Sunday, July 11, 2010

Do we have to stink these Days ?

Cartoon: CheapnJuicy


Tonight and tomorrow (Monday) we are celebrating Rosh Chodesh Av (the beginning of the month of Av) and Ashkenazim follow the custom not to do laundry, eat meat, listen to music or take a shower until Tisha Be'Av. However, we are allowed to have wine and meat on Shabbat and to wash ourselves before Shabbat. In a way, Shabbat breaks some of the rules.

Sephardic Jews do start these restrictions only on Mozzaei Shabbat before Tisha Be'Av. 

I need to say that there were times when I was so jealous of the Sepharadim only starting after Shabbat ends (before Tisha Be'Av). I once had a flatmate and she strictly kept those rules like not showering until Tisha Be'Av.

In July, where Tisha Be'Av mostly falls, we have the wildest summer heat in Israel. About 30 degrees Celsius (at least 90F) and everyone is just sweating. In order not to bother other people, shouldn't we take showers under these circumstances ?
What if I am sitting on a bus and I haven't showered for the past three days and I simply stink ? The person next to me is closing his nose, holding his breath and moving further away. Is this the purpose and the price of mourning ?

I have to admit that I do shower every day, not on Tisha Be'Av but during the nine days before. Even If I was in a country where it was less hot, I would still take showers.

Once in a while I sit next to a religious guy and he this the reason why I am writing this. Before Tisha be'Av some smell so incredibly bad that it should be halachically forbidden to bother other people around you. Or even cause other people to throw up.


  1. ... well, never too late: but couldn't one do like during shiva, when one can still wash "here & there" not to be filthy and too smelly ?

    ... and is it wrong to adopt sephardic traditions when one is ashkenazi, or vice versa (no marriage involved) ?

  2. B"H

    I don't know if it is wrong but I am keeping Sephardic traditions during those days.:-)

    By the way, many Haredim I know take showers and even do laundry. Especially when they have little children.