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Weekly Halacha

Selected Halachos relating to Parshas Pinchas

By Rabbi Doniel Neustadt

The following is a discussion of Halachic topics related to the Parsha of the week. For final rulings, consult your Rav.


My offering, My food for My fires.... two a day as a Tamid offering (28:2,3).

On the 17th of Tammuz the Tamid sacrifice was discontinued (Ta'anis 26b)

THE THREE WEEKS

The three week period between the fast of the 17th of Tammuz and Tishah b'Av, known as Bein ha-Metzarim, was established by the Rabbis as a period of mourning over the destruction of the two Batei Mikdash. There are certain activities, normally permitted, which are prohibited during this period. The Talmud (1) tells us that only one who has properly mourned over the Temple's destruction will merit to see its rebuilding. It is important, therefore, to become more knowledgeable about the exact nature of those prohibited activities. Let us review them.

There are four forbidden activities, for men and women, which are specific to the Three Week period:

  • Taking a haircut or a shave,
  • Getting married or participating in a wedding,
  • Listening to music and dancing,
  • Reciting shehecheyanu.

Important Note: The Three Week period includes another period of mourning, called The Nine Days. The halachos of those days--from Rosh Chodesh Av through midday of the tenth of Av--are more restrictive in several areas. Here we are discussing the laws of the Three Weeks only, not the special, more stringent, halachos of the Nine Days.

HAIRCUTS AND SHAVING

It is permitted to trim a mustache that interferes with eating (2).

It is permitted to trim eyebrows or eyelashes (3).

Married women may cut hair that is protruding from their head covering (4).

It is permitted to comb one's hair even though some hair will get torn out while combing (5).

Nail cutting is permitted (6).

It is permitted to shave if otherwise one will not be allowed to come to work or will lose his job (7). But if he would be permitted to work, it is prohibited to shave--even though he may be ridiculed (8).

A mourner who completed his mourning period during the Three Weeks, may take a haircut and a shave (9).

The prohibition of haircutting applies even to small children under the age of chinuch (10). Thus if an upsheren occurs during the Three Weeks, it should either be done earlier or postponed (11).

In time of necessity, it is permitted to take a haircut or a shave on the evening of the 17th of Tammuz (12).

There are poskim who support the custom of those who shave on erev Shabbos (13). But this is not the custom today in most communities (14).

On the day of his son's bris (15), the father, the sandak and the mohel may take a haircut (16).

WEDDINGS

A wedding is permitted on the evening before the 17th of Tammuz if no other date is feasible (17).

Engagements are permitted and even may be celebrated with a party or a meal (18).

MUSIC

A professional musician, or one who is learning to play professionally, may play music during the Three Weeks (19).

Listening to music is prohibited, whether it is live, from the radio or pre-recorded (20).

Programs or other circumstances where the musical entertainment is incidental to the main event may be attended or viewed (21).

Children who have reached the age that they understand about the destruction of the Beis ha-Mikdash may not listen to music (22). Several poskim, however, permit a child to practice his music lessons (23).

Singing in praise of Hashem at a seudas mitzvah without musical accompaniment, is permitted (24).

SHEHECHEYANU (25)

On Shabbos, it is permitted to recite shehecheyanu (26).

On Rosh Chodesh Av, it is permitted to recite shehecheyanu (27) over new fruit (28).

A new fruit that will not be available after the Three Weeks may be eaten and a shehecheyanu recited (29).

A shehecheyanu is recited at a pidyon haben (30) and at the birth of one's daughter (31).

A shehecheyanu may be recited if by mistake the Borei pri ha'eitz was already said on the fruit (32).

The blessing of Ha'tov v'hameitiv may be said during the Three Weeks.

Since it is prohibited to recite shehecheyanu, it is also prohibited to buy any item which normally requires shehecheyanu to be recited. It is forbidden, therefore, to buy a new car for personal use during the Three Weeks. It is permitted, however, to buy a car for business use [and the shehecheyanu will be recited after the Three Weeks] or for the benefit of the family [since in that case Ha'tov v'hameitiv is recited instead of shehecheyanu] (33).

It is forbidden to buy or wear clothing which normally would require a shehecheyanu to be recited (34). If the clothing needs alterations, they may be bought during the Three Weeks and altered after the Three Weeks are over (35).



FOOTNOTES

1 Ta'anis 31b, quoted in Shulchan Aruch O.C. 554:25.

2 O.C. 551:13.

3 Bein Pesach l'Shavuos, pg. 241 quoting an oral ruling from Harav S.Z. Auerbach and Harav S. Wosner.

4 Mishnah Berurah 551:79. When necessary, women may shave their legs--Harav M. Feinstein (Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 9). See also Igros Moshe Y.D. 2:137 where he allows women to take haircuts in time of necessity during the Three Weeks. When necessary, a girl of marriageable age may take a haircut--Harav S.Z. Auerbach (Halichos Bei'sah, pg. 371).

5 Mishnah Berurah 551:20.

6 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:5.

7 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:102; She'orim ha-Metzuyanim B'halachah 122:5.

8 Igros Moshe C.M. 1:93.

9 Mishnah Berurah 551:87.

10 Sha'ar ha-Tzyion 551:91. Aruch ha-Shulchan 551:31, however, seems to hold that only children above the age of chinuch are prohibited.

11 Mishnas Ya'akov O.C. 551 quoting Harav Y.Y. Teitelbaum (Satmar Rov).

12 She'orim ha-Metzuyanim B'halachah 122:1, based on Igros Moshe O.C. 1:168.

13 Kaf ha-Chayim 551:66. See also Biur Halachah 551:3 quoting R' Akiva Eiger.

14 Shmiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 42:52.

15 Or the evening before--Mishnah Berurah 493:13. If the bris is on Shabbos, it is permitted to take a haircut on Friday - ibid. If the bris is on Sunday, most poskim do not permit to take a haircut on Friday--see Kaf ha-Chayim 493:36.

16 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:15; Shaar ha-Tziyon 551:4 quoting Chasam Sofer; Kaf ha-Chayim 551:10; Pischei Teshuvah 551:1; She'orim ha-Metzuyanim B'halachah 122:16. See, however, Be'er Heitev 551:3 who is stringent.

17 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:168. Other poskim are more stringent--see Tzitz Eliezer 10:26.

18 Mishnah Berurah 551:19 and Sha'ar ha-Tzyion 26.

19 Biur Halachah 551:2; Igros Moshe O.C. 3:87

20 Igros Moshe O.C. 1:166; 3:87; Minchas Yitzchak 1:111; Yechaveh Da'as 3:30.

21 Harav M. Feinstein (quoted in Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 128).

22 Igros Moshe O.C. 4:21-4.

23 See She'orim ha-Metzuyanim B'halachah 122:2 and Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 128.

24 Harav M. Feinstein (Oholei Yeshurun, pg. 128). Harav S.Z. Auerbach (quoted in Bein Pesach l'Shavuos, pg. 285; Yechaveh Da'as 6:34.

25 Not all poskim prohibit reciting shehecheyanu during the Three Weeks and some conduct themselves according to that view - see Aruch ha-Shulchan 551:38. Our discussion here is based on the view of the Mishnah Berurah who is stringent, and this has become the custom by the majority of people.

26 Mishnah Berurah 551:98. Bein Pesach l'Shavuos, pg. 293, quotes Teshuvos Riva that this is permitted only on Shabbos itself, but new clothing may not be worn for the Minchah service on erev Shabbos.

27 Sha'ar ha-Tzyion 551:99.

28 Halichos Bei'sah, pg. 371--since clothing may not be bought during the Nine Days.

29 Rama O.C. 551:17.

30 O.C. 551:17.

31 Nitei Gavriel, pg. 35.

32 Birkei Yosef 555:12.

33 Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80.

34 Mishnah Berurah 551:45; Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80.

35 Kaf ha-Chayim 551:88.


Weekly-Halacha, Copyright © 1997 by Rabbi Neustadt, Dr. Jeffrey Gross and Project Genesis, Inc. Rabbi Neustadt is the principal of Yavne Teachers' College in Cleveland, Ohio. He is also the Magid Shiur of a daily Mishna Berurah class at Congregation Shomre Shabbos.

The Weekly-Halacha Series is distributed L'zchus Hayeled Doniel Meir ben Hinda. Weekly sponsorships are available--please send email to the moderator, Dr. Jeffrey Gross jgross@torah.org.

The series is distributed by the Harbotzas Torah Division of Congregation Shomre Shabbos, 1801 South Taylor Road, Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118--HaRav Yisroel Grumer, Marah D'Asra


 






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