Tisha B'Av - History and Laws
Based on an article from OU.org
Tisha B'Av - The "ninth day" in the Jewish month of Av, which starts at sundown on the eighth day and concludes at sundown on the ninth day of Av. This is the day when the intensity of the entire three week mourning period reaches its peak (keep reading below for details and use our entire Tisha B'Av Resource Center to learn more).
The prohibitions on Tisha B'Av itself are similar to those of Yom Kippur. In addition to not eating or drinking, we are not allowed to wash, anoint oneself or wear leather shoes. In a prohibition more stringent than on Yom Kippur, we are only allowed to study certain portions of the Torah and Talmud on Tisha B'Av.
The observance of Tisha B'Av usually begins with the Seudah HaMafseket, the last meal before the fast commences. This year, when Tisha B’av begins on a Saturday night, we do not have a Seudah HaMafseket, and one may eat a normal “Seudah Shlishit” on Shabbat afternoon, as long as they finish their food and drink by the beginning of the fast (which begins approximately one hour before the end of Shabbat).
Havdallah: Since this year, Tisha B'Av falls out on Shabbat and is pushed off to Sunday, the bracha of Boreh Meorei HaEsh upon a fire is made on Saturday night before the reading of Eicha, however, the bracha of Havdalah on a cup of wine is delayed until after Tisha B'av is over on Sunday night, and the blessing over spices is omitted entirely. On Saturday night, once Shabbat is over and before performing Melacha (labor), one should also say "Baruch HaMavdil Bein Kodesh LeChol" (Blessed is He who separates between holy and mundane).
- Until Mincha on Tisha B'Av one should try to avoid sitting on a chair or bench. Instead, the custom is to stand or sit on the floor, just like a mourner during the Shiva (traditional seven days of mourning a loved one).
- Beginning at Mincha sitting on chairs is permitted, and we reduce the intensity of the grief that has pervaded us so far. Also, men put on Tefillin and recite those Tefillot that were omitted at Shacharit.
- It is forbidden to greet friends or acquaintances on Tisha B'Av. However, if greeted first, one should answer, but in a low tone in order not to arouse resentment.
- At the evening Ma'ariv service, the entire congregation sits on the floor and recites the Book of Eicha (Lamentations) where the prophet Jeremiah weeps the destruction, and we weep with him.The morning of Tisha B'Av is the saddest part of the day. We recite Kinot, and the men do not don Tefillin at Shacharit, because Tefillin are called "Pe-ar," "Glory," and this is definitely not a day of glory for the Jewish People.