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Tisha B’Av

Bathing on Tisha b’Av

What are the basic rules about bathing?

It is forbidden to wash any part of the body for pleasure, whether in hot or cold water. Even to allow a single finger to become wet is forbidden since this gives pleasure.

What if part of the body is dirty?

It is permitted to wash off dirt with cold water, but one should be careful to wash only the affected area.

What if parts of the body feel very sweaty?

It is preferable not to wash off sweat since it is not considered as dirt. Rather, one should wipe the affected area with a dry or damp towel. If a person is very sensitive, he may wash the area with cold water.

How should a person wash his hands when awakening in the morning?

The hands should be washed to the knuckles only (i.e. to the end of the fingers), but one does not need to be concerned if some of the water splashes a little further. One should wash each hand three (or four) times as usual.

What if one’s eyes are sticky when awakening?

The stickiness may be washed off.

How should one wash the hands after using the bathroom?

One should wash only to the knuckles. It is sufficient to wash each hand once, but if a person is accustomed to wash each hand three times throughout the year, he may do so on Tisha b’Av.

What if a person touched his shoes or scratched his head?

He may wash only his fingertips.

What if he touched a part of the body that is usually covered?

He may wash only the affected hand to the knuckles.

How do Cohanim wash their hands before blessing the congregation?

They may wash the entire hand up to the wrist, since it is a mitzvah for them to wash the hands.

How should a child or other person wash if they are to eat bread?

Since this is a mitzvah, the entire hand is washed.

Are children required to keep the above restrictions of washing?

Yes. Wherever possible, children should be trained to follow the above laws, whether washing by themselves or being washed by their parents.

May a person allow his hands to become wet when washing food or dishes for a person who is eating?

This is permitted since it is not being done for pleasure. Hot water should not be used if possible.

May a bride wash her face?

This is permitted for the first thirty days following the wedding.

May a person wash his hands before mincha?

Since this is a mitzvah, he may wash his hands up to the knuckles.

May a woman wash herself before the beginning of the seven clean days?

She may wash herself the minimum that is necessary.

Applying Oils

What are the basic rules of applying oils?

It is forbidden to apply oils or creams to any part of the body even in a small quantity. This is only forbidden when done for pleasure, but it is permitted for hygiene or medical purposes. Therefore, one may not use soaps, perfumes, cosmetics, creams, lipstick, etc. It is permitted to use deodorants, anti-perspirants, medicinal creams, and talcum powder in order to maintain personal hygiene.

May a bride use cosmetics during the first thirty days following the wedding?

According to most opinions, this is permitted. According to some opinions, it is forbidden, and it is only permitted for her to wash her face.

May one smell spices or snuff?

This is forbidden, since a person must refrain from such a pleasure on Tisha b’Av.

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