Author Archives: orah765768

23. “The Week of Tisha Be-Av” when Tisha Be-Av is Postponed to Sunday

The laws of the week in which Tisha Be-Av falls pertain only to the Sephardic custom, which maintains that one may not cut one’s hair or wash clothes during that week, as the Mishna states (Ta’anit 26b). Ashkenazim, however, are … Continue reading

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22. Shabbat Ĥazon

Shabbat Ĥazon is the Shabbat preceding Tisha Be-Av, on which we read the haftara beginning with the words “The vision of Yeshayahu (Ĥazon Yeshayahu)” (Yeshayahu 1:1-27). This haftara contains admonitions that the prophet Yeshayahu pronounced to the people of Israel … Continue reading

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21. Bathing

Even though the Sages prohibited bathing on Tisha Be-Av only, the Rishonim were stringent and would refrain from bathing on the days preceding Tisha Be-Av as well. Many Iberian Jews were stringent as well, and would refrain from washing in … Continue reading

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20. Children’s Clothing and Hospital Garb

Clothes worn by babies who regularly soil their outfits are not included in the prohibition. Likewise, one may wash sheets and blankets of young children who wet themselves at night. In addition, many people are lenient, in a time of … Continue reading

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19. The Prohibition on Laundry

The Sages prohibited laundering clothes during the week in which Tisha Be-Av falls (Ta’anit 26b). This is an expression of mourning; out of pain and identification with the deceased or with the Temple’s destruction, one ceases to take care of … Continue reading

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18. The Laws of Business Transactions During the Nine Days

We curtail joyous business transactions during the Nine Days. That is to say, one may not buy luxury items like jewelry, clothing, fancy appliances, new furniture, or a car for personal use. Throughout the Three Weeks, one may not purchase … Continue reading

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17. The Laws of Building during the Nine Days

A Jewish contractor and Jewish workers may continue building residential homes during the Nine Days in order to sell them, because the units are designed as living quarters and not as luxury homes. In addition, this is their livelihood. Furthermore, … Continue reading

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16. Building and Planting During the Nine Days

Since we curtail our joy from the beginning of Av, one may not build anything that brings joy during the Nine Days. For example, one may not expand one’s house or porch unless there is a vital need for this. … Continue reading

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15. Meat and Wine on Shabbat Ĥazon and at a Se’udat Mitzva

We eat meat and drink wine on Shabbat Ĥazon, as we do on every other Shabbat of the year. After all, even if Tisha Be-Av itself falls out on Shabbat, causing the fast to be postponed to Sunday, one may … Continue reading

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14. The Laws of Eating Meat and Drinking Wine

The prohibition on eating meat includes all types of meat: beef and poultry, fresh, frozen, and cured. Fish, however, is permitted. It is customary to be particular even regarding foods that were cooked together with meat. For example, if potatoes … Continue reading

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13. Meat and Wine

The Rishonim had a custom to refrain from eating meat and drinking wine during the period of mourning over the destruction of the Temple. Some observed this stringency every weekday throughout the Three Weeks, while others did so only during … Continue reading

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12. When Av Arrives, we Curtail our Joy

The Sages state in the Mishna (Ta’anit 26b), “When Av arrives, we curtail our joy,” because this is a period of mourning over the Temple’s destruction. Therefore, one should not engage in joyous activities like hikes, hotel vacations, and social … Continue reading

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11. Shaving One’s Beard During the Three Weeks

As we have learned, the custom among Ashkenazim and some Sephardim is to refrain from cutting one’s hair during the entirety of the Three Weeks. Regarding shaving one’s beard, however, a question arises. According to many poskim, there is no … Continue reading

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10. Haircuts

The Sages instituted prohibitions against cutting one’s hair and washing one’s clothes during the week of Tisha Be-Av (Ta’anit 26b). Accordingly, Shulĥan Arukh (551:3) rules that one may not cut one’s hair from the beginning of the week in which … Continue reading

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09. Marriage and Engagement

It is customary in most Jewish communities that no weddings are held during the Three Weeks. Technically, the prohibition applies only to an “optional” wedding, i.e., that of a man who has already fulfilled the mitzva of procreation by fathering … Continue reading

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08. In Which Cases May One Recite She-heĥeyanu?

One who is presented the opportunity to perform a mitzva that requires one to recite She-heĥeyanu, like a brit mila or a pidyon ha-ben, recites the berakha, because he did not determine the timing of the berakha. Rather, God granted … Continue reading

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07. Reciting She-heĥeyanu During the Three Weeks

Some of the greatest Rishonim would refrain from eating a new fruit or buying a new garment during the Three Weeks, in order to avoid reciting She-heĥeyanu. They reasoned: How can we say, “Blessed are You, Lord…Who has given us … Continue reading

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06. Hiking, Swimming, and Hotel Vacations

Some maintain that one must refrain from hiking and swimming or bathing in the sea or a swimming pool during the Three Weeks, in order to limit our enjoyment during this mournful period. Furthermore, since these days are prone to … Continue reading

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05. The Halakha in Practice

It seems that in practice, according to the lenient view, we should divide all songs into three categories: 1) joyous songs, like those played at weddings; 2) songs that are neither especially joyous nor especially sad, which includes most contemporary … Continue reading

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04. Listening to Music on Personal Electronic Devices

Some authorities maintain that just as one may not listen to live music during the Three Weeks, so too one may not listen to recorded music played on home electronic devices during this period. One may listen only to songs … Continue reading

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03. Playing Music and Singing at a Se’udat Mitzva

One may sing happy songs at a se’udat mitzva, like the meal at a brit mila, pidyon ha-ben, or sheva berakhot. One may also celebrate a bar mitzva or bat mitzva during this period, but only on the actual day … Continue reading

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02. Dancing and Music

The Aĥaronim write that it is forbidden to hold dances from 17 Tamuz through 9 Av (MA 551:10). This prohibition includes playing and listening to instrumental music. Thus, one may not hold or attend dance classes, concerts, or sing-alongs during … Continue reading

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01. The Three Weeks

The Three Weeks, which begin on the night of Shiv’a Asar Be-Tamuz and continue through Tisha Be-Av, are a painful time. This period is often known as Bein Ha-metzarim, recalling the verse, “All her pursuers overtook her in the narrow … Continue reading

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06. Preserving Customs vs. Strengthening the Community

In addition to maintaining the nusaĥ of prayer, preservation of customs entails upholding traditional pronunciation schemes. Each community – Yemenites, Sephardim, and Ashkenazim – pronounces the prayers according to its own particular scheme. Indeed, each ethnic community should ideally continue … Continue reading

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05. In What Cases may one Change her Nusaĥ?

As we have learned, one must maintain her ancestral custom. The Sages based this statement on the verse, “Al titosh torat imekha” (“Do not abandon your mother’s teachings”; Mishlei 1:8). However, custom is not more important than other laws, and … Continue reading

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04. The Status of a Woman who Married a Man from a Different Community

The status of a woman who married a man from a different ethnic community is similar to that of one who migrates to a place where local custom differs from what he is accustomed to: if he intends to live … Continue reading

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03. Immigrants and Communities That Migrated

In the past, when the distance between communities was great, Ashkenazim lived in Ashkenaz (Germany), Sephardim in Sepharad (Iberia), and Yemenites in Yemen. Anyone who moved elsewhere would adopt the halakhic and liturgical customs of the new locale, since it … Continue reading

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02. No Nusaĥ should be Considered Better than Another

Ĥida writes in the name of Arizal that prayer recited the Sephardic nusaĥ ascends through any of the twelve gates. Therefore, in his opinion, Ashkenazim may switch to the Sephardic nusaĥ (see Yabi’a Omer 6:10; Yeĥaveh Da’at 3:6). In contrast, … Continue reading

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01. Differences in Nusaĥ

Following their exile and dispersion, Jews of different communities developed varying prayer rites. The fundamentals of prayer – the elements instituted by the Men of the Great Assembly – such as Birkhot Keri’at Shema and the Amida, the differences are … Continue reading

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11. Birkat Ha-ilanot – The Blessing on the Trees

One who goes outside during Nisan and sees fruit trees blossoming recites Birkat Ha-ilanot, a berakha that expresses gratitude to God “Who let nothing lack in His world and Who created in it good creatures and good trees to bring … Continue reading

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10. Counting the Omer

Women are exempt from the mitzva of counting the omer, for it is a positive time-bound mitzva. If a woman wishes to fulfill this mitzva, it is a credit to her. As we have learned (above 2:8), according to Sephardic … Continue reading

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09. Seder Night

Women are obligated to perform all the mitzvot of the Seder night – retelling the Exodus from Egypt, eating matza and maror, drinking four cups of wine, and reciting Hallel – for they too participated in that miracle (Pesaĥim 108b; … Continue reading

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08. Women and Megilla Reading

According to Rashi and Rambam, women and men are equally obligated in the mitzva to read the megilla, and a woman may read the megilla for her husband. In contrast, Behag and Rabbeinu Ĥananel maintain that women’s obligation differs from … Continue reading

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07. Purim

Women are obligated in all four mitzvot of Purim – reading the megilla, mishlo’aĥ manot (sending gifts of food to a friend), matanot le-evyonim (gifts to the poor), and a festive meal. Mishlo’aĥ manot is fulfilled by giving two portions … Continue reading

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06. Parashat Zakhor

The poskim disagree about whether women must hear Parashat Zakhor. According to most poskim, women are exempt because the mitzva to remember what Amalek did is linked to the mitzva to eradicate Amalek, and since women are not commanded to … Continue reading

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5. Ĥanuka

As we have learned, women are obligated to light Ĥanuka candles, for they too participated in that miracle. A married woman fulfills her obligation through her husband’s lighting, and a daughter by her father’s. However, if the husbands or fathers … Continue reading

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04. “They too Participated in that Miracle” – Pesaĥ, Purim, and Ĥanuka

Yehoshua b. Levi said: Women must drink four cups of wine on the night of the Seder (Pesaĥim 108b), read the megilla (Megilla 4a), and light Ĥanuka candles (Shabbat 23a) “for they too participated in that miracle.” There are two … Continue reading

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03. Sukkot

There are two time-bound positive mitzvot performed on Sukkot, the mitzva to sit in the sukka and the mitzva to take the lulav, and women are exempt from both. If they wish to perform them, they earn reward. According to … Continue reading

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02. Shofar and Musaf on the Days of Awe

Women are exempt from the mitzva of shofar since it is a positive time-bound mitzva, though women who wish to fulfill it earn reward. It is customary for Jewish women to fulfill the mitzva of shofar. If a man who … Continue reading

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01. Rosh Ĥodesh and Birkat Ha-levana

These laws are numerous; hence, we shall mention but a few that pertain to women. It is a mitzva to have an expansive Rosh Ĥodesh meal (SA 419:1). One may perform any type of labor on Rosh Ĥodesh; however, women … Continue reading

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