This year (5779), Tisha Be’av falls out on Shabbat. Thus, the fast is postponed until today, Sunday, the Tenth of Av.
On other years when the fast is observed on the Ninth of Av, there are likewise some mourning customs observed on the Tenth of Av as well. We must therefore discuss the law regarding this year.
Conclusion of the Fast- Netilat Yadayim
At halachic nightfall of Motza’ei Tisha Be’av which is approximately twenty minutes past sunset, eating and drinking is permissible. Some customarily wash their hands (Netilat Yadayim) as they would every morning, for on the morning of Tisha Be’av, hands are only washed until the knuckles. Thus, some people wash their hands once again at this point. This is indeed a fine custom.
The Significance of the Tenth of Av
Our Sages taught (Ta’anit 29a) that our enemies entered the Bet Hamikdash on the Seventh of Av and they set the Bet Hamikdash ablaze on the Ninth of Av shortly before sunset; this fire raged on for the entire next day, the Tenth of Av. Rabbi Yochanan said, “If I were in that generation, I would have established the fast on the Tenth of Av, for most of the Bet Hamikdash burned on that day.” The Sages who nevertheless established the fast on the Ninth of Av did so because they were of the opinion that the beginning of the punishment (the Ninth of Av when the Bet Hamikdash began burning) was more severe.
Customs Observed on the Tenth of Av
We have already discussed the Ashkenazi custom of abstaining from eating meat and drinking wine from the day of Rosh Chodesh Av until Tisha Be’av. According to the Sephardic custom, however, it is permissible to eat meat on the day of Rosh Chodesh Av and this only becomes forbidden on the day after, the Second of Av (this year the Second of Av fell out on Shabbat, so the prohibition began from Motza’ei Shabbat, the Third of Av). Thus, in this regard, the Ashkenazi custom is more stringent than the Sephardic one.
On the other hand, there are likewise varying customs regarding the Tenth of Av. While Ashkenazim resume eating meat and drinking wine beginning from halachic midday of the Tenth of Av, Sephardic Jews abstain from eating meat and drinking wine the entire Tenth of Av (until sunset). Thus, regarding the Tenth of Av, the Sephardic custom is more stringent than the Ashkenazi one. Nevertheless, regarding haircuts and laundry, the Ashkenazi custom is more stringent than the Sephardic one, for Sephardic Jews resume shaving and laundering clothing immediately following the fast of Tisha Be’av while Ashkenazim customarily abstain from doing these things until halachic midday of the Tenth of Av.
The Law Regarding the Tenth of Av When the Ninth of Av Coincides on Shabbat
Regarding this year (5779) when the fast is observed on the Tenth of Av, the Poskim disagree whether or not some mourning customs should be observed on the day following the fast, the Eleventh of Av. Indeed, the Maharil writes that one should not eat meat or drink wine on Motza’ei Tisha Be’av even on years when the fast of Tisha Be’av is postponed until Sunday. The Rama (Chapter 558) rules likewise. The Maharshal and other great Ashkenazi Poskim rule accordingly as well.
Nevertheless, Rabbeinu Chaim Vital would customarily eat meat on Motza’ei Tisha Be’av that had been postponed until Sunday (like this year). Indeed, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that it seems that the opinion of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch is to permit this as well. Other great Sephardic Poskim rule likewise.
Thus, halachically speaking, Ashkenazim customarily observe several mourning customs even this year on Motza’ei Tisha Be’av. On the other hand, the Sephardic custom is to act leniently in this regard and we no longer observe any mourning customs once the fast of Tisha Be’av has ended, for we have already concluded the period of the “Three Weeks.” (Chazon Ovadia-Arba Ta’aniyot, page 414)
May Hashem grant us the merit to experience the consolation of Jerusalem through the arrival of our righteous Mashiach, speedily and in our days, Amen.