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Tisha B’Ab on Mosa’eh Shabbat – The Procedure for Habdala if One is Exempt from Fasting
When Tisha B’Ab falls on Shabbat, as it does this year (5772), its observance is delayed until Sunday. In such a case, pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting. Although normally Tisha B’Ab is treated with the same level of severity as Yom Kippur, such that pregnant and nursing women are required to fast, an exception is made when the observance of Tisha B’Ab is delayed from Shabbat to Sunday. In such a case, the fast is treated less stringently, and pregnant and nursing women are exempt from fasting.

However, there is a Halacha which forbids eating after Shabbat until the recitation of Habdala. Therefore, a pregnant or nursing woman who will not be fasting on Tisha B’Ab because it is observed on Sunday must recite Habdala before she eats. Habdala consists of the Beracha of "Boreh Peri Ha’gefen" over a cup of wine, followed by the Beracha of "Ha’mabdil," after which she drinks. The Beracha over the spices is not recited on Tisha B’Ab, and the Beracha over a candle is recited in the synagogue. And so when a pregnant or nursing woman recites Habdala on Tisha B’Ab which falls on Mosa’eh Shabbat, she recites only "Ha’gefen" and "Ha’mabdil." (If she is unable to be in the synagogue, she should also recite the Beracha over the candle.)

When should the woman recite Habdala in such a case? If, for example, she does not feel interested in eating until 10am Sunday morning, should she recite Habdala before she eats on Sunday, or should she recite it already on Mosa’eh Shabbat regardless of when she plans on eating?

Hacham Ovadia Yosef, in his Yaheve Da’at (3:40), ruled based on the comments of the Kenesset Ha’gedola (Rav Haim Banbenishti, Turkey, 1603-1673) that a woman in this case recites Habdala before she eats. If she does not eat until Sunday morning, then she recites Habdala before she eats on Sunday morning. This is also the position of Rav Yaakob Haim Sofer (Baghdad-Israel, 18701-1939), in his Kaf Ha’haim (556:9). Later, however, Hacham 0vadia retracted his ruling. After closely examining the comments of the Kenesset Ha’gedola, Hacham Ovadia determined that a pregnant or nursing woman in this case should recite Habdala when Shabbat ends on Saturday night. Since she is exempt from the fast, and is thus able to recite Habdala, there is no reason to delay this Misva, and she should thus recite Habdala already on Mosa’eh Shabbat and drink the wine, even if she is not planning on eating until Sunday morning.

Moreover, Hacham Ovadia ruled that the woman’s husband in this case may, if he so wishes, listen to her Habdala and fulfill his obligation through her recitation. He will then not have to recite Habdala on Sunday night after the fast, and may proceed to eat immediately when the fast ends without having to first recite Habdala.

Summary: When Tisha B’Ab falls on Shabbat and is thus delayed until Sunday, pregnant and nursing women are exempt from the fast. They must, however, recite Habdala before eating, and they should do so on Mosa’eh Shabbat even if they do not plan on eating until Sunday. The husband in such a case may fulfill his obligation by listening to his wife’s Habdala, and will then not have to recite Habdala on Sunday night after the fast.