Chicken During the Nine Days

Question

Since refraining from meat the whole 9 days is a custom not mentioned in the gemara, isn’t it logical that chicken not be included (like fish), since whatever simcha there is in a meal was intended to be from wine and beef (or perhaps lamb)? And therefore does one really have to be strict regarding this custom with chicken also?

In addition, does this take into account that unlike in ancient times or even in the Middle Ages, today people eat beef much more often than on special occasions (and wine as well), so therefore it does not have the same important quality nowadays to make abstaining from meat as a minhag meaningful? Thanks.

, 2 years

Answers

  1. The custom not to eat meat during the Nine Days goes way back in time. Early Ashkenazic authorities rule that someone who ignores the custom and eats meat or drinks wine from Rosh Chodesh Av violates the prohibition of “Al Titosh Toras Imecha – Do not forsake the law of your mother (see Mordechai Tractate Ta’anis 639). The “Toras Imecha” refers to customs that we, the Jewish People, have accepted upon ourselves, even if our Sages never outright forbade them (see Tractate Brachos 36b). And observing these customs is Halachically obligatory.

    In addition, some Poskim rule that a person who eats meat or drinks wine during the Nine Days violates a Torah law, since Ashkenazim have accepted this custom as a vow (see Aruch Hashulchan 551:23).

    The custom to treat chicken in the same way as meat is Rabbinic in origin, and it should be treated with the utmost seriousness, as the Torah states in Devarim 17:11: “You shall not divert from the word they (the Rabbis) tell you, either right or left.”

    Best wishes from the AskTheRabbi.org Team