The first nine days of the month of Av, known as the Nine Days, is a period
of time established by the Rabbis to mourn the destruction of the two Batei
Mikdash. To make us feel the aveilus, there are certain activities which are
prohibited during this period. Since the Talmud tells us that only one who
has properly mourned the Temple's destruction will merit seeing its
rebuilding, it is important to become more knowledgeable about the exact
nature of the prohibitions of the Nine Days. One of them, the injunction
against “buying new items,” is reviewed here.
Question: Is it permitted to go shopping during the Nine Days?
Discussion: There are two types of items which are forbidden to be bought
during the Nine Days: 1) Items which the consumer buys to give him pleasure
or joy (as opposed to items which the consumer needs for daily living). 2)
Apparel (clothing). As each group has its own rules and regulations, we will
discuss each one separately.
Items of Joy or Pleasure
In order to diminish the level of simchah during this sad time, the Rabbis
forbade buying items that mainly serve to give the owner joy or pleasure.
Thus it is forbidden, for example, to purchase silver dishes, jewelry, fancy
china, home decor items, or a car that is used mainly for pleasure travel.
But it is permitted to purchase standard household items that are needed,
even if they are major purchases such as an air conditioner, a set of
dishes, a cell phone, a health-related appliance, or a car that is used
mainly for business or every-day household needs. [If the business item
being bought would normally require the recital of shehecheyanu, the
shehecheyanu is said after Tishah b’Av. ]
Only actual buying is prohibited—shopping without buying is permitted.
Window or comparison shopping is permitted. Returns are permitted.
Exchanges may be prohibited.
If delaying the purchase will cause a monetary loss, or if the item will not
be available for purchase after Tishah b'Av, it is permitted to buy the item
during the Nine Days. If possible, it is recommended to merely put down a
deposit and take delivery of the item after Tishah b’Av.
It is permitted to buy items for the purpose of performing a mitzvah, e.g.,
buying tefillin or seforim that are needed at the time. Similary, a
bachelor who is getting married after Tishah b’Av may shop during the Nine
Days if need be.
Shopping for Clothes
The second category of items that may not be purchased—or worn—during the
Nine Days is clothing or shoes, even if they are intended for use after the
Nine Days. Both expensive and inexpensive items, even trivial articles of
clothing such as a pair of socks, a belt, a yarmulke, or a kerchief, are
included. A new tallis or a tallis katan may also not be purchased. Linen
and towels are considered “clothing” and are prohibited to be purchased as
In the following cases it is permitted to shop for clothing during the Nine
If one has no clean shirt for Shabbos and washing or cleaning a
shirt is not option, he may [buy and] wear a new shirt.
A bachelor who is getting married after Tishah b'Av may buy whatever he
needs for the wedding during the Nine Days.
One who does not have appropriate shoes to wear on Tishah b'Av may buy
them during the Nine Days.
Although it is permitted to wash clothing for infants, toddlers and
small children who constantly soil their clothes, one is allowed to
purchase new baby’s and children’s clothes rather than do their laundry.
If delaying the purchase will cause a monetary loss, or if the item
will not be available for purchase after Tishah b'Av, some poskim permit
buying the item during the Nine Days, while others are more stringent. If
a substantial loss is involved, a deposit should be made and delivery taken
after Tishah b’Av.
It is permitted to [buy and] wear new clothes for the purpose of a
People in the clothing business may purchase stock during the Nine Days.
The prohibition against shopping during the Nine Days begins with
sunset of Rosh Chodesh Av and ends at midday of the tenth day of Av. When
Tishah b’Av falls on a Thursday, it is permitted to shop for Shabbos needs
on Thursday night.
Question: What restrictions apply to taking care of a wig during the Nine Days?
Discussion: Washing, styling (even without washing), cutting, dyeing,
highlighting or adding hair to a used wig is forbidden during the Nine Days.
A wig is considered a “garment” vis a vis these halachos, and it is
forbidden to make a new garment or to re-style an old garment to make it
look like new during the Nine days.
1. O.C. 551:2, Mishnah Berurah 11 and Sha'ar ha-Tziyun 13; Aruch
ha-Shulchan 551:20; Kaf ha-Chayim 551:21, 23; Igros Moshe, O.C. 3:80. See
also Nitei Gavriel, pg. 51, quoting the Rav of Puppa.
2. See Koveitz Halachos L’ymei Bein Hametzarim, pg 125; Halichos
v’Hanhagos, pg. 5, quoting Rav Y.S. Elyashiv; Kol ha-Torah, vol. 56, pg. 48,
quoting Rav B. Rackove; Vayevareich Dovid 1:69. See also Teshuvos Levushei
3. Igros Moshe, O.C. 3:80.
4. Igros Moshe, E.H. 4:84-1.
5. 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. 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.