This week my family and I left on our summer trip to Israel. We will be there for a number of weeks spending time with family, and soaking up the holiness of the Land. While away, I will still be reachable for halacha questions and the like, via my regular e-mail address, email@example.com, which I will be checking on a consistent basis. In case of an emergency, Christine in the shul office, and the shul president will have my emergency contact information in Israel. In addition, colleagues of mine in neighboring communities are providing coverage in cases necessitating immediate rabbinic assistance.
We will miss you all, and we hope you will have a relaxing and enjoyable summer. Have a great Shabbos and hope to see you soon in Yerushalayim!!!
I. EREV TISHA B’AV ON SHABBOS
1. Tisha B’Av begins Saturday night, July 25th.
2. On this Shabbos one is allowed to eat meat and drink wine at all of the meals, including Shalosh Seudos, the third meal.
3. All of the special laws associated with the last meal before Tisha B’Av, known as the seuda hamafsekes, are suspended. This means that at the last meal before Tisha B’Av: (a) one does not sit on the floor or a low seat; (b) one does not have to eat hard boiled eggs; (c) one may eat a variety of foods and drinks; (d) birchas hamazon, bentching, can be said with a zimun.
4. The meal, and all eating and drinking, has to be finished before sunset, 8:19 pm, on Shabbos, July 25th. After this time, one should refrain from washing themselves and applying creams and the like.
5. Preparations for the fast may not be made on Shabbos. Non-leather shoes, kinos books, and the like may not be brought to shul on Shabbos afternoon. One should bring them to shul on Friday night before davening, or after Shabbos is over at 9:10 pm.
(a) Women who normally do not daven the evening prayer must recite the following phrase before doing any work: ‘BARUCH HAMAVDIL BEIN KODESH L’CHOL.’
***Being that we will be having Ma’ariv after Shabbos is over, EVERYONE should say this phrase before coming to shul for Ma’ariv and changing into non-leather shoes, etc.***
(b) Havdala is delayed until Sunday night after the fast. However, the blessing over fire, borei meorei haeish, is recited after Ma’ariv and before reading of Megillas Eicha. One may also recite this beracha anytime during the night.
(c) Anyone who must eat on Saturday night or Sunday for health reasons should first recite Havdala over grape juice, orange juice or soda, omitting the blessing over the spices.
(d) The special addition to Ma’ariv on Motzei Shabbos, Ata Chonantanu, is recited as any other week.
II. TISHA B’AV
1. Leather shoes may not be worn throughout Tisha B’Av. Certain styles of sneakers, and other sports shoes contain pieces of leather. The prohibition of wearing leather shoes also includes those made partially of leather, and would include the aforementioned shoes as well.
2. Bathing, or washing, any part of the body for pleasure is forbidden. However, it is permissible to wash for the purpose of removing visible surface dirt. One is allowed to rinse the food to be used for cooking.
3. Persons who are unable to fast due to illness should eat regularly, but not indulge.
4. Intimacy with one’s spouse is forbidden on this night.
5. One should not study Torah on Tisha B’Av, except for sections dealing with the destruction, mourning and similar themes. Some examples of what one can learn:
(a) Megillas Eicha and its Midrash;
(b) the story of the Destruction from the 5th chapter of Gemara Gittin, and from the last chapter of Gemara Sanhedrin;
(c) the book of Iyov, Job;
(d) the prophecies of destruction from Yirmiyahu, Jeremiah, and other prophets;
(e) the 3rd chapter of Gemara Moed Katan which deals with the laws of mourning;
(f) the laws of mourning and of Tisha B’Av as found in the Shulchan Aruch.
6. During the evening and morning of Tisha B’Av, up until chatzos, midday (this year it is 1:04 pm), one should not sit on a chair or bench that is above 12 inches from the ground when it can be avoided.
7. Business transactions should be avoided in the morning; in the afternoon, however, they are permitted.
8. We do not greet others on Tisha B’Av, as we do not greet a mourner during shiva. One who is greeted by another on Tisha B’Av can respond, but should do so in a subdued manner befitting the day.
9. On the morning of Tisha B’Av we do not put on the Talis Gadol and Tefillin. The Talis Katan (‘tzitzis’) is worn from morning on, but without a beracha.
III. TISHA B’AV AFTERNOON
1. In the afternoon (after 1:04 pm) it is permitted to sit on a chair or bench.
2. At Mincha, the Talis Gadol and Tefillin are worn with the accompanying blessings, and the parts of davening left out of Shachris are inserted in Mincha.
IV. MOTZEI TISHA B’AV
1. Havdalah is recited on Motzei Tisha B’Av after the fast is over. The Havdalah consists of the beracha over the grape juice, wine or juice, and the beracha of the actual Havdalah of “hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol…” No spices or flame are used.
2. Tradition records that the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash was completed on the tenth day of Av. As such, the custom is to abstain from the following until midday (1:0 4 pm) on the 10th of Av:
(a) eating meat/drinking wine; (b) haircuts; (c) listening to music; (d) swimming and bathing for pleasure; (e) laundering of clothing.
However, this year the fast of Tisha B’Av is actually observed on the 10th of Av(because the date of the 9th of Av is on Shabbos, and we don’t fast on Shabbos unless it is Yom Kippur). Therefore, none of the above customs apply, except for the custom to not eat meat or drink wine (except for havdalah) the night immediately following the fast.
3. Many have the custom of delaying Kiddush Levana until Motzei Tisha B’Av in order that this mitzvah, replete with joy, should represent our hope for the renewal of all of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. However, in Springfield, when the summer months can be stormy and rainy (unlike Eretz Yisrael), it is advisable to say Kiddush Levana at the earliest possible time in the month.
MAY WE MERIT THAT THESE DAYS OF MOURNING BECOME DAYS OF CELEBRATION AND REJOICING SPEEDILY IN OUR DAYS!!!