Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Food for the Nine Days

Today is Rosh Chodesh Av, the first of the nine days of mourning that culminate in Tisha B'Av. There is a custom* not to eat meat during this period (except on Shabbat), so I've been posting recipes for easy meatless meals over at Kosherblog. They can be found here, here, here, and here.

Writing up these recipes, I realized how much DH and I have learned from each other about cooking. Before we started eating meals together, for example, he had never made anything with tofu and I had never cooked fish. Fortunately, we both had good training -- our mothers are excellent cooks, albeit with very different styles. Still, I feel that I have a way to go before I reach my full potential.

For better or for worse, however, that is not my top priority right now. Maybe I could learn something from DH's work ethic. . .

*Not, as the Wikipedia stub implies, a law. Someone should change that.


Mar Gavriel said...

Law vs. custom:

The boundary between these is quite sketchy, although there are some practices that clearly fall into one category or the other. The mourning practices of the 3 weeks / 9 days / shovua` she-Hol bô hardly fall into one category or the other.

It is true that מדינא דגמרא, it is forbidden to eat meat or drink wine on the afternoon of the 8th of Ov, but no earlier. How binding, then, is the practice of refraining earlier in the week?

Then, of course, there's the "no showering" thing. (As well as shaving/laundry.) The Gemoro seems to conclude that it applies only to shovua` she-Hol bô, but there is another opinion (was it Rebbi Mei'ir? I forget) recorded in the Gemoro, which says that one may not shower from the first day of Ov. Has Minhag Ashkenaz pasken'd according to the (apparently) losing voice in the Bavli?

elf said...

I didn't want to get into this in too much detail in my post (maily because I wanted to get back to work), but I think it's pretty clear that abstaining from meat and wine for the entire 9 days preceding Tisha B'Av is not halakhah. Other customs (such as not showering, cutting hair, or doing laundry) are mentioned in halakhic sources, but they are generally applied to the week of Tisha B'Av, not the entire Nine Days. (I would hesitate to classify them as halakhah on that basis, anyway; as you note, their status is ambiguous.)

I did not know about the opinion of R. Meir (if that is what it is). Someone posted a good teshuvah on showering last year, but I can't find it. Maybe it was Avraham Bronstein, on his old blog?

Mar Gavriel said...

The meat-and-wine thing (before the afternoon of the 8th) is based on the whole le-mishtê `amro (to weave wool, from shethi vo`êrev) vs. le-mishtê Hamro (to drink wine). It's clear that the original practice was to abstain from WOOL, not WINE (and meat). Have you read Prof. Sperber's article on the topic?

elf said...

Gosh, your humor is really obscure. Are you referring to an actual article, or is this pure silliness?