Halacha for Thursday 4 Av 5777 July 27 2017

Shabbat “Chazon”

This coming Shabbat, which precedes Tisha Be’av, is referred to as Shabbat “Chazon” because of the Haftara read after the weekly Torah portion which begins with the words “Chazon Yeshayahu ben Amotz”. The three Shabbatot preceding Tisha Be’av are referred to as the “Three of Calamity” because the Haftarot of these three Shabbatot discuss the Navi’s rebuke of the Jewish nation, the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash, and the sins that caused it.

The Shabbatot following Tisha Be’av are referred to as the “Seven of Consolation” since the Haftarot read on these Shabbatot discuss words of comfort and Hashem’s boundless love for the Jewish nation even when they are in exile. When Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l would read the words of the prophets in these Haftarot, which are filled with Hashem’s love for His Jewish nation, he would become emotional and shed tears as he read the sacred words in a choked voice as he became overcome with a feeling of love, sensitivity, closeness to Hashem and His nation. Everyone present would follow suit and take advantage of the great emotional atmosphere.

One should not change anything about this Shabbat that precedes Tisha Be’av and it should be treated no differently than any of the other Shabbatot of the year, whether with regards to the foods being served, the songs being sung, and certainly with regards to not mentioning anything to do with the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash and the mourning thereof on Shabbat. Indeed, Maran Ha’Chida (Chapter 591) writes that the custom in the Land of Israel, Egypt, and many large cities in Turkey was not to change anything on Shabbat “Chazon” from the regular practice of Shabbatot throughout the year; food should be served in the regular manner of all Shabbatot in order to show the proper respect for the holy Shabbat.

Maran Ha’Chida continues that some had the custom to recite some haunting poems on this Shabbat in observance of the impending Tisha Be’av. He writes that this is an incorrect custom, especially since this is being done in a synagogue which constitutes a public display of mourning on Shabbat, which is halachically forbidden. This custom should therefore be abolished. Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l rules likewise (Chazon Ovadia-Arba Ta’aniyot, page 155).

It is permissible to sing holy songs joyously on this Shabbat, for we have already explained that even regarding weekdays preceding Tisha Be’av, there is no prohibition to sing, for only music produced by instruments may not be listened to during this period. Certainly then, singing holy songs joyously on the holiest of days is permissible and recommended.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

Eating Meat Following Rosh Chodesh Av

The Mishnah in Masechet Ta’anit (26b) tells us that on Erev Tisha Be’av during the last meal one eats before the fast, one may not eat meat, drink wine, or eat two cooked foods, such as rice and an egg. Although the letter of the law dictates that the prohibition to eat meat only applies......

Read Halacha

Havdala on Motza’ei Shabbat Which Coincides with Tisha Be’av and the Laws of an Ill Individual Who Must Eat on Tisha Be’av

On years during which Tisha Be’av falls out on Motza’ei Shabbat, such as this year, 5778, there are three opinions among the Rishonim regarding how Havdala should be recited on a cup of wine on Motza’ei Shabbat. The first opinion is that of the Geonim who write that one should r......

Read Halacha

Laws Pertaining to Tisha Be’av

There are five categories of abstinence which must be observed on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s body with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages also prohibited learning Torah on Tisha Be’av, for the word......

Read Halacha

The Laws of the Last Meal Before the Fast of Tisha Be’av This Year (5778)

On Erev Tisha Be’av, our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine during the last meal before the onset of the fast of Tisha Be’av held after halachic midday. They likewise forbade eating two cooked foods during this meal. Nevertheless, this year, 5778, since the fast of Tisha Be&r......

Read Halacha


The Laws of the Beginning of the Fast when Tisha Be’av Falls Coincides With Motza’ei Shabbat

The Baraita in Masechet Ta’anit (30a) states that our Sages prohibited five things on Tisha Be’av: Eating and drinking, washing one’s self, rubbing one’s self with oils or lotions, wearing leather shoes, and marital relations. Our Sages said (Ta’anit 30b): “One......

Read Halacha

Those Who are Obligated and Exempt from the Fast of Tisha Be’av and their Status When Tisha Be’av Falls Out on Motza’ei Shabbat

Someone Ill with a Non-Life-Threatening Illness, An Elderly Person, and a Woman who has Recently Given Birth One who is ill (meaning when one is actually bedridden and the like, even if the illness is not life-threatening) is exempt from fasting on Tisha Be’av. When in doubt about one’s......

Read Halacha

When Av Begins, We Diminish Our Joy

This coming Friday will mark Rosh Chodesh Av. May Hashem soon switch it to a month of joy and celebration. This year, 5778, there are some unique laws we must discuss since the Ninth of Av falls out on Shabbat and the fast is thus postponed until Sunday. The Jewish Nation’s Fortune During ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Taking Haircuts During the “Three Weeks"

The Customary Prohibition of Haircuts As a result of the mourning observed during the “Three Weeks,” the Ashkenazi custom is to abstain from shaving and taking haircuts beginning from the Seventeenth of Tammuz until the Tenth of Av. The Sephardic Custom Nevertheless, the Sephardic ......

Read Halacha