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What is the proper procedure for tearing Kriyah (e.g. for Aveilus* or visiting the Kosel)?

* May we never have to do so

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** May we never need to do so at the kotel again either! –  Double AA Jan 25 '12 at 21:35

1 Answer 1

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One should tear Kriyah:

  • for a parent on the left side
  • for another family member (for whom one sits shiva) on the right side
  • for Har Ha'Bayit (ie. the Kotel) on the left side

The tear should be made on one's upper most garment, it should be one tefach in length (around 3.5-4 inches or around 9cm).

One must tear kriyah standing.

When tearing kriyah for a relative one should make the following Bracha before tearing: "Baruch ata Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha'olam Dayan Ha'Emet - You are the Source of all blessing, God, our Master and Source of our abilities, King of the Universe, you are The True Judge."

When tearing kriyah for Har Ha'Bayit one should say the following before tearing: "Beit Kodsheinu V'Tifarteinu Asher Hillelucha Bo Avoteinu Haya L'Sreifat Esh, V'Chol Machmadeinu Haya L'Charava - Our house of holiness and glory, in which our forefathers sang praise to you, has been burnt, and all that we hold dear and precious has been destroyed"

One should also tear Kriyah when seeing Jerusalem or other Biblical cities in a state of destruction (according to some poskim even hearing news of their destruction) and say the following: (For Jerusalem) "Zion Midbar Hayta - Tzion has become a desolate wilderness" (For Destroyed Biblical Cities) "Arei Kadshecha hayu midbar - Your Holy Cities have become a desolate wilderness" If should, however, be noted that many poskim hold that Jerusalem is not considered destroyed today - because it is in our hands - and one would therefore not tear upon seeing it. Consult your local Halachic authority for more on this.

May we know of only smachot and never of sorrow.

(Halachot of Tearing Kriyah for a relative can be found in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah 340:1-4 and for tearing on Har Ha'Bayit in Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 561:12)

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Good to see you again! Where does the Shulchan Aruch you cite say to recite the blessing "Dayan Haemet" before tearing keriya for a relative? –  Double AA Dec 2 '12 at 18:50
    
@DoubleAA in Siman 339:3 the Mechaber says "וכשמגיא לדיין אמת קורע האבל - when "Daayan Ha'Emet is reached, the mourner tears" - it seems to be a matter of debate as to whether this bracha is actually connected to the kriyah or not, see Machloket between Tzitz Eliezer and Shevet Yehudah regarding reciting the Bracha a second time if one was sitting while tearing - also Yabiah Omer (Chelek 2, Y'D 23). –  Adam Simon Dec 2 '12 at 19:05
    
Wouldn't that Shulchan Aruch imply that one not only says the blessing but also the verses of tzidduk hadin before tearing? –  Double AA Dec 2 '12 at 19:10
    
Not entirely...although I hear what you mean - the Halacha there is really talking about the moment that the person dies as far as I recall (I don't have it in front of me right now), but as far as I know the standard practice is that the Bracha is tied to the Kiryah whereas the Tziduk Ha'Din is a separate thing...I would double check with a Halachic authority before officiating an actual funeral as to the local custom, the nusach and minhag (for example I think sefardim will tear kriyah even for non-immediate relatives) –  Adam Simon Dec 2 '12 at 22:22
    
Can you include the rules for tearing upon other tragic events (burnt Sifrei Torah, death of a Talmid Chacham, hearing the "blessing" of God's name etc.)? –  Double AA Oct 8 '13 at 14:26

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