• Rabbi Anthony Knopf

From the Desk - Tisha B'Av Observances

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

Shalom Friends, The Rabbis of the Mishnah taught: “Mi-she-nichnas Av me-ma’atin be-simcha” – with the arrival of the month of Av, one minimizes joy. Indeed, this period of time is the saddest of the Jewish year, a time when we mourn over the darkness, evil and suffering in our fractured world. The month of Av began last Friday. Already by Sunday, we received the news that reminded us of how much we must mourn – nearly 30 people murdered in cold blood in two massacres over the weekend. In synagogue on Shabbat, I will reflect further on why we need to mourn and what the message of that mourning is for us as Jews. Below, you can find an outline of the practices of Tisha B’Av – the saddest fast day of our calendar which we observe on Saturday night and Sunday. I encourage you to attend our services over Tisha B’Av as well as the showing of special videos on the theme of loving our neighbor which are showing at Beth Ora at 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM on Sunday afternoon. Before doing so, I do need to mention on a very different note our raffle which will be drawn at the special event on Wednesday. The raffle is our biggest fundraiser of the year. It is only with the support of our hard working office staff and volunteers in promoting the campaign and selling raffle tickets that we are able to do all the wonderful things we do here at Beth Ora. On behalf of the community, I wish a big yasher koach to all those who worked so hard on this under the inspired leadership of Amir Anders. May we have continued success and we look forward to the raffle draw on Wednesday. Wishing you Shabbat Shalom. May Hashem wipe away tears from all faces and may our people and our world know no more sorrow. Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami

Tisha B’Av Observances Before the Fast begins on Saturday, one eats a regular meal. One may eat meat at this meal. The meal must be finished before 8:10 PM. When Shabbat is over at 9:00 PM, we say “Baruch Ha-Mavdil bein kodesh lechol.” We then change into non-leather shoes, change into weekday clothing and then go to synagogue. The only Havdallah blessing recited on Saturday evening is the blessing over fire. A sick person who must eat on Tisha B’Av should recite Havdallah for himself. If anyone is in that situation, please feel free to discuss with me the correct way of doing this. From the time that the fast begins (8:10 PM on Saturday), washing for pleasure is not allowed. Other washing – e.g. when one’s body is dirty, after using the bathroom, before prayer or while preparing food – is allowed. On Sunday morning, one can wash netilat yadayim as usual, pouring the water until the joints at the end of one’s fingers. On Tisha B’Av, we don’t ‘anoint’ for pleasure. That means that we don’t rub oil, cream, soap or perfume into our skin. Other anointing – e.g. rubbing oil on to skin for medicinal purposes, using Vaseline for chapped lips, bug repellents, anti-itch sprays, deodorant – is allowed. As mentioned above, from the time Shabbat goes out (Saturday, 9:00 PM), we don’t wear leather shoes. Marital relations are not allowed on Tisha B’Av. There should be no greetings between friends on Tisha B’Av. If someone who doesn’t know this greets you, you should respond quietly. There is a custom not to sit on regular chairs until around 1:00 PM. Ashkenazi men don’t wear tefillin or tallit in the morning. Rather, they wear them at Mincha.

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