By Rabbi Yair Hoffman
“Can we take those pre-fasting pills on Shabbos or is that considered hachanah?”
“Do I really bring my Tishah B’Av shoes to shul on Friday?”
“Is it true my cholent pot must remain unwashed until Sunday afternoon?”
“Is it really a two-part Havdallah where the al ha’eish is on motzaei Shabbos and the ha’gafen is on Sunday night?”
“Can we listen to music immediately on Sunday night?”
These questions and more are being posed to Rabbis throughout this entire week.
The reason is because this year, the 9th of Av falls on Shabbos. Because we don’t fast on Shabbos, other than Yom Kippur, the fast is delayed and begins at sundown on Shabbos day. It is observed through Sunday, the 10th of Av.
Tishah B’Av falling on Shabbos presents a number of changes from the normal routine, hence the questions above.
Since Shabbos is a special gift, it is forbidden to show open signs of mourning. Therefore, there is no seudah ha’mafsekes, the meal of egg, bread, and ashes, on this Shabbos. And because of the fast, there is also no Havdalah on Saturday night — rather it is recited on Sunday night, except the blessing on the flame.
Changes In Davening
When we lein the Torah reading, we recite Moshe Rabbeinu’s lamentation of “How can I bear alone your burdens, troubles, and tasks,” to the tune of Eichah. We do not say Pirkei Avos this week, nor do we say the Tzidkascha Tzedek during Minchah.
What about sponsoring a Kiddush? While it may be too late, it is preferable to hold it on another date unless it is readily detectable that one is doing so. Shalosh seudos should be eaten at home and not in shul.
Since Havdalah is in two phases this week, some shuls recite the Borei Me’orei HaEish just before Eichah is read. Others have the custom of reciting the berachah at home.
It is a time to avoid excess socializing or going for walks, etc. Zemiros, meat, and wine are permitted for all three meals.
What about the daf yomi? One can learn Torah before chatzos on Shabbos but afterward it is a bit of a debate. One may, however, fulfill the mitzvah of reading the parashah twice in Hebrew and once in Targum. One may also learn the Gemaras that are permitted to be learned on a regular Tishah B’Av.
One can drink wine, eat meat, and bentch with a mezuman. One must stop eating and drinking before shekiyah. Mayim acharonim should also be done before sundown.
It is still permitted to wear shoes and sit on chairs after sundown. But once the Borchu of Ma’ariv is recited, these two prohibitions begin as well. There is no melaveh malkah.
If necessary, one may drink water before Sunday night Havdalah, but one may not eat. Meat, wine (except for Havdalah), and music are forbidden until Monday morning. Haircuts and laundry are permitted on Sunday night.
When Havdallah is recited on Sunday night, neither the spices nor the Havdalah candle is used. Only the berachah on wine is recited, followed by the berachah of “HaMavdil Bein Kodesh l’chol.”
General Practices Of Tishah B’Av
Because the loss of the Beis HaMikdash was a national tragedy, the halachos of Tishah B’Av combine the laws of Yom Kippur and the laws of mourning.
Thus, we apply the five inuyim of Yom Kippur:
• No eating or drinking
• No washing
• No anointing
• No wearing leather shoes
• No marital relations (nor on Shabbos Tishah B’Av)
In addition to the Yom Kippur inuyim:
• We are not permitted to study Torah except for the passages that bring us to sadness
• We do not extend greetings to others
• We do not work
• We do not sit on a chair
The latter two, however, may be performed after chatzos (halachic noon).
When one does need to wash hands, such as after going to the restroom, one washes just until the knuckles. When sleeping at night, one should be less comfortable than one is accustomed to being (S.A. 555:2). Thus, if one generally sleeps with two pillows, one pillow should be removed. A pregnant woman, however, does not have to do this if she will be uncomfortable.
In shul the custom is to dim the lights, based upon the verse in Eichah (3:6) “He placed me in darkness.” We also remove the curtain from the ark that covers the sefer Torah. This is on account of the Midrash that interprets the verse in Eichah (2:17) “He tore His royal garments.” After Ma’ariv, Eichah is read and then a number of Kinos are recited.
During the day, additional Kinos are recited. It is the custom to recite them until halachic noon, so that one will not come to do work before then (S.A. O.C. 559:3 M.B. 13).
Men do not put on the tallis and tefillin for Shacharis, but instead put them on in the afternoon for Minchah. This is based upon the Midrash (Vayikra Rabbah 6) that states “Betza imraso — He carried out His words (Eichah 2:17), He threw out His precious cloth: This refers to tallis. Hishlich mi’shamayim eretz tiferes Yisrael — He threw earthward from Heaven the glory of Israel (Eichah 2:1): This refers to tefillin.”
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