Prayers for the Ninth of Av

Dear Friends:  The three weeks of mourning are coming and the 9th of Av.  For the 9th of Av, we read Eicha and we add a paragraph to the Mincha Amidah Bonay Yerushalayim that tugs at our heart-strings and puts us in a  mindset of a bygone era when Jerusalem lay in ruins and we were victimized.  Reb Zalman offers an alternative to this paragraph you will find below in Hebrew and English and he explains: 

“Jerusalem is not the tragic heap of rubble strewn with corpses described in the Nachem prayer of the Minchah Amidah of Tishah b’av. I also do not think that it is yet the time to recite the Hallel that would befit the Mashiach‘s birthday celebration.” 

He has found a middle place.  Stay open to the possibility of common ground.  Use this period as a time for inner work of repair and moving our world upward toward redemption, ken y’hi ratzon bimhera v’yameinu, amein.  Gabbai Seth Fishman, BLOG Editor.

Comfort, Yah our God, those who mourn Your sacred House; those who feel their own losses and the lost lives of their loved ones; those who live in Jerusalem, promised to be the City of Peace, the beginning of the total redemption. Although the Holy City is now in the hands of Israel, there is fear of violent attack in the hearts of her inhabitants. While other nations have yet to consent to her integrity, we Jews have yet to learn to live in peace with each other, with our neighbors and with other religions and peoples who claim their share in her.

Comfort us, Yah, Great God, awesome One, with that holy vision of the House of Prayer for all Peoples. Place into our hearts, feelings of respect and kinship of each people and creed for its counterpart. May we all become aware that we are Your creation and that Your Glory is exalted through diverse hymns which form harmonies to the Anthem of the Sabbath. May it be granted us that anyone entering the gates of the Holy City be fully comforted, doubly consoled!

We praise You Yah, Who, while consoling Zion, builds Jerusalem!  AMEN!

“I vividly remember the Ninth of Av after Jerusalem was reunited (5727/1967). I was at an Orthodox  synagogue.  The Rabbi was a friend and colleague.  After leading the congregation in the Ma’ariv / evening prayer, and after the reading of Eychah / Book of Lamentations, he announced he was now going home to celebrate with a festive dinner in honor of the shift that had taken place.

“I felt that there was something strong and somehow right in this. Having been in Jerusalem when the city was still divided, I, too, felt that there was a reason to rejoice.

“Since that time, I have again visited Jerusalem, the city which in Arabic is called Al Quds / the Holy One.  It is not the tragic heap of rubble strewn with corpses described in the Nachem prayer of the Minchah Amidah of Tishah b’av.

“It seemed so incongruous to recite that text which you can look up in any traditional Siddur.  I also did not think that it was yet the time to recite the Hallel that would befit the Mashiach‘s birthday celebration, so here is a version that seems right to me, and I invite you to share it with me on Tish’ah b’av.”


“The ‘Dirge for Auschwitz’ is the English version of a more extensive Hebrew one which was published in the Shoah issue of Tikkun Magazine (Vol 2, No 1) and then republished in Paradigm Shift.  It can be chanted to the melody of Eli Tziyon of the Tish’ah b’av evening service.”

8 Responses to “Prayers for the Ninth of Av”

  1. Shira Szabo Says:

    Thank you Reb Zalman, for your holy words of “Comfort…” . As I read them I felt as though they represented the wordless prayer I have held locked in my heart for some time. You have provided words of comfort that the entire world can hear and now recite!

  2. Larry Uman Says:

    Thank you for your prayer which captures the moment we are in.

  3. Cari Gardner Says:

    I am most struck that I read, here, what I continually speak of, ”we Jews have yet to learn to live in peace with each other “.
    It is my belief that when we, as Jews, actually model, for the rest of the world, how to get along with each other, everything will change.
    May we all be blessed with Chochmah and Chesed as we move through these next holy days.
    PS Thank you, Reb Zalman, for the Chochmah and Chesed of your leadership.
    We are all blessed to have access to your teachings.

  4. Annette Morris Says:

    I first learned of Reb Zalman through two friends who, without knowing one another or their intent, each decided I should have a gift of a book of Reb Zalman’s.

    I attended the Aleph Kallah in Albuquerque and the Age-ing to Sage-ing course, (I’ll be 70 in Oct.)

    His wisdom is what I seek and he has given it. Thank you Reb Zalman.

  5. Paulette Rochelle-Levy Says:

    Dear Reb Zalman,
    Like the fresh ocean breeze you bring such deep truth, voicing deep words from the center of my heart.
    Many Blessings.

  6. shulamit sofia Says:

    Reb Zalman, you are a comfort in and of yourself. Many blessings as you continue to contribute to compassionate, contemporary Judaism.

  7. Steve Krone Says:

    Reb Zalman, blessed is the knowledge of the old with the love of the new. I have heard that earlier in time one did not bathe in the month of Av before Tisha B’av for it was a luxury. Perhaps this is no longer a luxury, but if we remember it was for our ancestors, we move a little closer to understanding the changes through the ages. So these nine days I will stay out of the hot tub. And I will remember that this is a luxury for much of the world.

  8. Chaplain Gloria Krasno Says:

    So again we are in the shaddow of Tisha b’Av
    And re-reading your words brings me into focus.
    Focus for today and also the reminder of a remarkable teaching at
    The Fellowship Farm
    when Talia de Lionne danced the tragic message
    and we concluded , with pain released, into blessed ecstatic dance!

    Still dancing.
    Thank you, Reb Zalman

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