Buying, renting, and moving into a new home during the three weeks and nine days

Buying, renting, and moving into a new home during the three weeks and nine days:

A. Background of Halachic issues:

The action of buying, renting, and moving into a new home during the period of the three weeks touches upon the following five Halachic issues:

  1. The prohibition of saying Shehechiyanu:[1] It is good[2] to beware not to recite Shehechiyanu over new fruits or clothing during the three weeks.[3] [The question is thus raised if purchasing, renting, or moving into a new home requires the blessing of Shehechiyanu to be recited, and if so, if one should abstain from doing so during the three weeks.[4]]
  2. The prohibition of doing business:[5] One is to diminish in business during the period of the nine days.[6] This includes the buying and selling of items.[7] Some Poskim[8] rule this prohibition only applies towards buying and selling items of joy, such as the needs of a wedding [and silver vessels[9] and any item which is not a necessity[10]]. Other Poskim[11] rule that the prohibition includes buying or selling any item, and one may only buy or sell for need of Parnasa. Practically, the custom today is to be lenient in all the above, even regarding items of joy,[12] [although it is proper to be stringent regarding items of joy, such as silver vessels and the like[13]]. [Thus, one is to avoid purchasing during this time all expensive items that give one joy, unless they are considered a necessity.[14] However, all simple items may be purchased even during the nine days.[15] In all cases that delaying the purchase of the item at this time will cause a monetary loss, such as the prices will go up, it is permitted to be purchased.[16]]
  3. The prohibition of building a home:[17] During the nine days one is to diminish in building for pleasure or beauty purposes, such as building a wedding home for his son, or a beautiful architectural structure or beautiful tents. One may however fix a wall which is leaning to fall.[18] One may likewise build for the sake of a Mitzvah[19], such as building or renovating a Shul.[20] [Likewise, one may build for the sake of the public.[21] One may build for the sake of doing business, such as to sell or rent the property.[22]]
  4. Bad luck/Mazal:[23] One who has a court case against a gentile during the nine days is to find ways to delay it, as during this time a Jews Mazal is weak. [The question is thus raised if one’s Mazal is affected during the three weeks or nine days in a way that makes it not an opportune time for purchasing, renting, or moving into a new home.]
  5. Joy: At the entrance of the month of Menachem Av one diminishes in joy.[24] One is thus not to rejoice at all.[25] [Some[26], however, learn that one is merely diminish in joy and does not have to end all joy completely.] [The question is thus raised if one should avoid purchasing, renting, or moving into a new home during the nine days in order to decrease in matters of joy.]

B. The law:

Moving during the three weeks: From the letter of the law, it is permitted to move into a new home during the three weeks, or nine days.[27] However, if one purchased the home, then since the blessing of Shehechiyanu is required to be recited[28], and the custom is to recite it upon moving in[29], therefore seemingly one should avoid moving into it during the three weeks, when Shehechiyanu is avoided.[30] Practically, if doing so is possible, one should abstain from moving houses throughout the duration of the three weeks, until the 15th of Av.[31] If, however, one already moved a considerable amount of furniture into the home, then there is no need to abstain from moving in.[32]

May one sign a rent contract during the three weeks?[33] It is permitted for one to sign a rent contract during the three weeks.[34] This applies for both the tenant and the landlord. If, however, the home is not needed for personal living or business, but rather for mere pleasure [i.e. a vacation home] then it is best to be avoided during the nine days.[35]

May one sign a contract to buy a home during the three weeks, without yet closing?[36] It is permitted for one to sign a contract to purchase a home during the three weeks.[37] This applies for both the buyer and the seller. If, however, the home is not needed for personal living or business, but rather for mere pleasure [i.e. a vacation home] then it is best to be avoided during the nine days.[38] Many are accustomed to simply write the contract and push off the signing for after the nine days.

May one finalize the purchase of a home during the three weeks? One is not to finalize the purchase a home [i.e. closing and receiving the keys] during the three weeks, and especially during the nine days, unless it is an absolute necessity or a case of loss.[39] Nonetheless, if the blessing of Shehechiyanu will not need to be recited over it [i.e. is real estate property[40], or will move in after three weeks] then one who is lenient has upon whom to rely.[41] If, however, the home is not needed for personal living or business, but rather for mere pleasure [i.e. a vacation home] then it is best to be avoided during the nine days.[42]

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[1] Michaber 551:17; Teshuvah Ashkenazim in name of Sefer Chassidim; Drashos Maharil Tisha B’av; Teshuvas Maharil 31; Agguda Brachos in name of Kolbo; Binyoman Zeev 163; Kneses Hagedola 551; Sefer Chassidim 840

[2] Michaber ibid “Tov”; However see M”B 551:45 who writes it is forbidden to wear new clothing during the three weeks being it is forbidden to say Shehechiyanu.

[3] The reason: The reason for this is because since the period of the three weeks is a time of suffering, therefore one should not bless Shehechiyanu which contains the words “Lezman Hazeh” this time [a time of suffering]. It is however not due to the mourning period, as we do not find that a mourner may not recite Shehechiyanu. [M”A 551:42; Sefer Chassidim 840; Birkeiy Yosef 551:15; Kaf Hachaim 551:204; See however Binyoman Zeev ibid; Glosses of Chasam Sofer and Yad Efraim]

[4] The law indeed is that one who purchases a new home [for the sake of living in it, as opposed to a real estate investment ] is to say the blessing of Shehechiyanu. [Admur Seder 12:2; Luach 11:15; Michaber 223:3; Mishneh Brachos 54a; Piskeiy Teshuvos 223:3]

[5] 551:2

[6] Michaber ibid; Braisa Yevamos 43

[7] See all Poskim in coming footnotes

[8] Tosafus, brought in Tur 551 and so is the custom of world, as brought in Beis Yosef and Bach 551, brought in M”A 551:7; Taz 551:2; M”B 551:11

[9] Peri Megadim 551 brought in M”B 551:11“This includes buying silver vessels”.

[10] P”M 551 A”A 7

[11] 2nd opinion in Tur 551, brought in M”A 551:7, M”B ibid and Kaf Hachaim 551:21; Implication of Rama 551:7 and Michaber 554:22; Custom of some communities, brought in M”A ibid

[12] Taz 551:2; Bach 551 in name of Rashal; Elya Raba 551:2; M”B ibid

The reason: As today everything is considered the need of our Parnasa. [Taz ibid; P”M 551 M”Z 2]

[13] Chayeh Adam 133:10; Shaar Hatziyon 551:13; Ben Ish Chaiy Devarim 2; Kaf Hachaim 551:21

[14] Igros Moshe 3:80-82; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:11

[15] Levushei Mordechai 3:185; Leket Yosher in name of Terumos Hadeshen

[16] P”M 551 A”A 7; M”B 551:11; Ben Ish Chaiy Devarim 2; Kaf Hachaim 551:21; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:11

[17] Michaber 551:2; Braisa Yevamos 43

[18] Michaber ibid

[19] Rama ibid

[20] M”A 551:7; M”B 551:12

[21] Aruch Hashulchan 551:7

[22] Makor Chaim 551:2; Dvar Yehoshua 2:73; Nitei Gavriel 28:5

[23] Michaber 551:1; Rav Papa Taanis 29

[24] Michaber 551:1; Mishneh Taanis 26b

[25] M”A 551:1; Elya Raba 551:1; Shulchan Gavoa 551:2; P”M 551 A”A 1; Chayeh Adam 133:9; M”B 551:1; Misgeres Hashulchan; Kaf Hachaim 551:2

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule one is only required to diminish in joy regarding the joyous matters discussed in this chapter. [Mateh Yehuda 551]

[26] Shaar HaTziyon 551:21 “possibly one only has to diminish his joy and not stop it completely”; Toras Menachem 9:99

[27] Makor Chaim of Chavos Yair 551; Levushei Mordechai 1:101; Or Letziyon 2 26:1; Nitei Gavriel 18:1; 28:10

The reason: There is no explicit prohibition against moving into a new home during the three weeks, or nine days, and doing so does not transgress neither the business, nor the prohibition of building, and is not included in the prohibition against wearing new clothing. [Poskim ibid]

[28] See Admur Seder 12:2; Luach 11:15; Michaber 223:3; Mishneh Brachos 54a; Piskeiy Teshuvos 223:3

[29] See Birchas Habayis 223:33; Levushei Mordechai 1:101; Shaar Hatziyon 223:21 in name of Rav Akiva Eiger that without a Mezuzah one may not live in the home; Piskeiy Teshuvos ibid

[30] Levushei Mordechai 1:101; Nitei Gavriel 18:1

[31] Igros Kodesh 9:228; 19:390 [brought in Shulchan Menachem 3 p. 48; Sha’arei Halacha Uminhag 2:225]; Otzer Yad Hachaim 1033; Nitei Gavriel 18:1; See Orchos Rabbeinu 2:129 in name of Chazon Ish; Not found in other Poskim

The reason: Seemingly the reason for this ruling is because one is to avoid doing things that change his Mazal during a period of time that a Jews Mazal is bad, just like one is to avoid judgment with a gentile during this time. [See M”B 551:14] Alternatively moving is included within matters of joy and one is to avoid doing matters of joy until the 15th of Av. [Implication of Rebbe in Igros Kodesh 19:390] The reason for why after the 15th of Av there is no need to refrain from moving, seemingly is because it follows the ruling of the Chasam Sofer 551 regarding avoiding judgment that it only extends until the 15th.

Not to move at all during Av: In another letter the Rebbe writes one is to avoid moving throughout the month of Av and is rather to try to move in Elul, the month of mercy. [Igros Kodesh 19:390] This follows the ruling of the M”A 551:2 that the bad Mazal of Av extends throughout the month.

[32] Mechzeh Avraham 3:13 regarding Sefira; Otzer Yad Chaim ibid; Nitei Gavriel 18:1

[33] Levushei Mordechai 1:101; Or Letziyon 2 26:1; Nitei Gavriel 28:11; Hamoadim Kehilchasam 49:22

[34] The reason: This is permitted even during the nine days, as the prohibition is only against building, and not against buying, and it was already explained in Halacha 2 that we are lenient to allow business to continue as usual during the nine days, so long as it is not of Simcha. [Levushei Mordechai ibid] Likewise, this is considered a case of loss, as perhaps the price will go up. [Levushei Mordechai ibid; Or Letziyon ibid; See Michaber 554:23; Ben Ish Chiay Devarim 1:2; M”B 554:11] Likewise, Shema Yikadmenu Acher, and another person may precede him and buy it. [Or Letziyon ibid; See Michaber 551:2 regarding Eirusin; Sotah 2a; Moed Katan 18b] However, see M”A 545:24 and M”B 545:39 that it is not considered a loss being that one can simply buy another home.

[35] As one should abstain from building and doing business of Simcha during these days.

[36] Or Letziyon 2 26:1; Nitei Gavriel 28:11; Hamoadim Kehilchasam 49:22; Nitei Avigdor p. 63; Mikdash Yisrael 55-56

[37] The reason: This is permitted even during the nine days, as the prohibition is only against building, and not against buying, and it was already explained in Halacha 2 that we are lenient to allow business to continue as usual during the nine days, so long as it is not of Simcha. [Levushei Mordechai ibid] Likewise, this is considered a case of loss. [Levushei Mordechai ibid] Likewise, Shema Yikadmenu Acher, and another person may precede him and buy it. [Or Letziyon ibid; See Michaber 551:2 regarding Eirusin; Sotah 2a; Moed Katan 18b] However, see M”A 545:24 and M”B 545:39 that it is not considered a loss being that one can simply buy another home.

[38] As one should abstain from building and doing business of Simcha during these days.

[39] See Admur Seder 12:2 that Shehechiyanu is recited over purchasing a new home and hence its purchase is to be avoided during the three weeks.

[40] Birchas Habayis 24:36; Piskeiy Teshuvos 223:3

[41] See regarding buying clothing that since today we no longer say Shehechiyanu on new clothing, therefore some Poskim permit purchasing new clothing until the nine days. [Kaf Hachaim 551:88; Piskeiy Teshuvos 551:25; The following Poskim rule this way regarding Sefira: Ikarei Hadat 21:17; Keren Ledavid 119; Orchos Yosher 11; Levushei Mordechai 3:153; Kaf Hachaim 493:4; Taamei Haminhagim p. 251; Hagadas Orach Lechaim [Ben Ish Chaiy] 28; Piskeiy Teshuvos 493:3; Ruling of Rav Zalman Dworkin brought in Kovetz Zalman Shimon p. 70-71 that today it is permitted to buy clothing during Sefira and perhaps even the Terumos Hadeshen today would agree, being we no longer say Shehechiyanu] However, other Poskim rule that even if Shehechiyanu is not recited, one is not to purchase new clothing. [Elya Raba 551:17; Chayeh Adam 133:14; Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:2; Aruch Hashulchan 551; Kaf Hachaim 551:89 and 205] Accoridngly, also by buying a new home, since the Shehechiyanu is not recited upon purchase but only upon moving in, therefore according to the first opinion above there is no issue to purchase it. However, according to the second opinion, it should not be purchased even in such a case.

[42] As one should abstain from building and doing business of Simcha during these days.

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