Laws for postponed Tisha B'Av

On Shabbat, mourning should not be expressed, but from sunset, activities which are not necessary on Shabbat should be avoided – we remain in our Shabbat clothes, but we do not eat.

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, | updated: 17:19

מצווה. הרב מלמד
מצווה. הרב מלמד
פלאש 90

Pregnant and Nursing Women

In general, pregnant and nursing women are obligated to fast on Tisha B'Av, and are exempted from the Minor Fasts, such as the 17th of Tammuz and the Tenth of Tevet. However, when the fast of Tisha B’Av is postponed, as it is this year, the obligation of the fast of Tisha B’Av is more similar to the Minor Fasts. Nevertheless, because of the importance of the fast, l’chatchila (ideally), when there is no difficulty it is preferable for pregnant and nursing women to fast, but even if a small difficulty arises they are exempt, even though they are not considered sick.

In practice, it turns out that about 90% of pregnant women and those who partially nurse, need not fast. Those who nurse fulltime, or close to it, do not need to fast, in order not to diminish their milk supply.

The Eve of Tisha B'Av on Shabbat

When erev Tisha B'Av falls on a weekday, already at the seudah ha’mafseket, we begin practicing the minhagim (customs) of mourning: we do not eat two cooked items, we sit on the ground and do not sit together with other people, but rather, like a mourner whose deceased lies before him, and sits alone (Peninei Halakha: Z’manim 9:1-3).

However, when erev Tisha B'Av falls on Shabbat, there is no sign of mourning on Shabbat, for indeed, the general rule is there is no avelut (mourning) on Shabbat. Therefore, if Tisha B'Av falls on Shabbat, the fast is postponed to yom rishon (Sunday), and on that Shabbat we eat meat and drink wine and place on the table even a meal fit for a king like Shlomo Ha’Melech, and we sing Shabbat songs as usual, for there is no avelut on Shabbat.

The Intermediate Time between Shabbat and the Fast

However, there is an intermediate time between Shabbat and the fast, during which Shabbat has not yet ended but the prohibitions of the fast have already begun. This happens because we are unsure when one day ends and the next day begins – at sunset or when the stars emerge. Therefore, the period between sunset and the emergence of the stars is ambiguous, being possibly day, and possibly night. It is called “bein hashmashot” (twilight). And since there is a mitzvah to add time onto Shabbat, the holy day continues until a few minutes after the stars emerge.

Consequently, the time between sunset and shortly after the emergence of the stars is both Shabbat and Tish’a B’Av. During that time, it is forbidden to do anything that would appear like a custom of mourning, because we do not mourn on Shabbat. On the other hand, after sunset, we avoid doing anything that is not necessary for the sake of Shabbat, like eating, drinking, washing, and anointing. 

Seudah Shlishit

Therefore, we eat seudah shlishit (the third Shabbat meal) like we do on any other Shabbat, including the singing of Shabbat songs. However, we stop eating and drinking before sunset (Jerusalem: 19:33, Tel Aviv: 19:31, Haifa: 19:34, Be’er Sheva: 19:29) because there is no obligation – from a Shabbat perspective – to continue eating seudah shlishit after sunset. It is also fitting not to sing joyous songs after sunset, and doing so does not constitute an expression of mourning, for people do not generally sing happy songs every moment of Shabbat. 

We also refrain from washing and anointing ourselves after sunset; after all, we do not bathe or anoint ourselves on Shabbat every moment. However, one who relieves himself during bein hashmashot should wash his hands normally, for if he washes as is required on the fast, in effect, he is mourning on Shabbat.

Changing Clothes and Shoes

We remain in our Shabbat clothing, keep our shoes on, and continue sitting on chairs and greeting each other until a few minutes after three, mid-sized stars appear in the sky. Then, we say Baruch ha’mavdil bein kodesh le’chol (Blessed is He Who separates between the holy and the mundane), by which we take leave of Shabbat. Afterwards, we remove our shoes, take off our Shabbat garments, and change into weekday clothes. 

Some people have a custom to remove their shoes at sunset, provided that they do so without letting others know that it is for the sake of mourning, for it is one of the things prohibited on Tisha B'Av, and since in any case one is not obligated to wear shoes every moment of Shabbat, it does not constitute a disrespect for Shabbat if one removes them at sunset. But if there are people in the vicinity who think he has removed his shoes for the sake of mourning – this would constitute a prohibition, and therefore the prevalent custom is to remove shoes after Shabbat has ended.

One should wear clothing that was already worn the previous week, because one may not wear freshly laundered clothing on Tish’a B’Av. 

Evening Prayer

Many communities have a custom to delay Ma’ariv until around fifteen minutes after Shabbat ends, in order to give everyone time to take leave of Shabbat at home, remove their shoes, change their clothes, and come to the synagogue for Ma’ariv and the reading of Eichah in weekday clothes.

Verbal Havdalah and on Wine 

Every Shabbat we make havdalah verbally and over a cup of wine. Verbal havdalah is done by saying “Ata Chonantanu” – in the Ma’ariv prayers, or by saying “Baruch ha’mavdil bein kodesh le’chol” which permits us to do work, and also havdalah over a cup of wine which permits us to eat and drink. Since this Motzei Shabbat the fast begins, it is impossible to say havdalah over a cup of wine. Therefore, we postpone saying this form of havdalah until after the fast, which permits us to eat. Nevertheless, we say havdalah – “Ata Chonantanu” in the Ma’ariv prayers at the beginning of the fast, after which we are permitted to do work (Peninei Halakha: Z’manim 9: 5).

Blessing over the Candle

We recite the blessing over fire on such a Motzei Shabbat, because this blessing is not dependent on the cup of wine. Rather, it is an expression of thanks to God for creating fire, which was revealed to Adam on the first Motzei Shabbat. The custom is to recite the blessing after Ma’ariv, before the reading of Eichah, because people light candles at that time.

Women also recite the blessing over the candle. If they are in the synagogue - they should hear the blessing from the chazan (cantor) and enjoy the light of the candle lit next to them, and if they are at home - they should light a candle and recite the blessing over it (see, Peninei Halakha: Shabbat 8:1,1).

Havdalah at the End of the Fast

At the end of the fast one should make havdalah over a cup, and recite two blessings: “Al ha’gefen”, and “Hamavdil”. The blessings over the besamim (spices) and the candle are not recited.

At the end of the fast, it is forbidden to eat before reciting havdalah over the cup.

Havdalah for a Sick Person who needs to Eat

A sick person who needs to eat on Tish’a B’Av, must say havdalah over a cup before eating. If possible, it is preferable to use chamar medinah, such as beer containing alcohol. If one does not have beer, he may make havdalah over coffee, because in the opinion of many poskim, it is also considered chamar medinah (Peninei Halakha: Shabbat 8:4). If one does not have chamar medinah, he should say havdalah over grape juice, which, lacking alcohol, does not gladden. And if even that is unavailable, be’di’avad he should say havdalah on wine and drink a cheek full (around 40 ml.).

A minor who eats on Tish’a B’Av need not say havdalah before eating.

Kiddush Levanah

The custom is to postpone Kiddush HaLevanah (the Blessing of the Moon) until after the fast, because the blessing must be recited joyously, and we decrease our joy during the Nine Days.

Many people are accustomed to saying it immediately after the Ma’ariv prayer at the conclusion of the fast, but it is improper to do so, le’chatchilah. After all, it is difficult to be happy then, when we have yet to drink, eat, wash our faces and hands, or put on regular shoes. Therefore, each community should set a time – an hour or two after the fast – for the recitation of Kiddush Levanah, and in the meantime, everyone will have a chance to eat something and wash up. This way, they will be able to say the blessing joyously. Where there is concern that delaying Kiddush Levanah may cause some people to forget to say it, the congregation may say it immediately after the fast.

Mourning on the Day after the Fast

Most of the Beit HaMikdash was burned on the 10th of Av. However, the fast was determined by the time the fire first started, but since most of the Beit HaMikdash was burnt on the 10th, Jews customarily refrained from eating meat or drinking wine on the 10th of Av. The minhag of some Sephardic Jews is that the prohibition continues all day, and the minhag of Ashkenazi Jews and some Sephardic Jews is only until chatzot ha’yom (midday).

In addition, many Ashkenazic and Sephardic Jews are customary to refrain from washing clothes, wearing freshly laundered garments, taking haircuts, listening to joyous music, or bathing in hot water on the 10th of Av. Some people are machmir (act stringently) until chatzot, while others are not machmir at all.

However, this year, when Tish’a B’Av falls out on Shabbat and the fast is postponed until Sunday, the 10th of Av, the customs of mourning do not continue after the fast, and one is allowed to bathe in hot water, do laundry, wear laundered clothes, and listen to regular music. However, many Jews are customary to refrain from eating meat and drinking wine that night, because, seeing that everyone fasted during the day, it is improper to immediately rejoice by consuming m                                                                                eat and wine. Others permit the consumption of meat and wine immediately following the fast when it is postponed (Peninei Halakha: Z’manim 10:20).

To Increase Love, Deepen Understanding, and Strive for Tikkun

One of the paths of teshuva (repentance) and tikkun (rectification) appropriate for the Fast of Tisha B'Av, is to increase love. There are those who claim that Rabbi Yitzchak Ginsburgh shlita supports violent acts in violation of the law to deter Arab enemies, or that he supports coercion in order to impose Torah laws on the public. Those familiar with him, know that this is not his position, but for those unfamiliar with Rabbi Ginsburgh, here is his official position in the ‘Gal Einai’ newsletter published in Elul 5775 (2015):

"The Prophet Zechariah says: 'Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty’; a significant change will not come about by coercion or violence, but by the power of spirit – by bringing God's word to the Jewish nation and the world with a bright and welcoming countenance, so that the general public will willingly consent. Bringing the Torah messages to reality in such a way requiring not only to be satisfied with the Torah's halakhic side, but also a great deepening of the roots of the Torah's inner facets. In particular, Hassidut teaches that those wishing to bring about tikkun and redemption should focus on the desired future building, and not the destruction of the existing one. The struggle over our public character needs to be done mainly by way of hasbara (explaining) and chinuch (education). There is no room for violent acts of individuals. In general, harsh and aggressive action against Israel's enemies is the role of the security forces, except in cases of pikuach nefesh (life-threatening situations) requiring self-defense (according to our Sages' determination ‘lf someone comes to kill you, kill him first’).

This article appears in the ‘Besheva’ newspaper and was translated from Hebrew.





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