Halacha for Wednesday 18 Tammuz 5784 July 24 2024

The “Three Weeks” - 2

The three-week period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av is referred to by our Sages as “Between the Straits,” based on the verse (Eicha 1, 3), “All of her enemies overtook her between the straits.”

Reciting the “Shehecheyanu” Blessing During the “Three Weeks”
It is proper to abstain from reciting the “Shehecheyanu” blessing during the three weeks between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av on a new fruit or a new garment. One should leave the new fruit or garment for after Tisha Be’av rather than to eat the fruit or wear the garment without reciting “Shehecheyanu.”

The source for this custom can be found in the Sefer Chassidim who writes that they would not eat a new fruit during the “Three Weeks,” for how can one recite the blessing of “Who has given us life, sustained us, and allowed us to reach this time,” during such a tragic period? Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch likewise writes that it is preferable to abstain from reciting the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new fruit or garment during the “Three Weeks.” Rabbeinu Ha’Ari z”l rules, likewise, as do the consensus of the Acharonim. (Chazon Ovadia-Arba Ta’aniyot, page 129)

If a pregnant woman sees a new fruit during the “Three Weeks” and craves it, she may indeed eat this fruit during this time and she should recite the “Shehecheyanu” blessing before eating it.

On Shabbatot that fall out during the “Three Weeks,” one may recite “Shehecheyanu” on a new fruit or garment. Nevertheless, following Rosh Chodesh Av, it is preferable to abstain from reciting “Shehecheyanu” on a new garment even on Shabbat. However, regarding reciting the “Shehecheyanu” blessing on a new fruit on the Shabbat preceding Rosh Chodesh Av, one may act leniently and do so. (Responsa Yechave Da’at, Volume 1, Chapter 37)

Listening to Music During the “Three Weeks”
All forms of dancing are forbidden during the three weeks between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av, even when there is no musical accompaniment.

Although during the rest of the year one may listen to music from a tape recorder, cassette, CD, and the like (recorded music), especially songs with holy words that are accompanied by musical instruments, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that during the “Three Weeks”, one should refrain from doing so. Nevertheless, when it comes to a celebration of a Mitzvah, such as a wedding, Berit Milah, the festive meal of a Pidyon Haben (redemption of the firstborn), Bar Mitzvah, or conclusion of a tractate of the Talmud, one may listen to songs composed of holy words and musical accompaniment, for as long as it is in celebration of a Mitzvah, one may act leniently regarding this matter.

Singing During the “Three Weeks”
Singing, without musical accompaniment, is permissible during this time. One may certainly act leniently regarding this matter on the Shabbatot that fall out during the “Three Weeks;” indeed, even on Tisha Be’av that falls out on Shabbat, one may sing songs in honor of Shabbat.

One Whose Livelihood Depends on Playing a Musical Instrument
If one’s job requires him to play a musical instrument for non-Jews, one may continue to play music until the week during which Tisha Be’av falls out. Similarly, regarding a music teacher who teaches students to play musical instruments, such as the violin and the like, if one will incur a monetary loss by not teaching during this period, one may indeed continue to teach playing music until the Sunday before Tisha Be’av. It is preferable, nonetheless, to act stringently regarding this matter beginning from Rosh Chodesh Av. Just as music teachers may act leniently regarding this matter, so too, a student learning to play a musical instrument may continue doing so during this period.

Playing Music in Camps
Camps or Daycare programs which operate during the “Three Weeks” and play songs with musical accompaniment as part of their daily routines may act leniently and continue to do so during the “Three Weeks.” Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l and Hagaon Harav Yaakov Kamenetzky zt”l rule likewise

Laundering Clothing
We will, G-d-willing, discuss the laws of laundering clothing and wearing freshly-laundered clothing closer to Rosh Chodesh Av.

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