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If you had only two options for lunch during the nine days, which would be the 'preferable' choice?

  1. Sushi (100 % fresh animal flesh, costs around 40 NIS, really really enjoyable and healthy)
  2. A Fast food hamburger (such as from Burger Ranch ) (Mostly not meat, costs around 9 NIS, (for the same size meal as the sushi) really really enjoyable, completely unhealthy)

To Clarify the intent of the question. Do we refrain from Meat because of the same reason that we eat meat on Shabbat (ain basar ain simcha)? Or is there some other reason to refrain from meat specifically. And, is meat simcha even if you don't like it, and is fish ever simcha?

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up vote 10 down vote accepted

MEAT IS PROHIBITED.

FISH IS PERMITTED.

Our custom is to abstain from meat and wine during the nine days. It is not our place to rationalize "well this burger is low-quality and this sushi is high-quality ..." before you know it, people would rationalize away the entire custom. Ramban observes that the Torah prohibits exchanging a holy cow for a different one; lo yachalifeno v'lo yamir, "don't upgrade and don't downgrade" -- because if the Torah allowed people to switch for a better cow, well the next day, "well this cow is better because it's a prettier color" ... "well this cow is better because it moos better ...", "well this cow is better because ...", and invariably people will wind up downgrading.

Specifically here, the custom isn't just about abstaining from good food. It's specifically meat and wine as those were the core of the sacrifices in the Temple. (Well there was also grain, oil, produce, water, but those are dietary staples.)

See Bava Basra 60b:

ת"ר כשחרב הבית בשניה רבו פרושין בישראל שלא לאכול בשר ושלא לשתות יין נטפל להן ר' יהושע אמר להן בני מפני מה אי אתם אוכלין בשר ואין אתם שותין יין אמרו לו נאכל בשר שממנו מקריבין על גבי מזבח ועכשיו בטל נשתה יין שמנסכין על גבי המזבח ועכשיו בטל אמר להם א"כ לחם לא נאכל שכבר בטלו מנחות אפשר בפירות פירות לא נאכל שכבר בטלו בכורים אפשר בפירות אחרים מים לא נשתה שכבר בטל ניסוך המים

When the Second Temple was destroyed, some ascetics decided to never again eat meat nor drink wine; Rabbi Yehoshua dealt with them. "Why no meat or wine?" "How could we eat meat or wine, which were sacrifices that are now void?" ...

But their custom was accepted for the nine days.

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to continue this theme, yes taking a shower in the nine days is not permitted (I know there are hetarim) and washing clothes, but I heard someone today claiming that having your car washed is forbidden... –  Raffy Van der Vaart Aug 2 '11 at 14:07
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@Adam Simon, editing someone else's answer is for fixing typos and the like. If you feel an answer could be stated more clearly, you're free to write your own (using others' as much as you like), and let people vote that one up. –  Shalom Aug 2 '11 at 14:17
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