|Ask Rabbi Lerner|
Why wouldn't pregnant women be allowed to attend a Jewish burial cemetery service?
Jewish Law does not forbid pregnant women from attending a funeral or visiting a cemetery.
However, many Jews believe pregnant women should not visit the cemetery due
to superstition or, more specifically, belief in the evil eye (ayin hara). The
basic premise of the evil eye: if we are happy, then evil spirits will harm
us to change us from happy to unhappy. People who believe in the evil eye will
avoid "tempting the evil eye."
Our family has always gone to the cemetery for funerals, burials and unveilings, during pregnancy and with small children. We clearly do not believe in the evil eye.
In my humble opinion, the decision of whether or not a pregnant woman should attend a funeral always depends upon the ability of that woman and her loved ones to accept the reality that sometimes "bad things happen to good people." If they believe that the evil eye is not responsible for these bad things happening and that bad things just sometimes happen, than they can attend. I tell people, however, that if they believe in the evil eye and are fearful the visit will lead to something bad, than they should not attend.
Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner
Foundation for Family Education (FFFE)