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Beit Midrash Series Bemare Habazak - Rabbis Questions

Restrictions of Motzaei Tisha B’Av

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Answer: From the perspective of the gemara (Ta’anit 30a), the restrictions of the Nine Days end with the completion of Tisha (9th of) B’Av. This is not obvious, as the majority of the burning of the Beit Hamikdash was on the 10th of Av, and Rabbi Yochanan (ibid. 29a) said that he would have thought that the latter date is the more appropriate day for the fast. In fact there were Amoraim who fasted both days (Yerushalmi, Ta’anit 4:6).
Based on this background, post-Talmudic minhagim developed to forbid certain matters after Tisha B’Av. The Tur (Orach Chayim 558) writes: "It is a proper minhag to not eat meat on the night of the 10th and the day of the 10th, just to relieve the spirit, so that it should be close to a fast." The Bach understands this language as a double stringency: one should not eat any meat on the 10th; even regarding other foods, one should limit his eating as is befitting for a day that on some level should have been a fast. The second stringency is not accepted, as we eat non-meat foods normally after Tisha B’Av (although we can relate to Mikraei Kodesh’s (Harari – Fasts, 11:(29)) discomfort with those who, for example, go out for ice cream every Motzaei Tisha B’Av).
The Shulchan Aruch (OC 558:1) cites the minhag to not eat meat or drink wine the whole night and day of the 10th. Various Acharonim limit the stringency somewhat. The Be’ur Halacha (ad. loc.) says that it is permitted to eat a food that was cooked with meat as long as one does not eat the meat itself. The Magen Avraham (558:1) says it is permitted to eat meat at a seudat mitzva (we will not get into the question of whether one is allowed to get married at that time). Finally, the Rama (ad loc.) sets the tone for Ashkenazim in limiting the minhag against meat and wine until midday of the 10th.
Regarding other restrictions, Ashkenazim are stricter than Sephardim. The Shulchan Aruch mentions only meat and wine, and the Rama does not argue. However, the Maharshal (Shut 92) writes that since the minhag is to extend the Nine Days’ restriction of wine and meat into the 10th, the same should be true of laundering, haircutting, and bathing. The Mishna Berura (558:3) and the broad consensus of Ashkenazi poskim accept the Maharshal.
Regarding Sephardim, the Chida and some other prominent poskim also accept this stringency. However, this part of the minhag was apparently not widely accepted, and therefore Rav Ovadia Yosef (Yechaveh Da’at V:41) says that Sephardim should follow the Shulchan Aruch’s opinion that only meat and wine are forbidden, whereas the rest of the restrictions cease right after Tisha B’Av. (The recitation of Shehecheyanu is questionable – see Torat Hamoadim, Fasts 11:5. Mikraei Kodesh (ibid. 18) cites Rav Mordechai Eliyahu as extending the restriction on music throughout the 10th.)
There is room for leniency in cases of need regarding laundering, hair cutting, and bathing, even for Ashkenazim, for a few reasons. First, this part of the minhag is not just post-Talmudic, but even post-Shulchan Aruch. Secondly, it is much more common for there to be difficulty in continuing these restrictions, especially as the hot summer takes its toll and the stacks of laundry pile up. All agree that one can do any of these things in honor of Shabbat when Tisha B’Av falls on Thursday (Mishna Berura 558:3). (Halichot Shlomo I, 15:16 says that one can start washing on Thursday night and throw into a load of things needed for Shabbat even things that are not needed for Shabbat, but that haircutting should wait for Friday.) There are other situations, such as people leaving home soon after Tisha B’Av who need a supply of laundry, where stringency is likely beyond the call of duty.
(When Tisha B’Av is pushed off from Shabbat to Sunday, Motzaei Tisha B’Av is the 11th, and there is only a restriction on meat and wine and only at night – Rama, OC 558:1).
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