The Three weeks checklist
Customs that begin on the night of 17th Tammuz until the 9th of Av
- No weddings.
- No haircuts, no shaving, no trimming any body hair. May cut mustache hair that interferes with food.
- No music
- No dancing
- No Shehechiyanu
- No buying clothing with exception to underclothing. Some allow pants and shirts.
- No wearing new clothing with exception to underclothing. Some allow pants and shirts.
- No moving houses
- No hitting children
- Diminish trips
Customs that begin from Rosh Chodesh Av-9th Av:
- Begin customs from sunset of Rosh Chodesh
- Diminish in joy
- Diminish makeup
- No music even if for Parnasa
- No building for pleasure. May fix wall or build for Mitzvah
- No planting gardening
- No Showering unless for removing sweat.
- No eating wine and meat
- Child below Chinuch may eat wine and meat
- Give child Havdalah wine on Motzei Shabbos
- No laundry. Although may wash children’s clothing in private and only amount that needs.
- No ironing clothing
- May not buy any clothing even undergarments.
- May not wear any new clothing even undergarments.
- Delay court case with gentile
- No Kiddush Levana
- Push off surgery
- Customs that begin on week of Tisha B’av:
- No cutting nails
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 Tammuz, 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]
- 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.
- 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.]
- 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.]
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.]
- 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.
- 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.]
- 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.
- 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.]
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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