The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 



 

Download "Al eleh anu bokhim" - an English kinah about the Earth - here. (If you'd like to edit it, download the doc file)

Some recent writings by R' David Seidenberg:
"The Third Promise: Can Judaism’s indigenous core help us rise above the damaging politics of our time?"

"Will We Pursue Justice in Sheikh Jarrah?"

Laments ~ zoom-ready PowerPoint, half-page per slide:

Laments for zoom

for more Tisha B'Av resources click here


You can fast, sit on the ground, etc., but you can't really observe Tish'a B'Av without feeling it. A good translation of Eikhah, "Lamentations" or "Laments", makes a huge difference. If you want to get what makes Tish'a B'Av real or relevant, try this translation. The current version can be downloaded in handout and booklet format. Copy it for your synagogue, havurah, minyan.

Tish'a B'Av תשעה באב is not primarily about mourning, but about becoming refugees, being thrown into a hostile world without shelter or protection. Part of this experience is mourning for what has been lost, but what we think of as mourning customs -- not wearing fresh clothes, not washing, eating or drinking, not being able to sit down -- more closely resembles the experience of a refugee than a mourner sitting shiva. Tish'a B'Av is not primarily about the end of sacrifices or the Temple – Chaza"l, the rabbis, figured out how to live without the Temple long ago. Rather, it's about homelessness, fleeing from war into famine, about things that are all too present in our world. It's also an opportunity to confront the ways in which we as individuals (and as a people) use our power to make others (people and species) into refugees. In an era when refugees are mistreated, when children are separated from families in order to punish parents for seeking asylum in the U.S., when countries across eastern Europe as well as Italy have come out to meet people fleeing war with armed opposition, like Edom rising up to repel the Israelites, we need to read Laments as the story of what is happening right now.

Reb David Seidenberg's articles on Tisha B'Av:

  • "To Prey or to Pray? The Lessons of Famine" – on cannibalism in Eikhah
  • The meaning of Tish'a B'Av after the state of Israel
  • "Breaking Open the Abyss" – on Tisha B'Av and environmental destruction
  • "Why I'm fasting for Tisha B'Av" – on refugees
  • "How Tisha B'Av can help us understand the refugee experience" – interview with Rabbi David by JTA
  • For all other Tish'a B'Av material on Neohasid (songs, prayers, texts), click here
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    Eikhah Booklet:

    The following file of neohasid's translation of Eikhah can be printed back-to-back and folded in half to make a 28-page booklet (seven sheets double-sided, folded in half).When you click to download, a window will open to make a donation if you choose to. Below is a handout pdf you can print at home that does not require folding and can be stapled in the corner

    Download the PDF in booklet format

    Please support neohasid with a donation!
    Versions you can use on zoom:

    Half page per slide: PPT or PDF (Note: PDF file is larger - about 100 MB)

    Whole page per slide: PPT or PDF

    Also available on ISSUU in book format that animates page-turning. The handout format will also work as a zoom pdf, two pages per sheet.

    GET Laments-Eikhah
    A Visceral Translation


    The translation offered here is one of the best you'll find for liturgical use. Ten years in the making (and first conceived in 1993), Laments was finally completed in 2017, with chapter 3 fully retranslated, new artwork, and an expanded afterward. I always have at least one chapter read phrase by phrase in Hebrew and English when I lead a Tish'a B'Av reading, and it's a very powerful experience. For 2018 and 2019, minor tweaks to the translation were made. For 2020, several versions of a zoom-ready Power Point or PDF were created. Laments uses the Buber-Rosenzweig principles of concordant translation, which means it's closer to the Hebrew syntax and sense than the JPS. It strives to connect on a gut-level to what Laments and Tisha B'Av are all about: a national cataclysm that turned the entire people into refugees, treated with hostility by neighboring countries and persecuted by ruling foreign powers.

    Image below links to booklet format (fold in the middle) ~
    Remember that this staples like a Hebrew book:
    the edge that opens is on the left!
    (For handout format click here.)
    Laments page one

    Laments also includes an afterword on theology and theodicy in Eikhah and on ecological meanings of Tisha B'Av.

    The 2022 version includes a "wrapper" (the outside two pages that go around the translation) with some prayers, kinot, and reflections about both the Earth and climate disruption, and about the state of Israel. If the politics fits you, great. If not, you can remove them and substitute this version of the wrapper with just verses from Eli Tsiyon and a prayer for democracy (included as a response to the war against Ukraine and attacks on elections in the U.S.).



    Versions of Laments for zoom:

    PowerPoint or ODP or PDF, half page (3-6 verses) per slide. (Note: PDF file is larger - about 100 MB)

    PowerPoint or PDF, whole page per slide.

    Above versions are black-on-tan, for people reading computer screens in a darkened room with candlelight. The following versions are black-on-white, whole page per slide:
    PowerPoint or ODP or PDF

    Versions for printing:

    Handout format ~ staples in the upper right-hand corner (read each sheet right-to-left).

    Booklet format ~ folds in the middle.

    When you click to download a window will open to make a donation. You can download Laments whether or not you donate.


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    Someday we will fix the commenting mechanism -- here's a few of the comments people shared when Laments was first published here.

    Hi David...
    thanks for this. much love. good luck in Mass. SL

    Posted by: SaraLeya at July 22, 2007 3:45 PM

    Playing a solea or siguiriya does it for me.

    Posted by: Solea at July 22, 2007 11:54 PM

    Thank you so much, David. Having a good translation is really important to connect to this very difficult holiday. Thanks too for the linear layout (What software did you use to create it?)
    b'Ahavah, Chaim

    Posted by: Norman Weingart at July 30, 2008 9:38 PM

    David;
    Super Great Job! I love the layout and translation.

    Posted by: Felipe at July 31, 2008 11:58 AM

    Thanks. I've just added a post to my site with your Fresh Translation.

    Posted by: Victorino at July 26, 2009 11:56 AM

    Thanks to Kay Magilavy for inserting page numbers into the 2008 edition!

    Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006