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The Laws of an Onen

What is one’s status from the time a parent dies until the actual funeral.

What can you do or not do?


From the time of death until after the burial, the close relatives, which are the father, mother, son, daughter, husband, wife, brother and sister, are considered onenim.

Laws and customs include:

1. One should be involved in the burial preparations.

2. One must respect the deceased:

  1. by not behaving in a light-headed manner
  2. by not eating in the presence of the body
  3. by not eating meat or drinking wine

3. One is exempt from mitzvos:

  1. not to say berachos (even for eating, berachos are not required, but the hands are washed for bread without a beracha)
  2. not to pray, or say Amen or put on tefillin

4. One may not bathe, take haircuts, or do work, but one may wear shoes until the burial at the cemetery. One may also leave the house to take care of the needs of the deceased.

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