Halachot of the “nine days”
This year the nine days commence on Shabbat August 2, and end on Monday, August 11 at 1:00 p.m. According to tradition, we spend the days from Rosh Hodesh Av through midday on the tenth of Av in a state of national mourning. This practice has its roots in the Talmud, and has taken more specific form as the centuries have passed. It would be difficult indeed to simply “switch Tisha B’av on” as the fast day itself began. Preparation is crucial. The objective of the “nine days” period is to create the frame of thinking and feeling which will enable us to experience Tisha B’av in the most powerful way possible.
The following is a basic description of some of the “nine days” halachot. Please don’t hesitate to consult with me regarding any personal “she’elot” you may have.
- We do not eat meat or drink wine during the nine days, other than on Shabbat.
(2) We shower with cool (rather than warm) water, and only for the length of time necessary to satisfy the needs of basic hygiene. Friday afternoon is an exception to this rule. We refrain from swimming during the nine days.
(3) We continue to not have our hair cut, and (unless it is completely impossible to not do so) do not shave during this period.
(4) We withhold from ourselves the luxury of wearing new garments. In addition, except for on Shabbat, we refrain from wearing freshly cleaned or freshly laundered outer garments as well. [Please note that the halacha gives us a little bit of a break regarding this custom. Halacha defines “freshly laundered” in a very literal way. Clothing worn for even a few minutes (before the nine days began) is no longer defined as “freshly laundered”.] Also, we do not wash clothing during the nine days, even though we are not intending to wear that clothing until after Tisha B’av. (Children’s clothing that must be washed is exempted.)
Observing the laws of the nine days, is a powerful vehicle for connecting to the Jewish past, and for understanding what is still missing from the Jewish present. I also recommend that you spend a little time with Jeremiah this week (especially the closing chapters), to refresh your memory of the events most closely associated with these days.
Schedule for Erev Tisha B’av & Tisha B’av
The fast of Tisha B’av begins at sundown next Shabbat, even though Shabbat is not yet over. Please note the schedule and special procedures for going from Shabbat into Tisha B’av.
Shabbat August 9
6:00 Mincha. There will be no shul seudah Shlisheet following Mincha. Your seudah shlisheet at home must end by sundown, 7:47 p.m. When Shabbat ends at 8:27, recite the simple formula of havdalah, kujk asue ic khscnv lurc, and recite
atv hrutn truc over the havdalah candle. Replace your shoes with non-leather shoes and please proceed to shul as quickly as possible. (You may drive to shul if you wish.) We will begin Ma’ariv at 9:00 promptly, and Ma’ariv will be followed by the reading of Eichah.
Sunday, August 10
8:30 a.m. at Young Israel of Century City – joint BDJ-YICC Shacharit & Kinot
6:40 p.m. Mincha (with tallit & tefillin)
7:10 Shiur with the rabbi in Midrash Eichah
8:12 Fast ends