Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I'd heard something about how some people, when getting up after the week of "sitting shiva" (mourning), take a walk around the outside of their house before going back to "normal" life. Has anyone heard of this practice? Does it have a source?

share|improve this question
In rabbinic classes, it was emphasized that there is no requirement that one circle the block. I'd add, if the weather is bad the day the person gets up from shivah, there is no reason they need to really go outside, perhaps beyond the psychological. Take a "raincheck" for a walk outside. – Ze'ev Felsen Sep 11 '13 at 19:10
After I finished sitting shiva for my father, my Rabbi walked my mother and me around the block. I just assumed it was something that everybody did. He didn't give a source for it. – Daniel Sep 4 '14 at 23:45
up vote 12 down vote accepted

Although this is indeed the custom in many communities [some Chassidic communities circle the house seven times], there is no written source for it. Some explain that it is meant to escort the soul of the deceased to its proper place (Nitei Gavriel 136:16 - see the footnotes for more information). Others maintain that the purpose of this custom is to demonstrate that the mourner is now permitted to rejoin society (Aveilus BaHalachah 29:1).

share|improve this answer
Ahron, welcome to mi.yodeya, and thanks for coming up with an informed and informative answer to this week-old question! Please consider clicking "register," above, to create your account. This will give you full access to mi.yodeya's features and will allow you to take full credit for your contributions. – Isaac Moses Mar 23 '10 at 16:18

Mourning in Halacha, p 277 says:

Some follow a custom of formally terminating the Shiva by having the mourners walk outside together – or around the corner - accompanied by the comforters. Symbolically this is explained as representing the mourner's re-emergence into society from which he had withdrawn during the Shiva week. Others ascribe kabbalistic significance to this practice.

The note says:

While this custom is practiced in many communities, we have not found a written halachic source for this [Ed.]

So no source is known to the editors of a encyclopedic work on mourning and halacha.

share|improve this answer
Courtesy ping, just letting you know this answer's been moved over to the older question -- in case you wish to adjust the wording, or something, because of the differences in wording between the two question. (Not that I think that that's necessary.) – msh210 Sep 5 '14 at 3:27

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.