13 Jul LEARNING TORAH ON TISHA B’AV
Many actions are forbidden on Tishah B’Aav, including learning. What is the reason for this? What kind of learning is prohibited? Does this apply to teaching children as well? These and other issues will be discussed below.
The Gemaorah mentions that one is not allowed to learn Torah, Nevi’im, Kesuvim, Mishnah, Gemaorah, Miedrash, Halachos, and Aggadah. This is recorded in Hhalachah as well.
There are two reasons given for this restriction. One reason is that Torah gladdens the heart, as the paosuk says, “pePikudei Hashem misamchei lev.” The Maharsha says that this is why children may not learn Torah. However, the reason for adults is that learning topics not associated with Tishah B’Aav etc takes one’s mind off the aveilus and focus of the day.
The Aruch Hashulchan explains this is as follows:
When learning Torah, one has joy, and also the discomfort in trying to figure out what the Torah is saying. The main learning of Torah is joy, even if there is a little pain. The discomfort of learning the bad sad things allowed on Tishah B’aAv (see below), outweighs the joy, so one is allowed to learn these topics on Tishah B’Aav.
One is allowed to read kinos, Iyov, and the bad things expressed in Yiermiyah. One is permitted to learn meMidrash Eeichah and the chapter of elu migalchim in Moed Kaottaon which discussesed aveilus. One may learn the story of the second baBeis hHamikdaosh, as well as the story of the destruction found in the end of Yerushalmi on Ta’anis, and the accounts of the destruction of the Beais Hamikdaosh such as that of Josephus.
Anything which is said in the normal course of davening may be said on Tishah B’Aav as well. Included in this is korbaonos (pParshas Ttamid), eEizehuzei Mmekomaon, and Rabbi Yishmael., and aA Bba’al Kkoreih can look over the leaining before he leains it on Tishah B’Aav. Krias sShema and birchos kKrias sShema are also permitted.
Stories of righteous people may be read.
One is allowed to study the kinos recited on Tishah B’aAv.
Even when learning permitted topics, if there are pesukim of consolation one needs to skip them.
Mussar sefaorim may be studied on Tishah B’Aav in order to arouse the heart to do teshuvah and improve oneself. Based on this, tens of thousands of people all over the world watch the Chofetz Chaim Heritage Foundation video and other such videos on Tishah B’Aav.
Even while learning the permitted topics, it should not be done in depth.
The custom is to permit learning the topics which are allowed on Tishah B’Aav even with a chavrusa, or through public lectures, classes etc.
Other Non-Permitted Learning
Tehillim should not be recited unless one is doing so for a sick person and recites tTehillim every day.
A dayan should not pasken a question regarding monetary issues if it can wait until after Tishah B’Aav.
There is a discussion if children can learn Torah on Tishah B’Aav. Although the children may not feel the joy of learning Torah, it is still forbidden to teach children (even permitted topics), because of the joy of the teacher in teaching Torah. Others allow an adult to teach the permitted topics. Some maintain that a child under twelve who does not derive joy from learning may study any Torah topic.
Children age twelve and above may not learn non-permitted topics by themselves since it brings joy.
There are some who maintain that one may not think in learning if the topic is not on the permitted list. Although thinking is not considered like talking, one feels joy while thinking in learning.
Writing – Typing
According to some poskim one is not allowed to write down Torah on Tishah B’Aav from non-permitted topics. Writting permitted topics is not an issue.
Obligation to Learn or No Obligation
There is a discussion in the poskim if one has an obligation to learn the permitted topics on Tishah B’Aav, or perhaps there is no obligation to learn even the permitted topics since all other areas of Torah are not allowed.
Some maintain that once one read kKrias sShema in the morning, there is no obligation to learn the permitted topics. However, most other poskim disagree with this. Obviously, even according to the ones who hold there is no obligation to learn, if one does learn the permitted topics he gets reward like learning Torah.
Erev Tishah B’Aav
The opinion of some is that after chatzos (midday) on Erev Tishah B’Aav one should only learn the topics which are permitted.
In general, refraining from learning after chatzos on Erev Tishah B’Av is only a chumra.
Tishah B’Av That Falls on Shabbos
In additionTherefore, if Tishah B’Aav falls out on Shabbos and is pushed off until Sunday, Pirkei Avos is not recited. The reason for this restriction is that when one learns he will think about it afterwards on Tishah B’Aav itself.
Others question how it is possible to forbid Torah on Erev Tishah B’Aav if we eat during this time. We can eat meat on Shabbos when Tishah B’Aav is pushed off, so why is learning more stringent? Therefore, they permit learning on Shabbos after Cchatzos when Tishah B’aAv falls out on Shabbos.