Overview

When do the laws of the nine days commence?

At nightfall on the eve of Rosh Chodesh Av. According to some opinions, the laws commence at sunset.

What is forbidden during the nine days?

All forms of rejoicing are forbidden. One must also refrain from certain activities as a sign of mourning. The main restrictions are:

  • Making improvements to one’s home or garden.
  • Laundering.
  • Wearing new or laundered clothing.
  • Making or buying new clothes.
  • Eating meat or drinking wine.
  • Bathing for pleasure.

Whoever refrains from rejoicing during the first ten days of Av will merit to witness ten miraculous changes that will occur at the end of days.
Which types of improvements to one’s home are forbidden?

It is forbidden to do any building or construction work that is unnecessary for basic dwelling. For example, one may not build a vacation home or an extension to one’s home. It is also forbidden to paint or decorate the home, or replace curtains, cabinets etc.

May such work be done by a gentile?

  • From Rosh Chodesh, a gentile may not be called to do such work.
  • If an agreement was made with a gentile before Rosh Chodesh, the work may be done during the nine days. However, one should try to postpone the work until after Tisha b’Av, and should offer the gentile a small sum of money as compensation if necessary.

May such work be done for a gentile?

A Jewish builder or painter is permitted to work as usual for gentile customers.

May one build a shul?

A shul, mikveh, or yeshiva may be built and decorated during the nine days, since such work is a mitzvah.

May one make repairs to a house?

All repairs and basic upkeep of the house are permitted. If walls have been damaged by mold or dampness, they may be repaired but not painted.

May one clean the house as usual?

Yes. Some have the custom not to wash the floors except when it is really necessary and on erev Shabbos. The floor should not be polished.

Which type of gardening is forbidden?

One may not plant anything for pleasure, such as trees, flowers, or grass. Regular upkeep of the garden such as weeding, watering, and mowing the lawn is permitted.

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