This year, the ninth day of Av falls on Shabbos, so that the fasting of Tisha Be’Av is deferred to Sunday. This is in accordance with the Mishnah (Megillah 1:3), which teaches that the fast of Tisha Be’Av is deferred, rather than brought forwards, when it falls on Shabbos. The reason for this, as the Gemara explains (Megillah 5a), is that we do not advance troubles (pur’anus), but rather push them back. The Rambam and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim 550:3) cite this ruling.
The deferral of the fasting of Tisha Be’Av to Sunday raises a number of halachic issues, some of them involving the day of Shabbos (which is the actual Ninth of Av), and others involving Sunday—the deferred fast of Tisha Be’Av. On a previous occasion, we dedicated an article to the laws of Shabbos when the fast is deferred. In the present article, we will discuss the laws of the deferred fast-day itself.
When and how is Havdalah made when Tisha Be’Av is deferred to Sunday? What are the laws concerning a Bris that is made on Sunday? And do any restrictions apply on the night after Tisha Be’Av? These questions, among others, are discussed below.
When is Havdalah Made?
Owing to the impossibility of drinking the wine from Havdalah, authorities suggest a number of different methods by which the mitzvah of Havdalah should be performed when Tisha Be’Av is deferred to Sunday.
One option, which is mentioned by several Rishonim, is that Havdalah should be made as usual, with the wine being drunk by a child who is not fasting. Most Rishonim (see Meiri, Taanis 30b; Ramban in Toras Ha-Adam), however, reject this option, because of the negative educational effect on the child: The obligation of chinuch demands that children who are of sufficient maturity to be party to Havdalah (and drink the wine) should also be taught to fast on Tisha Be’Av.
A second option, which is adopted by the Ramban (Toras Ha-Adam, Aveilus Yeshanah), is that there is no obligation to perform Havdalah at all—not at the termination of Shabbos, and not on Sunday night. The reason for this is that since Havdalah cannot be made at the regular time, the mitzvah is entirely deferred, and we rely on the Havdalah in the Ma’ariv prayer at the termination of Shabbos (Ata chonantanu).
The principal halachic ruling, however, follows the third option, suggested by the Geonim, which states that Havdalah is made on Sunday night, after the termination of the fast. This opinion is cited by Tosafos (Pesachim 108a) and several Rishonim agree. The Shulchan Aruch (556:1) cites this ruling, and it is confirmed by later authorities (see Magen Avraham 2; Eliyah Rabbah 4; Chayei Adam 126:6; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 125:6; Mishnah Berurah 559:37).
Details in Making Havdalah
When making Havdalah Sunday night, the verses that are customarily recited at the beginning are omitted (“Behold, the G-d of my salvation”). These verses are inappropriate for the mourning atmosphere of Tisha Be’Av, just as they are not recited by regular mourners (Shut Divrei Malkiel 6:9).
A blessing that cannot be recited on Sunday night is borei me’orei ha’eish. This blessing is exclusive to Motza’ei Shabbos and does not require wine, and is therefore recited at the termination of the Shabbos, independent of the regular Havdalah framework. Note that the blessing over spices is not recited at all (Shulchan Aruch 556:1).
Because there is some doubt concerning the obligation of women to recite the me’orei ha’eish blessing (see Biur Halachah 296, s.v. lo yavdilu), it is preferable that a man, who is at home at the time when Shabbos terminates, should recite the blessing on their behalf. Where this is not possible, the halacha is that a woman may recite the blessing for herself (Shut Minchas Shlomo Vol. 2, 53:2).
Havdalah for Those Eating on Tisha Be’Av
Somebody who is sick and thus permitted to eat on Tisha Be’Av, must make Havdalah before he eats. However, if he will only eat in the middle of the day, he should not recite Havdalah at nightfall, but should wait until he needs to eat and recite Havdalah just before eating (Kaf Ha-Chaim 9; Shut Minchas Yitzchak 8:30).
According to the Chidah (556:3), somebody who needs to eat, and therefore makes Havdalah on Tisha Be’Av, can also make Havdalah on behalf of others—even those who are fasting. For this reason, if it is hard for the person who needs to eat to recite Havdalah, a healthy person (who is fasting) may recite Havdalah on his behalf, and the wine is drunk by the sick person. This principle is ruled by Shut Tzitz Eliezer (14:44) and by Shut Mishnah Halachos (7:39).
Concerning a minor who eats on Tisha Be’Av, the Maharil Diskin (Kuntress Acharon 5:72) discusses whether he must make Havdalah before eating, or not. The general custom is that minors do not recite Havdalah on Tisha Be’Av, and this custom is cited in the name of the Steipler (Orchos Rabbeinu Vol. 2, p. 145) and of Rav Elyashiv zt”l (Shut Rivevos Efraim 3:371; see also Shemiras Shabbos Kehilchasah 62:45). The reason is that a minor normally performs mitzvos so that he will be used to doing them when he is of age. But when he comes of age he will fast. Therefore, reciting Havdalah on Tisha Be’Av is not part of his education.
Fasting as Usual?
The basic halacha is that the deferred fast of Tisha Be’Av is considered the same as the regular fast of Tisha Be’Av, and that we fast on Sunday as we do every year. Some authorities write that the deferred fast has the full stringency of a regular Tisha Be’Av (see, for instance, Shut Maharash Halevi Vol. 2, no. 2). However, most authorities agree that there are halachic distinctions that arise from the fact that the fast is deferred.
For instance, while in regular years many authorities write that beyond seven days after birth the custom is that women try to fast (see Rema 554:6 and later commentaries; this does not apply when the fast causes pain), the Magen Avraham (554:9) writes that when Tisha Be’Av is deferred this does not apply. According to the Magen Avraham, and the Mishnah Berurah (554:14) who cites his ruling, a postpartum woman up to thirty days after giving birth is entirely exempt from fasting.
Shut Shevus Yaakov (Vol. 3, no. 37) extends this ruling to pregnant women, who he writes should not fast on a deferred Tisha Be’Av even if they only feel some discomfort. This is noted by Rabbi Akiva Eiger (annotations to Orach Chaim 559:9) and the Mishnah Berurah (Biur Halacha 559).
In Halichos Shlomo (Vol. 2, p. 451) Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach is cited as stating that this applies even to a nursing mother, where the fast causes discomfort or insufficient milk for the infant.
Bris Milah on Sunday
The Shulchan Aruch (559:9) rules that when a Bris occurs on a deferred Tisha Be’Av, the father of the child should fast until chatzos (midday), and after davening should wash, change clothes, and not complete the fast, since the day is considered a Yom Tov for him. It is thus permitted for the father and mother of the infant to eat in honor of the Bris. The same will also apply to the sandak, and to the mohel.
Not all authorities agree that this is the custom. The Magen Avraham (559:11) cites the Knesses Hagedolah and Radvaz that the custom was that even if there is a Bris, all complete the fast, even when the fast is deferred. He adds that since the custom is to hold the milah meal at night, there is no reason to break the fast earlier. The Aruch Hashulchan (559:9) also writes that the custom does not follow the Shulchan Aruch.
However, most authorities do not concur with the Aruch Hashulchan, and rather follow the Shulchan Aruch. The Mishnah Berurah also omits the opinion of the Magen Avraham and explains (Shaar Hatziun 559:39) that this is due to those authorities, such as the Eliya Rabba and Chayei Adam, who write that the Knesses Hagedoloh is merely stating the minhag in Turkey (where he lived), but the minhag in Europe is to allow the father, sandak and mohel to break their fast. Similarly, the Shaarei Teshuva (559:15) says that the custom in our countries also follows the Shulchan Aruch.
Laws of the 11th of Av
On regular years, some customs of mourning continue into the day after Tisha Be’Av, during which the Temple continued to burn. The Shulchan Aruch (558:1) writes that it is proper to refrain from meat and wine until the end of the 10th of Av in a regular year, while the Rema writes that the custom (which also includes laundry and haircuts) continues only until midday of the 10th of Av.
When the fast is deferred, the Rema states that the custom of refraining from meat and wine applies only to the night after Tisha Be’Av, but does not apply to the following day, the 11th of Av. Additionally one may wash clothing and take showers already at night. (See Mishna Beruro 558, 4 for taking a haircut and Halichos Shlomo who says the same is true for washing laundry.)
Even for the night after Tisha Be’Av, the Maharsham (Daas Torah 558) writes that there is room for some leniency in this matter. One may eat meat and drink wine at a siyum masechet, and under extenuating circumstances may even hold a wedding on the night after Tisha Be’Av.
May we speedily see the complete redemption, and may the day of Tisha Be’Av be turned from mourning to joy.