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Rabbi's Message

LAWS & CUSTOMS DURING THE NINE DAYS

Sephardim/Ashkenazim This is merely a guide to the laws and customs. Please consult with your own halachic authority.

Fortune If a Jew has to have a lawsuit with a non-Jew, he should evade having it with him in the month of Av, as this is a time of ill fortune for a Jew. This should be avoided from the first of Av until the tenth of Av. Some authorities are of the opinion that one should avoid this until the fifteenth of Av.

Building and Planting When the month of Av arrives, rejoicing should be minimized. One must avoid undertaking construction projects from which pleasure will be derived or construction for the purpose of luxury. However, it is permissible for a family which lives in overcrowded conditions to expand their home. At any rate, if the construction was commenced before the first of Av, one need not stop.

One may not whitewash or paint the house from the first of Av. However, if this is necessary because, for example, the moving date is immediately after the ninth of Av, it is permissible to whitewash.

If a Jew signs a contract with a non-Jewish contractor to build, whitewash, or paint his house in a manner forbidden after the first of Av, the homeowner should request of the non- Jew to postpone the work until after the ninth of Av. If it is possible to compensate him a bit so that he wait until after the ninth of Av, this is the correct path. If not, it is permitted.

From the beginning of the month of Av it is forbidden to plant, buy, or transplant ornamental trees and plants. However, it is permissible to care for them.

Purchases and Sales From the beginning of the month of Av one should minimize transactions. Purchasing new clothing from which pleasure is derived is forbidden during the Nine Days, even if they will be worn after the Nine Days. This prohibition includes all types of clothing, even those upon which a She’hecheyanu is not recited.

It is permissible to purchase clothing, furniture, appliances, etc. during the Nine Days if they are on sale or you’ll suffer a substantial loss if you will delay the purchase. Included in this category would be an individual who finds himself in a particular locale during the Nine Days where these items can be found but are not readily available in their neighborhood.

Shoes for Tisha B’Av may be purchased during the Nine Days and worn may be worn for the first time on Tisha B’Av if they were not bought and worn before.

Meat and Wine Ashkenazim and some Sephardim refrain from consuming meat and wine during the first nine days of Av. On the first of the month itself (Rosh Chodesh), all Sephardim are permitted to eat meat and drink wine however Ashkenazim are not. Chicken is included in this prohibition. Some Sephardim only refrain from meat and wine the week Tisha B’Av falls out in. This year those Sephardim may eat meat up until Tisha B’Av.

Pareve food cooked in a clean meat pot may be eaten, even if the pot had been used for meat within the last 24 hours.

A person who is sick, a woman who has recently given birth, or somebody who must eat meat for medical reasons, is permitted to eat chicken and meat.

One is permitted to eat meat and drink wine at a seudas mitzvah such as a Bris, Pidyon Haben, Bar Mitzvah(Bo Bayom), Siyum Masechta.

The prohibition of eating meat includes boys and girls above the age of 6 if they are healthy.

Regarding the wine of Havdalah, the Sefardic custom is to permit the one saying Havdallah to drink the wine. The Ashkenazi custom is to give wine to a child to drink. If no child is available, the officiator may himself drink the wine.

Sewing Clothes One may not sew new clothes or shoes during the nine days. Neither may one knit or weave new clothes even through the agency of a non-Jewish artisan.

It is permissible to sew by the agency of a non-Jew if there is great need – for example, for a wedding which will be held immediately after the ninth of Av.

If a factory or private artisan receives a garment before the first of the month (Rosh Chodesh), it is permissible to sew it until the week of Tish B’Av.

If an artisan who lacks food to eat receives an order beforehand, he may work even on the week of Tisha B’Av.

It is permissible to mend a used garment even during the week of Tisha B’Av. Professional mending is forbidden, but sewing a button is permitted during the nine days.

The laws below apply only to Ashkenazim. For Sephardim, they apply only the week of Tisha B’Av which doesn’t apply this year since Tisha B’Av falls on a Sunday.

Bathing During the Nine Days a person may not shower or bathe for pleasure, even in cold water. Swimming or using a sauna is likewise forbidden. If, however, a person is perspired or dirty, he may shower or bathe in lukewarm water and use soap or shampoo if he or she will not become clean otherwise.

Under any circumstance, washing one’s hands, face, and feet is permitted.

It is entirely permitted to shower regularly in hot water this Friday since Rosh Chodesh falls out on Erev Shabbos.

There are numerous Poskim who permit showering or bathing in hot water with soap and shampoo on Erev Shabbos during the Nine Days, including Erev Shabbos Chazon.

Laundry & Cleaning One is permitted to polish silver or wash one’s car during this period; however, shampooing rugs would be prohibited.

It is forbidden to wash or dry clean one’s clothing & linen during the Nine Days, even if it is done by a non-Jew. Ironing clothing is also prohibited.

A sheitel is considered a garment according to halacha and may not be washed during the Nine Days. However, you may wear a freshly washed sheitel and you may also blow dry any sheitel.

It is forbidden to cut, dye, or add hair, even to an old sheitel.

It is permitted to wash out a stain from a garment if it will cause permanent damage.

One may not give garments to a dry cleaner during the Nine Days to be picked up after the Nine Days. However, one may give clothing to the cleaners before Rosh Chodesh if he picks them up after Tisha B’Av.

Small children’s clothing may be washed during the Nine Days.

Although one may not generally wash clothing during the Nine Days, there is nothing wrong with taking a garment that got wet (e.g. sprinkler or sudden rain shower) and placing it in the dryer.

One may not wear new or freshly laundered clothing or linen during the Nine Days except for underwear or socks. Suits, blouses, etc. freshly cleaned should be worn for a short period of time before the Nine Days begin.

According to most Poskim, one may wear freshly laundered or cleaned suits for Shabbos even when Tisha B’Av occurs on Shabbos.

May we merit seeing the coming of Mashiach and the rebuilding of the Bet Hamikdash speedily in our days!