Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Nine Days in a Nutshell

Tomorrow night is Rosh Chodesh Av, the first day of the month of Av. It also begins the period known as the Nine Days, a time of great sadness for the Jewish people. Ashkenazim have been observing mourning practices since the 17th of Tammuz, but starting tomorrow, their mourning practices intensify and Sephardim begin observing mourning practices. The Nine Days culminates in the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, Tisha B'Av (the 9th of Av).

The English dates for the Nine Days in 2011 is sundown of Sunday, July 31, through the evening of Tuesday, August 9.

Note: Sephardi practices may be slightly different from what is noted below.

What is prohibited during the Nine Days?
  • Weddings. (Engagement parties are permissible.)
  • Public celebrations.
  • Haircuts.
  • Dancing.
  • Shaving.
  • No saying the shechecheyanu blessing on new food or clothing (except on Shabbat).
  • No music (singing may be permissible).
  • You shouldn't purchase items of joy unless they will be more expensive after Tisha B'Av (tefillin is excluded).
  • Drinking wine or grape juice. This might not apply to Shabbat, Havdalah, or a seudat mitzvah in your community.
  • Eating meat (including poultry). This might not apply to Shabbat or a seudat mitzvah in your community.
  • Doing laundry (except for children's clothing).
  • Wearing freshly-laundered clothing (except socks and underwear). See: How to Wear "Clean" Clothing During the Nine Days.
  • Buy new clothing, even if you won't wear it until after the Nine Days. There are exceptions.
  • Bathing for pleasure.
  • Swimming for pleasure.
Custom in many communities discourages traveling during this period, but it is halachically permissible. During the entire month of Av, some people will attempt to postpone any personal court proceedings. (I don't believe there is the same custom regarding attending a court proceeding or being the attorney in such a proceeding.)

1 comment:

  1. There's also something about how you aren't supposed to build a bayit of 'simcha'... I was taught that this means you can't do non-functional additions, etc to your home. You can't commission a new deck or third floor, etc. I don't think this is such a big deal these days though :P