I'm trying to help a co-worker decipher some history about his great grandfather.

He showed me a picture of a poster - notice written in Hebrew that announced the funeral of his great grandfather. In Hebrew, it said that all merchants are required to close their stores in order to honor the deceased.

My co-worker didn't have much more info about his great grandfather. The announcement doesn't list the town / village or the date. He assumes that since the announcement was in Hebrew, this occurred in Israel and he estimates this to be about 70 years ago. We both assume that his great grandfather must have been an extremely prominent rav, in order to make this type of request.

We're both curious if halachically a town / village Va'ad Harabanim or even a single rabbi can require merchants to close their store to honor a prominent rav's funeral.

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    Refraining from work ("bitul melachah") is pronounced in MK (27b); it wasn't so rare in recent times. IAE, this begs the q: name? – Oliver Jan 18 '18 at 21:17

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