Tisha B'av

The Laws of the Nine Days

by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman - www.rabbiullman.com
Based on "A Summary of Halachos of the Three Weeks" by Rabbi Shimon D. Eider
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

In addition to the restrictions that apply to the entire three-week period, during the nine days between the 1st of Av until after Tisha B’Av the following restrictions on pleasure and joy also take effect:

(The following is according to the Ashkenazic custom, for the Sephardic custom please consult an appropriate rabbi.)

Activities of Pleasure and Joy

  1. One should not purchase an object of joy that will be available after Tisha B’Av for the same price.
  2. Building for beauty or pleasure not required for dwelling should be suspended.
  3. Building for a mitzvah like a synagogue, place of Torah study, or a mikva is permitted.
  4. Painting, wallpapering and general home decoration should not be done.
  5. Similarly, one should not plant for pleasure.

Eating Meat and Drinking Wine

  1. The custom is to refrain from eating meat and poultry or drinking wine and grape juice during the nine days. This also pertains to children.
  2. The prohibition of meat includes foods cooked with meat or meat fat. However, foods cooked in a clean vessel used for meat may be eaten.
  3. Eating meat and drinking wine is permitted for Shabbat. Even one who has ushered in the Shabbat on Friday afternoon before sunset, or extends the third meal of Shabbat into Saturday night may also eat meat and drink wine at those times.
  4. Similarly, one may drink the wine of Havdallah. Some have the custom to give the wine to a child of 6-9 years old, or to use beer for Havdallah.
  5. Meat and wine are also permitted at a meal in honor of a mitzvah like brit milah, redemption of the first born, and completing a tractate or other books (consult a competent rabbi for details).
  6. A person who requires meat because of weakness or illness, including small children and pregnant or nursing women who have difficulty eating dairy, may eat meat. However, whenever possible poultry is preferable to meat.

Laundering

  1. Laundering is prohibited even for use after Tisha B’Av. One may not even give clothing to a non-Jewish cleaner. (Although one may give it to him before the 1st of Av, even though he’ll wash during the nine days.)
  2. The prohibition of laundering includes linens, tablecloths, and towels.
  3. A person who has no clean clothes may wash what he needs until the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av.
  4. Children’s diapers and clothing that constantly get dirty may be washed by need even during the week of Tisha B’Av, in private.
  5. Laundering for the purpose of a mitzvah is permitted.
  6. One may polish shoes with liquid or wax polish, but should avoid shining shoes.

Wearing Freshly Laundered Clothing

  1. It is forbidden to wear freshly laundered clothing during the nine days. This includes all clothing except that which is worn to absorb perspiration.
  2. Therefore, one must prepare before the nine days by wearing freshly laundered suits, pants, shirts, dresses, blouses and the like for a short time so that they may be worn during the nine days. Socks, undershirts and underwear need not be prepared.
  3. Here too, the prohibition of using freshly laundered items applies to linens, tablecloths, and towels.
  4. One may wear freshly laundered Shabbat clothing, as well as use clean tablecloths and towels. Changing bed linen though is prohibited.
  5. Since one may wear freshly laundered garments on Shabbat, if one forgot or was unable to prepare enough garments before the nine days, he may change for Friday night and then change again on Shabbat morning. These garments may then be worn during the week.
  6. This will apply only to clothing that is suitable to wear on Shabbat, since wearing a garment on Shabbat for the sole purpose of wearing it during the week is forbidden.
  7. Fresh garments and Shabbat clothing may be worn in honor of a mitzvah for example at a brit milah for the parents, mohel, and sandek.

Wearing, Buying and Making New Clothes, Repairing Garments

  1. While wearing new clothing that doesn’t require the blessing “sh’hecheyanu” is permitted until the 1st of Av, during the nine days it is prohibited even on Shabbat.
  2. One may not buy new clothes or shoes even for use after Tisha B’Av, except in a case of great necessity, for example for one’s wedding.
  3. If one forgot or was unable to buy special shoes needed for Tisha B’Av, he may do so during the nine days.
  4. Making new garments or shoes for a Jew is permitted until the Sunday before Tisha B’Av. Afterwards it is permitted only for a non-Jew.
  5. Repairing torn garments or shoes is permitted.

Bathing and Swimming

  1. The custom is not to bathe for pleasure even in cold water.
  2. Bathing in cold water for medical reasons or to remove dirt or perspiration is permitted. (Where cold water is required, hot water may be added to cold water as long as the mixture is not comfortably warm.)
  3. Soaping or shampooing and washing with hot or warm water are prohibited - unless it is required for medical reasons or to remove the dirt and perspiration.
  4. Swimming is prohibited except for medical reasons. Similarly, one may take a quick dip in a pool to remove dirt or sweat.
  5. Bathing for a mitzvah is permitted, therefore a woman who needs to bathe for her immersion should consult a competent rabbi.
  6. A man who immerses in a mikva every Friday may do so in cold water this Friday. But one who omits immersing occasionally because he is too busy or because of the cold may not.
  7. One who bathes every Friday in honor of Shabbat with hot water, soap and shampoo may do so on the Friday before Tisha B’Av.

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