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The Laws of Mourning

The Laws of Mourning


As part of our mourning for the destruction of the Temple and the exile of Israel, we abstain from many pleasurable activities on the night and day of Av 9—starting with sundown on the eve of the day before, and concluding with the following nightfall (click here for the exact times in your location).

Specifically, we don't:

  • We abstain from many pleasurable activities on the night and day of Av 9Eat or drink. All adults – even pregnant and nursing women – fast on this day. One who is ill, or a pregnant woman who feels excessive weakness, should consult with a rabbi. An ill person who is not fasting should refrain from eating delicacies and should eat only that which is absolutely necessary for his physical wellbeing.
  • Wear leather footwear, or footwear that contains any leather (even if it is only a leather sole).
  • Sit on a normal-height chair until midday. ("Halachic" midday is the halfway point between sunrise and sunset; (click here for the exact times in your location.)
  • Bathe or wash oneself—"even to insert a finger in cold water."
    One who becomes soiled may rinse the affected area with cold water.
    It is permitted to wash up after using the restroom.
    When preparing food – for children, or for the post-fast meal – one may wash the food, even if it also, incidentally, washes the hands.
    When ritually washing the hands in the morning, the water should be poured on the fingers only until the knuckle joints.
  • Apply ointment, lotions or creams.
    It is permissible, however, to bathe a baby and apply ointments to his skin.
  • Engage in marital relations or any form of intimacy.
  • Send gifts, or even greet another with the customary "hello" or "how are you doing?"
  • Engage in outings, trips or similar pleasurable activities.
  • Wear fine festive clothing.
  • "One who mourns Jerusalem will merit to see her happiness"Study Torah, because "the commandments of G‑d are upright, causing the heart to rejoice" (Psalms 19:9). It is, however, permitted – and encouraged – to study sections of the Torah which discuss the laws of mourning, the destruction of the Temples, and the tragedies which befell the Jewish people throughout our history. This prohibition actually begins at midday of the day before Tisha b'Av.

"One who mourns Jerusalem will merit to see her happiness, as the verse (Isaiah 66:10) promises: 'Rejoice with her greatly, all who mourn for her'"—Talmud Taanit 30b.

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Discussion (16)
August 14, 2016
Fasting while pregnant
In a normal, healthy, pregnancy, fasting for 25 hours does not pose a risk to the mother or the baby. Women should prepare well before the fast and rest during the fast day, and be sure to consult with an experienced rabbi regarding their specific situation, particularly if there are any special circumstances. See this link for fasting tips for pregnant women.
Rochel Chein for
August 11, 2016
Is it really safe for a pregnant woman to go without food or water for that long? That seems really dangerous, considering pregnant women are supposed to get at least 8 glasses of water a day or the fetus might not get enough nourishment.
August 11, 2016
This comment is directed at Joel from Fullerton, CA.
We read the Book of Lamentations.
Midland, TX
July 26, 2015
To Michael Spinner
Yes, you may use all of the above. Staff
July 26, 2015

Please advise if it's permissible to use telephone, computer, or electronic devices on Tish B'Av.
Michael Spinner
Carlsbad, CA
August 5, 2014
Are we permitted to brush our teeth?
Los Angeles
August 5, 2014
Are we permitted to sleep on Tisha B'Av? Thank you!
December 13, 2013
Re Drinking
For those who have no underlying medical conditions, drinking water or any other liquid is not permitted on a fast day.
Mrs. Chana Benjaminson
December 13, 2013
is drinking water allowed during the fast?
July 16, 2013
Can you sleep on Tish Baav?