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Laws of the Three Weeks, Tishah B'Av and other Fasts

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The Three Weeks

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The Three Weeks, Tishah B'av and Other Fasts
(Laws of Daily Living series, Bistritzky Edition)
By Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen
ArtScroll Halachah Series - Mesorah
Publications, New York: 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4226-0907-1

Reviewed by Zev Harris - July 2, 2009

With the exception of Yom Kippur, the period of the three weeks is the most introspective and solemn periods in the Jewish year. Within the pages of Laws of Daily Living: The Three Weeks, Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen discusses not only the significance and meaning of this period, but also the myriad of halachic requirements (laws) associated with it.

This historic and comprehensive work begins with an introduction to the Three Weeks and the various fast days associated with this period, as well as an historical discussion on the events leading to the destruction of the second Beis HaMikdash (Holy Temple) and the ensuing galut (exile) of the Jewish people. The author also discusses how the destruction of the first Beis HaMikdash relates to that of the second. This informative and moving introduction is based upon the teaching of Rabbi Avigdor Miller zt'l, the author's learned grandfather. The text then proceeds to discuss, in order: Rabbi Cohen's writing is concise, and he writes with authority and with a clarity that makes even the hardest concepts, easily understandable. Rabbi Cohen has authored numerous books on Halachah, and this volume is the latest edition to his famed Laws of Daily Living series. You will find that The Three Weeks, Tishah B'av and Other Fasts is written with the same precision and clarity exhibited in all of his books. In addition, the text is well indexed, allowing readers to easily locate subjects that they are interested in studying.

The in-depth introduction, combined with Rabbi Cohen detailed coverage of the halachah associated with the period of the Three Weeks, makes this one of the most comprehensive halachic guides to this solemn period that is available in English. In all, it covers The Seventeenth of Tamuz, The Three Weeks, The Nine Days, Tishah B'Av, Tzom Gedaliah, and Asarah B'Teves. In addition, extensive notes are included, in Hebrew, are provided throughout. These notes will allow interested readers to persue the material discussed within this volume in greater depth, or with which to consult the original sources for the information provided.

This guide will enhance your observance and understanding of the Three Weeks and associated fasts, as well as their historic and religious significance. This volume is a must for every Jewish home and school, and it is a volume that you will consult for years to come.

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