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Between Aninus and Aveilus

Yaakov heard that his brother, who lived in a different city, was niftar. Being there were other relatives dealing with the funeral and burial arrangements, it seemed Yaakov was not considered and onen. Thus, he davened and fulfilled mitzvos, etc. Question: Yaakov wanted to take a haircut before flying out to the funeral of his brother. Is he permitted to do so?

One who is in a different city at the time of petirah, and plans to travel to the funeral, is in questionable status. The [נודע ביהודה [תנינא יו”ד רי”ד writes that even when one gives over the niftar to the chevrah kadisha which would generally exempt him from aniמus, as long as he is travelling with the, to the funeral he still maintains the status of aniמus. As opposed to one who gives over to the chevrah kadish and does not attend the funeral. The [חכמת אדם [קונטרס מצבת משה argues that as long as the chevra kadisha is seeing to all the arrangements, one is exempt from aninus even when he is planning to attend the levaya. The custom is like the Noda Byehuda, and aninus is observed until after the funeral.

In this case where he is travelling to the funeral but he is not with the niftar, there is more reason to say he is not an onen, and therefore could daven and do mitzvos. However he should refrain from getting a haircut due to his questionable status as an onen. In addition if he is not an onen he may already be in aveilus in which case he can’t get a haircut as well. Even if we say he doesn’t start the counting of 7 days of aveilus until after the burial, it is questionable if there can be a break between aninus and aveilus and this may indicate he is still in aninus [see hilchos aveilus of the Bais Efraim in back of Shulchan Aruch Biurim s”k 27].

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