Megillah 5a-b:

אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא רבי נטע נטיעה בפורים ורחץ בקרונה של צפורי בשבעה עשר בתמוז ובקש לעקור תשעה באב ולא הודו לו אמר לפניו רבי אבא בר זבדא רבי לא כך היה מעשה אלא תשעה באב שחל להיות בשבת הוה ודחינוהו לאחר השבת ואמר רבי הואיל ונדחה ידחה ולא הודו חכמים קרי עליה (קהלת ד, ט) טובים השנים מן האחד

R’ Elazar said in the name of R’ Chanina: “Rebbe planted on Purim, bathed while wagons passed in Tzippori on Shivah Asar b’Tammuz, and sought to uproot Tishah b’Av, but they did not agree to him.” R’ Abba bar Zavda said to him, “My master, that’s not what happened. Rather, Tishah b’Av was a Shabbos, and they pushed it off to after Shabbos, and Rebbe said, ‘Since it’s being pushed off, let it be pushed off.’ But the Chachamim did not agree to him.” He applied to him the passuk (Koheles 4:9) “Two are better than one.”

What is Rebbe’s logic? Since Tishah b’Av isn’t being observed in its time, why bother having it at all? Is it so important that Tishah b’Av be held on that day, that if we mourn the Beis HaMikdash the following day, it doesn’t count? If so, why, indeed, do we not follow this practice?

Further, why does he only argue on Tishah b’Av? Several fast days can fall out on Shabbos - whenever Tishah b’Av falls out on Sunday, for instance, Shivah Asar b’Tammuz does, as well - and back then, when there was no fixed calendar, any fast day could. So why does he only argue on Tishah b’Av?

  • 1
    Do we know that Rebbe's position applies only to Tishah b'Av?
    – wfb
    Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 22:57
  • @wfb I’m assuming that from the fact that the Gemara only addresses Tishah b’Av and doesn’t say fasts in general. If you can demonstrate that this isn’t the case, please post it as a partial answer.
    – DonielF
    Commented Jul 1, 2018 at 22:58
  • Were the other fasts even observed back then? Maybe he just thought mourning 75% of years was sufficient. Why does it need to be once a year every year?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 12:06

3 Answers 3


1 - The Or Sameach תענית ה/ו writes that according to the Avodraham that fasting on Shabbos is only forbidden mi'd'oraisa if it's for the full 24 hours, there is an answer to your question, about the difference between Tisha b'av and other fasts.

All fast days are not pushed off from the Torah, only Tisha'h b'Av which is a 24 hour fast is pushed off min haTorah. Once it's pushed off min ha'Torah, there is a reason to say it should be totally canceled.

2 - [Based on what Tosfos 5b (ובקש) in the second answer writes about the first step of the gemorah, that they wanted to set up the fast on the 10th of Av.] We can suggest that Rebbe wanted to treat it as a regular fast day on the 10th, instead of as a נדחה pushed off fast that really should have been on the 9th.

That would mean that wanted to treat it more stringently than other fast days. Which would be easy to understand, since the Beis HaMikdash was still burning, and it is a more serious event than the other fasts.

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    According to Tosfos, what’s the difference between pushing it off to the tenth and making it actually on the tenth? What would be a nafka minah? Further, does that mean that Rebbe’s statement of הואיל ונדחה ידחה means not to annul it but to make it a usual Taanis Nidcheh?
    – DonielF
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 2:55
  • @DonielF - I need to fix up this second answer. 1 - Tosfos was talking about the first step of the Gemorah, I was applying it to the answer of the gemorah. 2 - The explanation of not treating it like a nidche, is not even hinted to in Tosfos. 3 - The difference if it is a nidche, would be that we are more lenient for people that are slightly ill or if someone makes a bris if he needs to make up the fast on another day. Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 4:05

Divrei Malkiel (3:26) suggests that Rebbe just wanted to push it off to some other day of the week because that year Sunday was an inconvenient day [perhaps because of the issues with fasting/preparing at the end of Shabbat? -AA] while the Sages insisted it be on Sunday 10 Av because that's the day when most of the Temple burned (cf. Taanit 29a).


I would like to offer my own novel explanation to this based on an idea which I have heard from Rav Shimshon Pincus ZTL.

Rav Pincus ZTL explains that when the 9th day of Av falls on shabbos, the reason why The mourning of Tiasha B'av is nidcheh, pushe off, is not only because we are forbidden to mourn on shabbos so we do it the next day instead, but for a much deeper reason.

There are quite few parellels between the Bais Hamikdash and Shabbos.

In the Sefer Nefesh Shimshon on Shabbos, (compiled posthumously from the teachings of Rav Shimshon Pinkus), there is a whole section enumerating the parallels between the holiness of Shabbos and the holiness of the Bais HaMikdash. There is not room here to list all of them but we can mention a few.

First of all he explains that the main purpose of the Mikdash is to bring forgiveness to those who sinned. The Mikdash was called LEVANON because SHEMALBIN AVONOTEI- HEN SHEL YISRAEL, it whitened (cleansed) the sins of Israel (Yoma 39:). There was never anyone in Jerusalem who had sins on him since the morning TAMID sacrifice brought forgiveness for sins they did at night and the late afternoon Korban Tamid sacrifice for sins done during the day. The Talmud says that Shabbat had the same capacity. “Anyone who says Vaychulu Hashamayim… (which we say in Kiddush) all his sins are forgiven” (Shabbos 119:). Anyone who realizes that Hashem is the one who created the world (as we state in Kiddush) and who runs it even today realizes that he can’t do anything against Hashem and he will not sin.

All the malachos – creative work that we are forbidden to do on Shabbat is learned from the work done in building the Mishkan.

Special clothing for Shabbos, like the special clothing of the Kohanim serving in the Mishkan / Bais Hamikdash.

In the Mikdash there were Lechem Hapanim, On Shabbos we hve special breads, challos, and we put specific emphasis on the bread by doubling them with lechm mishnah.

Shabbos has special songs. The Zemiros of Shabbos. Each day a specific psalm was sung in the Bais hamikdash. As added emphasis, the song for shabbos is the only one which the passuk itself prefaces with the opening words "Mizmor Shir L'Yom Hashabbos".

He even goes on to connect the special smells of Shabbos,with the smells of the Ketores i the bais hamikdash. See quote and story in this article.

Based on these points, Rav Pincus explained the idea that the building of the Bais Hamikdash was interrupted for shabbos. See Gemara Yevamos 6a. (He added that although the Gemara there gives an explanation of כולכם חייבין בכבודי, there is deep understanding to this idea).

He explains that the shabbos is somewhat of an alternative, (and somewhat higher) manifestation of the concept of Bais Hamikdash. Therefore, We interrupt it's construction for Shabbos.

With this idea he explains the postpoement of the mourning of the destruction of the Bais Hamikdash when tisha B'Av falls on shabbos. "When we have Shabbos, we have Bais Hamikdash", we therefore do not mourn it's dstruction on shabbos.

__ ____ ____

Based on this concept, IMHO, we can understand why Rebbe posited that "הואיל ונדחה ידחה" - The year which Tisha B'Av fell on shabbos "we had Bais Hamikdash on Tisha B'av", and thus there is no need to reeinstate mourning for the Bais Hamikdash anymore that year. (the Chachamim, who disagreed with Rebbe, opined that this concept is enough to postpone the mourning from shabbos, but not to do away with it completely.

This can also answer the (poster's second) question, why does [Rebbe] only argue on Tishah b’Av? Several fast days can fall out on Shabbos...?

If this writer's explanation is correct, it only applies to Tisha B'av but not to other fasts of which the reason for the postponement is only due to the prohibition of fasting on shabbos.

  • Why shouldn’t it apply to all of the Arba Tzomos?
    – DonielF
    Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 11:34
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    @DonielF Because only Tisha B'Av is directly connected with mourning the churban Bais Hamikdash, and thus the connection to not mourning the BH on shabbos is relevant. As opposed to the others which the reason for the postponement is only due to the prohibition of fasting on shabbos Commented Jul 2, 2018 at 12:05

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