Restrictions on Minor Fast Days

Besides eating and drinking, are there any additional restrictions on the minor holidays, such as bathing, shaving, or listening to music?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

By the letter of the law, the only restrictions on the minor fasts are eating and drinking. (The one exception is 17 Tammuz. Since that marks the start of the Three Weeks, one may not listen to music for that entire period beginning with the fast.)

However, there is room to be stringent in some areas. Some have the custom not to bathe at all on fast days; certainly not to go swimming for pleasure. (Sources: Mishna Berurah 550:6, Sha’ar HaTziyun 9; see also this response: Swimming on Fast Days.)

Likewise, it’s better not to cut one’s hair and shave on the minor fasts (Ruach Chaim (R' Ch. Palagi), 566:4 based on Talmud Rosh HaShanah 18b, see Turei Ehven there).

An exception to both of the above is when 10 Tevet falls on Friday, in which case it’s proper to shower and shave in honor of Shabbat (based on Mishna Berurah 550:6).

It’s also better not to listen to music during minor fast days, especially the 10th of Tevet which mourn the Temple’s destruction (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 122:1, Ehven Yisrael (R' Y.Y. Fisher), VII 28). (Note again that on 17 Tammuz one may not listen to music anyway since it is part of the Three Weeks.)

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