Shopping for Clothes in the 9 Days

Ask the Rov: I will be visiting a diferent neighborhood during the Nine Days and I need a new suit, may I buy one?

By Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin – Rov of Anash in Petach Tikvah

Chazal tell us that when the month of Av enters, we decrease in joy due to our mourning over the Beis HaMikdash. Therefore, halacha delineates certain joyous activities that are prohibited during the beginning of Av until after Tisha b’Av.

Joyous purchases are forbidden. Examples include buying a vehicle, couch, furniture, curtains, or silver utensils. Simple dishes may be purchased as they don’t bring significant joy.

One should not even order these items in advance if they will arrive during the Nine Days. Some poskim hold that after the fact one needn’t postpone the delivery if a “kinyan” took place prior. If the item is only needed after the Nine Days — e.g. a washing machine — one can order it and stipulate that the complete acquisition should only take effect later.

Purchases for mitzva purposes — e.g. a sefertallis or tefillin — or for one’s livelihood — e.g. a car to drive work — are allowed. Likewise, utensils that are truly needed for the home may be purchased — e.g. to replace a broken refrigerator or air conditioner in the hot summer — or appliances needed in a case of illness, chas veshalom.

Throughout the entire three weeks, it is customary not to wear new clothing for the first time since it generates joy as indicated by the recital of shehecheyanu (although in practice we don’t usually say shehecheyanu on clothing on its own merit). This includes even Shabbos, as we still refrain from reciting shehecheyanu then. During the Nine Days, there is an added prohibition not to purchase new clothing, even items that are unquestionably not worthy of a shehecheyanu.

If a major sale will be missed or you are in a location for limited time where the item is available — e.g. a frum area where they sell frum clothing — the purchase is permitted, but it shouldn’t be used or worn until after Tisha b’Av. Clothing may be sown or purchased for a wedding, as this is considered a mitzva purpose.

If one needs non-leather shoes for Tisha b’Av and forgot to purchase them beforehand, they may be purchased during the Nine Days. Preferably, they should be worn once before Tisha b’Av.

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