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During the nine days, people do not wear freshly laundered clothing as a sign of mourning for the destruction of the Temples. This applies to shirts, pants, coats etc (all examples of regular clothing), but not to underclothes1 (Laws of the Three Weeks, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen, page 85).

What are not mentioned in either group (unless I missed it) are clothes meant for exercise, for sweating in, such as basketball shorts or sweatpants. What is the status of clothes such as basketball shorts with regard to the laws of the nine days?

Does it make a difference if the clothes are being worn to exercise ("sweat") in, or if they're worn just for relaxation?


1 Rabbi Cohen does write (there) that some are מחמיר even on underclothes, but for the purposes of this question we'll assume that you don't have to.

  • How about socks? I hope they're included. Otherwise, I better bring loads of antifungal and deoderant sprays along with a giant bag of clothespins for my nose. – DanF Jul 29 '14 at 3:49
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    @DanF IIRC socks go with underclothes. – MTL Jul 29 '14 at 3:52
  • I can see a difference between undergarments which many ppl change daily while sweatpants are not – sam Jul 29 '14 at 10:24
  • Another perhaps related question is the classification of pajamas. – andrewmh20 Jul 29 '14 at 11:14
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    @andrew Pajamas are disussed there -- the go with underclothes, which some say need to prepare but most say not. – MTL Jul 29 '14 at 12:00
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The halachic category allowed to be worn laundered is beged ze'ah -- literally, "sweat clothes." Rabbi Cohen gave the example of undergarments, but a simple translation of the term would give you every indication that athletic clothing that gets truly sweaty would in fact be "sweat clothes."

To second user6591's comment above, I have also heard an oral tradition in the name of Rabbi Moshe Feinstein that a button-down shirt gets sufficiently sweaty by the end of the day (if you live in New York in July/August) to also qualify as beged zeah.

UPDATE: Mesoras Moshe quotes Rabbi Feinstein telling Rabbi Shimon Eider that if a businessman forgot to pre-wear shirts before the Nine Days, he may wear laundered (but not brand-new) shirts as necessary for meetings, "but it's not a nice thing." That's much less of a leniency than the oral shirts-are-sweatclothes argument. (I'm not doubting it, just noting it's not textually supported in this particular work.)

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