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Packing Clothes During the Nine Days

Q. I am visiting my parents over the Nine Days. I have a very large family of my own. Do I have to schlep changes of clothing for my whole family for the entire Nine Days or can I rely in advance on the permit mentioned in a previous Halacha Yomis, namely, that if I run out of clean clothing I am allowed to clean my clothing up until the week in which Tisha B’Av falls?

A. There is a difference of opinion about this question among the great poskim of the past generation. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach, zt”l and Rav Elyashiv, zt”lboth were of the opinion that every family member should take a set of clean clothing which will last them the entire Nine Days, so that it will not be necessary to do any laundry during the Nine Days (cited by Nitei Gavriel, Bein HaMetzarim, 16:8). On the other hand Rav Moshe Feinstein, zt”l was lenient and ruled that the family only needs to take along what they would normally take on such a trip. If they run out of clean clothing, they can rely on the permit of one who does not have sufficient clothing to last him until the end of the Nine Days who is allowed to clean necessary clothing before the week in which Tisha B’Av falls (Sefer Chol HaMoed K’Hilchoso 85:23).

If one does not own enough changes of clothing to last the entire Nine Days, Rav Moshe, zt”l (Piskei Teshuvos 534:2, citing Kuntres Hilchos Chol HaMoed se’if 7) writes that it is pashut (obviously true) that he is not required to purchase new clothing before Rosh Chodesh Av even if he can easily afford it and that if he runs out of clean clothing during the Nine Days he can rely on the above permit.

This column comes from OU Kosher’s Halacha Yomis dedicated in memory of Rav Chaim Yisroel ben Reb Dov HaLevy Belsky, zt’l, Senior OU Kosher Halachic Consultant (1987-2016). Subscribers can also ask their own questions on Kashrus issues and send them to grossmany@ou.org. These questions and their answers may be selected to become one of the Q and A’s on OU Kosher Halacha Yomis.

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