Pregnant Woman Visiting Cemetery
I am currently 21 weeks pregnant (thank you Hashem!). My best friend's mother passed away recently, and the family will be having an unveiling sometime next month. I have heard there is a custom that pregnant women do not attending funerals. Would it be permissible (and advisable) for me to attend the ceremony? My friend would very much like me to attend.
The Aish Rabbi Replies
There is a common custom that pregnant women do not visit cemeteries – although there is little clear source for it. It may be based on the general notion that pregnant women should not look intently at sinful or impure matters, lest it have an effect on the embryo (Shemirat Ha’guf V’hanefesh 142:4, footnote 4 in name of Shevet Mussar 24.) In fact, there are Kabbalistic sources that women should never follow a funeral procession to the cemetery, and many in Jerusalem have this custom.
By the letter of the law, however, a pregnant woman is permitted to visit a cemetery. This even applies to a Kohen’s wife (even though the son, after he is born, would not be allowed to enter; see Magen Avraham O.C. 343:2).
Therefore, it would be best for you to avoid going. If, however, it would create an upset, family issue, or the like, it would be fine for you to attend. You should be careful to stay at least two yards away from any grave.
You should have an easy birth and a lot of Nachat!