When the 9th of Ab falls on Shabbat

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This year, 2016, the 9th of the month of Ab will fall on Shabbat. When that happens our Rabbis instructed to postpone the fast for the next day, Sunday, because it is forbidden to mourn or express any sign of sadness during shabbat.  So, this year Tish’a beAb will begin Saturday August 13th at night, once Shabbat ends.

Some things are different when Tish’a beAb is commemorated Saturday night/ Sunday

WEEK OF TISHA BEAB: This year we do not have “the week of Tish’a beAb. Let me explain: the “mood” of mourning gradually grows as we approach the fast day.  Among Ashkenazi Jews there are two periods of semi-mourning before Tisha beAb. 1. from the 17th of Tamuz. 2. from the beginning of the month of Ab. For Sepharadic Jews there is also (or alternatively) a period called: the week of Tish’a beAb. “The week of Tisha beAb” refers to the weekdays before the day of fast. For example, if Tish’a beAb would begin a Thursday, then “the week of Tish’a beAb” would begin from the previous Sunday. During that week it will be forbidden not only to participate in weddings, celebrations, eating meat, etc.  but also, washing our clothing (or used washed clothing), bathing or showering, etc.  Now, this year, because Tish’a beAb falls on a Sunday, there is no week of Tish’a beAb, and for Sephardic Jews, those restrictions would not apply.

SHABBAT HAZON: Another important point to bear in mind this year, is that on this coming Shabbat, Shabbat Hazon, on Saturday night we will have to change direction from Shabbat, a joyous day, to Tish’a beAb, a day of mourning. In the following lines we will explain how this transition is normally done.

Minha:  On this Shabbat, many communities would pray Minha earlier than usual and people would have Se’uda  Shelishit at home.  No preparations for Tish’a BeAb should be done until Shabbat is over (8:37 PM, NYT).

Se’uda Shelishit: because the eve of Tish’a beAb falls on a Shabbat, we will not have a Se’udat haMafseqet, i.e., the last meal that we would usually have before the fast begins, sitting on the floor as mourners, etc. During this Se’uda Shelishit there are no restrictions in terms of what we can eat (meat, wine, etc) and celebrate. The only limitation is timing: we must finish this Se’uda Shelishit and stop eating before sunset (7:57 PM, NYT).

Transition: As we have said, in many communities people would have se’uda shelishit at home. This is done so people can prepare themselves at home and come back for Arbit ready for Tish’a beAb as we will now explain. There is an interlude, a recess between the end of Se’uda Shelishit (approx. 7.47 PM) and the beginning of Tish’a beAb (8:37PM).  During that time we still wear Shabbat clothing and we do nothing in preparation for Tish’a beAb but we do not eat anything. After 8:37PM, NYT, we say “barukh hamabdil ben qodesh lehol”(=Blessed is He, Who established the difference between holy and profane) and thus Shabbat will be over for us.

Beginning of the mourning:  After we say Barukh haMabdil we change our leather shoes for sneakers or for other non leather footwear. This will be the first act of mourning in preparation for Tish’a beAb. When we change, for example, our shirt for Tish’a BeAb clothing, we must use a shirt that has been already used (we will explain this point BH later on).

Habdala: We do not recite the Habdala at home, other than the words “Barukh haMabdil ben Qodesh leHol”.  After we change our footwear and clothing for Tish’a beAb, we should go to the Synagogue. Many Synagogues would have Minyan for Arbit later than usual, at least 15-20 minutes after Shabbat is over, so people have time to change their clothing and come or drive from home to the Synagogue.  In the Synagogue we will say “bore me-ore haEsh” before reading Meguilat Ekha.  We will say the Habdala Sunday night once the fast is over (“haGefen” and “haMabdil”).