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QUESTION

Baltimore, MD

Rabbi Linzer, what are your thoughts on an aveil joining a Zoom gathering to celebrate a birthday? Would there be a difference if the gathering were limited to family vs. open to a broader audience? What about if there is an “agenda” that includes playing games over the Zoom?

ANSWER

I can’t see the problem once the aveil is after shivah. If the event is in his home, there is no problem (except if it is truly joyous) – see Rema (Shulchan Arukh YD 391:2),

והמנהג שלא לאכול בשום סעודה בעולם כל י”ב חדש, אם הוא חוץ לביתו, ובתוך הבית מקילין שאוכל בביתו בסעודת ברית מילה, וכ”ש בשאר סעודות שאין בהם שמחה. אבל בסעודת נישואין יש להחמיר, כן נראה לי.

I don’t see Zooming and viewing a gathering elsewhere as being more problematic than having people in your home. I don’t think playing games is a problem either. It is socializing, not simchah.

I am assuming we are talking after shivah. Please let me know if your question was regarding shivah itself.