Should Chassidim cry in their Rosh Hashanah prayers?
In some congregations I see that a lot of people cry during their prayer of the high holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. I would like to know what the Chabad perspective is on the matter, as I have not really seen this done in the Minyanim that I’ve been to? Is it because Rosh Hashanah is a joyous day that we avoid crying?
On the contrary, one should cry on Rosh Hashanah even if it coincides with Shabbos. The Arizal would cry profusely during the prayers of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and so was the custom of the Chabad Rabbeim , and the city of Lubvatich. These tears can be cries of joy, which results from one feeling an extreme Dveikus to Hashem which automatically brings one to tears. Alternatively, it can be cries of repentance for one sins of the previous year.
Explanation: The Arizal said that if one is not drawn to cry during these days [of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur] it is a sign that his soul is incomplete, G-d forbid. The reason for this is because on Rosh Hashanah one is to naturally feel the attachment of his soul to its root in G-d, and this feeling is so intense that the body sheds tears out of inability to contain it. Hence one who does not cry shows that his soul is no longer sensitive to its attachment to G-d. Hence the cry which is required is one of passionate longing for G-d. One is however not to cry on Rosh Hashanah due to a loss in physical or even spiritual matters. One who is not brought to tears on Rosh Hashanah shows that he has a hard heart and a cruel personality. This cry that is required is one of passionate longing for G-d. One is however not to cry on Rosh Hashanah due to a loss in physical or even spiritual matters. This however only applies to Tzaddikim Gemurim, however those who still contain evil in their hearts, certainly are to cry over the evil that is in them which prevents them from attaching to G-d. If one is strong hearted and is unable to bring himself to tear than he is at the very least to make a crying sound, and Hashem will hear the attempted cry of his heart.
Sources: See regarding the crying of Arizal: Shaar Hakavanos 90a “My teacher the Arizal cries profusely during the prayers of R”H even though it is a Yom Tov and certainly during the prayers of Yom Kippur”; Peri Eitz Chaim 25:5; brought in Beir Heiytiv 584:3; Mateh Efraim 582:28; Kaf Hachaim 582:60; See regarding the Chabad Rabbeim and the city of Lubvatich: Toras Menachem 1951 Vol. 2 p. 4; Sefer Hasichos 1947 1st night R”H “The Alter Rebbe once said that the Avoda on the night of R”H must be accompanied with joy. The Tzemach Tzedek and Reb Nachum then asked the Alter Rebbe “Why is it then that you cry” He replied that it is a cry of joy”; Sefer Hasichos 1941 p. 27 “The Rebbe Rashab’s holy face was soaked with tears”; Hatamim 2 p. 131-132 “The Rebbe Rashab Davens and cries. There isn’t one word he recites that isn’t immersed in a river of tears; Sefer Hasichos 1944 p. 5 “Even the citizens of the town of Lubavitch, men, women and children on the two days of Rosh Hashanah were filled with cries of repentance.” See regarding that if one doesn’t cry it is a sign that his soul is incomplete: Shaar Hakavanos 90a; Peri Eitz Chaim 25:5; brought in Beir Heiytiv 584:3; Mateh Efraim 582:28; Kaf Hachaim 582:60; See Birkeiy Yosef Y.D. 394- that one may refrain from crying oin order so the tears do not damage his eyes, as the main thing is a broken heart; Alef Hamagen 582:47; Piskeiy Teshuvos 584:2; See regarding cries of joy: Likkutei Torah Ki Seitzei “Vehisira Es Simlas Shivya” [p.72]; “Ubachsa Es Aviha” [p.74] [“This cry is not due to Marah Shechorah” “Is similar to the cry of Rebbe Akiva when he said Shir Hashirim” “Is level of Teshuvah Ilaah”]; See Sefer Hasichos 1947 1st night R”H brought earlier “The Tzemach Tzedek and Reb Nachum asked the Alter Rebbe why he cries and he replied that it is a cry of joy; Shaar Yissachar Tishrei “The cry must be a result of Dveikus in prayer”; The Gr”a in Maaseh Rav 207 rules that one is not to cry on Rosh Hashanah, and it is brought in the name of Rav Chaim Volozhin that the intent of this statement is that one is not to cry due to physical matters or matters of negativity but rather it is to be cries of joy, as requires the Arizal. Thus those Chazanim that bring the congregation to cry over the words “On Rosh Hashanah we are written..” are doing an improper act. [See Piskeiy Teshuvos 584:2 footnote 15; Teshuvos Vehanhagos 268 explains this to be the opinion of Gr”a]; See regarding crying due to repentance from sin: Likkutei Sichos 19 Parshas Haazinu