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All About Fast Days



The Nine Days are the darkest days on the Jewish calendar. They are the final days of a three-week mourning period that begins on the 17th of Tamuz. The Nine Days begin on Rosh Chodesh Av and lead up to the Fast of Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of Av), the saddest day on the Jewish Calendar.

All through the three weeks, we observe signs of mourning. During the Nine Days, this observance intensifies.


In addition to the restrictions of The Three Weeks:

We do not eat meat (including poultry) or drink wine except on Shabbat. (There are exceptions to the restriction on meat in the case of a special meal associated with a mitzva (Brit milah, Pidyon Haben or a Siyum), health problems or severe economic hardship).

We do not do construction if the primary purpose is pleasure (building a pool) or aesthetic (painting). We do not plant trees intended for fruit or fragrance.

We do not launder or dry-clean clothing during this period even for use after Tisha B'Av. We do not sew, weave, knit or buy new clothes.

We do not put on fresh clothing for the first time during this period (except for Shabbat). The clothing should be worn once before the Nine Days (even for a little while as a symbolic gesture).

We do not bath for pleasure - except for Friday in honor of the Shabbat. (Washing or showering in non-hot water to remove dirt and perspiration is permitted).

We do not trim fingernails.

It is preferable not to engage in disputes with non-Jews during the month of Av.

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

The Shabbat before Tisha B'Av is called Shabbat Chazon (Shabbat of Vision), because of the Haftora which is read from the first chapter of the Book of Isaiah: (1:1-27), which begins "Chazon Yeshayahu - (the vision of Yeshayahu...)". In it, he prophesies about the destruction of Yerushalayim and the Beit Hamikdash.

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