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Weekly Halacha

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 of purchase(12).

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 Days(14).

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) .



FOOTNOTES

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 as well.

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 C.P. Scheinberg.

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, pg. 83).


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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