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Tisha BeAv- The Prohibition of Laundering Clothes The Week of Tisha BeAv
We review today a Halacha that we discussed previously, that applies to the week of Tisha BeAv, which this year (2004/5764) falls out on a Sunday, Monday, and of course Tuesday which is the day of Tisha BeAv. The week begins on the Motzae Shabbat before Tisha BeAv. As was mentioned, it is forbidden to wear freshly laundered garments the week of Tisha BeAv, and it is forbidden to launder garments during the week of Tisha BeAv. This year, it means, that one may not wear and wash clothes from Saturday night through and including Tuesday.

A person should therefore, technically, switch his washing machine to OFF for these 3 days. The only exception is, if it is for infants and toddlers up to 3 years old. It would be permissible since their garments become soiled very easily. It is also permissible to wash their cloth diapers, (in the event one still uses cloth diapers). But aside for little children, it is forbidden to wash clothes. It is forbidden not only by a Jew, but even by a non-Jew. Meaning, the maid is also not allowed to do the laundry for that week. You have to tell them that. Maids may not wash clothes beginning the Motzae Shabbat before Tisha BeAv, until after Tisha BeAv

For that matter, Rav Chida discusses that aside from restricting Jews and non-Jews from washing clothes, one also must make sure not to allow anyone to collect clothes to be laundered. So, if you have the cleaners regularly pick-up clothes on Mondays, you then must tell them not to pick up this week for it is the week of Tisha BeAv and it is forbidden. You can send clothes to them the Friday before, however once the week of Tisha BeAv comes, beginning the Motzae Shabbat before Tisha BeAv through the day of Tisha BeAv, it is forbidden even to send garments to the cleaners. It is forbidden even if you are planning to wear the clothes after Tisha BeAv.

So again, this restriction of laundering applies to clothes in the house or out, that is being done by hand or by machine, and it applies whether it is by a Jew or non Jew.

Last but not least, there was one Halacha in this realm that we did not mention. The question was asked if it is permissible to take a shoe shine during the 9 days and during the week of Tisha BeAv. Chacham Ovadia Yoseph is lenient on both. He says it is permissible to shine one’s shoes. You can do it Lichvod Shabbat, and you can also do it in the few days before Tisha BeAv.

***It should be pointed out that these halachot apply when Tisha BeAv falls out Monday-Thursday and not Motsei Shabbat.