Halacha for Monday 18 Tammuz 5781 June 28 2021

The “Three Weeks”

The Period of the “Three Weeks”
The three week period between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av is dubbed by our Sages “Between the Straits,” based on the verse (Eicha 1, 3), “All of her enemies overtook her between the straits.” Our Sages tell us that these three weeks between the Seventeenth of Tammuz and the Ninth of Av are when our enemies entered the holy city of Jerusalem and massacred countless Jewish people until the Ninth of Av when they finally succeeded in destroying the Holy Temple. From that day on, the Jewish people no longer dwell securely and we must endure enemies attacking us from the outside as well as within.

Although, thank G-d, we have merited returning to the holy land relatively freely, we have nevertheless not yet merited the ultimate redemption, for our Bet Hamikdash still lies in ruins, the nations of the world are constantly on the offensive against the Jewish nation, and our tragedies multiply exponentially every day. We are indeed very spiritually distant from the final redemption and we hope and pray that Hashem pities us and redeems us once and for all, speedily in our days.

Everyone should be well aware of the woes of the exile and never to become complacent, for these days are not merely regular days when we are obligated to observe mourning customs. Rather, these days are intrinsically days of mourning when we bemoan the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash and the delay of the Final Redemption. Maran zt”l would say that more than we cry for what happened almost two-thousand years ago, we are crying for what happened in our generation, i.e. the Holocaust. He would remind the audience of the million sweet children who found their deaths at the hands of the Nazis and the six million Jews who perished in the most gruesome ways. We need to cry for them as well! Indeed, our Sages taught, one who mourns over Jerusalem shall merit to see its joy and splendor.

The Levels of Mourning during this Period and the Laws of the Week during which Tisha Be’av Falls Out This Year
In the following Halachot we shall, G-d-willing, discuss the laws of the “Three Weeks.” There are various degrees of mourning observed during this period: From the Seventeenth of Tammuz until Rosh Chodesh Av, few mourning customs are observed. From the day of Rosh Chodesh Av, some more mourning customs are added. During the week during which Tisha Be’av falls out, even more mourning customs are observed.

The Week During Which Tisha Be’av Falls Out- 5781
This year (5781), Tisha Be’av will fall out on a Sunday and thus, the Sephardic custom, in accordance with the ruling of Maran Ha’Shulchan Aruch, is that we do not observe any of the laws of mourning associated with the week during which Tisha Be’av falls out. Ashkenazi Jews, however, begin observing these laws from Rosh Chodesh Av, in any case, as we shall explain in a following Halacha.

Reciting “Tikkun Chatzot
Since these days are a time of mourning for the Jewish nation, we customarily observe some customs pertaining to mourning. Pious and upstanding people customarily recite “Tikkun Chatzot” (Psalms and prayers related to the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash) after halachic midday during the “Three Weeks” (Halachic midday is calculated by splitting the night time hours between sunset and sunrise and the mid-point is Halachic midnight. The exact same time during the day is Halachic midday. Many Jewish calendars state either only Halachic midnight or midday since they are in essence the same time.) “Tikkun Rachel,” which includes verses that lament the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash, is recited. Maran Ha’Chida in his works “Moreh Be’Etzba” and “Yosef Ometz” writes that this is an ancient custom that was observed in Israel based on the words of the holy Arizal. He writes that the custom is to recite “Tikkun Rachel” because it is based on weeping and lamentation for the destruction of holy Temple. He adds in the name of the Ari who writes that it is a worthy custom to sit and mourn after the Halachic midday every day during the “Three Weeks,” including shedding actual tears for the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash. Through reciting “Tikkun Chatzot,” one will surely be moved to tears because of the sorrow of the destruction of the Bet Hamikdash and all of the other suffering we and our forefathers have endured during this long and arduous exile.

Indeed, Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l would encourage his congregation to recite “Tikkun Chatzot” after halachic midday during this period of the “Three Weeks.” (“Tikkun Rachel” is printed in most Siddurim.) This was indeed the custom in Yeshivat Porat Yosef in Jerusalem. Some actually have the custom to recite “Tikkun Chatzot” throughout the entire year after halachic midnight, and they shall indeed be blessed.

We should point out that it is worthy to recite “Tikkun Chatzot” throughout the year following halachic midnight. When Maran zt”l would recite “Tikkun Chatzot,” he would shed copious tears about the suffering of the Jewish nation and the fact that the Mashiach had not yet arrived.

May Hashem grant our eyes the merit to see the comforting of Zion through the rebuilding of Jerusalem, Amen.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Proper Way to Immerse Vessels in a Mikveh

One must make certain that there is nothing separating between the vessel one is immersing and the waters of the Mikveh. Thus, when one is immersing a vessel, one must hold the vessel loosely, for if one holds it tight, one’s hand will be separating between the vessel and the waters of the Mik......

Read Halacha

Question: Is one obligated to wait six hours after eating meat foods before eating dairy foods?

Answer: The Gemara in Masechet Chullin (105a) states: “Mor Ukva said: When my father would eat meat, he would not eat cheese until the next day. Regarding myself, however, within the same meal I do not eat meat and then cheese, but I would eat cheese during the next meal.” The Rif writes......

Read Halacha

Reading Scripture at Night

Question: May one read chapters of Tanach or Tehillim at night or is this forbidden according to Kabbalah? Is there room for leniency when this reading is being done for the sake of an ill individual or a woman in labor? Answer: Maran Ha’Chida in his Responsa Yosef Ometz (Chapter 54) quotes......

Read Halacha

Spiritual Blockage of the Heart

Question: Must one be careful regarding the Kashrut standards of the foods one’s children eat as well? Answer: Regarding any food which is prohibited for consumption by the Torah, such as milk and meat or an impure animal’s milk, it is certainly forbidden to give such foods to childre......

Read Halacha


Drinking Beverages in a Café or in a Home Where the Vessels have not been Immersed in a Mikveh

Question: May one drink coffee in a friend’s home or in a Café (such as an espresso without milk served in Cafes) when they are not meticulous about immersing their vessels in a Mikveh? Answer: In the Halachot discussed before Tisha Be’av, we have explained that vessels produc......

Read Halacha

Question: Do disposable vessels and electric kettles require immersion in a Mikveh?

Answer: In the previous Halachot, we have discussed the general law that any new vessels purchased from a non-Jew must be immersed in a Mikveh before using them. We shall now discuss whether or not disposable vessels require immersion. We have already explained that according to Maran zt”l,......

Read Halacha

Eating Dairy Items after Eating Poultry

In the previous Halacha we have discussed in general the law that one must wait six hours after eating meat before eating dairy foods either because the nature of meat is to get stuck between one’s teeth or because meat gives off a taste in one’s mouth for a prolonged amount of time. ......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Fire on Yom Tov

In previous Halachot we have explained that Yom Tov and Shabbat are equal regarding all prohibitions besides for certain works associated with food preparation, such as cooking, which are permitted on Yom Tov. Igniting a Flame One may not produce a new fire on Yom Tov, for instance by striking a......

Read Halacha