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This link suggests it is appropriate to say "Baruch Dayan Emes" (presumably without H''s name) even if you didn't know the person.

But what if the person passed away a long time ago, and it is only news to you? What if it was a particularly painful loss, like a child R"L? If not "Baruch Dayan Emes," what, if anything, should you say upon hearing about such a thing? We shouldnt hear.

  • Why is this tagged bein-adam-lachavero? – mevaqesh Jun 5 '17 at 13:38
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    "What if it was a particularly painful loss, like a child R"L" Why do you think that that would make any sort of difference? Why do you think there would be any guidelines at all to saying it? What could possibly be the problem? – mevaqesh Jun 5 '17 at 13:39
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    This link suggests it is appropriate to say "Baruch Dayan Emes Sourceless assumptions of anonymous internet users do not make for the strongest sources. Finding an actual source often goes a long way in finding an answer. – mevaqesh Jun 5 '17 at 13:40
  • Presumably it's the opposite circumstances to HaTov VihaMeitiv... Conceptually, we say Mazal Tov even over circumstances and news [to us] that aren't immediate since it connects us with the recipient of our benefaction. Why wouldn't we say BDE has a means of showing empathy/sympathy? – Isaac Kotlicky Jun 5 '17 at 15:10
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    I'm not sure why this isn't a duplicate of the linked post. – Double AA Jun 5 '17 at 15:23
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Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 59:1-2 discusses the subject of hearing good or bad news. It doesn't distinguish between recent and not so recent events, only when you hear it. But Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 59:6 distinguishes how the news effects you.

מֵת אָבִיו אוֹ אֶחָד מִשְּׁאָר קְרוֹבָיו, אוֹ אֲפִלּוּ אֵינוֹ קְרוֹבוֹ אֶלָּא שֶׁהוּא אָדָם כָּשֵׁר, וּמִכָּל שֶׁכֵּן תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁהוּא מִצְטַעֵר עָלָיו, מְבָרֵךְ בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹקֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, דַּיַּן הָאֱמֶת. וְעַל שְׁאָר אָדָם שֶׁאֵינוֹ מִצְטַעֵר כָּל כָּךְ, אוֹמֵר בָּרוּךְ דַיַּן הָאֱמֶת בְּלֹא שֵׁם וּמַלְכוּת.

Over relatives and people that you know, whose passing causes you pain, you include Shem and Malchut.

Over other people, which would include people you don't know well, whose passing doesn't pain you so much, you do not include Shem and Malchut.

  • Thank you. Do you still say it even if the news isn't "new" – SAH Jun 5 '17 at 23:15
  • @SAH Are you asking about me personally, or general practice? – Yaacov Deane Jun 5 '17 at 23:17
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    In general practice, when you first receive the news is when you respond. If you didn't hear until after shloshim, it's still news to you. – Yaacov Deane Jun 5 '17 at 23:20
  • @SAH BTW, you are welcome. Although not exactly the same subject, if you have, Mourning in Halacha by Rabbi Chaim Benyamin Goldberg, the subject of receiving news of someone's death and it's impact on mourning is discussed in chapter 31. Less than 30 days is considered proximal news. But beyond 30 days, up to a year, and according to some even beyond a year is distant news. Mourning, although in a diminished fashion, is still observed. – Yaacov Deane Jun 5 '17 at 23:39
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    @SAH If you are only talking about saying the blessing Baruch Dayan HaEmet, with or without Shem & Malchut, it would be from when you hear the news, when ever that is. Regarding 'distant past', you should keep in mind that part of the requirement of this blessing is that you are pained by the news, like it says in the quoted text mentioned in the answer. If you are investigating concerning someone that you have a personal obligation to mourn for and what level of mourning you should do and for how long, you need to CYLOR. – Yaacov Deane Jun 6 '17 at 18:06

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