MONTH OF AV
H alachot of
Tisha B’Av – 5761
alachot of Tisha B’Av – 5761
(A substantial amount of the following is adapted from
This year, 5761, Tisha
B’Av, the Ninth Day of the Month of Av,
currently the saddest day of the Hebrew Calendar, hopefully soon to be among
the happiest, falls on Sunday, July 29, 2001.
Like Yom Kippur in this aspect, but
unlike the other public Fast Days (Asarah
B’Tevet, Shivah Asar
B’Tammuz, Tzom Gedalyah,
and Ta’anit Esther),
the fasting from food and drink on Tisha B’Av, as well as its other
prohibitions, begins at night, rather than the next morning.
The other prohibitions are washing (even in cold water), applying
oils to ourselves for pleasurable purposes, marital relations, and the
wearing of leather shoes.
Shabbat Chazon (“Erev Tisha B’Av” this year)
“Shabbat Chazon,” called that because of the first word
of the Haftarah, “Chazon
Yeshayahu ben Amotz,” “The Vision of Yeshayahu,
son of Amotz,” falls this year on the 8th of Av, Friday
evening, July 27, 2001 – Saturday, July 28, 2001, the day preceding Tisha B’Av.
Remember to bring footwear appropriate to Tisha B’Av to shul on Friday before
Shabbat, since Tisha B’Av coincides with the end of Shabbat.
In the Prayers of “Kabbalat Shabbat,” “Welcoming the
Sabbath,” on Friday Evening, some communities have the custom to sing
“Lecha Dodi” to the haunting melody of “Eli-Tziyon,” “Mourn, O
Zion,” the last of the traditional “Kinot,” or Lamentations.
The Haftarah, the “Vision of Yeshayahu,” taken from
Yeshayahu 1:1-27, is read to the special melody of “Megilat Eichah.”
(the eye-witness testimony of the Prophet Yirmiyahu,
to the destruction of Yerushalayim
and the Beit HaMikdash,
the Holy Temple, by the Babylonians).
After mid-day on Shabbat afternoon, a time frequently devoted
to the study of Torah, most authorities are of the opinion that one should
learn only those topics that are permitted on Tisha B’Av (matters related
to the Destruction and other tragedies of Jewish History, The Book of Iyov
(Job), because its topic is the “Suffering of the Righteous,” and
similar material). Other
authorities permit all learning on Shabbat, Erev Tisha B’Av.
At Minchah on Shabbat, we do not say “Tzidkatecha Tzedek,”
and afterwards, we do not study “Pirkei
Avot,” although that is the traditional Torah study engaged in during
the summer (in the northern hemisphere; winter in the southern
One may drink wine and eat meat at “Seudah Shlishit,” the
traditional “Third Meal” of Shabbat (because Shabbat is an exception to
the prohibition against drinking wine or eating meat during the “Nine
we must stop eating altogether before sunset, the beginning of the Fast.
On one hand, it is still Shabbat, but that fact is overridden by the onset
of the Fast.
This is the most severe of the Public Fast Days.
The Day is associated with five prohibitions, identical with those of
Yom Kippur. In both cases, the purpose is to temporarily separate us from
our physical selves.
However, on Yom Kippur, the purpose is to raise us to the
level of the “Malachim,” the Angels, who serve G-d as pure spirits, with
their “concentration never interrupted or distracted” by the physical
aspects of bodies.
On Tisha B’Av, the very same sensory deprivations are an
expression of “aveilut,” of mourning, of denying ourselves the pleasures
of the physical, that have distracted us and distracted our ancestors,
causing us and them to sin, and causing thereby the tragedies of Jewish
History. Hopefully, the Fast
enables us to focus and
re-direct our attention upon our status as servants of G-d, potentially a
“Kingdom of Priests and a Holy Nation” (Shemot, 19:6), who need to do Teshuvah,
Repentance, to return to Him.
Aruch (Orach Chayim 554:25) writes, “Anyone who eats or drinks on Tisha
B’Av will not participate in the rejoicing over the rebuilt
Jerusalem.” The “Mishne
Brurah,” authored by the “Chofetz
Chayim,” comments on “Anyone who drinks, etc.,” “Even women who
are pregnant or nursing, or people of weak constitution, for whom fasting is
very difficult, must fast on Tisha B’Av (this does not apply to
someone who is truly ill), for the destruction of the Beit HaMikdash is
worth suffering for, at least one day a year.”
Motzaei Shabbat (Departure of the Shabbat)
“Maariv” and “Megilat Eichah”
The “Chazzan” (Prayer leader) says “Baruch HaMavdil
bein Kodesh L’Chol,” without mentioning any of the Divine Names that are
usually also part of that blessing.
He removes his shoes before beginning “Borchu.”
The congregation removes their shoes after they hear “Borchu” and
respond “Baruch HaShem HaMevoroch L’Olam Va-ed.”
We remove the curtain from the “Aron HaKodesh,” we dim
the lighting, and we sit on the floor or on a low stool. We do not sit on regular chairs or benches until mid-day.
We recite “Maariv” (the Evening Prayer) in a low and subdued
We recite “Shemoneh
Esray” with “Atah Chonantanu.”
The “Chazzan” recites “Kaddish Titkabel” after
Some communities light a Havdalah candle in shul and recite
the full “berochoh” “Borei MeOrei Ha-Esh;” before the reading of “Eichah;”
others hold this blessing off till the family gets home, and make this
The rest of “Havdalah” (except for the blessing “Borei Minay Be-samim”
on spices (that is omitted this week)) is made on Sunday night after the
“Megilat Eichah” is read publicly,
to its unique, mournful melody. Following
“Eichah” is the communal recitation of a relatively small (compared to
tomorrow’s) list of “Kinot.” We
should never lose sight of the fact that we are only reciting “Kinot;”
not receiving the massive punishments that they commemorate.
This is followed by “Kaddish Titkabel” without the
‘Titkabel’ reference; that is, the reference that asks G-d to hear our
prayers; we’re not ready for that yet.
Now we’re just being quiet and remembering the punishments.
We do not say “Viyhi Noam” nor “Ve-Yiten
We say “Aleinu,” the Prayer that is never omitted, for it
places us in perspective with respect to HaShem, as servants to the great
Sunday Morning, July 29, 2001
“Shacharit,” the Morning Prayer
At home, upon rising, we wash our hands alternately up to the
ends of the knuckles. As one is
drying them, while there is still some moisture on them, one may rub them
across one’s eyes to remove the sediment there.
At shul, we do not wear “Tallit” (Prayer Shawl) nor “Tefillin,”
in the morning. We do wear our
“Tallit Katan,” but without making a blessing over it.
We say the usual morning blessings, as well as the rest of the
morning order of sacrifices (except for referring to the “pitum ha-ketoret,”
the preparation of the incense).
We recite the usual morning “Pesukei di-Zimrah,”
“Birchot Kriat Shema,” “Kriat Shema” and “Shemoneh Esray.” When Chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esray, he recites “Aneinu”
(special Fast-Day Prayer petitioning HaShem to listen to our prayers)
between “Goel” (Request for Redemption) and “Refaenu” (Request for
Chazzan does not say “Birchat Kohanim” (Blessing of the
“Half-Kaddish” is recited by Chazzan.
No “Tachanun” and no “Avinu Malkeinu,” both typically
said on Fast Days, but not on Tisha B’Av, because, although it is the
saddest day, and the most severe of the fast days, it contains within it the
potential for tremendous joy. It
is also called a “Moed,” a special time, as are the joyous holidays Pesach,
Shavuot, and Sukkot.
This can be, and historically indeed was, a “special time” of
punishment but ultimately, it will be a “special time” of Redemption and
Rebuilding and Restoration – for the destroyed City of Jerusalem and Holy
Temple and the diminished People of Israel, whose spiritual center they’d
We take out a “Sefer Torah” and have three “Aliyot”
in Parshat Vaetchanan (Devarim 4:25-40) “Ki Tolid Banim;” Third
“Aliyah” is “Maftir.”
Half-Kaddish is recited by Chazzan.
Haftarah is read in the melody of Eichah from Yirmiyahu
8:13-9:23, beginning “Asof
Asifem.” At conclusion,
Berachot on Haftarah said through “Magen David,” “Shield of David.”
Sefer Torah returned to Aron HaKodesh.
We say the lengthy set of “Kinot” at this point. It is best, of course, if someone is available who is
knowledgeable in the meaning, setting, and background of the various “kinot,”
for each one describes a world of emotion and many commemorate specific
events in our history. New
“kinot” have been composed regarding the Holocaust; one in particular by
Rabbi Shimon Schwab, ZT”L, which is used in many shuls.
the “Kinot,” is “Ashrei;” “La’Menatzeach” is omitted;
“U’Va Le-Tziyon” is said, omitting the verse beginning “Va-Ani Zot
Briti,” “As for Me, This is My Covenant; etc.”
Titkabel (also known as “Kaddish Shalem”),” still without the
do not recite the “Psalm for the Day” in “Shacharit” on Tisha B’Av.
“Chatzot,” Mid-Day, it is permitted to sit on chairs and benches.
purpose of a Fast Day is “Teshuvah;” therefore, any activity one can do
that will accomplish this purpose is appropriate.
Sections of the Talmud on the subject of the Destruction of
Yerushalayim and the Temple (beginning Gittin 55b) are recommended.
The Book of Job is recommended.
videos are recommended (not in the Talmud), and are available.
the Afternoon Prayer
don “Tallit” and “Tefillin,” making the appropriate “berachot.” The “Psalm of the Day” is recited now, followed by a
is recited, followed by a “Half-Kaddish.”
take a “Sefer Torah” out of the “Aron HaKodesh,” and three
“Aliyot” are called up in “Parshat VaYechal,” the third being the
Haftarah “Dirshu” is recited (Yeshayahu 55:6–56:8)
“Sefer Torah” to “Aron Kodesh.”
is recited by Chazzan.
Esray” is recited by individuals, including “Nachem,” “Comfort Us”
(the “Shemoneh Esray”- insert unique to “Tisha B’Av”), in
“Boneh Yerushalayim,” and “Aneinu” in “Shomea Tefila.”
If one forgot to say “Nachem” in “Boneh Yerushalayim,” he or
she can still say it before “VeTechezena Einenu” (according to the
Chazzan repeats the Shemoneh Esray, he inserts “Aneinu” between
“Goel” and “Refoenu,” “Nachem” in “Boneh Yerushalayim,” and
now says “Birchat Kohanim” before “Sim Shalom” (Notice that “Sim
Shalom” is recited in Minchah of a “Fast Day” instead of the usual
“Avinu Malkeinu,” “Our Father, Our King” and no “Tachanun.”
Titkabel,” followed by “Aleinu,” followed by “Kaddish Yatom,” if
mourners are present.
usual weekday “Maariv” is recited.
After services (some authorities maintain that we should eat first),
we say ”Kiddush Levanah,” “Sanctification of the New Moon,” for the
Month of Av.
in shul and at home, most of which (except “Borei Meorei HaEsh”) was postponed from
“Motzaei Shabbat,” is “Borei P’ri HaGafen” on wine, and “HaMavdil.”