01 August 2005
Three Weeks - Yeah, Ashkenazim Invented It
The other shabbas, I was curious about this three week period and how come it shifts from three weeks, to nine days, to the week of, and finally Tisha b'Av. Interestingly enough, I found that the main source for the prohibitions of stuff is found on Ta'anis 29b in a double-set of beraisos wherein three different Tannaim opine their views on when the period of when we are both "נוהג אבל" and when there is an אסור לספר ולכבס: Rabbi Meir says from Rosh Hodesh until the fast, Rabbi Yehudah says all of the month, and Rabban Shim'on ben Gamaliel says only the week in which the fast occurs. The interesting thing about this is where did we get the whole three weeks, that is, the stuff before the first of Av?
The Rema says (OC 551:4) that we (Ashkenazim) are stringent from the beginning of the beginning of the month regarding laundering, but we are stringent from the seventeenth of Tammuz for haircuts. Okay, so now I know why I have this beard. Apparently in medieval Europe, we decided to be stringent on activities earlier than the ancient period that the Tannaim set for us to follow. What about music, though?
You can thank Mr. Magen Avraham for this one: He says (OC 551:10) it seems to him that it is forbidden to do various dances and such, without giving us any reasoning for his extension. In any event, there's probably some connection between dancing and music. Ah well, in any event, the first of the month is coming up, so we'll be in the *real* period to begin behaving like mourners.
Posted by Drew Kaplan