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The Transition From Shabbat Into Tisha B’Av

Could you please explain how to handle the transition from Shabbat into Tisha B’Av (when it falls on Motzaei Shabbat) regarding se’uda shlishit, Havdala, and changing clothes?


Rabbi Daniel Mann

Av 5 5781
Question: Could you please explain how to handle the transition from Shabbat into Tisha B’Av (when it falls on Motzaei Shabbat) regarding se’uda shlishit, Havdala, and changing clothes?

Answer: Se’uda shlishit: The baraita, quoted in Ta’anit 29a says that one may eat as extravagant a meal as he wants on Shabbat even if Tisha B’Av falls on that day or the next. The Tur (Orach Chayim 552) cites customs that one is allowed and would do best to curtail the Shabbat meal. This is especially so at se’uda shlishit, which is, in effect, the se’uda hamafseket. However, these considerations are countered by the need to avoid displaying mourning on Shabbat. Therefore, there are no real restrictions, even at se’uda shlishit (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 552:10). However, the mood should somewhat reflect the coming of Tisha B’Av, as long as it does not bring on clearly noticeable changes (Mishna Berura 552:23). One important halachic requirement is that one must finish eating before sunset (Rama ad loc.).

Havdala: One says Havdala in Shemoneh Esrei. Havdala over a cup of wine is done after Tisha B’Av (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 556:1). Despite these facts, if one forgot to mention Havdala in Shemoneh Esrei, he does not repeat Shemoneh Esrei. Rather, the declaration of HaMavdil, which enables one to do actions that are forbidden on Shabbat, suffices (Mishna Berura 556:2). Unlike Havdala during the Nine Days, where we try to give the wine to a child rather than an adult (Rama, Orach Chayim 551:10), after Tisha B’Av, an adult can freely drink the Havdala wine (Mishna Berura 556:3). The beracha on besamim is not recited this week because it is always recited only on Motzaei Shabbat, and on Tisha B’Av it is not appropriate because it is supposed to serve as a pleasure that revives the soul.

The beracha on the fire is specific to Motzaei Shabbat, is not a pleasure, and does not require a cup. Therefore, the minhag is to recite it in shul toward the end of davening, before the reading of Eicha (Mishna Berura 556:1). There are those who say that a woman should, in general, avoid making Havdala. This is because of the doubt whether a woman is obligated in the beracha on the fire, which is not directly related to Shabbat and thus is a regular time-related mitzva, from which women are exempt (Bi’ur Halacha 296:8). Therefore, if one’s wife will not be in shul at the time of the beracha, it is better for the husband not to fulfill the mitzva at that time, but to make the beracha on the fire at a time that his wife can hear it (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 62:(98)).

Taking off shoes: As we mentioned, one may not do a noticeable act of mourning before Shabbat is over. While finishing to eat before sunset or refraining from washing need not be noticeable, taking off shoes is. There are two minhagim as to when to take them off: 1) One waits until after Shabbat is out, says HaMavdil, and then changes clothes and goes to shul. One can do so a little earlier than the regular time listed for Shabbat being out, which is usually delayed a little bit beyond nightfall to allow for a significant adding on to Shabbat at its end. The exact time is not clear and depends on the latitude of one’s location. It is advisable to start Ma’ariv a little late in order to allow those who take this approach to make it to shul (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 62:40; Torat HaMo’adim 9:1). (If the rabbi has ruled that everyone should take the following approach, all should conform, and there is no need for such a delay). 2) One takes off his shoes after Barchu of Ma’ariv. One who takes the second approach should bring non-leather footwear and Eicha/Kinot books to shul before Shabbat to avoid the problem of hachana (preparations for after Shabbat). However, if one uses these sefarim somewhat in shul before Shabbat is out, he can bring them with him on Shabbat (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata ibid. 41).
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