Question: When an aveil during the week of shiv’ah attends shul (because there is no minyan in the beis aveil), does the minyan recite Tachanun?
Short Answer: The minyan recites Tachanun but the aveil does not recite Tachanun. However, if the aveil is serving as chazan, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l ruled that the entire minyan does not recite Tachanun, but some poskim disagree and rule that the minyan (except for the aveil) still recites Tachanun.
I. Tachanun at the Beis Aveil
The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 131:4), citing the Shibolei HaLeket, rules that the minhag is that Tachanun is not recited in a beis aveil. The Levush (as cited in the Mishnah B’rurah, 20) provides the reason why Tachanun is not recited in the beis aveil. Tachanun invokes midas ha’din, and we want to avoid invoking such “din” in a beis aveil, where midas ha’din is already present (as there has just been a death in this house). This is the same reason why we do not recite Tachanun at night, also a time of “din.”
Interestingly, the Shibolei HaLeket (as cited in the Beis Yosef) provides a different reason. Tachanun is not recited in the beis aveil because an aveil is connected (in a pasuk in Amos (“v’hafachti chageichem l’eivel”) to Yamim Tovim, and we do not recite Tachanun on Yom Tov.
The Aruch HaShulchan Orach Chayim 131:14) asks on the Shibolei HaLeket’s reason: What connection does aveilus have with Yom Tov? On the contrary, aveilus is sad and Yom Tov is happy! [See the P’rishah, as well]. The Mishnas Yosef (4:8) answers that really this reason is the same as the reason of the Levush. Just as on Yom Tov we are surrounded by midas ha’chesed and simchah, and therefore we do not recite Tachanun, so too in the beis aveil we are surrounded by midas ha’din and therefore do not want to add additional midas ha’din. Divrei Sofrim (Rav Yavrov, p. 501) similarly explains that both reasons are the same, as both rule that Tachanun is not said because we don’t want to increase midas ha’din, just as we don’t want midas ha’din on Yom Tov.
The problem, as explained further herein, is that many Acharonim understand that these are two separate reasons and provide ramifications between the two different reasons.
II. After Davening
One potential ramification is whether Tachanun must be recited by the tzibur after they return home from the beis aveil. Arguably, according to the reason of the Levush (midas ha’din), one must recite Tachanun when he returns home and is no longer in a place of midas ha’din, but according to the reason of the Shibolei HaLeket (“like Yom Tov”), one need not recite Tachanun when he returns home since he is now fundamentally exempt as on a Yom Tov. Indeed, the Mishnah B’rurah (ibid) and Shaar HaTziyon (15) cite a machlokes between the Derech HaChayim (who rules that you must recite Tachanun when you get home) and the Taz (who rules you are exempt).
However, further introspection reveals that, both according to the Shibolei HaLeket and the Levush, one would need to recite Tachanun when he returns home. The only reason why the Taz rules that he is exempt is because, as cited in the Mishnah B’rurah, the place for Tachanun is only immediately after Shemoneh Esrei. There is a separate discussion, also mentioned in the Mishnah B’rurah, whether V’Hu Rachum (on Mondays/Thursdays) is recited afterwards at home, but again here, this issue is based only on whether V’Hu Rachum has a set place in davening or not.
In sum, as the Mishnas Yosef himself explains, whether Tachanun must be recited by the tzibur after they return home from the beis aveil is not a ramification between the reasons of the Shibolei HaLeket and the Levush.
III. Sans the Aveil
But there is another scenario, which is a ramification between these two reasons. Is Tachanun recited in the house of the deceased where the aveil is not participating in the minyan? For example, if there are only daughters sitting shiv’ah and they do not participate in the minyanim in the beis aveil, is Tachanun recited at that minyan?
The Elyah Rabbah discusses this question and suggests that it is a machlokes between the Shibolei HaLeket and the Levush. According to the Shibolei HaLeket, since the aveil is not part of the minyan, Tachanun should be recited; but according to the Levush, Tachanun is not recited, as the midas ha’din resides in the beis aveil (or the house of the deceased), regardless of whether any of the aveilim are participating in the minyan. [See Meir Oz, 131, who notes, as an aside, that it is unclear whether “beis aveil” without an aveil refers to the house where the deceased lived in during his life or whether it refers to the house wherein the deceased actually perished].
However, the Elyah Rabbah then backtracks and suggests that perhaps Tachanun is recited even according to the Levush, as it is unclear whether there is a midas ha’din in a beis aveil without aveilim participating in the minyan. Indeed, the Mishnah B’rurah (ibid) cites the Elyah Rabbah and rules that it is a safeik whether Tachanun is recited in this scenario.
The Gesher HaChayim (1:20:3) rules that Tachanun is not recited at a minyan in a beis aveil without the aveil. He says that this is the minhag in Yerushalayim.
IV. In Shul
But what about when the aveil, during the week of shiv’ah, attends minyan in shul? Is Tachanun recited?
The Maamar Mordechai (131:11) rules that Tachanun is not recited by the entire minyan, as it is no different than when a chasan attends minyan in shul. This makes a lot of sense according to the reason of the Shibolei HaLeket, as the aveil has a certain status that prevents Tachanun for his minyan like on Yom Tov.
However, the Elyah Rabbah (ibid) cites the Shaarei K’neses HaG’dolah who rules that Tachanun is recited by everyone except the aveil. Indeed, the Elyah Rabbah explains that this comports with the reason of the Levush, as the midas ha’din does not accompany the aveil to shul. [As an aside, the Meir Oz, 131, cites the opinion of the Sh’nos Chayim who suggests that if the aveil is the first person in shul, the shul takes the status of a “beis aveil” and therefore Tachanun is not recited according to all opinions. However, the Meir Oz notes that this Sh’nos Chayim does not appear to be the minhag].
Practically, the Mishnah B’rurah (20) just cites the opinion of the Elyah Rabbah and rules that Tachanun would be recited by the minyan (except the aveil himself).
V. Aveil As Chazan
However, there is a notable exception: where the aveil serves as the chazan in shul. The Ishei Yisrael (25:19: n. 77) cites Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach zt”l and the Gesher HaChayim (ibid) who rule that Tachanun is not recited by the entire minyan when the aveil serves as the chazan.
The Divrei Sofrim (ibid) explains Rav Shlomo Zalman as ruling that Tachanun is not recited by the entire minyan because they follow the chazan, who is an aveil and does not recite it. However, the Divrei Sofrim himself, and the sefer Kanfei Yonah cited therein, disagree, because they do not understand why the minyan follows the aveil simply because he serves as chazan. They thus rule that the minyan recites Tachanun and the aveil (even though he is serving as chazan) does not.
The Nishmas Yisrael (p. 240) likewise disagrees with Rav Shlomo Zalman and rules that even if the aveil serves as the chazan, the minyan must say Tachanun (even though the aveil himself does not). He notes that this was the express ruling of the Mahari Asad.
Next Week’s Topic: Should one comfort a mourner when he enters shul on Friday night?