Halacha for Sunday 5 Av 5780 July 26 2020

The Laws of Erev Tisha Be’av

The Sefer Ha’Minhagim, authored by Rabbeinu Eizik Tirna, states that one should not leisurely stroll around on Erev Tisha Be’av. The Rama, some great Acharonim, and seemingly Maran Ha’Chida as well, rule accordingly.

On Erev Tisha Be’av during the “Seuda Ha’Mafseket,” the last meal before the fast (which takes place following halachic midday, as we shall discuss), our Sages prohibited eating meat and drinking wine. It is customary to prohibit eating fish and drinking beer or other alcoholic beverages during this meal as well. If one usually drinks a small amount of an alcoholic beverage after one’s meal in order to aid in the digestion of the food (such as whiskey), if one wishes to do so following the last meal before the fast, one has on whom to rely.

Our Sages also prohibited eating two cooked foods during the last meal before the fast of Tisha Be’av. Even two eggs, one soft-boiled and one hard-boiled, are considered to be two cooked foods in this context. Nevertheless, if two foods were cooked in one pot in a way that is common during the rest of the year, such as a vegetable soup, peppers stuffed with rice, and the like, they are considered to be only one cooked food and they may be eaten during this meal. Similarly, our Sages prohibited only two “cooked” foods as opposed to baked goods, such as bread, which are not considered “cooked” foods in this context. Additionally, one may eat several kinds of fruits and vegetables during this meal. However, if the fruits or vegetables were cooked, they may not be eaten.

Some customarily eat bread with ashes (made from burnt paper and the like) during the last meal before Tisha Be’av. Our Sages tell us (Ta’anit 30a) that during this meal, Rabbi Yehuda bar El’ai would eat dry bread dipped in salt and drink a pitcher of water while seated between the oven and the furnace (the gloomiest place in the house) as though his deceased relative lay before him.

Everything we have mentioned above only applies to a meal eaten after halachic midday of Erev Tisha Be’av and only if this meal is the last meal before the fast of Tisha Be’av. However, if one plans on eating another meal after this one, although this current meal is being eaten past halachic midday, it is not considered the “Seuda Ha’Mafseket”. Similarly, if this meal is eaten before halachic midday, although one does not intend to eat another meal before the fast, it is not halachically considered to be the “Seuda Ha’Mafseket” (meaning that the above laws do not apply to it).

Important Note: Nevertheless, what many people commonly do on Erev Tisha Be’av is eat a full meal with many different cooked dishes close to the fast and afterwards sit on the floor to eat an egg and then recite Birkat Hamazon or first recite Birkat Hamazon and then wash again for bread, sit on the floor, and eat some bread and an egg after which they proceed to the synagogue for Tisha Be’av prayers. This is an error and is forbidden according to Halacha, for the Poskim tell us that when we say that as long as one intends to eat another meal before the fast, the previous meal is not considered the Seuda Ha’Mafseket, this only applies when one plans to have an established meal afterwards; however, if one knows the meal one is eating currently is the last actual meal one is having before the fast and only intends to eat an egg or another light snack for ceremonial purposes only and not because one is actually hungry, the previous established meal will retain the Seuda Ha’Mafseket status and it will have been forbidden to eat two cooked foods during that meal. Therefore, the correct procedure is to eat the last established meal (even with several cooked foods) before halachic midday, before going to pray early Mincha, or at least early enough in the day and leave some room so that one will become hungry again closer to the evening so that one may eat another established meal with appetite; this later meal will then be considered the proper Seuda Ha’Mafseket where one may eat only one cooked food and it will have been permissible to eat several cooked foods during the previous meal.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Question: How many “Kezayit”s (olive’s volume) of Matzah must one consume during the Pesach Seder?

Answer: One is obligated to eat altogether three “Kezayit”s of Matzah during the Pesach Seder. Every Kezayit amounts to approx. 30 grams of Matzah. Nevertheless, there is room for stringency to eat four or even five “Kezayit”s of Matzah, as we shall now explain. The Order......

Read Halacha

Chol Ha’Mo’ed

The days between the first and seventh days (outside of Israel between the second and eighth days) of the Pesach holiday and the days between the first day of Sukkot and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret (outside of Israel between the second day of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret) are called “Chol Ha&......

Read Halacha

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh

The Pesach Seder-Kadesh The famous order of the Seder of the eve of Pesach, Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Magid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah, was established by the leader of the entire Jewish nation, Rashi. The entire Jewish nation cus......

Read Halacha


Everything is Foreseen and Permission is Granted

Israeli Independence Day is celebrated today. Since we have discussed this topic several times in the past, we will not delve into this matter lengthily at this point. Let us just note that according to Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l, although one must show thanks to Hashem for removing the ......

Read Halacha

Megillah Reading- Coronavirus

Every member of the Jewish nation is obligated to read the Megillah on the day of Purim. One must read it during the night and once again the next day, as the verse states, “My G-d, I call out to you during the day and you do not answer; during the night I have no rest.” This verse is wr......

Read Halacha

One Who is Unsure Whether or Not One Has Counted the Omer

We have already explained that one who has forgotten to count the Omer one day during the counting period may no longer count with a blessing on the subsequent days. The reason for this is because the Rishonim disagree as to whether the Mitzvah of counting the Omer is one long Mitzvah that span......

Read Halacha

Anyone Who Brings Merit to the Public, No Sin Shall Come Through His Hand

Our Sages teach us in Pirkei Avot (Chapter 5, Mishnah 18): “Anyone who brings merit to the public, no sin shall come through his hand.” The Tosafot (Yevamot 109b) question this, for Elisha ben Avuya taught Torah to Rabbi Meir and nevertheless, he strayed from the path, became a heretic, ......

Read Halacha