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The Day Of The Gid Hanashe

Written by Rabbi Yehoshua Alt, 27/7/2019

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The Day Of The Gid Hanashe

The most stringent fasts are Tisha B’av and Yom Kippur. We know Yom Kippur is mentioned in the Torah but where is Tisha B’av mentioned?[1] Maybe we should observe Tisha B’av with Ahavas Chinam. Who said we should fast? 


We are taught the 365 sinews on one’s body correspond to the 365 negative commandments and to the 365 days of the year.[2] The Zohar[3] tells us the Gid Hanashe corresponds to Tisha B’av. The Zohar also informs us that the fight of Yaakov and the Malach of Esav occurred on Tisha B’av.[4] The Kisvei Arizal therefore says eating on Tisha B’av is like eating from the Gid Hanashe as this is the area Yaakov was hit in.[5]


The Pasuk there states על כן לא יאכלו בני ישראל את גיד הנשה...; the Jewish people are not to eat the Gid Hanashe to this day.[6] This alludes to that we should fast on Tisha B’av. Moreover, את are the initials תשעה אב. The four fasts we observe because of the Churban- the 10th of Teves, Tzom Gedalya, the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha B’av are alluded to in the word גיד. ג has a numerical value 3 alluding to Tzom Gedalya, the third day in the month of Tishrei.[7] Also, ג is the first letter of גדלי-ה. The י alludes to the 10th of Teves as it has a Gematria of 10. Adding up the letters of גיד we get to a sum of 17 referring to the 17th of Tamuz. The Gid Hanashe itself refers to Tisha B’av.[8]


The first Beis Hamikdash was destroyed because of sins בין אדם למקום; between man and Hashem- the three cardinal sins. The second was destroyed because ofבין אדם לחבירו; between man and his friend- שנאת חנם.[9] This is alluded to in כי שרית עם אלה-ים ועם אנשים ותוכל; [10]you have striven with the Divine and with man and have overcome. עם אלה-ים refers to בין אדם למקום and ועם אנשים to בין אדם לחבירו. When we succeed in these areas, then the third Beis Hamikdash will come.[11]

R’ Alt merited to learn under the tutelage of R’ Mordechai Friedlander Ztz”l for close to five years. He received Semicha from R’ Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. R’ Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications. He lives with his wife and family in a suburb of Yerushalayim where he studies, writes and teaches. The author is passionate about teaching Jews of all levels of observance.

[1] See Tur, Orach Chaim, 554

[2] See Makkos 23b

[3] Zohar, 1:170b

[4] The Malach of Esav made his mark on Yaakov- in the Gid Hanashe. This is symbolic that the trait of Yaakov- Torah- would be diminished on one day of the year, Tisha B’av, as this is the day we are limited on what we are allowed to learn (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 554).

[5] It says ותקע כף ירך יעקב; Yaakov’s hip socket was dislocated (Breishis 32:26). This alludes to the idea that evil will dominate on Tisha B’av (Here are a few: Both בתי מקדש were destroyed on this day. In 1492, during the Spanish Inquisition, the deadline for the Jews to leave the country or face death was on Tisha B’av.), as the ירך refers to the future generations of Yaakov, his descendants.

[6] Breishis 32:33

[7] The Beis Yosef writes in the name of R’ Yeruchem (Orach Chaim, end of 549) that Gedalya Ben Achikam was killed on Rosh Hashana and the fast is pushed off until the third of Tishrei, a weekday. The Kaf Hachaim (549:5, see there) and the Rambam say, however, that he was killed on the third of Tishrei. 

[8] The Pasuk tells us Yaakov wrestled with the Malach of Esav- ויאבק (Breishis 32:25). Why doesn’t it say the more common term of וילחם? Chazal (Kalla Rabasi 8) say the first destruction of Yerushalayim was because of Avoda Zara and the second was because of שנאת חנם. The Shela points out it says the term אבק in regards to Avoda Zara as in כיון דאביקו ביה. Another place it says אבק is concerning Lashon Hara as in אבק לשון הרע (Baba Basra 165a, See Hakdama to Shemiras Halshon that the destruction of the Beis Hamikdash was because of Lashon Hara). The Batei Mikdash were destroyed on the day of ויאבק.

[9] Yoma 9b

[10] Breishis 32:29

[11] See Sefer Hachinuch, Mitzva 3

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