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Renovations during the 9 days

Rabbi David SperlingTammuz 8, 5773
488
Question
Our house is under construction for renovation of the kitchen & dining room, a project that we began immediately after Passover. We have nowhere to cook or prepare food for Shabbat, do the family’s laundry and must eat out doors, weather permitting in Philadelphia or crammed into our family room, where we have a toaster oven and microwave to heat food. Although I tried to prepare and freeze enough food for the construction period, we are starting to run out of Shabbat meals. Of course, our neighbors have been more than kind, but we hate to impose. Our contractor is not Jewish and has dedicated a crew to our project, but construction will not be completed by either the three weeks or nine days. If we send him away during either of those times, it will cause both him and us financial hardship and inconvenience. Is it permissible, where there is financial hardship and extreme inconvenience of having no kitchen in which to prepare food for our family, to continue the project until Tisha B’Av, stop work that day (as we did on Shavuot) and continue after the holiday? Your guidance would be invaluable
Answer
Shalom, I hope your renovations go well, and are finished soon. Yes, in your situation you may continue the building up until the 9th of Av, and then afterwards, if needed. The building that is forbidden during these days is that of "simcha" - happiness. The Mishna Brurah (551, 12) writes clearly that building that is needed for living purposes is permitted. This is certainly the case in the situation you describe. May you merit to build a faithful house in Israel! Blessings.
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