The Nine Days and Tishah b'Av
Is it permissible for a woman to have her sheitel set during the Nine
During the Nine Days it is forbidden to have a sheitel washed and/or
professionally set, but it is permitted for a woman to set (but not to wash)
her own sheitel at home.
What are the guidelines for showering and bathing children and adults
during the Nine Days?
One of the Nine Days’ restrictions is the prohibition against bathing and
showering. Nowadays, people find it most uncomfortable to observe this
restriction, since we are all accustomed to bathing or showering daily,
unlike in earlier times when people bathed much less frequently.
It is important to distinguish between the two reasons why people bathe: 1)
for reasons of hygiene and cleanliness; 2) for pleasure; the hot water
soothes them, the cold water cools them — it is a pleasurable experience. It
is safe to assume that most people bathe or shower for both reasons — for
cleanliness and for pleasure.
It is clearly forbidden to bathe or shower during the Nine Days for
pleasure. Thus it is forbidden to take a hot bath, a long, hot, relaxing
shower, or to go swimming in a lake or a pool. The primary purpose of these
activities is the pleasure derived from them.
But one who became dirty or sweaty and must take a shower in order to rid
himself of the odor, dirt or sweat, may take a short, cold or lukewarm
shower. If he requires soap or shampoo in order to remove the dirt or sweat,
it is permitted as well. If the dirt or sweat cannot be removed unless hot
water is used, hot water may be used for those areas where it is needed.
One who needs to take a hot shower or bath or go swimming for medical
reasons is permitted to do so.
May one allow his children to swim in a kiddie pool during the Nine Days?
What about a sprinkler?
During the Nine Days, when swimming for pleasure is forbidden for adults and
older children, it is permitted to allow the younger children to swim in a
kiddie pool or use the sprinkler. Once a child is mature enough to
understand the concept of mourning over the churban, he should be taught
that it is no longer appropriate for him to swim during the Nine Days.
We are in the middle of a renovation. May we continue it during the Three
During the Nine Days only renovations which are necessary for actual living
space are permitted; construction for beauty or pleasure, such as a vacation
home, a patio or planting a garden for beauty or fragrance is forbidden.
Similarly, painting, wall-papering and other forms of home decorating are
not to take place during the Nine Days. Still, if a non-Jew was contracted
before the Nine days to build, paint or decorate a home, and postponing the
job will cause one a substantial loss of money, it is permitted to allow the
non-Jew to continue working.
Given the fact that we refrain from eating meat during the Nine Days due
to mourning, is it permissible to serve milchig or pareve foods that are
considered "lavish" or "treats"?
The reason why we refrain from eating meat and drinking one during the Nine
days is not only because of mourning but primarily to recall the korbanos of
meat and wine which were suspended because of the churban. Dairy or parve
foods, as lavish as they may be, are not included in this prohibition, and
one may continue to consume them as he does during the rest of the year.
What kinds of trips are not advisable during the Nine Days?
While the basic halachah does not specifically forbid taking trips during
the Nine Days, it is nevertheless strongly recommended by all poskim that
one should limit all long distance travel during this time. Unless one is
traveling to Eretz Yisrael or is involved in the performance of some other
mitzvah, such as kibbud av v’eim, he should avoid flying by airplane or even
take a long car trip. In addition, even short distance trips taken purely
for the purpose of pleasure, should be avoided or severely limited during
the Nine Days. Still, parents should take into account that children cannot
be left alone to entertain themselves, and sometimes it may be necessary to
take a trip to occupy the family in a positive way. Since every situation is
different, each family should consult their rav for guidance.
Is it an halachic requirement to try on all clothing that will be worn
during the Nine Days and how must this be done? Would this halachah apply to
children's clothing as well?
All freshly laundered or dry-cleaned clothes and linens (such as towels,
sheets and tablecloths) may not be worn or used during the Nine Days. It has
become customary, therefore, that freshly laundered or dry-cleaned clothes
are worn or used for a short while — long enough so that the garment loses
that special crispness and freshness that one associates with freshly
laundered or dry- cleaned clothes — before the onset of the Nine Days, so
that the clothes are no longer considered “freshly laundered.” The
widespread custom in the United States is that garments that are constantly
being changed because of perspiration — like socks and undergarments — are
not included in the prohibition of wearing freshly laundered clothes and one
need not prepare them before the Nine Days. Once children are old enough to
understand the significance of the Nine Days, approximately 8 or 9 years
old, they, too, should be encouraged to prepare pre-worn clothing for the
Is it permissible to wash children's clothing during the Nine Days?
All clothing that will be required by infants, babies or small children who
constantly get their clothes dirty may be washed during the Nine Days. There
is no requirement to buy additional clothing for a child in order to avoid
washing his clothes. When traveling, one is not required to pack all of the
children’s clothes in order to avoid doing laundry, if doing so will be very
If an adult runs out of clothing, is it permissible to launder his or
her clothing? Is it better to purchase new clothing instead?
Adults must prepare enough clothing to last them for the entire Nine Days.
Doing laundry, even via a non-Jew, or buying new clothing, is strictly
forbidden, including socks and undergarments or other garments that are
constantly being changed because of perspiration. In the event that the
unexpected happened where they ran out of clothes and have absolutely
nothing clean to wear, it is permitted for them to wash the minimum amount
of clothes they will need for the duration of the Nine Days. Preferably,
their clothes should be washed together with a load of children’s laundry.
If possible, a non-Jew should be asked to do the laundry.
If a woman is expecting or ill, is it proper for her to ask a shailah
about fasting or is it a given that she must fast on Tishah B'Av?
A woman who is ill, experiencing a difficult pregnancy or nursing an infant
without supplementing, must consult a rav about fasting on Tishah b’Av.
These women should not decide on their own whether or not to fast, but
should do so only after asking a shailah about their particular situation.
From what age must children fast on Tishah B'Av?
Children under the age of bar/bas mitzvah should never fast on Tishah b’Av
(or any other fast, including Yom Kippur) even if it is the last fast day
before their bar/bas mitzvah. They should, however, be encouraged to fast
during the night and for a few hours during the day once they are old enough
to understand the significance of Tishah b’Av. They should also be taught to
limit their food intake to whatever is necessary and not to indulge in
Weekly-Halacha, Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Torah.org.
Rabbi Neustadt is Rav of Young Israel in Cleveland Heights. He may be reached at 216-321-4635.