Tisha B'Av

This chart summarizes the practices and prohibitions associated with Tisha B'Av, the date on the Jewish calendar which commemorates the destruction of the First and Second Temples (in 586 BCE and 69/70 CE, respectively). This chart was prepared by Sharon Schreiberg.

Day or Period


17th of Tammuz
  1. Pre-dawn to nightfall fast
  2. Torah reading for Shacharit and Mincha: Ex. 32:11-14 and 34:1-10
  3. If Shabbat, holiday delayed until next day to avoid fasting on Shabbat
3 Weeks, starting with 17th of Tammuz


  1. Public rejoicing (e.g., weddings) - before 1st of Av, weddings allowed by Sephardic law though usually not these days held to show solidarity with Ashkenazim
  2. Haircuts
  3. Shaving (some customs)
(9 days) Starting with Rosh Chodesh Av (1st of Av)

Bans (except for Shabbat):

  • Eating meat
  • Drinking wine
  • Doing laundry
  • Swimming for pleasure
During actual week of Tisha b'Av


  • Shaving (all customs)
  • More pleasurable activities (ban continues until afternoon of 10th of Av, when destruction of the Temple was complete)
Afternoon of Erev Tisha B'Av
  1. Eat and drink to sustain yourself through the 25 hour fast
  2. Afterwards, eat the final meal (Seudah Mafseket)
    1. Includes only 1 cooked food, usually a hard boiled egg which is a symbol of mourning
    2. Some eat a piece of bread dipped in ashes
    3. Sit on a low stool or on the ground

Tisha B'Av (9th of Av)
  1. 25 Hour fast
  2. If Shabbat, holiday delayed until next day to avoid fasting on Shabbat
  3. No wearing of leather, sexual relations, applying lotions, bathing
  4. Sit on ground or low stool for first half of day
  5. Some remove shoes in synagogue
  6. No greetings of friends and acquaintances, working, exercising, and pleasure walks
  7. Upon awakening, may wash hands only up to the knuckles and may use the residual moisture to wipe eyes clean
  8. Don't study Torah except for laws of mourning, Lamentations, or Job
  9. Aim of fasts and mourning is spiritual rebirth, not preoccupation with sadness
  10. End day with conviction that mourning will lead to the return of Israel and humankind to God
  11. Some change "deserted and desolate land" in prayer to "the land that WAS deserted and desolated", reflecting Israel's rebirth
  12. Ma'ariv:
    1. Sit on ground on low stool, dim lights
    2. Read Kinot
    3. Book of Lamentations (Eikhah, one of 5 megillot): chronicle of doom, destruction, and exile closes with a prayer for Israel's return to God and God to them
  13. Shacharit:
    1. Prayer spoken, not chanted
    2. Tefillin and tallit not worn, since tefillin is considered an adornment incompatible with mourning
    3. Torah Deut 4:25-40: Long established prosperity in Israel will lead to inner corruption and idolatry; this ignites Divine wrath, exile and destruction. Yet Jews will survive and small minorities in the far flung diaspora.
    4. Haftarah Jer 8:13-9:23: God sees destruction and exile as the only way to eventually redeem Israel; having left God and Torah, there is no integrity left in Jewish society. Yet the dispersed Jews will finally return to God and the Torah in Israel.
  14. In afternoon, may greet people and go to work
  15. Mincha:
    1. Now wear tefillin and tallit
    2. Torah reading: Ex. 32:11-14 and 34:1-10 in afternoon
    3. Haftarah reading: Is. 55:6-56:8 - God calls Israel to especially seek God at those moments most conducive, e.g., bleak fast days, when all seems hopeless, and happy holy days, when all evil is seen as transient and unreal.
    4. In Israel, restaurants, entertainment, etc. closed; food shops open in morning
Afternoon of 10th of Av May resume eating meat, drinking wine, bathing, and haircuts
Shabbat after Tisha B'Av
  1. Torah reading : Deut. 3:23-7:11 -- giving of Torah at Sinai;
  2. Haftarah reading: Is. 7 - Haftarah of comfort