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Why do Jewish families cover their mirrors after someone dies?

By

Rabbi Ari Enkin

Rabbi Ari Enkin

Question: Why do Jewish families cover their mirrors after someone dies?

Dear Rabbi,
When a death occurs in a Jewish family, is it a tradition to cover all mirrors in the home? What is the meaning and origin of this?
Thank you, Lina

Answer: Dear Barbara,

Mirrors are covered in a shiva house (a place of mourning) for two reasons. The primary reason is because prayer services take place there and one must ensure that no one faces a mirror during prayer. The other reason is to emphasize that a mourner avoids vanity during the shiva, focusing on their loved one rather than themselves during this period. A mourner is permitted, however, to look into a mirror to ensure their hair is in order, etc..

Rabbi Ari Enkin
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel
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