Friday, July 16, 2010

Eating Shuwarmah During The "Nine Days" Oy! Geeeeevaaaaald!!!

I try to plan and shop for food as well as I can. Otherwise, I end up eating out, which does not just affect my health, but my wallet, too. After all, I gotta eat, right?

A couple of days ago was one of those food outtings. On a break from work, I went to my favorite Yemenite-owned, shuwarmah places (no Arab employees, by the way). and ordered a shuwarmah b'laffah. I was surprised when “Moti” the owner gave me a puzzled look, and asked if I was Sefardi. I looked at him funny, and said, “Um, Why?”

“It's the 'Nine Days,'” he replied.

“The Ramba”m doesn't even mention the 'Nine Days.' We actually talked about this last year.”

Moti smiled, and then started preparing my shuwarmah, making sure I wanted my “usual” stuff in it.

The religous lady standing next to me chimed in. “Oy. My husband drives me crazy with this stuff!”

Moti and I chuckled.

While preparing my shuwarmah, he and I and the other owner "David," bantered on about the relatively new “invention” of the “Three Weeks,” and other such things.

Moti lifted his arms into the air and made a face, as if to say, “Where do they come up with these things?!”

I gave him my trademark “Diasporah Mentality” response.

Then after paying, Moti left me with an expression I had never heard:

“Ashkenzim have the custom to... Sefardim are strict [on the halacha]... And Yemenites do not have the custom to...”

Obviously, Yememites have do customs regarding certain practices. So, what was he talking about?

The jist of it was that, in Moti's opinion, Yemenites just stick with the halacha, and do not go out of their way to find new ways to make things difficult for themselves.

So, the next you someone eating meat during the “Nine Days,” or who just cut his hair to look good for Shabbath, don't jump to any conclusions.

Not everyone has the same customs as you.

Furthermore, one needs to ask oneself, “Why is there such diversity of customs amongst Jews in Eretz Yisra'el anyway?”

But, that's another blog post at another time.

Shabbath Shalom and have an easy fast!


Notes from the Ramba"m can be found below in the comments section, with thanks to fellow blogger HaMekubal.


Rabbi Michael Tzadok said...

Actually the Rambam does speak about it.
Halachot Ta'anit 5:6
העיד שיש מקומות שנהגו לבטל השחיטה מראש חודש עד התענית ומסתמא כוונתו שכבר מראש חודש נהגו בכמה מקומות לא לאכול בשר מראש חודש עד ט' באב.

I could give you a full Ma'areh Mekomot if you would like as to the origin of the custom all the way back to the gemmarra. However in the meantime Minhag Yerushalayim has been, at least from the time of the Hida to refrain from eating meat or drinking wine for the nine days excluding Rosh Hodesh(Moreh B'Etzbah 8:233).

So while some communities may not have a custom to do so, I would not call it a "new invention" by any stretch of the word. As far as practice here in Eretz Yisrael it would seem that minhag HaMakom would be in effect which was as the Hida(metioned above) and Rav Haim Vital records in Shaar HaKavvanot(89c) was to observe the restriction for at least the nine days, and quite possibly the three weeks, excluding Rosh Hodesh.

Devorah Chayah said...

It reminds me of a time when a kindly makolet owner came running up to me at Pesach time to gently inform me that I should not be buying rice and peas. I nicely told her that I observe Sephardi minhagim and then it was ok. She had assumed from my outward appearance that I am Ashkenazi while in actuality, I was born in Eretz Yisrael. At first it annoyed me, but then I remembered that this would likely not happen anywhere but Israel where the Jews really feel and treat each other like family. That's kind of nice.

Esser Agaroth said...

Yes. That's true. I shouldhave been more clear.

The custom of the Nine Days is technically alluded to in the Gemara which the Ramba"m states here: משייכנס אב, ממעטין בשמחה.

He who enters Av, [does so with] lessening happines. we enter Av at Rosh Hodesh (duh), thus 9 days.

Yes, he also mentions I am sure I do not have to tell you what the Ramba"m means when he says, ויש מקומות שנהגו לבטל השחיטה מראש החודש, עד התענית.

It means that his community did not [necessarily]. We must ask ourselves why he found it necessary to say, ולא יאכל בשר ולא ישתה יין, בסעודה המפסיק בה

...if he already said that Yisrael already took upon itself the minhag not to eat meat during that we anyway....

Minhagei Eretz Yisrael, including nuasch tefillah, were still in practice 1,000 yrs. These precede what people like to call minhagei Yerushalayim,...which were enforce quite recently in comparison (ie. Hid"a, Talmidei HaGr"a, etc.).

Why does the Hid"a's authority supercede the minhagim which preceded him?

Esser Agaroth said...

P. S. there are Teimanim with the custom of refraining from meat only at the se'udath hamafseqeth. I do not recall which group, like the particular statement of the Ramba"m's I mentioned above.

P. P. S. Thanks for taking the time to write your comments.

Rabbi Michael Tzadok said...


No problem. Great post by the way, and quite a good treatment of the difficulties and possibilities of the meaning of this particular Rambam.

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