Friday, October 17, 2008

More Orthodox Jewish laws

I find all this stuff fascinating, from the outside. It seems quite obsessive and extreme to me. At times the anachronisms, inherent in applying ancient laws to modern times, crack me right up. I acknowledge these laws are very important to observant Jews and I don't want to seem to be making fun of them. It is only my ignorance that makes it seem funny. Yet, I invite you to share my simple ignorant amusement. If you would like to read the full article, it is here.

Laws pertaining to the “Three Weeks” period of mourning commemorating the tragedies that befell Klal Yisrael throughout history, commences on the 17th of Tammuz. (20th July)

• Fresh towels may be used during the entire 9 days. A fresh tablecloth may only be used on Shabbos. Major home improvements should not be done.

• Sneakers, etc. should be brought to Shul on Friday, before Shabbos. No classic Seudah Hamafseskes is partaken of, and Seudah Shlishis may consist of meat, wine and any cooked dishes one has prepared before Shabbos. As usual though, one may eat only until sunset (5:40 PM), so minchah (4:00 PM) is davened at an earlier time. Birchas Hamazon may be recited b’zimun (3 or more men).

• Maariv: The Chazzan recites “Baruch Hamavdil” and puts on his sneakers before Borchu. All others change their shoes after “Borchu” People joining the minyan after Maariv for Eicha, should recite baruch hamavdil bein kodesh l’chol at home and then change their footwear. If one necessarily touches one’s shoes in this exchange, one should recite Baruch hamavdil, change shoes, and wash one’s hands up to one’s knuckles, before Maariv starts.

• Sitting: If possible (excluding people with back problems), one should not sit higher than 12 inches above the ground until chatzos, Halachic mid-day, which this year is on Sunday at 12:26 PM. One’s manner of sleep should be altered on Tisha B’Av night (using fewer pillows, etc) to manifest the discomfort felt over the loss of the Bais Hamikdosh.

• Sunbathing is forbidden.

• The Tallis Katan (tzitzis) is put on in the morning with a Brachah. One should not kiss the tzitzis during the Sh’ma.

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