Many laws apply during the Three Weeks which culminate on Tisha B'Av. In his class, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto addressed and expanded on a number of Jewish legal issues • Today: Is it permissible to get married during these days?
Some have a stringency to not even get engaged during these days.
The custom is not to celebrate weddings from the seventeenth day of Tammuz until after Tisha B'av. Some have the stringency not to even get engaged during these days.
The Gemara (Taanit 12) writes about fasting during times of drought: if a number of fasts were held and rain didn’t fall, we decrease business transactions, construction, planting, engagements and marriage.
Another Gemara (Taanit 14) clarifies that this refers to construction and planting for joyous purposes, such as when one is building a wedding canopy for his son and planting a garden for pleasure, as kings have.
The Ran writes on the Rif ibid. (page 5) in the name of Rav Hai Gaon that we see that building, planting, engagements and marriages are compared to business transactions. Just as business transactions that one doesn’t have to do are forbidden because they bring one happiness, in the same way building, planting, engagements and weddings that are not mandated by Jewish law are forbidden because they bring one happiness. But one who is not married and doesn’t have children and is obligated to get married by Jewish law, it is certainly a mitzvah to build a wedding canopy for him even though it brings happiness.
The Meiri (Ta'anit ibid.) says in the name of Spanish Gaonim, and this is also the Rambam’s ruling (Laws of Ta'anit 3:8): if God did not send rain after all these fasts, we decrease business transactions and construction that bring happiness, and also decrease engagements and weddings, unless a person had not yet fulfilled the commandment to have children.
The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch also rule (575:7) that seemingly one should learn out from this the statement in Ta’anit 20 that when the month of Av comes, one decreases his joy, even the joy of an engagement and wedding, although they did not prohibit it in the case of one who has not fulfilled his obligation to marry and have children. Tosefta Megillah 5 mentions that the fasting for a drought is more stringent than Tisha b’Av, when we do celebrate engagements.
The Beit Yosef (551) writes expressly that the Ran’s words quoting Rav Hai Gaon is the accepted law. We are lenient concerning weddings from the beginning of the month of Av until the fast of Tisha b’Av for those who have not fulfilled the commandment to have children. The reason why the custom is not to hold weddings even for one who doesn’t have a wife and children is because it is not an auspicious time to begin a new endeavor.
It is clear from his words that even after Rosh Chodesh Av it is permissible for someone who has not fulfilled the commandment of having children to take a wife, only that this is not done because it is not an auspicious time to begin a new endeavor. The Shulchan Aruch (551:2) states that from Rosh Chodesh until the fast, we do not get married and do not have an engagement party. This implies that one may marry a woman before Rosh Chodesh Av.
However, Sefer haMe'orot (Ta'anit page 310) writes that one should be stringent not to get married from the seventeenth day of Tammuz. The Rema similarly ruled in his annotation that the custom is to be stringent not to marry from the 17th of Tammuz until Tisha b’Av. The Yaavetz in his Amudei Shamayim prayer book (Vol. 2 page 68) similarly states that the reason for this is because it is not an auspicious time to begin a new endeavor.
The custom of the Sephardim in Jerusalem was to allow weddings
Pri Adama writes (Vol. 4 page 8) that the custom of the Sephardim in Jerusalem was to allow weddings until Rosh Chodesh Av. Chazon Ovadia on the Four Fasts (page 140) confirms it and mentions that only Ashkenazi Jews were stringent in not allowing weddings from the seventeenth of Tammuz. However, we find that several Spanish rabbinical judges were stringent about this too, and the Shayerei Knesset HaGedolah (annotation 9 at the end of chapter 551) mentions the Rema’s words and wrote that the custom in his place was not even to celebrate engagements or make matches during the days from the seventeenth of Tammuz to the ninth of Av.
Rabbi Chaim Palaji wrote in Moed Lakol Chai (9:26) that even a widower who did not fulfill the commandment of having children should avoid marrying during the Three Weeks or remarrying his ex-wife. Even though it is not forbidden to do so, he should avoid it because it is not an auspicious time to begin a new endeavor and he should be hesitant to do so. He also wrote this in his book Responsa Lev Chaim (Vol. 2 #26) and explained that the Jews of Izmir were particular about this.
The Ben Ish Chai (Devarim 301:1) wrote that even though Jewish law does not prohibit marriage except from the beginning of the month of Av until the ninth of Av, the custom in Baghdad was nevertheless to hold off weddings from the seventeenth of Tammuz.
The Brit Kehuna (Ma’arechet 2 #13) writes that the Jews of Djerba were stringent about this custom, and the Aleppo Jews followed the Rema and didn’t celebrate weddings throughout the entire Three Weeks.
It is proper and fitting that our community, the holy Shuva Israel community, should follow the words of our holy righteous sages, the Rema and our teacher the Ben Ish Chai, to be a holy congregation. One who listens to their words will dwell securely.
This article was written in cooperation with Shuva Israel