I have a friend whose father was niftar a few months ago. In the beginning she wasn’t listening to music or going to loud places but she stopped. Am I allowed to listen to music while I’m with her or go with her to places that might have music playing? I feel like by doing that I’m saying what she’s doing is ok…but then again, these are minhagim?

Answer:

Although these are minhagim, as you write, they are not optional, and your concern is in place. However, note that not all music is forbidden, but only music that brings joy. Similarly, not all places are forbidden to go to, but only ‘parties’ and the like. I don’t know how old your friend is, but young people have a great emotional need for social interaction, and this might be especially true after a father’s death. Perhaps go with your friend, and offer her some guidance, or course in a gentle manner, as to where the line between a social need and a ‘party’ might be drawn.

Good Luck!

Sources: See Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De’ah 391, which uses terminology of “assur” concerning the customs of aveilus (such as not going to parties for the entire 12 months after a father dies). Concerning music, see Chut Shani (vol. 4) and Halichos Shlomo (p. 361, 412), who write that not all music is prohibited, but only music that is geared towards joy (see Rav Neventzal in the name of Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, in Yerushalayim U-Moadehah, p. 293; others however, are most stringent)..

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