I was searching the net earlier today and discovered this article, which states that R' Wosner's son, R' Meir, learned of his father's death after davening Maariv on the first night of Pesach. He continued the evening and conducted his seder in his traditional fashion, only omitting a dance during nirtzah. He said Kaddish the next day, despite the fact that his father was at that point unburied.

I know, from my grandfather's passing, that directly after one learns of a close relative's death, one becomes exempt from all positive timebound mitsvot,until arrangements for the burial have been completed. However, what is the status of aninut when a close relative dies on Shabbat and one learns of the death on the same Shabbat?

PS. I hope no-one needs ever learn of this in practical terms.

  • Do you mean to include yom tov as well? (considering your example doesn't involve Shabbat at all)
    – Daniel
    Jul 3, 2015 at 20:07
  • @Daniel, this happened this year, thus it does involve Shabbat. Yom Tov rishon is also of course the same, although I'm not sure you yt"sh falls into this. Jul 3, 2015 at 20:08
  • As I recall the halacho of aninut also involve whether or not a person in directly involved in taking care of the mais. I will have to look up the halacha involved to verify this. If so, the the son may not have been allowed to be an onein depending on where he was and the circumstaces under which he heard. Jul 3, 2015 at 21:54

1 Answer 1


The Laws of the Onen show two main exceptions., one of which definitely applies to the circumstance that you specify. Note that both the execption for Shabbos and the exception for the seder night apply to the case that you specify.

The first exception is when it is impossible for the person to be involved with the niftar (deceased person).

  1. The deceased is not in the possession of his relatives, as when the government has not released the body to the family, or if he was drowned, or if he is missing in combat and cannot be found, although there may be certain knowledge of his death.

  2. He could not physically be present at the funeral preparations because he is under military obligation, or is confined in a hospital or prison, or is overseas, or is in a city too distant from the funeral. If, however, there is the possibility that he might have arrived in time for the funeral service, he is considered an onen, providing no other immediate relatives were present during arrangements.

The second is the exact case that you ask about (Shabbos and Yom Tov Pesach).

On the Sabbath most laws that apply to the onen are cancelled. He is permitted meat and wine and is obligated to perform all the mandatory Sabbath observances. However, he must not participate in matters of private enjoyment, such as conjugal relations and the delight that is reaped from the study of the Torah. The onen should attend religious services. Preferably he should not serve as reader or cantor. He should not recite the Kaddish if other mourners are present, unless he has Yahrzeit or is in the midst of the year of mourning for one of his parents.

On the first night of Passover, the onen should observe all the mitzvot of the Seder night. On Sefirah days, between Passover and Shavuot, the onen should refrain from reciting the counting of the days with the blessing, until immediately after burial. After the funeral, he may count the days and recite the blessing.

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