The three weeks, or Ben haMetzarim

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Today is the 18 of Tamuz , 5771

During the three weeks period, from the 17 of Tamuz until the 9 of Ab (July 19 to August 9, 2011) we observe some restrictions, in remembrance of the three weeks, from the time the Babylonian army breached the walls of Yerushalaim, until they burned and destroyed the Bet haMikdash in 586 BCE. During this time, besides the massive destruction and pillaging of the Holy city, thousands of Jews were tortured and killed.

These restrictions are not the same in every community.

In the next lines you will find some of the customs followed in the Mashadi community, and in most Sephardic communities as well.

SHEHECHEYANU for NEW FRUITS: Eating a new fruit that will require us to say the blessing Shehecheyanu during the three weeks, should be done only on Shabbat.

WEDDINGS: No weddings take place during the three weeks.

ENGAGEMENTS, with no music, are allowed until Rosh Chodesh Ab (August 1st).

CLOTHING: It is not customary to buy new clothing, except: 1. For a bride or groom that will get married after Tisha BeAb. 2. If the article will be substantially more expensive after Tisha BeAb. The Mashadi custom is to refrain from buying gold or any jewelry from Rosh Chodesh Ab.

HAIRCUT: It is permitted to get a haircut only until Rosh Chodesh Ab. Men should not shave from the Motzae Shabbat before Tisha BeAb until after Tisha BeAb. In the Ashkenazi tradition these restrictions begin from the 17 of Tamuz.

NEW HOUSE: It is permitted to buy, rent or move into a new house until Rosh Chodesh Ab.

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