June 24, 2024
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The Connection Between Tisha B’Av and Yom Kippur

Although all the Tisha B’Av kinot are brutal, the 21st one comes to mind as one of the most notable and really exemplifies the theme of the fast day.

This kinah describes the death of the Aseret Harugei Malchut—the 10 gedolim who were murdered by the Romans. The previous kinot mostly spoke about the destruction of Yerushalayim and the Beit Hamikdash, and we are now shifting into more specific tragedies. These stories of tzadikim who died al kiddush Hashem are just as important. In fact, the Gemara in Rosh Hashanah says that “the death of tzadikim is comparable to the burning of the house of Hashem.”

In the Rav’s commentary on kinot, he notes that we mention the story of the Aseret Harugei Malchut twice a year: once on Yom Kippur as a piyut in the avoda, and once on Tisha B’Av in this kinah.

We recite a much longer version of this story on Yom Kippur because there it is a kapara. We start by listing the literal korbanot brought in the Beit Hamikdash, and then move on to the martyrdom of these rabbis because they also made an incredible sacrifice to benefit us. We receive atonement because they gave up their lives.

But the theme of Tisha B’Av is not atonement or forgiveness. It is mourning. On Tisha B’Av “it is incumbent on the Jewish people to recount all the major disasters that have befallen them.” And so, this kinah uses the same story but more condensed, only including the necessary tragic details.

The Rav says that “the murder of 10 of the sages of Israel is a greater catastrophe for the Jewish people than the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. The Beit Hamikdash was built of stones. It is true that the stones were endowed with kedusha, but a stone remains a stone. When they killed Rabbi Akiva, however, their goal was to uproot knesset Yisrael.” Today is not the time to talk about kapara, it is the time to focus on the worst parts. We must solemnly commemorate the loss of the greatest of our people.


Elazar Abrahams is an intern at The Jewish Link and the incoming student council president of Yeshiva University’s men’s campus.

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