Do We Wear Shabbos Clothing this Motzoei Shabbos?

By writer

This year’s kevius of Tisha B’Av falling out on a Shabbos, leads to some interesting shailos. In what follows we will touch upon one of them.

The halacha is that one may not don Shabbos clothes on Tisha B’Av, except for a Bris Milah (see Kitzur Shulchan Oruch Simon 124, 18 and 125, 8 for details). However, this year, we enter the fast on Motzoei Shabbos already garbed in our Shabbos clothes. Which leads us to the shaila: Should one change into weekday clothes before going to Maariv?

There seems to be two ways to look at it. On the one hand, based on the halacha mentioned above, one should indeed change one’s clothing. On the other hand, it is also Motzoei Shabbos and the minhag is to wear Shabbos clothing, so perhaps one should remain in Shabbos clothing.

Seemingly the first point should overweigh the second. For the minhag to wear Shabbos clothing on Motzoei Shabbos is because Motzoei Shabbos is a festive time, however when it falls out on Tisha B’Av it is not.

There aren’t many halachic sources on this issue, however in practice, most Jewish communities do indeed change their clothing. What is intriguing is the minhag Chabad – although not a recorded minhag – seems that most of anash do not change their clothing.

We decided to do some of our own research.

Rabbi Leibel Groner, the Rebbe’s mazkir, told that in such a kevius the Rebbe would always come to mairiv with Shabbos clothing. This was seconded by Rabbi Meir Harlig and Rabbi Michoel Seligsohn.

However, one could argue, that this may not serve as a conclusive proof since the Rebbe did not go home before mairiv and did not have the opportunity to change. The Rebbe was able to change into sneakers, as Reb Meir Harlig pointed out, since they were kept in his room in 770 for use when going to the Ohel.

Against that argument, Rabbi Groner pointed out that even in the later years when the Rebbe would stay an entire week at 770 and had the ability to change into weekday clothing, he did not.

Likewise, we have heard elder chossid Reb Mendel Aronov of Toronto quoted as saying that he does not recall chassidim changing on Motzoei Shabbos.

In practice, we have heard that Harav Yosef Heller, Rov and Rosh Kollel in Crown Heights, feels that the Rebbe’s conduct in this matter serves as a clear maaseh rav which should be relied upon. This conclusion is echoed in the various halachic guides posted online.

We would like to wish our readers an easy fast and may we merit to see Moshiach before this Tisha beAv!

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  1. On a similar note:
    It’s common/many places practice in the house of an avel -r”l- that motzoei shabbbos they change clothes before maariv. I was menachem avel the Rosh Yeshivah, Rabbi Piekarsky ZL on Motzoei Shabbos and did observe that he was wearing his Shabbos clothes.

  2. Rabbi Yaakov Goldstein writes

    The diary of Rav Leibel Groner documents the Rebbe’s reaction after being told by Rabbi Groner of the custom of some to change their Shabbos clothing. “The Rebbe was very surprised at this and asked me to show him where it states such a thing. I showed him in the Sefer Tishe Beav Shechal Beshabbos who brings that a number of Chassidic communities are accustomed to do so. The Rebbe responded that in Yakatrinslov no one did this and I do not understand this and why to delay Maariv for such a thing. Later the Rebbe said on Motzei Tisha Beav that this custom of delaying Maariv to go home and change Shabbos clothing is a wild custom that was the custom of Hungarian Jewry but not in Russia. The Rebbe added that the Rabbannim, and you included were never in Russia.”

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