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Chapter 122:8a
Between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B'av

8a.It is a universally accepted Jewish custom not to eat meat or drink wine from Rosh Chodesh Av until Tish'ah B'av (1). It is forbidden to eat even a dish that was cooked with meat or that contains animal fat (2). Poultry is also forbidden. Nevertheless, a person who suffers harm from eating dairy foods may eat poultry.

For a sick person, there are no restrictions (3). Nevertheless, if it is not difficult for him, he should refrain [from eating meat] from the seventh of Av onward. Similarly, some women after childbirth follow the custom of not eating meat from the seventh of Av onward, because on that day the Gentiles entered the Temple (See Chapter 124, Law 20) (4).

FOOTNOTES:

(1) Eating meat and drinking wine is a source of joy. In addition, this custom reminds us of the animal sacrifices and wine libations that ceased to occur once the Beis Hamikdash (Temple) was destroyed (Aruch HaShulchan 551:23). Not eating meat or drinking wine on Erev Tish'ah B'av during the meal before the fast ("seuda hamafsekes") is a halacha, not simply a custom. The Aruch Hashulchan (Ibid.) writes that when the Jewish people accept a custom upon themselves, it is considered a communal vow ("neder shel klall Yisroel"), and therefore, one who doesn't abide by that custom is violating the biblical prohibition against breaking a vow.

(2) If the non-meat part was sixty times the volume of the meat, or if there is no taste of meat in the food, it is permissible (Mishna Berura 551:63 and Sha'ar HaTziyun 69). Non-meat ingredients cooked in a meat vessel are permissible (Ibid).

(3) However, it is best that he eat chicken if it would suffice for his condition. Similarly, pregnant and nursing women may eat meat if they experience difficulty eating dairy, however, chicken is preferable.

(4) Pregnant and nursing women should follow this custom if possible.

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