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Halachot of Tisha B’Av 5775

July 24, 2015

Congregation Netivot Shalom, Baltimore Tisha B’Av Schedule 5775


Saturday July 25 Sunday July 26
Mincha 6:30pm Shacharit and Explanatory Kinot 8:15am
Finish eating 8:25pm Chatzot Ha’yom (Midday) 1:13pm
Shabbat ends/say “Ha’mavdil” and change shoes 9:15pm Parent/Children Art Project 1:30pm
Ma’ariv, Eicha* and Explanatory Kinot 9:30pm Family Appropriate Movie:

DisneyNature’s Chimpanzee

*We will offer two simultaneous readings of Eicha. Men’s voices only, and co-ed voices.   Shiur by Dr. Richard Wagner

“Holocaust and Halacha”

  Mincha and Ma’ariv 8:00pm
    Fast Ends and havdalah 9:06pm

Tisha B’Av

Tisha B’Av is the most tragic day in the Jewish calendar. The Mishnah in Ta’anit tells us that five tragedies occurred on the 9th of Av: The sin of the spies occurred resulting in the generation of the desert not being allowed to enter the Land of Israel; The first Temple was destroyed; the second Temple was destroyed; Betar – the final Jewish stronghold against the Romans – fell; the spot where the Temple stood was plowed. Additionally, the Jews were forced out of Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella in 1492 on Tisha B’Av.

Every effort should be made to fast on Tisha B’Av. Anyone for whom fasting poses a serious medical (or other) issue should consult with their rabbi about their halachic options.


Children and Fast Days

Fast days can be especially difficult for parents of young children, who face the dual challenge of having to feed their children and also to occupy their children while fasting. These challenges may be exacerbated this year, as both fasts occur on a Sunday and the 17th of Tammuz coincides with July 4th weekend.

There are several factors to keep in mind while caring for young children on a fast day:

  1. It is important to explain to your children why you are fasting and why it is a sad day for the Jewish people. Figure out with your children how they can make the day more meaningful. Suggestions include: limiting the amount of food they eat, and/or limiting their intake of “treats”; learning with them about the Beit haMikdash or other elements of the fast; Finding a meaningful art project; working on a charitable cause, etc.
  2. The Mishnah Berurah (Orach Chayim 550:5) notes that children who are not obligated to fast should limit what they eat to food that is necessary to sustain their body.
  3. Explain to your children in advance that you will be fasting and it will be difficult. Ask them how they can make your day easier.
  4. Netivot will offers some children’s programming on Tisha B’Av. See the schedule above.

When Tisha B’Av Falls on Shabbat

Though we do not observe Tisha B’Av on Shabbat, the fast begins at sunset (shkia) of Shabbat. One must finish their meal by sunset and thoroughly wash out their mouth. Because it is Shabbat we do not eat the traditional seudah mafseket (see below). One should not hold back from what they normally eat for Seudah shlishit, and we are permitted to eat meat if that is our custom.

One may continue to wear their regular shoes until the beginning of Ma’ariv.

Please note that we will hold Mincha earlier than normal on Shabbat afternoon to allow people to eat Seudah Shlishit before the onset of the fast. There will be no Seudah Shlishit at shul.

There are many posekim who advise against learning Torah which causes happiness after mid-day of Shabbat, and they advise only learning material that would be appropriate for Tisha B’Av. However, there are also significant posekim who allow learning for all of Shabbat.


Sexual Relations

There is debate among the posekim whether sexual relations (and other “private matters”) are allowed when Tisha B’Av falls on Shabbos and its observance is delayed until Sunday. Conceptually, the question hinges on whether the fast has been completely uprooted until Sunday so that no elements of mourning apply to Shabbat or whether fundamentally the 9th of Av is still a day of fasting and mourning but the majority of those practices are at odds with Shabbat. Those elements that do not interfere with Shabbat would then be allowed.

Practically speaking, the Shulchan Aruch allows marital relations on Shabbat. The Rema notes that there are those who forbid it, and we should therefore be stringent. However, the Gra allows marital relations and the Mishnah Berurah allows it if it is the woman’s mikvah night.


We do not recite Havdallah as normal because we cannot drink wine. The proper procedure is as follows (please see Shulchan Aruch OH 556):

  1. After Shabbat, before Ma’ariv say baruch ha-mavdil bein kodesh le-chol. (Blessed is He Who distinguishes between the holy and profane.)
  2. Say the paragraph of Atah chonantanu in the fourth blessing of the Amidah.
  3. Before the reading of Eicha we recite the blessing of Boreh me’orei ha-eish (Blessed is God Who creates flames) over a lit candle. We do not recite any of the other blessings of Havdallah at this time.
  4. At the conclusion of the fast on Sunday night we recite Havdallah over a cup of wine. We recite only the blessing of Boreh pri ha-gafen and ha-Mavdil.         (See the Mishnah Berurah OH 556:3 who explains that we may recite Havdallah over wine and drink it ourselves despite the restrictions against wine during the nine days.)
  5. A minor who is eating on Tisha B’Av need not hear Havdallah before eating.
  6. If an adult is eating on Tisha B’Av for medical or other reasons, he/she must recite Havdallah before eating (just the brachot of boreh pri hagafen (or a different drink) and hamavdil.       It is preferable to say Havdallah on a beverage other than wine. If those who are fasting hear this Havdallah, they may fulfill their obligation.

Seudah Mafeseket

The final meal we eat before the fast is the Seudah Mafseket. Traditionally, it comprises only one course – bread and a hard boiled egg dipped in ashes. The seudah mafseket should be eaten while sitting on the ground, or low to the floor, and should not be eaten in a group. We do not eat the seudah mafseket this year because it is Shabbat.

Prohibition of the Day

Tisha B’Av has the same prohibitions as Yom Kippur

  1. no eating or drinking
  2. no bathing
  3. no anointing with oil
  4. no leather shoes
  5. no marital relations

Additionally, on Tisha B’Av we are limited in the Torah that we may learn. Since learning Torah brings us joy, we only study material that relates to the somber mood of the day.

Because Tisha B’Av parallels shiva — the most intense period of mourning – we also have the custom to sit low to the floor for the first half of the day. Many people also have the custom of sleeping on the floor or mitigating their comfort during sleep by using one pillow less than they normally do.



We do not greet people on Tisha B’Av, as is the practice of mourners. If someone greets us, we can return the greeting.


Morning preparations

In the morning of Tisha B’Av, we may not wash our hands and face in the normal manner. Rather, just as on Yom Kippur, we wash negel vaser (morning washing of the hands) only up to our knuckles. We may use the residual water on our fingers to wipe away sediment from our eyes. The bracha of al netilat yada’im is said.

Talit and Tefilin

We do not wear talit or tefilin during Shacharit on Tisha B’Av to show our intense mourning. Tefilin is referred to as pe’er – the Jewish people’s glory. We do not display our glory during our most intense time of mourning. Rather, we delay wearing tefilin until Mincha when the intensity of our mourning is less severe. The talit katan is worn without a bracha. Those who do not wear a talit during davening should answer amen to the bracha of someone who does (at mincha).

Chatzot haYom (Mid-day)

The sadness of Tisha B’Av is most intense at night and during the morning. At mid-day (1:13pm) our sadness is somewhat mitigated. We no longer sit low to the ground, and are able to sit on chairs at normal heights.

Liturgical additions

At night we recite the Book of Eicha (Lamentations) in which the prophet Yermiyah (Jeremiah) describes the destruction of Jerusalem.

As part of the evening and morning services we recite kinot — liturgical poems lamenting the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem. Because Tisha B’Av is the day on which we commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, we also recite kinot for other calamities including the Crusades, the expulsion of Jews from Spain, and the Holocaust.

During Mincha we read the Torah and Haftarah of all fast days. We recite the additional paragraph of aneinu said on all fast days as part of the amidah. We also include a special paragraph of nachem inserted into the blessing of rebuilding Jerusalem. In modern times, some authorities have composed alternative versions of this paragraph that more accurately reflects the current state of Jerusalem as a thriving city.

Interestingly we do not recite tachanun on Tisha B’Av. When Meshiach comes, Tisha B’Av will become a day of great celebration, and the prophet Jeremiah refers to Tisha B’Av as “moed” – a holiday.

The Day After Tisha B’Av

Tradition teaches that the fires that destroyed the Beit ha-Mikdash burned into the 10th of Av. We therefore continue the stringencies of the Nine Days until halachic noon of the 10th of Av. In years in which the 10th of Av falls on Friday, we may resume those activities that are required to prepare for Shabbat immediately after the fast (i.e., laundry, hair cuts, shaving, etc.). However, the prohibition against swimming and listening to music continues until halachic noon on Friday.

When Tisha B’Av occurs on Shabbat and is observed on Sunday, the strictures of the 9 days remain in place through Sunday night, but are cancelled on Monday morning (there is no need to wait until Halachic noon).


From → Chagim, Halacha

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