour.


D. Zlotnick, The Tractate Mourning (1966), index S.V. 30 days; H. Rabinowicz, A Guide to Life (1964), 92–99; Maim., Yad, Evel 6–7; Sh. Ar., YD 389–403; J.M. Tukazinsky, Gesher ha-Ḥayyim, 1 (1960), 247–49.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.