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My mother, grandmother and aunts had a rule that no one was allowed to sit in the seat at the head of the table that was previously occupied by their (now) deceased husbands. They said that this was in accordance with respecting one's parents. (I.e. their children were not allowed to sit in those seats. By extension, they reasoned that if their own kids couldn't sit in the seat, any non-direct family member was forbidden to this, also.)

I know that one must respect their parents even after their death. However, does this respect apply to not sitting in their seat as well? If this is not halacha, is there any source that lists this as a common minhag?

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In general, no it does not apply after death (Az Nidbru vol. 8, 60).

See Chaim Byad Y.D. 125:48 who deduces as much from the wording of the Shulchan Aruch. He adds, however, that if one's father was his main teacher of Torah, he should refrain from sitting there for 12 months, out of honor for the Torah.

(However, if one's refraining from sitting in the father's place is meaningful in any way to one's mother, that presents a new issue of kibud aim/honoring one's mother!)

  • FWIW, a friend of mine is currently in shanat aveilut for his father ע”ה, who had requested that after that was over, that he sit in the father's makom kavua in schul. – Noach MiFrankfurt Aug 15 '16 at 21:54

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