Summary of laws of the Three Weeks

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Summary

 

Chapter 1-The 17th of Tamuz:

  • The 17th of Tamuz is a public fast day. One is required to fast on this day due to the tragedies that occurred during this time. It is also the beginning of the three-week period of mourning. This fast is mentioned explicitly in scripture [Zecharia 8] as the “Fourth fast”. The fourth fast refers to the fast of the 17th of Tamuz which is in the fourth month.
  • What occurred on the 17th of Teves: Five tragedies occurred on the 17th of Tamuz:
  1. Moshe broke the first Luchos upon descending from the mountain and seeing the golden calf.
  2. The Karban Tamid sacrifice ceased to be offered onto the altar in the period of the first Temple.
  3. The walls of Yerushalayim were breached during the times of the second Temple.
  4. Apotomus the Rasha burned a Torah scroll.
  5. Apotomus the Rasha set up an idol in the Temple
  • The purpose of a fast day: The purpose of a fast day is to arouse the hearts in true repentance after contemplating the suffering we experienced due to our evil ways. Thus, each person is to do an accounting of his soul during this time.
  • Avoiding anger: One must be especially careful to avoid anger on a fast day
  • When does the fast begin? The fast begins at Alos Hashachar. This is approximately two fluctuating hours prior to sunrise. Thus, even if one was awake the entire night he must stop eating and drinking two fluctuating hours before sunrise.
  • One who woke up before Alos: If one slept [even on the couch] and then woke up prior to Alos, he may not eat unless he stipulated prior to going to sleep that he plans to eat after awaking before Alos. He may however have a drink, even if he did not stipulate before going to sleep, although initially it is proper to stipulate before going to sleep even if one only plans to drink and not to eat. If one did not sleep a set sleep but rather slightly dozed off, it is considered as if he has not slept and he may continue to eat until Alos.
  • May one eat a lot of food prior to a fast in order so he does not feel hungry? The Poskim rule that one may not eat more than usual prior to a fast as this defeats the entire purpose of feeling oppression on that day. Nevertheless one who is weak natured and needs to eat more in order to have strength is to do so.

 

Those exempt from the fast:  

  • Must pregnant or nursing women fast? Pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting. Nevertheless the custom is for even pregnant and nursing women to fast unless they are in great pain [or feel weak] in which case they are specifically not to fast. They are likewise not required to make up the fast at a later date. [Practically, the widespread custom today is for pregnant women not to fast as they are all considered weak. They are also not required to make up the fast at a later date.]
  • From what stage in pregnancy is a pregnant woman exempt from fasting? A pregnant woman that is in pain is exempt from fasting starting from the 41st day of her pregnancy. If she feels weak or in great pain then she may be lenient even prior to 40 days. If she does not feel weak or any pain at all then she is required to fast if she has not yet entered her second trimester.
  • Must one fast if he is sick or weak? One who is sick is exempt from fasting. One who is old or weak is not required to fast if he receives a medical order from a doctor that the fast is detrimental to his health. He is not required to make up the fast on a later date when he feels healthy.
  • One who is not sick but is in pain: One who is not sick must fast even if he is experiencing a great amount of pain.
  • Women after birth: According to all opinions, a woman within 30 days of giving birth does not need to fast.
  • One who is traveling: If one feels healthy, he must fast even if he is traveling that day.
  • Children: All children that are above the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah are obligated to fast. All children below the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah are not required to fast any of the four Rabbinical fasts. One is not even required to educate the child to fast for a certain amount of hours into the day. Some Poskim however rule that a child who has reached the age of understanding the mourning is only to be allowed to eat bread and water or other simple staple food. The custom however is not like this opinion. [However, they are not to be given sweets and the like although one is not required to stop them from eating it if they are in the midst of doing so.]

 

The Davening:

  • The Chabad custom is to recite the Selichos within Tachanun, after Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis. It is customarily recited while standing. This especially applies for the 13 attributes and Shema Koleinu. The Chabad custom is to omit the saying of Ashamnu within Selichos when it is recited within the prayers of Shacharis. [However, it is recited as usual within Tachanun that is recited before Selichos.]
  • Concentration: Selichos must be recited slowly and with concentration. It is better to recite a lesser amount of supplications, but with proper concentration, then a larger amount without concentration. Those that are accustomed to hurriedly recite the conclusion of Selichos are to nullify their custom.
  • The thirteen attributes: It is forbidden to recite the thirteen attributes without proper concentration. [It is to be recited slowly and carefully. It is to be recited aloud. Some are accustomed to count the Middos with their fingers. Some are accustomed to picture each letter of each word in their mind while reciting it.] The 13 attributes may only be read together with the Minyan. The custom is to stand while reciting it. One is not to lean while reciting it unless he is old or sick.
  • Shema Koleinu: The custom is to open the ark and stand for the saying of Shema Koleinu.
  • Selichos without a Minyan: It is permitted to recite Selichos without a Minyan, although he must omit certain parts, as will be explained next. If one is saying Selichos without a Minyan, he is to omit the 13 attributes of mercy. [It is not our custom in such a case to recite the 13 attributes of mercy in the tune of the Torah reading-see Halacha C in Q&A!] He is likewise to omit the Aramaic parts said within Selichos. One does not omit the verse of “Uzechor Hayom Bris Shlosh Esrei” upon saying Selichos without a Minyan.
  • Avinu Malkeinu: Avinu Malkeinu is recited after Selichos, prior to “Veanachnu Lo Neida”. One continues straight to Veanchnu Lo Neida after Avinu Malkeinu and omits the short Avinu Malkeinu prayer normally recited prior to Veanachnu Lo Neida.
  • The Torah portion of Vayichal is read during Shacharis.          

 

Aneinu:

  • The prayer of Aneinu is added during Mincha Shemoneh Esrei of a fast day. It is recited within the blessing of Shomeia Tefila, prior to the words “Ki Ata Shomeia”. It is not recited during the silent Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis or Maariv. It is however recited within the Chazan’s repetition of the Shacharis and Mincha Shemoneh Esrei. The Chazan recites Aneinu as a separate blessing between the blessings of Goal Yisrael and Rifaeinu. This applies during the Chazan’s repetition of both Shacharis and Mincha Shemoneh Esrei. However during the Chazan’s silent prayer of Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis he does not say Aneinu, while during his silent prayer of Mincha he recites Aneinu within Shomeia Tefila just like the other people praying.
  • One who forgot Aneinu: If one forgot to say Aneinu in Shomeia Tefila he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation. If he remembered prior to finishing Shemoneh Esrei he is to recite it at the end of Davening, in Elokaiy Netzor prior to the [second] Yihyu Leratzon. Even if he remembered prior to Ritzei, he is nevertheless to continue and recite it in Elokaiy Netzor. [If he only remembered after finishing Davening then it is proper to concentrate on each word of the Chazan’s repetition and thus fulfill his obligation.]
  • The meaning behind Aneinu: The Kol Bo writes the prayer of Aneinu contains 63 words which correspond to the 63 letters contained within the verse “Vayira Yaakov Meod…” The Aguda writes that it corresponds to the 63 letters of the three Avos and twelve tribes. Alternatively, it corresponds to the Divine 63 letter name of Hashem [Sheim Sag], which corresponds to Bina and Gevura. We thus recite 63 words in order to sweeten the severities of Bina.

 

Mincha:

  • Charity: Prior to Mincha one is to give Igara Ditaanisa to charity.
  • Torah reading: The Torah portion of Vayichal is read during Mincha. This is followed by the reading of the Haftorah.
  • Yehalelu: After the reading of the Haftorah, Yehalelu is recited and the Torah is returned to the Aron. This is then followed by half Kaddish. [However, there were years that the Rebbe began the Kaddish immediately after the Haftorah as is normally done by Mincha of Shabbos. However, in most years the Rebbe waited for the Sefer Torah to be returned.]
  • Aneinu: During Shemoneh Esrei of Mincha Aneinu is recited, as stated in the previous Halacha.
  • Nesias Kapayim: The Chazan recites Birchas Kohanim in his repetition of Shemoneh Esrei of Mincha. Those places which are not accustomed to do Birchas Kohanim recite Elokeinu during the Chazan’s repetition. [This applies even when Mincha is being davened early, by the time of Mincha Gedolah.] Those who are accustomed to perform Nesias Kapayim daily, are to do so as well by Mincha of a fast day. [However, this only applies when Mincha is being prayed close to sunset. Some rule this to be within thirty minutes before sunset. Others rule it refers to past Plag Hamincha. Others rule it refers to Mincha Ketana. However when praying Mincha prior to Plag Hamincha Nesias Kapayim is not performed. Nevertheless, one does recite Elokeinu Velokei Avoseinu, as stated above.]
  • Tachanun and Avinu Malkeinu: Tachanun and Avinu Malkeinu are recited during Mincha of a fast day.

 

General laws applicable on fast days:

  • Rinsing the mouth: On a public fast day one does not rinse his mouth in the morning. [If, however, this is causing one discomfort he may be lenient to rinse his mouth.]
  • May one brush ones teeth on a fast day? If not doing so will cause one pain or discomfort it is allowed.
  • May one use mouthwash if not doing so will cause pain and discomfort? Yes, it may be used in such a case.

 

 

Chapter 2: The Mourning Customs that apply throughout the three weeks:

*Important note: In this chapter, only those laws which apply throughout the entire duration of the three weeks, from the 17th of Tamuz until Tisha B’av, will be discussed. All Halachas which only apply during the nine days, will be discussed in the next chapter. In certain topics, the laws become more severe during the nine days, as will be noted whenever applicable, and one is to refer to the next chapter for the full details of this matter.

 

List of customs that begin to apply from the 17th of Tamuz, as explained in this chapter:

  • No Weddings
  • No Haircuts
  • No music or dancing
  • No Shehechiyanu
  • No buying or wearing expensive garments
  • No hitting
  • Avoid matters of danger

List of customs that only begin to apply during the nine days or during the week of Tisha B’av:

  • Delaying a court case. [See Chapter 3 Halacha 2]
  • Not to buy or sell expensive items of Simcha. [See Chapter 3 Halacha 3]
  • Not to build or renovate for pleasure. [See Chapter 3 Halacha 5]
  • Not to plant for purposes of pleasure. [See Chapter 3 Halacha 6]
  • Not to eat meat or wine. [See Chapter 3 Halacha 8-9]
  • Not to launder clothing or wear freshly laundered clothing. [See Chapter 3 Halacha 10]
  • Not to purchase or wear any new clothing [See Chapter 3 Halacha 13]
  • Not to bathe or shower. [See Chapter 3 Halacha 15]
  • Not to cut nails. [See Chapter 3 Halacha 16]
  1. Engagements and weddings:
  • One may not get married throughout the three weeks. This applies even if one is childless or is single and has small children from a previous marriage. This applies even if the wedding feast will not be celebrated at this time, and will take place at a later date.
  • One may date [Shidduchim] and become engaged throughout the three weeks, even on Tisha B’av itself. One may hold an engagement party [Lechaim] with a festive meal up until Rosh Chodesh Av. However, after Rosh Chodesh Av, until Tisha B’av, one may not hold a celebratory meal in honor of the engagement. This applies even on Shabbos. However, one may have an engagement party without a meal [just sweets] even after Rosh Chodesh. It is forbidden to dance during the party.
  1. Haircut:
  • One may not cut hair throughout the three weeks.
  • Body hair: The prohibition against haircutting applies whether to the hair of the head, and whether to the hair of any other area of the body.
  • Mustache: One may trim any mustache hair that interferes with him eating. [This applies even during the week of Tisha B’av.  However, some Poskim rule that during the week that Tisha B’av falls in, it is forbidden to trim any mustache hair, even if it interferes with food.]
  • Women: Some Poskim rule a woman may cut her hair throughout the period of the three weeks. However, other Poskim rule a woman may not cut or shave any hair of her body throughout the three weeks, just as is the law by a man. Practically, we are stringent. However, hair that is sticking out of a head covering of a married woman may be cut throughout the three weeks. Likewise, she may cut hair for the sake of immersion in a Mikveh throughout the three weeks. A wife may shave body hair for beauty purposes, to remain attractive to her husband, up until the week of Tisha B’av. Similarly, some Poskim rule that girls who are of shidduchim age may cut hair for beauty purposes, up until the week of Tisha B’av.]
  • Children: It is forbidden for an adult to cut a child’s hair. [This applies even if the child is below the age of Chinuch. Some Poskim rule this applies throughout the three weeks. Other Poskim rule it only applies the week of Tisha B’av. [Practically, in a case of need one may be lenient to do so.]
  1. Music and dancing:

One may not dance during the three weeks.  One may not play or listen to music during the three weeks.  [It is forbidden to listen to music, whether live or recorded.  This applies likewise to Chassidic Niggunim, whether a slow or fast Niggun.  Thus, one may not listen to music on a tape, CD, Ipod, MP3 and the like.]

  1. Shehechiyanu:

It is good to beware not to recite Shehechiyanu over new fruits or clothing during the three weeks.  The following is the detailed ruling on this matter

  • New fruits: It is good to beware not to recite Shehechiyanu over new fruits during the three weeks [starting from the night of the 17th of Tamuz until after the 11th of Av]. This applies even if one already sees a new fruit, nevertheless, he is to delay the recital of Shehechiyanu until he eats it after the three weeks. [Accordingly, one is to avoid eating new fruits throughout the three weeks.]
  • If the fruit will no longer be available after the three weeks: A fruit which will no longer be available [i.e. not in season] after the ninth of Av [and cannot be guarded until then due to spoilage or loss of taste], may be eaten and have Shehechiyanu recited over it during the three weeks. [Those who say Shehechiyanu on Shabbos, are to wait until Shabbos to say it, unless the fruit will spoil by that time.]
  • Shehechiyanu on Shabbos: Some Poskim rule one may recite the blessing of Shehechiyanu over a new fruit on Shabbos [and Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av]. Other Poskim rule one may not recite Shehechiyanu even on Shabbos of the three weeks. [Other Poskim rule one may recite Shehechiyanu on Shabbos, up until the nine days.] Practically, the Chabad custom is to be stringent not to recite Shehechiyanu throughout the three weeks.
  • Clothing: It is good to beware not to recite Shehechiyanu over new clothing during the three weeks. [One is thus to avoid wearing or buying new clothing during the three weeks, as explained in the next Halacha!]
  • Pidyon Haben or Bris: One may say Shehechiyanu during a Pidyon Haben [or Bris Mila, for those accustomed,] that takes place during the three weeks, as he should not lose out from the Mitzvah. [This applies even on Tisha B’av.]
  1. Buying, wearing and making new clothing:
  • Buying new clothing: Between the 17th of Tamuz and Rosh Chodesh Av: It is good to beware not to recite Shehechiyanu over new clothing during the three weeks. Accordingly, it is forbidden to buy or wear new clothing during the three weeks, if they require a blessing of Shehechiyanu.  [This applies even to used clothing.  However, this applies only to expensive clothing such as suits and jackets and the like. However, regarding all non-important clothing, such as shoes, undergarments [i.e. socks, undershirt, underwear, Kipa] they may be bought up until Rosh Chodesh Av. Furthermore, some Poskim rule one may purchase even shirts and pants, until the nine days, and that so is the custom.]
  • Buying clothing during the nine days: It is forbidden to buy any clothing during the nine days, even undergarments and even if one does not plan to wear the clothing until after Tisha B’av. See Chapter 3 Halacha 11 for the full details of this matter.
  • Wearing new clothing: Wearing new clothing between the 17th of Tamuz and Rosh Chodesh Av follows the same ruling as buying new clothing during this time. [Thus, important clothing is not to be worn, while simple clothing, such as undergarments and possibly even pants and shirts, may be worn.]. During the nine days:  It is forbidden to wear new clothing, during the nine days. This prohibition applies even against wearing new shoes [and undergarments]. See Chapter 3 Halacha 11 for the full details of this matter.
  • On Shabbos: Some Poskim rule it is permitted to wear new clothing on Shabbos, up until Rosh Chodesh Av. Other Poskim rule it is forbidden to do so, and so is the final ruling. This applies even if one will not be reciting Shehechiyanu on the clothing
  • Making, Mending & Sewing Clothing: Until the nine days: It is permitted to fix and mend clothing from the 17th of Tamuz until the start of the nine days. It is even permitted to make new clothing until this time.
  • During the nine days: It is forbidden to make new clothing during the nine days, as explained in Chapter 3 Halacha 6-See there!
  • Buying items other than clothing: Until the nine days: It is permitted to buy all non-clothing items from the 17th of Tamuz until the start of the nine days. Seemingly, this applies even towards expensive items, and items that bring Simcha. [Thus, it is permitted to purchase a car during this time.] However, some Poskim rule one is to avoid purchasing all expensive items which give one joy and receive a blessing of Shehechiyanu, unless the matter is a necessity, or will cause one a monetary loss. According to Admur however, we never recite a blessing on Shehechiyanu over purchasing new objects, even if they are very expensive, and hence one may purchase even such items up until the nine days.
  • During the nine days: It is permitted to purchase all inexpensive items during the nine days. However, expensive items may not be purchased unless it is an absolute necessity.
  1. Walking alone:
  • From the 17th of Tamuz until the 9th of Av one is to beware not to walk alone during the three weeks, between the 4th and 9th hours of the day. [There is difference of opinion if this refers to the beginning or end of these hours. Some write it is from the end of the 4th hour until the beginning of the 9th [for a total of 4 hours]. Others write it is from the beginning of the 4th hour until the end of the 9th [for a total of 6 hours]. Others write it refers to end of the 4th hour until the end of the 9th hour. This prohibition is relevant only when walking alone in a deserted area and not when walking alone in a settled area that contains people passing by.]
  1. Walking in the shade:
  • From the 17th of Tamuz until the 9th of Av one is to beware not to walk in the border area between the shade and the sunlight, between the 4th and 9th hours of the day. Likewise, one is to beware from staying in the shade during the months of Tamuz-Av. 
  1. Abstaining from hitting children:
  • From the 17th of Tamuz until the 9th of Av one is to beware from hitting his students [or his children, even with a belt, and certainly not with a stick or rod]. [Some Poskim however rule one may hit a child using his hands. Other Poskim however rule that even using one’s hands to hit is included in the prohibition. Some Poskim rule that this restriction does not apply in a room with a Mezuzah. Some Poskim rule that there is no restriction to hit on the outer limbs such as the hand and leg, and the restriction is only with regards to areas of the inner limbs. Some Poskim rule that the above restriction only applies between the 4th and 9th hour [of the day]. Other Poskim rule that one is to be stringent through the entire period of time.]

 

  1. Avoiding dangerous activity during the three weeks:
  • From on the above laws, which warn against hitting a child, or walking during certain times of the day, we learn that there is an element of danger involved during the period of the three weeks, and that one should abstain from activities that are considered possibly dangerous. While this matter is not explicit in the Shulchan Aruch or its commentaries, nonetheless, it has become accepted and advised to follow. The following are a list of activities and their ruling.
  • May one go swimming during the three weeks? It is permitted to go swimming past the 17th of Tamuz, up until Rosh Chodesh Av, the start of the nine days. There is no basis for the notion that one who did not go swimming prior to the 17th of Tamuz, may not go after the 17th, and it is permitted to do even in such a case.  Nevertheless, one is to avoid swimming in dangerous areas, such as a dangerous beach or during bad weather and the like.  Due to this reason, some are accustomed to completely avoid going swimming, or into a river or ocean, throughout the duration of the three weeks.
  • May one go on trips during the three weeks? Some Poskim rule that one is to abstain from going on trips or outings during the three weeks. This includes abstaining from going on pleasure trips to gardens and orchards, the beech, or a river. One must certainly avoid going to areas of possible danger during this time. This especially applies during the period of the nine days
  • May one travel during the three weeks? It is permitted to travel during the three weeks, whether by car, bus or plane. However, as stated above, one is to abstain from traveling to dangerous areas, or for the sake of pleasure or a vacation. Thus, one should only travel for necessary purposes, or for the sake of a Mitzvah. This especially applies during the nine days. On one occasion, the Rebbe advised that one who plans to travel during the three weeks, should at least begin his traveling preparations prior to the 17th of Tamuz, such as through packing some of his belongings prior to the 17th.
  • Moving during the three weeks: If doing so is possible, one should abstain from moving houses throughout the duration of the three weeks, until the 15th of Av.
  1. Mourning after midday:
  • Some have the custom to mourn and cry over the destruction of the Temple for a half hour or more each day, after midday, throughout the days of the 17th of Tamuz and 9th of Av. Doing so is a proper custom, as the three weeks is a time of severities, and this mourning benefits the soul tremendously. Some say Tikkun Rachel at this time. This is addition to performing Tikkun Chatzos at night.
  1. Learning the laws of Beis Habechira/The Temple:
  • The Midrash states that studying the laws of the Beis Hamikdash, its structure and vessels, is viewed by Hashem as if one is building the Temple. This means to say, that during times of exile when one is unable to help build a physical Temple, one fulfills the eternal Biblical command of “Making me a Temple” through studying the laws of the Temple. One should study the prophecies in Yechezkel from 40 and onwards, Miseches Middos, and Hilchos Beis Habechira of the Rambam. One should especially increase in studying these laws during the period of Bein Hametzarim. Studying these laws weakens the exile and hastens the redemption.

 

 

Chapter 3: The mourning customs of the nine days

*Important Note:

This section will only list the mourning customs that become applicable during the nine days. All customs that apply throughout the entire three-week period were listed in the previous chapter. See there for further reference!

  1. Diminishing in rejoicing:
  • At the entrance of the month of Menachem Av one diminishes in joy. One is thus not to rejoice at all.  [Some however learn that one is merely to diminish in joy and does not have to end all joy completely.]
  • Matters of frivolity: One is to be especially careful during these days not to have conversations of frivolity and lightheartedness.
  • Jewelry and makeup: Some Poskim write women are to diminish in makeup and jewelry during the nine days.
  1. Delaying a court case with a gentile:
  • One who has a court case against a gentile during this time is to find ways to delay it, as during this time a Jews Mazal is weak.
  1. Masa Umatan-Business, buying and selling:
  • It is permitted to buy and sell all simple and necessary items as usual during the nine days. One is not to buy and sell expensive items that are not necessities, but rather a luxury, unless it is a case of possible financial loss.
  1. Music:
  • During the nine days, it is forbidden to play music even for livelihood/Parnasa purposes, even for the sake of gentiles.
  1. Building:
  • During the nine days, one is to diminish in building for pleasure or beauty purposes, such as building a wedding home for his son, or a beautiful architectural structure or beautiful tents. One may however fix a wall which is leaning to fall. One may likewise build for the sake of a Mitzvah, such as building or renovating a Shul. [Likewise, one may build for the sake of the public.  One may build for the sake of doing business, such as to sell or rent the property.]
  • Gentile workers: One may not hire gentile workers to build a building for pleasure or beauty purposes during the nine days. However, if the gentile was contracted [before Rosh Chodesh] to be paid for the job [as opposed to an hourly rate], then if the gentile can choose to work during the nine days, without protest from the Jew. Nonetheless, if the Jew appeases the gentile with extra payment to push off the work, then he is blessed. [Furthermore, initially one is to stipulate with the gentile that he will not work during the nine days.]  
  1. Planting:
  • During the nine days, one is not allowed to plant gardens for pleasure purposes, such as the trees of kings which are planted for shade, or different species of myrtle.
  1. Kiddush Levana:
  • The custom is not to recite Kiddush Levana until after Tisha B’av. [It is rather to be recited on Motzei Tisha B’av, as will be explained in Chapter 4 Halacha 17.]
  1. Eating meat and poultry:
  • The custom is not to eat meat or poultry throughout the nine days [beginning from Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av, including Rosh Chodesh]. It is forbidden to eat meat or poultry due to this custom.  One who breaks this custom and eats meat falls into the category of “Poretz Geder Yenashchenu Nachash.”
  • Shechita: The custom is to avoid slaughtering animals or poultry from Rosh Chodesh until after Tisha B’av [the 10th of Av]. It is however permitted to slaughter for the sake of a Mitzvah such as for an ill person who needs meat, or for Seudas Shabbos or a Bris Mila, as will be explained.
  • Does the prohibition begin from sunset or Tzeis of Rosh Chodesh? Some are accustomed to abstaining from eating meat and poultry starting from after sunset of Rosh Chodesh. Others are accustomed only from nightfall [Tzeis]. See Introduction for the full details of this matter!
  • Eating a dish which contains meat or poultry: It is forbidden to eat a food which contains meat or poultry amongst its ingredients. If meat or poultry fell into a food, the food may be eaten if it contains sixty times the meat.  Alternatively, one may taste the pot to verify if it has a taste of meat. If one sees that it does not have a taste of meat, it is permitted to be eaten. 
  • Cooking food in a meat pot: Pareve foods may be cooked in a meat pot [even if the pot was used for meat in the past 24 hours].
  • Shabbos: It is permitted [and is a Mitzvah] to eat meat on Shabbos. If the third meal continues past the conclusion of Shabbos, it remains permitted to eat meat and drink wine until one recites Birchas Hamazon, even if the congregation already Davened Maariv. Some Poskim however rule it is forbidden to eat meat past nightfall if the congregation already Davened Maariv.
  • Children: A child that is below the age of Chinuch may eat meat, poultry, and wine during the nine days. A child that is above the age of Chinuch may not eat meat or drink wine during the nine days.  The age of Chinuch in this regard is a child that has reached the age of understanding the mourning period [which is not before age 9].  Some Poskim however rule one should be stringent if the child has reached the general age of Chinuch of all Mitzvos [which is approximately from age six]. [Practically, the custom of many is to be stringent in this matter.] One may be lenient to give children [below Bar and Bas Mitzvah] to eat meat on Erev Shabbos after midday.  [Some Poskim however limit this ruling only to those areas in which Shabbos begins late and one desires to feed the children before Shabbos.]
  • One who is sick: One who is sick may eat meat.  [This applies even if his illness is not dangerous, and even if he is only slightly sick. One is not required to do Hataras Nedarim to eat meat in case of illness.  This allowance applies even on the week of Tisha B’av, and even past the 7th of Menachem Av.]
  • Nursing women: Those women that need to eat meat in order to have milk for their child, may be lenient to do so. This applies even to animal meat. Likewise, if a nursing woman feels weak or sick she may be lenient to eat meat.  [However, this only applies if other foods cannot supplement the benefits received in eating meat.] Nevertheless, the custom is to be stringent beginning from the 7th of Av unless she feels a strong need for it.  Practically, this matter of nursing women eating meat during the nine days is to be given to the discretion of a Rav in order so people don’t come to belittle the matter.
  • Pregnant women: If a pregnant woman feels weak or sick she may be lenient to eat meat. [However, this only applies if other foods cannot supplement the benefits received in eating meat.] Nevertheless, the custom is to be stringent beginning from the 7th of Av, unless she feels a strong need for it.  Practically, this matter of pregnant women eating meat during the nine days is to be given to the discretion of a Rav in order so people don’t come to belittle the matter.
  • After birth: A woman after birth is permitted to eat meat during the nine days. [This applies for all women within 30 days of giving birth.] Nevertheless, the women are accustomed to stop eating meat starting from the 7th of Av [unless they feel a strong need to eat it].
  • One who cannot eat milk products: One who cannot eat milk products may eat chicken [or a dish which contained meat.] [This applies even if he is not sick.]
  • One may eat meat and drink wine during a Seudas Mitzvah which is taking place during the nine days, such as a Bris Mila, Pidyon Haben, Siyum Miseches, [or a Bar Mitzvah]. However, only those who are coming to the meal out of respect for the Baal Hasimcha, or other similar reason, are allowed to eat. However, those joining simply to be allowed to eat meat and drink wine are forbidden to eat meat and wine.
  • The week of Tisha B’av: Within the week of the Tisha B’av, only ten people, [in addition to relatives], are to eat meat or drink wine during the meal.
  • Erev Tisha B’av: The above allowance to eat meat and drink wine during a Seudas Mitzvah applies even on Erev Tisha B’av, with exception to the Seudas Hamafsekes. [When having the meal on Erev Tisha B’av, it is proper to eat it in the morning.]
  • Kos Shel Bracha: One may say Birchas Hamazon over wine [i.e. Kos Shel Bracha] by a Seudas Mitzvah.
  1. Drinking wine:
  • One may not drink wine throughout the nine days.
  • Does the prohibition begin from sunset or Tzeis of Rosh Chodesh? Some are accustomed to avoid drinking wine starting from after sunset of Rosh Chodesh. Others are accustomed only from nightfall [Tzeis]. See Introduction for the full details of this matter!
  • Adding wine into the ingredients of a food: It is forbidden to eat a food which contains wine within its ingredients. If wine fell into a food the food may be eaten if it contains sixty times the wine.  Alternatively, one may taste the pot to verify if it has a taste of wine. If one sees that it does not have a taste of wine it is permitted. 
  • Beer and other beverages: It is permitted to drink any beer [and any alcoholic beverage other than wine ] during the nine days. It is permitted to drink vinegar made from wine.
  • Children: A child that has not reached the age of Chinuch may drink wine during the nine days as explained in the previous Halacha B regarding meat. See there for all the details of this matter!
  • Shabbos: One may drink wine on Shabbos without limitation. If the third meal continues past the conclusion of Shabbos, it remains permitted to eat meat and drink wine until one recites Birchas Hamazon, even if the congregation already Davened Maariv.  Some Poskim however rule it is forbidden to drink wine past nightfall if the congregation already Davened Maariv.
  • Seudas Mitzvah: One may drink wine by a Seudas Mitzvah, as explained in Halacha 8C.
  • Kos Shel Bracha: One does not say Birchas Hamazon over wine during the nine days.
  • Havdalah: When saying Havdala during the nine days [Motzei Shabbos Chazon] one is to give the wine to drink to a child [whether male or female , although some rule only male ] who has reached the age of Chinuch [of blessings although some say also Chinuch of Havdala] but has not yet reached the age of Chinuch for mourning.  If such a child is not, he may drink the [entire] Havdalah wine himself as usual. 
  1. Laundering clothing:
  • It is forbidden to launder clothing from the start of Rosh Chodesh Av until the week of Tisha B’av, unless one has run out of clean clothing that are changed daily, or one is washing the clothing of a gentile, or a child, or for the sake of a Mitzvah.
  • During the week of Tisha B’av, it is forbidden to launder any clothing, even if one has run out of clothing, even if it is the clothing of a child or a gentile, unless the clothing is of a child who is below the age of Chinuch, or is needed for the sake of a Mitzvah.
  1. Wearing freshly laundered clothing:
  • It is forbidden to wear freshly laundered clothing during the nine days [even if they were laundered prior to the nine days]. [The above prohibition only applies to one who changes for pleasure purposes, although it is permitted to change into fresh clothing if one’s clothing is dirty or smelly. Thus, those clothing that become overly dirty and sweaty, such as all undergarments and towels, may be worn even if they are freshly laundered from before the nine days.  Furthermore, those who are accustomed to change their shirts constantly due to being overly sensitive to sweat, may do so even during the nine days, even if the shirt is freshly laundered from beforehand. However, one may not change his pants or jacket to a fresh pair, unless the pair is unwearable. Furthermore, the meticulous are particular to not change any of their clothing throughout the week, not even their undergarments.] All clothing which are permitted to be laundered during the nine days, as explained in Halacha 8, are likewise permitted to be worn in their freshly laundered state.
  • The clothing included in the prohibition: The above prohibition applies to any cloth, even if it is not worn on the body, such as towels, tablecloth, or linens for a bed.
  • Ironed clothing: It is forbidden to wear freshly ironed clothing. All clothing that have been ironed, pressed, or dry cleaned in a way that is recognizable even after wearing it one time, may not be worn so long as the ironing effects remain.
  • For the sake of Shabbos: It is permitted to wear freshly laundered linen clothing in honor of Shabbos, and it is permitted to use white [tablecloths] like any other Shabbos.
  1. Wearing Shabbos clothing on Shabbos and by a Bris:
  • Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to wear Shabbos clothing on Shabbos Chazon, with exception to wearing a Kesones [Shabbos undershirt] which is allowed, [and so was the old custom of Ashkenaz]. Other Poskim however rule that on Shabbos of the nine days, including Shabbos Chazon, one is to wear his regular Shabbos clothing [and so is the Sephardic custom]. [Practically, the widespread custom today amongst all Jewry [Sephardim Chassidim, as well as almost all communities of Ashkenazi Jewry] is to wear all one’s regular Shabbos clothing on Shabbos Chazon.]
  • Tablecloths and bed sheets: One may also use fresh white tablecloths in honor of Shabbos. However, new sheets may not be spread on one’s bed. 
  • Paroches: The Paroches for Shabbos is placed in Shul as usual. This is with exception to when Tisha B’av coincides with Shabbos and is differed to Sunday, in which case the Shabbos Paroches is not placed.  [However, the widespread custom is to place the Shabbos Paroches even at this time.]
  • Shabbos clothing during a Bris: When a Bris is taking place during the nine days it is accustomed that the father [and mother] of the child, the Mohel and the Sandek [and grandparents] to wear Shabbos clothing. [Furthermore, the custom is for also other close relatives to wear Shabbos clothing.]
  1. Buying and wearing new clothing:
  • Buying clothing during the nine days: It is forbidden to buy clothing during the nine days. [This applies even to used clothing.] This prohibition applies even against buying shoes [and undergarments, such as socks, undershirts and underwear].  [This applies even if one does not plan to wear the clothing until after Tisha B’av.]
  • Wearing new clothing: It is forbidden to wear new clothing, whether white or colored, whether of wool or linen, during the nine days. This prohibition applies even on Shabbos. This prohibition applies even against wearing new shoes [and non-important garments, such as undergarments, socks, undershirts and underwear]. [From Rosh Chodesh Av until the week of Tisha B’av this matter is forbidden due to stringency, while during the week of Tisha B’av it is forbidden from the letter of the law.]
  1. Making and mending clothing:
  • It is forbidden to make new clothing or new shoes during the nine days. [This applies even to socks.] The women are likewise accustomed not to weave the warp during the nine days. It is permitted to weave strings during the nine days.  It is likewise permitted to weave items that are not clothing.
  • A tailor making for others: It is forbidden for a Jewish tailor to make this item even on behalf of another person [which is a Jew]. This applies whether he is doing so in exchange for payment, of for free. This applies even if one intends to sell the garment in the market place.  However, the custom is to be lenient in this [and make new clothing even for a Jew].  This, however, is only allowed if the material was already given to the tailor before Rosh Chodesh, however to give him the material after Rosh Chodesh is obviously forbidden.] Furthermore, some Poskim are only permit one to be lenient until the week of Tisha B’av.] It is permitted however for a Jew to make the item on behalf of a gentile, if it is well known that the work is being done on his behalf.  [It is permitted to do so even if the Jew receives the material after Rosh Chodesh.] It is likewise customarily permitted for a Jew to give material to a non-Jew to make for him a new garment, so it be ready after Tisha B’av. [This applies even during the weeks of Tisha B’av. However, some Poskim are stringent to only allow it up until the week of Tisha B’av.] Nonetheless, it is best to diminish in this matter when possible. 
  • Mending and fixing Clothing: It is forbidden to remodel even old clothing beginning from Rosh Chodesh Av, throughout the nine days. However, it is permitted to sew a loose stitch, or sew a tear of a clothing, [or resew a button] throughout the nine days, even in the week of Tisha B’av. It is likewise permitted to sew a patch onto clothing during this time.  [This may be done even professionally and with the use of sewing machines.]
  1. Bathing:
  • It is forbidden to bathe [or shower] during the nine days, even with cold water, with exception to one who needs to shower for medical reasons or for reasons of cleanliness, or for the sake of a Mitzvah.

 

  1. Cutting nails:
  • One may not cut nails during the week of Tisha B’av. One may cut nails during the three weeks, up until the week of Tisha B’av.
  • Erev Shabbos: If Tisha B’av falls on Shabbos one may cut his nails in honor of Shabbos. [However, some Poskim rule one may only do so if he is accustomed to cut his nails on every Erev Shabbos. If, however Tisha B’av falls on Sunday, one may cut his nails on Erev Shabbos even if he does not do so weekly.]
  • Need of a Mitzvah: It is permitted to cut nails for the need of a Mitzvah, such as for Tevila.

 

 

Chapter 4: Shabbos Chazon

Hashem shows every Jew a vision of the Third Temple:

  • The Shabbos prior to Tisha B’av is cordially known as Shabbos Chazon. It is called this name after the title of the Haftorah of this Shabbos, Chazon Yeshayahu. In addition, there is a tradition from Reb Hillel of Paritch, in name of Rav Levi Yitzchak of Berditchiv that on this Shabbos Hashem shows the soul of every Jew a distant spiritual vision of the third Temple. The purpose of this vision is to help increase a Jew’s anticipation for the redemption. Although this matter affects one’s inner soul, subconsciously, it is further increased through contemplating this matter on this Shabbos.  The reason Hashem shows us the Third Temple specifically the Shabbos before Tisha B’av is to express to us that in truth the purpose of the exile is to bring about the great revelation of the Third Temple.
  1. Bathing on Erev Shabbos Chazon:
  • On Erev Shabbos Chazon [Parshas Devarim] one may bathe his hands, feet and head in cold water. Some allow one who bathes himself every Erev Shabbos, to wash his head [hands and feet] even in hot water. It is forbidden to wash the remainder of one’s body even with cold water. [Likewise, one may not use soap or shampoo to wash his head, hands or face. The above however only applies when bathing for purposes of pleasure. It is however permitted to bathe the body for reasons of cleanliness, as stated above in C, and so is an old age Chassidic custom to allow bathing the body [for cleanliness purposes] on Erev Shabbos Chazon.  Accordingly, if one feels sweaty or dirty, he may shower even with hot water, until his body is clean. It is however forbidden to remain in the water for more time than necessary.]
  1. Wearing Shabbos clothing on Shabbos:
  • Some Poskim rule it is forbidden to wear Shabbos clothing on Shabbos Chazon, with exception to wearing a Kesones [Shabbos undershirt] which is allowed, [and so was the old custom of Ashkenaz]. Other Poskim however rule that on Shabbos of the nine days, including Shabbos Chazon, one is to wear his regular Shabbos clothing [and so is the Sephardic custom]. [Practically, the widespread custom today amongst all Jewry [Sephardim Chassidim, as well as almost all communities of Ashkenazi Jewry] is to wear all one’s regular Shabbos clothing on Shabbos Chazon.]
  • Tablecloths and bed sheets: One may also use fresh white tablecloths in honor of Shabbos. However, new sheets may not be spread on one’s bed. 
  • Paroches: The Paroches for Shabbos is placed in Shul as usual. This is with exception to when Tisha B’av coincides with Shabbos and is differed to Sunday, in which case the Shabbos Paroches is not placed. [However, the widespread custom is to place the Shabbos Paroches even at this time.]
  1. Eating meat and wine:
  • It is permitted [and is a Mitzvah] to eat meat on Shabbos. If the third meal continues past the conclusion of Shabbos, it remains permitted to eat meat and drink wine until one recites Birchas Hamazon, even if the congregation already Davened Maariv.  Some Poskim however rule it is forbidden to eat meat past nightfall if the congregation already Davened Maariv.
  1. Havdalah:
  • When saying Havdala during the nine days [Motzei Shabbos Chazon] one is to give the wine to drink to a child [whether male or female, although some rule only male] who has reached the age of Chinuch [of blessings although some say also Chinuch of Havdala] but has not yet reached the age of Chinuch for mourning. If such a child is not, he may drink the [entire] Havdala wine himself as usual. 

 

 

Chapter 5: Erev Tisha B’av

  1. Learning Torah on Erev Tisha B’av:
  • 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.
  1. 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).]
  1. 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 after 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.
  1. Mincha:
  • When? After eating the large meal [discussed in the previous Halacha] one is to [recite Birchas Hamazon] and Daven Mincha. The Seudas Hamafsekes is then eaten after Mincha.
  • Tachanun: Tachanun is omitted during Mincha of Erev Tisha B’av being that Tisha B’av is called a “Moed” [Festival].
  1. Laws pertaining to the final meal:
  • 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.
  • Menu of Seudas Hamafsekes-Letter of law: It is forbidden from the letter of the law to eat meat, drink wine, or partake in two cooked foods during this meal.
  • Not to eat fish or chicken: The custom is to forbid eating even chicken and fish [due to their inclusion within the prohibition against meat].
  • 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.
  • Egg: The custom is to eat a [cold] hardboiled egg during this meal.  [This egg counts as the cooked food of the meal, and hence one may not eat any other cooked food.]
  • 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.
  • Not to drink beer: One may not drink beer during this meal unless the person feels weak [and is doing so in order to garner strength].
  • Menu of Seudas Hamafsekes-Custom: 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.
  • Dipping bread in ash: Many are stringent to conclude their meal by dipping their bread in ash and then eating it. [Upon eating it one says: “This is the meal of Tisha B’av.”]
  • 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.]
  • 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.
  • Dipping bread in ash: Many are stringent to conclude their meal by dipping their bread in ash and then eating it. [Upon eating it one says: “This is the meal of Tisha B’av.”]
  • 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.]
  • 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.

 

 

Chapter 6: The laws applicable throughout Tisha B’av

The five tragedies that occurred on Tisha B’av:

  1. On Tisha B’av of year 2449 the Meraglim returned and it was decreed that the Jewish people in the desert would not enter Eretz Yisrael.
  2. On Tisha B’av of year 3338 [שלח-422 BCE] the first Temple was destroyed.
  3. On Tisha B’av of year 3828 [68 CE] The second Temple was destroyed.
  4. On Tisha B’av of year 3881 or 3901 the city of Beitar was destroyed.
  5. On Tisha B’av the city [of Jerusalem] was plowed by Turnus Rufus.
  1. Fasting:
  • It is forbidden to eat or drink anything on Tisha B’av.
  • One who is sick: A person who is sick and needs to eat, is not required to fast on Tisha B’av. If he needs to eat he is required to break his fast.  [Anyone who feels weak and sick to the point he is bedridden, is considered sick in this regard, even if it is not life threatening.]
  • Pregnant woman: A pregnant woman must fast on Tisha B’av just like on Yom Kippur. [If, however, a pregnant or nursing woman feels weak and will become sick due to the fast, she is not to fast. If a pregnant woman begins to feel dizzy or begins to experience labor [i.e. contractions] or low/high blood pressure, she is to break her fast.  Certainly, if she feels sick and needs to lie in bed, she is to break her fast.  Some Poskim are lenient for all pregnant women who are prior to their due date, to not fast if it is very difficult due to the hot weather. Furthermore, some Poskim are lenient in all cases that a pregnant woman prior to her due date is not to fast, due to fear of miscarriage. Practically, such a woman is to contact a Rav for a final ruling.]
  • Nursing woman: A nursing woman must fast on Tisha B’av just like on Yom Kippur. [However, a nursing woman who feels sick and needs to lie in bed, is not to fast.  If a nursing mother feels healthy, but she will not have milk for her child if she fasts, then if her child only eats from her, she may break her fast. Some Poskim rule that even if she is able to feed the child formula and the like, nevertheless, she is not required to do so. Practically, such a woman is to contact a Rav for a final ruling.]
  • A woman who is after childbirth: A woman within 30 days of childbirth is not required to fast. Nevertheless, the custom is to fast unless she is experiencing great pain, in which case there is worry of danger. Nonetheless, a woman may choose to be lenient against this custom and not fast within thirty days of birth even if she is not in pain. [Practically, in today’s times all women within thirty days of birth are to be taught not to fast. However some Poskim rule that a woman who is after seven days, and feels healthy, is to fast. Accordingly, such a woman is to contact a Rav for a final ruling. Certainly, if she is within seven days of birth, and even more so if she is within three days of birth, it is forbidden for her to fast.]
  • Taanis Nidche: If the fast fell on Shabbos and was hence differed to Sunday, one may be lenient not to fast even if he or she is a slightly sick, and is not bedridden. [Thus, a pregnant woman may break her fast if she feels too weak or slightly sick.]
  • Children Fasting: All children who are above the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah are obligated to fast on all accustomed fast days. All children who are below the age of Bar or Bas Mitzvah, are not required to fast any of the four Rabbinical fasts, including Tisha B’av.  [This applies even if the child is within three fasts from his/her Bar/Bas Mitzvah.  One is not even required to educate the child to fast for a certain amount of hours into the day [i.e. Taanis Shaos].  Nevertheless, some Poskim rule that regarding Tisha B’av, children who have reached the age of education in this regard, which is approximately nine years old, are to delay their meals a few hours into the day from its set time. However, children below the age of education are to be fed like normal and it is even forbidden to delay their meals from their regular times, being that this can lead them to becoming in a state of danger.]
  • What may the children eat? Some Poskim rule that a child who has reached the age of understanding the mourning is only to be allowed to eat bread and water or other simple staple food. The custom however is not like this opinion. [However, they are not to be given sweets and the like, although one is not required to stop them from eating it if they are in the midst of doing so.]
  • Does one who eats bread on Tisha B’av recite Nachem in Birchas Hamazon? One who eats bread on Tisha B’av is to say Nachem in Birchas Hamazon. It is recited prior to Uvinei Yerushalayim. It is recited each time that one recites Birchas Hamazon on Tisha B’av. [However, some Poskim rule that based on Admur in the Siddur one is not to recite Nacheim in Birchas Hamazon. Practically it is to be recited. Children who ate bread are to recite Nachem in Birchas Hamazon.]
  1. Smelling spices:
  • Some Poskim rule it is permitted to smell spices on Tisha B’av. Other Poskim however rule it is forbidden to smell spices on Tisha B’av.
  • Smoking: If it is not difficult, one is to avoid smoking on Tisha B’av. Accordingly, one who is not overly addicted should not smoke. If, however, one finds this very difficult, he should at the very least delay smoking until after midday, and even then it should only be done in private.
  1. Leather shoes:
  • It is forbidden to wear leather shoes on Tisha B’av. This includes all footwear which contains leather, even if the shoe is mainly of a different material. It is forbidden to wear it even on one foot.
  • Shoes made of other materials: Footwear made of other material, is permitted. However, it is best to be stringent and not wear shoes made of wood. [Likewise, some Poskim rule one is not to wear comfortable sneakers/shoes that prevent the feet from feeling the hardness of the ground, even if they are not made of leather. Other Poskim however rule it is permitted to wear any shoe that does not contain leather, and so is the Chabad custom.]
  • Children: One may not place leather shoes on a child, even if the child is below the age of education. However, some Poskim are lenient to allow all children below Bar and Bas Mitzvah to wear leather shoes. [The custom is like the former opinion.  However, some write that children of a very young age, such as 2-3 years old, may be lenient.]
  • Standing on top of leather cloth: Although there is no prohibition against standing on a cloth made of leather, nevertheless, one who is stringent is blessed.
  1. Bathing & Washing one’s skin:
  • For pleasure: It is forbidden to wash any part of one’s body [for the sake of pleasure] on Tisha B’av. This applies whether with hot or cold water. Even to stick one’s finger in water is forbidden.
  • To clean dirt: If one’s hand is dirty with mud or feces, it is permitted to wash it with water in order to remove the dirt. Nevertheless, one may only wash the dirty areas and not the entire hand. [The same applies for any part of the body that is dirty.]
  • For medical purposes: One who is sick may bathe for medical purposes. 
  • Children: Children are not to be bathed on Tisha B’av even if they are below the age of Chinuch, unless they are dirty.
  • A bride within 30 days: A bride within 30 days after her wedding may rinse her face to beautify herself for her husband. 
  • Mikveh Night on the ninth of Av: A woman whose Mikvah night falls on Tisha B’av, must postpone it until the next night.  In such a case, she should perform the Chafifa on the day before Tisha B’av and on the night following Tisha B’av she should again bathe and clean herself, and then immerse.  
  • Hefsek Taharah: A Hefsek Taharah may be performed on Tisha B’av. Nevertheless, she is to only slightly wash between her thighs for this purpose. It is permitted to use either hot or cold water.
  • Washing hands in the morning: Upon awakening on the morning of the 9th of Av one only washes his fingers, up until his knuckles, having intention to remove the impurity which they contain [as on these days the impurity does not extend past the fingers]. [At the conclusion of Tisha B’av, prior to saying Kiddush Levana, one washes his [entire] hand three times inconsecutively.]
  • Washing hands for the blessing of the Kohanim: A Kohen may wash his [entire] hand prior to the priestly blessings, even if he had already washed them in the morning before prayers, as he is not washing for pleasure purposes.
  • Washing after bathroom: When going to the bathroom before Davening, one may wash his fingers [not hand] prior to Davening, even if they did not become dirty in the process. When going to the bathroom during other times, one may only wash his fingers, up to his knuckles, if he got them dirty in the process of going to the bathroom. It is advisable to do so in order to say asher yatzar in purity.
  • Washing one’s face upon awakening: Rinsing mucus from one’s eyes: One may wash mucus from his eyes if he is careful to do so throughout the year.
  • Rinsing the remainder of the face: One may not wash his face, even if he is a very pampered person, unless he has dirt on his face and desires to wash it off.
  • Cooling oneself off: Cooling oneself off with a cold bottle: One may not cool himself down with the cold walls of an open bottle of liquid, due to fear of spillage. [If the bottle is closed and its walls are dry without condensation, it is permitted to use it to cool oneself off.]
  • Cooling oneself off with a wet towel: One may cool himself down with a dry towel that was wet before Tisha B’av. However, a wet towel is forbidden to use.
  • Rinsing the mouth: It is forbidden to rinse one’s mouth on Tisha B’av. This applies even if one will be using less than a Revius of water.  [If, however, this is causing one great discomfort, he may be lenient to rinse his mouth even on Tisha B’av.]
  1. Anointing:

On Tisha B’av, one may not use the following items unless it is for medical purposes:

  • cosmetics
  • lotions
  • oils
  • soap
  • perfumes
  1. Marital relations:
  • Night: On the night of Tisha B’av one is not to touch his wife affectionately or sleep with her in the same bed. Some rule one is to also follow the other Harchakos restrictions at night.
  • Day: By the day of Tisha B’av one may be lenient regarding touch, although some rule that one is to be stringent just like by night, even regarding the Harchakos restrictions.
  1. Learning Torah on Tisha B’av:
  • It is forbidden to learn Torah on Tisha B’av,] with exception to the parts of Torah relating to the mourning period or tragic occurrences for the Jewish people, to be explained in B]. This prohibition includes Chumash, Navi, Kesuvim, Mishneh, Talmud, Halacha, Agadah [i.e. Midrash].
  • Thinking words of Torah: Some Poskim rule that those subjects which are forbidden to learn on Tisha B’av, are forbidden to be studied even in one’s thought, without verbalizing the words.  +Practically, we rule like the first opinion.  One however is not obligated to remove from one’s mind a thought of Torah that came to his head, and only initially is it forbidden to think about the subject.]
  • Giving Halachic rulings: A Rav may not rule on subjects which are unrelated to Tisha B’av unless it involves a sick person who needs an answer.
  • Reviewing the Torah Reading: A Baal Korei may review the Torah reading in order to prepare for it.
  • The law by children: Children are included within the learning prohibition and hence they may not be taught Torah on Tisha B’av. [Some Poskim rule that this prohibition applies even against teaching children the permitted texts discussing the tragedies. Other Poskim however rule it is permitted to teach children these subjects, just as is the law regarding adults. It is forbidden for a child to learn even on his own, if he is of age to receive joy from his learning.]
  • It is permitted for one to learn the following subjects on Tisha B’av [being they discuss calamities and destruction]:
    • Iyov and its commentaries.
    • The tragic parts in Yermiah, skipping those verses which deal with comfort and those which mention the tragedies that will befall the gentiles.
    • Midrash Eicha. [The Rebbe Rashab would study Midrash Eicha on Tisha B’av.]
    • The third chapter of Moed Katan “Eilu Megalchin”.
    • The story of the Churban in Gittin pages 55b-58b. [The Rebbe Rashab would study this Gemara on Tisha B’av.]
    • Sanhedrin page 104b.
    • The story of the destruction in Josephus.
    • [The laws of mourning and the laws of the three weeks.]
  • Delving deeply into a permitted subject: It is forbidden to delve deeply into the permitted subjects of learning even in his thought [i.e. Iyun]. It is thus forbidden to look into various questions and answers relevant to the permitted subjects. He is to only learn the straightforward [i.e. Girsa] meaning of the subject. [Some Poskim however rule that while one may not initially set himself to learn a subject in depth, it is permitted to look into a matter if one needs to do so for better understanding, and discover a Chidush, Torah novelty.]
  1. Greeting a friend:
  • It is forbidden to greet a friend on Tisha B’av. Thus, one may not greet a friend with Shalom Aleichem [or good morning]. If one’s friend will be offended if he is not greeted, then one is to explain to him the concept of this prohibition.
  • Responding to a greeting: If one is greeted by another person using the above terms, he should answer the person in a mournful tone.
  1. May one give gifts or presents on Tisha B’av?

One may not give presents on Tisha B’av. [Thus, one may not give a baby present, Bar Mitzvah gift, birthday present or wedding present on Tisha B’av.]

  1. Working on Tisha B’av:
  • Today, the accepted custom is to avoid doing any form of work on Tisha B’av if the work requires some time to be performed. The prohibition applies [from the night of Tisha B’av] until midday.  All work which requires only minimal time to be done, such as lighting a match and making a knot, may be done even before midday.  Whoever does work on Tisha B’av [to the extent that his mind is diverted from the mourning] will not see blessing from that work.
  • Housework: Even housework should be avoided from being done until after midday.
  • Having a gentile do work on one’s behalf: It is permitted to have a gentile do work on one’s behalf on Tisha B’av.
  • Doing work to prevent loss: It is permitted to do work to prevent financial loss.
  • Preparing food: The custom is not to slaughter meat and not to prepare food [for after the fast] until after midday.
  1. Diminishing from general pleasures:
  • One should diminish from his honor and pleasure as much as possible throughout Tisha B’av.
  1. Pleasure walks and public areas:
  • Some opinions rule one is not to go for walks on Tisha B’av, such as to the marketplace, being that doing so can lead to frivolity. [Practically, this is the final ruling, and we are stringent in this matter even on Erev Tisha B’av.  For this same reason, one should not walk around in groups on Tisha B’av.]
  1. Diminishing comfort when sleeping:
  • Sleeping on the floor or with a stone under the head: Some people are accustomed to sleep on the floor on the night of Tisha B’av. Some people are accustomed to place a stone under their head when they sleep.  [The Chabad custom is not to sleep on the ground or sleep with a stone under the head (however one is to diminish in comfort, as stated next).]
  • Diminishing in comfort of sleep: [Even those who do not abide by the above custom] are to diminish their sleeping comfort on Tisha B’av, such as if one normally sleeps with two pillows, he is to sleep with one pillow.
  • Pregnant women and people who are weak: A pregnant woman for whom it is difficult to have discomfort in her sleep, is not required to abide by any of the above customs. [Likewise, one who is weak is not required to be stringent in this matter and may hence sleep on his bed as usual.]
  1. Sitting on the ground:
  • On the night of Tisha B’av, and by day, one sits on the floor in Shul [and in all other places] until the time of Mincha. However, today the custom is to sit on benches immediately after leaving Shul after Shacharis, and the reading of Kinos, which is to be lengthened until sometime near midday. [Practically, one is not to sit on a bench until midday.]
  • May one sit on a cushion? One is not required to sit directly on the floor, and he may thus sit on a cushioned bottom. [Furthermore, based on Kabala, one is to have an interval between him and the floor as explained in the Q&A.]
  • May one sit on a low stool? It is permitted to sit on a low stool if it is difficult for one to sit on the ground. [Today the custom is for all people to be lenient in this matter.  Some are particular that the stool be within three Tefachim from the ground-see Q&A!]
  • Must one sit on the ground or may he choose to stand? It is not required for one to sit on the ground and he may stand if he so chooses.
  1. Getting engaged:
  • It is permitted to get engaged [i.e. Eirusin/Kiddushin] on Tisha B’av.
  1. Oppression laws relevant to children:
  • Leather Shoes: One may not place leather shoes on a child even if he is below the age of education. However, some Poskim are lenient to allow all children below Bar and Bas Mitzvah to wear leather shoes. [The custom is like the former opinion. However, some write that children of a very young age, such as 2-3 years old, may be lenient.]
  • Bathing: Children, even below Chinuch, are not to be bathed unless they are dirty.
  • Anointing: Children, even below Chinuch, are not to be smeared with pleasure ointments, just as is the rule by an adult. [Medical creams however may be administered to a child, or even an adult, on Tisha B’av.]
  • Learning Torah: Children are also included within this learning prohibition and hence they are not to be taught Torah on Tisha B’av. [Some Poskim rule that this includes even teaching them from the permitted texts discussing the tragedies. Others however rule it is allowed to teach children these subjects, just as is the law regarding adults. It is forbidden for a child to learn even on his own if he is of age to receive joy from his learning.]
  1. Bris on Tisha B’av:
  • The Baal Bris [father of the child, Mohel and Sandak] are all required to fast the entire day even though the Bris is taking place that day. Thus, the Seudas Mitzvah is to take place only after the fast.
  • Taanis Nidche-If the fast was pushed off to Sunday: In the event that the fast fell on Shabbos and was hence pushed off to Sunday, then one who has a Bris taking place on Sunday is not required to fast until night. Rather [after midday] he is to Daven Mincha early. After he Davens Mincha he may then eat. The same applies for all the Baalei Bris [however not for anyone else invited to the Bris, including the Kvatrin, which must fast until night]. [They are to say Havdala prior to eating. Nevertheless, they are not to make a large meal during the day as is normally done on the day of a Bris, and thus the main meal is to take place at night. Nevertheless, despite the above ruling, some Poskim rule that even on a Taanis Nidche the Baal Bris is to fast the entire day as usual, and so is the custom of certain communities. However, most communities are lenient in this matter as the plain ruling in Shulchan Aruch.
  1. Pidyon Haben on Tisha B’av:
  • If a Pidyon Haben is set to take place on a fast day the father and Kohen must nevertheless fast until night as usual. The meal is to take place at night, after the fast.
  • Taanis Nidche: In the event that the fast fell on Shabbos and was hence pushed off to Sunday, then if a Pidyon Haben is taking place on Sunday, the father and Kohen is not required to fast until night. Rather, after midday, he is to Daven Mincha early and he may then eat. Nevertheless, the meal is to take place only after the fast. 
  1. Mourning customs applicable on Motzei Tisha B’av-Tenth of Av:
  • The Heichal [Kodesh and Kodesh Hakedoshim] was set afire on the 9th towards evening, and it burnt until sunset of the 10th. It is therefore customary to avoid eating meat and drinking wine [as well as to guard all the mourning customs of the nine days] until midday of the 10th of Av.  Furthermore, some are accustomed to avoid eating meat and drinking wine throughout the entire day of the 10th of Av, until the start of the 11th of Av. [Practically, the widespread custom of Ashkenazi Jewry is to only keep the mourning customs until midday of the 10th.  Regarding Tisha B’av that falls on Shabbos, and is hence pushed off to Sunday, see next chapter!]
  • The following mourning customs apply until midday of the 10th:
  1. Eating meat or poultry [fish is permitted].
  2. Drinking wine.
  3. Bathing for pleasure.
  4. Laundry
  5. Wearing freshly laundered clothing.
  6. Music
  • Marital relations: It is proper to avoid marital relations on the night of the 10th of Av [Motzei Tisha B’av], unless it is the night of Mikveh or one is traveling the next day or has arrived home after traveling [or he has a very strong inclination and may come to sin].
  • Shehechiyanu: One is to avoid saying Shehechiyanu over new fruits until the 11th of Av. [However, some are lenient to say Shehechiyanu even on the night of the 10th of Av, which is Motzei the 9th of Av.]

 

 

Chapter 7: The prayers of Tisha B’av

  1. Maariv:
  • Removing the Paroches: [Prior to Maariv] one is to remove the Paroches from the Aron. [In some communities, the Paroches is not removed, but rather moved to the side, hence revealing the doors of the Aron.  The Chabad custom is to also remove the covering of the Amud of the Chazan, as well as the Bima.]
  • Diminishing light: At night, one is to only light bare minimum of light needed to read Eicha and the Kinos.
  • Sitting arrangements: One is not required to switch from his normal place of sitting on Tisha B’av. One may not sit on a chair when Davening Maariv and is thus to either stand or sit on the ground. One is to place an interval between the floor and his body, as explained in the previous Chapter 6 Halacha 14.
  • Davening like a mourner: By Maariv, one is to Daven slowly and in the tone of a mourner.
  • Ata Chonantanu: When Tisha B’av falls on Motzei Shabbos, one is to recite Atah Chonantanu within Shemoneh Esrei.  If one forgot to say Ata Chonantanu, he does not need to repeat Shemoneh Esrei, as in any event he will not be eating until he makes Havdala over wine on Sunday night.  [He must however say Baruch Hamavdil prior to doing any Melacha.]
  • Kaddish: All the Kaddeishim that are recited from after Eicha until one leaves the Shul the next day [after Shacharis] omit the stanza of Tiskabel. However, prior to Eicha, Tiskabel is recited in Kaddish. [Thus, the order is as follows: After Shemoneh Esrei of Maariv, Kaddish with Tiskabel is recited. After Eicha, until Mincha, Kaddish is recited without Tiskabel.]
  • Meorei Haeish: One is to recite the blessings of Meorei Haeish on Motzei Shabbos upon seeing a candle. One is to recite the blessing prior to Eicha.  [Some write that one may recite the blessing any time prior to Eicha, and hence if one is home prior to Maariv, he may say the blessing at home with his family and fulfill the obligation with them. Practically, the custom is like the former opinion to recite Borei Meorei Haiesh in Shul after Maariv, prior to Eicha.  The women at home are to recite the blessing over Meorei Haeish on their own. Some write one is not to use the regular Havdala candle for Meorei Haeish but is rather to join to small candles together.] In the event that one did not recite the blessing of Meorei Haeish before Eicha, it is to be recited afterwards.  If the blessing was not said at night, it may not be said the next day.
  • Eicha: After Maariv, one reads Megillas Eicha. Eicha is recited slowly and in the tone of a mourner. [The reader is to make a small break between each verse, and a larger break between each Eicha. The congregation is to read along silently together with the Chazan.] Each time the word Eicha is recited the Baal Korei is to raise his voice. When the Chazan reaches the verse of Hashiveinu, the congregation recites it in a loud voice and the Chazan then says it aloud; the congregation then repeats it again aloud and the Chazan then repeats after the congregation. 
  • Kinos: After Eicha, one reads the Kinos designated for the night of Tisha B’av.
  • Ata Kadosh: After the completion of Eicha and Kinos the congregation recites Veata Kadosh [omitting the verses of Uva Letziyon and Veani Zos Brisi]. This applies even when Tisha B’av falls on Motzei Shabbos, in which case one skips Vayehi Noam and begins from Veata Kadosh.
  • Kaddish without Tiskabel: After Veata Kadosh, the Chazan recites Kaddish without Tiskabel.
  • Aleinu: After Kaddish, Aleinu is recited. This is then followed by the mourners Kaddish.
  • Greetings: Upon leaving Shul, one is to avoid wishing a Shavua Tov and the like to a friend. One is not to walk in groups but rather alone in a state of mourning.
  1. May an Avel go to Shul?
  • An Avel within Shiva may attend Shul on the night of Tisha B’av, and by day until the completion of the Kinos. [He is not to go to Shul for Mincha.] This applies even within the first three days of Aveilus. However, some Poskim are stringent and rule that if the Avel is within the first three days of mourning, he is not to attend the Shul. Others say he is to only attend during the day and not at night.
  • Onen: An Onen does not go to Shul on Tisha B’av until after the burial. [However, Admur rules that a son which is an Onen on his father may go to Shul and say Kaddish for his father. Practically, so is the Chabad custom. The Rebbe said Kaddish while he was an Onen for his mother, Rebbetzin Chana, and his wife, Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka. Nevertheless, the Onen is to only participate in the Kaddish and is not to recite Kinos or any of the prayers.]
  1. Shacharis:
  • Netilas Yadayim until knuckles: In the morning, one only washes his fingers up until his knuckles, having intention to remove the impurity which they contain. [At the conclusion of Tisha B’av, prior to saying Kiddush Levana, one rewashes his [entire] hand three times inconsecutively.]
  • Sheasa Li Kol Tzarchi: One does not recite the blessing of “Sheasa Li Kol Tzarki” on the ninth of Av. [One resumes saying it only the next day.]
  • Tallis Katan: The Tallis Katan is worn under one’s clothing without a blessing. [Other Poskim however rule a blessing is to be recited if one did not wear the Tallis Katan at night and is now putting it on in the morning. Some tuck in their Tzitzis and do not allow the fringes to show until midday. However, many wear the Tzitzis out as usual.]
  • Time of Davening: Shacharis is to be Davened slightly earlier than usual, however, at a time that will allow the Kinos recitation to extend until near midday.
  • Tallis and Tefillin: The custom is not to wear a Tallis Gadol or Tefillin by Shacharis. 
  • Karbanos: One is to read the regular order of prayers and Karbanos prior to Hodu.
  • Kissing the Tzitzis: The widespread custom is not to hold or kiss the Tzitzis by Baruch Sheamar and Shema.
  • Aneinu and Nacheim in Shemoneh Esrei: One does not recite Aneinu or Nacheim during Shemoneh Esrei of Shacharis. However, the Chazan recites Aneinu in his repetition between the blessing of Goel and Rofei. [He however, does not recite Nacheim in his Shacharis repetition.]
  • Nesias Kapayim/Birchas Kohanim: Some Poskim rule that Kohanim [in Eretz Yisrael] do not perform Nesias Kapayim, and the Chazan does not recite Elokeinu [Birchas Kohanim] during the Shacharis repetition. Others rule it is to be recited. Practically, the custom is not to perform Nesias Kapayim and to omit Elokeinu from the repetition.
  • Tachanun: Tachanun is not recited on Tisha B’av. Likewise, Selichos is not recited. [Avinu Malkeinu is not recited.]
  • Kaddish: After the Chazan’s repetition, half Kaddish is recited.
  • Kerias Hatorah: Kel Erech Apayim is not recited prior to the Torah reading. [Vayehi Binsoa and Brich Shmei is recited as usual. Some are accustomed not to place the Keser on the Sefer Torah.] The Torah is read from the Parsha of [Vaeschanan 4/25] “Ki Solid Banim.” [Three people are called up for the Aliya. The third Aliya is considered the Maftir. Half Kaddish is recited after the third Aliyah, which is then followed by the Haftorah.  Hagba is performed after the half Kaddish. The person doing Hagba may sit on the bench as usual, holding the Sefer Torah.]
  • Haftorah: The Haftorah is read from Yermiah [8:13] “Asuf Asifam.” [Some are accustomed to recite the Haftorah in the Eicha tune. This is not the Chabad custom.]
  • Yehalelu: After the completion of the blessings of the Haftorah, Yehallelu is recited and the Sefer Torah is returned to the Ark.
  • Kinos: After the Torah reading, Kinos is recited. It is to be recited until close to midday. While the Kinos are recited, it is forbidden to talk about any other matter, or leave the Shul, in order so one does not divert his heart from the mourning. One is certainly not to talk to gentiles at this time. It is customary to recite verses of consoling at the completion of Kinos. [The paragraph of Keili Tziyon B’areha is customarily recited verse by verse, the congregation repeating after the Chazan. Many are accustomed to stand during its recitation, and so was the Rebbe’s custom.]
  • Ashrei/Uva Letziyon: Lamnatzeiach is omitted between Ashrei and Uva Letziyon. Uva Letziyon is recited [omitting the verse of Veani Zos Brisi].
  • Kaddish Shaleim: After Uva Letziyon, the Chazan recites Kaddish Shaleim without Tiskabel.
  • Aleinu: After Kaddish, Aleinu is recited. One does not recite Shir Shel Yom or Ein Kelokeinu. [It is recited later by Mincha.]
  • Eicha: After the completion of Shacharis each individual is to read Eicha to himself.
  • Greetings: Upon leaving the Shul, one is to avoid wishing goodbye and the like to a friend. One is not to walk in groups but rather alone in a state of mourning.
  • Cemetery: One is to visit a [Jewish] cemetery after the conclusion of Shacharis. [This is not the Chabad custom.]
  • Preparing food: The custom is not to slaughter meat and not to prepare food [for after the fast] until after midday.
  1. Mincha:
  • Paroches: The Paroches is returned to the Aron prior to Mincha.
  • Charity: Prior to Mincha one is to give Igara Ditaanisa to charity. 
  • Tallis and Tefillin: By Mincha, one wears Tallis and Tefillin with a blessing. [One recites all three Parshiyos of Shema while wearing the Tefillin.  Those who are accustomed to wear Rabbeinu Tam are to do so as well on Tisha B’av. The Chabad custom is to wear Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam after Mincha, before sunset.]
  • Shir Shel Yom/Ein Kelokeinu: Shir Shel Yom and Ein Kelokeinu [which were omitted by Shacharis] is said after Shema, prior to Mincha. [One begins from Beis Yaakov, and recites Kaddish Yasom after Shir shel Yom and Kaddish Derabanon after Ein Kelokeinu.]
  • Chitas: After reciting Ein Kelokeinu, one recites the Shiurim of Chitas. [The daily Tehillim is recited, followed by Kaddish Yasom. One does not recite the daily Rambam until Motzei Tisha B’AV.]
  • Karbanos: After the Shiurim of Chitas, one recites Karbanos.
  • The order of Mincha: Ashrei; Half Kaddish; Kerias Hatorah.
  • Torah reading: The Torah portion of Vayichal is read during Mincha. This is followed by the reading of the Haftorah, just as is done on a regular fast day.
  • Yehalelu: After the reading of the Haftorah, Yehalelu is recited and the Torah is returned to the Aron. This is then followed by half Kaddish. [However, there were years that the Rebbe began the Kaddish immediately after the Haftorah, as is normally done by Mincha of Shabbos. However, in most years the Rebbe waited for the Sefer Torah to be returned.] 
  • Nacheim and Aneinu: The prayer of Aneinu is added during Mincha Shemoneh Esrei. It is recited within the blessing of Shomeia Tefila, prior to the words “Ki Ata Shomeia”. The blessing of Nacheim is recited during Mincha, in the blessing of Boneh Yerushalayim.  If one forgot to say Aneinu or Nacheim he has nevertheless fulfilled his obligation. [If one remembered to say Nacheim after finishing the blessing of Boneh Yerushalayim, then he is to say it in Shema Koleinu, after Aneinu; or prior to Visechezena; or prior to Veal Kulam.  In such a case, he is not to conclude with the blessing of “Menachem Tziyon” but is rather to continue with Visechezena until the end of the blessing.]
  • Nesias Kapayim/Elokeinu: In Eretz Yisrael, the Kohanim perform Nesias Kapayim. [The Kohanim are to wash their entire hand.] In the Diaspora, the Chazan recites Elokeinu [Birchas Kohanim] during the Mincha repetition.
  • Tachanun and Avinu Malkeinu: Tachanun and Avinu Malkeinu are omitted on Tisha B’av.
  • Kaddish Shaleim with Tiskabel: After the Chazan’s repetition, the full Kaddish with Tiskabel is recited.
  • Rabbeinu Tam: After Mincha, prior to sunset, one is to wear Tefillin of Rabbeinu Tam and recite the three paragraphs of Shema, Vehaya and Kadeish and the six Zechiros. [If one was wearing Tefillin prior to sunset he does not need to remove the Tefillin when sunset arrives.]
  1. Maariv:
  • All fasts conclude after nightfall. This is defined as the sighting of three medium stars, or when the moon shines very brightly on the earth. [In all cases, one may begin Maariv before the above time, in order to conclude Maariv and be able to eat when the above time arrives. In such a case, one is to make sure to read Kerias Shema again after nightfall.]
  • Washing hands after Maariv: Immediately after Maariv, one is to wash his hands three times as is done in the morning upon awakening. A blessing is not recited during this washing. [This washing is to be done also by the Kohanim who already fully washed their hands prior to Nesias Kapayim.]
  1. Kiddush Levana on Motzei Tisha B’av:
  • One does not recite Kiddush Levana prior to Tisha B’av. It is rather to be recited on Motzei Tisha B’av. 
  • Eating and changing clothing before Kiddush Levana on Motzei Tisha B’av: Prior to reciting Kiddush Levana on Motzei Tisha B’av, one is to eat.  One is to also change his shoes. 
  1. Mourning customs applicable on Motzei Tisha B’av-Tenth of Av:
  • See previous Chapter 6 Halacha 19 regarding a regular year. See next chapter Halacha 13 regarding when Tisha B’av falls on Shabbos and was pushed off to Sunday.

 

Chapter 8: Tisha B’av that falls on Sunday

 

  1. Menu:
  • When Tisha B’av falls on Shabbos, there are no restrictions towards the Shabbos menu and one may eat meat, fish and wine as much as his heart desires, and may feast to the point that was done on the table of Shlomo Hamelech. [Accordingly, one should add even more foods to the menu on this Shabbos in comparison to a regular Shabbos.]
  • Seudas Hamafsekes: When Shabbos falls on Erev Tisha B’av there are no Seudas Hamafsekes limitations relevant to the final meal before the fast.
  1. Restrictions against leather shoes; bathing and anointing:
  • When Tisha B’av falls on Shabbos, the regular Tisha B’av restrictions against leather shoes, bathing and anointing do not apply until after Shabbos, as will be explained.
  1. Marital relations:
  • When Tisha B’av falls on Shabbos and is pushed off until Sunday one may not have marital relations on Shabbos.
  • Night of Mikveh: If Friday night is the night of Mikveh, marital relations is permitted. 
  • Announcing in Shul: Some are accustomed to announce after Shul that all private mourning matters are in effect this Shabbos. Others avoid this announcement.
  1. Learning Torah after midday on Shabbos:

One is to limit his Torah learning starting from midday of Erev Tisha B’av to only those subjects permitted on Tisha B’av itself. Nevertheless, those which are lenient to continue their regular Torah sessions have upon whom to rely.

  1. Taking pleasure walks:
  • 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, then one is to refrain from walks throughout the entire day, starting from Friday night.]
  1. Av Harachamim:
  • The paragraph of Av Harachamim is recited before Musaf even when Tisha B’av falls on Motzei Shabbos.
  1. Mincha of Shabbos:
  • When? One is to Daven Mincha earlier than usual in order to have time to eat the third Shabbos meal.
  • Tzidkascha: If Tisha B’av falls on Motzei Shabbos, the paragraph of Tzidkascha is omitted in Mincha.
  • Pirkeiy Avos on Shabbos that falls on Erev Tisha B’av: When Tisha B’av falls on Sunday, some Poskim rule Pirkeiy Avos is not recited on Shabbos after Mincha. Other Poskim however rule it is to be recited. [Regarding the Chabad custom in this matter, the Rebbe spoke about this issue on numerous occasions, at times saying it is to be said and at others leaving it to the person to decide. Practically, when Shabbos falls on Tisha B’av and is Nidche, the widespread custom has become to not say Pirkeiy Avos. Some conclude Pirkeiy Avos is not to be said even when Tisha B’av falls on Sunday and is not Nidche. In any event, one is to repeat that same chapter the next week, even if he decided to recite it.]
  1. Seudas Shelishis- Seudas Hamafsekes:
  • When Tisha B’av falls on Motzei Shabbos, or on Shabbos and is pushed off until Motzei Shabbos, there is no Seudas Hamafsekes restrictions relevant to the final meal eaten on Shabbos before the fast. One may eat without any restrictions up until sunset. One may eat meat and drink wine by the final Shabbos meal, and may bring foods to his table as like the feast of King Shlomo.
  • By when must one stop eating and drinking on Shabbos? One must stop eating and drinking while it is still day [prior to sunset]. [Thus, the fast officially commences by sunset of Shabbos. It is a Mitzvah to publicize this matter.]
  • May one eat with other people? One may eat the third meal of Shabbos as usual with his family. Regarding eating with friends [as is common to do in Shuls which serve the third meal], some Poskim rule it is not to be done. Others rule one is to follow his usual pattern, and hence if he usually eats this meal with friends he is not allowed to refrain from doing so.
  • Making a Zimun: It is permitted to make a Zimun by Birchas Hamazon of the final Shabbos meal.
  1. When do the bathing and anointing restrictions begin?
  • The bathing and anointing restrictions begin at sunset. Hence, beginning from sunset, one may not wash his hands, just as is the law on Tisha B’av.
  1. When is one to switch his shoes?
  • One may not switch his shoes prior to the conclusion of Shabbos. This applies likewise to children. Some are accustomed to only remove their shoes after Barchu of Maariv is recited, with exception to the Chazan who removes it before Maariv. Others are no longer accustomed to wait until after Barchu of Maariv to remove their shoes, and rather, immediately after the conclusion of Shabbos, they say Baruch Hamavdil Bein Kodesh Lechol and then switch their shoes. Practically, this was the Rebbe’s custom. However, in Luach Kolel Chabad it states to remove the shoes after Barchu, as rules the Rama.
  1. Havdala:
  • Havdala over wine is not recited on Motzei Shabbos, it is rather recited on Sunday night. [See below for the relevant laws of Havdala on Sunday night].
  • Meorei Haeish: One is to recite the blessings of Meorei Haeish on Motzei Shabbos upon seeing a candle. One is to recite the blessing prior to Eicha. [Some write that one may recite the blessing anytime prior to Eicha, and hence if one is home prior to Maariv, he may say the blessing at home with his family and fulfill the obligation with them. Practically, the custom is like the former opinion to recite Borei Meorei Haiesh in Shul after Maariv, prior to Eicha. The women at home are to recite the blessing over Meorei Haeish on their own. Some write one is not to use the regular Havdala candle for Meorei Haeish but is rather to join to small candles together.] In the event that one did not recite the blessing of Meorei Haeish before Eicha it is to be recited afterwards. If the blessing was not said at night, it may not be said the next day.
  • Besamim: The blessing of Besamim is not said at all, not on Motzei Shabbos or Sunday night.
  1. Maariv of Motzei Shabbos Tisha B’av:
  • In Shemoneh Esrei of Maariv one is to recite Atah Chonantanu.
  • Ata Kadosh: After the completion of Eicha and Kinos the congregation recites Veata Kadosh [omitting the verses of Uva Letziyon and Veani Zos Brisi]. This applies even when Tisha B’av falls on Motzei Shabbos, in which case one skips Vayehi Noam and begins from Veata Kadosh.
  • Vayiten Lecha: Vayiten Lecha is not recited on Motzei Shabbos which is Tisha B’av.
  • Greetings: Upon leaving Shul, one is to avoid wishing a Shavua Tov and the like to a friend. One is not to walk in groups but rather alone in a state of mourning.
  • Shabbos clothing: After Maariv, those who have not yet done so are to remove their Shabbos clothes.

The remainder of Tisha B’av follows the same laws as a regular Tisha B’av

  1. Sunday night-Motzei Tisha B’av:
  • Havdala when Tisha B’av falls on Motzei Shabbos: In the event that Tisha B’av falls on Motzei Shabbos, Havdala over wine is recited on Motzei Tisha B’av, which is Sunday night. The blessings of Besamim and Haeish are omitted from Havdala. One is to recite the blessings of Meorei Haeish on Motzei Shabbos upon seeing a candle. The blessing of Besamim is not said at all, not on Motzei Shabbos or Sunday night.
  • The Nusach of Havdala: On Sunday night, one begins Havdala from “Hinei Keil Yeshuasi”.
  • Eating and drinking: It is forbidden to eat and drink after Tisha B’av until one says Havdala over wine, just as is the law on Motzei Shabbos. It is permitted to drink water although our custom is to avoid doing so.
  • The mourning customs: In the event that Tisha B’av and Shabbos coincide, and hence Tisha B’av is differed to Sunday, the custom is to not to eat meat or drink wine throughout the night of Motzei Tisha B’av [Sunday night]. See the list below regarding other mourning customs. The next morning [Monday] all the mourning customs are permitted.
  • The following mourning customs apply until sunrise of Monday:
    • Eating meat and poultry.
    • Drinking wine.
  • The following customs are permitted immediately on Sunday night, Motzei Tisha B’av:
    • Haircut
    • Laundry
    • Wear new clothing
    • Bathing
    • Music
    • Shehechiyanu

 

 

Chapter 9: After Tisha B’av

  1. Shabbos Nachamu:
  • Shabbos Nachamu is the first Shabbos after Tisha B’av. It is called by this name after the Haftorah of this Shabbos, which is “Nachamu Nachamu Ami.” It is the first Haftorah of the series of seven Haftorahs of comfort.
  1. The 15th of Av:
  • The Mishneh states: Rebbe Shimon Ben Gamliel said “There were not days of joy for the Jewish people like the 15th of Av and Yom Kippur.” This day became a day of Shidduchim, where men would pick for themselves brides. The potential brides would all go out with white clothing and tell the bachelors to choose for themselves a girl of good character and lineage and not look at matters of vanity, such as beauty.
  • The occurrences: The Gemara lists several opinions regarding matters that occurred on the 15th of Av, which is the cause for its great celebratory status. These reasons are not contradictory of each other, and in truth all occurred on this day. Each Sage mentions the matter which he received as a tradition from his teacher.
  1. Rav Yehuda stated in the name of Shmuel that on this day the Shevatim were allowed to intermarry with each other. [In the first generation that entered Eretz Yisrael, it was prohibited for the member of one tribe to marry the member of another tribe, due to the conflicts this could potentially cause in the inheritance of portions of land in the region of one tribe to another tribe. This prohibition only applied in the first generation and was officially revoked on the 15th of Av.]
  2. Rav Yosef and Rav Yochanon stated that on this day the tribe of Binyamon was permitted to marry. [During the episode of Pilegesh B’givah, the tribe of Binyamon was nearly annihilated and could not marry, due to all its daughters being killed, and due to the remainder of the Jewish tribes having sworn not to give them any of their daughters as wives. There were 600 men of Binyamin remaining and no women available to be given to them in marriage. While 400 girls were obtained from the town of Yaveish Gilaad, they still needed to obtain 200 more. On the 15th of Av, when the girls went to dance in Shilo, the 200 remaining men of Binyoman came and took for themselves wives. Accordingly, this day became a national event of salvation for the tribe of Binyoman, saving them from annihilation.]
  3. Rabba Bar Bar Chana said it is the day that the generation of the Midbar ceased to die. [Each year on Tisha B’av, throughout the 40 years in the desert, the men would dig for themselves a grave and lie in it throughout Tisha B’av, expecting their ultimate death that day. In the 40th year, everyone got up alive in their grave. They wondered how this happened and that perhaps they made a mistake in the calendar. It was only until the 15th of the month of Av, when they saw the full moon, that they realized there was no mistake, and the Divine decree had been rescinded.]
  4. Ula says it is the day that Hosheia Ben Ala removed the blockades that were placed by Yeravam Ben Nevat that prevented the Jewish people from visiting the Temple in Jerusalem.
  5. Rav Masna says that on this day the corpses of Beitar were permitted to be buried.
  6. Raba and Rav Yosef said that on this day the cutting of wood for the Temple ceased.
  • The true reason behind its greatness: In the writings of the Arizal it is explained that the greatness of the 15th of Av is that on this day we experience a full moon. The full moon represents a high spiritual level. Now, although in truth every month contains a full moon, the full moon of this month is unique being that it comes after the great descent of Tisha B’av. Hence in comparison to the great descent experienced some days prior, the elevation now experienced is so much greater, that it became a day fit for celebration.
  • Adding in Torah learning at night: From the 15th of Av and onwards the strength of the sun is diminished. This means that there are less daylight hours in the day, and consequently more nighttime hours. The nighttime is an auspicious time for Torah learning. Accordingly, starting from the 15th of Av, one who increases in Torah learning at night, using the newly added night hours for spiritual service, will have days added to his life. One who doesn’t, will have his days shortened. [Learning at night contains special Segulo/powers. The quality of one’s learning is greater, as one is able to feel more connected to Hashem in one’s learning. One learns majority of his wisdom at night and is able to merit Keser Torah through learning at night.]
  • Tachanun: Tachanun is omitted on the 15th of Av. It is omitted starting from Mincha of the 14th.
  • Wishing Kesiva Vechasima Tova: We begin to wish each other a “Kesiva Vachasima Tovah” starting from Rosh Chodesh Elul. Some are accustomed to begin doing so from the 15th of Menachem Av.

Chapter 10: Zecher Lachurban-Commemorating the Destruction

 

  1. Painting and decorating one’s walls:
  • When the Temple was destroyed, the Sages of that generation instituted that it is forbidden for one to ever build a home which is painted and decorated like the building of a king. [Thus, it is forbidden to paint the walls without first cementing it. Likewise, it is forbidden to decorate the walls of the house. This prohibition applies even if one leaves a space of 1×1 Ama unpainted and undecorated, although some Poskim are lenient and so is the widespread custom.]
  1. Leaving part of one’s wall unpainted:
  • If one paints the walls of his house with white paint, he is required to leave a space of 1×1 Ama [48cm x 48cm] unpainted.
  • Some say this space should be made opposite the entrance of the house, in order so that when one enters through the main door, he will immediately see the unpainted area and remember the destruction. Others however are accustomed to position it on top of the door in order so that when one sits facing the door he is able to see the unpainted area.
  • One who purchases a painted house, or house with decorated walls, may remain in its painted state and is not obligated to scrape off the paint from a 1×1 Ama area.
  • Many people today are no longer accustomed to leave an unpainted square space in the home, although the custom of the Rebbe Rashab was to do so.
  1. Leaving out one dish by a meal:
  • The Sages enacted that in commemoration for the destruction, upon making a meal for guests [or any other meal, including even a Seudas Mitzvah] one is required to leave out from the table one of the commonly served dishes of food. One is to make it blatantly evident on the table that the dish is missing by leaving a space empty for where that dish should have been served. Any common dish may be left out, even if it is not of much importance. [On Shabbos and Yom Tov it is permitted according to all to serve all the available dishes.
  • Practically, however, today we are no longer accustomed to leave out a dish from meals even during the meals of the week. Some conclude that it is nevertheless proper to leave an empty space on the table in commemoration of the Churban.
  1. Not to place all of one’s beautiful vessels on the dining table:

During the year, it is proper to diminish in the amount of beautiful vessels that one places on his dining table, in order to commemorate the Churban.

  1. Jewelry:
  • The Sages enacted that in commemoration for the destruction, upon a woman dressing herself with jewelry, she is not to wear all the types of jewelry that she usually wears and is rather to leave one out. Thus, if she owns and wears a necklace, rings, earrings, and bracelet she is not to wear all of them at the same time. Those that wear all of their jewelry, aside for transgressing this law, also cause jealousy amongst the gentiles.
  • On Shabbos and Yom Tov, some Poskim rule it is permitted to wear all the available jewelry. Other Poskim however rule it applies even on Shabbos and Yom Tov.
  • Although the above ruling is recorded in the Poskim without argument, practically, today the women are no longer accustomed to leave out a piece of jewelry even during the week.
  1. Wedding:
  • Placing ash on forehead: In commemoration for the destruction, when a Chasan gets married [under the Chuppah] he is to place ash on his forehead by the area where he dons his head Tefillin. [This custom is no longer practiced today by most segments of Jewry, not by Sephardim and not by many Ashkenazim. Rather, a cup is broken under the Chuppah in commemoration of the destruction, as explained next.  Nonetheless, there are many Ashkenazi communities who follow this custom even today, in addition to breaking the glass.]
  • Breaking a cup: Some communities are accustomed to break a [glass] cup during the time of the Chuppah. Others place a black cloth, or other symbol of mourning, on the head of the Chasan. Practically, the widespread custom today is to break a glass cup. [The cup should be whole and complete, and one should not choose a chipped or damaged vessel for this purpose. The cup is customarily broken after the Sheva Brachos.  [It is also customary of Ashkenazi Jewry to break a plate by the Tanaim/Vort.] Some are accustomed to recite the verse of Im Eshkacheich Yerushalayim, and have the Chasan repeat after him word after word. This is a good custom.  [Some Rabbanim have come out against the customary shout of Mazal Tov, as the glass is broken, as it uproots the entire purpose of the breaking of the glass as a sign of mourning.]
  • The dress of the Chasan and Kallah: The Sages decreed that a Chasan and Kallah should not wear the accustomed head apparel that would be worn by weddings. The Chasan may not wear his crown, or turben, and the Kallah may not wear and the Kallah may not wear her silver crown. [It is no longer customary to wear these head apparels by weddings, and its law is hence no longer relevant.]
  1. Playing and listening to music:
  • With instruments: In commemoration for the destruction, the Sages prohibited one to play a musical instrument or listen to music [whether live or recorded] for the purpose of joy. Some Poskim however rule that this only applies to a person who commonly hears music, such as the kings who arise and sleep with the tones of music, or by a festive meal [where wine is served]. [In a case that wine is being served, music is forbidden for all people, even one who is not accustomed to listen to it.  If, however, wine is not being served and one does not commonly hear music, it is permitted. Other Poskim however rule that mundane songs are forbidden on all occasions, even when wine is not served and one is not accustomed to listen to music. Practically, many of today’s Poskim rule stringently, that it is forbidden to play or listen to music when it is not a Mitzvah occasion. However, the widespread custom is to be lenient in this matter and allow listening to music even not by a Mitzvah occasion. Various justifications have been offered for this custom.  Some, however, due to this prohibition avoid going to concerts or even listening to music on tape. ]
  • Singing without instruments: It is forbidden to sing mundane songs, even without instruments, during an occasion in which wine is served. However, the widespread custom of all Jewry is to permit singing songs of praise to Hashem, even by occasions in which wine is served. [It is permitted to sing all songs during occasions that wine is not being served, so long as there are no instruments being played. Other Poskim however rule that mundane songs are forbidden on all occasions, even when wine is not served. Based on this later opinion, one is to protest against women who sing [mundane] songs while doing household chores.  However, those who sing during laborious work in order to hasten their work ability, are not to be protested, and they may do so according to all. Likewise, one may sing a lullaby to help drift a baby to sleep.  Practically, the widespread custom is to be lenient in this matter and allow singing. Various justifications have been offered for this custom.]
  • Playing music for the sake of a Mitzvah: It is permitted [to sing and play music] in all circumstances when done for the sake of a Mitzvah, such as to rejoice a Chasan and Kallah. [In Yerushalayim however, the custom is not to play more than one musical instrument even by a Mitzvah occasion, such as by weddings. However, some are lenient to play recordings.]
  1. Laughter:
  • It is Rabbinically forbidden for one to fill his mouth with laughter in this world. [This refers only to engaging in excessive laughter and frivolity with others for long periods of time. It is however permitted to laugh temporarily. Some Poskim however write it refers to laughing in a very loud manner.]
  • This law applies even by the occasion of a Mitzvah, such as by a Simchas Beis Hashoeiva, Chasuna, or on Purim, in which case one’s joy is to be limited. In the time of the redemption however, it will become permitted to excessively rejoice during a Mitzvah occasion.
  1. Visiting the Temple area:
  • Performing Keriah: One who sees the destroyed cities of Judea, Jerusalem, or the Temple Mount is required to recite the designated verse and perform Keriah to his shirt. One is to tear it one Tefach and is never to properly resew it. [Practically, the custom today is to be lenient regarding doing Keriah upon seeing the cities of Judea, although the verses are nevertheless to be recited.]
  • May one visit the Temple Mount? Gedolei Yisrael from all spectrums of Jewry prohibit visitation to the Temple Mount, including to those areas which have been determined to not be part of the Halachic Har Habayis and are not restricted in entry.
  • Visiting the Kosel/Western Wall: The Mitzvah of visiting the Temple area during the festival is not applicable in times of exile. Nevertheless, according to one minority approach, the Mitzvah can still be fulfilled through seeing the Temple area, and although today the Mitzvah is not an obligation, one who visits the area near the Temple, fulfills this positive command. Practically, it customary even today to visit Jerusalem and the Kosel during the Shalosh Regalim, and one who cannot do so on the first day of the Holiday is to do so during one of the following six days.

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