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     Beginning Rosh Chodesh Av until after Tisha B’Av (the Nine Days) the custom of Ashkenazim is not to eat meat or drink wine, in remembrance of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. What about a food that was cooked with meat, or a pareve soup that was cooked in a fleishig pot? Can they be consumed? Also, can one eat foods that contain red wine vinegar?

    The Mishna Berura (551:63) writes that the common custom is not to eat foods that were cooked together with meat. For example, one should not eat a potato from a fleishig cholent, even though it does not contain actual meat. Since it absorbed from the meat, we refrain from eating it. He adds that one may cook a pareve food in a fleishig pot, even if the pot had been used to cook meat immediately beforehand.

    Rama (OC 551:9) writes that using wine vinegar is acceptable during the Nine Days. He explains that wine vinegar does not promote simcha (joy), and was not included in the wine restriction. Wine “vinegar” refers to wine that has fermented to the point where one would not drink it (MB 551:57).

    I have the custom of making Havdalah on beer during the nine days. I noticed that I do not have any beer in my refrigerator. I would like to place a bottle of beer in the fridge now (on Shabbos) to be able to use after Shabbos for Havdalah. Is this a problem of hachanah (preparation)?

    Rav Belsky, zt”l was asked this exact question. He ruled that if one forgot to put a beer in the fridge before Shabbos they may do so on Shabbos to use for Havdalah. He explained that since one isn’t doing any prohibited act by putting beer in a fridge on Shabbos and one is doing so for the purpose of enhancing a mitzvah, it is permissible. Rav Belsky maintained it is comparable to the case mentioned in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 293:3.

    I am visiting my parents over the Nine Days. I have a very large family of my own. Do I have to schlep changes of clothing for my whole family for the entire Nine Days or can I rely in advance on the permit mentioned in a previous Halacha Yomis, namely, that if I run out of clean clothing I am allowed to clean my clothing up until the week in which Tisha B’Av falls?

    There is a difference of opinion about this question among the great poskim of the past generation. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l and Rav Elyashiv, zt”l both were of the opinion that every family member should take a set of clean clothing which will last them the entire Nine Days, so that it will not be necessary to do any laundry during the Nine Days (cited by Nitei Gavriel, Bein HaMetzarim, 16:8). On the other hand Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l was lenient and ruled that the family only needs to take along what they would normally take on such a trip. If they run out of clean clothing, they can rely on the permit of one who does not have sufficient clothing to last him until the end of the Nine Days who is allowed to clean necessary clothing before the week in which Tisha B’Av falls (Sefer Chol HaMoed K’Hilchoso 85:23).

    If one does not own enough changes of clothing to last the entire Nine Days, Rav Moshe, zt”l (Piskei Teshuvos 534:2, citing Kuntres Hilchos Chol HaMoed se’if 7) writes that it is pashut (obviously true) that he is not required to purchase new clothing before Rosh Chodesh Av even if he can easily afford it and that if he runs out of clean clothing during the Nine Days he can rely on the above permit.

    May I learn with the intention to make a Siyum during the Nine Days so that a meat meal can be served? May I delay the completion of learning until the Nine Days in order to be able to make a Siyum?

    The Mishna Berura (OC 551:73 quoting Elya Rabba) writes that one may not delay or accelerate one’s learning to schedule a Siyum duringthe Nine Days. The Aruch HaShu lchan (OC 551:28), in fact, recommends that even if a Siyum happens to fall out during the Nine Days, one should postpone it until after the Nine Days, when the proper joyous celebration can be made in honor of the Torah. However other poskim are lenient in this matter (see Shu”t Yabia Omer1:26 and Moadei Yeshurun p. 132:11b and 155:66) 

    Rav Moshe, zt”l felt that preferably one should refrain from making a Siyum from the 7th of Av until after the Nine Days, since on the 7thof Av our enemies entered the Heich al leading to the eventual destruction of the Bais HaMikdashon the 9th and 10th of Av (See Magen Avraham 554:9 quoting Tur).

    What happened on the 7th of Av? How is this observed?

    The Gemara (Taanis 29a) relates the events that led up to the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash. Although the walls of Yerushalayim were breached on the seventeenth of Tammuz, the fighting continued. It was not until the seventh of Av that the Babylonians entered the Beis Hamikdash and desecrated it. On the ninth of Av, close to sunset, they set the Beis Hamikdash on fire.

    The Magen Avrohom (554:9) writes that even those who must eat meat or drink wine during The Nine Days, if possible, should refrain from meat and wine beginning the 7th of Av, in recognition of the increasing calamity. Nonetheless, the Mishnah Berurah (551:61) writes that the restriction of the Magen Avrohom does not apply to someone who is ill and must eat meat for reasons of health.

    Piskei Teshuvos (551:38) cites sefer Otzer HaChaim that even those who permit serving meat at a siyum during The Nine Days may not do so beginning the 7th of Av. Similarly, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt’l ruled that one may not serve meat or wine at a seudas Bar Mitzvah from the 7th of Av and onward (Mivakshei Torah vol. 48, chapter 4).