Friday, July 27, 2012

When the 9th of Ab falls on Shabbat

This year, 2012, the 9th of the month of Ab falls on Shabbat (from Friday July 27th at night, until Saturday July 28th at night). When that happens our Rabbis instructed us to postpone the mourning day and the fast for the next day, Sunday (beginning Saturday night).  So, this year the Jewish National Day of Mourning will be commemorated on the 10th of Ab, beginning Saturday night July 28th at 9.04 p.m. (N.Y. time), once Shabbat ends.

√ Because the eve of the fast day falls on a Shabbat we do not have a se'udat hamafseqet, the last meal that we eat before the fast in a mood of mourning (see HERE). Actually, There are NO restrictions or any customs of mourning during this Shabbat. This Shabbat it is permitted to eat meat normally, even for Se'uda Shelishit (=the last meal, Shabbat afternoon).  

√ We will stop eating before 8.15 p.m (= 8.15 p.m. is sunset in N.Y.C). And no preparations for Tish'a BeAb should be done until Shabbat is over at 9.04 p.m. N.Y. time.

√ After 9.04 p.m. by saying "barukh hamabdil ben qodesh lechol"(=Blessed is He, Who established the difference between holy and profane) Shabbat is over.  

  √ We should change our Shabbat clothes for weekdays clothes and come to Synagogue with no-leather shoes. That night there is no Habdala other than the Berakha "Bore Me-ore haEsh", which is going to be said in the Synagogue. 

√ In our community all the Minyanim will start Tish'a BeAb services at 9:30 p.m. And although we have not yet said Arbit, we can still drive to Synagogue, because by saying "barukh hamabdil..." we have declared the end of the sanctity of Shabbat.   

√ This year, that Tish'a BeAb falls on Saturday and it is postponed for Sunday, pregnant women and women who are actually breast-feeding do not need to fast on Tish'a BeAb. If they want and can fast they should fast until Chatzot (1:05 p.m.). 

√ When one is allowed to eat during Tish'a BeAb for health reasons, one should eat only whatever is necessary for his or her health, and not for pleasure or in excess.

√ The fast will end 30 minutes after sunset, Sunday July 29th at 8:45p.m (N.Y.T). In some Minyanim at 8:55 p.m. For the Habdala Sunday night we will not say "Bore Mine Besamim" but only "haGefen" and "haMabdil". 

√ This year, because the 9th of Ab falls on Shabbat, we can eat meat, shave or get a haircut immediately after the fast ends. 

Shabbat Shalom!

Candle lighting in NYC 7:57 p.m.
Shabbat Ends in NYC 9.04 p.m.

May we all have an easy and meaningful fast.
May this be the last Tish'a beAb that we mourn for the destruction of our Temple.

See  here  the laws of the fast day and who is exempted from fasting. 

See  here  and  here other activities that are forbidden on Tish'a BeAb besides fasting. 

See here "What happened on Tish'a BeAb?"  

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tish'a BeAb, rules for the day of fast

In the aftermath of the destruction of the Bet-haMiqdash the Prophets of Israel established that the 9th of Ab will be declared a Day of Fasting. 

In Tish'a beAb we don't eat or drink for a whole day, almost twenty five hours.

The fast will take place from Saturday night July 28th until Sunday night July 29th (see tomorrow's HOTD  for the times in Great Neck, NY).

The fast of Tish'a beAb should be observed by all those who are in good health.


Yoledet: During the first 30 days after birth, or during 30 days after a miscarriage, a woman is exempted from fasting on the 9th of Ab.

Pregnant and nursing women: Similar to Yom Kippur, pregnant and nursing women, in principle, should observe this fast. This year, however, since the 9th of Ab falls on Saturday and the fast is postponed for Sunday, we proceed with more leniency. Pregnant women, and women who are actually breast-feeding their babies do not need to fast on this Tish'a BeAb. If they can and want to fast, they should fast until Sunday morning or ideally until Chatzot ("Halakhic midday", Sunday July 29th 1:05 PM).   

Minors: Boys younger than 13 and girls before 12 are completely exempted from fasting. Unlike Yom Kippur, there is no need for children to fast for a few hours. The reason is that while we do educate our children to fast as part of the teshuba(repentance) process of yom Kippur, we should not educate our children to mourn before they formally have to, because hopefully this will be the last year we mourn for the Bet haMiqdash (Amen!).

Chole She-en Bo Sakana: People with a chronic disease like diabetes or patients under treatment or someone with high fever should not do this fast. Many Rabbis recommend that in these cases, when possible, one should try to fast until the morning or Chatzot.

Elders should consult with their physicians to make sure that the fast will not affect their health. If it will, they are exempted (or forbidden) from fasting.

When one is allowed to eat during Tish'a BeAb for health reasons, one should eat only whatever is necessary for his or her health, and not for pleasure, or in excess

√ WATCH  HERE  "Crash course on Tish'a beAb"  by Rabbi Avraham Goldhar. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Prohibitions for Tish'a beAb (Part 2)

Yesterday we explained that besides fasting there are other activities which are forbidden to do on Tish'a beAb because they involve some form of pleasure, which will distract us from attaining the sentiment of grief and mourning which is appropriate for the saddest day of the Jewish calendar (see yesterday's HOTD here). 

That is also the reason why on Tish'a BeAb it is not recommended to work. Working would also divert our minds from the feeling of grief. Refraining from work on Tish'a BeAb, however, is not a formal prohibition, but rather optional. Depending ultimately on one's community tradition and one's financial and professional situation.

What else is forbidden on Tish'a beAb?

LIMUD TORAH: On Tish'a BeAb we don't study Tora, because studying Tora is considered a joyous and pleasurable activity. We only read and study Tora books or texts with a 'sad' content such as the book of Iyob or Ekha, some Psalms, Josephus Flavious, etc.

TEFILIN: We do not use Tefilin in the morning. Tefilin is a signal of honor and pride, a crown in our heads which declares that we are the people of God. In the Mashadi community we use our Talit and Tefilin for Mincha. In Yerushalaim the Sepharadic Minhag is that before one goes to the Synagogue one says the Shema Israel at home with Talit and Tefilin. Other Sepharadim wear Tefilin and Tallit as normal.   

SHE-ELAT SHALOM: We don't greet each other as usual, because our mood is a mourner's mood.

SITTING ON THE FLOOR: Many communities have the custom that during the reading of Megilat Ekha people don't sit on the Synagogue's benches but on the floor, like mourners, while the lights are dimmed, also as an indication of mourning.

Our Chakhamim assured us that those who cry for the destruction of Yerushalaim will have the merit to rejoice with the reconstruction of Yerushalaim, B'H soon, in our days!

Click here to watch a 3D aerial tour of the 1st Bet haMiqdash 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Prohibitions on Tish'a beAb (Part 1)

 Tish'a beAb is the Jewish National Day of Mourning. This year, it will be observed from Saturday night, July 28th, until Sunday night, July 29th. 

Besides fasting (we will deal with the subject of fasting B'H this coming Thursday) there are two categories of activities that are forbidden on Tish'a beAb 

1. Activities related to 'Pleasure' .
2. Activities related to joy. 

These actions would distract our hearts from the mood of mourning. This is why we abstain from them on Tish'a BeAb, to express (or awake) an emotional state of grief.

Today we will explain the first category of prohibitions.

Same as Yom Kippur, taking a shower, bathing or washing done for pleasure or comfort is forbidden on Tish'a beAb. However, if a part of the body is unclean, one can wash it. A woman preparing the food for the night after the fast can wash her hands.  

Washing our mouth is not permitted on Tish'a beAb. Except in a situation of great distress, and in such a case one should bend one's head downward so one doesn't swallow any water (Rabbi Obadya Yosef).  

It is permitted to use baby wipes to clean one's face, eyes, hands, etc. because it is not considered washing.  

We can also wash our hands in the morning for Netilat Yadaim, because we do it for a Mitzva and not for pleasure. Our custom, however, is to wash only our fingers.  

Using fragrances or creams for pleasure or comfort is not permitted. Medical creams or oils are permitted. Using deodorant is permitted. 

LEATHER SHOES are considered a luxurious item so during Tish'a beAb we don't wear leather shoes. Other leather items, like a belt or a leather Kippa are permitted.

MARITAL RELATIONS are suspended on Tish'a beAb as if it was Niddah time. If the Mikveh night falls on the eve of Tish'a beAb --this coming Saturday night--it has to be postponed for the next night .

May we all soon rejoice for Binyan Yerushalaym! AMEN
WATCH: Tish'a BeAb: The Root of Destruction  by Charlie Harary 

What happend on the 9th of Ab?

Tish'a BeAb is the Jewish National Day of Mourning. On Tish'a BeAb every Jew must feel as if he or she is in mourning for his or her loved one.  We must reflect on our collective accountability for the tragic events which took place on Tish'a BeAb, trying to amend our personal religious behavior (teshuba).
On this day, five tragedies occurred to Am Israel
1. CHET HAMERAGELIM: The Jews in the desert accepted the slanderous report of the ten explorers and cried the whole night complaining to God that took them out of Egypt, and hinting that the Almighty won't be able to take them to the Land of Israel (1312 BCE). The whole generation that left Egypt was condemned to die in the dessert. The night on which they cried, was Tish'a BeAb.
2. CHURBAN HABAYIT HARISHON: The First Temple was destroyed and burned on Tish’a beAb by the Babylonians, led by Nebuchadnezzar. The Jews were slaughtered, enslaved or exiled to the Babylonian empire (586 BCE).
3. CHURBAN HABAYIT HASHENI: The Second Temple was destroyed on Tisha BeAb by the Romans, led by Titus. Close to two million Jews were killed, and one million were exiled (68 ACE).
4. NILKEDA BETAR: The Bar Kochba revolt was crushed by Roman Emperor Hadrian. The city of Betar (Sepharadim call it “Biter”)- the Jews' last stand against the Romans - was captured by the enemy on Tish’a BeAb. Over 100,000 Jews were slaughtered (135 ACE).
5. NECHERASH HAHEKHAL: Around the same time, on the 9th of Ab, the Temple's holiest area and its surroundings was plowed by the Roman general Turnus Rufus. Jerusalem was turned into a pagan city, and renamed Aelia Capitolina. Access to Jews was forbidden.

Click HERE to read: "Kamtza and Bar Kamtza", the events that led to the destruction of the Second Holy Temple. By Aish.