This year the week of TishaB'Ab is from Saturday night July 25th until Sunday night July 26th. We do not take haircuts or shave even for business purposes. We don't wear freshly laundered clothing (they should be worn a little before Saturday night to lose their freshness). Once the fast begins one may not eat or drink nor wear leather shoes. No washing any part of the body, except to remove dirt. No anointing with cream or perfume, (except for medical reasons) Deodorant is permitted. No marital relations. Greeting one another is prohibited. One may not engage in any activity that will distract his mind from mourning. Even going to work should be avoided at least until mid-day.
Learning Torah is prohibited except for the portions relevant to TishaB'Ab & mourning. It is our custom to wear tefilin at home to recite only Shema, and then say prayers in shul without them.
The fast applies to all men and women older than Bar/Bat Misva. The only exception is one who is ill or one who is old and week that may become ill because of the fast. Anyone with a question should consult the Rabbi.
As we approach TishaB'Ab, we have to remember that our emotional pain on both the national and personal level is not in the least bit comparable to that of our Father in Heaven. It is one thing to cry during these Three Weeks over our personal suffering. A higher level is to cry over our national tragedies. But the highest level is to cry over the suffering and pain that we have caused Our Father in Heaven by our misconduct. May our tears overflow and join with the tears of all Jews in pain who cry "Father!" on TishaB'Ab, and may we rejoice together in the rebuilt holy city of Jerusalem. Amen.
As we enter into the "Nine days" that begin the month of Ab, our mood becomes more somber, as we reflect upon this period of the Jewish calendar that has been marked with tremendous pain and suffering. We should postpone whatever joyousness and festivity that we can. It is written, that whoever mourns for Zion, the Temple and the tragedies of the Jewish People will merit to see their rebuilding.
It is the custom of our community that from the day after Rosh Hodesh Ab after dark) until one day after the fast, we refrain from eating any meat or chicken and from drinking any wine (beer and whiskey are permitted). Healthy children over the age of 6 are also required to abstain from meat, chicken and grape juice. However, a sickly person who needs to eat meat may do so. Of course, on Shabbat, we may eat meat and chicken and drink wine in honor of the day. Similarly, meat and wine may be served at a Seudat Misva of a Bar Misva, Brit Milah or Pidyon HaBen.
A) A person should not go on pleasure trips during this time.
B) Any court cases should also be avoided.
C) Painting and wallpapering should be postponed until Monday, July 30th.
D) During the entire three weeks and especially during the nine days, we are not permitted to hear music.
Rosh Hodesh Ab
The passing of Aharon HaKohen Although fist recorded in the Perasha of Hukat, the passing of Aharon is mentioned in our Torah reading this week. Aharon passed away on Rosh Hodesh Ab, which is in the middle of the three-week period known also as 'bein hameitsarim' or 'between the straits'. His passing was a very sad event and the entire Jewish community mourned.
The Torah portion of Mas'ei is always read in the middle of the three weeks and very close to, or on Rosh Hodesh Ab. Therefore, it is appropriate to indicate the date of his passing in this Perasha. Rosh Hodesh this year will fall on Thursday evening and Friday (July 20). It is particularly appropriate, as we recall the passing of Aharon, to reflect upon his love for his fellow man and endeavor to emulate him. We should love peace and pursue peace, love our fellow creatures and bring them near to the Torah (As we are instructed in the 'Ethics of our Fathers- Pirkei Abot1:12)
One of the primary causes of the destruction of the HolyTemple was sinat chinam – baseless hatred and animosity. Through true AhavatYisrael –love for our people, we will speedily merit the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash!