QUESTION: Is it OK to have liquor at the meal of consolation when returning to the house of Shiva from the cemetery?
Wine or liquor may be consumed in moderation and should not be used as an attempt to avoid the reality of bereavement or feelings of loss. The meal is a mitzvah, not a social event. The meal of consolation is for the immediate survivors and their families and not for the community at large. The bereaved family should not feel obligated to furnish refreshments to consolers and definitely should not be serving anyone since it is the bereaved family that should be served by friends and relatives.
Questions are welcomed and encouraged. Please send questions to: ShalomChapel@aol.com or by mail to Ask the Director, c/o Shalom Memorial Chapel, 1100 New London Ave., Cranston, R.I. 02920.