​Rabbi Menachem Genack

Avelus and Nechama

It would seem Shabbas Nachamu and the Nechama that follows right after shabbas Chazon and Tisha B’Av is because within this week falls Tu B’Av, “for there were no better days for Yisroel like Yom Kippur and Tu B’Av “ (Taanit 26b). Rav Soloveichek zt”l would say that this was the intent of the Gemara when it says Tu B’Av was a day when the slain of Betar were suited to be buried, a sign between HaShem and Bnei Yisroel that the covenant still existed. This is in fact the Nechama felt after the destruction, knowing that the covenant between HaShem and his people has not been severed.

We know Megillas Eicha concludes with words of redemption:  “Turn us back to You, O LORD, and we will be restored; Renew our days as of old” (Lamentations 5:21), and Kinos ends with words of Nechama as well. Rav Soloveichik zt”l explained that Nichum Avelim is not just a fulfillment of chesed and the mitzvah of ve'ahavta lere'ach kamocha, but rather it is a kiyum in the avelus itself, because avelus requires nechama. This explains the Rambam that says the mitzvah of nichum avelim precedes the mitzvah of bikkur cholim because avelus is a chesed to the living and the dead (Rambam Hilchos Avel 14:7), and therefore nechama is part of the actual avelus. A proof to this is from the Gemara (Shabbos 153a), which is enunciated in the Rambam (Hilchos Avel 3:4), that in a case where a meis has no avelim to be menachem and sit for him, ten others come and take their place and the rest of the nation gathers around them. Here we see that there can be a kiyum of nichum avelim, even without the avel there to direct kindness too, because it’s a chov on the tzibur to fulfill the etzem kiyum of avelus. Another proof is that avelus ends only at the time when the consolers stop coming. It may be asked why the avel has to wait for a stoppage of those giving nechama to come; it must be nechama is a kiyum of avelus.

According to this we can understand that by an onen (where the body is in front of him), one may not give nechama. This is because at that time there is no din of avelus on him but rather a din of aninus which has no din of nechama. This is why on Tisha B’Av we conclude with Shabbos Nachamu, because avelus needs nechama. And this also explains the recitation of nachem on Tisha B’av because the avelus of Tisha B’Av needs nechama.

This is to say that even within the avelus of Tisha B’av there is nechama on the realization that there will be a future redemption. This explains the verse, “Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me” (Psalms 23:4).

The idea that the nechama is part of the avelus can be found in the Gemara at the end of Makkot where Rabbi Akiva sees the Churban and observes a fox walking out of the Kodesh Kodashim, and notes optimistically that he now awaits the prophecy of Zecharia to come where Yerushalayim would once again experience happiness and joy. This is because the avelus of the churban is not a contradiction to nechama and salvation as they are part of the same din.

Rabbi Genack points out that this idea is based on what his close friend, Rav Nissen Alpert zt”l says on the verse, “Your rod and You staff, they comfort me” (id).  He asks,  how is a rod and staff used on man connected to comfort from Hashem. He answers that G-d punishing us with His rod ultimately becomes the greatest nechama.

Birchat Yitzchak – Page 255


Rav Avraham Genechovsky Zt”l

Shulchan Aruch – Siman 286 Seif 4

One who has time to either daven Mincha or Mussaf

The Halacha is that if one did not daven Mincha, he davens Maariv twice, and if he didn’t daven Mussaf there is no Tashlumin in such a case. If however, one only has enough time to daven either Mincha or Mussaf, The Magen Avraham writes (Siman 286 Seif Katan 3) he should daven Mussaf, even though it’s more infrequent (eno tadir) because he won’t lose the Mincha which can be said as Tashlumin twice during Maariv.

Rav Yechial Bavis Shlita asked, we know the poskim say (Shulchan Aruch Siman 108 Seif 11, see the Mishna Berurah) that one who davens Mincha on Rosh Chodesh, but forgot to say Ya'aleh VeYavo, if he is now on the eve when it’s now Chol, he should daven Maariv twice and say one will be benadava, and if Motzei Rosh Chodesh is Shabbos, he shouldn’t say it as Tashlumin because there is no nedava on Shabbos.

The question would be if Motzei Rosh Chodesh is Shabbos and one forgot Ya'aleh VeYavo at Mincha, and now he has in front of him to  daven either Mincha or Mussaf and he only has time to say one of them, so according to those (See Tosefos Berachos 26b s.v. Taah) that say you say Maariv twice, because without saying Ya'aleh VeYavo it’s as if you didn’t say anything then certainly one should daven Mussaf and then repeat Mincha as Tashlumin at Maariv. And according to those that say you don’t daven Maariv twice, if there reason is because one was already yotze Mincha through the main Mincha Tefillah said, then they would say you daven Mussaf now. But if there reason is that in fact it is as if he didn’t daven at all, but there is no Tashlumin on that nusach that he said, then he should daven Mincha that is tadir because there is no Hashlama for it.

We hold this is a safek, so according to the opinion that says it is as if he fulfilled his Mincha, it turns out the Mincha now is a safek and the Mussaf is a vadai and therefore he should daven Mussaf. And according to the second opinion that it’s as if he didn’t daven at all, but there’s no Tashlumin, then he should daven Mincha.

This only applies on Motzei Rosh Chodesh that is Shabbos, but if Motzei Rosh Chosesh is Chol, where he can do a tenai, then certainly he should daven Mussaf first.

Sefer Bar Almugim – Siman 186 Pages 865-866

Rabbi Yakov Nagen

Rikud Ha'Nashim

Mishna Taanit 4:8

Simeon ben Gamaliel said, "Never were more joyous festivals in Israel than the fifteenth of Av and Yom Kippur, for on them the maidens of Jerusalem used to go out dressed in white garments—borrowed ones, in order not to cause shame to those who had them not of their own;—these clothes were also to be previously immersed, and thus they went out and danced in the vineyards, saying, Young men, look and observe well whom you are about to choose [as a spouse]; regard not beauty [alone], but rather look to a virtuous family, for 'Gracefulness is deceitful, and beauty is a vain thing, but the woman that feareth the Lord, she is worthy of praise' (Prov. 31:3); and it is also said (Prov. 31:31), 'Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.' And thus is it said [in allusion to this custom], 'Go out, maidens of Jerusalem, and look on King Solomon, and on the crown wherewith his mother has encircled [his head] on the day of his espousals, and on the day of the gladness of his heart' (Song of Songs 3:11); 'the day of his espousals,' alludes to the day of the gift of the law, and 'the day of the gladness of his heart,' was that when the building of the Temple was completed." May it soon be rebuilt in our days. Amen!

The 15th of Av is considered the festival of ahava and the source for that is the above Mishna that talks of the daughters of Jerusalem who would dance in the vineyards and search out their husbands.

Though we see Yom Kippur as a time of fasting and the time of avodah of the Kohanim in the Beis HaMikdash, this dancing took place as well. What is to be gleaned from the dancing and why does that symbolize a special simcha on Yom Kippur?

Yom Kippur is the one day during the year when the Kohen Gadol may enter the innermost sanctum, to the Kodesh Kodashim, the holiest place in the Beis HaMikdash. In the heart of the Kodesh Kodashim lies the aron with the two Keruvim upon it and on Yom Kippur G-d appears in a cloud between them. The Gemara (Yoma 54a) explains that the Keruvim were hugging like husband and wife to compare the love between HaShem and Bnei Yisroel to the love between a husband and wife. We are told in the same Gemara about the poles connected to the Aron - "'The poles were extended': is it possible that they were not touching the curtain? Thus it states: 'the tips of the poles were perceptible.' If they were perceptible, does this mean that they ripped through the curtain and stuck out? Thus it states 'but they could not be seen on the outside.' How so? They pushed against the curtain and jutted and were similar to two breasts of a woman [beneath her clothes]."  (Menachot 98a).

And the Gemara explains this with a verse from Song of Songs (1:13), “My beloved is to me a sachet of myrrh resting between my breasts.” The whole entrance of the Kohen Gadol to the Kadosh Kodashim is characterized by an intimate affair between two who love each other and this is the message contained in the whole Song of Songs; the relationship of love that exists between HaShem and Bnei Yisroel.

Now the story of dancing in the Mishna can be understood in greater depth. The white garments that the women would wear symbolize the white clothing that the Kohen Gadol would wear when he entered the Kodesh Kodashim. And in a similar vein we know all the Kelim (begadim) of the Beis HaMikdash need tevila (Chagigah 3:8) just as the woman needed to retain purity.

Based on the this comparison we can now say the dancing in white is aimed towards G-d (just as the Kohen’s service), for the Kohen achieves this through entering the Kodesh Kodashim and the women achieve it through dancing.  This is connected to Tu B’av where the people connect to Hashem in the Beis HaMikdash.

Yom Kippur marks the beginning of the time when the Kohanim bless the people and concludes the times subsumed under Masachet Taanit, from Succot, the 15th of Tishrei until the next Yom Kippur that falls on the 10th of Tishrei.

There is further symbolism in the dancing, as the Mishna continues it compare the day of marriage to the building of the Beis HaMikdash and Matan Torah.

And thus is it said [in allusion to this custom], 'Go out, maidens of Jerusalem, and look on King Solomon, and on the crown wherewith his mother has encircled [his head] on the day of his espousals, and on the day of the gladness of his heart' (Song of Songs 3:11). The day of espousal is Matan Torah and the day of the gladness of the heart is the banyan of the Beis HaMikdash.

The Mishna connects the simcha and chatuna with Matan Torah and the Beis HaMikdash.

If we say the day of the chatunah in the passuk is referring to Matan Torah then the chet haegel symbolizes the betrayal of the bride under the Chuppah (Song of Songs Rabbah 8). This being the case, the dancing on Yom Kippur takes is part of a larger message. On the 17th of Tammuz, because of the sin of the egel, Moshe broke the luchos (Taanis 4:6) and then on Yom Kippur the second luchos were received and to this the Gemara explains, there was no Yom Tov like Yom Kippur, because then Bnei Yisroel saw that HaShem offered them forgiveness on the day the second luchos were given (Gemara Tannis 30b). In essence the dancing of the women on Yom Kippur comes to symbolize the re-energized love that now came about between Hashem and Bnei Yisroel. Furthermore when Moshe descended from the mountain, he saw dancing, as the verse says, “When Moses approached the camp and saw the calf and the dancing, his anger burned and he threw the tablets out of his hands, breaking them to pieces at the foot of the mountain” (Exodus 32:19).

The dancing of the women is a tikun for the dancing that took place around the golden calf. And the dancing around the egel was also symbolic of gilui arayos as the verse says, “They arose to play” (Exodus 32:6 see Rashi). And only the women had the power to dance and represent Bnei Yisroel as the Kallah for they refused to partake in the sin of the golden calf.

The connection to Har Sinai is further seen as the clothes of the dancing girls were previously immersed similar to the command at Har Sinai, “and let them wash their clothes” (Exodus 19:10).

And between man and wife as well, the reality of love is ever present, as evident by Rabbi Akiva’s statement, “A man and women who are zoche, G-d rests amongst them” (Sotah 17a).

Therefore, it may be said that the dancing of the girls on Yom Kippur symbolizes the relationship of love between a husband and spouse as well as Bnei Yisroel and Hashem.

Translated Excerpt From Nishmat HaMinshna Pages 297-303




Lekavod Shabbos Nachamu

The name Genack was originally Levine which then became Genechovsky. Within these three names lie many sefarim. I'm happy to have met all the authors except Rabbi Levine zt"l, the author of the "Yad Eliyahu," though I do present his Torah. Rav Avrohom Genechovsky zt"l, previous Rosh Yeshiva of Tchebin, was my father's first cousin and was an enormous figure that I got to know well. I feel humbled yet proud to present his Torah thoughts, personal stories and insights. The Torah of the Gadol Hador, Reb Chaim Kanievsky Shlita, is presented as he shared a close relationship with Rav Avrohom zt"l. My uncle, Rabbi Genack, a mechaber  of many sefa​rim, is a world renowned personality, and someone I continue to grow with. My first cousin, Rabbi Yaakov Nagen (Genack), Rosh Kollel at Yeshiva Otniel, was mechaber two very important Hebrew books in Israel, "Awaking to a New Day: Stories and Insights from Life," and "Nishmat HaMishna," to which I present translated excerpts. Some of my own "notes from the editor" are presented as well. Interestingly, Rav Avrohom's last name is often transliterated as Genechovsky (with other variations existing as well), though in America the family name is spelled as Genachowski. 


Steven Genack