In an interview with Rabbi Dr. Eric Zimmer of Jerusalem, for an upcoming video on the channel, we asked him about interesting minhagim that he remembers from his years serving as the Rav of a small congregation of German Jews from the countryside of Hessen and other outlying communities. The Shul, Ahavath Torah eventually merged into what is today, Shaarei Hatikvah.
He recorded that the men in the shul that were careful not to shave at all during the “Three Weeks”, would nevertheless appear at the minchah service of Tisha B’av shaven! Shaven! On Tisha B’av, the day that has the most stringent laws of mourning…they shaved! When he asked the men why, they replied, “This is our minhog.”
When he later published a book he devoted a chapter to this. He found that Jews all over the world had different minhagim that echoed this minhag. Zimmer explained; “the women used to clean their homes, the men in North Africa would go to the mikvah, our members would trim their beards and shave. Why? The answer is that there is a tradition that on Tisha B’av Mashiach was born, and in honor of that tradition the day changed from avelus to geulah. ” His book HERE
On another note, as a child in our Yeshivah I was taught that on Shabbos Chazon we do not change into our Shabbos clothes. This point is flushed out in the commentaries to the Shulchan Aruch, including the Gr”A and the Aruch Hashulchan. For our purposes I relate the following anecdote.
A friend of mine in England once spent a summer in the small town of Liverpool as part of a SEED program (scholar in residence.) The small German-Jewish community there had a particular minhog they wore a suit that is neither a Shabbos nor a weekday suit but a Shabbos Chazon Suit. They had a suit that was reserved for that shabbos alone.
Here is to the lost synagogues of the small town German Jews, and their time-honored minhogim, and their dedication to it all.
Next year in Jerusalem, rebuilt. (See last years blog post on Shabbos Chazon here )