A discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the
week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.
SELECTED HALACHOS RELATING TO PARSHAS MATOS/MAASEI
SHOPPING DURING THE NINE DAYS
QUESTION: Is it permitted to go shopping during the Nine Days?
DISCUSSION: It is forbidden to make a major purchase, such as a car, silver
items, or furniture during the Nine Days. There are two possible
prohibitions involved in such a purchase:
Purchasing a substantial (chashuv) item -- even if used -- obligates one to
recite a shehecheyanu(1), and it is improper to recite it throughout the
Three Weeks(2) and especially during the Nine Days(3).
If the car or furniture is for the use and enjoyment of the entire family,
in which case ha-Tov v'ha-Meitiv is recited instead of shehechyanu(4), one
would be allowed to buy it during the Three Weeks but not during the Nine
Days. This is prohibited since it is similar to building or buying a binyan
shel simchah (loosely translated as building or buying an item for pleasure
or joy), which the Shulchan Aruch(5) clearly forbids(6).
Shopping for clothing or shoes, even if they are intended for use after the
Nine Days(7), is prohibited(8). Both expensive and inexpensive items (such
as socks) are included(9). [If one has no clean shirt for Shabbos, he may
wear a new shirt(10).]
Shopping for items which a) do not require a shehecheyanu; b) are not
purchases which could be classified as a binyan shel simchah; and c) are not
apparel, is permitted. Even when shopping is prohibited, the following
Only actual buying is prohibited. It is permitted to shop without buying.
Window or comparison shopping is permitted. Returns are permitted. Exchanges
may be prohibited(11).
An item which is forbidden to be bought during the Nine Days because of the
shehechyanu restriction may be bought during the Nine Days if it requires
assembly and if the assembly will be done after the Nine Days. The same rule
applies to a utensil that requires immersion. If the immersion will not take
place until after the Nine Days, no shehecheyanu is said at the time of
It is permitted to buy a car or furniture for business purposes. The
shehecheyanu should be said after Tishah b'Av(13). People in the clothing
business may purchase stock during the Nine Days(14).
If delaying the purchase will cause one a substantial loss(15), or if the
item will not be available after Tishah b'Av(16), it is permitted to buy the
item during the Nine Days(17).
A bachelor who is getting married after Tishah b'Av may buy anything he
needs during the Nine Days(18).
One who does not have appropriate shoes to wear on Tishah b'Av may buy them
during the Nine Days(19).
If one will run out of clothing for small children, one may either wash the
clothes or buy new clothes(20).
1 O.C. 223:3.
2 O.C. 551:17.
3 Aruch ha-Shulchan 551:38.
4 O.C. 223:5.
5 O.C. 551:2, Mishnah Berurah 11 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 13.
6 Mishnah Berurah, ibid. and Aruch ha-Shulchan 20 prohibit buying silver
items as binyan shel simchah. Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80 prohibits car buying for
the same reason. See also Nitei Gavriel, pg. 51, who quotes the Puppa Rav as
including furniture as well.
7 Mishnah Berurah 551:49.
8 Rama O.C. 551:7. See also Mishnah Berurah 45.
9 Mishnah Berurah 551:45-46.
10 Beiur Halachah 551:6, according to the explanation of Igros Moshe O.C.
3:80. The poskim do not mention specifically if one would also be allowed to
buy the shirt during the Nine Days.
11 Since the shopper is getting a new item in exchange for the old one, it
may be considered as if he is buying the item anew. A rav should be
consulted. If the new item requires a shehecheyanu, the exchange may
definitely not take place during the Nine Days; see Moadei Yeshurun, pg.
152, note 31.
12 Mishnah Berurah 223:17 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 21 quoting R' Akiva Eiger.
also Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 167 quoting Harav C.P. Scheinberg.
13 Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80.
14 Mishnah Berurah 551: 11.
15 See Zichron Shelomo, Hilchos Chol ha-Moed, pg. 94, who quotes Harav M.
Feinstein and Harav Y. Kamenetsky who rule that when an item is offered on
sale at a substantial reduction and the sale is not likely to occur again in
the near future, it is considered a davar ha-aveid in regard to hilchos Chol
ha-Moed. See, however, Emes le-Yaakov O.C. 551:7 who hesitates about this
16 Ben Ish Chai (Devarim 2).
17 Based on Mishnah Berurah 551:11 and 13 that permit even a binyan shel
simchah in order to avoid a loss. There are other poskim who prohibit a
binyan shel simchah even in a case of loss; see Kaf ha-Chayim 551:29.
18 Mishnah Berurah 551:14 and 46. Other poskim disagree with this leniency;
see Kaf ha-Chayim 551:30, 33 and 101.
19 Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80.
20 O.C. 551:14 and Mishnas Yaakov (quoted in Piskei Teshuvos, pg. 83).