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Rabbi 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 ztz”l. Rabbi Alt has written on numerous topics for various websites and publications and is the author of the books, Fascinating Insights and Incredible Insights. His writings inspire people across the spectrum of Jewish observance to live with the vibrancy and beauty of Torah. 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.
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Music on Tisha B’Av
As the 300,000 Jews were leaving Spain on Tisha B’Av 1492, there was a psak issued by the gedolim, among them the Abarbenel which was a hora’as sha’ah for that specific time and place: They should be accompanied on their journey by orchestral music. And so they left Spain amidst music and song. On that Tisha B’Av, the musicians played which obviously is normally forbidden.
What was the reason for this ruling? The Rabbanim sought to boost the spirits of the exiled multitudes who were forced to abandon their homes. They wanted to encourage them, to infuse them with hope and Bitachon that Hashem was with them. Furthermore, they were employing music as a way of expressing gratitude to Hashem that they had withstood the test and didn’t convert to Christianity. They merited to be mekadeish shem shamayim, to sanctify Hashem’s name and that was a cause for celebration.
 The Abarbenel writes that the Jews had not experienced a tragedy as severe as what happened in Spain where in that three-month period, primarily toward its end — between the 17th of Tamuz and Tisha B’Av — 300,000 Jews were forced to leave Spain. This does not even include the hundreds of thousands who accepted the alternative and converted to Christianity. This is besides the 200,000 Jews that converted to Christianity in 1391, 101 years earlier.
 Yeshaya (Yeshaya 66:20-21) promises that והביאו את כל אחיכם מכל הגוים…וגם מהם אקח לכהנים ללוים אמר ה’, they will bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to Hashem—with horses, chariots, covered wagons and mules—with joyous dances, to my Holy mountain, Yerushalayim, says Hashem; just as the Jewish People bring the offering in a pure vessel to the House of Hashem. From them too, I will take men to be Kohanim and Levites, says Hashem. R’ Yonasan Eibshutz (Ahavas Yonasan, Haftaras Balak) cites the Abarbenel: “This refers to the Jews of Spain and Portugal who were forced to convert. Even though they assimilated with the non-Jews, Hashem will eventually take them as Kohanim and Leviyim and bring them under the wings of the shechina. Even though these Jews have absolutely no awakening from below (as they have assimilated and intermingled with the non-Jews and have learned from their ways), still, Hashem will awaken them from above and place in their hearts the desire to love and fear Him.”