Debriciner Rov – Swimming On 17 Tammuz

poolIs swimming permitted on 17 Tammuz? Technically speaking says the Debriciner Rov, Rav Moshe Stern in Shu”t Be’er Moshe (3:73) it is permissible. The Shulchan Aruch paskens (550:2) that bathing is permitted on the three Taniyos (Tzom Gedalia, Asara B’Teves, and Shiva Asar B’Tammuz). Although the Acharonim argue on the Michaber and our minhag is to be Machmir, the Pri Megadim says that we are only Machmir for hot water but not cold water.

It can be argued that swimming should be assur because it is Rechitzas Taanug, bathing for pleasure, which the gemara Taanis (13a) seems to assur. However the Debriciner Rov says that Rechitzas Taanug is only assur when the actual bathing is enjoyable, such as in hot water. If the water is cold, yet you manage to find a way to enjoy yourself, that is not called Taanug.

He ends the tshuva by saying that maybe (mourning the destruction of) Hashem’s house merits being extra stringent even when the Halacha does not prohibit it.

Author’s Note: We try to convey the Tshuva to the best of our ability. We admit that our understanding may not be accurate. Please also understand that this Tshuva may not be the final word on this topic. One should consult a Rav before drawing any conclusions. Revach

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  1. when I was a bucher in camp,it was a hot day and Reb Moshe ztvk”l said swimming was premitted. (i don’t know if psak was based on weather)

  2. It may be ok to swim on these fast days, but what will you do about getting a lifeguard? It is extremely dangerous to have a lifeguard sitting outside the pool for hours in the heat without being able to drink. From the lifeguard’s point of view- I think it’s more important to protect us from dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke than for all the bored people to go for a dip.

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