As we mentioned before, there is a dispute among the Rabbis when is the best time to erect the tombstone. One opinion holds as soon after shiva as possible and the other opinion is to erect the tombstone 12 months after death. Check with your local orthodox Rabbi to find out what you should do for your particular situation.
There are certain days that may conflict with the day for the unveiling. For certain days on the Jewish calendar a person is not allowed to visit a cemetery and therefore an unveiling at a cemetery would not be permitted. Another reason is that it is customary to give a hesped/eulogy at the time of the unveiling and on this day it is forbidden to make eulgies.
The following are days one should not visit a cemetery and thus an unveiling may not be schedule for: any chol hamoad (middle days of Passover and Sukkot) or on Purim because these days are days of joy.
The following days should be avoided for an unveiling if possible, but if for some reason because a family member will otherwise be out of town for instance, and no other day is available, then one may be permitted to have the unveiling on the following days:
When certain times such as Rosh Chodesh, Hanukkah, and erev Purim, Lag B’omer, the days of Nissan which precede Passover, and other days in which Tachanun (a prayer in Shachris) is not recited. Since these days are days of national joy, if the unveiling is held on one of these days, then the Rabbi will avoid provoking unnecessary tears, the malei memorial prayer will not be recited, and everyone should temper their eulogy so as not to make others bewail on a day that G-d sanctified that we should be happy. Psalms and Kaddish will be recited. For all of the following reasons, though, setting the unveiling date for one of these days should be avoided.
Who Can Perform an Unveiling?
Anyone the family designates can perform the unveiling, however, the family often will use a Rabbi to lead them through the various parts.
The Unveiling Service Consists of 5 parts:
1. Reciting Psalms. The following psalms are commonly recited click link.
2. Eulogy of the dead.
3. Removal of the veil – by removing a drape, cloth, or even a handkerchief which covered the tombstone.
4. Recite Malei Rachami prayer see ArtSCroll p.814 Click link here.
5. Reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish – in order to say kaddish a minyan of 10 Jewish men over the age of 13 must be present. If a minyan of 10 men is not present, the unveiling may be held but the Kaddish may not be recited.
The articles are not meant to be halachic rulings, so please contact a posek regarding your situation. Our website is intended to be a helpful guide, but for everything contained in the articles, or to the extent that we inadvertantly made a mistake on one of the articles, please contact your local Orthodox Rabbi regarding it.