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Dry Cleaning Shop Open During the 9 Days

Dry Cleaning Shop Open During the 9 Days

Question:
Can a Jewish owned dry cleaner shop which serves mostly the local Jewish community and has some customers that are not Jewish keep open from Rosh Chodesh Av onwards?.Is he halachically obligated to shut during those days or is it simply praiseworthy to do so?

Many thanks

Answer:

Assuming he himself is not doing the cleaning, rather non Jewish workers do the actual work, he would be permitted to keep open his store during the nine days. The actual prohibition is during the actual week that Tisha Bav falls on, “shavua shechal bo”. This year when Tisha Bav is observed on Sunday, there is no “shavua shechal bo”. From Rosh Chodesh until “shavua shechal bo” Ashkenazim have the minhag to refrain from doing laundry, Sefardim are lenient during this time. One can provide laundry service [with non Jewish workers] for one who is lenient during this time, as it is not a universal custom.

For one who can close his shop without incurring significant loss, this would be commendable.

Sources:

See Mishna Brura 551:43 who is lenient for a Jew to do laundry for a non Jew until “shavua shechal bo”. This would hold true for others who are lenient during this period, and especially so when the actual laundry is done by non Jewish workers, see Elyah Rabba 551:8 who is lenient for a non Jew to clean clothes needed for Shabbos.

See Shearim Hametzuyanim Behalacha 122:10 who is lenient for a laundromat that services non Jews as well and will cause loss if closed, that one need not be concerned for maaris ayin. cf. Shevet Halevi Vol. 10 81:4.

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