The Tenth of Av

The Tenth of Av

Question #1. “We are leaving the morning after Tisha B’Av for Eretz Yisroel to attend a family simcha. Do we have to pack a suitcase full of dirty laundry and wash it upon our arrival?”

Question #2. “I am studying a Mesechta and was told not to rush to complete the siyum during the Nine Days. May I make a fleishig siyum the night after Tisha B’Av, and assuming that I can, may I rush the learning to make the siyum at that time?

Question #3. May I recite a Shehecheyanu on the night after Tisha B’Av?

BACKGROUND TO THE SHAYLAH

The Gemara (Taanis 29a) records the following: “On the Seventh of Av, the gentiles entered the Beis Hamikdash and spent three days feasting and contaminating it. As the sun was setting on the Ninth of Av, they set the Beis Hamikdash ablaze, and it continued to burn for the entire next day.” (Shulchan Aruch notes that the Beis Hamikdash burned the entire Tenth of Av, the fire finally going out as the sun set on the Tenth.) Because of this event, Rabbi Yochanan declared that had he been alive at the time of the Churban, he would have declared the fast on the Tenth of Av, rather than the Ninth. He felt that the main mourning should be on the day that the Beis Hamikdash was actually destroyed rather than on the day that the tragedy began. The halacha does not follow Rabbi Yochanan: the main observance is on the Ninth, when the destruction began. Nevertheless, the custom is to observe the Tenth of Av as a day of mourning, as we will see.

Although Chazal did not institute two consecutive days of fasting because it is dangerous for most people to go 48 hours without eating, the Talmud Yerushalmi records that Rabbi Avin fasted for two consecutive days – the entire Ninth and the entire Tenth days of Av to commemorate the tragedy on both days. Rabbi Levi, who was not as strong, fasted only the Ninth and through the night of the Tenth, but broke his fast on the morning of the Tenth. Note that these rabbonim did not require people to fast both days. Rabbi Avin felt the loss of the Beis Hamikdash so intensely that he fasted both days to grieve its loss. Rabbi Levi also felt the intensity of the Churban, but could not fast two consecutive days because of his health. Thus, he observed the Tenth of Av as a fast day to the extent that he could, refraining from ending his Tisha B’Av fast until the following morning.

The Tur (558) mentions that although we lack the strength to extend our fast into the Tenth of Av, nonetheless it is appropriate to refrain from eating meat on the Tenth. Thus, on the Tenth we eat only what is necessary to regain our strength from the Tisha B’Av fast, but not luxury items such as meat and wine. Nevertheless, we find that even in later generations there were great tzadikim who fasted both the Ninth and the Tenth of Av. Several interesting shaylahs result from this fast:

NACHEIM ON THE TENTH

Does someone who is fasting on the Tenth of Av recite Nacheim, the special prayer added to the Shmoneh Esrei of Tisha B’Av, when he is fasting the day after Tisha B’Av? On the one hand, it is no longer Tisha B’Av, so why should someone recite Nacheim? On the other hand, one is commemorating the day that the Beis Hamikdash was destroyed by fasting on that day. The Shla Hakodesh ruled that one who is still fasting on the Tenth of Av because of the churban should recite Nacheim then (quoted by Birkei Yosef). We see from his discussion that it was not unusual in his time for people to fast two consecutive days because of the Churban!

However, someone who is marrying on the night of the Eleventh of Av and is therefore fasting on the Tenth because of Taanis chassan should not recite Nacheim – because he did not fast the night before and it is therefore not a continuous fast to commemorate the churban.

FORGOT TISHA B’AV!

Some Poskim mention another interesting shaylah. A traveler without access to a Jewish calendar arrived in a Jewish community the afternoon of Tisha B’Av and discovered that he had failed to observe any of the halachos of Tisha B’Av. Since he ate the entire day because of his mistake, what should he do now? Can he observe any of the halachos of Tisha B’Av?

Firstly, he should not eat the rest of Tisha B’Av, because every piece of food that he eats violates the fast of Tisha B’Av. He is also required to observe the other halachos of Tisha B’Av until the end of the day.

What else should he do?

The gadol who paskened the shaylah ruled that he should fast and observe the halachos of Tisha B’Av on the Tenth of Av, because Chazal would have instituted the Tenth of Av as a fast were it not too difficult for people. Therefore, someone who failed to observe the Ninth of Av should fast on the Tenth (Birkei Yosef).

FASTING ON MONDAY THE ELEVENTH

Someone asked the Maharil (Shu’t #125, quoted by the Beis Yosef, Orach Chayim 558) the following shaylah. He usually fasted on the Ninth and Tenth of Av, but in the year he asked the shaylah, Tisha B’Av was on Shabbos. Thus, Sunday, the observed Tisha B’Av that year, was really the Tenth of Av. Must he fast on the Eleventh of Av in order to fulfill his practice of fasting two days of Tisha B’Av?!

The Maharil ruled that he is not required to fast on the Eleventh of Av. The reason for fasting on the Tenth of Av is because most of the Churban occurred on this day, as we explained above. But by the Eleventh the Beis Hamikdash had already finished burning and there is no reason to fast.

However, the Maharil ruled that he should refrain from eating meat on the night of the Eleventh and begin eating meat only in the morning. This is because the meal following a fast should be solemn and not include any meat or wine. Similarly, Sefer Hassidim rules that one should not eat meat or drink wine either immediately before or immediately after a fast (quoted by Shu’t Maharshal #92).

Because of these reasons, although the halacha specifically does allow one to eat fleishig immediately after Shiva Asar b’Tamuz, Asarah B’Teiveis and Tzom Gedalyah, many people have a minhag not to eat meat these nights, or at least not to eat meat immediately after the fast since these dates all commemorate events surrounding the Churban. After Yom Kippur, many have the custom specifically to eat meat in order to celebrate the forgiving of our sins.

In conclusion, the Shulchan Aruch (558) rules one should refrain from eating meat or drinking wine the entire day of the Tenth of Av, and this is the normative practice of the Sefardim. The Rama rules that one need refrain only until midday of the Tenth, and this is standard Ashkenazic practice. (However, other Ashkenazic poskim rule that one should refrain from eating meat the entire Tenth of Av [Shu’t Maharshal #92].)

SOME MEATY LENIENCIES

Some contend that on the night of the Tenth one may eat food that contains meat and that one may also recite the bensching over wine (called bensching on a kos) if he usually recites the bensching over wine (Maamar Mordechai).

It should be noted that none of the poskim we have quoted so far mention refraining from any activities on the Tenth of Av other than fasting and not eating meat. Thus, one can infer that immediately after Tisha B’Av one may bathe, launder clothes, and engage in all the other activities that we refrain from during the Nine Days. This is indeed the opinion followed by both the Shulchan Aruch and the Rama (558; 551:4). However, others extend the mourning atmosphere of the Tenth of Av to other observances and say that one should not take a haircut, launder or bathe on the Tenth (Shu’t Maharshal #92, quoted by Bach 558; see also Kenesses HaGedolah’s comment, quoted by Mishnah Berurah 558:2). The standard Ashkenazic practice is to be stringent on all the halachos of the Nine Days until midday on the Tenth (Taz). However, when Tisha B’Av falls on Thursday, one may perform all these activities in honor of Shabbos (Mishnah Berurah 558:3). Sefardim are strict not to eat meat until the end of the Tenth, but most permit cutting hair, laundering and bathing.

Notwithstanding this halachic conclusion, there are some leniencies. Some poskim contend that there is no prohibition to shower on the Tenth: the prohibition is only against doing things that are pleasurable or relaxing, such as eating meat or taking a relaxing sauna (Teshuvos Vehanhagos 2:260). Others contend that under extenuating circumstances one may rely on those opinions that permit laundering on the Tenth. Therefore, someone traveling on the morning of the Tenth for a family simcha may do his laundry before he leaves (Piskei Teshuvos 558:2).

MAY ONE SCHEDULE A WEDDING FOR THE DAY AFTER TISHA B’AV?

The Mishnah states that mishenichnas Av memaatim bisimcha, when the month of Av enters, we decrease our happiness (Taanis 26b), which includes making weddings. An additional reason cited to forbid weddings is that since Av is a time of bad mazel for Jews, one should postpone a wedding to a more auspicious date (Beis Yosef 551; Magen Avrohom 551:8). However, this does not tell us how much of Av has bad mazel that precludes making weddings – clearly the minhag is not to avoid making weddings the entire month. In most places, people conduct weddings from the Eleventh of Av. However, some Hassidim have a custom not to make weddings before Shabbos Nachamu (Shu’t Minchas Elazar 3:66).

According to some poskim, one should not make a wedding on the Tenth of Av, even after midday. However, others seem to disagree since they imply that one may schedule a wedding on the day of the Tenth of Av (see Mishnah Berurah 558:2). Others, albeit a minority, even permit making a wedding the night after Tisha B’Av under extenuating circumstances (Shu’t Ramatz #40, quoted by Maharsham in Daas Torah).

SIYUM AFTER TISHA B’AV

Although the universally accepted practice is to refrain from eating meat the night after Tisha B’Av, we are more lenient than the halacha of not eating meat during the Nine Days.

Although one may eat meat at a siyum during the Nine Days, only people who would usually attend the siyum may eat meat. Other people, who might have chosen to not attend the whole year round, may not eat meat or drink wine at the siyum (Rama and Taz 551:10). Furthermore, in order to make a siyum during the Nine Days one should not rush or slow down the learning (Eliyah Rabbah 551:26; Mishnah Berurah 551:73; Aruch Hashulchan 551:28).

None of these stringencies apply to a siyum made on motza’ei Tisha B’Av: then, one may serve meat to as many people as one chooses (Mishnah Berurah 558:2). In addition, one may deliberately arrange the learning schedule so that the siyum falls on that night (Shu’t Ramatz #41, quoted by Maharsham in Daas Torah).

SHEHECHEYANU ON THE TENTH

The poskim discuss whether one may recite the bracha of Shehecheyanu on a new fruit, garment or other possession during the Three Weeks. Reciting this bracha acknowledges that Hashem has sustained us so that we can celebrate again, lazman hazeh on this special occasion.

Most poskim conclude that one may recite Shehecheyanu on Shabbos or in a case where one will not have an opportunity to recite it later, but that otherwise one should not recite Shehecheyanu on weekdays during the Three Weeks (Magen Avraham, Eliyah Rabbah, Chayei Odom; Mishnah Berurah). The poskim dispute why we do not recite Shehecheyanu during the Three Weeks. – This dispute affects whether we recite Shehecheyanu on the Tenth of Av.

According to many opinions, we do not recite Shehecheyanu during the Three Weeks because we are in mourning. These poskim assume that one may recite Shehecheyanu on Shabbos during the Three Weeks, since there are no public signs of mourning on Shabbos (Magen Avraham 551:21). According to this approach, whether and when one recites Shehecheyanu on the Tenth of Av is dependent on when we observe mourning on this day and to what extent (Shaarei Teshuvah 558:1). According to this reasoning, Ashkenazim who do not practice mourning after midday on the Tenth of Av, could recite Shehecheyanu at this point.

However according to the Ari, we refrain from saying Shehecheyanu during the Three Weeks for a totally different reason — because it is inappropriate to recite a bracha whose words are “He has sustained us for this time” when it is a time of year when so many tragedies occurred. Therefore, according to the Ari, one should not recite Shehecheyanu during the Three Weeks even on Shabbos (Shu’t Chaim She’ol #24).

According to the reasoning of the Ari, even an Ashkenazi should not recite the bracha of Shehecheyanu the entire Tenth of Av, even after midday. Although Ashkenazim do not observe any mourning in the afternoon, the reason not to recite Shehecheyanu is because the bracha is inappropriate on a day that such tragedies happened to the Jewish people. This is certainly a reason not to recite Shehecheyanu on the Tenth of Av (Aishel Avraham of Butzatsch). Other poskim contend that one may recite Shehecheyanu on the Tenth of Av since it is a less intense day of mourning (Daas Torah). This approach assumes that the reason we do not recite Shehecheyanu during the Three Weeks is because we are observing mourning practices. According to all opinions, someone who performs a mitzvah on the Tenth of Av which requires Shehecheyanu, such as a pidyon haben or a Bris (for those who recite Shehecheyanu at a bris), should recite Shehecheyanu, just as he would during the Three Weeks.

As we mentioned above, the Talmud Yerushalmi records that Rabbi Avin fasted for two consecutive days – the entire Ninth and Tenth days of Av because the loss of the Beis Hamikdash was so intense to him that he felt the need to fast both days to grieve for its loss. One might think that Rabbi Avin lived close to the time of the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash and that it was therefore a fresh personal memory for him. But in fact, he lived over two hundred years after the destruction of the Second Beis Hamikdash and 700 years after the destruction of the First. Nevertheless, he suffered such anguish from the Churban that he could not bring himself to eat on a day that the Beis Hamikdash was still burning. I have been told that Rav Yehoshua Leib Diskin went to the kosel only twice in his lifetime, although he lived in Yerushalayim. Both times he passed out from the sheer pain he felt at seeing the manifestation of the Churban!

We too should realize that the Churbanos of long ago still have an immediate impact on our lives. We should endeavor to feel the loss of the Beis Hamikdash as our personal loss for which we mourn intensely.

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