Selected Halachos Relating to Parshas Devarim-Tisha B'av,
By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt
The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week.
For final rulings, consult your Rav.
WHEN TISHAH B'AV FALLS ON SHABBOS
Many unique halachos pertain specifically to Tishah b'Av that
falls on Shabbos, in which case the fast is postponed until
If one can keep himself occupied on Shabbos afternoon studying
topics which pertain to Tishah b'Av or to mourning, he should do
so(1). If he cannot, he may study what he ordinarily does(2). It
is customary that Pirkei Avos is not studied on this Shabbos(3).
The usual seudah ha-mafsekes restrictions do not apply on
Shabbos. At the last meal before the fast - which is seudah
shelishis on Shabbos - one may eat meat and drink wine and
consume whatever food he desires(4). One should not, however,
specifically say that he is eating in order to have strength for
the fast, nor is it permitted to swallow a pill that makes it
easier to fast, since he would then be preparing on Shabbos for
Eating seudah shelishis with family members is permissible.
Company, however, should be avoided - unless one usually has
company for seudah shelishis(6). Birkas ha-Mazon may be said
with a zimun(7). Zemiros may be sung, even by one who does not
always sing them(8).
Eating, drinking, or washing any part of the body is permitted
until sunset only(9). If one recited Birkas ha-Mazon before
sunset, he may eat or drink until sunset. No precondition is
One may sit on a chair until nightfall(11).
Since it is not proper to wear Shabbos clothes on Tishah b'Av,
it is recommended that one change clothes after nightfall, but
before Ma'ariv(12). Baruch ha-Mavdil should be recited before
changing into weekday clothes(13).
No preparations for Tishah b'Av may be made until Shabbos is
over. Tishah b'Av shoes or Kinos [unless studied on Shabbos] may
not brought to shul until nightfall, even in an area with an
Shabbos shoes may not be removed until nightfall. The custom in
many places(15) is to remove the shoes after saying Barechu at
Ma'ariv. Others remove their shoes after reciting Baruch
ha-Mavdil but before Barechu, provided that it is already
nightfall(16). This option is advisable when there is large
gathering of people [such as a camp] in order to avoid a long
break between Barechu and Ma'ariv(17).
Atah chonantanu is said in Shemoneh Esrei. Women must be
reminded to recite Baruch ha-Mavdil before doing any work(18).
After Ma'ariv but before the reading of Eichah, a candle(19) is
lit and Borei me'orei ha-eish is recited. If one forgot or
failed to do so, Borei me'orei ha-eish may be recited anytime
throughout the night(20).
Customarily, Borei me'orei ha-eish is recited by one person for
the entire congregation. It is proper, though, that all the
listeners sit down while the blessing is recited(21).
Preferably, women should listen to Borei me'orei ha-eish recited
by a man. If they cannot do so, it is recommended that they
recite their own blessing over a candle, but they are not
obligated to do so(22).
Some permit folding the tallis as on every motza'ei Shabbos(23),
while others are stringent(24).
Dirty dishes from Shabbos should not be washed until Sunday
after chatzos(25), unless they will attract insects, etc.
As is the case when the fast is not postponed, a woman who has
given birth within the past thirty days need not fast. Because
the fast is not actually on the ninth of Av but rather on the
tenth, certain leniencies are allowed. Thus, a pregnant or
nursing mother need not fast if she will feel the effects of the
fast. The same is true for anyone who is slightly sick and would
feel unwell if he were to fast(26).
If a bris milah falls on this day, most poskim(27) allow the
father, mohel, and sandak to eat a seudas mitzvah in honor of
the bris after Minchah Gedolah(28). A minority opinion rules
that they should finish their fast(29).
Before breaking a fast because of illness(30) or to celebrate a
bris milah(31), Havdalah should be recited. Many poskim(32) hold
that wine or grape juice may not be drunk, and Havdalah should
be recited on a Shehakol beverage such as beer, coffee, or tea
[with or without milk(33)]. Another option is to use wine or
grape juice, but have a minor [between the ages of 6-9] drink
the wine. Other poskim allow even an adult to drink the minimum
amount(34) of wine or grape juice(35).
There are various views among the poskim concerning the
recitation of Havdalah for women who are not fasting [due to
illness, pregnancy, or nursing](36). The preferred option is
that the woman's husband [or another man] should recite
Havdalah(37) and that she or a minor drink the beverage. If that
cannot be arranged, most poskim allow her to recite her own
Havdalah(38). If she cannot or will not, there are poskim who
permit her to eat without reciting Havdalah(39).
Most poskim hold that minors do not need to hear or recite
Havdalah before eating(40). A minority opinion requires them to
One who must eat on Tishah b'Av in the morning should daven
first, without tefillin, and then eat. If he needs to break his
fast after chatzos, he should daven Minchah with tefillin and
then eat. If he cannot daven Minchah until later in the day, he
should still put on tefillin before he eats(42).
ON SUNDAY NIGHT:
After the fast is over, one may not eat until Havdalah is
recited. Women should hear Havdalah from their husbands or a
neighbor(43). If it is difficult for a woman to wait for
Havdalah, she may drink before Havdalah(44). If drinking is not
sufficient, some poskim allow her to eat without hearing
Havdalah while others hold that she should make Havdalah
Havdalah may be recited over wine or grape juice, and it need
not be given to a minor to drink(46).
Only the blessings of Borei pri ha-gafen and ha-Mavdil are
recited. Borei me'orei ha-eish is not recited, even if one
forgot to recite that blessing the previous night(47).
Taking a haircut, shaving, doing laundry, sewing, bathing, and
reciting Shehecheyanu are permitted immediately after the fast.
Meat and wine (other than the wine from Havdalah) should not be
consumed until the next morning(48). Listening to music should
be avoided until the next morning(49).
1. Chazon Ish (quoted in Orchos Rabbeinu 2:136)
2. Mishnah Berurah 553:10. One may fulfill his obligation of
Shenayim Mikra v'Echad Targum.
17. Harav M. Feinstein (oral ruling, quoted in Halachos of the
Three Weeks, pg. 16).
18. Mishnah Berurah 556:2.
19. Some light a single candle while others hold two candles
20. Mishnah Berurah 556:1.
21. Beiur Halachah 213:1, since on this night there is no
blessing recited over wine which establishes the required kevius
needed for such blessings.
22. See Beiur Halachah 296:8, Igros Moshe C.M. 2:47-2, and
Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 61, note 69 and 62, note 98 for a
discussion on the general issue of whether women are obligated
to perform this mitzvah.
23. Nitei Gavriel, pg. 115.
24. Luach Devar Yom b'Yomo quoting the Belzer Rav.
25. Several poskim quoted in Piskei Teshuvos 554:21.
26. Beiur Halachah 559:9. See also Yechaveh Da'as 3:40.
28. These people, then, should not receive an aliyah at Minchah
(Mishnah Berurah 566:20, 21).
29. Aruch ha-Shulchan 559:9, based on Magen Avraham; Kaf
ha-Chayim 559:74; Chazon Ish (quoted by Harav C. Kanievsky in
Tishah b'Av she'Chal b'Shabbos 8, note 48).
30. Sha'arei Teshuvah 556:1. If all that the sick person needs is
a drink of water, Havdalah is not recited (Shevet ha-Levi 8:129).
31. Mishnah Berurah 559:37.
32. Kaf ha-Chayim 556:9; Harav M. Feinstein (oral ruling quoted
in Halachos of the Three Weeks, pg. 19); Minchas Yitzchak 8:30;
Shevet ha-Levi 7:77.
33. Tzitz Eliezer 14:42. Some poskim allow orange or apple juice
34. A cheekful, approximately 1.6 fl. oz. Since, however, Al
ha-gefen cannot be recited over this amount, this should be
followed by eating cake, etc. and the words al ha-gefen v'al pri
ha-gefen can be added; see pg. 148.
35. Chazon Ish (oral ruling quoted by Harav C. Kanievsky,
Mevakshei Torah, Sivan 5753); Harav Y.Z. Soloveitchik (quoted in
Peninei Rabbeinu ha-Griz, pg. 521 and in a written responsum by
Harav S.Y. Elyashiv published in Mevakshei Torah, ibid.); Harav
Y.Y. Kanievsky (Orchos Rabbeinu 2:145); Az Nidberu 11:48.
36. The issue: 1) Women, generally, do not recite their own
Havdalah, since some Rishonim exempt them from Havdalah
altogether; 2) Even men are not required by all poskim to recite
Havdalah before eating on Motza'ei Tishah b'Av which falls on a
37. The husband, then, does not repeat the Havdalah for himself
once the fast is over (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 62:48).