Halakhoth of the ‘Shavua shehal bo’ when Tisha beAv falls on Shabbath or Sunday
When 9th Av falls on Shabbath or Sunday, are we required to follow the Halakhoth of the ‘Shavua shehal bo’ during the previous week?
It states explicitly in the Talmud Yerushalmi (Ta’aniyoth 4:6) that when Tisha beAv falls on Shabbath (in which case it is deferred till Sunday), both weeks – the week prior to 9th Av, and the week following – are not considered to be the week of Tisha beAv, and the usual restrictions do not apply. The same applies when 9th Av falls on a Sunday. Regarding the days of the week following the fast, two views are quoted in the Talmudhim: the Halakha is that all restrictions are lifted after the fast.
This is the view of the Rambam, the Tur and the Semaq (the latter of whom writes that keeping the humroth of the week of Tisha beAv during the previous week is “an unnecessary humra”).
The above notwithstanding, that which falls in the category of ‘Miut Simha’ (see Mishna) applies from Rosh Hodhesh Av. It should be noted that the Mishna explicitly states that kevodh Shabbath takes precedence over all mourning-related practices.
The above is the Halakha in ‘normal’ times, when we mourn the destruction of the Miqdash and large parts of our Land, and the slaughter of untold thousands of our ancestors, nearly 2000 years ago. This is known as ‘Aveluth Yeshana’ – Mourning for Events of the Past.
However, this year 5765 (2005), PM Sharon is planning to perpetrate a crime the like of which has not been seen in Eress Yisrael since Roman times: the expulsion of nearly 10,000 Jews from an entire region of our Homeland promised to Avraham Avinu. This evil and immoral man intends to uproot Jewish families from their homes and businesses and hand them over to the enemy – just like the tyrants of old. This new Hurban is slated to begin on 10th Av – the very day on which most of the Miqdash burned. How telling that this day was chosen by the Evil Ones to initiate this monstrous deed!
I feel therefore that this year – if this disaster befalls us – we should adopt the other view mentioned in the Talmudhim, i.e. keep the restrictions of the week of Tisha beAv even after the fast, until Erev Shabbath (or Thursday, if Friday is impracticable).
This is in keeping with what the Rishonim explain: nowadays we fast on 17th Tamuz – the day on which the Romans breached the walls of Yerushalayim – even though originally the fast was held on 9th Tamuz, the day the walls were breached at the time of the First Destruction. The reason that we act thus is that the Second Destruction is more serious in our eyes since it is closer to home (see Tur no. 549).
This year Tisha beAv must take on a new meaning for all Jews, everywhere; more immediate, more personal, more tragic.
May HASHEM have mercy on us.
Dawidh Hanokh Yisshaq Bar-Hayim