"May your ears hear what your ears are hearing"

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Location: Kochav Yaacov, Israel

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Tisha B'Av Additional Thoughts -- 5780

This year I noticed especially the very first Kina in the evening, right after Eicha...Z'chor Hashem Meh Haya Lanu.  From the forth verse to the end, it ascribes mida k'neged mida reasons for the woes mentioned in Eicha.  I may or may not have mentioned this particular instance before (of the common theme in both Navi and Kina that we are our own worst enemy), but this time something else struck me.

Ever since (at least) a cynical, non-religious Israeli friend in the US said to me that the real verse in the Torah was 'kesef, kesef tirdof', I have thought about how p'sukim and t'filot should read according to those who seem to have the worst problem with sinat chinam.  (And I admit these musings could be accused of being sinat chinam also; I prefer to think that they are useful in pointing out how being against people we don't like and blaming our problems on them doesn't match with the literal or moral words of Tanach and T'fila.)

One of the ones I focus on is blaming all our problems on non-religous Jews and non-Jews.  For example, in Musaf on Yom Tov, instead of 'because of our sins we were driven from our land', it should read 'because of the Babylonians and Romans we were driven from our land.'  Obviously it's all their fault...we were just innocent victims.

So when I was reading this Kina, I got the same idea.  "Slave rule over us/because of the Romans...Our skin has shriveled.../because of the Babylonians...Har Tzion is desolate/because of the goyim".  You get the idea.

If Hashem, the Nevi'im, and Chaza"l say we only have ourselves to blame, don't you think we should listen?


I just moved to a new home, in Alon Shvut.  Strange to be in a new town for two weeks and still not have set foot in the shul, but that's the time we live in.  Our street minyan sent the Alon Shvut minhag for which Kinot we would be saying this morning.  There was one there about the hitnatkut, but it was much different from the one we used in my old town, which upset me greatly.  This one was just four short verses bemoaning the lost places and praying for a return, without assigning blame and without calling it a churban.

I think if I had encountered this one first, I never would have noticed a problem.  But even though it is much milder, I still don't think it fits the pattern for the Kinot of the day, and if there are going to be modern tragedies mentioned in the Kinot there are far better candidates, as I said in my other post.  I skipped this one just like I skipped the other.


I haven't talked about Corona here yet, but there are many aspects of it and especially the way we handle it that reflect on sinat chinam, both in the secular Israeli political world (which should be learning from us) and in the religious world.  That's all I have time for now, but I hope to write more in the future.  Meanwhile we should all try to stay healthy, so we can make it to next year's Korban BBQ on Har HaBayit.