What is the basis for some people's practice not to eat the food at a shiva house; is there a halachik basis for this, is it a minhag or perhaps just superstition?

  • Thanks. I run a food gemach and always wonder what to do with shiva calls
    – Sara
    Apr 10, 2018 at 18:02

4 Answers 4


There's a Rabbi Sobolofsky mp3 that says it's superstitious; there is one Talmudic quote where one sage says to another "what, you want to eat the food of mourners?". But that's not the law.

He did mention the concern that sadly, as shiva houses are open to many people and the hosts have their minds elsewhere, it's not unheard of for valuables to disappear. Hence a good policy not to walk out of a shiva house with your pockets bulging full of, well even if it's food they asked you to take.

  • 1
    Links to the above references would be great, particularly the mp3.
    – Double AA
    Aug 7, 2012 at 3:38

Eating food at the Shivah House (not with the aveilim) is not a problem. It is brought down not to take food from a shivah house. (I need to re-find the source)

  • 1
    I remember as well that one should not take <b>anything</b> from a shiva house, food or otherwise. I also heard the reason for this: If you utilize the occasion to borrow or reclaim something, the Aveil may feel you came primarily for that purpose and not to console him.
    – Barry
    Apr 28, 2010 at 20:52
  • 1
    @Yahu I heard this also, but do you know what the source is? Dec 23, 2011 at 0:07
  • Presumably's @Barry's reason would apply to eating food there too. "He didn't come to console me. He came because he heard we were serving Chinese." Sep 11, 2013 at 19:05

It is brought down not to eat together with the aveilim.

  • 2
    Where is the source?
    – Bas613
    Apr 27, 2010 at 0:08
  • 4
    "Brought down" implies both a primary source and a "bringer". Who brings this down, and from where?
    – Seth J
    Aug 7, 2012 at 1:20

Halachapedia writes:

Some have the practice not to bring food out of the shiva house [Aruch Hashulchan 376:11] if the person died at home [Tzitz Eliezer (Even Yakov no. 44:4)]. However, many are lenient about this [Yosef Ometz p. 192].

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