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Author:  dave
E-mail:  rabbidw@cs.com
Date:  1/11/2005 1:00:00 PM
Subject:  adoptee shiva
Message:  There is a joke about the goy who was keeping shabbas who was told that if a goy keeps shabbas he is chayav meisa. The goy responded that he is not really keeping shabbas because he is carrying a key. He was told that doesn't help, because the community has an eiruv, to which he responde he does not hold from the eiruv.
Getting back to tha adoptee that wants to sit shiva. We agree he does not have to. However there must be things that he can do that are not forbidden. i.e. suppose he sits shiva, except for one hour a day he sits on a real, comfortable chair. Would that be permitted? In other words, what is it exactly that constitutes the forbidden aspect of sitting shiva and what, while not required, can be permitted.
The reson I come back to this is this is very practical as there are more and more adoptees and stepchildren who want to mourn for the people who they knew as there parents.
   
Reply:  They should sit on regular chairs, make sure to leave during the day, not take off their shoes etc. The key is to not look like an avel. When a person who doesn't know him, walks in, he will not know he is in aveilus. He can sit there just like an in-law can. In-laws are sometimes very close, still they do not sit shiva.
Many Rabbonim tell adoptees to do the same. I've seen it myself.

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