The prohibitions which Ashkenazim take on themselves during the nine days seem to spring from post-Talmudic thinking and application of the notion of "reduced joy." For some reason, the particulars (laundering, swimming etc) were chosen. The custom not to eat meat or drink wine (developing from selectively applying the practices in Bava Batra 60b )was also applied. During a seudat mitzvah, we are allowed (required or not has been discussed) to eat meat and drink wine so the level of heter has to be more persuasive than the level of the issur and yet this prohibitive-minhag at least is grounded in a specific type of activity discussed in the gemara. Why is the level of heter not then considered more powerful than the prohibitions we take on as minhagim beyond meat eating, ones which are not mentioned in the gemara?

If you say that the prohibition of meat/wine stems from the connection between them and terms for simcha (contraindicated in a time of sadness) then, not only does that ignore the Bava Batra logic of meat/wine=korban, but it opens up the door to logic and wordplay which would connect bathing, wearing clean bigdei chag or hair cutting to simcha as well [no, I don't have the actual words yet, but if I could be empowered to find the connection, I would, and I'd throw a rocking barber-party next week].

In summary, once a seudat mitzvah can push aside the talmudic not eating meat, why can't it push aside other seemingly arbitrary minhagim of "sadness."

  • please define: obviate Aug 6, 2012 at 15:39
  • 2
    from dictionary.com to anticipate and prevent or eliminate (difficulties, disadvantages, etc.) by effective measures; render unnecessary:
    – rosends
    Aug 6, 2012 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


A s'udas mitzva can put aside the other sad customs!

Well, no, the s'uda can't, perhaps, but that's because a s'uda has nothing to do with cutting hair or the like. But a mitzva can! Someone making a b'ris wears nice clothes even during the nine days (Rama 551:1) and possibly even shaves (MB :5). And we launder (Rama :3) or make clothes for a mitzva, the latter even (via a non-Jew) on 9 Av itself (MB :46, q.v.).

That's not to say everything is put aside for every mitzva, and consult your rabbi with any specific questions, but clearly meat and wine are not the only exemptions.

  • so then (before I grill my LOR) might I have a hava amina that I might be able to get gussied up for the siyum I'm having next week?
    – rosends
    Jul 20, 2012 at 16:49
  • @Dan, I think so! I'm guessing the answer is going to be "no, don't", but I definitely think it's a good hava amina.
    – msh210
    Jul 20, 2012 at 16:51
  • and since the meat issue is pushed aside for all attendees, would the same hava amina hold for everyone who shows up?
    – rosends
    Jul 20, 2012 at 17:07
  • @Dan, there I'd guess even more surely that the answer is going to be "no". (After all, only the parents, mohel, and sandek wear nice clothes for a b'ris (IIRC; I've closed the MB).) But I still think it's a hava amina.
    – msh210
    Jul 20, 2012 at 17:09
  • 2
    @Dan grill (groan)
    – Double AA
    Jul 20, 2012 at 17:39

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