Memorial customs at the end of 30
Thirty days have passed since the funeral of your loved one. It is a custom in Jewish communities to mark the day with prayer and good deeds. Below you will find more details.
Customs regarding the 30th day.
Before we discuss the customs regarding the 30th day and the Memorial service conducted on that day, it’s important to point out that this day ends the various laws of mourning observed throughout the first 30 days after internment. You can read the laws regarding the laws of the thirty days on our site: Customs During the 30 Days of Mourning
Visiting the Grave
It is customary to visit the grave of the deceased on the 30th day. There is a set of prayers which are customarily recited, including reading out sections of Psalm 119. That psalm is divided into sections, each section containing verses beginning with one of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet – from Aleph to Tuf. It is a custom to read the sections that spell out the first name of the deceased, followed by the sections for the letters “nun”, “shin”, “mem” and “hei”: spelling out the Hebrew word, “neshama”, (meaning “soul” or “spirit”). There are special booklets which contain all of the cemetery visit prayers.
A note about visiting the cemetery.
At the present time, while the Carona virus is raging, it is important to follow the guidelines set by the local health authorities. This may mean postponing cemetery visits, or limiting the number of people who attend. Keep in mind that visiting the cemetery is a custom, and not mandated by Jewish law, so there is no problem postponing the visit if circumstances deem it necessary.
One does not make visits to the cemeteries on Jewish holidays. (Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur, all of Sukkot, all of Pesach, Shavuot, all of Chanukah, and Purim). If the 30th days fall on one of these holidays, the visit to the cemetery is postponed until after the holiday.
- During the Hebrew month of Nissan (considered a joyous month because it is the month during which we celebrate Passover), there are different opinions regarding visits to the cemetery. Some authorities permit visits to the cemetery during the month of Nissan while others say that such visits should be postponed. It is recommended to follow your family’s tradition in this matter, or to consult a local rabbinic authority.
If the thirtieth day falls on Shabbat, the visit to the cemetery can be moved forward to Friday, or postponed to Sunday.
Learning and Tzedakah
It is a custom to devote time on this day to learning Torah and giving tzedakah (charity) in memory of the deceased.
An obligatory meal
It is a custom to hold a memorial gathering of friends and families at the end of the thirtieth day of mourning during which words of Torah are said.
The Ashkenazi custom is to serve only light refreshments.
The Sephardi custom is to serve a full meal, providing an opportunity for each participant to recite the many different blessings recited over various types of food. These blessings are dedicated to the memory of the deceased.
It is important to remember that the most important Mitzvah to be carried out for the sake of the deceased is the recitation of Kaddish, at the three daily services: Shacharit, Mincha, and Maariv, during the period prescribed by Jewish Law. Mourners who cannot carry out this obligation themselves may take advantage of our service, and ensure that Kaddish is recited for your loved one, as required. Click here for details: Say Kaddish For Me