Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President Emeritus
Tisha B’Av marks a day of commemoration of the sorrows that have befallen the Jewish people from Biblical times to the recent tragedies in Israel. In memory of Eyal Yifrach, Gil-Ad Shaar and Naftali Frenkel a”h, the Orthodox Union continues its yearly tradition with OU Executive Vice President, Emeritus Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb’s webcast from Jerusalem at www.ou.org/tishabav, to be followed by OU Senior Managing Director Rabbi Steven Weil’s presentation from Boca Raton Synagogue in Florida.
Tisha B’Av is observed this year from Monday evening, August 4 until nightfall on Tuesday, August 5.
The program is dedicated by Richard and Debra Parkoff in memory of Richard’s parents Avraham ben Yitzchak Hakohen, a”h and Rochel Bluma bat Yehoshua, a”h. Rabbi Weil’s Tisha B’Av webcast is co-sponsored by Boca Raton Synagogue and Young Israel of Deerfield Beach.
The live webcast by Rabbi Weinreb, on “Jeremiah’s Journey: Ruin, Resilience, Redemption,” will take place at 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Israel time from the OU Israel headquarters at the Seymour J. Abrams Jerusalem World Center. The recorded video will be available online at 9:30 a.m. EDT. This will be Rabbi Weinreb’s 26th annual Tisha B’Av presentation.Rabbi Steven Weil, OU Senior Managing Director
Rabbi Weil’s “The Poetry of the Pain: An Analysis of the Kinot,” will continue from 9:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. EDT more than 6,000 miles away in Florida. The recorded video will be available online at 4 p.m. EDT. The kinot are the elegies recited on Tisha B’Av.
The OU’s Tisha B’Av webcasts have become a ritual in Jewish communities around the globe, enabling those who are unable to attend synagogue that day because of work or family responsibilities – or those who must leave early – to observe Tisha B’Av with its full significance while attending to other responsibilities. The presentations focus on the kinot, providing a unique interpretation based on religious and secular sources.
Many synagogues screen the webcast for their congregations to watch.
Rabbi Weinreb explained, “My presentation will center upon the figure of the prophet Jeremiah, who witnessed the destruction of the First Temple and the subsequent exile. Jeremiah spoke of the ruin but also demonstrated resilience and foretold redemption. Those three themes (ruin, resilience and redemption) will be expounded upon by focusing on the words of Jeremiah in his Biblical book and in the Book of Eichah (Lamentations).
“We will especially focus on those kinot in which Jeremiah is a central figure. We will, as is traditional, eulogize individuals who passed away during the past year. This year, they will include Rav Ovadiah Yosef, zt”l; the three boys who were abducted and murdered; and the soldiers who have died in the defense of our land and people against our murderous enemies. It will be difficult this year to focus on tragedies of the historical past when we are currently in such painfully difficult times. But we will do so, reciting kinot on the experiences of Jews during the Inquisition in Spain; the decrees of 1648 and 1649 in Poland; and the Holocaust. We will be concluding with words of nechamah (consolation), along with prayers for peace and redemption.”
Rabbi Weinreb will again be joined by Rabbi Neil Winkler who will be chanting most the kinot, while Rabbi Weinreb delivers the commentary. He encourages viewers to use as their prayer book The Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot: The Complete Tisha B’Av Service, with profound commentary on the elegies by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchik and translation by Rabbi Weinreb.
Rabbi Weil will be analyzing and exploring themes of Eliezer Hakalir, one of the earliest and most prolific liturgical poets in Jewish history. “Tisha B’Av is a day of reflection, a day in which we specifically mourn what we no longer have as a nation – the Temple, the vibrant centers of Torah in Europe that are now names found in the Valley of Communities at Yad Vashem,” declared Rabbi Weil. “Tisha B’Av is a day from which we must learn and look forward.”