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In another question, Chalutznahal cites Yoreh De'ah 340:5, which says that when I witness a fellow Jew die, I must rend my shirt out of sadness. And British Rabbi Dr. Moshe Freedman brings this down as practical Jewish law.

Is this really the prevalent practice among Ashkenazim nowadays?

Please do post an answer; if you don't, at least please post a comment about what you've seen people do.

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    Just to be clear that halacha is only if the deceased is not a habitual sinner even if he occasionally sins (if he didn't even occasionally sin, Sefardim would tear even if not present at the moment of death). Also, one must tear for a talmid chacham (for Ashkenazim only if you had learned some of his teachings) even if not there at the moment of death. (The above is all based solely on Maran and Rama; it is just meant to augment the question.) – Double AA Dec 11 '12 at 1:15
  • I asked R Tabady in Israel and he confirmed this was the actual halacha and practice. Even for secular people (as they are not considered part of the exclusions of the SA). But not for medics for reasons mentioned in the other question you link to – mbloch Jan 7 at 16:42
  • If you are anticipating his death and don't want to rip your clothes,You can give your clothes to someone else with a kinyan chalipin by him handing you a pen/kli inorder to acquire your clothes. Once they are not yours you cannot tear kriya – yosefkorn Jan 7 at 20:16

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