Question:

Hi, I just got a new laptop (ordered before the 3 wks). Is it in any way similar to the new clothing rule during this period? Should I avoid using it until after 9 Av? (I am kind of excited to use it, if that matters.)
Even if it’s not in the same category as new clothes, would it be the proper thing – in the spirit of aveilus – to avoid using it, or am I just being unnecessarily strict?

Also, I just got plantains for the first time. I’ve eaten them before in processed chip form, but never had the actual fruit/vegetable(?) itself. Would it be a problem if I ate it during the 3 weeks? I wouldn’t make a shehechianu on it since it’s readily available year round in chip form.

Thanks for your help.

Answer:

 

Using new things that give a person joy, as you are describing, would require making a shehechiyanu, and should be avoided during the three weeks. However, if the laptop is being used by other people, and it would require the bracha of hatov v’hameitiv, then it would be permitted during the three weeks.

Regarding your question if it is in the spirit of the three weeks. If it is halachically permitted, then you are technically allowed, but if you feel that it isn’t in the spirit of the three weeks, personally I agree with you. We find many things that people have done to minimize their joy during this period even though technically it would be permitted. This is a part of showing H-shem that the Bais Hamikdash is important to us.

Regarding the plantains, from speaking to poskim in the states, it seems that these bananas are available the whole year round, therefore even though you might not have eaten them, you would not make a shechiyanu on it. Therefore it would not be an issue to eat it during the three weeks.

 

Sources:

Rema 551-17, Siddur Yaavetz, Igros Moshe O:CH 3-80.

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