[Avodah] aveil daven on rosh chodesh

Micha Berger micha at aishdas.org
Wed Nov 17 10:19:25 PST 2021

On Wed, Nov 17, 2021 at 06:49:26AM +0000, Rich, Joel via Avodah wrote:
> How widespread is the practice of having an aveil daven on rosh chodesh
> up to, but not including, yishtabach? What is halachically gained by
> this practice? (During a regular shacharit as well?)

Take a look at R Danny Mann's treatment at

The question was a case where the gabbai asserted the minhag RJR
described, but the avel's rav said he should take all of Shacharis. So,
a second piece -- who do you follow?

Money quote (which ended up being 2/3 of the body):

   The Maharil (Shut 22) is the primary source about limiting when an avel
   can be chazan. He says that an avel should not be chazan on Shabbat,
   Yom Tov, and for Hallel because of the simcha associated with those
   tefillot. The Rama (Yoreh Deah 376:4) cites this idea only in regard to
   Shabbat and Yom Tov, writing that the practice is for them not to be
   chazan although it is not forbidden, but Ashkenazi Acharonim accept
   it for Hallel as well. There is quite an even set of opinions and
   varied practices regarding the rest of Shacharit as well as Mincha
   and Maariv on days when there is Hallel (Rosh Chodesh, Chanuka)
   and Purim (see a survey in Divrei Sofrim, YD 376:94). Therefore,
   both practices are legitimate, and that is not our main interest.

   The minhag is related to a discrepancy between the festivity of
   the tefilla and the avel's sadness (or an aura of strict judgment -
   see Taz, OC 660:2). But who are we trying to "protect"? If we are
   protecting the congregation from an avel who is not capable enough to
   elevate them to the proper mood, then it is clearly the shul's call,
   and ostensibly the avel (unintentionally) acted improperly. If it
   is that it is wrong for the avel to thrust himself into the midst
   of excitement that is incongruous with his avelut, the matter likely
   depends on his rabbi's ruling.

   Sources that connect the matter to the suitability of the avel to act
   as a shaliach (agent) of the tzibbur include the Taz (ibid.) and Zera
   Emet (III:164). My reading of the Maharil itself and of the Maharam
   Shick (OC 183) indicates that it is a matter of inappropriateness for
   the avel's mourning obligations. (I am not convinced my reading is
   correct; it is not feasible to share the nuances in this forum.) It
   is possible to distinguish between specific cases. Perhaps regarding
   Shabbat and Yom Tov and Hallel, the community demands festivity the
   avel lacks. Perhaps, though, the rest of Shacharit has no special
   requirements for the chazan, just that involvement in the public
   service of such a happy day is improper for him. Therefore, we leave
   the fundamental unconcluded.

Tir'u baTov!

Micha Berger                 I slept and dreamt that life was joy.
http://www.aishdas.org/asp   I awoke and found that life was duty.
Author: Widen Your Tent      I worked and, behold -- duty is joy.
- https://amzn.to/2JRxnDF                      - Rabindranath Tagore

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