Brief Laws of the Three Weeks

Unfortunately, the Jewish calendar provides us with many periods of time where we recall tragic events in our history. The rabbis have instituted the practice to observe certain customs of mourning during the period of the three weeks, the nine days, the week of Tisha B'Av (9th of Av), and, of course, Tisha B'Av itself. The Three Weeks begin this Tuesday, July 11, with the Fast of Shiva Asar B'Tammuz (17th Tammuz).

  1. Haircutting and Shaving

    Ashkenazim - One may not take a haircut from 17th of Tammuz until midday of 10 Av. This begins the night of the 17th (this year Monday night).
          If one must shave for work (concern of losing their job), then it is permitted to shave during the Three weeks (not the Nine Days). In this case, one should shave with less regularity than usual (ie. every other day). 
    Sefardim - One may not take a haircut from the week of Tisha B'Av until midday of 10 Av.
  2. Listening to Music

    Listening to music is prohibited during the entire Three Week period. This includes live or recorded music.

    Exceptions:

    A) Background music in a video presentation or the like is permissible.

    B) One who is studying to become a musician or one who teaches music for pay.

    C) One may listen to music at a seudat (meal) mitzvah. Rav Ovadiah Yosef

    D) One may listen to music while exercising if the music helps one exercise.

  3. Reciting She'hechiyanu. 

    A) One should refrain from reciting a she'hechiyanu on new clothing or fruits during this period.

    B) Buying something new. Since it is prohibited to recite a she'hechiyanu one should refrain from any purchases that would require a she'hechiyanu (e.g. cars, luxury items, etc.).

  4. Weddings

    Weddings are not permitted from the beginning of Shiva Asar B'Tamuz. Engagements are permitted
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