Tisha B’av: Wearing Freshly Laundered Undergarments During the Week of Tisha B’av
This year, "Shabua She’Hal Bo"-the week of Tisha B’av, starts on Mosa’eh Shabbat and continue through the fast, which starts on Monday night. The Halacha prohibits wearing freshly laundered garments during the week of Tisha B’av. For example, if one picks up a suit from the cleaners, he cannot wear it to work that week. What can he do? He can wear it for an hour during the week before the fast, and that removes its status as freshly laundered. It may then be worn again during the week of Tisha B’av. There is no limit to the amount of garments one may prepare in this manner.
There is a discussion as to the status of clothing which absorbs sweat, such as undergarments and socks. The Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), as well as Hacham Bension (Or Lesion 3, p. 248) clearly held that these garments may not be worn freshly laundered. There is debate regarding what Hacham Ovadia’s opinion was. In Yehave Da’at (Vol. 1:9) he wrote a Teshuva on this and did not make a difference between undergarments and other clothes. Nevertheless, some say that he was lenient and held that these garments were not included in the original decree. His later work, Hazon Ovadia on the laws of Tisha B’av, can be understood in different ways.
Hacham Bitan (English Yalkut Yosef p. 207) went to Hacham Ovadia before he passed away and asked him directly what his opinion was regarding wearing freshly laundered undergarments and socks. He replied, "One should prepare underclothing to change into during the week of Tisha B’av, although there are Poskim who hold that it is not necessary." So it seems that his opinion was to be strict and prepare those clothes, as well.
SUMMARY One may not wear freshly laundered clothes, including undergarments and socks, during the week of Tisha B’av.