Question: Can a Bar Mitzvah boy wear the tallis prayer shawl of his deceased grandfather?
Dear Rabbi Enkin,
My grandson will be a bar mitzvah in May. I offered my deceased husband's tallis to my son for his son (my grandson) to wear at his bar mitzvah. I forgot to bury my husband with this tallit. The rabbi who will be officiating at my grandson's bar mitzvah claims it would be bad luck for my grandson to wear my deceased husband's prayer shaw. Are you aware of this custom?
Thank you, Anita
Answer: Dear Anita,
I know of no source that would even suggest bad luck for such a thing. Perhaps the rabbi is confusing wearing the shoes of a deceased person, of which indeed, there are reasons not to do so.
While it is unfortunate that your husband was buried without a Tallis, I encourage your grandson to use his grandfather's tallit after having a rabbi check to ensure that it is still kosher.
Hope this helps!
Rabbi Ari Enkin
Ramat Beit Shemesh, Israel