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Tisha B’Av ear oil allowed and pre Shabbat


Rabbi David Sperling

Av 8, 5780
Shalom, I have an infection in my ear which hurts a lot, and I have an ear oil for it, that I apply twice a day. I got the infection last week, and per past experience, the infection is hopefully supposed to pass if this oil is applied everyday for a little over a week to two weeks. The ear oil has an olive oil based. Am I allowed to apply this during Tisha B’Av? Or need I wait until Motzei? Secondly, I personally always (try my best bli neder) shower myself before Shabbat. Due to reasons I will not disclose here, that is, typically, the shower or body washing I have the entire week. I know it is a good thing to enter Shabbat clean, and I was permitted since this is my minhag to do this even on years where Shabbat is in week Shel Bo. But this year is unique, as my family has to leave town to get food early Friday morning, and when we come home I will likely not have time to wash myself before Shabbat enters here. Furthermore, the fast ends at 10:03 at night where I live, and it will be too late at night for me to wash for Shabbat (if looking at it as doing after Motzei). Is it most proper that I, in this circumstance, not wash at all and wait for Sunday, or take my shower for Shabbat before today Wednesday morning, so that I can be clean for Shabbat, relying on the custom that to get clean this is ok. Is it considered disrespectful to enter Shabbat if one hadn’t cleansed ones body or hair at all in a full week? Does it make a difference between women and men? Thank you so much,
Shalom, Thank you for your questions. Let’s answer them in order You may put in ear drops on the fast day (and on Shabbat in the case of curing an ear infection). You should try to wash up after the fast, and before Shabbat – at least face and hands. Washing on Wednesday before the fast is not advisable. If there are hygienic issues then a minimal wash in cold to luke-warm water on Wednesday in order to stay hygienic is allowed. It is part of preparing for Shabbat to wash oneself on Friday. This is true for both men and woman. The correct way to do this includes a hot bath or shower, including doing one’s hair. If it is not possible then one should at least wash their face and hands to the best of their ability. Blessings.
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