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All About Fast Days

THE THREE WEEKS

BEIN HAMETZARIM


WHAT
IS
THE
THREE
WEEKS?

The period of the Three Weeks is called "Bein Hametzarim," which means "Between the Tragedies."

This year, (5777 - 2017), the Three Weeks begin on July 11, 2017, Shiva Asar B'Tamuz, and end on Aug. 1, 2017 - with the fast of Tisha B'Av (the ninth day of of Av), the saddest day in the Jewish Calendar.

The events leading up to the destruction of both the first and second Temples began on Shiva Asar B'Tamuz, and culminated three weeks later on Tisha B'Av. Our Sages instituted these three weeks as a period of mourning.

From Shiva Asar B'Tamuz until the end of the month, a period of 12 days, we take upon ourselves many signs of mourning. However, beginning with Rosh Chodesh Av, the first day of Av, until Tisha B'Av, the Nine Days are an intensified period of mourning with many more restrictions and customs added.


MOURNING
DURING
THE
THREE
WEEKS

  • Weddings should not be performed during this period, even if a seudah ( meal) will not be served. Engagements and tenayim may take place until Rosh Chodesh Av, even if a seudah is served.
  • Listening to music, dancing and playing musical instruments are prohibited during the Three Weeks. However, singing songs without musical instruments is permitted even during the Nine Days.
  • It, is a minhag (custom) to refrain from reciting the bracha of she'hecheyanu on new garments, and new fruits during the Three Weeks. Therefore one should not buy new garments that would necessitate this bracha during this time.
  • The minhag is to refrain from shaving or taking a haircut for the entire duration of the Three Weeks.
  • In honor of a Brit during the Three Weeks, the Mohel, the Sandek and the father of the infant may cut their hair and shave; but only until the week in which Tisha B'Av occurs.
  • Cutting nails during the Three Weeks is permissible. However this is only until the week in which Tisha B'Av occurs.

Many of these restrictions have exceptions which may apply in special circumstances. One should consult an appropriate rabbinical authority with any questions.



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