Thursday, July 10, 2014

Renovations during the period before Tishah b'Av


May I have work done on my home during the period before Tishah b'Av?

The grief felt upon a relative's death is intense. After the funeral, the rituals of mourning gradually lessen in intensity, through shivah, shloshim and the year. In contrast, mourning for the millenia-old loss of the Beit haMikdash requires an intensification of grief leading up to Tishah b'Av, and so the rituals of mourning build, starting with the days following the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, then the first nine days of the month of Av, then the week of Tishah b'Av, then Erev Tishah b'Av and then Tishah b'Av itself.

Until Rosh Chodesh Av, many authorities permit work of all kinds to be done in one's home. After Rosh Chodesh, one may have work done only if it is necessary for living in the home.

One who hired a non-Jewish contractor for cosmetic work before Rosh Chodesh may permit him to continue working after Rosh Chodesh. However, one should try to avoid this problem in advance. If it would not be a great hardship, one should pay him to wait until after Tishah b'Av.

One may have furniture built during the Nine Days, but if its presence in one's home would bring significant joy, then one should not introduce it into the home until after Tishah b'Av.

(Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 551:2; Mishneh Berurah 551:12; Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 3:82; and see Piskei Teshuvos 551:8)

Have a good day,

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