Donate Now Through CanadaHelps.org!
Tisha B'Av

THE TWENTY-TWO DAYS

Thus is it written in our Holy Talmud (Tractate Ta’anith):

“Five calamities befell our forefathers on the Seventeenth of Tammuz, and five on Tish’ah be Ab (the Ninth of Ab).

On the Seventeenth of Tammuz the Tablets of Stone were broken (by Moshe Rabbenu), the daily-offering ceased (in the Temple), the walls of the City (of Jerusalem) were breached, Apostomos burned the Torah Scroll and placed an idol in the Hekhal (Sanctuary). Some say it was actually Apostomos, while another opinion is that it was Menashe.

On Tish’ah be Ab it was decreed upon our forefathers that they should not enter the Land of Israel (because of the sin of the Ten Spies), the First Temple was destroyed, so too the Second, Bittair was seized and the City of Jerusalem ploughed up.”

These twenty-two days from the Seventeenth of Tammuz to Tish’ah be Ab are thus, among the saddest in our calendar and the Halakhoth (laws) and the Minhaghim (customs) that we have adopted, reflect this.

On these “Days of Distress” we lessen our laughter and pleasures for it is written that every generation which does not witness the rebuilding of the Beth Hammiqdash (Temple), it is as if it were destroyed in its day.

Dancing is not permitted for all the twenty-two days and a Jewish musician who performs for non-Jews should not perform on these days either. However, if he would have nothing to eat, he is permitted to perform from the eighteenth till the twenty-ninth of Tammuz, but not after.

One should avoid reciting the blessing of Sheheheyanu on these days except in cases such as a Pidyon Habben (redemption of a first-born male) or on a new fruit that would not be available afterwards. During this period there is a custom among Sepharadim to recite Tiqqun Rahel in the afternoon.

FROM ROSH HODESH AB

From the onset of the month of Ab joyfulness should be lessened, and one who has a court-case with a non-Jew should postpone it till after the tenth of Ab.

Negotiations for and acquisitions of items for joyous purposes, such as marriages, are postponed till after the Ninth of Ab. However, they are permitted if the items would not be available later, or if they would then be more costly.

While some Sepharadim do not perform weddings from Rosh Hodesh (the new month) to the Ninth of Ab, the accepted practice is to be strict and forbid it from the Seventeenth of Tammuz.

Bathing is not permitted during these nine days. Today, however, while there are different opinions on the matter, some consider, that a less pleasant option, such as a cold shower, is acceptable. In any case, there is no question that it is permitted for health and ritual purposes.

Click Here for more of the Laws and Customs of Tisha B'Av.

(Taken from the writings of Hakham Ya'aqob Menashe.)