Sunday, August 06, 2006

Well, this is good for *next* year's Nine Days, anyway--What constitutes "not bathing for pleasure" in 98-degree weather?

I strongly recommend that you check out Elie's Nine Days approach here.

Here are a few things he had to say about what he does and/or doesn't do at during the Nine Days:

"6) Bathing: Not less frequently, but in lukewarm water, so the shower is solely about cleanliness and not about pleasure. This is one of my "soapbox" (pun intended!) issues. The thought that civilized human beings, in the heat of summer, go without bathing for a week makes me want to gag. If you're one of them, please don't tell me!"

To the best of my recollection, this is the first time in 29 years of marriage that my husband and I both took showers before eating our last meal preceding Tisha B'Av. Last week, I was taking showers not only every morning, but every night, as well. It was roughly 98 degrees Fahrenheit/36.67 Celsius for several days straight, last week. To make matters worse, New York City has been plagued with major power outages and brown-outs since the beginning of the Three Weeks--several entire neighbors of the city were actually without any power whatsoever for ten days straight! (Boy, is Con Ed ever going to get its duff sued!) So we've been trying to sleep with the air conditioner turned off. Elie, what constitutes "bathing for pleasure," under these circumstances?

"5) Laundry: When we had small kids, we did have to do quite a bit of laundry during the Nine Days, just to make it through. Now we try to avoid it for all outerwear, but do usually need to do a load of underwear/socks/pajamas somewhere in there... which seems to be permitted even according to (most of) those ubiquitous halacha sheets."

From the comments:

At 6:34 PM , Shira Salamone said...
Thanks for the information about laundry. We haven't yet adopted the practice of not doing laundry during the Nine Day because we do not wish to be offensively smelly during the hot weather. Frankly, this is the first time I've ever heard that there's any leeway either for washing the clothing of young children or for washing underwear. We might be able to live with a restriction that allows us to have clean underwear. I'm discussing this with my husband as I type.

At 9:54 PM , Elie said...
Shira: All the sources I've seen say that clothes worn next to the skin primarily to absorb sweat (e.g., undergarments, socks, etc.), are not restricted at all by the custom of not washing or wearing freshly washed clothes.

(Oops, I spoke too soon--Here's what the Orthodox Union has to say on the subject [see Nine Days link above]:

"It is the practice not to wear freshly laundered clothing during the Nine Days. Undergarments, for health reasons, are generally not included in this ruling. ")

Now, I've got about 11 months to work on the Punster. :)


Blogger Elie said...

Thanks for furthering this interesting discussion. I hadn't read the OU page straight through, so I'm glad to see it supports my position on laundry.

It's never too early to prepare for next year! Though I fervently hope that the Nine Days will be transformed to a period of joy by then, as prophesized...

PS: Shira, since I know from several past posts that you get a kick out of finding sources for lines found in the tefila or Jewish songs, check out my Vaeschanan quiz from Friday!

Mon Aug 07, 10:19:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Elie, the OU is a wonderful information source, all the more so for those of us with a limited Jewish education.

Thanks for the invitation! I've posted a comment to your quiz.

Daniel, I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned Ashrei in previous posts discussing davvening/praying, which might explain why your search picked up this blog. I recommend
this version of Ashrei--it's far from nusach, but it's a kick to listen to, so enjoy! While you're there, check out the rest of the website. (By the way, there's an earlier recording [with a different band and arrangement] of the same version of Ashrei in the "radio blog" on the home page.)

Tue Aug 08, 02:40:00 AM 2006  

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