Questions for the Nine Days

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Dear Rabbi Simon
I have a question about the first 9 days of the month of Av, leading to the fast of Tisha B’Av. Is one allowed to clip his nails during this time?
Kind regards

Dear Avi
Yes, you may.
To explain: In general, there are grounds to be stringent during the week in which Tisha B’Av falls, however this year, since 9 Av is on Shabbat itself, and the fast is displaced to Sunday, one may clip his nails any day, including erev Shabbat. (Just not on Shabbat or Sunday, of course.)
For the sake of completeness: A woman who is preparing to immerse in the mikveh may clip her nails in any case (as this is for a mitzvah purpose), even on erev Tisha B’Av when the Fast occurs during the week.
Best wishes
Rabbi Rashi Simon

Dear Rabbi Simon,
Can I see an outdoor performance of Shakespeare during the 9 Days?
Many thanks,

Dear Jake
Thank you for your interesting question.
Although Shakespeare is not necessarily associated with levity or comedy per se, his plays are a form of entertainment which is not appropriate for the Nine Days. Particularly as a live outdoor performance is a special occasion (as opposed to viewing a movie which is pre-recorded and easily accessible nowadays at any time), this represents the kind of discretionary, immersive recreational event which distracts from the mourning as prescribed for these days of the year.
So I am sorry I cannot recommend it.
בצפייה לישועה
Rabbi Rashi Simon

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Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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