I came across a (Facebook) post the other day in which an acquaintance announced he had lost his non-Jewish father. The individual is not a convert; his mother had intermarried. The funeral will not be held for several days.

There are several questions on this site about mourning for non-Jewish relatives. I am asking about comforting someone it such a situation, both from a pure halachik standpoint and from the human interest perspective.

  1. Does one say ברוך דיין האמת? The FB comments are full of such responses (BDE, etc.), and I'm wondering if it is appropriate.

  2. Is there any point in expressing comfort (Hamakom, etc.) before the funeral service, or does the precept of ואל תנחמהו בשעה שמתו מטל לפניו still apply, even for several days?

  3. Is the standard Hamakom expression appropriate (המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך שאר אבלי ציון וירושלים), or does the moniker אבלי ציון not quite apply? Is there another standard (or non-standard) phrase to use?

I suppose some of this may depend on how close the person was to his parents, and whether he will be mourning, in some manner, with the rest of his family.

(Technically, the question may be moot, because I don't intend to visit him, and it is questionable whether one can be menachem aveil via FB post or social media comment. On the other hand, if this was halacha l'ma'aseh this forum wouldn't be appropriate.)

  • If your question is about comforting the deceased'd be relatives, then the question of saying ברוך ד האמת is kinda irrelevant: it's not a condolence.
    – msh210
    Commented Jan 24, 2019 at 5:11
  • Can one say המקום ינחם אתכם בתוך אבלי ציון וירושלים?
    – DonielF
    Commented Jan 29, 2019 at 17:15
  • 1
    On Baruch Dayan Ha'emet
    – Harel13
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 6:02

1 Answer 1


It seems to me that "אבלי ציון וירושלים" are those who are in mourning of Tsion and Jerusalem - i.e. those who are suffering from the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and the Galut, so it doesn't change anything if the bereaved, a fortiori the dead, is Jew or not.

However there is allway the possibility to say as the Sefaradim are doing: "מן השמים תנוחמו".

For ברוך דיין האמת I don't see this sentence as conforting; and I think ואל תנחמהו בשעה שמתו מטל לפניו is more Moussar-y,

כי בודאי ימאן להתנחם ולהצדיק דין שמים עליו ואולי יוסיף לחטוא להטיח דברים

(Midrash Shmuel ad loc) , so I think that it's depends of the case, and have nothing to do with the non-judaism of the dead.

  • I think אל תנחמהו is halacha - almost certainly minhag - as the practice of saying המקום וכו' specifically begins after the kevurah. My question technically applies in all cases where burial is delayed; a similar question applies to aninus in such a situation. I'm accepting your answer, but I'd suggest adding the תשובה @Harel13 cited above, for completeness.
    – Menachem
    Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 2:03

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