The Laws of Tisha b'Av (5777)

July 07, 2017

Fast Begins – Monday, July 31 at 7:55 PM

Fast Ends – August 1 at 8:36 PM

1. Monday, July 31st, is Erev Tisha B’Av. While the Fast with all its restrictions do not begin until sunset (7:55 PM), there are various Halachos that take effect prior. It is customary not to study Torah subjects after midday (1:00 PM). Topics which are reserved for Tisha B’Av (e.g. Eicha, Laws of Tisha B’Av and mourning) may be studied. Outings and other excursions should be avoided on this day.2. In order to allow ample time for the necessary meals prior to the Fast, Mincha will be held much earlier than usual at 5:45 PM. As mentioned, the Fast and its attendant restrictions begin at 7:55 PM. Following Mincha, a normal meal should be served to fortify oneself for the Fast. There are no restrictions with regard to this meal other than the general laws that govern the Nine Days (no meat, poultry and wine). After this meal is concluded, a break should be taken to allow for the traditional Seudah Ha’Mafesekes.

3. The Seudah Ha’Mafesekes (concluding meal) has very specific Halachos. The purpose of this meal is to create a somber introduction to Tisha B’Av. The meal is therefore austere, only consisting of some dry bread, a hard-boiled egg and water. It is customary to dip the bread in ashes and declare ‘This is the Tisha B’Av meal.’ This meal should be eaten while sitting on or low to the floor. The meal is also eaten in solitude without a zimun.

4. Before reciting Birkas Ha’Mazone (Grace after meals) one should verbally state that he/she is not accepting the Fast. This disclaimer allows one to still eat and drink until sunset.

5. All final preparations for Tisha B’Av must cease before sunset at 7:55 PM. At this time, all aspects of the Fast begin, regardless whether one is home or at Shul and has yet to daven Ma’ariv.

6. On Tisha B’Av there are five basic restrictions as on Yom Kippur:

a) No eating and drinking. b) No bathing or washing. Upon using the restroom one should wash one’s hands until the knuck-les. Upon rising in the morning, one should also wash “neggel vasser” (Netilas Yadayim) only until the knuckles. c) No anointing of lotions, colognes and perfumes. This includes cosmetics and make-up. On Tisha B’Av one may apply deodorant. d) No leather footwear may be worn. e) Marital relations are prohibited. The custom is to conduct oneself on Tisha B’Av as if his wife were a Niddah.

7. On Tisha B’Av traditional Torah study is suspended as it brings “gladness to the heart.” Other Torah topics which reflect the sadness of the day are studied instead. Please check the schedule for various classes and events that are being offered.

8. On Tisha B’Av we do not greet each other even with the customary “Good Morning.” If someone initi-ates the greeting the response should be soft and somber. It is suggested to explain the reason for the reticence as not to provoke ill-will.

9. Tallis & Tefillin are not donned in the morning at Shacharis (6:00 & 8:30 AM) but are worn at Mincha (1:35 & 7:25 PM). The Tallis Katon is worn as usual but a bracha is not recited.

10. Midday (Chatzos Ha’Yom) is at 1:00 PM. At this time we may return to a regular chair and those who customarily go to work on Tisha B’Av may do so.

11. Ma’ariv will be held at 8:10 PM and the Fast concludes at 8:36 PM.

12. The custom is to extend the Laws of the Nine days until midday of the 10th of Av-Wednesday, August 2nd at 1:00 PM.




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