Hashem is Righteous

Eli Turkel summarized some thoughts from the 100 pages introduction to the sefer “The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways”, from the notes of R’ JB Soloveitchikzt”l. The format isn’t the usual for this blog, being more like his notes, but then, it wasn’t written for this blog either.


  • Many things are missing from the Tisha Ba’av tefila: Tachanun, Avinu Malkenu, Titkabel (in the morning), Neilah (unlike a taanit tzibur over rain)
  • We don’t sit on chairs only until noon unlike other dinei aveilut that apply the whole day. Nachem only in the afternoon.
  • A mourner is prohibited in all work while on Tisha Ba’av only work that disturbs ones concentration. One should cry on tisha ba’av but there is nothing equivalent for a mourner.
  • The kinot do not stress the absence of korbanot and other avodah in the Temple unlike musaf of Yom Kippur.
  • Moed” in the Eichah has nothing to do with happiness. How can Tisha Ba’av be considered a happy day.

Answer: The essence of Tisha Ba’av is “Sattom Tefillati” On Tisha Ba’av we mourn not the destruction of the Temple but rather the result that we are distant from Hashem. While between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur we are close to Hashem on Tisha Ba’av we are at the other extreme. Hence, it is not appropriate to add requests like Neilah, Tachanun, Avinu Malkenu or Titkabal. RYBS refused to say a request for a sick person on Tisha Ba’av. … [I]t is a day far away from approaching G-d with Teshuva. RYBS interpreted Moed in the original sense. Tisha Ba’av is an appointed time – for destruction and removal from this time. Thus we don’t say Tachanun because it is a holiday but rather because of our distance from Hashem.

We mention other tragedies like the Crusades since the essence is not the Temple but what can happen when G-d is distant.

A mourner is not required from the din to not sit on chairs. Hence the requirement on Tisha Ba’av is not because of aveilut which in fact would last the whole day and similarly for work. Rather we don’t sit on chairs because we are banned from Hashem and working would disturb are kinot. A mourner’s main obligation is “aveilut be-lev“. Inward and not crying. On Tisha Ba’av the mourning is not natural and so we force ourselves to cry. Similarly the 3 weeks build up to the highest level slowly as we learn intellectually about our distance from G-d. A mourner is emotional and begins with the worst and slowly acclimates to the world. Kinot and Eichah are central to Tisha Ba’av but not to a mourner because we must cause ourselves to feel the loss of the Temple while for a mourner it is natural.

After Mincha we begin Nechama. Paradoxically this occurs when the fire was set to the Temple. Hence we are comforted that G-d chose to destroy wood and stone rather than the nation. In the morning it was not clear what the punishment would be. [Emphasis mine. -mi] So the afternoon changes from stressing our distance from G-d to a more “normal” aveilut of other fast days though the 5 “iyunim” of a taanit tzibur continue but not sitting on the floor or titkabel and now we can say nachem.

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