Got Orthonomics in your Email Box?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Have an Easy Fast and More

Oops! I picked up (free) tickets for a music program for kids that was taking place today, of all days. My husband stopped by our home on his the way to work to suggest to me that we find a different activity, since it is the 17th of Tammuz.

While I'm not sure that the Sephardi halacha or minhag actually prohibits a musical program today (discourage yes, outright prohibit is the question), it certainly does not seem in the spirit of the 17th of Tammuz to attend this program in the least. And, especially with the turmoil in Israel, it seems that today would best be spent doing more mundane activities, as well as pursuing some more spiritual pursuits. So, we are going to skip what looked to be a very nice event for children, b'simcha. Next time, I will keep a small calendar on me, when signing up for activities, so I don't make this mistake again.

Sephardi Halacha and Minhag during the three weeks is a bit murky to determine. Instead of having two distinct periods of mourning, as the Ashkenazim do (i.e. "The Three Weeks" and the "The Nine Days"), we have three periods of mourning, each with an increasing amount of restrictions, (i.e. "The Three Weeks," "The Nine Days," and the "Week of Tisha B'Ab"). What is considered "increasing" does not always seem highly linear.

The Three Weeks starts out minor restrictions. Basically, one is not permitted to make a shechechiyanu during this time, and according my link, some refrain from making such a beracha even during Shabbat, which is some new that I was not familiar with.

However, I imagine that one would make a beracha on a new tallit during the three weeks, if one was getting married! For most Sephardim, except those in the NY/NJ Syrian community who have adopted the halacha of Ashkenazim in regards to weddings as their own minhag, weddings are permitted up until Rosh Chodesh Av. The question still remains, at least in my mind, does a chatan who marries during the Three Weeks, wear a new tallit and make a beracha on it, or does he continue to wear his old tallit and refrain from a beracha shechechiyanu (remember, the chatan has presumably been wearing a tallit since Bar Mitzvah)?

And, what about music (the question that prompted this entire discussion)? It seems that some Sephardim prohibit music during the first part of the Three Weeks, but I believe that others do not. At this point, I can't remember what we have been doing. Did we refrain during the Three Weeks, the Nine Days, or the week of?

The Rav of our kehillah normally reviews these halachot the month before. However, this year, it seems that we did not discuss this review until this morning, when my plans were changed suddenly. This, of course, is not to say that the Rav did not go through the halacha, but that our dinner table was interrupted by a million and one things. I imagine that (even live) music would certainly be permitted during the first part of the Three Weeks, at least by Maran (Rav Yosef), as weddings are permitted. No one expects a chatan and kallah to wed without music, correct?

Lest you think that these last questions are theoretical, I assure you it is not. My husband's cousin married during the Three Weeks. As we were unable to attend, I have no recollection of what was done at that wedding.

(On a fun note: I imagine if a Sephardi chatan and kallah were really and wanted to make a super budget wedding, they could hold it during the three weeks. The chances of their Ashkenazi friends attending would be nill. And, my guess is that even non-Syrian sephardim, would be uncomfortable attending since "its not what is done" and the permissibility of making weddings was almost certainly not mentioned in school!)

Another question that has emerged in my mind, is what the halacha for Sephardim is regarding home repairs. The contractor that was supposed to do some very necessary work that involves painting as a minor part of the project, did not show this week as expected. When I say necessary, I'm actually talking about necessary here. We have some ugly damage that is affecting my allergies and I'm not sure how much longer I can take it. Fortunately, there seems to be no issue regarding this, but I will be pushing the contractor to get the job done ASAP, since it would only be questionably permissible during the Nine Days (allowable possibly because of health concerns, but I'd rather not have occasion to ask the sheila). Putting a fire under some contractors, unfortunately, is a lot easier said than done. Especially when we did not actually choose the contractor.

Well, I think this post on the start of the Three Weeks, has become a bit long. So, I will end by saying, on an interesting note, that it appears my husband is no mekubal, as he woke up early to eat and left the bowl in the sink to be washed. :) So, off I go to wash this mornings breakfast dishes.

To all who are fasting, have an easy fast. And, may we all increase our ahavat yisrael during this period of time. So, on a final and final note. Those who are regularly accustomed to hitting their students, their friends, or their family members, should refrain from doing so during the three weeks. . . and, I might add during the rest of the year also if they intend to actually have friends :-). And, enjoy the savings at the pump, as long trips are frowned upon (had to get in one "Orthonomic" note).

10 comments:

Chana said...

Should I refrain from smacking myself upside the head when I do something stupid? It doesn't say. ;)

SephardiLady said...

Chana-Maybe it would be good to be machmir. :) :) :)
I had to add that one in for a smile. Learning halacha should be enjoyable. Something unexpected can certainly make it so.

Charlie Hall said...

'The question still remains, at least in my mind, does a chatan who marries during the Three Weeks, wear a new tallit and make a beracha on it, or does he continue to wear his old tallit and refrain from a beracha shechechiyanu (remember, the chatan has presumably been wearing a tallit since Bar Mitzvah)?'

I'm Ashkenazic, but I wore a talit before I was married -- I wore the same talit the day after my wedding as the day OF the wedding.

Esther said...

I almost made the same mistake. The library was having a puppet show this evening and I put it on our calendar.

I love the ending of your post!

BTW, I will try to post again soon. There's been a lot going on. And Chana, i did get your e-mail and really do want ot be in touch and will try to reply in the next few days.

SephardiLady said...

Charlie-You touched on a question that I figured would come up.

Ashkenazim do not say a beracha shechacheyanu at the wedding because there is an idea that beracha might be said with the improper intent as the mitzvah is based in sexuality.

Sephardim get around this problem of making a beracha with potentially impure intents by making a beracha on a new tallit, while also having in mind the occassion of marriage, as it is an occassion is worthy of a shechechayanu.

jdub said...

Interesting. Sepharadi practice more closely mirrors the Mishnah in Ta'anit than Ashkenazi practice which expands many of the restrictions really applicable to Av (mi she-nichnas Av, m'atim ha'simcha, i.e., the flip of Adar) to the end of Tammuz as well.

On the flip side, we don't have a whole month of Slichot!

SL: You should check out Mekor Chaim, by R. Chaim David HaLevi, the former Chief Rabbi of TA/Yafo. He's got two versions, the kitzur, which is just halacha and Mekor Chaim HaShalem, which provides aggada and machshava as well as the p'sak halacha. As a Sepharadi, he tends to follow hard line Sepharadi p'sak (almost everything is footnoted to Maran Y. Karo), but he also points out Ashkenazi differences.

Although it's not terribly groundbreaking in terms of halacha, it's a major work in the way it combines machshava with halacha. Very, very interesting stuff. And there's the R. Marc/Chaim Angel biography to read alongside it!

Mordechai Y. Scher said...

Easy fast...I remember my first rosh hayeshiva, Rav Dov Begon, smiling and saying back to me not to worry about the easy fast, but to have a beneficial fast! If only...

Gregory Williams said...

I have visited this website and its well and good.its contains lots of information about work from home
WORK FROM HOME

Rupinder said...

I will keep a small calendar on me, when signing up for activities, so I don't make this mistake again.

tallit said...

I will keep a small calendar on me, when signing up for activities, so I don't make this mistake again.