Learning Torah on Tishe Beav

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Learning Torah on Tisha B’av:[1]

The prohibition:[2]

It is forbidden to learn Torah on Tisha B’av, ]with exception to the parts of Torah relating to the mourning period or tragic occurrences for the Jewish people, to be explained in B]. This prohibition includes Chumash, Navi, Kesuvim, Mishneh, Talmud, Halacha, Agadah [i.e. Midrash].[3]

Thinking words of Torah:[4] Some Poskim[5] rule that those subjects which are forbidden to learn on Tisha B’av, are forbidden to be studied even in one’s thought, without verbalizing the words.[6] [Other Poskim[7] however rule it is permitted to think words of any subject of Torah so long as one does not verbalize it with his mouth. Practically, we rule like the first opinion.[8] One however is not obligated to remove from one’s mind a thought of Torah that came to his head, and only initially is it forbidden to think about the subject.[9]]

Giving Halachic rulings:[10] A Rav may not rule on subjects which are unrelated to Tisha B’av unless it involves a sick person which is in need of an answer.

Reviewing the Torah Reading:[11] A Baal Korei may review the Torah reading in order to prepare for it.

The law by children:[12] Children are included within the learning prohibition and hence they may not be taught Torah on Tisha B’av. [Some Poskim[13] rule that this prohibition applies even against teaching children the permitted texts discussing the tragedies. Other Poskim[14] however rule it is permitted to teach children these subjects, just as is the law regarding adults. It is forbidden for a child to learn even on his own, if he is of age to receive joy from his learning.[15]]


Subjects permitted to be learned:

It is permitted for one to learn the following subjects on Tisha B’av [being they discuss calamities and destruction]:

  • Iyov[16] and its commentaries.[17]
  • The tragic parts in Yermiah[18], skipping those verses which deal with comfort and those which mention the tragedies that will befall the gentiles.[19]
  • Midrash Eicha.[20] [The Rebbe Rashab would study Midrash Eicha on Tisha B’av.[21]]
  • The third chapter of Moed Katan “Eilu Megalchin”.[22]
  • The story of the Churban in Gittin pages 55b-58b.[23] [The Rebbe Rashab would study this Gemara on Tisha B’av.[24]]
  • Sanhedrin page 104b.[25]
  • The story of the destruction in Josephus.[26]
  • [The laws of mourning and the laws of the three weeks.]

Delving deeply into a permitted subject:[27] It is forbidden to delve deeply into the permitted subjects of learning even in his thought [i.e. Iyun]. It is thus forbidden to look into various questions and answers relevant to the permitted subjects. He is to only learn the straightforward [i.e. Girsa] meaning of the subject.[28] [Some Poskim[29] however rule that while one may not initially set himself to learn a subject in depth, it is permitted to look into a matter if one needs to do so for better understanding, and discover a Chidush, Torah novelty.[30]]



Is one obligated on Tisha B’av in the Mitzvah of Talmud Torah, to learn the permitted subjects?[31]

Some Poskim[32] rule that one Tisha B’av one is not obligated in Talmud Torah and it is merely permitted to learn the permitted subjects and not an obligation. Other Poskim[33] however rue one is obligated in Talmud Torah even on Tisha B’av and hence he is required to spend his time learning the permitted subjects. The Rebbe concludes that one is obligated to learn the permitted subjects of Torah during Tisha B’av at every moment, just like the obligation of learning all subjects of Torah throughout the year.[34]


May one learn Mussar/Chassidus/Kabbalah on Tisha B’av?

It is permitted to study Chassidus and Kabbalah on Tisha B’av.[35] It is likewise permitted for an Avel to study Sifrei Mussar that arouses his heart in repentance. [36] Furthermore, he is encouraged to do so specifically during these difficult days when his repentance is needed.[37]


May one say Tehillim?

One may say Tehillim by Mincha time.[38] One may say Tehillim for the sake of a sick person at any time.[39]


May one learn Torah after midday?[40]

Set lessons of Torah study which have been instituted by Tzaddkim to be learned each day, may be learned after midday. Thus, Chitas and Chok Yaakov may be studied after midday by Mincha time.


May one write words of Torah on Tisha B’av?[41]

Some Poskim[42] rule one may write words of Torah on Tisha B’av even prior to midday, even without using a Shinuiy. Other Poskim[43] rule it is forbidden to write words of Torah novella on Tisha B’av.[44] Practically, it is permitted to write words of Torah that relate to Tisha B’av, even prior to midday and without a Shinuiy, if one suspects he may forget the novelty if it is not written down.


May an Avel recite Mishanyos after Davening as he does throughout the regular year?[45]

After Maariv and Shacharis on Tisha B’av, the Avel is to recite the Mishnayos of Moed Katan, saying the last Mishneh of the third chapter. [He is not to say conclude with the teaching of Rebbe Chananya, and is to begin straight with Kaddish after concluding the Mishneh.[46]] After Mincha of Tisha B’av, the Avel is to recite the normal Mishanyos and saying of Rebbe Chananya that he recites throughout the year.

Mincha Erev Tisha B’av: See Chapter 5 Halacha 4!



[1] 554:1-2; Taanis 30; M”B 554:2-4

[2] Michaber 554:1-2; Taanis 30

[3] Michaber 554:1

[4] Opinion in Michaber 554:3; Maharil 201 regarding Tisha Beav and Aveilus; Iggur in name of Mahariy Mulin [Maharil ibid]; Mateh Moshe 721; Peri Chadash in Mayim Chaim Brachos 15a “it is proper to be stringent”; Taz 554:2; Avnei Nezer Y.D. 474; Darkei Hachaim 15:2

[5] Iggur in name of Mahariy Mulin

[6] The reason: As thinking Torah also gives one joy. [M”A 554:5; M”B 554:5]

[7] Leket Yosher Semachos p. 93 [see Nitei Gavriel 106 footnote 8 that perhaps his intent is only on the permitted subjects]; Elya Raba 554 regarding Tisha Beav

[8] So rule majority of Poskim ibid and so rules Michaber ibid regarding Tisha Beav [See Kaf Hachaim 554:16 that so is the ruling of Michaber even though he brings it as a Yeish Mi Sheoser]; Pnei Baruch 16:1

[9] Chochmas Shlomo 554; Nitei Gavriel 106:5

[10] M”A 554:5; M”B 554:5; See Rama Y.D. 384:1 that allows an Avel to answer Shaalos if no other Rav is available, and no mention is made that this is only allowed by a sick person.

[11] Rama 554:4; M”A 554:7; M”B 554:8

[12] Michaber ibid

[13] M”A 554:2 learns that the prohibition is on the children to learn since it gives them joy to learn to read. Accordingly, one may not learn with them even subjects pertaining to Tisha B’av. [M”B 554:2]

[14] Taz 554:1 brought in M”B ibid

[15] P”M 554 M”Z 1

[16] Michaber ibid

[17] Michaber 554:2

[18] Michaber ibid

[19] M”A 554:3

[20] Michaber 554:2

[21] Hayom Yom 9th Menachem Av

[22] Michaber ibid

[23] M”B 554:3 in name of Levush

[24] Hayom Yom 9th Menachem Av

[25] M”B 554:3 in name of Levush

[26] M”B 554:3 in name of Levush

[27] Taz 554:2 [regarding Pilpul]; M”A 554:5 [regarding questions and answers]; P”M 554 M”Z 2; Birkeiy Yosef 384 regarding Avel; Shalmei Tzibur p. 167b; Chochmas Adam 165:10; Kitzur SHU”A 210:1; M”B 554:5

[28] The reason: The reason for this is because going into questions and answers on the subject gives one joy and is thus similar to thinking the forbidden parts of Torah. [Taz ibid; M”B 554:3]

[29] Aruch Hashulchan 384:5; Gadol mentioned in Birkeiy Yosef ibid; See Chasam Sofer 346 from which it is clear that he learned the laws of Aveilus in depth while in Shiva; See Pnei Baruch 16 footnote 9

[30] The reason: As the prohibition against Simcha is only against initially setting oneself into a situation of Simcha, however if it happened to come on its own while learning, there is no prohibition against doing so. [Aruch Hashulchan ibid]

[31] See Nitei Gavriel Bein Hametzarim Teshuvah 17; Aveilus 106:3; Pnei Baruch 16 footnote 5

[32] Shevet Yehuda Y.D. 384:4; Erech Hashulchan 554:1; Kaf Hachaim 55410; Implication of Ritva Moed Katan 15b; Implication of Abudarham and Tur 559 that omit saying “Veani Zos Brisi” on Tisha B’av being that everyone is Batul from Torah learning; Implication of Shivlei Halekets Semachos 26 that prohibits saying Birchas Hatorah; Implication of Maharitz 

[33] Aruch Laner Sukkah 25b; Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:21; Sdei Chemed 2:12; Menucha Ukedusha Shaar Hatefila 29 that learning the laws of Aveilus during Shiva is the main Tikkun for the Niftar; Divrei Yatziv 240

[34] Toras Menachem 1990 4:50 [Mugah, brought in Shulchan Menachem 3:65]

[35] Nesiv Hachaim 258:1 in name of Rav Hillel of Paritch regarding learning Kabbalah; Rav Shalom Sharabi, brought in footnote of Sefer Haminhagim p. 177; Toras Menachem 41:46; Sefer Haminhagim p. 177 [English] “A mourner may study the inner dimensions of the Torah”; See Meiri Moed Katan 21a “To learn Sefarim that arouse oneself in Teshuva is not only permitted but one is even encouraged to do so, and so is the custom”; See Nitei Gavriel 106:6; See Toras Menachem 4:25 that Chassidim tell over that after the passing of the Rebbe Maharash, the Rebbe Rashab and Rav Y.M. Bespalov would pace back and forth in their socks in learning of Chassidus. See there however that the Rebbe questions the accuracy of this story due to technical difficulties, although concludes “One cannot ask on Chassidim, and even if the story isn’t true, it certainly is true in potential.”; Custom of Rebbe Rashab on Tisha Beav [Sefer Haminhagim p. 46, Hebrew]; See Hamelech Bemisibo 2:61; Hiskashrus 889 p. 13 footnote 35

Other opinions: Some Poskim rule an Avel may not learn Kabala during Shiva. [Mishnas Chassidim p. 83; See Shaar Hamitzvos Vayechi that the Arizal was not sure regarding whether it is allowed and he would start and stop intermittingly; See Nitei Gavriel ibid]

[36] Meiri ibid; Nivei Shalom 387; Ruach Chaim 384; Shoel Umeishiv 3:218; Sdei Chemed Aveilus 25 [p. 1392 in Kehos]; Mishmeres Shalom Os Lamed 21; Gesher Hachaim 21:5-1; Nitei Gavriel 106:8; Pnei Baruch 16:3; See Hearos Ubiurim Oholei Torah p. 69

[37] See Meiri ibid; Avraham Ezkor, brought in Pnei Baruch ibid

[38] M”A 554:6; M”B 554:7

[39] Piskeiy Teshuvos 554:4 in name of Divrei Malkiel

[40] Hayom Yom 9th of Av; Piskeiy Teshuvos 554:4 based on Taz 554:3; Gesher Hachaim 21:5

Other Poskim: Some Poskim rule it is to be completed only the next day. [Shaar HaTziyon 554:11; Mishmeres Shalom 40; Kaf Hachaim 554:19]

[41] Kaf Hachaim 554:110

[42] Shulchan Gavoa 554:4; Moed Lekol Chaiy 10:75; Yifei Lalev 2:10

[43] Shaareiy Teshuvah 554:20

[44] The reason: As this brings one joy. [ibid]

[45] Igros Kodesh 11:306 [printed in Shulchan Menachem 3:269] regarding a Yartzite on Tisha B’av; Nitei Gavriel 75:9 regarding both a Yartzite and Avel; Vetzaruch Iyun, as a) Why is it not permitted to say the regular Mishnayos due to Seder Hayom and b) The above answer of the Rebbe was regarding a Yartzite which is only saying it on Tisha B’av, while a regular Avel has said it throughout the year and is part of his Seder Hayom, and hence perhaps the Rebbe never meant to prohibit him from saying it. Nevertheless, practically, the Rebbe said Moed Katan in 1988 even by Mincha of Shabbos.

[46] Ruling of Beis Din to the Rebbe, brought in Yoman of Rav Groner

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