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Shabbat takes precedence over mourning

חלות שבת

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin 

All the holidays on the Jewish calendar are happy occasions. Hanukkah, Pesach, Sukkot, Shavuot, Purim - even Yom Kippur, a day of purification and forgiveness. But there is one annual occasion that is not happy - Tisha B'Av, the 9th of Av. We fast, read the book of Lamentations, sit on the floor, and recite kinot (elegies). This day, on which the Holy Temple was destroyed, is the climax of the period known as Bein HaMeitzarim ("Between the Straits"), three weeks when many customs associated with mourning are observed.

But this year, everyone will eat and drink and be happy on the 9th of Av. This is because the 9th of Av will fall on Shabbat, and Shabbat postpones the fast until the 10th of Av. Thus, the fast will commence on Motzei Shabbat, when Shabbat is over, and will conclude on Sunday night.

This is not just a technical detail. It is a halacha (Torah law) that reveals a deep truth: The holiness of Shabbat overrides the pain of the destruction. We prefer to delay mourning and give priority to happiness. Holiness triumphs over sadness.

Shabbat shalom


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