1) Regarding not drinking grape juice during the 9 days, the Gemara in Sanhedrin 70a does mention that wine from the press – grape juice – may in fact be drunk on erev Tisha B’av itself!
I saw a modern day psak forbidding even grape juice flavoring in drinks or candies, (perhaps even artificial)!
2) What is the definition of freshly laundered clothing which is forbidden? How much time from when it was last laundered?
3) For those who are very finicky and could not bear to wear something that was put on the floor or stepped on, how can it be made wearable for the 9 days?
Thank you for your question,
- Both ideas that you wrote about are correct! On one hand the gemora says that it is forbidden to drink wine (which includes grape juice) on erev Tisha B’av, and according to the gemora during the nine days it would be permitted. The custom however is not to drink wine during the week of Tisha B’av and for the Ashkenazim from Rosh Chodesh Av.
- The idea of not wearing freshly laundered clothing is because a person has a good feeling when putting on clean, fresh clothing that was unworn since it was washed last. It is not a matter of time from when it came out of the wash, therefore even if it was washed two months earlier, we don’t wear it for the first time during the nine days.
- There is another way to make the clothing wearable, by actually wearing it before the nine days in order to take out the fresh feeling that it has.
As a side point, it is true that these halachos are not pleasant, and that is exactly the reason for them. That we should minimize certain small pleasures to show during this period that we are missing something. When we keep the halachos properly and mourn the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash, we merit IY”H merit to eventually see the rebuilding of the Bais Hamikdash and Moshiach. We will be very happy that we made the correct sacrifice, and Hashem will provide us with plenty of servants to make sure that we never again have unlaundered clothing to wear.
- O:CH 552-1, 551-9,M:B 552-3.
- Tosefos Moed Katan 24b, Rema Y:D 389-1.