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I just came from an orthodox funeral & noticed that the women were on the right side of the room & the men on the left. By weddings however it's the opposite with men on the right & women on the left. What is the reason for this? I have noticed this at other funerals as well so it wasn't a fluke. I would appreciate a source for this custom.

  • Wedding on the left is easy as that is the side the mother stands on when walking her daughter down and the side the kalla stands on when facing the messader. Why? So as to give honor to the husband/ groom to stand on the right. Funeral though. Hmmm. It does seem to hold true. +1. – user6591 Jun 6 '17 at 16:29
  • Are women usually on the left by davening? – SAH Jun 6 '17 at 17:09
  • @SAH in many Shuls I have been to the women are commonly upstairs. I don't know whether they are usually to the left when on the same floor as the men. – Earl Jun 6 '17 at 17:23
  • @SAH FWIW - My shul is a combo of mixed and separate seating. The middle is mixed. When facing the ark, women are on the right and men are on the left, however, when entering the shul, the men's section is first and women are opposite the entrance. (I.e. - the shul doors are perpendicular to the ark.) In the few "shuls" (most are actually classrooms) that have a mechitzah down the middle, it seems women are on the right. (Continued next comment) – DanF Jun 6 '17 at 17:58
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    @Earl related to standing up ou.org/jewish_action/11/2016/whats-truth-standing-chatan-kallah – Abraham J. Friedman Jun 6 '17 at 19:09
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I never paid attention to this until you mentioned this now.

I think the reason for that funeral arrangement makes sense, having been to a few too many funerals, lately.

Many funeral chapels have two sets of doors. The rows of benches face the front of the room. One enters the chapel from the "lobby", which would be to the right when facing the front of the room. The doors on the opposite side of the room usually lead to the parking lot where the hearse is waiting. These are the doors on the left side of the room when you would be facing the front of the room.

As it is usually the men who escort the hearse, and they would be the ones leaving the chapel first, it makes sense to have them seated closest to these doors on the left side of the room.

I'm unaware of any halacha that dictates any seating arrangement, so what I stated is based on what I have seen in chapels. On rare occasions, have I attended a funeral held in a shul. (Personally, I don't like the idea of doing this.) But, then, again, most Orthodox shuls have the women upstairs or in the back, anyway.

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    Are all (or significantly more than 50% of) funeral homes arranged in this way? – Daniel Jun 6 '17 at 19:04
  • @Daniel I'm not a funeral director - It's a dying art, admittedly <** groan **> So, I certainly wouldn't know how even 25% of those around the NYC metro area are arranged. But, I'd say that in my dead friends' / relatives' end-of-life time, I've been to about 40 places and the majority are arranged this way. – DanF Jun 6 '17 at 20:07
  • @DanF +1. I am holding off on accepting for now being that it is a partial answer. I like the logic of your answer though. – Earl Jun 8 '17 at 3:10
  • @Earl Appreciate it. I sometimes have faulty logic; more often it's "twisted" b/c of all the years of Talmudic study :-) Here, I think the arrangement makes sense, and, again, it' s based on about 50 places that I have seen. It's not a universal arrangement, obviously. And, no funeral director has told me this reasoning. I'm not in the habit of conversing with funeral directors. Usually, their conversations don't lead to anywhere interesting :-) – DanF Jun 8 '17 at 15:45
  • @DanF usually Talmud sharpens the logic so keep studying by all means :) – Earl Jun 8 '17 at 17:16

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