A discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.
The ninth day of Av, the day on which both Batei Mikdash were destroyed, not only commemorates the destruction of both Temples, but is also a national day of mourning for all of the tragedies and calamities that have befallen the Jewish people. This sorrowful fast day, which culminates the Three Weeks period of mourning, is replete with special halachos. In this discussion, we will attempt to review some of the special restrictions that apply to Tishah b’Av as well as the special halachos that apply to when Tishah b’Av falls on a Sunday:
ON SHABBOS CHAZON:
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 a weekday(5).
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 required(10). 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 eiruv(14).
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.
One who must break his fast because of illness should recite Havdalah before partaking of food(26). Many poskim(27) 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(28)]. 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(29) of wine or grape juice(30).
There are various views among the poskim concerning the recitation of Havdalah for women who are not fasting [due to illness, etc.](31). The preferred option is that the woman’s husband [or another man] should recite Havdalah(32) and that she or a minor drink the beverage. If that cannot be arranged, most poskim allow her to recite her own Havdalah(33). If she cannot or will not, there are poskim who permit her to eat without reciting Havdalah(34).
Most poskim hold that minors do not need to hear or recite Havdalah before eating(35). A minority opinion requires them to do so(36). 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(37).
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(38). If it is difficult for a woman to wait for Havdalah, she may drink before Havdalah(39). If drinking is not sufficient, some poskim allow her to eat without hearing Havdalah while others hold that she should make Havdalah herself(40).
Havdalah may be recited over wine or grape juice, and it need not be given to a minor to drink(41).
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(42).
Eating meat, drinking wine or grape juice, taking a haircut, shaving, doing laundry, sewing, bathing, and reciting Shehecheyanu should all be avoided until chatzos on Monday.
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.
3 Rama 553:2.
4 O.C. 552:10.
5 Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 28:77; Piskei Teshuvos 553 note 13.
6 Mishnah Berurah 552:23.
8 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:112-1.
9 Mishnah Berurah 552:24 and Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 22. See Chayei Adam 136:1 and Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 125:1 concerning washing.
10 Sha’ar ha-Tziyun 553:7.
11 Salmas Chayim 4:4-129 quoted in Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 62 note 88.
12 Chazon Ish (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 28 note 178); Shevet ha-Levi 7:77; Moadim u’Zemanim 7:256. At the very least, this should be done before the reading of Eichah.
13 Mishnah Berurah 553:7.
14 Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 28:77.
15 Based on Rama 553:2 as explained in Salmas Chayim 1:86.
16 Harav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 28, note 179); Yechaveh Da’as 5:38; Moadim u’Zemanim 7:256.
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 together.
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 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).
27 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.
28 Tzitz Eliezer 14:42. Some poskim allow orange or apple juice as well.
29 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.
30 Chazon Ish (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.
31 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.
32 The husband, then, does not repeat the Havdalah for himself once the fast is over (Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 62:48).
33 Shevet ha-Levi 8:129; Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 62:48; Az Nidberu 11:48; Moadim u’Zemanim 7:255.
34 Kinyan Torah 5:51; Shraga ha-Meir 1:59; Nitei Gavriel, pg. 164.
35 Harav Y.Y. Kanievsky (Orchos Rabbeinu 2:145); Harav S.Y. Elyashiv (quoted in Rivevos Efrayim 3:371); Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 62:45; Moadim u’Zemanim 7:255; Chanoch l’Na’ar 28:10.
36 Maharil Diskin 2:5-72; Divrei Yatziv 2:243; Shevet ha-Levi 7:77. There are conflicting reports as to what the opinion of Harav M. Feinstein was; see Children in Halachah, pg. 190.
37 Entire paragraph based on ruling of Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Shemiras Shabbos K’hilchasah 62, note 108 and 115).
38 Minchas Yitzchak 8:51.
39 Tishah b’Av she’Chal b’Yom Alef 70.
40 See Piskei Teshuvos, pg. 120 for the various views.
41 Mishnah Berurah 556:3.
42 Ibid. 4.