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[14] The Fast of Tammuz, Three Weeks and Nine Days

Fast of Tammuz, Three Weeks & Nine Days Laws
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The three weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av are a period of national Jewish mourning, beginning on the 17th of Tammuz (which falls on Thu, July 6, 2023), continuing with the 9 days from Rosh Chodesh Av until we reach Tisha B’Av (Thu, July 27, 2023). The ninth of Av itself is the saddest day on our calendar and marks many tragic episodes from our history, especially the loss of both the first and second temples.

Note: This is just a summary of the major laws. Under certain circumstances, there may be exceptions. If you have any questions, please contact me at or 843-609-2050

The Fast of Tammuz - Thursday, July 6

  • Healthy adults, bar/bat mitzvah age and older, should abstain from eating or drinking between dawn at 4:49am and nightfall at 9:15pm.

  • Pregnant and nursing women may not have to fast. Someone who is ill should consult with a rabbi. Even those exempt from fasting, such as ill people or children, should not indulge in delicacies or sweets.

  • It is permitted to wake up early before the fast begins and eat, provided that prior to going to sleep one had in mind to do so.

  • It is preferable not to go swimming on a fast day, however, swimming is permitted on the night before the fast.

  • All personal pleasures, other than eating and drinking, are permitted on minor fast days. However, some are particular to avoid taking a hot shower or bath.

The restrictions of The Three Weeks - From the Fast of Tammuz (Thursday, July 6) until Tisha B’Av (Thursday, July 27)

  • We refrain from having haircuts. Many refrain from shaving too.

  • We avoid purchasing especially nice items that would require a Shehechiyanu blessing.

  • Weddings may not be held during this time period.

  • We avoid joyous events with live music. Many refrain from all music besides acapella.

The restrictions of The Nine Days - From Rosh Chodesh Av (Tuesday night, July 18) until Halachic midday on the 10th of Av (Friday, July 28)

The Talmud (Taanit 29a) teaches us that when the month of Av enters, we should lessen our simcha (joy).

NOTE: These restrictions begin at 8:28pm (sunset) on Tuesday, July 18, and apply until Halachic midday on the day after Tisha B’Av - i.e., Friday, July 28 at 1:26pm.

1. One should not eat meat or drink wine except on Shabbat. The exceptions are as follows:

  • A person who is unable to eat milk products may eat chicken.

  • If a nursing woman’s milk will be affected by not eating meat, she may eat meat.

  • One can eat food cooked in a meat pot.

  • Havdalah should preferably be made on grape juice and not wine.

  • Children under six years old are exempt.

2. Laundry - We do not do laundry or have it done by a non-Jew for us during this time. We also do not wear freshly laundered clothing. There are two exceptions:

  • One may wash clothing for young children.

  • It is permissible to wash undergarments.

3. Washing for pleasure - Showering should be done in cooler water than usual for the sake of cleanliness. Therefore, swimming for pleasure is not done during this time period.

4. Shaving – Even if one was shaving during the three weeks, he should avoid it during the nine days.


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