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  • Writer's picturePortal al Judaísmo


All the laws of the Nine Days commence on the eve of Rosh Hodesh Av.

As soon as Av begins, we minimize our joy. All activities that bring us joy should be suspended or reduced if they cannot be entirely eliminated. Among them are: making improvements to one's garden, additions to the house that are not essential (such as repairs), buying new clothes, wearing clothes that are fresh laundered or dry cleaned (except garments that absorb perspiration such underwear), eating meat or chicken (including broths or sauces made from them) and drinking wine. Also included in the prohibition is bathing for pleasure (swimming lessons are permitted) and laundering clothes (except when necessary as in the case of young children).

It is permitted to eat meat at a seudat mitzvah, such as a brit, a pidyon haben, a bar mitzvah or the siyum (completion) of a significant book of Torah (a Talmud tractate, or even a Mishna tractate or a book of the Bible with commentaries--for those who are not able to learn Talmud). It is permitted to invite people who would normally be invited to such an event. Drinking wine is forbidden as is grape juice, but other alcoholic beverages are permitted. There is an opinion that all alcoholic beverages give us joy and should be avoided as well.

If a contract was made with a gentile contractor for a home improvement one should attempt to postpone the work if possible. In cases of financial loss, the non-Jew may be allowed to work.

Clothes are usually prepared before Rosh Hodesh by wearing them briefly and then hang them and wear them during the Nine Days. One may bathe, shampoo and wear Shabbat clothes for Shabbat.

Children should be instructed in these laws from the age of six. Pregnant women may eat poultry and nursing women may eat meat if they feel this will improve their milk. A woman who has given birth may eat meat during the thirty days following the birth, even during the Nine Days. It is a mitzvah to eat meat on Shabbat and drink wine as usual. One may eat meat even if one accepts Shabbat earlier and during Seuda Shlisheet if the meal lasts well after sunset. For havdalah, Ashkenazim do not drink wine, either by using a different beverage on that Motzae Shabbat or by giving the wine to a child. Sephardim have the havdalah wine as usual and they refrain from wine only after havdalah.

In general, many of the laws associated with the Nine Days are observed by many Sephardic communities only during the week of Tish'a Be'Av, i.e., starting after havdalah on the Motzae Shabbat before the Fast.

Above all, during these days we should remember that our Temple is not destroyed but also it has not been rebuilt. Therefore, the same motivations for which it was destroyed continue to exist today preventing us from rebuilding it. The main reason was the disunity of Am Israel and the unnecessary animosity that exists among all of our people and which continues to bring us not only the absence of a Bet hamiqdash, but more recently the insecurity of the State of Israel and the tragic loss of lives sustained in the last few days.

Let us pray for unity but above all, let us contribute to it with our actions and thoughts! And may the Fast of the Fifth month (Tish'a be'Ab) be Transformed soon into a day of rejoicing and celebration.

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