Swimming on Shiva Asser B’Tammuz?

Cute boy desparately holding for parents hand in a swimming class. Selective focus, polarizing filter

With this year’s fast of the 17th of Tammuz coinciding with one the hottest days of the year, the question on many people’s minds is: Can one swim on a fast day?

According to Aish.com:

Technically there is no prohibition with bathing on a fast day. However, there is room to be stringent and to lessen such pleasures on a fast, especially to swim for pleasure rather than exercise.

For the upcoming fast of 17 Tammuz, there is an additional potential reason to be strict. Since the Three Weeks are considered a time of harsh judgment in Heaven, we avoid dangerous activities. Thus, one should not swim in rough or deep water during this time.”

The website also notes that swimming for exercise leaves even more room for leniency.

However, regardless of the halachic aspect of swimming on a fast day, is this how we should be spending such a tragic day? Have we lost our capacity to mourn? What does it say about the state of Klal Yisrael that we would look for entertainment on one of the saddest days of year?

Our Father is shedding tears and we’re cooling off in a swimming pool. Maybe instead of looking outdoors for some fun we should instead spend the day looking inwards and making a cheshbon hanefesh.

Hey, it might even make the day seem quicker.

(Sources: Shulchan Aruch O.C. 550:2, Taz 1, Mishbetzot Zahav 1, Mishna Berurah 6, Teshuvot v’Hanhagot (R. Sternbuch) II 263.)



  1. Before passing judgement, there might be extenuating circumstances to allow swimming on Shiv’a Asar B’tammuz, or even in the nine days. As always, one should present a competent posek with their particular situation to get a ruling.

  2. the mishna brura siman 550 (6) writes thay a baal nefesh should be machmir on the four fasts besides sneakers like tisha baav..in 551 biur halacha on sif (2) suggest that shiv oser betamuz and asara beteves should be treated like the nine days.some claim that it is based on a misprint in the pri megadim neverthe less RAV Moshe Feinstein ZTL in “mesoras moshe” is quoted that is the minhag to treat it like the nine days


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