The Lord is Righteous in All his Ways

Reflections on the Tishah be-Av Kinot

By Joseph B. Solovetichik

Edited by Jacob J. Schacter

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 369

ISBN: 978-0881259209

OU Press, Ktav Publishing House

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2023 edition HAS ARRIVED!

By Joseph B. Solovetichik

The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways is Rabbi Soloveitchik's answers to many questions relating to this most important day in the Jewish calendar. What is the role of Tishah be-Av at the beginning of the twenty-first century, close to two thousand years after the destruction of the second Temple? What is the halakhic character of Tishah be-Av? What themes in the Kinot (liturgical poetry) recited on that day resonate in modern times? How should the Jew respond to personal and national catastrophe? What is the relationship between the Holocaust and Tishah be-Av?

For more than a decade Rabbi Soloveitchik spent virtually the entire day of Tishah be-Av expounding upon its major themes and reading and closely analyzing the Kinot, drawing upon on a whole range of sources including the Bible, rabbinic literature (Talmud and Midrash), medieval halakhic and philosophical works, Hebrew poetry, and Jewish history. He would begin with a shiur or lecture on general issues relevant to Tishah be-Av for about an hour and, after a short break, would begin the recital of the Kinot. After reading a few words or phrases, he would stop and comment, sometimes for a moment or two and sometimes for a more extended period of time. Also, those assembled would regularly interrupt with questions and insights and Rabbi Soloveitchik would stop and address their points. This mixture of reciting and learning, the traditional plaintive sweet sing-song of the Kinot and the traditional robust sounds of Torah teaching, analyzing the words of Rabbi Elazar ha-Kalir and the concepts of the Maimonides, would continue for many hours. Very often this mixture of a religious and intellectual experience would last until the end of the day.

The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways presents a transcript of those presentations and unlocks entire areas of Jewish liturgy and Jewish thought that had previously been closed.