OU Press to Publish Rabbi Soloveitchik Service and Guide for Tisha B’Av

03 Jun 2010


This year, with the publication of The Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot by OU Press and Koren Publishers Jerusalem, the Jewish community is invited to experience Tisha B’Av with Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik (known as “the Rav”) as his students did for years. Tisha B’Av is doubly sad for these students. Not only is it the annual day of fasting and mourning for the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, it is also a day on which the absence of their venerated mentor is sorely felt.

For many years, Rabbi Soloveitchik would spend the better part of Tisha B’Av explaining the kinot, universally recited poems of mourning that describe the tragedies of destruction that have befallen the Jewish people throughout the millennia. These liturgical poems are written in difficult literary Hebrew full of biblical, Talmudic and midrashic allusions. With his keen insight into the historical and religious meanings of these kinot, Rabbi Soloveitchik brought the texts alive and showed their relevance to the contemporary Jew. His learning sessions added depth and substance to Tisha B’Av, enhancing the day’s observances and adding meaning to the mourning. Those who were fortunate enough to have spent the day mourning together with Rabbi Soloveitchik sadly miss that unique experience.

The Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot is designed to enhance the experience of users by giving them a taste of those glorious days with the Rav. The new edition contains a detailed commentary consisting of hundreds of insights distilled from tapes of the Rav’s all-day learning sessions, edited by Rabbi Simon Posner, Executive Editor of OU Press. It also includes an exquisite new English translation of the kinot by Rabbi Dr. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, Executive Vice President Emeritus of the OU, whose annual Tisha B’Av webcasts and DVDs are widely viewed in synagogues and homes. The edition contains the complete Tisha B’Av service, with prayer texts from the renowned Koren Siddur, accompanied by Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks’ acclaimed English translation. The complete service is complemented by synopses of the Rav’s lectures on the halakhic themes of Tisha B’Av and a section explaining the laws of the extended three-week mourning period prior to and including Tisha B’Av.

This book is the latest offering from OU Press, the publishing house of the Orthodox Union that recently published Unlocking the Torah Text on Vayikra by Rabbi Shmuel Goldin and The Royal Table: A Passover Haggadah by Rabbi Norman Lamm. Important future books include The Mind of the Mourner by Dr. Joel B. Wolowelsky, a study of the emotional and psychological aspects of Jewish mourning; and a new Siddur with a profound commentary based on the teachings of Rabbi Soloveitchik, accompanied by the eloquent translation of the prayers by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and the popular Koren layout.

Copies of the Kinot, which cost $27.95 each, are available at a discount through www.OUPress.org. Those who wish to place a bulk order (at a bulk-rate discounted price) can contact OU Press at OUPress@ou.org.