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Rabbis Split over Tisha B’av Prayer

Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren and Sephardi Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef have come out with conflicting edicts regarding the “Nahem” prayer said in the afternoon service of the Fast of Tisha B’Av. The prayer contains references to the city of Jerusalem being “despoiled and empty,” terms which do not accurately reflect the post-1967 reality.

Yosef, while admitting the factual discrepancy, nevertheless ordered in an edict that the prayer not be altered. He observed that the city was still desolate inasmuch as the Temple had not been rebuilt. Goren, on the other hand, has compiled an amended “Nahem” prayer which omits the word “desolate despoiled” and refers to the recent years of up building Jerusalem while praying for the rebuilding of the Temple.