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Halachot of Tisha B'Av

TISHA B'AV: On Tisha B'Av we are prohibited to: eat and drink, learn Torah, wash ourselves (even in cold water) or apply lotions for pleasurable purposes, have marital relations and wear shoes with leather.


    • MAARIV - We remove the curtain from the Aron HaKodesh, dim the lighting, and sit on the floor or on a low stool. We do not sit on regular chairs or benches until after midday Sunday. We recite Maariv in a low and subdued voice; followed by Eichah and Kinot. (We do not recite Havdala on wine until Sunday night).

    • SHACHARIT - We wash our hands up to the end of the knuckles (as one is drying his fingers, while there is still some moisture on them, one may rub them across the eyes); make the Bracha "al netilat yadayim" as well as all of the other appropriate morning Brachot. Tallit and tefillin are not worn until midday (12:57), however, a tallit katan, is worn - but without a bracha. Following Torah reading (Deut. 4:25-40), the Haftarah is read (Jeremiah 8:13-9:23) in the melody of Eichah. After the Torah is returned to the Aron, Kinot are recited. (At the end of shacharit, we do not say the shir shel yom.

    • MINCHA - The parochet is returned to the aron. tallit and tefillin are worn. The Psalm of the Day is recited, followed by Mincha and Torah reading/Haftarah.

    • MAARIV - We recite the usual weekday Maariv. After Maariv we sanctify the New Moon of Av. (Some maintain that we should eat before Sanctification of the Moon).




1. While Torah learning is generally prohibited on Tisha B’Av, one may learn:

    •    Eicha with its midrash and commentaries;

    •    Portions of Nevi’im that deal with tragedy or destruction;

    •    The third chapter of Moed Katan (which deals with mourning); 

    •    The story of the destruction (in Gittin 56b-58a, Sanhedrin 104, and in Josephus), and 

    •    The halachot of Tisha B'Av and mourning.


2. Greeting someone with "shalom aleichem" and the like is prohibited. One who is greeted should answer softly and, if possible, inform the person of the prohibition.


3. The custom is to refrain until midday from any time-consuming work that diverts one’s attention from the mourning of the day.


4. The use of lotions for medicinal purposes is permitted as is the use of deodorants.


5. If a person becomes dirty, washing is permitted to remove the dirt.


6. The non-seriously ill or elderly, as well as pregnant and nursing women should generally fast even if it is difficult. However, if a doctor determines that fasting may injure health, a rabbi should be consulted. Furthermore, swallowing capsules or bitter tablets without water is permitted.


MOTZAEI TISHA B'AV: Many of the limitations of the   "Three Weeks" and the "Nine Days" continue until midday of the 10th of Av including music, laundry, haircuts, drinking wine and eating of meat. However, this year, because Tisha B'Av was actually on Shabbat, and therefore this is a "postponed" Tisha B'Av ["nidche"] - after the fast, one may do laundry and shower (and according to some, listen to music). However, one should not eat meat or drink wine (except for Havdala) until the next morning.





When Tisha B'Av Falls on Shabbat


This year, because Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbat, the fast is postponed until Motzei Shabbat and Sunday. As a result, the laws governing the fast day and its various customs are somewhat different than in a regular year. The following is a list of differences:


1. On Shabbat, because it is the 9th of Av, there are those who rule that a person should not learn Pirkei Avot, since it is not among the things permitted to be studied on a fast day [Rama, Shulchan Aruch 553:2]. However, the Mishna Berura, based upon the ruling of the Taz, disagrees and permits any type of Torah study on Shabbat [ibid, note 10].


2. Unlike any other Tisha B’Av eve, in deference to Shabbat, meat and wine are permitted, even at Seudah Shlishit [Shulchan Aruch 552:10]. Furthermore, one is allowed to eat that meal with others [Mishna Berura ibid, note 23] and zemirot are permitted to be sung as well [Igrot Moshe Orech Chaim 4:112:1. However, one must be careful to finish eating by sunset [8:20p.m.].


3. There is a debate as to when we must remove our leather shoes. The basis of this is whether doing so after sunset and before “tzait hakochavim” would be considered preparing on Shabbat for the next day. The classic position was that people would go to shul wearing their shoes and remove them after “borchu” of maariv [Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 125:1]. However, for shuls that daven a later maariv, shoes may be changed at home immediately after Shabbat and before maariv (see #4 below).


4. It is prohibited to bring to kinot books or any other items needed for Tisha B’Av night to shul, until Shabbat is completely over [9:10 p.m.]. Therefore, the custom has developed in many communities to have people recite “baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol” at home with the end of Shabbat, change to non-leather shoes and Tisha B’av appropriate clothing, and only then travel to shul for maariv (driving would then, also be permitted. Congregation K.I.N.S. will be following this custom and is davening maariv at 9:25p.m.


5. Because this is a postponed fast, pregnant and nursing woman, as well as those who are ill (not even seriously ill), may break their fast as soon as they feel the slightest discomfort [Biur Halacha 559:9 s.v. V’aino mashlim ta’anito”; Shvut Yaakov 3:37]. According to Rav Nebenzahl and others, pregnant and nursing mothers should not fast at all [Shulchan Shlomo Refuah vol. 3, page 115; Responsa of HaRav Nebenzahl to Machon Puah].


6. Motzaei Shabbat, prior to reading Eicha, we recite the bracha of “borei m’orei ha’aish”. The rest of havdalah (the blessings of “borei pri hagafen” and “hamavdil” are recited Sunday night after maariv) 


7. AFTER THE FAST: Unlike other years, because the fast is postponed, on Sunday night immediately after the fast, bathing, washing clothes and haircuts are permitted. However, because the day had been a day of mourning, eating meat and drinking wine which are foods associated with simcha remain prohibited until Monday morning [Shulchan Aruch 558].

Wed, July 17 2019 14 Tammuz 5779