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I heard that a pregnant woman should not enter a cemetery. I understand this is a minhag and not halacha but would be interested to understand more about this topic.

  • What is the source of that minhag?
  • Any particular justification for it?
  • Is it universally accepted and practiced?
  • Does it also apply to a woman not going to a funeral for one of the seven close people for which she sits shiva?
  • Igeres Hagra says no woman should enter a cemetery, as I recall. – Dr. Shmuel Aug 22 '18 at 18:00
  • There's extensive discussion in Halakhic sources about pregnant wives of Kohanim entering a cemetery (in case the kid is male). The implication is that generally it is not a problem Halakhically. – Double AA Aug 22 '18 at 18:01
  • I believe that a fetus does not have human status until born myjewishlearning.com/article/the-fetus-in-jewish-law so it would seem to make sense that a Cemetery would not contaminate the unborn male. Chabad chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/2515643/jewish/… identifies this practice as a custom women took upon themselves – JJLL Aug 28 '18 at 0:06
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This is one of, what I'd surmise, many sources:

there is no written source in Jewish law that expressly forbids it. This is an interesting example of a tradition that When you are creating life, it is better to avoid contact with death women took upon themselves without being told. And this tradition is carefully guarded and well known, even more than some outright laws. You will see why.

Jewish mothers have known for thousands of years what modern research is only recently discovering. The unborn child is affected by the spiritual and emotional state of the mother. Her moods, her attitudes, and her surroundings are imprinted on the body and soul of the child.

This is why the cemetery is not the right place for a pregnant woman. When you are creating life, it is better to avoid contact with death. The morbid and deathly energy of a cemetery is starkly in contrast to the process taking place inside a pregnant woman. Her focus should remain on the beginning of life, not the end.

Furthermore, feelings of excessive grief or distress may disturb the otherwise peaceful time in the womb. Sometimes emotional pain is unavoidable in life, but we don't have to seek it out. An expecting mother may be fragile and delicate at the best of times. Attending a funeral or consecration may cause an exaggerated reaction that could have been avoided.

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