A person who commits suicide is unsurpassed in wickedness, as it is said, “However of the blood of your souls, I will demand an account.”1Genesis 9:5. The world was created for a single person, (to indicate that) anyone who destroys one Jewish life is considered to have destroyed a whole world.2Maseches Sanhedrin 37a. He should, therefore, not be attended in any way. Garments should not be torn for him, he should not be mourned, nor should he be eulogized. However, he should be buried, ritually purified and dressed in shrouds. The rule is: anything that is done out of respect to the living, should be done for him.3Regarding the saying of Kaddish, see Chassam Sofer Section Yorah Deiah 326.
Without proof to the contrary, a man is not presumed to be wicked. Therefore, if a person if found asphyxiated, hanged, or the like, so long as it is possible to assume that he was murdered, it should not be considered a suicide.
A minor who committed suicide is considered like one who had taken his life unintentionally. Similarly, an adult who committed suicide, and it appears he did so because of severe depression, or madness, and the like, it is considered unintentional. Similarly, if he did so under duress, because he was afraid of torture, like King Saul, who feared what the Philistines might do to him, he is like any other deceased person, and nothing should be withheld from him.
All those who separate themselves from the ways of the community, such as those people who have cast off the yoke of mitzvos from themselves, and do not include themselves among the Jewish people with regard to observance of the mitzvos, but are like a liberated sect of their own; for all these, including apostates, informers, and heretics, the laws of Onein are not observed, and their death is not mourned. Their brothers and other relatives dress in white and adorn themselves in white, eat, drink, and rejoice that the enemies of the Almighty have perished. Concerning such people, the Scripture says,4Psalms 139:21. “Behold those who hate you Adonoy, I hate” also it is said, “When the wicked perish there is joy.”5Proverbs 11:10.
If one was executed either by the government or otherwise, even if he was an apostate, his relatives should mourn over him. For since he was killed by man and did not die naturally, he had an atonement.
If the deceased was an habitual sinner whose sins were motivated by lustful desire, and he made no confession before his death, mourning should not be observed for him. But if he did confess, he should be mourned, even if he had been a thief or a robber.
In the case of a child, one or two years old, who was converted6To a non-Jewish religion. with his father or with his mother, and died, no mourning should be observed for him.