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    Learning Torah on Tishah B’Av

    In this issue we

    will discuss the

    halachos that

    apply to the

    nine days.

    During the nine

    days we are not

    allowed to do

    many more

    actions than

    those that are customarily not

    done from Shivah Asar

    B’Tammuz through during the

    time before Rosh Chodesh Av.

    Issues such as painting, buying

    clothing, showering,

    swimming, cutting nails, eating

    meat, washing clothing and

    many other halachos will be

    discussed in this issue. (Please

    note: Hhaircuts, Wweddings,

    Mmusic and reciting a

    Shehecheiyanu apply to the

    complete three- week period,

    and we will not be discussing

    them in this issue.)

    The Source

    The Gemara mentions that one

    is not allowed to learn Torah,

    Nevi’im, Kesuvim, Mishnah,

    Gemara, Midrash, Halachos,

    and Aggadah. This is recorded

    in halachah as well.


    There are two reasons given for

    this restriction. One reason is

    that Torah gladdens the heart,

    as the pasuk says, Pikudei

    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’Av

    takes one’s mind off the aveilus

    and focus of the day. The

    Aruch Hashulchan explains

    this 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

    sad things allowed on Tishah

    B’Av (see below), outweighs

    the joy, so one is allowed to

    learn these topics on Tishah



    One is allowed to read kinos,

    Iyov, and the bad things

    expressed in Yirmiyah. One is

    permitted to learn Midrash

    Eichah and the chapter of elu

    migalchim in Moed Kattan

    which discusses aveilus. One

    may learn the story of the

    second Beis Hamikdash, 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 Beis Hamikdash such as

    that of Josephus. Anything

    which is said in the normal

    course of davening may be said

    on Tishah B’Av as well.

    Included in this is korbanos

    (Parshas Tamid), Eizehu

    Mekoman, and Rabbi

    Yishmael. A ba’al korei can

    look over the leining before he

    leins it on Tishah B’Av. Krias

    Shema and birchos Krias

    Shema are also permitted.

    Stories of righteous people may

    be read. One is allowed to

    study the kinos recited on

    Tishah B’Av. Even when

    learning permitted topics, if

    there are pesukim of

    consolation one needs to skip

    them. Mussar sefarim may be

    studied on Tishah B’Av 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’Av.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’Av even

    with a chavrusa, or through

    public lectures, classes etc.

    Other Non-Permitted


    Tehillim should not be recited

    unless one is doing so for a sick

    person and recites Tehillim

    every day. A dayan should not

    pasken a question regarding

    monetary issues if it can wait

    until after Tishah B’Av.


    There is a discussion if children

    can learn Torah on Tishah

    B’Av. 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’Av from

    non-permitted topics. Writing

    permitted topics is not an issue.

    Obligation to Learn or No


    There is a discussion in the

    poskim if one has an obligation

    to learn the permitted topics on

    Tishah B’Av, 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 Krias Shema 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’Av

    The opinion of some is that

    after chatzos (midday) on Erev

    Tishah B’Av 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


    In addition, if Tishah B’Av

    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’Av

    itself. Others question how it is

    possible to forbid Torah on

    Erev Tishah B’Av if we eat

    during this time. We can eat

    meat on Shabbos when Tishah

    B’Av is pushed off, so why is

    learning more stringent?

    Therefore, they permit learning

    on Shabbos after chatzos when

    Tishah B’Av falls out on