Chapter: 10 – The Laws of Tish’a B’Av

1 – Instituting the Fast of Tish’a B’Av

As we already learned (6.1), the prophets instituted four fasts after the destruction of the First Temple, the gravest of which is Tish’a B’Av, for that is when the Temple was destroyed (for more on the meaning of the fast, … Continue reading

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2 – General Rules of the Fasts

There are three halachic differences between Tish’a B’Av and the minor fasts: 1) Tish’a B’Av lasts an entire day, from sunset until the emergence of the stars [the next day], while the minor fasts last only during daylight hours – … Continue reading

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3 – Eating and Drinking and the Laws of Sick People and Postpartum Women

We already expounded upon the prohibition against eating and drinking vis-à-vis the minor fasts (above, 7.5-7), and we learned that there is a difference between them and Tish’a B’Av: the minor fasts begin at daybreak, while Tish’a B’Av begins at … Continue reading

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4 – Pregnant and Nursing Women

We have learned that one of the differences between the minor fasts and Tish’a B’Av is that pregnant and nursing women are exempt from the former and obligated in the latter (above 7.8). The reason for this is that only … Continue reading

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5 – Washing

Any form of washing for the sake of pleasure is forbidden on Tish’a B’Av, whether the water is hot or cold. One may not even wash a small part of his body; it is even forbidden to dip one finger … Continue reading

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6 – Mitzvah-Related Washing

It is permissible to wash one’s hands for the sake of a mitzvah, because it is not for pleasure purposes. Therefore, kohanim (“priests”) may wash their hands fully, in preparation for the priestly blessings (Rama 613:3, Sh.A. 128:6). However, one … Continue reading

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7 – Anointing, Smelling Spices, and Smoking

It is forbidden to apply oil or cream [on Tish’a B’Av] even to a small area of the body. One is also forbidden to use cosmetics, like powders or salves, to beautify the skin or provide a nice fragrance. This … Continue reading

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8 – Wearing Shoes

On Tish’a B’Av, it is forbidden to wear sandals or shoes made from leather. According to many authorities, only leather shoes are forbidden, while those made from other materials, like rubber and plastic, are permissible, even if they are as … Continue reading

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9 – Marital Relations

The fifth way in which we afflict ourselves [on Tish’a B’Av] is by refraining from marital relations. In order to avoid stumbling in this matter, a couple must act on the night of Tish’a B’Av as they do when the … Continue reading

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10 – Torah Study

In addition to the five [pleasures] that are forbidden on Tish’a B’Av, there are [other] prohibitions that are connected to the fact that Tish’a B’Av is a day of mourning. Just as a mourner is forbidden to learn Torah during … Continue reading

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11 – Greeting One Another

Mourners are forbidden to greet people (lit., “seek the peace of others”) (Sh.A., Y.D. 385). Likewise, one may not extend greetings to others on Tish’a B’Av (Sh.A., O.C. 5554:20). [After all], just as a person who has lost a close … Continue reading

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12 – Trips and Visiting the Western Wall (Kotel)

One must avoid taking trips on Tish’a B’Av, because they divert one’s attention from mourning. One should also avoid friendly conversations, because they can lead to laughter and lightheadedness (Sh.A. 554:21). It is a good practice to talk about the … Continue reading

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13 – Sitting and Lying on the Ground

According to [the letter of] the law, there is no obligation to sleep or lie on the ground on Tish’a B’Av. For Chazal’s statement – “All mitzvot that apply to a mourner apply on Tish’a B’Av” (Ta’anit 30a) – refers … Continue reading

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14 – Doing Work

Our Sages state, “Anyone who works on Tish’a B’Av will never see a sign of blessing” from it (Ta’anit 30b). The reason is that [doing work] distracts one from mourning. However, Chazal did not prohibit work on Tish’a B’Av explicitly. … Continue reading

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15 – The Reading of Eichah and Dimming the Lights

We read Eichah after praying Ma’ariv. Many Rishonim hold that a blessing is recited over the reading of Eichah, but many communities do not follow this practice. Moreover, many [poskim] maintain that even those who require a blessing agree that … Continue reading

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16 – Anneinu, Nacheim, the Priestly Blessings, and Tachanun

The laws of reciting Anneinu [on Tish’a B’Av] are the same as those of the other fast days, as we explained above (7.10). As we learned [there], Sefardim are accustomed to saying it in all the silent prayers of the … Continue reading

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17 – Removing the Curtain from Before the Ark; Tallit and Tefillin

We remove the curtain from before the Holy Ark prior to the Ma’ariv service, as it says, The Lord has done what He planned; He has fulfilled His word (Eichah 2:17), which Chazal interpret to mean that HaShem, as it … Continue reading

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18 – Words of Torah in our Prayers and the Blessing of SheAsah Li Kol Tzorki

Most of the passages that we say in the framework of Korbanot (Sacrifices) are included [in our prayers] for two reasons: 1) [to serve] as a substitute for [actual] sacrifices and a preparation for prayer, 2) to give every Jew … Continue reading

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19 – The Laws of the Tenth of Av

The Babylonians conquered the Beit HaMikdash on the seventh of Av, setting it ablaze on the ninth of the month, late in the day, and it continued burning throughout the tenth of Av. Rabbi Yochanan commented that had he been … Continue reading

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20 – When Tish’a B’Av Falls Out on Shabbat and is Postponed

When Tish’a B’Av falls out on Shabbat, it is postponed until Sunday. On that Shabbat, we show no [outward] signs of mourning; rather, we eat and drink like we do on any other Shabbat, even feasting like King Shlomo did … Continue reading

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21 – Minors

As is true regarding all other mitzvot, we are commanded to educate our children to keep the mitzvot relating to Tish’a B’Av and mourning over the churban. Since children are weak, however, it is impossible to teach them to fast … Continue reading

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