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?
2In 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 misses MonicaSep 11, 2013 at 19:10
Never heard of it, but Google did: aish.com/jl/l/dam/ABCs_of_Death__Mourning.html, chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/371151/jewish/…, myjewishlearning.com/life/Life_Events/Death_and_Mourning/…. No sources cited.– Danny SchoemannSep 3, 2014 at 15:04
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.– DanielSep 4, 2014 at 23:45
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).
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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 Symbolically this is explained as representing the mourner's re-emergence into society from which he had withdrawn during the Shiva week.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.