Rav Moshe Shternbuch – Crying On Rosh Hashanah: Is it Permitted?


reb_moshe_shternbuch1It is written in the Maaseh Rav that the Vilna Gaon said that one is not permitted to cry on Rosh Hashanah. His mekor is the posuk in Nechemia which states, “Al tisablu ve’al tivku…lechu Iichlu MasmanimDo not mourn and do not cry… go eat good food.” Rosh Hashanah is a day of happiness and celebration.

The Arizal, on the other hand, says that every person with a good neshama must cry on Rosh Hashanah. Are they arguing?Rav Moshe Shternbuch in his teshuvos (2:268) says that they do not argue. The Vilna Gaon is talking about crying from the fear of Yom Hadin and having the overall mindset that Rosh Hashanah is a day of gloom and doom. However, if the tears come automatically from inspiration and longing for Hashem during tefillah, then not only is it permissible, it is praiseworthy. Outside of tefillah, the mood of the day must be happiness and celebration of the Yom Tov.

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  1. But they have to be REAL tears. Reminds me of the vort on the Gemara in ??? ????? that says ???? ????? ?? ?????. Someone asked, if the gates are never locked, why do you need the gates in the first place.? The answer given is that when someone pretends he’s crying, the close the gates. Sounds like a Kozker vort, but I just don’t remember.

  2. how does one know when his tears are real? i felt like i shed real tears more than once only to find myself back in the same hole which brought about those tears. Any comments are appreciated.

  3. guaranteed that the tears u describe are true, the arizal’s kind. and ultimately they will work their5 mission.HOB BITACHON!!!!


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