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    The “Nine Days”

    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.)

    Rosh Chodesh Av – Less Joy

    The month of Av is a sad time for Jews, so we refrain from

    many activities. One reason that the restrictions begin from

    Rosh Chodesh is that when the Beais Hamikdaosh stood, Rosh

    Chodesh was a Yom Tov, when koarbanos were brought. It was

    a day that all Jews were unified. We are saddened today when

    the Beais Hamikdaosh is not here, so we start the mourning

    from Rosh Chodesh. Many have the custom to call this month

    as Menachem Av, in order to bentch each other that this month

    should not be a month of mourning. The Mishnah says that

    when Rosh Chodesh Av is upon us we lessen our joy (see

    footnote). This is codified by the poskim as well. Activities of

    joy include business dealings, building and planting. Each one

    of these will be discussed below. All these activities are

    permitted on the tenth of Av. An interesting question arises as

    to whether the restrictions begin from shekiah of Rosh Chodesh

    Av or from tzeis hakchochavim. The custom is to refrain from

    shekiah. Those who wait until seventy-two minutes for other

    areas in halachah can do the same here as well. One who has a

    court date with a non-Jew should push it off until after the nine

    days have passed since it is a time of bad mazal. SomeOthers

    say to push it off until Rosh Chodesh Elul, while others say

    until Tu B’Av. One should not undergo surgery during the nine

    days because of bad mazal. According to the lenient opinion,

    one would be allowed to have surgery after Tishah B’Ava’v.

    Business Dealings

    According to the Shulchan Aruch one should lessen his

    business dealings from Rosh Chodesh Av until after Tishah

    B’Aav. However, the custom is that regular business dealings

    are permitted since only dealings of joy are forbidden. Based

    on the above, the Aruch Hashulchan says that we conduct our

    regular business dealings during the nine days. Others permit

    regular business dealings because we need the business for our

    livelihood. If abstaining will cause a loss because the

    opportunity will not present itself again, then it is permitted.

    Building – House Decorating

    From Rosh Chodesh Av until after Tishah B’Aav (refer below

    until when this is avoided) we do not construct a joyous

    building. This includes a home for a newlywed, or a beautiful

    design. One may not paint, put up wallpaper, or install a

    carpet or tiles during the nine days. A structurally damaged

    wall may be repaired, even if there is no danger of injury. A

    car wash is permitted during the nine days. Any construction

    that is for pleasure but is not essential should be avoided during

    the nine days. One who is in need of an extension because his

    home is too small or he needs a porch may do so. Fixing a chair

    or table is permitted. One should not buy furniture during the

    nine days since it beautifies the home. If one hired a non-Jew

    before Rosh Chodesh Av to do a project, then the non-Jew may

    continue even during the nine days. This is permitted since the

    non-Jew is acting on his own. One who rented an apartment or

    bought a house may paint and make necessary repairs if

    occupancy will not occur until after the nine days.

    Building for a Mitzvah

    Building for a mitzvah is permitted during the nine days.

    Therefore, a ma’akeh (fence in a dangerous place) may be built

    during the nine days. Furthermore, building a shul or beais

    meidrash is permitted. In addition any public need is defined as

    a mitzvah need.


    Planting which brings one joy is not permitted during the nine

    days. This includes planting flowers to beautify the lawn.

    Overgrown grass may be trimmed if it impedes normal

    walking. If the mowing only serves to beautify the lawn, it is

    forbidden. Planting a tree or plant during the nine days is

    permitted since it does not bring joy. Watering plants is

    permitted during the nine days.

    Clothing – Laundry

    According to the Ashkenazi custom, clothing may not be

    washed during the nine days even if they will not be worn until

    after Tishah B’Ava’v. This applies to ironing as well. Clothing

    worn for a mitzvah is permitted. The reason for the issur is

    because it shows that one is not thinking about the aveilus.

    Others explain that wearing freshly laundered clothes brings

    joy. Therefore, a non-Jew may not wash a Jew’s clothes (see

    below). One who does not have other clothes may wash them

    in honor of Shabbos. Some say that one may begin a load of

    laundry on the afternoon of eErev Rosh Chodesh, even if the

    load is not completed until night. One who needs to wear nice

    clothes for his job may do so during the nine days.

    Spot Cleaning and Other Cleaning

    The opinion of many poskim is that even spot cleaning a stain

    on a garment is considered washing clothing and is prohibited.

    However, it seems that the custom is to be lenient with regard

    to this. One may dust off a garment, or use a brush or scratch

    with a fingernail to remove a stain. Using a vacuum cleaner

    during the nine days is permitted.

    Washing a Sheitel

    There is a discussion in the poskim whether washing a sheitel

    is defined as washing clothing. Some poskim prohibit this.

    However, the custom of many is to permit this, but it is still

    preferable that one should still wait until after Tishah B’Aav.

    Going to the Cleaners

    One may not drop off clothing at the cleaners from Rosh

    Chodesh Av until after Tishah B’Aav, even if the cleaners

    were told to clean it after Tishah B’Aav. However, the clothing

    may be delivered before Rosh Chodesh Av even if they will be

    cleaned during the nine days. Some say that one may pick up

    clothes during the nine days, as no one might think that the

    clothes were dropped off during the nine days.

    Non-Jewish Help

    A non-Jewish maid may not wash clothes during the nine days.

    Wearing Laundered Clothes – Making tThem Dirty

    One may not wear freshly laundered clothing during the nine

    days. There are a number of means to prepare clothing for the

    nine days. One option is to wear the garments before the nine

    days start. There is a difference of opinion as to how long one

    has to wear the garments. Some say that any amount of time is

    good, while other opinions require one hour, a half hour,

    orand fifteen minutes. One may wear many garments at the

    same time. Another option is to throw the garments on the floor

    in a way that it they gets somewhat dirty. One may step on

    them as well. Throwing it them on a clean floor is insufficient.

    Freshly laundered linen is also considered laundered clothing.

    Some say that one who stays in a hotel may sleep on the fresh

    sheets, but should put them on the floor beforehand if possible

    (see above). One should notify the cleaning crew not to change

    the sheets throughout his stay. Others say that most people are

    disgusted by sleeping on soiled linen, so one may prepare

    freshly laundered linen for a guest.

    Changing the sheets is permitted in a hospital or nursing home

    since it is done for the health of the patients. According to some

    poskim, if one did not have time to prepare his clothing before

    Shabbos Chazzon, then he may do so on Shabbos Chazzon as

    along as he does not say that he is doing it for the nine days.

    Sephfardim wear laundered clothing until the week of Tishah

    B’aAv. During this period, an Ashkenazi may ask a Sephfardi

    to wear clothes for him, and then he may wear them.

    What Is Included and Not Included in “Laundered


    The poskim say that “kli pishtan” may be worn during the nine

    days, as they are worn close to the flesh. Therefore, the sweat

    is not removed when they are ironed, so they do not look new.

    Some say that handkerchiefs and tablecloths should not be

    laundered during the nine days, while others argue with this

    premise. Nonetheless, since we have tissues today one should

    be stringent with handkerchiefs. According to many poskim

    one may not change his undergarments during the nine days if

    they were not worn beforehand (see above), while others are

    lenient with this. Most people follow the first opinion. The

    same dispute applies to socks and undershirts. The custom is to

    permit the use of freshly laundered hand towels.

    Jewish-Owned Cleaners

    During the week ofthat Tishah B’Aav, a Jew may not wash the

    clothing of a non-Jew because of maris ayin, for people think

    that he is washing a Jew’s clothing. Some permit the operation

    of a store in a non-Jewish area; otherwise, one should close his

    store during the nine days.

    If One Has Only One Garment

    One who only has one garment may wash it until the Shabbos

    before Tishah B’Aav. If one miscalculated his supply of

    undergarments, he may wash them until the week of Tishah

    B’Aav. This does not apply to other clothing such as pants and


    Going Away

    One who is going on vacation or to a friend for the nine days

    should bring enough garments to last nine days. Others say that

    it if it is a big bother one may wash his clothes. Nonetheless, it

    is better to avoid this and one should bring enough clothing.

    Washing Children’s Clothing

    Children are notorious for soiling their clothing. Is it permitted

    to clean their garments or do they have the same halachos as

    adults? An adult may not wash children’s clothing during the

    week of Tishah B’aAv. However, clothing of a child that gets

    dirty may be washed, because this washing does not bring joy.

    Nonetheless, the clothing should be washed in private if

    possible (see footnote). There is a debate concerning the

    maximum age for this leniency. Some limit it to children who

    are 2-3 years old, others say 3-4 years old, and others permit

    until 6-7 years old. The accepted custom is that as long as the

    children dirty their clothing, they may be washed regardless of

    age. Some say not to wash too many garments together, but

    today with the advent of the washing machine, the custom is to

    wash many garments together. There is a discussion in the

    poskim if it is better to buy new clothes or to wash clothing.

    The consensus is that washing is preferred. It should be stated

    that when one washes children’s garments, he may not add any

    other clothing to the machine.

    Washing Floors

    There is a discussion in the poskim whether washing the floor

    is permitted during the nine days. Some say that one can be

    lenient in honor of Shabbos. If children will be rolling on the

    floor and getting dirty, then the floor may be washed. The

    custom is that a non-Jew may clean the floor even if it is not for

    the honor of Shabbos. However, the custom is to be lenient

    even during the week. Waxing the floors is prohibited

    Shoe Shining

    There is a discussion in the poskim if shoe shining is permitted

    during the nine days.

    Some poskim are stringent and some are lenient, while others

    are only lenient in honor of Shabbos.

    Wearing Shabbos Garments (during the week)

    One may not wear Shabbos clothing during the nine days.

    Bris and Other Simchos

    When a bris takes place during the nine days, the mohel, father,

    mother , and sandek may wear Shabbos clothing. The kevatter

    may not wear Shabbos clothes. All other people who have

    kibbudim (holding the baby during the recital of the name, etc.)

    may not wear Shabbos clothes. Some say that other relatives

    who would normally wear Shabbos clothing to a bris may wear

    them to a bris which falls out during the nine days as well.

    Shabbos shoes are permitted if they are not new. At a pidyon

    haben, the kohen and the parents of the child may wear

    Shabbos clothing. At a bar -mitzvah, the bar -mitzvah boy and

    his parents may wear Shabbos clothing. One who has a date

    with a prospective girl may change his clothing during the nine

    days. One should not wear Shabbos clothing or newly

    laundered clothes while posing for professional pictures.

    Wearing Shabbos Clothing on Shabbos

    The opinion of some poskim is that one does not change his

    clothing even for Shabbos Chazzon, except for his undershirt

    because it is full of sweat from a whole week. Shabbos

    clothing is defined as clothing which one wears only for

    Shabbos, but not on other festive occasions such as Chol

    Hamoed and Purim. The reason is that the crease is still

    recognizable in the clothing, and it is considered like new

    clothing. If Rosh Chodesh Av falls out on Friday or Shabbos

    then Shabbos clothes are permitted. According to all opinions,

    one may change “clothing that is worn close to the body.” The

    custom today is that all Shabbos clothing is worn on Shabbos,

    and the custom to wear weekday clothing on Shabbos has been

    discontinued. The reasoning for this is detailed in the Aruch

    Hashulchan (this applies even if Shabbos clothing have the

    same style as weekday clothing but are simply nicer). ).

    Although the custom is to wear Shabbos clothes on Shabbos

    Chazzon, some say that one should avoid changing one

    garment. New garments are forbidden unless one does not

    have anything to wear. Some are of the opinion that one should

    not change into his Shabbos clothes on Erev Shabbos until plag

    haminchah, while others say from chatzos. Some permit this

    even before chatzos. Many poskim say that one does not have

    to remove his Shabbos garments right after havdalah.

    Washing One’s Body – Showering

    One of the main issues regarding the nine days is showering

    and bathing. It is a widespread custom to refrain from washing

    even with cold water from Rosh Chodesh Av until after Tishah

    B’aAv (see below when the restriction expires), while others

    have the custom to refrain from washing only the week of

    Tishah B’Aav. The custom of the Ashkenazim follows the first

    opinion. It is permitted to wash for a mitzvah (i.e. a woman

    who has to go to the mikvah) even with hot water. A pregnant

    woman in her ninth month may bathe even in hot water. The

    reason is that this washing is for health purposes and not for

    enjoyment. Similarly, one who is actually dirty may wash

    since he is not doing so for pleasure. The custom is to refrain

    from washing one’s entire body, but washing one’s face, hands

    and feet is permitted with cold water without soap. Children

    are usually washed every day, and they are not included in this

    prohibition (see below regarding swimming for children).

    Based on the above, there would be no heter to wash more than

    one’s face, hands and feet during the week with cold water.

    Why do most ofmany in kKlal yYisraoel shower and wash their

    whole body with hot water and soap during the week? The

    logic is as follows. Bathing which is not for pleasure is

    permitted even with hot water. Others say that only cold water

    may be used. Some limit washing to the sweaty areas only.

    One who is an istanis (delicate person) is permitted to take a

    shower with cold water during the nine days, but without soap

    if the sweat can be removed without it. Therefore, since we

    shower to remove dirt or sweat we may do so with hot water,

    and if the sweat cannot be removed without soap, then soap is

    permitted as well. Showering is permitted during a heat wave

    even with soap if one cannot remove the sweat without it. Some

    say that a if a rebbi can teach Torah if he removes the sweat,

    then he is permitted to shower his entire body with cold water

    since it is considered like a mitzvah.

    Showering for Shabbos Chazzon

    The custom to refrain from showering applies to Shabbos

    Chazzon as well. One may use hot water for his face if he does

    so every Erev Shabbos, but without soap. However, using

    even cold water for his entire body is prohibited on Erev

    Shabbos Chazzon, even if one does so every Erev Shabbos. If

    Rosh Chodesh Av falls out on Erev Shabbos then one is

    permitted to wash his whole body even with hot water, if he

    does so every Erev Shabbos. Based on this rule, how can we

    shower on Erev Shabbos Chazzon with hot water and

    soap?Some say that if the sweat cannot be removed without

    soap then it is permitted. Some argue that since today we all

    have showers in our homes and we shower frequently, it would

    be a bitul of oneg Shabbos if we did not shower, especially if

    one did not shower since Rosh Chodesh Av. Technically, this

    would only permit cold water, but we rely on the opinion that

    if washing is not for pleasure then even hot water is permitted.

    Some say that the reason it is permitted is because washing on

    Erev Shabbos is a mitzvah. Showering or mikvah should be

    completed l’chatchilah by midday. The custom seems to be

    lenient with this since it is very hot in the summer and one

    would need another shower before Shabbos to remove his



    One who goes to the mikvah every Erev Shabbos may do so on

    Erev Shabbos Chazzon as well. Many say that this is only

    permitted with cold water. In any case, one should not linger in

    the water but he should do what he has to and leave. So too, a

    woman in her ninth month may go to the mikvah as a segulah.


    The custom is to refrain from going swimming in rivers and

    streams during the nine days because it is enjoyable and it is

    like washing one’s entire body. One who needs to swim every

    day for medical reasons may do so even during the nine days.

    The opinion of many poskim is that children may go swimming

    during the nine days. However, this should only be done in

    private. Similarly, young children may play with a sprinkler,

    but one should not do it in public. Additionally, one should not

    go canoeing during the nine days, as he may fall into the water

    and wash his entire body.

    Brushing Teeth

    Brushing teeth is permitted during the nine days.

    Buying Clothing Etc.

    A common question arises during the nine days is regarding the

    purchasing of new clothing. Purchasing new clothing is not

    allowed during the nine days. This includes, shoes, socks,

    suits, shirts, underwear, linen, towels, pants etc. even if the

    garments are for children. This applies even if one does not

    intend to wear the garments until after Tisha B’av. Second

    hand clothing are included in this as well if they give the buyer

    pleasure. One is allowed to buy clothing for a baby born during

    the nine days if there are no other clothes available.Clothing

    that are on sale at a considerable discount may be purchased if

    the item will not be available at that price after Tishah B’av. If

    someone needs an item that can only be purchased in a certain

    location comes to that location during the nine days, he does

    not have to wait until after Tishah B’av, but may purchase it

    while he is in that vicinity. One is allowed to buy slippers etc

    for Tisha B’av during the nine days. In addition, one is allowed

    to purchase a tallis kattan and tefillin as well. One who will be

    traveling after Tishah B’av can be lenient and purchase new

    clothing if it will be difficult to do so after Tishah B’av. One

    whose eyeglasses broke, and he has no others, may purchase

    new ones during the nine days. The Mishnah Berurah allows

    a chassan and kallah to purchase wedding clothing during the

    nine days. One may return bought items for a refund or store

    credit (to be redeemed after Tishah B’av) during the nine days.

    However, returned items may not be exchanged for other new

    items until after Tishah B’av. Some refrained from purchasing

    new sefarim during the nine days, while the custom is to be


    Fixing Clothing

    One is not allowed to sew, weave, knit, or tailor a new garment

    during the nine days even if it will not be worn until after Tisha

    B’av. If a garment tore and needs repair it may be repaired

    during the nine days. Girls may weave as a camp activity.

    Women should not sew just to pass the time. Some permit

    needlepointing or embroidery of non-clothing items such as a

    tablecloth etc if they are not expensive. Sewing a name tag on

    clothing during the Nine Days (applicable if the child will be

    going to camp during or after the Nine Days) is

    permitted.Sewing lessons may not taught during the nine days

    if the material used in the practice will never be completed as a

    usable garment. A Jewish tailor or seamstress who earns a

    livelihood from sewing etc is allowed to do so during the nine

    days . However, the material or the clothing to be worked on

    should be given to the tailor etc before Rosh Chodesh Av.

    During the week in which Tishah B’av occurs it is preferable

    that the tailor refrain from such activities. One may not ask a

    non-Jewish tailor to make or repair a new garment that will be

    ready after Tishah B’av.

    Eating Meat and Drinking Wine

    Since meat and wine bring joy, the custom is to refrain from

    them during the nine days, including Rosh Chodesh. This is the

    custom of the Ashkenazim. One should not be lenient with

    this. The Sephfardim only practice this restriction during the

    week of Tishah B’aAv. The custom applies to meat and

    chicken alike. Vinegar is permitted during the nine days. A

    sick person may eat meat during the nine days.

    Meat on Shabbos Chazzon

    The custom to refrain from eating meat does not apply to

    Shabbos. Meat left over from Shabbos Chazzon may not be

    eaten during the nine days. Some say that if one did not intend

    to leave over meat then he may eat the leftovers during the nine

    days, but if he purposely cooked more meat than he needed for

    Shabbos then it is forbidden.

    Siyum during the Nine Days

    As mentioned before, the Ashkenazim do not eat meat or drink

    wine during the nine days. The Reama says that at a seudas

    mitzvah like a bris milah, pidyon haben or “seudas siyum” one

    mmaayk inega ta msieyautm a nddu rdinrgin tkh ew niinnee. d aIfy so, nhee swhaosu lndo nt opt lhanasntienng thoen

    Cutting Nails

    There is a discussion whether cutting nails is permitted until the

    week of Tishah B’Aav, or even forbidden from Rosh Chodesh.

    Some say that one should avoid cutting nails unless Tishah

    B’aAv falls out on Shabbos (in which case one may cut his

    nails on Friday) or a woman who needs to cut her nails for

    tevilah. However, the custom of some is to be lenient with this.

    Biting nails is permitted according to all opinions. learning in

    order to finish it during this time. Some are lenient with this.

    However, one should follow the first opinion. Those who

    attend the siyum may eat meat even if they did not learn the

    maesechta. When a siyum is made in a camp or yeshivah, all

    those present may eat meat; this includes both women and

    children. One may not bring the food outside of the place

    where the siyum is taking place. One may not hear the siyum

    and then go make a barbeque in a different location (this is

    common in camp). The poskim debate whether the maesechta

    may be divided between people in order to make a siyum

    during the nine days. One who was not present at the siyum,

    but came after the actual siyum was made, may still eat meat.

    Nine Days Until When?

    Eating meat, drinking wine, washing the body, doing laundry,

    washing freshly laundered garments, and buying new

    garments are all allowed after chatzos the morning after Tishah

    B’av. If it is necessary one may launder children’s clothing

    after Tishah Ba’v. One who is traveling right after Tisha Ba’v

    and does not have any clean clothing may launder his clothing

    right after Tishah B’av. When Tishah B’av is on Shabbos, and

    we fast on Sunday, then all activities besides for eating meat

    and drinking wine is allowed right away on Sunday night after

    the fast.