19 May HALACHICALLY SPEAKING: KRIAH UPON SEEING YERUSHALAYIM AND THE KOSEL HAMARAVI
We live in world today where it is very hard to realize what we are missing by not having the Bais Hamikdosh around. We get to comfortable with hour houses etc and are not really waiting for the day that Mosiach will come. The Gemorah tells us if one mourns over the Bais Hamikdosh he will merit seeing it rebuilt. The Shulchan Aruch tells us that a G-D fearing person should worry about the churban Bais Hamikdosh every day of his life. One is suppose to do certain actions in order to remember the churban. One of those items are discussed below, that being the halacha of ripping when visiting Yerushalayim and the Kosel. Many people are lax and do not rip today when visiting Yerushalayim, however, this is not the correct practice and it should be corrected.
The Cities Of Yehuda
If one sees the cities of Yehuda then one rips his garment even if it is under the leadership of Jewish people. One says the words of ….. On the cities which are cities if yiddin one does not rip. Some say that one may rip on Chevron, while others say one should indeed rip on Chevron. The custom today is not to rip on any cities if Yehuda according to many poskim.
When one sees the city of Yerushalayim when it is not rebuilt (today) one rips and says the words of ………… These words should be said before the ripping. The old city is the city in which one would have to rip upon seeing it, not the new Yerushalayim which extends well beyond the old city walls. Many poskim say that on Yerushalayim the custom is not to rip today since it is under Jewish leadership, while others argue. The custom seems to be like the first opinion quoted. According to those who rip, when they see the place where the Bais Hamikdosh stood they rip again; however, there should be a space of three finger lengths from the previous rip. (Refer below). Some say when one sees Yerushalayim the way it is today one should not eat meat or drink wine the entire day.
Ripping On The Bais Hamikdosh And The Kosel
The ripping done on the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh should initially be when one sees the floor of the azara. However, the custom today is to rip even if one sees the Dome Of The Rock which is situated on the Mokom Hamikdosh. If a person knows he will not see the Dome Of The Rock for some reason then he only has to rip when seeing the Kosel. When one rips on the destruction of the Mokom Hamikdosh one should say the words of …….. If one did not say these words some say the ripping was good nonetheless. When one rips because of the destruction of the Bais Hamikdosh he should bow towards the Mokom Hamikdosh. One does not recite a beracha of shehechiyanu upon seeing the Kosel for the first time. Many times one goes to the Kosel and he walks through the old city and he sees the Dome Of The Rock before he sees the Kosel. If one wants to rip first upon seeing the Kosel (and not when he sees the Dome Of The Rock) then he should look down until he reaches the Kosel, and then rip. (Those who have the custom to rip on seeing the destruction of Yerushalayim should rip twice).
Who Is Obligated To Rip
Men and women are both obligated to rip upon seeing any of the places that we are noheg to rip. However, women are only noheg to rip in one of the places mentioned. The custom is that a child below the age of bar or bas- mitzvah do not rip their clothing. A child who gets supported from his parents and all his clothing belong to his parents may not rip according to some poskim, while others are lenient in this regard. A chassan and kallah before their chuppah are obligated to rip, and after their chassana, during the whole sheva berochos are exempt from ripping.
The Actual Ripping
When one sees Yerushalayim and then the Mokom Hamikdosh, he should rip on Yerushalayim first, and then three fingers away from the first rip he should rip again. If one sees the Mokom Hamikdosh first, then he should rip on the Mokom Hamikdosh first, and then add to the original rip another rip (on the same spot). Some say if one sees the Mokom Hamikdosh and Yerushalayim at the same time he only has to rip once.
Some have the custom to rip all of their garments; however, the prevailing custom in klal yisroel is to rip one garment. If one does not want to rip his jacket he can remove it and rip his shirt. The ripping should be a tefach (4 inches). One should use one’s hand to rip the garment. Some say one can use a utensil. The ripping has to be done on the left side since that is where the heart is situated. Some say since today we do not have the custom to rip to the point where one’s heart is revealed one can rip on the right side. The ripping should be done on the length of the garment. The ripping should be done from top to bottom, while standing, and by yourself. The ripping is only done if one did not see any of the places that one rips within thirty days.
Miscellaneous Halachos Regarding The Ripping
A person does not have to rip a different garment every time he is obligated to rip. Rather he may use an old garment and rip a different part of the garment every time. Women should also rip the outer garment. Many times they will not adhere to this because they may not feel comfortable doing so, therefore, they may rip any garment that they please. After one has ripped his or her garment one should leave the garment on for a little (while he is davening at the Kosel). Afterwards one may remove the garment and put on a new garment. There is no need to walk around with the garment for a long period of time. If one did not rip at the time he saw any of the places previously mentioned then one may rip as long as the tzar over the churban is still felt. A left handed person rips in the same manner as a right handed person.
When And When Not To Rip
Many have the custom that one does not rip his garments at nay of the aforementioned places if he saw them on Erev Shabbos after chatzos. Others say this minhag has no basis and one should rip in this situation. Nonetheless, the minhag is according to the first opinion stated. When one goes after Shabbos he is obligated to rip. One does not rip his garments when seeing the aforementioned places on Shabbos. According to many poskim one would not rip after Shabbos either (if he did not go at a different time). Since one was not obligated to rip on Shabbos he is exempt. Others hold one should rip after Shabbos. Some say one can go on Shabbos in order to exempt himself form ripping his garments. The custom is not to rip one’s garments when seeing the aforementioned places on Chol Hamoed. There is a custom that any day that tachnun is not recited one does not rip his garment. Many poskim say one rips his garments when seeing the aforementioned places on Rosh Chodesh. When one does not rip he should nevertheless say boruch dayim hu’emes without the shem or malchus.
Being Makneh One’s Garment To Another Person
Some say after one has ripped his garment he may give the garment to his friend to rip as well. Many have the custom to be makneh their garment to their friend to exempt themselves form ripping upon seeing the Kosel etc. The way the kinyan works is in the following manner. Someone hands over his pen etc. to you in order to acquire your shirt (then you give him back his pen). Since now the shirt does not belong to you (even though you are wearing it) you do not have to rip. Nonetheless, it is preferable to rip one’s clothing and demonstrate real pain over the churban. Many poskim maintain that the aforementioned kinyan may not be done.
Those Who Live In Yerushalayim
There is a discussion in the poskim whether or not one who lives in Yerushalayim rips his garment upon seeing the aforementioned places. Today that Yerushalayim is spread out one who lives in nay of these places should rip if he does not see the Kosel in thirty days. If one who lives in Yerushalayim left and does not return before thirty days, then he rips when seeing any of the aforementioned places. Horav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l opines that even if one lives in the part of Yerushalayim outside of the old city he would not rip if he does not see the Kosel within thirty days. Someone who was born in Yerushalayim does not rip even when he gets older.
Relevant Halchos While Visiting The Kosel Hamaravi
When visiting the Kosel many people do not realize that it is a holy site and one has to treat it with the utmost respect. Below we will discuss some of the halachos that are applicable while visiting the Kosel. The Medrash Rabbah says that Hashem swore that the Kosel Hamaravi will never be destroyed. The Medrash Rabbah says that the shechinah never departs from the Kosel Hamaravi. When the Bais Hamikdosh was destroyed all the gates were closed except for the gate of tears. The western wall became known as the Wailing Wall because of the tears that the yiddin shed there.