Volume 24 Number 81
                       Produced: Mon Aug 26  0:17:17 1996

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Did they Fast on Tish'ah Bi'av?
         [Mechy Frankel]
Joy on Rosh Hashana
         [David Riceman]
Joyous Rosh Hashana
         [Ira Robinson]
Respecting Minhag
         [Elozor Preil]
Text of Nachem
         [Elozor Preil]
Tisha B'Av as a Holiday
         [Yisrael Medad]
Tisha B'Av as Yom Tov
         [Rafi Stern]
Tisha Beav Cantillations on Shabbath
         [Russell Hendel]


From: Mechy Frankel <"FRANKEL@GD"@hq.dswa.mil>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 1996 16:03:42 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Did they Fast on Tish'ah Bi'av?

<...Someone told me that there was a time (or year) in Jewish history
when Tish'a B'Av was a Yom Tov.  This would have been after the
destruction of the First Beis HaMikdash.  Can anyone verify this, or
offer a source.  ...[I believe that there is a Gemara that in the future
Tish'a B'Av will become a Yom Tov, not that it was in the
past.... Mod.]>

1. The answer is not clear.  It is true that the Rambam (Perush
Hamishnayos) unequivocally believes that they did observe the fast even
during the second temple period (when the rebuilt temple might have been
expected to erase the aveilus associated with its previous destruction).
The Rambam's historical source is an inference from the third mishna in
maseches Rosh Hashana which counts Av as one of the six months for which
messengers were dispatched (to the dispersed communities of the Golah to
inform them of the jerusalem court's disposition of the new moon/rosh
chodesh decision so that month's holidays might be observed on their
correct day).  However, since the indisputable internal evidence (from
the latter part of this mishna) is that it was formulated after the
destruction of the second temple, there is still some room to question
its extrapolation to second temple time practices.

2.  On the other hand R. Shimshon b. Zemach Duran (Rashbetz, ch. 2,
siman 271) specifically disputes the Rambam's interpretation of the
mishna and declares that "harei sheloa safek biziman bayis sheni hayu
lisasone ulisimcha" ("beyond doubt in the time of the second temple they
were an occasion of joyous celebration"), i.e. according to Rashbetz,
Tish'ah Bi'av was clearly a yom tov during the second temple period and
people did not fast.  The ostensible rambam's interpretation he
dismisses as a "ta'us sofer".

3.  I don't recall whether anyone has yet mentioned that the source for
the original notion that Tish'ah Bi'av will one day become a yom tov is
the tanach, specifically Zecharya 7, where the prophet says that all the
fasts will be observed as joyous holidays.  (not distinguishing Tish'ah
Bi'Av from the rest - incidentally the source of another of rashbetz's
notions that in time of "shimad' all the fasts observed all of the
stringincies currently only associated with tisha biav, or yom kippur).
The prophet's statement was offered as part of a lengthy reply to a
question sent to the cohanim and nivi'im in Jerusalem from the jewish
communal leaders in babylon right after the time that the olei bavel had
re-established the second temple building. The communal leaders
specifically asked whether it was still appropriate to continue to
observe the tisha b'av mourning fast as they had been doing for at least
seventy years ("ha'avakeh bachodesh hachamishi hazeh ka'asher aseesi zeh
kamah shanim?").  Since Zecharya's pronouncement that the fasts will be
holidays, apparently in answer to a here and now practical question, it
would seem to me that the plain pishat is that he's telling them not to
fast any more during this second temple period. However, since he takes
a couple of pirakim to get around to this response, there is a certain
decoupling from the original babylonian query and many (e.g. the rambam)
have interpreted it as a far-future prophecy rather than immediate
practical pisak.

4.  In any event, there is no doubt that even according to the Rambam,
any Tish'ah Bi'av fasting that might have gone on during the second
temple time was only as a rishus (a voluntary, non-required act).  This
is in line with the gemara's pisak in Rosh Hashana 18 that fasts these
days are obligatory only during times of shimad
(destruction/persecution), during times of shalom there are no fasts at
all, and when there is neither shmad nor shalom, all fasting is
voluntary - with the exception of Tish'ah Bi'av which is obligatory on
all following the destruction of the second temple because of the
multitude of misfortunes being memorialized ("huchpilu bo hatzoros" -
there is also a definitional dispute between R. Chananel and Rashi as to
the interpretation of shimad and shalom. According to R. Chananel, the
definition of the time of shalom is when a bais mikdash is standing,
according to Rashi, it is a time of political
idependence...hmm?). However, since rishonic times poskim have basically
treated all the fasts as though they were obligatory.

5.  On a vaguely related historical note, it might be remembered that
during the Shabtai Zvi commotion, there were many who followed his (or
Nathan's) prescription to start celebrating Tish'ah Bi'av as a yom tov,
emblematic of the arrival of the new foretold messianic age now being
realized, and so they did for a while.

6.  For those who occasionally try to correspond with me, please note
the change in e-mail address. My agency, in a desperately late and
ultimately doomed lurch towards political correctness, has changed its
official name.  Though the old hq.dna.mil should still accept mail for
another 45 days.

Mechy Frankel                           W: (703) 325-1277                      
    <frankel@...>                H: (301) 593-3949


From: David Riceman <dr@...>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 11:12:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Joy on Rosh Hashana

  The torah may not mention it explicitly, but it is explicit in
neh. 8:9-12.  Socializing is also explicitly mentioned there.

david riceman


From: Ira Robinson <ROBINSO@...>
Date: Thu, 15 Aug 1996 14:25:40 +0000 (HELP)
Subject: Joyous Rosh Hashana

We have an explicit passage in scripture that Rosh Hashana should be a
joyous as well as a serious time.  I refer to the Book Of Nehemia (8,

....This day is holy to Hashem your God; mourn not nor weep...Go your
way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions to him for whom
nothing is prepared; for this day is holy...neither be grieved; for the
joy of Hashem is your strength.

On that basis I would like to wish you all a healthy and happy new year.

All the best,
Ira Robinson


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 01:17:37 -0400
Subject: Respecting Minhag

<< I can understand your feelings.  At our shul, our hashkama Minyan 
 reads the haphtorah with the regular trup while the regular minyan 
 reads it with the nigun of Aychah.

 But let me ask you...If you think that it is is inappropriate to lein
 the haphtorah to the nigun of Aychah, then what about the pasuk of
 "Aychah Esa levadi" in the 2nd Aliya of leining?  We lein that with the
 nigun of Aychah.  Should that be changed also?

I find it sad and somewhat distressing to see how easily my educated,
learned contemporaries are willing to discard time-honored minhagim.
Minhag is an essential component of Judaism - "Minhag Yisrael din hu"
(Jewish custom is law), or as the gemara says, "Ta chazi mai ama d'bar"
(Go see what people are actually doing, in order to determine the
halacha).  It is unfortunate that "minhag America" means ignoring
minhagim.  For example, how many shuls still say "yotzros" (additions to
chazoras hashatz on Yom Tov and special Shabbosos)?  How many people can
sing "Yetziv Pisgam" properly?

In my experience, the minhag of remembering Tisha B'av on Shabos Chazon
in L'cha Dodi (to the tune of Eli Tzion) in laining and in the haftorah
is universal (at least among Ashkenazim).  I believe we have no right to
discard or change it.

In addition to commemorating the Holocaust, let us honor the lives of
its victims by maintaing the minhagim by which they lived.


From: <EMPreil@...> (Elozor Preil)
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 01:18:13 -0400
Subject: Text of Nachem

<< The idea of 'Shomemah Meein Yoshev' does not necessarily mean no one is
 living there, but that we don't have the same Yerushalayim as we once
 did. >>

I feel the impact of the text of this beracha by envisioning the
"shikutz" (abomination) of the mosque presently occupying the Har
Habayis.  Until it is removed (and replaced by the Beis Hamikdash), the
beracha is unfortunately quite appropriate.


From: <isrmedia@...> (Yisrael Medad)
Date: Mon,  5 Aug 96 02:15:56 PDT
Subject: Tisha B'Av as a Holiday

Re: Lasson's posting in 25:75 -
it is not a Gemara but a Biblical verse:
Zechariah 8:19 -
the fast of the fourth, of the fifth and of the seventh and of
the tenth shall be for Yehudah joy and gladness, festivals and the truth and 
peace they shall love".
Yisrael Medad
E-mail: isrmedia


From: <iitpr@...> (Rafi Stern)
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 96 07:55:00 PDT
Subject: Re: Tisha B'Av as Yom Tov

Elliott Lasson asked in MJ v.24 No.75 regarding the status of Tisha B'Av
and whether it there had been a period when it was celebrated as a Yom

I recently read an article on this subject by Dr David Henshke (I
apologize if I mispronounce the name - it was written in unpointed
Ivrit) of the Talmudic Dept of Bar Ilan University. The article was
published in the weekly Parshat HaShavua sheet put out by Bar Ilan. This
article prompted me to research the subject further.

He points out that Rambam in his commentary to Mishna Rosh HaShana 1,3
states that in the time of Bayit Sheni everyone fasted on T B'Av. In the
past this reading of the Rambam was thought to be a mistake but the
original Ktav Yad of the Rambam also has this reading and therefore we
now know that this is indeed the opinion of Rambam.

This opinion of Rambam is in fact well supported. in Rosh HaShana 18b,
the Gemara states that the fasts are dependent on the political or
security situation. Rav Papa points out that T B'Av is not dependent
because "Huchpalu HaTzarot" - the bad events were doubled on it. This
either an alusion to the fact that both Bayit Rishon and Sheni were
destroyed on T B'Av, or that as a result of the Hurban which occurred on
this day all the other Tzarot were doubled. In a time of "Shalom" the
other fasts become Yom Tov (no Hespedim or Taanit - Rashi). The Rambam
in Hilchot Ta'anit holds that the fasts in Bayit Sheni were Minhag
(i.e. not obligatory) as they were dependent on how the Rabanim felt
about the situation.

A source for the abolition of the obligation for the fasts is Zecharia
7+8 where the people ask Zecharia whether the "Mitzvat HaNeviim" of
fasting on the fast days still holds after they have rebuilt the Bet
Mikdash. He answers that Hashem does not care whether they fast or not
because the fast days are designed to cater for the needs of people not
God. Hashem does not get any benefit from the fast, only the people who
are fasting do. He tells them to do as they see fit and gives a long
description of the events surrounding the Hurban and ends by saying that
_ultimately_ when we get to Yemot HaMashiach (my words, not his) the
fasts will become Yom Tov.

Apparently the people carried on fasting T B'Av but the other fasts were
decided upon each year depending on the situation. Why did they fast on
T B'Av in the time of Bayit Sheni?

Dr Henshke suggests that the reason for this was that the Hurban Rishon
established, so to speak, the posibility of Hurban. Before the Hurban
Rishon there were people who believed that Hurban HaBayit was an
impossibility. The Hurban showed that this was wrong and that just as
the Bayit Rishon was destoryed, so could the second. Therefore they
fasted, not in remembrance for the historical event but in order to
remember the message of the Hurban and to hopefully to avert the need
for a second one.

Rafi Stern
IITPR - The Israel Institute of Transportation Planning and Research
Tel:972-3-6873312   Fax:972-3-6872196
E-mail: <iitpr@...>


From: <rhendel@...> (Russell Hendel)
Date: Sun, 11 Aug 1996 18:19:47 -0400
Subject: Tisha Beav Cantillations on Shabbath

Recently Alan Rubin and Jeff Fischer have discussed using the
cantillations of Eychah on (1) The Haftarah of Chazon and (2) Eychah
esah levadi..a verse in Devarim.  I might also add (3) it is customary
to use these cantillations on certain verses in Megillath Esther (like
VeCalim Micalim Shonim).

I don't know any sources for the above (though I do them).

I just wanted to say that it is the custom in the Lubovitch minyonim
that I have lained in not to do any of the above.  The reason being that
we don't want to bring sadness (= Eychah cantillations) into Shabbath.
SImilarly we dont want to bring sadness to the happy holiday of PUrim.

Russell Hendel, PH.d. ASA
rhendel @ mcs. drexel . edu


End of Volume 24 Issue 81