3 Weeks / 9 Days – Home Purchase

We’re busy looking to buy a new home this summer. Is there any issue with closing a deal on the Three Weeks or Nine Days? What about moving in during that time?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

There are two distinct issues with purchasing a home during this period. One is the fact that we have a custom not to recite the she’hechiyanu blessing during the entire 3 Weeks. (She’hechiyanu literally means, “Who has kept us alive.” It is thanking the God who has kept us alive long enough to enjoy some happy event. The blessing is recited on reaching happy occasions (such as the major holidays), purchasing major new items, or partaking of the new season’s fruit. See this past response: http://www.aish.com/atr/Shehechiyanu-Blessing-on-Major-Purchase.html.)

The second issue with buying a new home is that we minimize “pleasurable” business activity during the Nine Days. Since the two issues have separate rules and apply to different time periods, I’ll discuss each one separately.

We generally recite the she’hechiyanu blessing on major purchases, and there is no more major a purchase than a new home. However, there is an important relevant distinction. If you purchase something which will benefit you alone, the appropriate blessing is she’hechiyanu. If the purchase benefits both you and others – which would be the case if you have a family moving in to your new home with you, a different blessing is recited – “ha’tov v’ha’maitiv” – blessing the One who is good and does good to others. Since the only restriction of the Three Weeks is the she’hechiyanu blessing – thanking God for helping us reach this time (which shouldn’t be said at such an inauspicious time), if you have a family, it is fine to purchase the new house up until the start of the 9 Days.

(Technically, one can even move in during that time, but it’s generally considered a bad omen to begin such a major new phase of life at so unfavorable a time. Certainly, however, if you have no other place to live, you can move in right away.)

Even if you are purchasing the house for yourself, warranting the blessing of she’hechiyanu, it might be possible to purchase the home during this period. There are two customs regarding when to recite she’hechiyanu. The preferred is to do so as soon as you make the purchase. Some, however, wait till when the item is actually delivered or put to use – or in your case, when you move into the home. If your custom is the latter, than you may purchase your house before the Nine Days, move in after, and make the blessing then.

Now if you have no specific custom you should really do the preferred practice of making the blessing at the time of the purchase. However, if you are concerned that if you don’t sign on the house sooner you’ll miss the deal entirely, you can follow the other custom for this time, purchasing now, and moving in and making the blessing after the 9 Days.

Beginning with the Nine Days, there is an additional issue with purchasing a new home, apart from the blessing. That is that we are supposed to minimize pleasurable business activities during this time. If you have a house to live in but are looking for a nicer or larger one, then you should avoid closing on a house in the 9 Days. If you have nowhere to live – such as if your current lease is about to expire, then it is fine to make the purchase. (If you have a family and will be blessing ha’tov v’ha’maitiv you can even move in.)

Finally, if you are afraid you will lose a good deal by not purchasing during this period, you may sign on the house as well, since delaying may cause a loss of money (thus, the matter is not just one of making a pleasurable purchase but of avoiding a loss).

(Sources: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 551:2; Mishna Berurah 551:12; Bet Aharon V'Yisroel 60:755 pp 155-7; Igrot Moshe O.C. III 80, E.H. IV 84:1; Ohr L'Tziyon III 25 [4].)

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