Selected Halachos Relating to Parshas Matos-Masei,
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.
Then Aharon ha-Kohen went up... and died there... in the fifth month on the first of the month (33:37)
SHOPPING DURING THE NINE DAYS
QUESTION: Is it permitted to go shopping during the Nine Days?
DISCUSSION: It is forbidden to make a major purchase, such as a
car, silver items, or furniture during the Nine Days. There are
two possible prohibitions involved in such a purchase:
Purchasing a substantial (chashuv) item - even if used -
obligates one to recite a shehecheyanu(1), and it is improper to
recite it throughout the Three Weeks(2) and especially during
the Nine Days(3).
If the car or furniture is for the use and enjoyment of the
entire family, in which case ha-Tov v'ha-Meitiv is recited
instead of shehechyanu(4), one would be allowed to buy it during
the Three Weeks but not during the Nine Days. This is prohibited
since it is similar to building or buying a binyan shel simchah
(loosely translated as building or buying an item for pleasure
or joy), which the Shulchan Aruch(5) clearly forbids(6).
Shopping for clothing or shoes, even if they are intended for
use after the Nine Days(7), is prohibited(8). Both expensive and
inexpensive items (such as socks) are included(9). [If one has
no clean shirt for Shabbos, he may wear a new shirt(10).]
Shopping for items which a) do not require a shehecheyanu; b)
are not purchases which could be classified as a binyan shel
simchah; and c) are not apparel, is permitted. Even when
shopping is prohibited, the following leniencies apply:
Only actual buying is prohibited. It is permitted to shop
without buying. Window or comparison shopping is permitted.
Returns are permitted. Exchanges may be prohibited(11).
An item which is forbidden to be bought during the Nine Days
because of the shehechyanu restriction may be bought during the
Nine Days if it requires assembly and if the assembly will be
done after the Nine Days. The same rule applies to a utensil
that requires immersion. If the immersion will not take place
until after the Nine Days, no shehecheyanu is said at the time
It is permitted to buy a car or furniture for business purposes.
The shehecheyanu should be said after Tishah b'Av(13). People in
the clothing business may purchase stock during the Nine
If delaying the purchase will cause one a substantial loss(15),
or if the item will not be available after Tishah b'Av(16), it
is permitted to buy the item during the Nine Days(17).
A bachelor who is getting married after Tishah b'Av may buy
anything he needs during the Nine Days(18).
One who does not have appropriate shoes to wear on Tishah b'Av
may buy them during the Nine Days(19).
If one will run out of clothing for small children, one may
either wash the clothes or buy new clothes(20) .
1. O.C. 223:3.
2. O.C. 551:17.
3. Aruch ha-Shulchan 551:38.
4. O.C. 223:5.
5. O.C. 551:2, Mishnah Berurah 11 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 13.
6. Mishnah Berurah, ibid. and Aruch ha-Shulchan 20 prohibit
buying silver items as binyan shel simchah. Igros Moshe O.C.
3:80 prohibits car buying for the same reason. See also Nitei
Gavriel, pg. 51, who quotes the Puppa Rav as including furniture
7. Mishnah Berurah 551:49.
8. Rama O.C. 551:7. See also Mishnah Berurah 45.
9. Mishnah Berurah 551:45-46.
10. Beiur Halachah 551:6, according to the explanation of Igros
Moshe O.C. 3:80. The poskim do not mention specifically if one
would also be allowed to buy the shirt during the Nine Days.
11. Since the shopper is getting a new item in exchange for the
old one, it may be considered as if he is buying the item anew.
A rav should be consulted. If the new item requires a
shehecheyanu, the exchange may definitely not take place during
the Nine Days; see Moadei Yeshurun, pg. 152, note 31.
12. Mishnah Berurah 223:17 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 21 quoting R'
Akiva Eiger. See also Vezos ha-Berachah, pg. 167 quoting Harav
13. Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80.
14. Mishnah Berurah 551: 11.
15. See Zichron Shelomo, Hilchos Chol ha-Moed, pg. 94, who quotes
Harav M. Feinstein and Harav Y. Kamenetsky who rule that when an
item is offered on sale at a substantial reduction and the sale
is not likely to occur again in the near future, it is
considered a davar ha-aveid in regard to hilchos Chol ha-Moed.
16. Ben Ish Chai (Devarim 2).
17. Based on Mishnah Berurah 551:11 and 13 that permit even a
binyan shel simchah in order to avoid a loss. There are other
poskim who prohibit a binyan shel simchah even in a case of
loss; see Kaf ha-Chayim 551:29.
18. Mishnah Berurah 551:14 and 46. Other poskim disagree with
this leniency; see Kaf ha-Chayim 551:30, 33 and 101.
19. Igros Moshe O.C. 3:80.
20. O.C. 551:14 and Mishnas Yaakov (quoted in Piskei Teshuvos,