Halachos of Tisha B’av and Erev Shabbos | Rabbi Moshe Rotberg

This year Tisha B’av is a nidche to Sunday as it was last year. This will once again occur in 5789 (2029) which iyh by then it will certainly have been a Yom Tov. There are many halachos which are relevant to this Shabbos and Tisha B’av. As is the case with all columns this is merely a collection of opinions on many different topics. Should you have a specific question please refer to a Rav whom can direct you in your unique situation.

Erev Shabbos– Bathing, Grooming, Learning Torah, Eating Meat


The halacha dictates that one is forbidden from bathing or showering during the 9 days. Based on that one would be forbidden to even take a cold shower. According to them though, one would be allowed to wash their hands and face with hot water and soap. This is based on the Rema (551;16), and the Mishnah Berurah (Ibid 95) writes, that this applies even to someone who takes showers regularly.

The Aruch Hashulchan (36) writes that he started seeing a breach in halacha where people starting bathing Erev Shabbos even in hot water based on the fact that they always do so. He states that the Rema only allowed one to wash their heads etc. but not to bathe. He adds that he remembers when all the bathhouses were locked on Erev Shabbos Chazon!

While many of the Poskim in Eretz Yisroel still rule as such, however, many Poskim in America are more lenient. Much of this can actually be contributed to our cultural habits and the fact that we are considered an istenis-finicky, and that it is very uncomfortable to go into Shabbos not showered. This is the opinion of Rav Henkin zt”l (Gvuros Eliyahu O.C. 37;1) and Rav Moshe Feinstein zt”l (quoted by Rabbi Eider zt”l and bright in Shmatza D’Moshe shmuos 551;36). One may use soap and shampoo as well (Kovetz Halachos 14). However, it is very important that one is careful so as not to be mezalzel in this matter to take long hot showers for the therapeutic and pleasurable experience. One should use as cool water as he can tolerate and only remain there for the amount of time needed to do so.

Cutting Nails

One who regularly cuts his nails on Erev Shabbos can do so on Erev Shabbos Chazon as well.


Even though one is generally forbidden from learning ordinary topics on Erev Tisha B’av after chatzos according to some opinions this does not appl to this Shabbos. The Chassam Sofer (O.C. 156) explains that generally this is prohibited since if one learns on Erev Tisha B’av his thoughts will be preoccupied with the learning on Tisha B’av itself, but not because there is a prohibition to learn Erev Tisha B’av. Since one is allowed to learn on Shabbos this does not apply.

In general the Gr”a writes that in any year to prohibit learning Erev Tisha B’av is too extreme “chumra yeseira” and as such rules the Mishnah Berurah (553; 8) that one who wants to be lenient and learn Erev Tisha B’av may do so since there the 5 inuyim do not apply to Erev Tisha B’av.

Eating Meat

Even though there is a inyan to taste the Shabbos foods on Erev Shabbos (tomeha) however, this obviously is not allowed on Erev Shabbos. A woman, however, is allowed to taste a small amount of food to see if it is flavored correctly and then spit it out. (This is based on the fact that the true reason for tomeha according to the Mishnah Berurah (250;2) based on the Magan Avrohom that it is in order to taste the food to be sure it is seasoned correctly.

The Inuyim (Deprivations) on Shabbos, Aveilus on Shabbos

None of the inuyim of the regular Tisha B’av applies to this Shabbos besides tashmish (554; 19). This too is allowed if it is leil tevila then it is allowed (Gr”a, Aruch Hashulchan). However, all other things are allowed. Although it is Tisha b’av one does not show any public displays of aveilus due to kavod Shabbos. The only things discussed in the Poskim are things which are not obvious to the public.

Some Laws Which Apply to Shabbos as Well

There are those whom do not do the following things on Shabbos Tisha B’av. Making a Shalom Zachor, Aufruf, singing by l’cha dodi, or even wearing bigdei Shabbos. However, this is not the prevailing opinion of the Poskim in most of our circles as this would be considered availus b’farhesia.

Fasting- Nursing, Pregnant and the Frail

The taanis of Tisha b’av commences the night prior just as it does on Yom Kippur. While generally pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting, this is not the case on Tisha B’av where they do generally fast.

Woman After Baby

Even though it is brought in the Shulchan Aruch that a woman within 30 days of a baby does not need to fast; this is only where it is believed that there might be a danger according to many. The Taz (554; 4) and the Gr”a (Ibid) disagree with this in the opinion of the Mechaber and maintain that a pregnant woman within 30 days of delivery wouldn’t need to fast. The Mishnah Berurah (Ibid 9,13) states that this is only the case if they are actually feeling weak, however, if they are feeling fine (albeit hungry from fasting) there is no such allowance. The Aruch Hashulchan (Ibid 8) rule that it is forbidden to allow a woman to fast within 30 days of having a baby as they considered a choleh (as such rules the Chut Hashani Shabbos Vol. 4 Pg. 260).

The Divrei Yatziv (233) states that on the contrary today women are healthier than they once were and there is not nearly the sakano that it once was. Therefore, the 30 days post baby one should fast unless they are weak, lost a lot blood or other contributing factors. (He writes that the OB’s in Laniado Hospital told him that there is greater risk for a pregnant woman than a post-partem woman.)

Thus, for practical ruling it would seem that any woman that is within 30 days of having a baby and is feeling weak or any other factors should certainly not be fasting.

This year that it is a nidche one can certainly be much more lenient as a result.

A Pregnant or Nursing Woman

While the Shulchan Aruch does rule that pregnant and nursing mothers need to fast, Rav Shlomo Zalman zt”l in Halichos Shlomo (Bain Hmitzarim 16;1) states that they should not fast if they are having a difficult time fasting. Rav Nissim Karelitz adds that a woman early in pregnancy whom is constantly throwing up should also not fast.

As such in the earlier months the chance of pre-term labor or miscarriage is certainly a requirement for one to break their fast. When this is a risk it must not be overlooked.

A woman in the last stage of pregnancy according to Dayan Fischer should also not fast since there is a risk of her going into labor. While many disagree with this since essentially even if she does there is no risk, however, the Nishmas Avrohom (Y.D. 194;13) states as such from Rav Shlomo Zalman as well. He based this on the fact that Rav Moshe zt”l (Ig”m Y.D. Vol. 2;74) warns one from rushing the pregnancy to deliver prior to the natural time. Since this year is a nidche there is far more room for leniency.

Rav Shlomo Zalman also allowed for nursing women whom were weak as a result of nursing to break their fast. Others disagree with this opinion as well; they maintain that even if they may not produce the milk they needed but the baby takes formula the woman must fast.

This is a matter of great debate thus one should ask their Rov how to handle, however, when someone is feeling excessively weak, or their doctor has any concerns, they should not be fasting.

As a practical solution for many people whom are not sure how to proceed they can start drinking pochus m’kshiur from the beginning of the fast (about 1 oz.) every few minutes (how many minutes matter of debate vary between as little as 3 minutes) so that they don’t get into any issues.

While we rule that a choleh does not have to eat or drink less than the shiur however, in this case it may be worth it for those that are somewhere in the middle and unsure how to proceed.

Taking Tzom Kal

Today there are many different supplements and vitamins which are a slow release tablet which is intended to make the fast easier. While some of these are medicinal such as Tylenol or Advil (which should not present any halacha concern) there are others which help one not feel so hungry. Rav Shlomo Zalman zt”l (Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2 58;25) writes even with regard to Erev Yom Kippur (when there is a mitzvah to eat in preparation of the fast) that one should not take these supplements. He explains that one who does so is considered a navel b’rshus haTorah.

However, even those whom are stringent rule that if one has a hard time fasting that they are allowed to take this supplement (See Kovetz Halachos 16;17). There are those in general whom are lenient with regards to taking these supplements. Someone whom generally gets weak or sick from fasting may certainly take these products.

Tzom Kal on Shabbos

Taking a supplement on Shabbos to assist with the fast the next day, theoretically could pose two concerns. The first issue would be refuah. This is not an issue generally, since when one is taking a Tylenol he generally is not a choleh then thus there is no prohibition of refuah. If one is taking a food supplement, then that too is not a refuah.

The issue which does exist is if it does not start working right away at all then there may be an issue of hachana. However, I spoke with an RPH (Registered Pharmacists) who stated that in fact these medications do work right away but it simply lasts longer as result of the time release.

Havdalah for Someone Breaking Their Fast

Havdalah is typically recited on Motzai Tisha B’av albeit without aish and the first Psukim. However, the question is what does a person whom will be breaking their fast do, since one is not allowed to eat prior to hearing havdallah. For anyone whom will be eating even less than the shiur one would need to hear havdallah first. Rav Wosner zt”l (Shevet Halevi Vol. 8; 129) writes that someone whom will only be drinking water or taking water with medicine does not need to hear havdalah.

One whom is making havdallah at night does not recite the p’sukim of hinei kel and no b’somim. What should be used as Havdalah is also questionable. As a practical guide it would seem that this is best way to go about it. It is best to use chamar medinah and make a shahakol. If one does not have that they can use wine or grape-juice and have a minor drink it. If that too is not available, they can drink that themselves.

With regard to a woman whom needs to hear Havdalah it is best to find a man whom is doing so. If that is not feasible some state that she can wait for her husband motzei Tisha b’av. This is based on the fact that (See Rav Moshe Shternbuch Vol. 7) there are those whom maintain that women do not need to hear Havdalah as well as the fact that there are those that state that if havdalah is not done Motzai Shabbos it is not done at all.

The Birkei Yosef (556;3) states that a man can make Havdalah for someone else whom needs to hear it even though they themselves will not be eating or drinking. The others should drink the kos of drink.

Motzai Tisha B’av

A woman whom is waiting for her husband to come back after davening on Tisha B’av and can’t hear Havdalah from a neighbor may do so herself. If she can’t do so, she can eat a snack prior to hearing Havdalah (See Minchas Yitzchok Vol. 8; 51 that he is unsure of this).

Laundry, Music Motzai Tisha B’av

Generally, most of the Tisha B’av restrictions are not allowed to be done until chatzos the next day. However, this year since it is a nidche everything is allowed right after the z’man besides eating meat. There is a dispute whether one would be allowed to listen music that eve, some are more lenient and others equate it to the restriction of meat which out of respect of the preceding fast that it should not be done until chatzos the next day.

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