Friday, July 20, 2012

Abstaining from eating meat and other customs of the Nine Days

"Once the month of Ab begins (today) we minimize our happiness" mishenikhnas ab, mema'atim besimcha.... These days are dedicated to prepare ourselves for remembering and mourning for the destruction of our Bet haMiqdash.

√ In addition to the restrictions we mentioned for the three weeks (see here) one of the ways we express our sorrow until the 9th of Ab (the "Nine Days") is by abstaining from eating meat. There are communities in which people do not consume meat and don't drink wine during the entire three weeks. Others, restrict themselves only during the week of Tish'a beAb. In the Mashadi community, we do not eat meat during the "Nine Days" except for Rosh Chodesh Ab and Shabbat. (This year with two Shabbatot in the Nine Days the abstention from meat will last just for "six" actual days).  

A person who is sick or weak or a woman during the first 30 days after giving birth, are allowed to eat meat. It would be preferable, if possible, if they eat chicken instead of red meat. Fish is allowed during these days. 

√ The Ashkenazi custom is to forbid shaving and cutting one's hair during the three weeks. In most Sephardic communities men do not shave and do not cut their hair only during the week of Tish'a beAb. In the Mashadi community and other Sephardic communities, men do not get a haircut during the Nine Days.

√ Shaving, would normally be forbidden during the week of Tish'a beAb. This year, however, since Tish'a beAb falls on Shabbat and it is postponed to Sunday there is no "week of Tish'a beAb". So, the restriction of shaving and other restrictions (swimming, showering or bathing in hot water, washing clothes,  etc.) are lifted.    
√This year, when Tish'a beAb is commemorated Sunday, some people do not shave the previous Friday (July 27th).  


Candle lighting in NYC   8:03 PM
Shabbat ends in NYC      9:11 PM
LE'ILUY NISHMAT the victims of the terror attack in Burgas Airport (Bulgaria) Hashem Yqom Damam, and LIRFUA SHELEMA of all those injured. 

Click HERE  to learn the HAFTARA for Shabbat Chazon, (the Shabbat previous to 9 BeAb) with Sepharadic Ta'amim.

Click HERE to learn Megilat Ekha with Sephardic Ta'amim.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Remembering the destruction of the Bet haMiqdash

The upcoming month of Ab (begins tonight) is a time of mourning because of the events that took place on that month. Specifically, the destruction of the first Bet haMiqdash, the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, in the year 586 BCE and of the Second Bet haMiqdash, in the year 68 ACE. Both Temples were destroyed on the same date: the 9th of Ab. In addition to the customs of mourning that we have been following since the 17th of Tamuz (see here) we follow a few more traditions, as we will explain B'H tomorrow.   

Even thought we concentrate our mourning for the Bet haMiqdash on the 9th of Ab and a few days before that, our Rabbis mentioned a few traditions to be kept year-round to remember the destruction of our Temple (zekher lachurban).

The best known of these customs is that the groom breaks a glass at the end of the wedding ceremony and says: Im eshkakhech Yerushalaim ... "If I ever forget you Yerushalaim, may my right hand wither... If I won't remember Yerushalaim in the happiest moment of my life". The Rabbis also mentioned the custom that on the day of his wedding, the groom places ashes in his head, in the place where he usually wears his Tefillin.

Another tradition which is widely observed is that at the entrance of a Jewish home, close to the main door, we leave an unfinished-unpainted part on the wall. Symbolically, it is as if we were saying: How would I have a complete beautiful house, while the House of God is still in ruins... Thus, every time we enter our homes we remember the Bet haMiqdash.  

√ For the other traditions zekher lachurban (in Hebrew) see HERE (Maimonides, Ta'aniot, 5:12-15).

√ Read  HERE What happened to the Jews of Arabia? 
A story that should make every Jew shudder.
by Sara Yoheved Rigler