1. Learning Torah on Erev Tisha B’av:
Learning past midday: The custom is to limit one’s Torah learning, beginning from midday of Erev Tisha B’av, to only those subjects that are permitted to be learned on Tisha B’av itself. [Many authorities agree with this custom. Other Poskim however argue against this custom. Accordingly, some Poskim conclude that one who relies on these Poskim, and continues his regular learning sessions, is not to be protested. Practically, however, one should be stringent as writes the Rama, especially being that there are permitted Torah subjects that one can learn.]
One is to limit his Torah learning starting from midday of Erev Tisha B’av to only those subjects permitted to be studied on Tisha B’av itself. Nevertheless, those who are lenient to continue their regular Torah sessions have upon whom to rely.
May one learn Chitas past midday?
Initially, one is to complete his studies of Chitas prior to midday. However, if one was unable to do so he may study the regular Chitas studies until sunset.
May one learn Rambam past midday?
One is to complete the Rambam studies before midday. If he did not do so, then it is to be delayed until after Tisha B’av. [One however may study the laws of Aveilus in the Rambam even on Tisha B’av itself. Thus, during those years that the daily lesson for Tisha B’av is the laws of Aveilus there is no limit as to when it must be studied. Furthermore, some are lenient all together, to allow learning all one’s set Shiurim of Torah until sunset, if he was unable to complete it before midday.]
May one say Tehillim after midday?
May an Avel recite Mishanyos after Mincha Erev Tisha B’av as he does throughout the regular year?
The Avel is to recite the Mishnayos of Moed Katan, saying the last Mishneh of the third chapter. [He is not to conclude with the teaching of Rebbe Chananya, and is to begin straight with Kaddish after concluding the Mishneh.] Some however write that the regular Mishnayos may be recited.
Erev Tisha B’av falls on Shabbos: When Erev Tisha B’av falls on Shabbos, seemingly he is to recite the regular Mishnayos after Mincha. However, some Rabbanim hold that even in such a case he is to recite the Mishnayos of Moed Katan.
2. Taking pleasure walks on Erev Tisha B’av:
One may not take pleasure walks on Erev Tisha B’av. [This applies even on Shabbos Erev Tisha B’av. If Tisha B’av falls on Shabbos and is pushed to Sunday, one is to refrain from walks throughout the entire day, (i.e. starting from Friday night).]
3. Eating a large meal prior to Mincha and the Seudas Hamafsekes:
It is an accustomed Ashkenazi practice to eat a set meal on Erev Tisha B’av, prior to Davening Mincha. After the meal, one Davens Mincha and then eats the Seudas Hamafsekes. [Some Poskim rule this meal is to be eaten prior to midday. However, the widespread custom is not to be particular in this matter. Some are accustomed not to eat two meals, one before Mincha and one afterwards, and rather they eat one meal with many uncooked foods and then at the conclusion of the meal they eat the egg and bread with ash.]
How much is one to eat by the first meal? The custom is to have a larger meal than usual in the first meal eaten [prior to Mincha]. Nevertheless, one who is able to withhold himself from increasing in food even during this meal and knows that the fast will not damage him, then if he is stringent to do so he is considered holy and praised. [However, other Poskim validate the increasing of food even in such a case.]
Being careful not to satiate oneself too much by this meal: One must beware not to satiate himself too much during the first meal in order so he retains an appetite to eat the Seudas Hamafsekes.
Tachanun: Tachanun is omitted during Mincha of Erev Tisha B’av being that Tisha B’av is called a “Moed” [Festival].
It is customary to eat a large meal prior to Davening Mincha on Erev Tisha B’av. After the meal, one Davens Mincha and then eats the Seudas Hamafsekes.
If one is unable to Daven Mincha with a Minyan after his set meal, prior to the Seudas Hamafsekes, what is he to do?
Is it better to Daven Mincha with a Minyan before the meal eaten prior to Seudas Hamafsekes or should one eat the set meal and then Daven Mincha privately prior to the Seudas Hamafsekes?
If one is eating the two meals close together, then he must Daven Mincha between the two meals. Thus, in the above case, it is better to Daven privately between the two meals than to Daven with a Minyan before the first meal. If, however, in any event there will be a large interval between the two meals, then he may Daven Mincha with a Minyan prior to either meal.
5. Laws pertaining to the final meal:
A. What is defined as the Seudas Hamafsekes?
The Seudas Hamafsekes is the last meal eaten before Tisha B’av, after midday, and it is this last meal eaten after midday that contains all the restrictions that apply to the meal due to mourning, as will be explained. All the other meals eaten prior to the last meal do not carry any of these restrictions, even if it is eaten after midday. Likewise, even the last meal itself only carries the restriction when it is eaten after midday. If, however, one eats the last meal before midday it does not carry any of the restrictions.
B. The menu restrictions-Letter of law:
Below are all the menu restrictions applicable towards the meal of Seudas Hamafsekes, according to the letter of the law. However, the custom is to further restrict the menu of this meal, as explained in C. Thus, ideally one is to follow the accustomed menu brought in C, although in a time of need that he is still hungry, he may follow the letter of the law menu brought below.
Not to eat meat, wine or two cooked foods: It is forbidden from the letter of the law to eat meat, drink wine, or partake in two cooked foods during this meal.
The definition of a cooked food: All cooked foods are included within this prohibition of eating two cooked foods even if it is possible for the foods to also be eaten raw.
Two cooked foods in one dish: Two foods that have been cooked together in the same pot have the status of two cooked foods [and is thus forbidden to be eaten by the Seudas Hamafsekes]. However, if this combination of foods is the most common recipe for this food throughout the year, then it is considered one food, and it may be eaten. Thus, one may eat a cooked legume that contains onions if this is the common recipe of cooking throughout the year.
Raw fruits and vegetables: One may eat an unlimited amount of raw [not cooked] fruits and vegetables during this meal.
Diminish in drinking: One is to diminish the amount he drinks during this meal in comparison to the amount he drinks in a regular meal during the year.
|May one drink coffee and tea during the Seudas Hamafsekes?
Question: [Tuesday 7th Menachem Av, 5780]
Should I eat the Seudas Hamfsekes even if I will not be fasting?
Yes, you should nevertheless eat a Seudas Hamafsekes and partake in all its regulations and customs.
Sources: See Shevet Halevi 10:83; Halichos Shlomo 15:2; Halichos Vehanhagos p. 13; Or Letziyon 28 footnote 1; Toras Hayoledes 48 footnote 18; Nitei Gavriel 51 footnote 6
C. The accustomed menu:
Bread, salt, and egg: Those who are able should only eat bread with salt [the cold hardboiled egg] and drink water during this meal. [This is the widespread custom amongst those who eat a set meal before Mincha, as explained in the previous Halacha. However, some are accustomed not to eat two meals, one before Mincha and one afterwards, and rather they eat one meal with many uncooked foods, and then at the conclusion of the meal they eat the egg and bread with ash.]
Sitting on the floor during the meal: The custom is to sit on the ground while eating the Seudas Hamafsekes meal. [However, based on Kabala, one is never to sit directly on the ground and is rather to have an interval between him and the floor. Clothing that one is wearing is not considered a valid interval for this matter. One should be stringent even regarding a tiled floor.]
Not to eat in the forum of three men: One should be careful not to eat the meal with another two men in order to avoid the obligation of making a Zimun. [Nevertheless, in the event that one ate with two other men, a Zimun is not to be made.]
D. Eating after Bentching:
After one finishes his final meal, and recites Birchas Hamazon, he may continue to eat and drink [those foods permitted during the Seudas Hamafsekes] until sundown/Shekia. However, if one explicitly said that he is accepting the fast after his conclusion of the meal, then he may no longer eat and drink [and all the prohibitions that begin by sundown apply to him from that time, other than the prohibition against wearing leather shoes]. This acceptance is valid even if it was not verbalized but simply stated in one’s mind. 
Saying that one is not yet accepting the fast prior to finishing eating: It is proper to stipulate during the Seudas Hamafsekes that even after he finishes eating he does not intend to accept the fast [until sundown and] he may thus continue to eat and drink. [This stipulation is valid whether it is said in the heart, or verbalized.]
If one does not feel like eating anymore: Even if one is satiated and does not feel like eating anymore food, it is not considered an acceptance of the fast until he explicitly decides to begin the fast.
The widespread Ashkenazi custom is to eat a large meal on Erev Tisha B’av prior to Mincha and then eat the Seudas Hamafsekes after Mincha. Customarily, the Seudas Hamafsekes consists of merely bread with salt, water, and a cooked egg. One dips the bread [and egg] in ash and states “This is the meal of Tisha B’av”. One is to sit on the floor [with an interval between him and the floor] during this meal and it is not to be eaten with a Zimun. One is to diminish in his normal amount of drinking during the meal.
Is one to initially recite Birchas Hamazon before sunset?
One may recite Birchas Hamazon even after sunset.
May one perform Mayim Achronim after sunset?
Is one to recite Birchas Hamazon with Nachem if he is reciting Birchas Hamazon after nightfall?
No. One only recites Nachem in Birchas Hamazon on Tisha B’av, if he ate on Tisha B’av itself, such as a child, or one who is sick.
Is one to dip the egg in ash?
 Rama 553:2
 Rama ibid; Darkei Moshe 554; Teshuvos Maharil 44
 Letter of law or Custom: From the letter of the law it is permitted to learn all Torah sections until the night of Tisha B’av, as seen from the fact that all five oppressions are permitted until the night of Tisha B’av. Nevertheless, the custom is to limit one’s Torah learning to specific subjects being that in any event there are other subjects available which are permitted to be learned. [Biur Hagr”a 553; Chayeh Adam 134:10; M”B 553:8; Kaf Hachaim 553:16]
 The reason: As Torah learning brings one joy. [Biur Hagr”a 553; Chayeh Adam 134:10; M”B 553:8; Kaf Hachaim 553:16] Other Poskim however write the reason is because if one studies Torah after midday of Erev Tisha B’av, he will come to think of this Torah learning on Tisha B’av itself, and be brought to joy. [Chasam Sofer 156; Bigdei Yesha, brought in Kaf Hachaim ibid]
What subjects may one learn? See Halacha 7 For a list of subjects permitted to learn on Tisha B’av
 So rule M”A 553:7; Levush 553; Elya Raba 553:4; Mateh Yehuda 553; Kneses Hagedola 554; Degul Merivava 553; Derech Hachaim 1; So is evident from all Poskim who record this ruling even regarding learning Pirkeiy Avos on Shabbos Tisha B’av. [M”B 553:8]
 Taz 553:2 in name of Rashal that he learned after Chatzos by all years of Erev Tisha B’av; Mamar Mordechai 553:2; Aruch Hashulchan 553:4
The Rashal writes that he would continue his regular study sessions past midday and this is how he also ruled for others. The Gra and Chayeh Adam write in their commentary that this practice is an excessive stringency. The Mamar Mordechai also negates this custom claiming it causes Bittul Torah as many people don’t learn the specific sections permitted on Tisha B’av during this time due to lack of interest, and hence they do not learn Torah at all. Thus he too rules to be lenient and so was his custom. [brought in M”B 553:8 and Biur Halacha “Vilichein”] The Taz ibid sates that this custom mentioned by the Rama requires further analysis although he does not argue on this custom regarding learning on Erev Tisha B’av that falls during the week. Practically the Biur Halacha concludes that one who is able to limit his learning to the permissible subjects- Kadosh yomar lo.
 M”B 553:8
 M”A ibid; Kaf Hachaim 553:18; Luach Kolel Chabad; The Rebbe in numerous Sichos records the prohibition of learning past Chatzos; Mamar Mordechai states that although one may be lenient in order to avoid Bittul torah however one who is able to limit his learning to the permissible subjects- Kadosh yomar lo. [brought in Biur Halacha “Vilichein”]
 Kaf Hachaim 553:18; Hiskashrus 889
 The reason: As even on Tisha B’av itself we allow learning one’s set Torah sessions past midday. Hence, certainly on Erev Tisha B’av that learning is merely a custom which some even allow, one may be lenient past midday.
 Based on the lesson schedule of Rambam edited by the Rebbe; Hiskashrus 889
 Kaf Hachaim 553:18
 Divrei Malkiel 6:20; Nitei Gavriel 50:8
 See Igros Kodesh 11:306 and Nitei Gavriel 75:9; Likewise, see Yoman of Rav Groner that only on Shabbos was the Rebbe surprised that the regular Mishnayos could not be said, being that we don’t show any public Aveilus; Vetzaruch Iyun, as a) Why is it not permitted to say the regular Mishnayos due to Seder Hayom and b) The above answer of the Rebbe was regarding a Yartzite which is only saying it on Tisha B’av, while a regular Avel has said it throughout the year and is part of his Seder Hayom, and hence perhaps the Rebbe never meant to prohibit him from saying it. Nevertheless, practically, the Rebbe said Moed Katan in 1988 even by Mincha of Shabbos.
 See Yoman of Rav Groner
 Hiskashrus Tisha B’av footnote 13
 Likkutei Sichos 14:185
The reason: As otherwise it is Aveilus Bifarhesya, and so exclaimed the Rebbe to Rav Groner that he is surprised at the ruling of the Rabbanim who ruled to him to say the Mishnayos of Moed Katan. [See Yoman of Rav Groner 1988]
 Answer of Beis Din to the Rebbe upon him asking which Mishnayos he is to recite, and so did the Rebbe that year, he recited from Moed Katan
 Rama 553:2
 Birkei Yosef 553:5; Shaareiy Teshuvah 553:5; Kaf Hachaim 553:20
 Birkei Yosef 553:5; Shaareiy Teshuvah 553:5; Kaf Hachaim 553:20
 Rama 552:9
The custom of Sefaradim: The ruling here follows the custom of Ashkenazi Jewry. However, Sephardic Jewry is not accustomed to have a large meal prior to Mincha, prior to the final meal [Seudas Hamafsekes]. [See Michaber 552:9]
 Rama ibid in name of Maharil
The reason: The reason for eating a meal prior to the Seudas Hamafsekes, is because one’s menu is extremely limited during the Seudas Hamafsekes, and thus in order to prevent the fast from causing one damage [due to hunger] one should have a first meal in which he can properly satiate himself. [See Rama ibid] Alternatively, the reason for this is to commemorate that in the times of the second Temple, Tisha B’av was a festive day in which a festive meal was held. By this we express our belief that once more Tisha B’av will become a day of rejoicing. [M”A 552:11; Elya Raba 552:11]
 Rama ibid in name of Maharil
The reason: The reason for specifically Davening Mincha between the two meals is because this creates an interval and prevents the issue of causing a Bracha Sheiyno Tzricha. [Shaar HaTziyon 552:16] The Darkei Moshe records in the name of the Mahril that one goes to the Beis Midrash and Davens Mincha. [M”B 552:21]
 M”A 552:10; Darkei Moshe 552:3; Bach; Ateres Zekeinim 552; Kaf Hachaim 552:46
 The M”B 551:20-22 does not mention at all the need to eat the meal before midday. It is also omitted from Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:8 and Nitei Gavriel 51:1-2
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 552:8
 Rama ibid; Darkei Moshe 552:3 [brought in Kaf Hachaim 552:48] “This is the custom of majority of people”
Other opinions: Many Poskim argue and rule that it is forbidden to increase in eating during the first meal to the point one no longer desires to eat the Seudas Hamafsekes and simply eats it because of the custom. [M”A 552:10 in name of Levush; Bach; Shlah; M”A 552:12 in name of Darkei Moshe that one is to only eat one cooked dish even during the first meal; brought in M”B 552:22]
 The reason: The reason for eating a larger meal than usual is in order to prevent the fast from causing one damage [due to hunger] as by this fast one is required to stop eating from the night before as is the law by Yom Kippur. [Rama ibid] Alternatively, the reason for this large meal is to commemorate that in the times of the second Temple, T”B was a festive day in which a festive meal was held. By this we express our belief that once more T”B will become a day of rejoicing. [M”A 552:11; Elya Raba 552:11]
 Rama ibid “so appears to me”.
 See M”A 552:11 regarding the alternative reason for increasing in this meal.
 M”B 552:22 in name of Elya Raba; Michaber 552:9 “The Seudas Hamafsekes must be a Seudas Keva” [and not a Seudas Aray]; M”A 552:10 in name of Tur and Ramban “Not like those that their stomach is the stomach of Reshaim as they satiate themselves first and then have a mere snack as Seudas Hamafsekes”; Kaf Hachaim 552:46
 The reason: The reason for this is because the final meal has a number of mourning customs and limitations, and if one will not properly eat the final meal due to being overfull, his final meal is considered to have been eaten before mincha, without following the mourning limitations. [M”B 522:20; Poskim ibid]
 Rama 552:9
 M”B 552:21; See Shaar HaTziyon 552:16
 Michaber 552:12; Vetzaruch Iyun why Admur in the Siddur does not list Mincha of Erev Tisha B’av as days that we omit Tachanun. [Siddur with Haaros Raskin p. 176]
 Shaar HaTziyon 552:16
The reason: As otherwise the second meal is considered a Bracha Sheiyno Tzricha. [ibid]
 Based on Shaar HaTziyon ibid
 Such as if he will be Davening Mincha Gedola and then eating the first meal, and then eat the second meal right before sunset then it is not considered a Bracha Sheiyno Tzricha even though he did not Daven Mincha in between the two meals. [Kaf Hachaim 552:47]
 Kaf Hachaim 552:47
 Michaber 552:9
 Michaber 552:1; Mishneh Taanis 26b
 Michaber 552:2
 M”A 552:2
 Michaber 552:3
 Michaber 552:3; M”A 552:4
 Michaber 552:4
 Rama 552:6
 M”A 552:6
 The reason: As hardboiled eggs is the food of a mourner [Rama ibid]
 Rama 552:1
 M”A 552:1
 M”A ibid in name of Mahril; Aguda; Rashal; Hagahos Maimanis
 M”A ibid in name of Mateh Moshe
 Shaareiy Teshuvah 552:2 in name of Machazik Bracha; Aruch Hashulchan 552:9; Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 123:3; Piskeiy Teshuvos 552:5
The reason: As drinks are not included within the two cooked foods. [Machazik Bracha ibid] Alternatively, it is because it is not considered a cooked dish, being that it is not cooked in a Keli Rishon but rather through Iruiy Keli Rishon. [Shearim ibid based on Ashel Avraham Butchach ibid]
 Zera Emes brought in Machazik Bracha ibid; Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid
 Michaber 552:6; See 552:5-6; It appears that one who will not be satiated with only eating the above, may eat in accordance to the Halachic guidelines mentioned above
 Rama ibid
 Piskeiy Teshuvos 552:8
 Rama 552:6; Kitzur SHU”A 123:3; Nitei Gavriel 51:9
 M”B 552:16
 Michaber 552:7
 Maharash Shaar Aryeh; Birkeiy Yosef 552:8; Shaareiy Teshuvah 552:3 in name of Birkeiy Yosef ibid; Kaf Hachaim 552:39
Other opinions: From the Maharil brought in Beir Heiytiv 559:3 it is implied he held that one may sit directly on the ground. [Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid] Practically, however, one is to be stringent in this matter. [Shaareiy Teshuvah ibid; see P”M 559 A”A for how he explains the Maharil; See also next footnotes from Kaf Hachaim who differentiates between a tiled and earth floor]
 Shaareiy Teshuvah 552:3 in name of Birkeiy Yosef
 Kaf Hachaim ibid suggests that perhaps the above stringency of Kabala is only by an earth floor and thus there is no contradiction between the Maharil and the Maharash however he concludes “When possible one is to be stringent even regarding a tiled floor”.
 Michaber 552:8
 M”B 552:19
 Michaber 553:1; Admur 608:7
 So it seems, that even after one closes his Seudas Hamafsekes he still remains limited in what he can eat.
 M”B 553:2; Admur ibid regarding Erev Yom Kippur however there he differentiates between accepting the day of Yom Kippur in which case the above law applies, and when he simply accepts to no longer eat.
 M”A 553:2 in name of Bach; Gr”a; M”B 553:2; Admur 608:7 regarding the Seudas Hamafsekes on Erev Yom Kippur however there he differentiates between accepting the day of Yom Kippur in which case even acceptance of the heart is valid, and when he simply accepts to no longer eat in which case it is only valid if verbalized.
Other opinions: Some Poskim rule the acceptance is only valid if one verbalized it with his mouth, as words of the heart have no validity. [Rama 553:1]
 Admur 608:7; M”A 553:2; M”B 553:2
 M”B ibid
 M”B ibid
 M”B ibid; see Admur ibid
 Taharas Hashulchan 557; Nitei Gavriel 66:10
 The reason: As this washing is not a washing of pleasure.
 Shaareiy Teshuvah 552:13; Nitei Gavriel 51:21
 Rama 552:6; Kitzur SHU”A 123:3
 Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:29; Nitei Gavriel 51 footnote 21; Hiskashrus; See Ashel Avraham Butchach 552