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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Tisha B’Av is Shabbos

This year, we have the occurrence of Tisha B’Av on Shabbos. This makes for some interesting Halachic changes which we will explore.

The only time a fast day supersedes Shabbos is when Yom Kippur falls on Shabbos, However when any other fast day is Shabbos it is pushed to Sunday. When this happens there are various different practices that are put into effect.


Since Tisha B’Av is not being observed on the correct day, we are more lenient than we would usually be with regard to the obligation for ill people, nursing and pregnant women and others to fast. For individual guidance please consult with your Rabbi.

The Seudah Hamafsekes

The final mournful meal before Tisha B’Av usually take place in late afternoon before Tisha B’Av, and is eaten solitarily while seated on the floor. The custom is to eat an egg dipped in ashes with some bread. This year that meal would be scheduled for Shabbos, and on Shabbos we don’t have any public displays of mourning, therefore the meal is skipped.

The Shulchan Aruch states that one may have meat and wine at this meal when it’s Shabbos, and a feast ‘as King Solomon had in his time’. The Mishna Berura quotes the opinion of the Rokeach that one should be in a saddened state and not have a large gathering, as is the opinion of the Magen Avraham, however the Bechor Shor writes that one should not do anything less than is usual because that would be considered public mourning.

One should be careful not to state that they are eating extra in anticipation of the fast, because that would be preparing on Shabbos for after Shabbos which is forbidden to verbalize.

Marital Relations

The Shulchan Aruch writes (554:19) that when the ninth of Av is on Shabbos all prohibitions are permitted, including marital intimacy. The Rema argues and writes that things which are done in private do still apply. As the Mishna Berura explains, he compares it is the Halacha regarding one who buries a relative on Yom Tov, and the Shiva doesn’t begin until after the holiday. Although it is forbidden to display signs of mourning publicly, that which is done in private does apply.

The Rema (in Darchei Moshe) expands on this and says that there should be an announcement in Shul that mourning in private is applicable even though it is Shabbos. The Shaar Hatzion writes that in a locale where this is not the minhag it is not necessary, especially if it may lead to people acting in a flippant manner. 

If it is the Mikvah night, as well as in certain specific circumstances, intimacy may be permissible, consult with your local Orthodox rabbi.

All other harchakos (the general restrictions in effect during the Nidda period) are not in effect. (See Shu”t Maharil Diskin, Kunteres Acharon 5:67).

Studying Torah

The Rema writes (553:2) that if Erev Tisha B’Av is Shabbos we don’t say Pirkei Avos as the restrictions of Tisha B’Av apply with regard to learning on the afternoon of Erev Tisha B’Av as well, even if it’s Shabbos.

Although the opinion of the Magen Avraham is that when Tisha B’Av is Shabbos studying Torah is forbidden all day, the vast majority of the Poskim apply the Halacha above that Torah Study is only forbidden after midday since generally when Tisha B’Av is Shabbos it is given the status of Erev Tisha B’Av, not Tisha B’Av itself, (with the exception of marital relations).

The Taz writes that one is permitted to study Torah all day, and the Mishna Berura seems to side this way as well, particularly if one will learn less than usual otherwise.

Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky writes that one should not stop a regular shiur even if it is given in the afternoon, because that would be considered public mourning, and there will be an additional issue of bitul Torah derabim (reduction in Torah study of the masses).

As an aside – why is Torah study in particular prohibited from midday of Erev Tisha B’Av? The Chasam Sofer, in a fascinating response (OC 156) explains that when one studies during the day, they are still thinking about it at night, and will therefore end up learning Torah on Tisha B’Av inadvertently! The Silmah Chadasha supports this with the Gemara (Eruvin 21b) that compares Torah study to eating meat. Just as the taste of meat lingers for six hours so too the taste of Torah lingers for hours after one has completed his studies.

Walking for Pleasure

Walking or touring for pleasure is prohibited on the afternoon of erev Tisha B’Av and this applies when it is Shabbos (according to the Chida) as well.

Changing Shoes

Ordinarily one would remove their leather shoes before sunset. However since it is Shabbos doing so would be considered mourning on Shabbos. Therefore one should wait until after Borchu and the start of Maariv to remove their shoes. The Shliach Tzibur should recite ‘Boruch Hamavdil bein Kodesh Lechol’ and remove his shoes before Borchu. In many communities Maariv is slightly delayed to allow those who ate Shalosh Seudos at home time to go to shul. In that case one should say “Boruch Hamavdil Bein Kodeh Lchol” and change their shoes immediately. They should then make the blessing over fire (preferably a male should make it for everyone) and go to shul.


One should be careful not to do any preparation on Shabbos, and should bring their non leather shoes and other Tisha B’Av paraphernalia to Shul before Shabbos, if they will not be home at the conclusion of Shabbos.


Havdala is not recited on Saturday night that is Tisha B’Av. On Sunday night before breaking one’s fast one recites a modified version of Havdala, beginning with Borei Pri Hagefen and continuing with the last blessing. This Havdala should be recited over wine.

The blessing over the Besamim (spices) is totally omitted. The blessing over the candle is recited on Saturday night in Shul before the reading of Eicha. If one is not in Shul they should make the blessing over the candle at home. The consensus of most Halachic authorities is that that this applies to women as well, however when possible a male should make the blessing on the women’s behalf. (see Biur Halacha 296:12, Igros Moshe CM 2:47:2, this is also the opinion of the Tzitz Eliezer and Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky).

One should say the regular Havdala insertion in Shemonah Esrei of Saturday night. If forgotten do not repeat Shemonah Esrei, and it should not be inserted Sunday night. However if forgotten, or a woman or child who do not daven Maariv, should make sure to say ‘Boruch Hamavdil Bein kodesh Lechol’ before doing any Melacha.

According to some Poskim, an ill person who needs to eat on Tisha B’Av needs to make Havdala first. This Havdala should be made over ‘chamar medina’ such as coffee. A child who is old enough to be obligated in chinuch for Havdala (about 9 years old as per Rav Yaakov Kamenetsky) can use apple juice. In all instances that Havdala is made on Saturday night they should say the first paragraph of Havdala as well.

The opinion I heard from my Rebbe is that one should always delay Havdala until Sunday night, and if one is in a position where they need to eat on Tisha B’Av they should eat without Havdala. This is comparable to the Halacha of someone who is an Onen (mourner before burial) on Saturday night and may not make any blessings; he may eat, but delays his Havdala until Sunday night. (See the Maharam Miruttenberg as quoted by the Rosh in Berachos Chapter 3:2, Shulchan Aruch YD 341:2, see also the Rosh in Taanis 4:40)

Motzai Tisha B’Av

Generally the restrictions of the Nine Days extend into the night following Tisha B’Av as well. However when Tisha B’Av is Shabbos and observed on Sunday (which is really the 10th of Av) there are no restrictions in effect other than the prohibition of meat and wine, with the exception of the wine used for Havdala on Sunday night. (see Kenesses Hagedola who prohibits marital relations, however the poskim indicate by omission that they disagree, and this is explicated by Rav Shmuel Kamentsky).

In the merit of the proper observation of the laws of mourning may we merit the fulfillment of
עוד ישמע בערי יהודה ובחוצות ירושלים קול ששון וקול שמחה קול חתן וקול כלה

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Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch HaberRabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber is sought after by all who know him for his Halachic and practical advice. His keen ability to put complicated matters into a digestible perspective coupled with his ability to get the facts, make him the perfect blogger to help us all “Do It Right”.

A native of Buffalo, NY, Rabbi Tzvi Hirsch Haber spent his childhood globetrotting with his family. His pioneering spirit first surfaced in Melbourne, Australia, where he was excited to be a member of the opening class of Mesivta Bnei Torah. From Australia the Haber family settled down in Monsey, NY. Ever the maverick, Tzvi promptly left home to study in Yeshiva Ohr Hameir in Peekskill, where he became a mainstay of the Yeshiva, and inspired his younger brothers as well as several friends from the Mesivta in Melbourne to follow him. He then joined his chaburah in Jerusalem, first at the Mir Yeshiva and then at the Bais Medrash of Rav Dovid Soloveitchik, a senior scion of the famed Brisk dynasty. As his globetrotting family returned to Jerusalem, Tzvi returned to the US, to freeze in the famed, yet comparatively chilled Beth Medrash Govoha of Lakewood.

 In 2004 he met his wife, Suzanne Schor, a native of the warmer Los Angeles climate, and the couple settled in Lakewood, where he focused his pioneering and independent strengths on the study of Halacha, or Jewish law. His innovative spirit and innate ability to help others seeking to clarify the finer points of Judaism and integrate them into their daily lives inspired his decision to commute daily from Lakewood to the Lower East Side of Manhattan in order to bask in the day to day exposure to the world renowned Posek, HaRav David Feinstein. The daily commute was more than compensated for when he received Semicha from Rav Feinstien and the Kollel L’Torah U’lhorah (a division of Mesivta Tifereth Jerusalem) in Tamuz 5768, June 2008.

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