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Stopping On the Way To Burial


We did a funeral on Friday afternoon at 2pm, the Tahara the night before. As we proceeded to the plot nobody seemed to be stopping.  The Ashkenazic Rabbi said it's not done on Friday. Is stopping 7 times seen as a delay in preparing for Shabbat?


In Talmudic and Geonic times, it was customary for the funeral procession, on its return from the cemetery, to stop and sit down seven times. Although several medieval authorities maintained that this practice had been dispensed with altogether, it persisted in some places, seven or three sittings being observed. Toward the end of our period these halts were coupled with the recitation of Ps. 91 to verse 11, which comprises seven words, one word of that verse being added at each stop. It was frankly admitted that this was intended to confuse and shake off "the evil spirits which follow them home." After the service the chief mourners passed between a double line of people and were then escorted home by the entire company.


While it was a widespread custom to make seven halts in the funeral procession to the cemetery. (Baba Batra 100b)  Today, it is more usual to make the seven stops on the way to the grave in the cemetery. The explanation given for the seven is that they correspond to the seven times the word vanity occurs in Ecclesiastes (Kohelet) while Ganzfried adds the seven halts in the Temple, the seven portals of Gehenna and the seven judgements passed on the dead. (KSA 4, 198, 12)


"on Friday, the day before a Yom Tov, on Rosh Chodesh and duing Chol HaMo'ed, when it is forbidden to recite Tzidduk HaDin..."

Mourning in Halachah - p. 133

Because the spirit of the processional is governed not only by the desirability of personal participation and accompaniment of the deceased, but also by hesitation and unwillingness to remove the presence of the dead, the procession pauses briefly several times before it reaches the gravesite, except on festive days when the spirit of communal joy modifies the expression of grief at funerals.