Part I: Orach Chayim
Chapter 39 - THE FOUR FASTS AND THE NINTH OF AV
A person must fast on the Ninth of Av, the Seventeenth of Tamuz, the Third
of Tishrei, and the Tenth of Teves because of the national tragedies that
took place on those dates; see 549:1-2. On the Ninth of Av washing, anointing,
wearing leather shoes, and sexual relations are also forbidden, and a
person should fast even if it is painful to do so; see 550:1-2 and 554:5-6.
If any of these fasts falls on a Sabbath it is postponed to Sunday; see
From the first of Av until after the fast, business activities (see also
554:22) and celebrations should be minimized (551:1-2). It is customary not
to wash clothes or wear new clothes during that period (see 551:3-7,14-15),
or to cut the hair or marry from the Seventeenth of Tamuz until after the
Ninth of Av (see 551:2,4,12-15,18). On eating meat and drinking wine during
that period see 551:8-11 and 558:1; on fasting and bathing see 551:16; on
reciting the blessing "...Who kept us alive..." see 551:17.
At the last meal before the fast of the Ninth of Av, less than usual should
be drunk, and extra cooked dishes should not be eaten; see 552:1-4. It is
customary to sit on the ground (552:7) and eat eggs (see 552:5) and bread
dipped in ashes (552:6), and not to say grace as a group (552:8). It is
customary to eat a meal before the afternoon service and to eat the last meal
afterward; see 552:9. A person is permitted to eat after the last meal
if he has not yet accepted the fast (553:1). When the Ninth of Av occurs
on Sunday, or is postponed from the Sabbath to Sunday, these customs are not
observed, but eating must stop while it is still day (552:10). On what to
do if a personal fast falls on the eighth of Av see 552:11. TACHANUN is not
recited on the afternoon of the eighth of Av (552:12;559:1).
The fast of the Ninth of Av begins as soon as it is no longer day (553:2).
Shoes are removed before the evening prayer; see 553:2. A person should
refrain from recreation all of the day preceding the fast (see also 554:21),
and from Torah study all of that afternoon (553:2). On what Torah study is
forbidden see 554:1-4; on washing see 554:7-15; on wearing shoes see
554:16-17; on sexual relations see 554:18-19; on greeting others see 554:20;
on doing work see 554:22-24; on eating see 554:25; on wearing TALLIS and
TEFILLIN see 555:1; on sleeping see 555:2. On HAVDALAH when the Ninth of
Av occurs on or is postponed to Sunday see 556:1 and 559:1.
The evening service on the Ninth of Av is recited quietly and in a dim
light; the Book of Lamentations is read; and mournful poems (KINOS) are
recited, followed by VE-ATAH KADOSH (559:1-3). The congregation sit on the
ground during the evening and morning services, and KINOS are recited until
shortly before noon; see 559:3,5. TACHANUN and penitential prayers (SELICHOS)
are not recited, and "May it be received..." is omitted from KADDISH (559:4).
On the readings from the Torah and Prophets see 559:4. On what mourners do
on the 9th of Av see 559:6; on circumcisions see 559:7-9; on burials see
559:10. Food should not be prepared until the afternoon (559:10). In the
afternoon service, "Comfort..." is added to the 14th blessing of SHEMONEH
ESREH, and "Answer us..." to the 16th blessing (557:1).
Since the destruction of the Temple, decorations and celebrations must be
restrained, and signs of mourning should be present even at weddings, in
commemoration of Jerusalem (560:1-2,4). Music is permitted at religious
celebrations (see 560:3), but excessive levity is forbidden (see 560:5).
A person who sees destroyed cities of Judah, Jerusalem, or the Temple must
recite the appropriate verses (from Isaiah Ch.64) and tear his clothes if
he has not seen them for 30 days; see 561:1-5.
Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project