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Imagine that an unemployed person suddenly gets a job interview scheduled for two days before Tisha B'Av, but doesn't have something appropriate to wear to the interview.

May he/she buy new clothing during the Nine Days to wear to the interview? (Postponing it till after Tisha B'Av might increase the risk of losing the job opportunity.)

If possible, please cite sources.

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    You need to ask a rabbi. These customs/laws are modeled after those of mourning, which contain many (but not infinite) leniencies for sudden loss of income. A critical question -- is this the week of Tisha B'Av, or the part of the Nine Days preceding it? Anything till "week of" is Ashkenazi-only, which tells you it's custom and therefore has more leeway.
    – Shalom
    Jul 23, 2023 at 12:29
  • The interview is the week of Tisha B'Av. 2 days before Tisha B'Av.
    – Anonymous
    Jul 23, 2023 at 12:44
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    You need to ask a rabbi.
    – Shalom
    Jul 23, 2023 at 14:45
  • Do new clothes provide you joy? Do you normally say shehecheyanu on them?
    – mbloch
    Jul 24, 2023 at 3:27
  • Welcome to Mi Yodeya! Do consider trying to come up with a clever and memorable username. ❧ Please ask a rabbi what you can or cannot do in your situation, and why. Then, please post an answer, telling us what he said. ❧ A.) Do you have a local rabbi you feel comfortable asking? ❧ B.) What clothing do you think you need to wear for the interview, and why? ❧ C.) What clothing do you own currently: e.g. only T-shirts and khaki pants? Jul 24, 2023 at 6:38

4 Answers 4

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Several solutions other than just doing it.

  1. Buy the new clothes then put them on your bed lie on them so they aren't new while you wear them.

  2. Arrange for someone else to be owning them so the shechechianu beracha isn't triggered.

  3. Some meat junkies arrange siyums every day of the 9 days. Put the clothes on at one of these parties.

  4. Don them for the first time on Shabbat.

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  • I don't know that the siyum plan works
    – Double AA
    Jul 26, 2023 at 22:18
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Buying and wearing new clothes

Jewish legal authorities have differing opinions regarding clothes shopping to avoid a monetary loss:

If delaying the purchase will cause a monetary loss, or if the item will not be available for purchase after Tishah b’Av, some poskim permit buying the item during the Nine Days,19 while others are more stringent.20

(Source.)

In addition, you don't just want to buy new clothes. You also want to wear them, which involves a separate question. (Source.)

Used clothes

Even buying used clothes might need rabbinic permission:

One may not even buy secondhand clothes if they will cause him to feel pleasure and joy (שע”ת סק”י).

(Source.)

Some sources forbid buying used clothes altogether:

It is forbidden to buy clothing during the nine days. This applies even to used clothing. [Siddur Yaavetz; Machazik Bracha 551:10; Shaarei Teshuva 551; Kaf Hachaim 551:102.]

(Source.)

Borrowing clothes

If the rabbi forbids buying new clothes, consider asking if you could instead at least borrow some clothes from a friend, relative, or clothing gemach. These borrowed clothes might be clean and freshly-washed, but you can de-freshen the clothes.

Other ideas

Perhaps you can arrange to do a phone or video interview for now, and a in-person follow-up interview after the Nine Days are over. In a video interview, they can see your shirt, but not your pants.

Conclusion

In the end, I'm not a rabbi, and I can't make a ruling for your situation. I strongly encourage you to ask a rabbi.

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  • @mbloch: Good catch! I've edited your point into my answer. You and everyone else may freely edit my answer, as well. Jul 26, 2023 at 22:20
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There are a number of situations where one can be lenient to purchase new clothes in the 9 days (great financial loss, shidduch, for a mitzvah). It is up to you, and/or in consultation with a Rav, whether this is applicable to your situation. The poskim of the generation were forthright in the importance of the days leading up to Tisha B'Av, but they were also aware that in exceptional circumstances one can be lenient.

We cannot know your personal situation, so this is a subjective matter. For example: if a person has been searching for a job for a year and has 7 mouths to feed, only a Rabbi disconnected from reality will advise you to 'take the hit' and not buy new clothes. Ideally, you'll find a middle ground, but if one can't then there is room to be lenient.

Rabbi Melamed writes that for the purposes of a mitzvah you are allowed to buy things that bring you joy. The examples he brings are tefillin and sefarim as people generally don't say a shehecheyanu on them. He then goes on to say that if you dont have (basic) shoes for Tisha B'Av you can buy them b'diavad.

The Mishna Berura (551:13) writes that in a case of great loss (e.g., fixing a wall that is falling, even if it gives you simcha), you can fix a wall.

If you have a wife and kids, a Rabbi might extend this to buying respectable clothing that doesn't require a shehecheyanu (i.e., it doesn't need to be a 3-piece suit) for an interview. This is because it is a mitzvah to support your family and provide shalom bayit. However, if you are a 17 year old looking for a summer job, this may be a different situation.

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R’ Moshe Feinstein in Igros Moshe OC 4:102 says that shaving during the three weeks, in a situation of financial loss, is permitted. His reason is that the prohibition was never accepted in a case of potential financial loss. However, the week of Tisha B’av is prohibited even for financial loss since that is not merely a custom but sourced in the Gemara.

Although perhaps there’s a difference between clothing and shaving, I believe they are both similar in this regard.

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  • Wearing new clothes would be similar since it's also dina but buying new clothes is probably a minhag not dina
    – Double AA
    Jul 26, 2023 at 22:23

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