Travel on Tisha B’Av?

Dear Rabbi Simon,

We have a special family event coming up, and to celebrate, my brothers and their families are going to come to London (and we’re all going up North for a little holiday). We obviously wanted to avoid the Three Weeks and need to fit in with school holidays, etc. The outcome of all the planning is that my siblings are now planning to arrive on the 10th August, being Tisha B’Av. I do not wish to impose my level of observance on them. However, the consequence of their decision to fly on the 1oth is that I would need to collect them from the airport and drive up North on the same day. Consequently, the question that arises is whether, assuming they only arrived after midday, it would be acceptable for me to make the drive (and begin our holiday) on the afternoon of Tisha B’Av. Any thoughts would be gratefully received. All the best, Leon

Dear Leon,

IMO you can certainly meet your family and drive them up North on the afternoon of Tisha B’Av. It would be best, of course, if you were to be able to still daven Mincha (including Torah reading and Haftarah) before (or after) collecting them. The earliest mincha will probably be around 2:00pm. Not before 1:45 in any case. Hatzot (midday) is 1:05pm. It would be best to avoid leaving for the airport before that time, although that can also be allowed, if the timing requires it.

I would add that you should point out to your brothers in advance–without meaning to impose your religious scruples upon them–that since it is 9 Av you will not be able to offer them any refreshment during the journey. They can work out for themselves that, if they are thirsty, for example (following their flight) they may want to bring a drink with them from the plane/airport. To clarify, you are not necessarily required to prevent/discourage them from transgressing the fast. However, you should not offer them a drink, as do so positively facilitates their transgression. And if they ask you for a drink, it will put you in an uncomfortable position.

I hope this is helpful.

Kind regards

rrs