The ninth day of Av, the day on which both Batei Mikdash were destroyed,
not only commemorates the destruction of both Temples, but is also a
national day of mourning for all of the tragedies and calamities that have
befallen the Jewish people. This sorrowful fast day, which culminates the
Three Weeks period of mourning, is replete with special halachos,
especially this year when it falls on Sunday. In this discussion, we will
focus on the specific halachos that apply to Tishah b'Av that falls on
Tzidkasecha tzedek is omitted from Tefillas Minchah.(1)
If one can keep himself occupied on Shabbos afternoon studying topics
which pertain to Tishah b'Av or to mourning, he should do so(2). If he
cannot, he may study what he ordinarily does(3). It is customary that
Pirkei Avos is not studied on this Shabbos(4).
The usual seudah ha-mafsekes restrictions do not apply on Shabbos. At
the last meal before the fast - which is seudah shelishis on Shabbos - one
may eat meat and drink wine and consume whatever food he desires(5). One
should not, however, specifically say that he is eating in order to have
strength for the fast, nor is it permitted to swallow a pill that makes it
easier to fast, since he would then be preparing on Shabbos for a weekday
Eating seudah shelishis with family members is permissible. Company,
however, should be avoided - unless one usually has company for seudah
shelishis(7). Birkas ha-Mazon may be said with a zimun(8). Zemiros may be
sung, even by one who does not always sing them(9).
Eating, drinking, or washing any part of the body is permitted until
sunset only(10). If one recited Birkas ha-Mazon before sunset, he may eat
or drink until sunset. No precondition is required(11).
One may sit on a chair until nightfall(12). Greeting people is also
permitted until nightfall.
Since it is not proper to wear Shabbos clothes on Tishah b'Av, it is
recommended that one change clothes after nightfall, but before Ma'ariv
(13). Baruch ha-Mavdil should be recited before changing into weekday
No preparations for Tishah b'Av may be made until Shabbos is over.
Tishah b'Av shoes or Kinos [unless studied on Shabbos] may not brought to
shul until nightfall, even in an area with an eiruv(15).
Shabbos shoes may not be removed until nightfall. The custom in many
places(16) is to remove the shoes after saying Barechu at Ma'ariv. Others
remove their shoes after reciting Baruch ha-Mavdil but before Barechu,
provided that it is already nightfall(17). This option is advisable when
there is large gathering of people [such as a camp] in order to avoid a
long break between Barechu and Ma'ariv(18).
Atah chonantanu is said in Shemoneh Esrei of Ma'ariv. Women who do
not daven Ma'ariv must be reminded to recite Baruch ha-Mavdil before doing
After Ma'ariv but before the reading of Eichah, a candle(20) is lit
and Borei me'orei ha-eish is recited. If one forgot or failed to do so,
Borei me'orei ha-eish may be recited anytime throughout the night(21).
Customarily, Borei me'orei ha-eish is recited by one person for the
entire congregation. It is proper, though, that all the listeners sit down
while the blessing is recited(22).
Preferably, women should listen to Borei me'orei ha-eish recited by a
man. If they cannot do so, it is recommended that they recite their own
blessing over a candle, but they are not obligated to do so(23).
Some permit folding the tallis as on every motza'ei Shabbos24, while
others are stringent(25).
Dirty dishes from Shabbos should not be washed until Sunday after
chatzos(26), unless they will attract insects, etc.
Before breaking the fast because of illness Havdalah should be
recited.(27) Many poskim(28) hold that wine or grape juice may not be
drunk, and Havdalah should be recited on a Shehakol beverage such as beer,
coffee, or tea [with or without milk(29)]. Another option is to use wine
or grape juice, but have a minor [between the ages of 6-9] drink the wine.
Other poskim allow even an adult to drink the minimum amount(30) of wine
or grape juice(31).
There are various views among the poskim concerning the recitation of
Havdalah for women who are not fasting [due to illness, pregnancy, or
nursing](32). The preferred option is that the woman's husband [or another
man] should recite Havdalah(33) and that she or a minor drink the
beverage. If that cannot be arranged, most poskim allow her to recite her
own Havdalah(34). If she cannot or will not, there are poskim who permit
her to eat without reciting Havdalah altogether(35).
Most poskim hold that minors do not need to hear or recite Havdalah
before eating, and this is the prevalent custom.(36) A minority opinion
requires them to do so(37).
One who must eat on Tishah b'Av in the morning should daven first,
without tefillin, and then eat. If he needs to break his fast after
chatzos, he should daven Minchah with tefillin and then eat. If he cannot
daven Minchah until later in the day, he should still put on tefillin
before he eats(38).
ON SUNDAY NIGHT:
After the fast is over, one may not eat until Havdalah is recited.
Women should hear Havdalah from their husbands or a neighbor(39). If it is
difficult for a woman to wait for Havdalah, she may drink before Havdalah
(40). If drinking is not sufficient, some poskim allow her to eat without
hearing Havdalah while others hold that she should make Havdalah herself
Havdalah may be recited over wine or grape juice, and it need not be
given to a minor to drink(42).
Only the blessings of Borei pri ha-gafen and ha-Mavdil are recited.
Borei me'orei ha-eish is not recited, even if one forgot to recite that
blessing the previous night(43).
1 Rama O.C. 552:12. In the morning, however, Av ha-Rachamim is recited;
Mishnah Berurah 30.
2 Chazon Ish (quoted in Orchos Rabbeinu 2:136)
3 Mishnah Berurah 553:10. One may fulfill his obligation of Shenayim Mikra
18 Harav M. Feinstein (oral ruling, quoted in Halachos of the Three Weeks,
19 Mishnah Berurah 556:2. [Some poskim recommend that all women daven
Maariv on this Motzai Shabbos, so that they can fulfill their obligation
of Havdalah by reciting Atah Chonantanu.]
20 Some light a single candle while others hold two candles together.
21 Mishnah Berurah 556:1.
22 Beiur Halachah 213:1, since on this night there is no blessing recited
over wine which establishes the required kevius needed for such blessings.
23 See Beiur Halachah 296:8, Igros Moshe C.M. 2:47-2, and Shemiras Shabbos
K'hilchasah 61, note 69 and 62, note 98 for a discussion on the general
issue of whether women are obligated to perform this mitzvah.
24 Nitei Gavriel, pg. 115.
25 Luach Devar Yom b'Yomo quoting the Belzer Rav.
26 Several poskim quoted in Piskei Teshuvos 554:21.
27 Sha'arei Teshuvah 556:1. If all that the sick person needs is a drink
of water, Havdalah is not recited (Shevet ha-Levi 8:129).
28 Kaf ha-Chayim 556:9; Harav M. Feinstein (oral ruling quoted in Halachos
of the Three Weeks, pg. 19); Minchas Yitzchak 8:30; Shevet ha-Levi 7:77.
29 Tzitz Eliezer 14:42. Some poskim allow pure orange or apple juice as
30 A cheekful, approx. 1.6 fl. oz. Since, however, Al ha-gefen cannot be
recited over this amount, this should be followed by eating cake, etc. and
the words al ha-gefen v'al pri ha-gefen can be added to the Al ha-Michyah.
31 Chazon Ish (quoted by Harav C. Kanievsky, Mevakshei Torah, Sivan 5753);
Harav Y.Z. Soloveitchik (quoted in Peninei Rabbeinu ha-Griz, pg. 521 and
in a written responsum by Harav S.Y. Elyashiv published in Mevakshei
Torah, ibid.); Harav Y.Y. Kanievsky (Orchos Rabbeinu 2:145); Az Nidberu
32 The issue: 1) Women, generally, do not recite their own Havdalah, since
some Rishonim exempt them from Havdalah altogether; 2) Even men are not
required by all poskim to recite Havdalah before eating on Motza'ei Tishah
b'Av which falls on a Sunday.
33 The husband, then, does not repeat the Havdalah for himself once the
fast is over (Shemiras Shabbos K'hilchasah 62:48).