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The Three Weeks - Laws and Customs

07/18/2022 09:42:23 PM


For a printable version of these laws and customs press HERE

In the three weeks leading up to Tisha B’av we start diminishing our joy, beginning on the 17th Tammuz (Sun, July 17), leading to the 9 days, until we reach Tisha B’Av itself (Sun, Aug 7) which is the Jewish people’s national day of mourning. It marks the loss of our two temples and all the subsequent tragedies that have occurred due to our Exile.


Below is a summary of the laws and traditions for this sad period in our calendar.

Note: This is just a summary of the major laws. Under certain circumstances there may be exceptions. If you have any questions, please contact me at 843-609-2050 or


The restrictions of the 3 weeks - Began with the Fast of Tammuz, Sunday, July 17

  1. Weddings are not scheduled during this time period.
  2. We refrain from taking haircuts. Many refrain from shaving too.
  3. We avoid purchasing especially nice items that would require a Shehechiyanu blessing.
  4. We avoid joyous events with live music. Many refrain from all music besides acapella.


The restrictions of the 9 days - Begins with Rosh Chodesh Av, Thursday night, July 28 ends Monday, Aug 8 at midday, 1:25pm

The Talmud teaches us when the month of Av enters, we should lessen our simcha (joy).

  1. The custom is to not eat meat or drink wine except on Shabbat.
    • Exceptions:
      • A person who is unable to eat milk products may eat chicken.
      • If a nursing woman’s milk will be affected by not eating meat, she may eat meat.
      • One can eat food cooked in a meat pot.
      • Havdalah should preferably be made on grape juice and not wine.
  2. Laundry - We do not do laundry or have it done by a non-Jew for us during this time. We also do not wear freshly laundered clothing.
    •  Exceptions:
      • One may wash clothing for young children.
      • It is permissible to wash undergarments.
  3. Washing for pleasure - Showering should be done in cooler water than usual for the sake of cleanliness. Therefore, swimming for pleasure is not done during this time period.
  4. Shaving – One should strive to avoid shaving as a sign of mourning.


The restrictions of Tisha B’Av - Motzei Shabbat, Aug 6 & Sunday, Aug 7

  1. Eating and drinking
    • In principle this applies to pregnant and nursing women as well. However, health is of utmost importance so please contact me if you have a question in this regard.
    • One who is sick and needs to eat or drink is allowed to eat or drink.
  2. Washing of body, face and hands
    • Exceptions:
      • One can wash off dirt.
      • After using the bathroom up to the knuckles (or where soiled)
      • The morning Netilat Yadayim may be done up to the knuckles.
      • One who is particular and will not feel comfortable until they wash their face may use a damp cloth to wipe their face.
  3. Anointing
    • Makeup is not used on Tisha B’Av
  4. Marital Relations
  5. Wearing leather shoes
  6. Torah study - Because the words of the Torah bring us joy.
    • Exceptions: Sections of Torah that deal with the destruction and mourning such as Eicha, Midrash Eicha, Book of Job, the prophecies of destruction in Jeremiah, the last chapter in Talmud Moed Katan, and the section in Talmud Gittin dealing with the destruction.
  7. Other Minhagim (customs):
    • One’s sleep should be a little less comfortable, so the custom is to use one less pillow than usual.
    • Those in good health sit on the floor (or within 10 inches of it) until Chatzot (1:26pm).
    • We do not greet each other in the normal fashion.
    • Tallit and Tefillin are not worn during Shacharit but rather at Mincha.


Practices for this year (when Tisha B'Av is observed on Motzei Shabbat)


Erev Tisha B’Av - Shabbat, Aug 7

The final meal before the fast should be one's Seudah Shlishit. The meal may even include meat and wine. The meal must conclude by 8:14pm as the fast begins even though Shabbat must be observed until 8:55pm. One should not change out of their Shabbat shoes until the conclusion of Shabbat.

We will have Mincha at 5:45pm on Shabbat afternoon in order to allow people to go home and eat before the fast begins.

Tisha B’Av night - Motzei Shabbat, Aug 7

Shabbat should be concluded after 8:55pm with the recitation of “Baruch Hamavdil Bein Kodesh L’Chol”. One should change into non-leather shoes at that time. Ma'ariv followed by Eicha is not scheduled until 9:15pm to enable people to have time to drive back to shul. Havdalah on Saturday night only consists of the blessing over fire with the recitation of “Borei Meorei Ha-eish”. We will do this in shul prior to the reading of Eicha.

Motzei Tisha B’Av - Sunday night, Aug 7

The fast concludes at 8:54pm this year. We recite Havdalah at the conclusion of the fast as we were unable to recite Havdalah with a beverage the previous night. Havdalah only consists of “Borei Peri Hagafen” and “Hamavdil”.


The Talmud (Taanit 30b) teaches us: "בשמחתה ורואה זוכה ,ירושלים על המתאבל כל" “Anyone who mourns over Jerusalem will merit seeing it in its joy.”

May we merit to see a rebuilt Jerusalem full of joy and peace very soon.


Sun, June 16 2024 10 Sivan 5784