The Day Before Tisha B’Av- August 8
- If a bris or redemption of the first-born occurs on the day before Tisha B’Av, if meat is being served the meal must be held before noon.
- Since the heart rejoices in the study of Torah, from noon some people refrain from learning topics other than what is relevant to Tisha B’Av or mourning. However, many people learn all topics of Torah until sunset.
- Since Tisha B’Av is called a moed (holiday or appointed day, Lamentations 1:15), no tachanun is said at mincha in the afternoon before Tisha B’Av (nor on Tisha B’Av itself).
- The custom is to eat a final meal after mincha and before sunset, consisting of bread, cold hard-boiled eggs and water. The meal is eaten while seated on the ground, a portion of the bread should be dipped in ashes and eaten, and no mezumen is said in the blessing after the meal.
- After the meal, one may sit normally until sunset. Shoes may be worn all day until sunset.
Tisha B’Av- August 9
Eating and Drinking
- All eating and drinking is forbidden. This includes rinsing the mouth and brushing teeth, except in a case of great distress.
- Swallowing capsules or bitter tablets or liquid medicine without water is permitted.
- The ill or elderly as well as pregnant and nursing women are required to fast even if it is difficult, unless a doctor says that fasting may injure health, in which case a competent rabbi should be consulted.
- A woman within seven days of childbirth may not fast, and within thirty days should not fast.
- Boys under thirteen years old and girls under twelve years old are not allowed to fast even part of the day.
- Those not required to fast should eat only what is needed to preserve their health.
Bathing and Washing
- All bathing for pleasure is prohibited even in cold water including the hands, face and feet.
- Ritual washing upon waking, after using the bathroom, touching covered parts of the body or before praying is permitted, but only up to the knuckles.
- One may wash dirty or sullied portions of the body (including cleaning the eyes of glutinous material), and if necessary may use soap or warm water to remove the dirt or odor.
- Washing for cooking or for medical reasons is permitted.
- A woman may not immerse on Tisha B’Av since relations are prohibited. Washing to commence the clean days is permitted.
- Anointing for pleasure is prohibited including oil, soap, alcohol, cream, ointment, perfume, etc.
- Anointing for medical reasons is permitted, as well as using deodorant to remove bad odor.
- Since cohabitation is prohibited, a husband and wife should not come in contact during the night of Tisha B’Av.
Wearing Leather Shoes
- Even shoes made partially of leather are prohibited. Shoes made of cloth, rubber or plastic are permitted.
- Wearing leather shoes is permitted for medical reasons.
- Since the heart rejoices in the study of Torah, it is prohibited to learn topics other than those relevant to Tisha B’Av or mourning.
- One may learn: Lamentations with its midrash and commentaries, portions of the Prophets that deal with tragedy or destruction, the third chapter of Moed Katan (which deals with mourning), the story of the destruction (in Gittin 56b-58a, Sanhedrin 104, and in Josephus), and the halachot of Tisha B’Av and mourning.
- One should deprive himself of some comfort in sleep. Some reduce the number of pillows, some sleep on the floor. Pregnant women, the elderly and the ill are exempt.
- Sitting on a normal chair is forbidden until midday. One may sit on a low bench or chair, or on a cushion on the floor.
- Greeting someone with “good morning” and the like is prohibited. One who is greeted should answer softly and, if possible, inform the person of the prohibition.
- One should not give a gift except to the needy.
- Things that divert one from mourning such as idle talk, reading the newspaper, taking a walk for pleasure, etc. are prohibited.
- Smoking is prohibited until afternoon, and then only for one who is compelled to and in private.
- The custom is to refrain until midday from any time-consuming work that diverts one from mourning. In a case of financial loss, consult the rabbi.
- Ashkenazim do not wear tefillin at Shacharit, nor is a blessing made on tzitzit. At Mincha, tefillin is worn and those who wear a tallit gadol make the blessing then.
- At Mincha, the prayers Nacheim and Aneinu are added to the Shmonah Esrei during the blessing “Veliyerushalayim” and “Shma Koleinu” respectively. “Sim Shalom” is said in place of “Shalom Rav.” If one forgot them and completed that bracha, he need not repeat the prayer.
The Day After Tisha B’Av- August 10
- The limitations of the “Three Weeks” and the “Nine Days” continue until midday of the 10th of Av. This includes the prohibition of music, haircuts, meat and wine, laundering and bathing.
- The custom is to sanctify the new moon the night after Tisha B’Av, preferably after having eaten something.