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Kinnos: Cry, Contemplate, and Console


Tishah B’Av is a day of mourning — of happy mourning. Because our mourning shows we want Hashem, we miss Hashem, we’re connected to Hashem. And that is reason to rejoice. (Rav Shimshon Pincus ztz”l)

Wednesday, August 10, 2016


Photo: Shutterstock.

It’s the saddest night of the year. And whether you’re in the city, in camp, or in the mountains, you’re sitting on the floor and crying. Crying — for all the things you know to cry about, and for all the things you know you should be crying for but don’t know about. And you’re sad. 

The baal korei starts to read Eichah. That age-old haunting niggun’s sorrow is so thick you can almost squeeze out the tears in the tune. Still, hidden between the singsong sadness, you also hear an upward note, an uplifting melody. And you wonder, Why a glimmer of joy in this day of sadness? 

You wonder… until you think about the difference between a funeral and a wedding. A wedding throngs with people and everyone is smiling, dancing, and rejoicing so that — judging by outer facial appearances — you have no idea who’s a close relative and who’s just an acquaintance. Everyone’s wearing a smile and joining the crowd.

Photo: Shutterstock

But at a levayah, when you look at the faces, you know exactly who’s related. You see who is indifferently playing with their buttons, who is standing somberly and listening, and who is crying bitterly. At a funeral, you know who’s really connected and who is not. 

So too, throughout the year, when Klal Yisrael has happy Yamim Tovim, you don’t know who is truly “related” to Hashem, who really is connected to Him. Everyone is partying along. But only on Tishah B’Av do we see who really mourns and who doesn’t, who feels the loss and who remains oblivious — only then do we know who is truly connected to Hashem. 

Tishah B’Av is a day of mourning — of happy mourning. Because our mourning shows we want Hashem, we miss Hashem, we’re connected to Hashem. And that is reason to rejoice. (Rav Shimshon Pincus ztz”l) 

Come. Let’s open a Sefer Kinnos together. The kinnos are heart-stirring piyutim (extra prayers inserted into many different places in the davening, and recited on special occasions, including Yamim Tovim, fast days, and special Shabbosim) that express our pain and suffering — and teach us how to mourn, why to mourn, and how to earn the Geulah. 

Let’s sit down on the floor, and learn several kinnos together, so we can know how to mourn… and then truly rejoice.

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