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Shabbat Parashat Devarim 5772

Ask the Rabbi: The Transition from Shabbat into Tisha BAv

by Rav Daniel Mann

[This article is too timely to not reuse, with small changes (from Devarim 5765 and Living the Halachic Process, vol. II).] 


Question: Could you please explain how to handle the transition from Shabbat into Tisha B’Av (which falls on Motza’ei Shabbat) regarding Seuda Shlishit, Havdalah and changing clothes?


Answer: Seuda Shlishit: The baraita (cited in Ta’anit 29a) says that one may eat as extravagant a meal as he wants on Shabbat even when Tisha B’Av falls on Motza’-ei Shabbat. The Tur (Orach Chayim 552) brings minhagim that one is allowed and would do best to curtail the Shabbat meal. This is especially so at Seuda Shlishit, which is, in effect, the Seuda Hamafseket (the last meal before Tisha B’Av, which usually has special elements of mourning). However, these considerations are countered by the need to avoid displaying mourning on Shabbat. Therefore, there are no real restrictions, even at Seuda Shlishit (Shulchan Aruch 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.).

Havdalah: One says Havdala in tefilla or separately in the declaration of “Baruch Hamavdil…,” which enables him to do actions that are forbidden on Shabbat. Havdala over a cup of wine is done after Tisha B’Av (Shulchan Aruch, OC 556:1). If one forgot to mention Havdala in Shemoneh Esrei, he does not repeat Shemoneh Esrei even though he is not making Havdala over wine until the next day. Rather, he makes the declaration of Baruch Hamavdil (Mishna Berura 556:2). Unlike Havdala during the Nine Days, where we try to give the wine to a child (Rama 551:10), after Tisha B’Av an adult can freely drink the Havdala wine (Mishna Berura 556:3). The beracha on besamim (spices) is not said this week. On Tisha B’Av it is not appropriate, because it is a reviving pleasure, and one can only make this beracha only on Motza’ei Shabbat.

The beracha on the fire is specific to Motza’ei Shabbat, is not a pleasure, and does not require a cup. Therefore, the minhag is to recite the beracha on fire in shul after davening, before the reading of Eicha (Mishna Berurah 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 (Biur Halacha 296:8). Therefore, it is better for one whose wife will not be in shul at the time of the beracha to have in mind not to fulfill the mitzva at that time, but to make the beracha on the fire together with his wife (Shemirat Shabbat K’hilchata 62:(98)).

Taking off shoes:  As 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 people to do so and make it to shul (ibid.:40; Torat Hamoadim 9:1), unless the rabbi has ruled that everyone should take the following approach. 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 to shul before Shabbat to avoid the problem of hachana (preparations for after Shabbat). However, if one uses these seforim 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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