Monday, July 10, 2017


Several years ago, a certain Talmid Chacham could not find an available wedding hall to marry off his daughter. The only open date was the night of Shiva Assar B'Tamuz. To the astonishment of many, he booked it! Although he made sure that the Chuppah was indeed before nightfall, he was heard to have commented that many people do not realize when the Three Weeks actually start... Bein HaMetzarim We are currently entering the period of mourning that the Midrash refers of “Bein HaMetzarim[1]”, or ‘Between the Confines (Straits)’. This period of Three Weeks commemorates the heralding of the beginning of the tragedies that took place prior to the destruction of both Batei Hamikdash, from the breaching of the walls of ancient Jerusalem on the 17th of Tamuz, until the actual destruction of the Beis HaMikdash on the Ninth of Av. As detailed in the Mishna and Gemara Ta’anis, both of these days have since become communal Fast Days, in remembrance of the tragedies that happened on these days[2]. In order to properly commemorate and feel the devastation, halacha dictates various restrictions on us[3] during these “Three Weeks”, getting progressively stringent up until Tisha B’Av itself[4]. These “Three Weeks” restrictions include not getting married, not getting haircuts unless specific need[5], refraining from public music and dancing, not putting oneself in an overly dangerous situation, and not making the shehechiyanu blessing on a new item (meaning to refrain from purchasing a new item which would require one to make said blessing on). These above restrictions follow Ashenazic practice as instituted by many Rishonim and later codified by Ashkenazic authorities. Although there are several Sefardic authorities who maintain that Sefardim should at least follow the Ashkenazic minhag of starting the Nine Days restrictions from Rosh Chodesh Av, nevertheless, most Sefardim are only noheg these restrictions from the actual week of Tisha B’Av as per the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 551, 10).

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