The Tenth of Av

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By: Rabbi Ari Enkin

Contrary to popular misconception, the Three Weeks of mourning do not end with the conclusion of Tisha B’av. In many ways they actually extend into the 10th Av. As we will see, the 10th day of Av is actually quite significant, and in many ways, it is an extension of Tisha B’av itself. In fact, there was once a custom to fast on both the 9th and 10th of Av [1] and it seems that there were those who did so as late as the 15th century[2] and perhaps even the 17th century.[3] Although there is no one today who fasts on both the 9th and 10th of Av “because we are too weak to do so”,[4] a certain measure of mourning is observed on the 10th of Av. One who for whatever reason did not fast on the 9th of Av should fast on the 10th of Av, as well as observe all the other Tisha B’av restrictions.[5]

There is much discussion as to exactly when the first Beit Hamikdash was destroyed. According to one account it was destroyed on the 7th of Av[6] while according to another it was destroyed on the 10th of Av.[7] In order to reconcile this contradiction, the Talmud suggests that on the 7th of Av the Babylonians entered the Beit Hamikdash and went on a rampage which continued for three days. On the afternoon of the 9th of Av they set fire to the Beit Hamikdash which culminated in its destruction.[8]

Similarly, there is also some discussion as to when the second Beit Hamikdash was destroyed. According to the Talmud it was destroyed on the 9th of Av[9] while according to Josephus it was destroyed on the 10th of Av.[10] Based on this and other considerations, there have been sages in the past who advocated moving the fast from the 9th of Av to the 10th.[11] Indeed, although the fires were set on the 9th of Av, they were set late in the afternoon, and hence most of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash actually took place on the 10th of Av.[12]

According to the Shulchan Aruch one may not eat meat or drink wine on the 10th of Av.[13] Ashkenazi custom is to observe these restrictions only  until midday on the 10th of Av.[14] So too, while there are authorities who permit one to cut one’s hair and do laundry immediately after the fast[15] common custom is to refrain from these activities until midday on the 10th of Av, as well. Nevertheless, under extenuating circumstances one may be lenient and do laundry immediately after the fast.[16] One is also permitted to shower after the fast should one feel the need to do so.[17]

When Tisha B’av falls out on Thursday, however, it is completely permissible to do laundry and take a haircut immediately after the fast is over in honor of Shabbat. Nevertheless, eating meat, drinking wine, and listening to music remain prohibited until midday on Friday.[18] When Tisha B’av falls out on Shabbat and is pushed off to Sunday, all the restrictions of the nine days are permitted immediately after the fast with the exception of eating meat and drinking wine.[19] Some refrain from marital relations on the night of the 10th of Av unless it is the night of tevilla.[20]

It is interesting to note that there were those who held that some of the mourning restrictions continue for the entire month of Av! For example, Rav Papa was of the opinion that the ban on not scheduling a court appearance with a non-Jew applies for the entire month of Av.[21] So too, in some communities, weddings were not held the entire month of Av,[22] or at least until after Shabbat Nachamu.[23] Indeed, there was a custom, observed by no less an authority than Rashi, to observe all of the restriction of the Nine Days until Shabbat Nachamu.[24] Rav Yehuda was of the opinion that the prohibition against doing laundry and taking a haircut continue for the entire month of Av, as well.[25]Nevertheless, the halacha is not in accordance with any of these views.[26]


1 Yerushalmi, Taanit 4:6.

2 Beit Yosef, OC 558.

3 Magen Avraham 558:2.

4 Tur, OC 558.

5 Birkei Yosef, OC 558.

6 Melachim II 25:8,9.

7 Yirmiyahu 52:10.

8 Taanit 29a.

9 Taanit 29a.

10 Josephus, War of the Jews 6:4:5.

11 Taanit 29a; Tosfot, Megilla 5b s.v. “Ubikesh”.

12 Taanit 29a; OC 558:1.

13 Tur, OC 558; OC 558:1; Sha’arei Teshuva 558: 2.

14 Rema, OC 558:1. But see Shu”t Maharshal 92.

15 OC 551:4.

16 Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 42:16; Piskei Teshuvot 558:2.

17 Teshuvot V’hanhagot 2:260.

18 Magen Avraham 558:1; Aruch Hashulchan, OC 558:2; Mishna Berura 558:3; Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 42:52; Rivevot Ephraim 3:342. See also Be’er Moshe 3:79.

19 Rema, OC 558:1.

20 Mishna Berura 558:3; Kaf Hachaim, OC 558:7.

21 Taanit 29b.

22 Beit Yosef, OC 551; Magen Avraham 551:8.

23 Minchat Elazar 3:66.

24 Siddur Rashi; Machzor Vitri; Bach, OC 551. See also Taz, OC 551:10; Magen Avraham 551:16; Elya Rabba 551:45. (Though even according to this custom it is permitted to do laundry needed in honor of Shabbat.)

25 Taanit 29b.

26 Taanit 30a; Mishna Berura 551:2.

 

About Ari Enkin

Rabbi Ari N. Enkin, a resident of Ramat Beit Shemesh, is a researcher and writer of contemporary halachic issues. He is the author of the “Dalet Amot of Halacha” series (8 volumes), Rabbinic Director of United with Israel and a RA"M at a number of yeshivot. www.rabbienkin.com

14 comments

  1. “because we are too weak to do so”,[
    ====================================
    imho this is a statement regarding our psychological (not physical) weakness.
    She-nir’eh et nehamat Yerushalayim u-binyanah bi-mherah ve-yamenu,

  2. Yeah..The Arabs are fasting for *30 days* this month while working in hard physical labor (I can see them working from my office window), while most of us are collapsing by 1:30 pm on fast days.

  3. “although the fires were set on the 9th of Av, they were set late in the afternoon, and hence most of the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash actually took place on the 10th of Av”

    I thought we nevertheless observe the 9th of Av because the beginning of the tragic destruction is the worst — the rest was merely the consequences

  4. Yes. Ultimately that is the reason.

    Ari Enkin

  5. Josh Schlenger

    “One is also permitted to shower after the fast should one feel the need to do so.”

    Presumably, the Teshuvot V’hanhagot does not accept that Jews living in First World countries nowadays may fall into the category of איסטניס such that they would be able to take quick, lukewarm showers during the Nine Days to relieve discomfort (much like Rabban Gamli’el did during Shiv’a for his wife, see Mishna, Berakhot 2:6; but see also Tif’eret Yisra’el, ad loc., who says that this dispensation only applies to צער דלא שכיח).

  6. Fascinating stuff here! Kol HaKavod, R’ Enkin.

    Wouldn’t it be more logical to say that the first Mikdash was destroyed on the 8th or (or through) the 10th, and the second on the 9th?

  7. Once many years ago, I went to ask a question from a prominent talmid hacham for whom I have much respect. It was during the 9 days. As I approached him I got a strong whiff of body odor and, instinctively, momentarily lost my feeling of respect for him. Thinking about it afterwards, I came to the conclusion that during the 9 days it’s not only permitted but required to shower (in unpleasantly cold water). Kavod habriyot is sufficient reason, and in this case, kavod hatorah. We don’t wear, say, shorts while davening because it’s inappropriate to approach a king dressed like that. But would any of us approach a king without having showered in the last week?

  8. shaul shapira

    “When Tisha B’av falls out on Thursday, however, it is completely permissible to … take a haircut immediately after the fast is over in honor of Shabbat”

    Isn’t the haircut le’chatchila supposed to be as close to shabbes as possible? And if it’s not possible to do it after chatzos, wouldn’t it be muttar l’kovod shabbes anyway? (Basically I’m asking what the special hetter to take a haircut immediately after the fast is over is.)

    “Presumably, the Teshuvot V’hanhagot does not accept that Jews living in First World countries nowadays may fall into the category of איסטניס such that they would be able to take quick, lukewarm showers during the Nine Days to relieve discomfort”

    He does accept it. He adds it as an afterthought in the last paragraph. I think his main point is there’s extra room to be maykil about non-taanug showers on motzaei T Be’av.

  9. Shaul–

    You are absolutely right. It is preferable to have the haircut on Friday morning. I will modify the wording in the original.

    Shkoyach!

    Ari

  10. Thanks Nachum!

    RE: Wouldn’t it be more logical to say that the first Mikdash was destroyed on the 8th or (or through) the 10th, and the second on the 9th?

    Or perhaps from the 7th – 10th.

    Bottom line, however, is Chazal were kovaeia based (on the best of the ability to establish) on when the fires were lit.

    Ari Enkin

  11. Hi,

    Thanks for the article.

    Can you please double check the ShU’T Maharshal citation? The online edition I was looking at only went up to 81, but perhaps there is another edition…?

    Also I’ve been puzzling over the assumption that Karo considered the minhag of not eating meat on the 10th to extend past midday (it was actually investigation of this question that brought me to this article). What I read in the Beith Yosef seemed to indicate that he understood the minhag in question to be abstention from meat etc until midday on 10 Av — but perhaps I am seriously misunderstanding him.

    Any insight would be helpful.

  12. Gil, shalom!

    1. The Bar Ilan program has has the Teshuva in question.
    2. The Shulchan Aruch is clearly mashma that the restriction apply the entire day. I have not checked the Beis Yosef.

    Regards,

    Ari Enkin

  13. Shalom Ari,

    1. Thanks, found it

    2. I didn’t draw the same conclusion; it seems counter-intuitive given Rama’s wording (viz “there are those who stringent to fast from meat until midday and no longer”). Also check Beith Yosef — his description of that particular practice only mentions abstention until midday. I saw Sirkes quoted ShU’T Rashba mentioning individuals who allegedly abstain until the evening, but I have not looked it up yet and it does not seem to me to be implied by either the Mehaber or Rama. I do not think Karo or Isserless believed that the minhag of some to abstain from meat until midday on 10 Av, extended past midday.

    Shabbath Shalom

  14. **to abstain from meat on 10 Av, extended past midday.

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