Posted July 16, 2010
Whereas Yom Kippur is a day filled with familiar and meaningful prayers, Tisha
B’Av is often viewed as a day filled with kinot (liturgical elegiac poems or elegies) that
are difficult, if not impossible, to understand. This Tisha B’Av our experience will be
made more meaningful with the publication of The Koren Mesoret HaRav Kinot. The OU
Press has published a complete Tisha Bav Siddur filled with the explanations that Rabbi
Soloveitchik offered on the kinot as he would study them each year in the Maimonides
School in Brookline, MA.
Rabbi Menachem Genack, General editor of the OU Press and long-time student
of Rabbi Soloveitchik, describes the experience of listening to Rabbi Soloveitchik as he
recited kinot on Tisha B’Av. “The mesorah -the Jewish tradition-permeated his very
being, and simply by being in his presence and listening to him read the kinot one was
drawn into the mesorah of Jewish history.” As a student in Yeshiva College and then a
rabbinical student at RIETS, I too had the privilege to spend several Tisha B’Avs in
Brookline listening to Rabbi Soloveitchik explain the kinot. In a beit midrash filled with
great talmidei chachamim as well as simple Jews, the Rav made Tisha B’Av come alive.
Each person had the opportunity to learn from the Rav’s words and to be moved by the
combination of exuberance and pain that he exhibited as he read each kinah and took us
on a trip through Jewish history and Jewish emotions.
This year we all have the opportunity to take part in a small part of that
experience. May we all have a meaningful fast and an enlightening Tisha B’Av.
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