The Mishna had stated that on the eve of Tisha B’Av, a man may not eat two cooked dishes, he may not eat meat, and he may not drink wine. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel maintains that he should change from his usual manner of eating. Rabbi Yehudah obligates upsetting the bed, and the Sages did not agree with him.
Rav Yehudah said that the prohibition against eating two cooked dishes applies only after midday but prior to that time, it may be done. He also said that this prohibition applies only to the concluding meal, but during the other meals he may eat what he chooses. The Gemora states that both statements are intended for the more lenient construction of the ordinance (i.e., the only time there will be this prohibition is if he is eating his concluding meal and it is after midday).
The Gemora notes that it was necessary to state both leniencies, for if it had only mentioned the (prohibition of eating two cooked dishes by the) concluding meal, I would have said that the restriction applies even by a meal partaken before midday, therefore it is clearly stated: from midday onwards. And if it had only mentioned from midday onwards I would have said that the restriction applies only by a meal – even though it is not the concluding meal, therefore it is clearly stated that it must be the concluding meal.
The Gemora notes that there is a braisa which supports each of Rav Yehudah’s two rulings.
A braisa is cited supporting Rav Yehudah’s second ruling. The braisa states: One who eats on the day preceding Tisha B’Av is permitted to eat meat and drink wine, providing that he intends to eat another meal afterwards.
Another braisa is cited supporting Rav Yehudah’s initial ruling. The braisa states: One must not eat two cooked dishes, nor eat meat nor drink wine. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel disagrees and maintains that he shall make a change. Rabbi Yehudah explains what was meant by making a change. If he is accustomed to eating two cooked dishes, he shall now eat one; if he usually eats in the company of ten men, he shall now eat in the company of five; if his custom is to drink ten cups of wine, he shall now drink five. This only applies if he is eating after midday; but prior to that, everything is permitted.
In another braisa we have learned: On the day preceding Tisha B’Av, one should not eat two cooked dishes, nor eat meat, nor drink wine. This is the opinion of Rabbi. Meir. The Chachamim disagreed and maintain that one shall make a change from his usual manner, and shall use less meat and wine. How should he accomplish this? If his custom had been to eat a litra of meat, he shall now eat one-half of it; if his custom had been to drink a lug of wine, he shall now drink one-half of a lug; but if his custom had been to drink no wine at all, he must not drink it at all. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel maintains that if he was accustomed to eating radishes or something salty after his meal, he may continue to do so.
In yet another braisa we have learned: When one is eating the concluding meal before Tisha B’Av, he must not eat meat, nor drink wine, nor wash himself. If this meal is not the concluding meal (for Tisha B’Av or it is a concluding meal for a different fast), he may eat meat and drink wine, but must not wash himself (some have the version that he is permitted to wash himself). Rabbi Yishmael, the son of Rabbi Yosi says in the name of his father that as long as one is allowed to eat meat, he is permitted to wash himself. (There is an argument amongst the Rishonim regarding the explanation of this opinion.)
We learned in a braisa: All ordinances applicable to a mourner are effective for everyone on Tisha B’Av. One must not eat, drink, anoint himself, wear leather shoes, or engage in marital relations. One is not permitted to read from the Torah, Prophets or the Writings. The Mishna, Gemora, Medrash, Halachos and Aggados may not be discussed. One may read from Scriptures or study from the Talmud in a place that he is not familiar with. He is allowed to read from Lamentations, Iyuv and from the unpleasant verses in Yirmiyah. Schoolchildren must not learn on that day because it is written: “The precepts of Hashem are upright, rejoicing the heart.” Rabbi Yehuda disagrees and maintains that one may not even read nor study anything that he is not familiar with. (30a)
The Mishna had stated that on the eve of Tisha B’Av, a man may not eat two cooked dishes, he may not eat meat, and he may not drink wine.
The Gemora cites a braisa that one may eat salty meat and drink wine from the wine press at the concluding meal. How long can the meat lie in salt and still be regarded as regular meat which cannot be eaten? Rav Chin’na bar Kahana in the name of Shmuel says that as long as the time during which a korban shelamim may be eaten. (The shelamim can be eaten up to two days and one night.) The Gemora rules that wine, while it is fermenting (three days), is considered new wine and one may drink this wine at the concluding meal. The prohibition against drinking liquids that have been standing uncovered does not apply to fermenting wine. (30a)
Rav Yehudah said in the name of Rav that this was the custom of Rabbi Yehudah bar Rabbi Ilayi: On the afternoon preceding Tisha B’Av, dry bread with salt was brought to him, and he would sit between the oven and the stove. He would eat the bread and drink a jug of water with it, and his manner was identical to one whose deceased relative were lying before him. (30a – 30b)
The Gemora cites a Mishna in Pesachim: Wherever the custom is to perform work on Tisha B’Av, one can perform work. If the custom is not to perform work on Tisha B’Av, one then cannot perform work. Even where the custom is to work, Torah scholars should not work, because they feel the loss of the Beis Hamikdosh more than others. Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel maintains that even a commoner should view himself like a Torah scholar regarding working on Tisha B’Av and he does not have be concerned that he will appear arrogant due to his abstaining from work. (30b)
A braisa is cited: Rabban Shimon ben Gamliel says that one who eats or drinks on Tisha B’Av is considered as if he ate or drank on Yom Kippur. Rabbi Akiva states that one who works on Yom Kippur will not see a sign of blessing from it. The Rabbis said that one who works on Tisha B’Av and does not mourn on the destruction of the Beis Hamikdosh will not merit seeing the joy at the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdosh, as it is said: Make glad Jerusalem, and rejoice with her, all those that love her; be elated with her, all those that mourn for her. From this originates that which the Sages have said: Everyone who mourns for Jerusalem merits to witness her joy, and anyone who does not mourn for her will not witness her joy. It has also been taught likewise in a braisa: Anyone who eats meat and drinks wine on the Ninth of Av, Scripture says: And their sins are upon their bones. (30b)
The Mishna had stated that Rabbi Yehudah obligates overturning the bed, and the Sages did not agree with him. It was taught in a braisa that the Chachamim asked Rabbi Yehudah the following question: If everyone must overturn their bed on Tisha B’Av, what will the pregnant and nursing women do, who cannot sleep on the floor? Rabbi Yehudah answered that he was only referring to those who are capable of sleeping on the floor.
A braisa is cited that Rabbi Yehudah agrees to the Chachamim in instances where one cannot overturn the bed and sleep on the floor. The Chachamim agree to Rabbi Yehudah in cases where one is capable, he must overturn the bed and sleep on the floor.
The Gemora explains the point of contention: Rabbi Yehudah maintains that all the beds in the house must be overturned and the Chachamim hold that only the beds which are being used for sleeping must be overturned.
Rava concludes that the halachah is in accordance with the Tanna of our Mishna who maintains that according to the Chachamim, one is not obligated to overturn the beds at all. (30b)
INSIGHTS TO THE DAF
EXCEPTIONS REGARDING THE PROHIBITION AGAINST LEARNING ON TISHA B’AV
We learned in a braisa: All ordinances applicable to a mourner are effective for everyone on Tisha B’Av. One must not eat, drink, anoint himself, wear leather shoes, or engage in marital relations. One is not permitted to read from the Torah, Prophets or the Writings. The Mishna, Gemora, Medrash, Halachos and Aggados may not be discussed. One may read from Scriptures or study from the Talmud in a place that he is not familiar with. He is allowed to read from Lamentations, Iyuv and from the unpleasant verses in Yirmiyah. Schoolchildren must not learn on that day because it is written: “The precepts of Hashem are upright, rejoicing the heart.” Rabbi Yehuda disagrees and maintains that one may not even read nor study anything that he is not familiar with.
It is said in the name of the Maharsham that if a person thought of a novel idea in Torah on Tisha B’Av, he is permitted to write it down in an abbreviated manner in order that he does not forget it by the time nightfall arrives.
Aruch HaShulchan (554:5) rules that one is permitted to rule on a Torah related issue that is necessary for that day and he is allowed to settle a dispute after midday, where the litigants are advocating for an immediate resolution.
Maharil Diskin writes that even though the Rav is permitted to issue a ruling on Tisha B’Av, he is forbidden to accept payment.
The Maharsham writes that he compelled himself to conclude a response regarding a heter agunah on Tisha B’Av since the Bach writes: “Kol hamatir agunah achas ke’ilu banah achas mi’churvos Yerushalayim” – Whoever releases one agunah, it is regarded as if he built one of the ruins of Yerushalayim. (Sheorim Mitzuyanim B’halacha)
TWO TIMES FOR THE RESURRECTION
The Gemora stated: Kol hamisavel al Yerushalyim zocheh vroeh bsimchasa – Anyone who mourns for Jerusalem will merit witnessing her joy.
The Ritva states that there are actually two periods of resurrection. One period is at the end of the era of our world, after the arrival of the Messiah, but an earlier one is at the time of building the Beis Hamikdosh. At that time, all those who died in exile will be woken up to take part in the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdosh. Those who did not drop a tear will not be woken. There still exists a possibility that they may be woken at the end of time.
Mourning for Yerushalayim
Chazal teach us that “All those who mourn for Yerushalayim merit and witness her joy, and all those who do not mourn for Yerushalayim will not merit to witness her joy.”
The first part of this Chazal can be understood fairly easily: in the merit of mourning the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash, one will merit to witness the joy of her rebuilding. But the second part calls for an explanation. It would seem to suggest that even if someone performs all the mitzvos to perfection and serves Hashem with every fiber of his being, if he somehow neglects to properly mourn for Yerushalayim he will not merit to see her joy.
Can one possibly imagine the humiliation, the unbearable agony to be experienced by those who, on that glorious day of the coming of Moshiach, will not be permitted to witness the rebuilding of the Beis Hamikdash? Can a more devastating punishment possibly exist?
How is it possible that this single fault — egregious as it may be — should manage to wipe out the cumulative merits of a lifetime of Torah, tefillah and chessed?
This can be answered with a parable of a prince who rebelled against his father, a mighty king. After repeated warnings went unheeded, the king felt he had no choice but to banish his son from the comforts of the royal palace and send him into exile among the peasants.
The king, who wished only to force his son onto the right path, had no intention of making the exile eternal. However, he knew that although a greater contrast did not exist than that between life in the palace and life as a peasant, over time the prince would learn to adjust to a new, harsh way of life.
This in itself caused a new challenge. Once the prince got used to a loutish, uncouth way of life, with its coarse food and uncivilized eating habits, it would be impossible for him to readjust to the royal lifestyle when he finally returned to the palace. Not only would the prince not know how to appreciate and relate to the life of a prince; his body, used to living the life of a peasant, would not appreciate the fine foods and elegant comforts of royalty.
The only solution would be to somehow ensure that through the long years of exile the prince would never lose sight of the life he once led. He must constantly remember how to appreciate and relate to the comforts of the palace, and make certain that his body never forgot how to digest them.
So, too, the Yid, his starving soul long deprived of the sublime holiness of the Beis Hamikdash, remains in constant danger of growing accustomed to the coarse, materialistic and impure atmosphere of galus. This, in turn, means that even on that wonderful day when the eternal dream and inner yearning of every Jew will finally be fulfilled, our spiritual condition will have so deteriorated that we will not be able to relate to, properly appreciate, or cope with the loftiness of a Beis Hamikdash.
Therefore, “Those who do not mourn for Yerushalayim will not merit to witness her joy.” For only those who remained spiritually connected to Yerushalayim will be on the level to be able to “witness” and relate to her joy.
Mourning is a Consolation
There is actually another version of the aforementioned Chazal that is often quoted. Instead of using the term “joy,” it states, “All those who mourn for Yerushalayim merit to witness her consolation, and all those who do not mourn for Yerushalayim don’t merit to witness her consolation.”
The Chasam Sofer points out that Chazal use the present rather than the future tense in reference to the consolation. For the very fact that we still mourn the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash is, in itself, a consolation. There is a limit to the amount of time one mourns a deceased; as time passes, the most acute pain passes. However, Chazal tell us that this doesn’t apply to the living, and that is why Yaakov Avinu continued to mourn Yosef throughout the years of separation.
The fact that we refuse to allow ourselves to be consoled over Yerushalayim and continue to grieve for what we have lost is living proof that we are still connected. This, in itself, is a consolation.
L’zecher Nishmas HaRav Raphael Dov ben HaRav Yosef Yechezkel Marcus O”H