An unusual siltation occurs with respect to Havdalah when the fast of Tisha B’Av is observed on Sunday, either because Tisha B’Av actually occurs on Sunday as in this year 5781 or it occurs on Shabbat but the fast is pushed off to Sunday. The reader may ask, “What is so unique to this situation, considering that there are others fasts during the year?” The answer is that this situation is conditional on both of the following factors:
- A full 24 hour fast.
- The fast is observed on Sunday.
For a daytime fast there is no issue making Havdalah after the Sabbath because one can drink the wine that night. However for a full 24 hour fast starting on Saturday night, one cannot drink the wine after Sabbath. This issue does not occur after Yom Kippur because with our current calendar Yom Kippur cannot occur on Sunday.
Based upon this situation there are changes to the Havdalah ceremony when Tisha B’Av is observes on Sunday. This article will first describe the regular Havdalah ceremony after Shabbat and explain the differences when Tisha B’Av occurs on Sunday.
Havdalah Structure after Shabbat (Shulchan Aruch 296:1)
The Havdalah ceremony performed after Shabbat consists of the following blessings over:
- Wine – to open the ceremony (ibid).
- Spices – to compensate for the loss of the additional soul (ibid 297:1 and Mishna Berurah 297:2).
- Candle – to commemorate Adam making a fire after Shabbat (ibid. 298:1).
- Blessing on week day – to separate Shabbat from a weekday (ibid. 296:1).
Havdalah Structure after Tisha B’Av – Accepted Practice
However this ceremony cannot be performed in this manner when Tisha B’Av is observed on Sunday as follows.
Since the fast starts on Saturday night, the wine cannot be consumed at this point. Rather the Havdalah ceremony is postponed to Sunday night when the wine may be consumed.
In principle one could have inhaled spices on Tisha B’Av without breaking the fast because use of spices is not equivalent to eating. In fact on Yom Kippur, one is permitted to inhale aromatic spices and this is not considered a violation of the fast (Mishna Berurah 612:18). However on Tisha B’Av we do not inhale spices because this pleasure is not in keeping with the mourning of this day (Shulchan Aruch 556:1 and Mishna Berurah 559:27).
We do not use spices on Sunday night as part of the Havdalah ceremony because these spices are only used on Saturday night to compensate for the loss of the additional soul (Shulchan Aruch 299:6). If one would make a blessing on the spices within this Havdalah ceremony, this blessing would represent an interruption between the blessing of the wine and its consumption. In a normal Havdalah ceremony the blessing on the spices and candle are integral to this ceremony and therefore do not constitute an interruption between the blessing on the wine and its consumption. However one may make a blessing on spices after the consumption of the wine, since the Havdalah ceremony is now complete.
The blessing on the candle is made after Shabbat, as in a regular Havdalah because this blessing is independent of the wine. The reason for this blessing is to commemorate that Hashem gave Adam the idea to discover fire by rubbing two stones together after Shabbat (Pesachim 54a). In addition the sages instituted this blessing because the Torah forbids making a fire on Shabbat (Exodus 35:3) and after Shabbat it is permitted (Aruch Hashulchan Orach Chaim 298:2).
Blessing on week day
The blessing on the week day is said on Sunday night as part of the Havdalah ceremony, even though work is permitted after Shabbat, to maintain consistency with the regular Havdalah (i.e. the blessing on the wine and week day are grouped come together).
Havdalah Structure after Tisha B’Av – Dissenting Views
The above discussion follows our current practice based on Shulchan Aruch 556:1. However there are dissenting views on each of the components of the Havdalah ceremony, based upon Talmudic and halachic commentaries, when the fast is observed on Sunday. The following paragraphs provide the dissenting views and their reasons.
The Rosh on Taanit Section 40 quotes a view that there is no Havdalah ceremony when Tisha B’Av is observed on Sunday. Since the wine may not be consumed until Sunday night, the entire Havdalah ceremony is waived including the blessing on the week day. According to this view Havdalah after Shabbat may only be said on Saturday night or Sunday during the day time but not later.
The halachic commentator Hagahot Maimuniot (rabbinical scholar at the end of the 13th century in Germany) writes at the end of Maimonides Laws of Fast (customs of Tisha B’Av) that the blessing over spices should be said after Shabbat, since the minimal pleasure of inhaling the spices on Tisha B’Av would not override the need to compensate for loss of the additional soul at the end of Shabbat.
The Meiri on Taanit 30b rules that the blessing on the candle must part of the Havdalah ceremony and cannot be said independently. Since the ceremony is moved to Sunday night, due to the fast, the blessing on the candle cannot be said on this Saturday night. In turn the blessing on the candle cannot be said on Sunday night because Adam discovered fire on Saturday night and therefore the blessing must be said this night. Hence according to the Meiri, the blessing on the candle cannot be said at all when the fast is observed on Saturday night.
Blessing on week day
According to the Rosh (ibid.) there is no blessing on the week day in this situation because the entire Havdalah ceremony is waived, as explained above.
Despite these dissenting views the established practice of the Havdalah ceremony after Tisha B’Av is modified as follows:
- Wine – after Tisha B’Av.
- Spices – not at all.
- Candle – after Shabbat.
- Blessing on week day – after Tisha B’Av.