Between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B'av
8b.At a celebratory feast associated with a mitzvah, for example, a
circumcision, a "pidyon haben" (redemption of first-born son), or the
conclusion of a Talmudic tractate ("siyum") (1), it is permitted to serve
meat and wine [during the nine days between Rosh Chodesh Av and Tish'ah
B'av] (2). In addition to one's parents, brothers, and children, and
anyone who shares a connection with the mitzvah (and those helping and
serving at the meal), one can invite ten friends, only if these additional
friends would have attended such a gathering at another time of the year (3).
[Serving meat and wine at meals associated with a mitzvah] is permissible
even on Erev Tish'ah B'av, as long as the meal takes place before midday
("chatzot"). The meal that is eaten on the night before a circumcision is
not considered a feast associated with a mitzvah (see the conclusion of
Chapter 163), and it is forbidden to serve meat and wine; rather, the meal
should consist of dairy foods.
[As we saw earlier, there are no restrictions on Shabbos itself in terms of
serving meat and wine]. Regarding the cup [of wine] over which Havdalah is
recited, [the following rules apply:] If there is a minor who is capable of
drinking the majority of the cup (4) it should be given to him. If not, the
person reciting Havdalah may drink it himself (5).
(1) A celebratory meal is made when one has finished either a tractate of
the Talmud, one of the six orders of the Mishna, or upon the conclusion of
a book of the Tanach (if the book of Tanach was learned in depth, using the
commentaries of the Rishonim) ( Iggros Moshe, O.H, 1st Chelek, Siman 157).
(2) One should not rush or delay the completion of the tractate solely in
order to finish during these nine days and thereby be permitted to eat meat
(Mishna Berura 551:73). Some have the custom of postponing the siyum until
after Tish'ah B'av, even if they happened to complete the tractate during
the nine days; this is done in order to be able to fully express one's joy
in honor of the Torah one has learned - something that wouldn't be
appropriate during a time of mourning for the Beis Hamikdash (Aruch
(3) From Rosh Chodesh Av until the week in which Tish'ah B'av falls, one
may invite as many guests as one wants, as long as they would have attended
such a gathering at another time of the year (Mishna Berura 551:77). Even
during the week in which Tish'ah B'av falls, all those who usually eat with
the person who completed the tractate (like members of a Yeshivah or camp),
may also eat meat at the siyum (that is, even if there are more than ten of
them) (Rav Shimon Eider in his "Halachos of the Three Weeks" in the name of
Rav Moshe Feinstein zt''l; perhaps this is the leniency relied upon by
those eating in a Hotel dining room).
(4) Misgeres HaShulchan 10 states that it is sufficient if a child drinks a
cheek-full (which is equal to the majority of a "revi'is"). The child has
to have already reached the age of "chinuch" (that is, he has the ability
to understand to Whom we are directing the blessing), but should not be old
enough to understand how to mourn over the Beis Hamikdash (Temple).
However, when a mitzvah is not involved, one is not allowed to serve meat
(or wine) to a child, even if that child is not yet capable of
understanding the significance of mourning (Mishna Berura 551:70)
(5) This is permitted because the nation never accepted to refrain from
wine which is associated with a mitzvah (Ibid.67). Some have the custom of
using beer for Havdallah during the nine days.