Monday, July 15, 2013

Heat Wave Suggestion: Mouthwash on Tisha Be’Av

The following is correct:

Mouthwash on Tisha Be’Av

The Question:
I know that many poskim hold that on tisha be’av one should not rinse ones mouth with water out of fear of perhaps swallowing the water? What about mouthwash in which no one swallows? Why should this be worse than washing dirty hands? Dirt is dirt whether its on your hands or mouth.
As you rightly note, there is a distinction between water, which a person might swallow, and mouthwash, which people are careful not to swallow anyway.
Therefore, under conditions of (severe) discomfort, it is permitted to use mouthwash. This should not be done without discomfort, because we prefer not to place anything in the mouth on Tisha Be’Av.

The following is a mistake:
You may wash your mouth with water only if not doing so would cause great distress. Mouthwash on Tisha B'Av is a no-no. (On other fast days, rinsing with water is permissible if not doing so would cause even a little discomfort). It is important to make sure that you do not swallow any water during rinsing and it is therefore recommended that you rinse while bending over.

In conclusion: Mouthwash that is not suitable for drinking is preferable. The great heat tomorrow is certainly reason enough to be lenient (preferably with mouthwash, and, in any event, with the proper precautions) on washing one's mouth to maintain a sense of hydration.


  1. Thank you for the mareh makom.

    I don't think he is talking about mouthwash, which is called in Hebrew מי פה, but rather is referring to משחה, toothpaste. The distinction is significant. Toothpaste is often flavored to have a pleasant taste; mouthwash is generally astringent.

  2. Something I don't understand:

    From the Kipa website:

    לצחצח שניים בתשעה באב לצורך

    תוכן השאלה:

    לרב שלום,

    בקיצור שולחן ערוך כתוב: "מי שדרכו לרחוץ פיו בשחרית, בתענית ציבור אין ראוי לעשות כן...ובמקום של צער יש להתיר שטיפת פה...רק שיזהר לכופף ראשו ופיו למטה שלא יגיעו מים לגרונו... ואפילו בט"ב יש להתיר כשיש צער גדול..."

    אני עובדת בחנות וביום הצום עלי לעבוד, התפקיד העיקרי שלי הוא שירות הלקוחות. האם מותר לי ע"פ ההלכה לצחצח את שיני? (אני חייבת לציין שאני אדם שללא מקלחת לא יוצא מהבית כך שהעינוי הוא עינוי גדול..).


    תוכן התשובה:


    שלום וברכה!

    ההלכה שציטטת מהקצש"ע היא נכונה.
    ואסור לשטוף את הפה בתענית ט´ באב.
    ורק אם יש צער גדול מאוד מאוד, אז יש להקל, ולשטוף את הפה, וצריך להזהר של יכנס לתוך הפה יותר משיעור רביעית, כלומר, 86 גרם,.

    את צריכה להחליט האם המניע לשטיפת הפה הוא צער גדול או צורך גדול. וההבדל בינהם: שכשיש צער גדול מותר, וכשיש צורך, ואין צער- אסור.

    The distinction between tza'ar, being muttar, vs. tzorech, being assur, is beyond me.

  3. On second thought, I think that he means that in this specific case, since the questioner is basing her query on her position in customer service - the inference being that she is washing her mouth out for the benefit of her customers, not her own discomfort - the rabbi responds that to prevent others from suffering from her bad breath is not a sufficient reason for leniency.

  4. i believe there's a machlokes M"B & Aruch Hashulchan if you can wash out your mouth when in discomfort on 9 B'Av. The M"B says you could (similar to the other fast days, but not on Yom Kippur), while the Aruch Hashulchan is strict on T"B as well as Y"K

  5. Without looking it up, that would still be sufficient to be lenient, since safek d'rabbanan l'kullah.

  6. I am assuming that by ישטוף את פיו, R. Melamed means rinsing your mouth with water. He permits it on Tisha B'Av to someone with great need. In his footnote, he quotes the Mishnah Berurah "and many acharonim" as his source.

  7. I do not understand why the words "heat wave" appear in the title of this blog. I have no medical training, but I cannot imagine how the tiny bit of wetness that one gets from washing the mouth as described, could possibly avert any of the ill effects of a heat wave, i.e., dehydration. - Akiva Miller

  8. I use a mouthwash for dry mouth called Biotene which was very helpful today.