Thursday, June 17, 2010

Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot

OU Press (where I work) and Koren Publishers Jerusalem just published a new edition of Tisha B'Av kinos (link), really a full Tisha B'Av guide, that has many incredible attributes (press release). This is the kind of tool that will transform your Tisha B'Av. Kinos will never be the same:

  • A commentary distilled from Rav Soloveitchik's own words. Rav Soloveitchik used to sit for hours on Tisha B'Av and explain the kinos. Recordings are available from a number of years. R. Jacob J. Schacter adapted the transcripts into essays on Tisha B'Av in The Lord is Righteous in All His Ways. R. Simon Posner adapted those transcripts into a running commentary on the text of the kinos that is usable in the synagogue. There are differences between the two books in presentation and some of the details. (I'm explaining this only because I've been asked many times what the difference is between the two books.)
  • A new English translation of the kinos by R. Tzvi Hersh Weinreb. R. Weinreb has been leading popular kinos sessions for years, many of them webcast around the world. He used his experience and formidable talent to translate the kinos from scratch.
  • Koren used its popular new siddur for the prayer services, accompanied by R. Jonathan Sacks' famous translation.
  • Koren's scholars researched the precise text of the kinos, using manuscripts, old versions and the Goldschmidt edition. They typeset it using Koren's siddur font rather than Tanakh font (I think they have technical names but I don't remember them right now), because it isn't Tanakh (I've been asked which font they used for kinos).
  • There are essays of notes from Rav Soloveitchik's shi'urim and a halakhah section (I wrote the first draft of the latter).
  • I should add that there are a number of great introductions. I just want to highlight R. Haskel Lookstein's introduction (the edition is dedicated in his honor), in which he summarizes a lecture by Rav Soloveitchik in 1968 about why we still need to observe Tisha B'Av after the Six Day War. It is available for download on the OU Press website: link.
Below is a video with some information about the kinos. No, it isn't exciting. But this is a text for Tisha B'Av so exciting isn't the right tone.

You can buy the kinos here: link.

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