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The Nine Days—Laws and Customs

The Nine Days—Laws and Customs

Heightened mourning, uplifting visions and rejoicing with mitzvot

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The first nine days of the month of Av, and also the morning of the tenth,1 are days of acute mourning for the destruction of the first and second Holy Temples.

During this time, we don’t:

  • Eat meat (including poultry) or drink wine, for during this period the sacrifices and wine libations in the Holy Temple ceased.2 The exceptions to this rule are meat and wine consumed on Shabbat or as part of a meal that celebrates a mitzvah, such as a circumcision, bar mitzvah, or the completion of a tractate of the Talmud.
  • Launder clothing (except for a baby’s)—even if they will not be worn during the Nine Days—or wear freshly laundered outer clothing.3 Those who wish to change their clothing daily should prepare a number of garments and briefly don each of them before the onset of the Nine Days. Then it is permitted to wear these “non-freshly laundered” garments during the Nine Days.We don’t consume meat or wine, for during this period the sacrifices and wine libations ceased
  • Swim or bathe for pleasure.
  • Remodel or expand a home.
  • Plant trees to be used for shade or fragrance (as opposed to fruit trees).
  • Buy, sew, weave or knit new clothing—even if they will be worn only after the Nine Days.
    Exceptions to this rule: (a) If you will miss a major sale, or if the garment will be unavailable later. (b) For the purpose of a mitzvah, such as purchasing new clothing for a bride and groom.
  • Cut nails during the actual week of the fast of Tisha B’Av—i.e., starting from the Saturday night before the fast until the conclusion of the Nine Days.

The Sephardic custom is to observe the stringencies regarding meat, wine and bathing only in the week of Tisha B’Av.

Some more observances:

  • The Sanctification of the Moon is postponed until after Tisha B’Av.
  • There is no law forbidding traveling during the Nine Days; however, it is customary to refrain from traveling (or engaging in any potentially perilous activity) during these days, unless it is absolutely necessary.
  • One may become engaged to be married during this period, but no celebration should be held until after Tisha B’Av.

Note: All these restrictions are in addition to the restrictions that apply during all of the Three Weeks.

Shabbat Chazon

The Shabbat preceding the Ninth of Av is called Shabbat Chazon—“Shabbat of the Vision.” This Shabbat’s reading from the Prophets begins with the words Chazon Yeshayahu, the “vision of Isaiah” regarding the destruction of the Holy Temple. The legendary chassidic master Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berditchev said that on this special Shabbat, every Jewish soul is shown a vision of the third Holy Temple. The purpose of this vision is to arouse within every Jew a yearning to actually see this edifice which will be built by G‑d, and to do as many mitzvot as possible in order to realize this dream. While this vision may not be sensed with the physical eyes, the soul certainly experiences this vision, and it affects the person on the subconscious level.

There is no mourning on Shabbat—click here for more on this topic.

If We try to moderate the sadness through participating in permissible celebrationspossible, this week’s havdalah wine or grape juice should be given to a child—younger than bar/bat mitzvah age—to drink.

Click here for the rules that apply if this Shabbat falls on the eighth or ninth of Av.

The Inner Dimension

“When the month of Av enters, we reduce our joy . . .”

—Talmud, Taanit 26b

The entire month of Av is considered to be an inopportune time for Jews. Our sages advised that a Jew who is scheduled to have a court hearing—or anything of a similar nature—against a gentile during this month should try to postpone it until after Av, or at least until after the Nine Days.

On the positive side, as we get closer and closer to the messianic era, when these days will be transformed from days of sadness to days of joy, we start to focus on the inner purpose of the destruction, which is to bring us to a higher level of sensitivity and spirituality, and ultimately to the rebuilding—with even greater grandeur and glory—of all that was destroyed.

We therefore try to moderate the sadness through participating in permissible celebrations. It is therefore the Chabad custom to have someone complete a tractate of the Talmud each day of the Nine Days, in order to infuse these days with permissible joy.

Click here for more on this topic.

Footnotes
1.

The Temple was set ablaze on the afternoon of the ninth of Av, and burned through the tenth.

2.

Through custom, this prohibition has been expanded to include food cooked with meat. However, one may eat food that was prepared in a meat pot or utensil.

3.

Shoes purchased specifically for the Ninth of Av—e.g., shoes made from canvas or rubber—may be worn even if they are new.

Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Rabbi Yisroel Cotlar for Chabad.org August 17, 2016

Re: Musical Instruments Musical Instruments are not played during the Nine Days.

Reply

ChallahBackGirl San Diego August 10, 2016

Can you play a musical instrument during the nine days? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org August 8, 2016

Re: What did we observe while the 2nd Beis HaMikdash stood? According to Maimonides the fast of Tisha B'av was observed during the times of the second Temple. It is possible that the reason you mentioned played a role in that. Reply

Chabad.org Staff via chabadone.org August 8, 2016

To Anonymous It is not customary to light candles during the Nine Days. Some communities light candles in the synagogue on the fast of Nine Av. Reply

Chabad.org Staff via chabadone.org August 8, 2016

To Ayton Correct, as is mentioned above :) Reply

Anonymous August 8, 2016

What did we observe while the 2nd Beis HaMikdash stood? During the 2nd Beis HaMikdash many of the Nissim that were present in the 1st were absent. Did we therefore fast or observe a period of mourning while the 2nd Beis HaMikdash stood? Reply

Anonymous new york August 5, 2016

a nine day candle Do I light a 9 candle? if so, when? Reply

Ayton Atias Los Angeles August 4, 2016

Hi. Since Sephardim only observe the week of Tisha Ba'av, I've heard that since this year it falls on Shabbat, but we observe it the following day on Sunday, that it technically is a new week and there is no week to observe. Have you heard this? This is coming from one of the Sephardic Rabbis in my community here in LA. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org August 1, 2016

You may eat meat until sunset on Thursday. Once it becomes nighttime, the Nine Days have officially begun. Reply

Anonymous Israel July 31, 2016

Can I still eat meat on erev Rosh Chodesh av this year Thursday night ( by the way I'm as Ashkenazi as they come
Thanks Reply

David L. November 26, 2015

In reply to "If you are going to miss a major sale online and you are also ordering stuff that are not on sale can you buy the other stuff to so that you don't have to pay for shipping again?":

Analogy: You travel to a store to make a major purchase in order to avoid a significant financial loss. On the way back, you pass by a clothing store, and say, "I can use some more socks, and buying them now will avoid the time and expense of making a separate shopping trip later."

My "gut feeing" is that if deferring the minor purchase would be a significant financial hardship, buy it now. Otherwise, wait until after the Nine Days. Reply

Mrs. Halevi via chabadulstercounty.org July 22, 2015

Rosh Chodesh Av According to our Holy Torah b'yad Moshe, Rosh Chodesh Av is the yortzeit of Aharon HaKohen, ztz"l. See Numbers/ Bamidbar Massey 33,38. Reply

Anonymous israel July 19, 2015

if you are going to miss a major sale online and you are also ordering stuff that are not on sale can you buy the other stuff to so that you don't have to pay for shipping again? Reply

Shimon Sydney July 18, 2015

Are going on nature walks prohibited? Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org July 17, 2015

Re: Exception to Not Buying New Clothing The rationale is that the purchase is not being done as a pleasurable activity, which should be avoided during this period, rather as something practical. Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org July 17, 2015

Re: why only negative laws You are certainly right about. But sometimes it take a change to our regular behavior to realize that somethings needs to be done. Observing the negative laws of the Nine Days should serve as a reality check as to the reason we have this period. This should hopefully lead one to focusing on the positive as well. Reply

rulierose ann arbor July 17, 2015

the "don't buy clothes unless you're going to miss a major sale" reads like a comedy routine about Jews. but hey, I'll take it! who wants to miss a good sale? ;-)

seriously though...it's ironic that the Iran deal is happening right before Tisha B'Av. Barack Obama definitely needs to be added to the list of the misfortunes of our people. Reply

Robert Georgia July 16, 2015

Exception to Not Buying New Clothing I find this exception to not buying new clothing strange: "If you will miss a major sale, or if the garment will be unavailable later." It's pragmatic, but strange. Is there any religious basis for this exception? Reply

J J Verstae Long Island, NY July 15, 2015

The 9 Days.....why only negative laws....things you cannot do We know that the second Beit HaMikdash was destroyed for sinat chinam. I have heard that the remedy is Ahavat Chinam.

Why are no laws of the 9 Days reflecting of this. Why no law legislating that we be extra nice to people? Why no law legislating that we should smile at more people. In my humble opinion this could accomplish so much more than emphasizing the things that make life unpleasant such as not laundering clothing.

is there any Talmudic dictum that addresses this and legislates kindness during the 9 days? Thank you. J J Reply

Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org July 31, 2014

Re: what is the 9 days? While there wasn't a specific occurrence on Rosh Chodesh Av, the Talmud (Taanit 26b) says that when the month of Av begins we decrease in joyous activities. Reply

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