Jerrold Landau
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KINOT

 

Kinot are a unique type of piyyut primarily associated with Tisha B’Av. A short set is recited following the reading of the Megilla of Eicha in the evening, and an extensive set is recited following the Haftarah in the morning. They are also found in the Tikkun Ḥatzot service, recited in the middle of the night, generally in private, by especially pious people. A set of elegies, not usually termed Kinot, but which can be defined as such given their content and function, is also recited during Musaf on Yom Kippur following the Avoda service.

The Term Kinah (plural Kinot) means a dirge or elegy. Kinot are expressions of lamentation over tragedy and destruction. The New Concordance (Ibn Shoshan) lists twenty occurrences of the term (in various forms, both as a noun and a verb) in the Tanach. The majority are from the book of Ezekiel. Several are from the Book of Jeremiah, including three from the Haftarah of Tisha B’Av morning. In II Samuel, King David recited a Kina (elegy) over the death of King Saul and his son Jonathan, and again over the death of Abner. II Chronicles, 35:25 states that Jeremiah recited a Kina over the death of King Josiah, and the Kina is recorded in the Book of Kinot. (This could possibly be the Book of Lamentations, of which chapter 4, or parts thereof, is considered by some to be the Kina of Jeremiah over Josiah.)

Although Kinot and Seliḥot are two different genres of piyyut, there is significant overlap in their themes. Many Seliḥot have an elegiastic theme. This is certainly true of the Seliḥot of the fast days that commemorate the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, but is also true of some of the Seliḥot of the Yamim Noraim. On the other hand, some Kinot contain petitions for forgiveness and mercy, as is the hallmark of Seliḥot. Nevertheless, Kinot and Seliḥot are distinct types of piyyutim. Seliḥot are embedded in a structured service that contains the repeated recitation of the 13 attributes of divine mercy as well as Vidui confessionals. The Kinot service has no such structure. The Kinot piyyutim are recited in succession, one following the other, as a continuous, unbroken expression of grief, as befits a day such as Tisha B’Av. Many of the Kinot, however, conclude with an expression of hope for a better future.

Many fine commentaries of the Kinot exist, including the Artscroll Kinot, and the Authorized Kinot by Rabbi Abraham Rosenfeld. Both contain English translations and commentary. Hebrew-only commentaries include the Mossad Harav Kook edition of Kinot, as well as the Kol BeRama explanatory Kinot. In this chapter, I will present a thematic overview, rather than a detailed commentary on each Kina. Many of these overviews have been developed through my years of leading an explanatory Kinot program at my synagogue on Tisha B’Av. I have attempted to list the author of each Kina. I referred to the Authorized Kinot for the authorship; however, Rabbi Rosenfeld notes in the introduction that there are differences of opinion on the authorship of some of the Kinot.

 

Kinot of Tisha B’Av Evening

Following the reading of the Book of Lamentations [Eicha], a short series of Kinot is recited. A longer set is recited according to some Sephardic customs. The Kinot I include are those commonly recited by Nusaḥ Ashkenaz and Nusaḥ Sephard.

זְכוֹר השׁם מֶה הָיָה לָנוּ  [Gd, remember what happened to us]: The first Kina of Tisha B’Av evening is based on the fifth chapter of the Book of Lamentations. The first stich of each stanza is taken from a pasuk of the fifth chapter. The second stich is an elaboration of the theme of the first stich, at times coming from the same pasuk, but more often, it is an independent elaboration. The word oy [o, woe, or alas], is inserted between the stiches, and the phrase “Alas, what has befallen us” is recited after each verse. The four final pesukim are recited in full, and, as done during the reading of Lamentations itself, the second last pasuk is repeated. The authorship is unknown. The Authorized Kinot includes an alternate version of this Kina, with the same form, but with differences in some of the second stiches of the verses.

אֵיךְ מִפִּי בֵּן וּבַת  [How do many lamentations emanate from the mouths of sons and daughters in place of song]: This Kina is only recited when Tisha B’Av occurs on Saturday night [92]. The refrain is וִיהִי נֹעַם נִשְׁבַּת. בְּמוֹצָאֵי שַׁבָּת. This can be translated in several different ways: a) “The pleasantness is silenced at the end of Shabbat.” b) “Let pleasantness be removed on this Motzaei Shabbat” (Sefaria). c) “The recitation of Viyehi Noam is omitted on this Motzaei Shabbat.” The latter translation refers to the fact that the Viyehi Noam prayer, usually added to Maariv on Motzei Shabbat, is omitted on Tisha B’Av. Viyehi Noam is considered to be the blessing that Moses gave to the Children of Israel at the conclusion of the building of the Mishkan (see Exodus 39:43). Consequently, its recitation would be highly inappropriate on the night that we mark the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. The content of the Kina is a general lament over the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. Its authorship is unknown.

At this point, the Authorized Kinot includes two Kinot that are not recited by most congregations. The Mosad Harav Kook Kinot includes only one of these: We will sit alone and weep, for these I weep.

בְּלֵיל זֶה יִבְכָּיוּן וְיֵילִילוּ בָּנַי [On this night, My children weep and wail]: Like many of the Kinot, this Kina was written by Rabbi Eleazar HaKalir. It notes that both Batei Mikdash were destroyed, and that five misfortunes took place on this day (based on Mishna Taanit 4:6). Because we wept baselessly when the spies came back, we were destined to weep on that night for a good reason in the future.

שֹׁמְרוֹן קוֹל תִּתֵּן  [Samaria lifts up her voice]: This Kina was written by Solomon ibn Gabirol. The refrain is: Oholiba cries out “My palaces have been burnt down”; and Zion says “Gd has abandoned me.” The theme of the Kina is a debate between the Northern Kingdom (Samaria, here called Oholo), and the Southern Kingdom (Judea, here  called Oholiba), about which destruction was worse. The terms Oholo and Oholiba for the Northern and Southern Kingdoms stem from Ezekiel 23. As with many Kinot, the final line includes a request for the rebuilding of Jerusalem. This Kina is to be recited both at night and during the day.

עַד אָנָה בִּכְיָה בְצִיּוֹן וּמִסְפֵּד בִּירוּשָׁלָיִם. תְּרַחֵם צִיּוֹן וְתִבְנֶה חוֹמוֹת יְרוּשָׁלָיִם  [For how long shall there be weeping in Zion and mourning in Jerusalem? Have mercy on Zion and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem]: This Kina is believed to have been authored by the renowned Biblical commentator Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra. It describes the mourning of the hosts of Heaven, the patriarchs, Moses, the Children of Israel, and the constellations of heaven over the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. The constellations are listed by name. The Kina concludes with a plea for Gd to have mercy on Zion and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. As with the previous Kina, this one is to be recited both at night and during the day.

תְּרַחֵם צִיּוֹן [Have mercy upon Zion]: This is not a Kina, but rather a supplication that concludes the Kinot service both at night and during the day. The congregation rises for the recital of this conclusion. Zecharia 1:16-17 and Isaiah 51:3, all containing references to the return to Jerusalem and the comforting of Zion, are recited. The Kinot service, with its theme of lamentation and despair, concludes with a message of hope for a better future. The concluding pasuk, (Isaiah 51:3), is כִּֽי־נִחַ֨ם השׁם צִיּ֗וֹן נִחַם֙ כָּל־חָרְבֹתֶ֔יהָ וַיָּ֤שֶׂם מִדְבָּרָהּ֙ כְּעֵ֔דֶן וְעַרְבָתָ֖הּ כְּגַן־השׁם שָׂשׂ֤וֹן וְשִׂמְחָה֙ יִמָּ֣צֵא בָ֔הּ תּוֹדָ֖ה וְק֥וֹל זִמְרָֽה [Sefaria: Truly the Lrd has comforted Zion, Comforted all her ruins; He has made her wilderness like Eden, Her desert like the Garden of the Lrd. Gladness and joy shall abide there, Thanksgiving and the sound of music.]

 

Kinot of Tisha B’Av Morning

The long Kinot service of Tisha B’Av morning begins following the reading of the Torah and Haftarah [93], and the putting away of the Torah.

שָׁבַת סוּרוּ  [The joy of my heart has ceased]: This first Kina, written by Rabbi Eleazar HaKalir, is a continuation of the Kerovot [94]. The acrostic begins with the letter samech, as the Kerovot ended with the letter nun. The opening word of each stich comes from various parts of the Book of Lamentations. Mention is made that we await the fulfilment of the prophecies of the son of Berechya (i.e. the Prophet Zecharia) regarding the restoration of Jerusalem. The Kina concludes with a call for punishment for those who sought to destroy us.

אֵיכָה אַצְתָּ  [How did You hasten destruction in Your wrath]: Like the entire first set of Kinot for the morning of Tisha B’Av, the author is Rabbi Eleazar HaKalir. Each stanza asks how did Gd wreak destruction upon His people, and not remember His earlier promises. In a sense, this Kina is blaming Gd for the destruction. Later Kinot will attempt to answer the question, and will come to the conclusion that the destruction came about due to our sins. However, at this early stage, we are not yet ready to think that deeply – we are in the anger stage of mourning. The refrain is: Remember, O Gd, what has happened to us! (from the opening pasuk of Lamentations 5).

אַאֲדֶה עַד חוּג שָׁמַיִם  [Let my laments ascend like vapour to the heavens]:  (HaKalir) It is a general,  personal lament over the destruction.

אֵיכָה תִּפְאַרְתִּי מֵרַאֲשׁוֹתַי הִשְׁלִיכוּ  [How have they cast my glory from my head]: (HaKalir) Each stanza describes the destruction, and includes a section of a pasuk from the Parsha of Beḥukotai (Leviticus 26) that deals with the blessings and the reproof (the Tochaḥa: the reproof or rebuke). The early verses wonder why the blessings are not being fulfilled, and the latter verses admit that the destruction was predicted and even deserved. Through this Kina, we are beginning to accept responsibility for the punishments that we suffered.

אֵיכָה יָשְׁבָה חֲבַצֶּלֶת הַשָּׁרוֹן  [How does the lily of Sharon sit]: (Lily of Sharon is a euphemism for the Nation of Israel, based on Song of Songs 2:1). (HaKalir)  This Kina has 24 stanzas, and is based on the 24 Mishmarot [watches] of Kohanim that served in the Beit Hamikdash in a rotational basis. Some editions of Kinot (e.g. the Authorized Kinot) mention the name of the Mishmar explicitly after each verse. The second verse refers to the famous Midrash of the Kohen Zecharia, the son of Yehoyada, being killed on Yom Kippur (II Chronicles 24:21-22). The first one or two words of each verse comes from the beginning words of the pesukim of the first chapter of Lamentations. Given that there are 24 verses but only 22 pesukim, the words from the last two pesukim are repeated in two verses each.

אֵיכָה אֱלִי  [Take up the lament] Also entitled: וַיְקוֹנֵן יִרְמְיָהוּ עַל יֹאשִׁיָּהוּ  [And Jeremiah lamented over Josiah] (II Chronicles 35:25): (HaKalir) This Kina laments the death of the righteous King Josiah toward the end of the period of the first Beit Hamikdash. Josiah became king at the young age of eight, following the rule of his wicked grandfather and father. He conducted a religious revival in the country. At the age of 39, the Pharaoh of Egypt wished to invade Babylon, and asked permission to cross through Judea. King Josiah refused, going against the advice of Jeremiah, and went out to greet Pharaoh Necho in battle. Josiah was killed. After Josiah’s death, the situation degenerated rapidly as the country was ruled by a succession of four kings, three of whom were Josiah’s sons. The Beit Hamikdash was destroyed a mere 22 years later. The prophet Jeremiah lamented the death of the righteous king, despite his lack of judgment in this case that led to his death. One can only imagine that the religious revival might have averted the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash had Josiah lived a long life, but such was not destined to be the case.

אָהֳלִי אֲשֶׁר תָּאַבְתָּ  [My Temple which You desired]: (HaKalir) The first stich of each verse begins with the word Oholi (My tent or tabernacle – i.e. the Beit Hamikdash). The second stich begins with Lama (why). Each verse expresses wonder as to why the Beit Hamikdash has been in a state of destruction for so long.

אֵי כֹּה אֹמֶר  [Where is that which was said]: (HaKalir) This Kina reviews promises made to the Children of Israel in Biblical times, using the word ko [thus]. It expresses wonder as to what has become of those promises. The end of each verse is based on a fragment of a pasuk from Psalm 74:1-10. This psalm begins with: Why, Gd, did You cast us off forever? The theme of that psalm is very appropriate for a Kina.

אֵיכָה אֵת אֲשֶׁר כְּבָר עָשׂוּהוּ  [How can (we change) something that has already been predetermined]: (HaKalir) This long Kina reviews various failings in our early history that hint to the idea that there will eventually be an exile. Gd confronts Adam with the word Ayecha (where are you – spelled the same as Eicha), after his sin. Adam is then exiled from the Garden of Eden. Abraham foresees the exile in Egypt. Jacob was ready to reveal the End of Days to his children while on his deathbed, but Gd hid it from him. Moses tried to reject his calling to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt. The Mishkan in Shiloh was rejected. Eventually the Beit Hamikdash was destroyed. The Authorized Kinot reverses the order of this Kina and the previous one. Given the flow of the end of one Kina into the beginning of the next one (a common feature of the Kinot by HaKalir), the reversed order makes sense. Most Kinot books, however, do not reverse the order.

אָיכָה אַשְׁפָּתוֹ פָּתוּחַ כְּקֶבֶר  [How was His quiver opened like a grave]:  (HaKalir) This Kina is a general lament over the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and ensuing exile. Gd put us into a state where we would have to eat our own children (Deuteronomy 28:53, Lamentations 4:10). We cried out to Gd, but the heavens were shut. This very long Kina ends with a hope for redemption.

זְכֺר אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה צָר בְּפִנִּים  [Remember what the enemy (Titus) did inside the Temple]: (HaKalir) This Kina is based on Midrashim regarding the destruction of the second Beit Hamikdash. Titus pierced the parochet (curtain before the Holy of Holies) with his sword [95]. He also brought a harlot into the Beit Hamikdash. The western wall of the Temple Mount was left intact, and the Divine Presence never departed from it, yet it did not plead its own case at the time of the destruction. Three boatloads of children were brought to Rome. The girls, realizing that they were destined for immoral purposes, threw themselves into the sea. The boys, realizing that they were destined to be used for purposes of even greater immorality, then followed the girls and threw themselves into the sea. At this point, a heavenly voice was heard: “Why, Gd, are You sleeping?” Once again, the Authorized Kinot reverses the order of this Kina with the preceding one.

אִם תֺּאכַלְנָה נָשִׁים פִּרְיָם  [If women could eat the fruit of their womb]: (HaKalir) This Kina graphically describes the famine at the time of the destruction, where people were forced to eat their own children for survival. Each stanza ends with the refrain: Woe is me! The Kina ends with a wrathful statement by Gd (so to speak): the people cry out when they are forced to eat their own children, but they had no qualms of killing a priest and prophet in the Beit Hamikdash (referring to the killing of Zecharia the son of Yehoyada, as referred to several Kinot previous).

וְאַתָּה אָמַרְתָּ הֵיטֵב אֵיטִיב עִמָּךְ  [And You said, I will surely do good to you]:  (HaKalir) The first stich of each verse notes Gd’s promises and nurturing of the Children of Israel during their early history. The second stich asks why Gd has allowed the destruction to happen, and has not punished the perpetrators. Unlike an earlier Kina, we are no longer blaming Gd. We are, however, still questioning Gd’s actions. We are not yet ready to look into ourselves for the answer. That comes in the following Kina.

לְךָ השׁם הַצְּדָקָה  [Righteousness belongs to You, O Gd]:  (HaKalir) The first stich of each verse notes Gd’s righteousness in his earlier munificent treatment of the Children of Israel. The second stich states that we are to be embarrassed over our sins and challenges to Gd. We are now moving on from questioning Gd’s actions to looking into our own behaviour as the cause of destruction.

הַטֵּה אֱלֹקי אָזְנְךָ  [My Gd, turn Your ear]:  (HaKalir). Each verse asks Gd to turn His ear and heed the calamities that befell His people.

אַרְזֵי הַלְּבָנוֹן אַדִּירֵי הַתּוֹרָה  [Cedars of Lebanon, mighty in the Torah]: This is the first of the non-Kalirian Kinot of the daytime Kinot service. Its author is Meir the son of Rabbi Yeḥiel. This Kina rehashes the story of the ten martyrs of the Roman government. It is analogous to the Eileh Ezkera Seliḥa of Yom Kippur Musaf (see a full description in the Seliḥot section of this book). Unlike its Yom Kippur counterpart, the Tisha B’Av version does not focus on the initial Midrashic story of the judgment and accusation, but rather on the martyrdom itself. On Yom Kippur, the story is meant to lead us to repentance. On Tisha B’Av the story is meant to highlight the tragedies of our history and increase our sense of grief.

הַחֲרִישׁוּ מִמֶּנִּי וַאֲדַבֵּרָה  [Leave me in silence, so I may speak]: The authorship is unclear. The Mossad Harav Kook Kinot states that the author is unknown. The Authorized Kinot states that it is Eleazar (not HaKalir) or Yeḥiel. The refrain is: I am overcome with my complaint, so I moan, and I raise my voice in wailing! This Kina is a general lament over the destruction. In one verse, it calls upon the angels to cry out. In another poignant verse, it calls on the Torah to gird itself with sackcloth, for who will study and observe it, if there are no Jewish people? The Kina concludes with a call for Gd to avenge our blood that has been poured out like water.

וְאֶת נָוִי חַטָּאתִי הִשְׁמִימָה  [My sin caused the desolation]: (Same unclear authorship as previous Kina). The refrain is: I will moan from year to year. This Kina is based on a story recorded in Gemara Gittin 58a. The son and daughter of the last Kohen Gadol, Rabbi Yishmael the son of Elisha, were taken to Rome and sold as slaves. The two slavemasters met in the marketplace, and extolled the beauty of their respective slaves. They decided to mate their slaves, and to form a business partnership to produce a new generation of fine slaves. They placed them in a dark room at night. Each sat in a corner, weeping all night, not recognizing each other. The brother said, “How can I, a descendant of Aaron the Priest, marry a slave girl?” The sister wailed, “How can I, a descendent of Yocheved, marry a slave?” In the morning, they recognized each other. They embraced and, overcome with emotion, died simultaneously. Whether or not this Aggadaic story is factually true, it poignantly highlights the tragedies that ensued with the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.

עַל חָרְבָּן בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ  [Over the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash]:  (HaKalir) This Kina stresses that we lament anew each year over both Batei Mikdash and their vessels. Among other items, it lists the rods of the ark, the veil, the Holy of Holies, the twin pillars, the ten tables, and the wash basins.

מִי יִתֵּן רֹאשִׁי מַיִם וְעֵינִי מְקוֹר נוֹזְלַי  [O would it be that my head was water, and my eyes a source of tears}: The author is Rabbi Kalonymus the son of Yehuda. The theme of this Kina is the destruction of the communities of Worms, Speyer, and Mainz (Mayence) during the time of the Crusades. On Tisha B’Av, we mourn not only the destruction of the two Batei Mikdash, but also the long string of calamities that afflicted the Jewish People throughout the long exile. The refrain is: For the House of Israel and the People of Gd, for they were felled by the sword.

אָז בַּהֲלוֹךְ יִרְמְיָהוּ עַל קִבְרֵי אָבוֹת  [Then, when Jeremiah went to the burial place of the ancestors]:  (HaKalir). This Kina is based on an Aggada in Eicha Rabba 24. As the destruction approached, Jeremiah went to the burial places of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and Aaron to ask them to approach Gd and beg for mercy for His nation. In each case, Gd responds that He cannot forgive the sins. Jeremiah eventually visits the burial places of the matriarchs. He sees Leah beating her chest, her sister Rachel weeping for her children (Jeremiah 31:14, from the Haftarah of the second day of Rosh Hashanah, and obviously the Biblical inspiration for the Aggada as well as this Kina), Zilpah beating her face, and Bilha lamenting with her two hands. Gd is moved by the lamentations of the matriarchs, and promises that the children will be returned from exile (Jeremiah 31:16). All the commentaries note that this Kina is a follow-on to the subsequent Kina. It is unclear why the order is reversed.

אָז בִּמְלֹאת סֶפֶק יָפָה כְּתִרְצָה  [Behold, at the time when Israel was as beautiful as Tirzah]:  (HaKalir). As Jeremiah left the Beit Hamikdash, he was urged by a beautiful woman who had become repulsive (the Mossad Harav Kook Kinot states that this is a euphemism for the People of Israel who had become sullied with sin) to go and pray to Gd to avert the destruction. Jeremiah does so, and Gd suggests that he go to the graves of the patriarchs as well as Moses and Aaron to intercede. Jeremiah goes to Mearat Hamachpelah to urge the patriarchs to raise their voices. The story continues in the previous Kina.

אֵיךְ תְּנַחֲמוּנִי הֶבֶל  [How can you offer me empty comfort]:  (HaKalir). The Shechina (Divine Presence) Herself mourns over the destruction. Each verse ends with: And how can I be comforted?  The second verse states that the mourning has now extended for more than one thousand years. (Given the assumed timeframe of Rabbi Eleazar HaKalir, this would be dated from the destruction of the first Beit Hamikdash). The final verse notes that Gd will look down from heaven, raise the people up from the grave, and then the Shechina will be comforted.

אָמַרְתִּי שְׁעוּ מִנִּי בִּבְכִי אֲמָרֵר  [I said, “Look away from me while I weep bitterly”]:  This Kina was written by Kalonymus the son of Yehuda. It deals extensively with the steadfastness of the Jewish people at times of adversity, as they willingly give up their lives al Kiddush Hashem [in sanctification of the Divine Name]. They refuse to take part in idolatry. The Kinot Hameforash by Rabbi Shlomo Weintraub notes that this Kina may be based on the persecutions by the Greeks at the time of Antiochus. In one poignant verse, we are told “Who can hear the father recite Shema while his son is being slaughtered, and not shed tears.” Sadly, stories of this nature have taken place in our day and age as well [96]. Toward the end of this long Kina, we implore Gd to avenge the Children of Israel, to count the drops of blood shed, and to execute judgment upon the nations. We are weary of bearing the hardship, and ask Gd to hasten the redemption.

מְעוֹנֵי שָׁמַיִם שְׁחָקִים יִזְבְּלוּךָ מְלֵאִים מֵהוֹדְךָ  [The skies and heavenly abodes are filled with Your glory]:  This Kina was written by Menaḥem the son of Yaakov. Each verse ends with the word Bayit – referring to the Beit Hamikdash. The Kina talks about the glory of the Beit Hamikdash, and laments its loss. It ends with a request for the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash.

אֵשׁ תּוּקַד בְּקִרְבִּי  [A fire is lit within me]: The author of this Kina is unknown. It compares the glory, splendour, and joy when we left Egypt with the degradation and mourning when we left Jerusalem. The final verse notes the gladness and joy, as the agony and sighing disappear when we will return to Jerusalem. A mournful melody exists for this Kina.

אֶצְבְּעוֹתַי שָׁפְלוּ וְאָשְׁיוֹתַי נָפְלוּ  [My power has sunk low, and my foundations have fallen]:  The author of this Kina is Baruch the son of Shmuel. It laments the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and its vessels, as well as the absence of the sacrifices. The first stich of each verse ends with oya [woe or alas], and the second stich ends with “O, what has befallen us.” The final verse implores Gd to ingather the dispersed people, and be our source of salvation.

אֵבֶל אֲעוֹרֵר  [I raise lamentation]:  The author is Menaḥem the son of Machir. Each verse ends in alternating fashion with oya li or alelai li, both of which translate as “Woe is me!” The theme is the destruction of the Jewish communities of Western Europe during the Crusades. This is the second of two Kinot based on the Crusades. The year 4856, which is the 11th year of the 256th 19-year cycle of years, is mentioned explicitly. This year corresponds to 1096 CE, the year of the beginning of the First Crusade.

יוֹם אַכְפִּי הִכְבַּדְתִּי וַיִּכְפְּלוּ עֲוֺנַי  [The day my burden was made heavy and my sin was doubled]:  This Kina was written by Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, the author of the Kuzari. The refrain is: He has increased mourning and lamentation within the daughter of Judah (Lamentations 2:5). The Kina is an elaboration on the story of the blood of Zecharia the prophet. The murder of Zecharia has been alluded to in two earlier Kinot. The blood of the murdered prophet and priest remained frothing for several hundred years, refusing to rest until it was avenged. As Nevuzaradan was entering the Temple and learned why the blood was frothing like the raging sea, he took it upon himself to avenge the blood. He stabbed hundreds of elders and myriads of youths. Children were killed as their mothers were watching, and then the mothers were killed. Eventually Nevuzaradan lifted his heart toward heaven, and wondered whether he had killed enough people to avenge the blood, or whether the intention was to wipe out the entire nation.

שׁכֻרַת וְלֹא מִיַּיִן  [Drunk but not from wine]:  This opening is a reference to the distressed Nation of Israel, which is drunk from its tribulations (Isaiah 51:21). The author is Shlomo Gerondi. The refrain is: Cry out before Gd on the destruction of your Temple, and raise up your hands for the lives of your children. The Kina is a call for the Jewish people to cry out to Gd for mercy. Although not officially one of the Zionides (the Odes to Zion) [97], which form the subsequent set of Kinot, this Kina begins to talk to Zion and Jerusalem in the second person. The style comes from the chapters of Isaiah that are used in the Haftarot of consolation following Tisha B’Av (e.g. see Haftarah of Eikev [98]).

צִיּוֹן הֲלֹא תִשְׁאֲלִי לִשְׁלוֹם אֲסִירַיִךְ  [Zion, will you not inquire about the welfare of your captives?]:  This is the first and most famous of the set of Zionide Kinot [97]. The author is Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi. As in all the Zionides, Zion is addressed in the second person. Yehuda HaLevi expresses his longing to be granted wings so he could fly to the Holy Land, visit its ruins, take delight in it stones, and supplicate at the graves of the patriarchs, as well as at the graves of Moses and Aaron beyond the Jordan River. In our day, when a journey to Israel is relatively easy, the recitation of this Kina should give pause for thought to those, myself included, who have not availed ourselves of the opportunity to make Israel our home, which is much easier now than in previous centuries. The final verse states that those who wait and see the rising of Zion’s light at the time of the restoration will be most fortunate. The first line of this Kina is a popular modern song [99].

צִיּוֹן קְחִי כָּל צֳרִי גִלְעָד לְצִירָיִךְ  [Zion, if you were to take all the balm of Gilead]: The author of this Kina is Avraham Haḥozeh, whom some identify as Avraham ibn Ezra. Others hold that this Kina was written by Shlomo ibn Gabirol. This Zionide Kina extols the beauty of the geographical features, the flora, the fauna, and even the astronomical and zodiacal aspects of the Land of Israel. It reminisces about how wonderful it was when the tribes came up to Jerusalem for the festivals three times a year, when Israel had a king, army officers, judges, and scholars. It concludes with a wish to see Zion once again in its glory, and a blessing of abundant peace upon Zion.

צִיּוֹן עֲטֶרֶת צְבִי שִׂמְחַת הֲמוֹנַיִךְ  [Zion, once the crown of glory, and the joy of your crowds]: The author of this Zionide Kina is Eleazar the son of Moshe HaDarshan of Wurzburg. The angels, the deceased people awaiting resurrection, as well as the author of the Kina himself, all seek the peace and welfare of Zion. The Kina laments the destruction, and reminisces about the vessels of the Beit Hamikdash, the priestly garb, and the annual visit of the Kohen Gadol to the Holy of Holies on Yom Kippur. It ends with a verse, reminiscent of Lecha Dodi, asking Zion to arouse itself and raise itself from the dust.

צִיּוֹן תְּקוֹנְנִי עֲלֵי בֵיתֵךְ אֲשֶׁר נִשְׂרַף  [Zion lament for your house that was burnt]:  The author of this Zionide Kina is Rabbi Asher Cohen. Zion is called upon to raise up its weeping and lamentation over the destruction. Zion is asked to go to the Mearat Hamachpela, where Sarah, Rachel, Leah, Bilha, and Zilpa will join in the weeping. (It is interesting that Rebecca is not mentioned, and that Rachel, who is mentioned, is not buried in Mearat Hamachpela. We do not know the burial places of Bilha and Zilpa.) With all this lamenting, Gd will surely hear, and there will be hope for peace in the future.

צִיּוֹן יְדִידוּת יְדִיד צָעִיר לְשָׂרַיִךְ  [Zion, the most beloved, the youngest of Your princes]:  The author’s name is Yaakov. Zion was founded during the spring, but was destroyed in the month of Av. This Zionide Kina portrays the glory of the Beit Hamikdash. The joy of the festivals is described, and the author wonders how we can still rejoice on Purim and Sukkot. The latter part of this Kina looks forward to the time when the glory will return. Zion (portrayed in the feminine in all the Zionide Kinot – although a masculine form is used in the opening words of this Kina) is not too old to have a husband (the husband being Gd). Gd will redeem Zion with His strength, and will become its crown of glory.

 שַׁאֲלִי שְׂרוּפָה בָּאֵשׁ לִשְׁלוֹם אֲבֵלַיִךְ  [You that have been burnt with fire, seek the welfare of those who mourn for you]:  The author is Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg. This is not a Zionide Kina, although it is written in the same style and appears in the middle of the Zionide section of the Kinot service. The subject is the Torah itself. The Kina is based upon the public burning of the Talmud in Paris on June 17th, 1242 [200]. The Kina asks Mount Sinai to join in the mourning, and expresses a wish to ask Moses and Aaron if there is a new law to replace the Torah that has been burnt. At the end, the Kina states that the Torah will once again adorn itself with its scarlet garments, and those who observe it will dance around it.

צִיּוֹן צְפִירַת פְּאֵר  [Zion, diadem of beauty]:  The author of this Zionide Kina  is Rabbi Meir the son of Eleazar HaDarshan. Zion is urged to call out to the Heavenly Jerusalem to entreat on her behalf. Though Zion’s husband (Gd) has rejected her, there was never a bill of divorce (based on Isaiah 50:1). The author laments that the service of the Beit Hamikdash is no longer taking place. The time of Zion’s rebirth has been delayed for a long time. If Zion cries out to Gd, Gd should be ready to respond, as He has in His hands the four keys of the Beit Hamikdash.

צִיּוֹן בְּמִשְׁפָּט לְכִי לָךְ עִם מְעוֹנְנַיִךְ  [Zion, go forth to a judgments against your false prophets]: The author of this Zionide Kina is Yosef the son of Yaakov or Ḥaim. Zion is urged to cry out against the false prophets who misled her. Zion sinned by not listening to the true prophets who tried to direct her properly. Zion is told to cleanse her heart and hands, and return to her husband (i.e. Gd). Zion will eventually be redeemed, as Gd promised her eternal blessings. The day will come when the Kohanim will once again serve in the Beit Hamikdash.

צִיּוֹן גְּבֶרֶת לְמַמְלָכוֹת מְצִירַיִךְ  [Zion, you are the Queen of the kingdoms of your oppressors]:  The author of this final Zionide Kina is unknown. Zion’s captive children offer her their greetings. The author laments the destruction, and the loss of the vessels of the Beit Hamikdash. The constellations in the heavens also weep over the destruction. Zion is urged to return to her husband (i.e. Gd). The Kina ends with the author stating that he will rejoice on the day that the herald proclaims peace and rest, and seeks peace for Zion’s captives (based on Isaiah 41:27).

אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶיהָ   [Mourn, O Zion and its cities (alternatively: Mourn for Zion and its cities)]: This is one of the most famous of Kinot, albeit its authorship is unknown. Zion is called upon (or alternatively, we are called upon) to mourn for all that has been lost: the Beit Hamikdash that has been destroyed, the exile, the daily sacrifices, the nobility, the loss of the Sanhedrin, the glory of Gd that has departed, the name of Gd that has been profaned. We are also to mourn over the rejoicing of the enemies of Zion, the sins that caused the destruction, and the voices of those who abused Zion. The refrain is: Mourn O (or for) Zion and its cities, like a woman in the pain of childbirth, and like a young women dressed in sackcloth mourning the husband of her youth. The question is asked: Why is the imagery of mourning based upon a woman in childbirth? The pain of a woman in childbirth is a prelude to the greatest joy in life, the giving birth of children. This may be a hint that in spite of the mourning, or perhaps through the mourning, we can look forward to the rebirth and restoration.

The congregation rises from the floor for the singing of Kina (Eili Tzion). Some say that this is because the theme of this Kina is relatively milder than the preceding Kinot. I find this reason somewhat strange, as the theme of the Kina is a general call to lament for everything that has been lost. Unlike many other Kinot, it does not conclude with a note of comfort. Perhaps it is because we are reaching the end of the Kinot service, so we symbolically rise off the floor despite our mourning, as we look forward to better times. Eili Tzion is sung to a unique, haunting melody, which is also often used for Lecha Dodi on the Friday night preceding Tisha B’Av, as well as Shir Hamaalot prior to Birkat Hamazon on Shabbat Ḥazon. Like the trope of Eicha itself, Eli Tzion has become the signature melody for Tisha B’Av [101].

Following Eili Tzion, the final two Kinot of the evening service, שֹׁמְרוֹן קוֹל, and עַד אָנָה are repeated. The congregation sits on the floor again for these final two Kinot. Then the Kinot service ends with the supplication and pesukim looking forward to the restoration (תְּרַחֵם צִיּוֹן). In the pamphlet-style Kinot books, there is generally no instruction to repeat these Kinot, however the instruction is clear in the more detailed Kinot books. It is very important to end the service with the pesukim of comfort and restoration.

 

Additional Kinot of Tisha B’Av Morning – Martyrs of York, Boppart and the Isles of the Sea (i.e. Britain)

Rabbi Abraham Rosenfeld, the author of the Authorized Kinot, includes two additional Kinot that lament the massacres of York and Boppart. He places these Kinot just before Eili Tzion. Given that the Authorized Kinot was published in the United Kingdom, the inclusion of Kinot of special relevance to British Jewry is most appropriate, even though these Kinot are not generally recited by congregations around the world. The first of these Kinot, Elokim Balunu [O Gd, other lords have ruled over us], dedicated to the martyrs of York, was written by Yosef of Chartres. The second Kina, dedicated to the martyrs of Boppart (or Boppard) as well as York, Ma Tithapchi [Sword, why do you turn in all directions] was written by Menaḥem the son of Yaakov.

The York Massacre of March 16, 1190 resulted in the murder or suicide of the entire Jewish community of the city of York, approximately 150 people. A wild mob threatened the Jews, giving them the choice between forced baptism or being burnt alive. The Jews took refuge in a castle known as Clifford’s Tower. Seeing that there was no other recourse, the entrapped Jews took council with the sages present, and decided to commit mass suicide rather than submit. The majority of the Jews committed suicide. They killed their wives and children, and then set the wooden castle on fire to end their own lives. Those who did not take their own lives were killed by the mob of rioters. Boppard is a town in the Koblenz district of Germany. Various massacres and blood libels took place there in 1179, 1196, and 1297. All these events took place during the period of the Crusades.

For a history of the York Massacre, see:

http://www.historyofyork.org.uk/themes/norman/the-1190-massacre

https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/cliffords-tower-york/history-and-stories/massacre-of-the-jews/

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/the-york-massacre-as-described-by-ephraim-of-bonn-1190

A shiur on the Kina of the York Martyrs can be found at: https://mizrachi.org/threeweeks/kina-for-the-york-martyrs-the-crusades-cliffords-tower/

The full text of the Kina for the York martyrs in both English and Hebrew can be found at: https://davka.org/where/travel/england2009/20090316.html

For a description of the massacres of Boppart (Boppard), see https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/boppard-jewish-virtual-library

 

Additional Kinot of Tisha B’Av Morning – The Shoah

Since the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, our people have known much tribulation, massacre and bloodshed. A Kinot service of several days in duration would be insufficient to outline the entire sad history of the persecutions and torments that the Jewish people have suffered over the past two millennia – encompassing degradation, crusades, inquisitions, blood libels, massacres, accusations of desecration of the host (i.e. Jesus present in the form of the wafer), accusations of causing black death, expulsions, pogroms, wars, ghettos, gas chambers, einsatzgruppen, terrorism, and intifadas. The Crusades are represented in the Kinot service, and, as noted above, the British Jewish community has included two Kinot that reflect the tribulations visited upon British Jewry. On the other hand, the Spanish Inquisition and expulsion from Spain (which took place on Tisha B’Av of 1492), the myriad of persecutions through the Middle Ages, the Gezerot of Tach VeTat (the Chmielnicki Massacres of 1648-1649), and the pogroms of Eastern Europe are not mentioned in the Ashkenazic Kinot service. This may be reflective of the fact that the Jewish liturgical authors (paytanim) were most active during the times of the Crusades, and the art of elegy was not as prevalent during the later periods. Perhaps our people were too weary with sorrow to write elegies over all the tragic events of our history. (Some such Kinot exist in the Sephardic tradition  [102].)

With all this, the Holocaust takes a special place in our annals of sorrow and tribulation. It is unique in magnitude, as well as in the cold, calculated way in which it was planned and carried out. It is also quite fresh in the Jewish psyche, having occurred within the past century. At the time of writing, we still have elderly Holocaust survivors in our midst – may they be blessed  with long lives. As such, it became impossible to ignore the Holocaust on Tisha B’Av, and several Kinot have been written to lament the horrific disaster that befell our people from 1939-1945.

There is some controversy about how best to mark the Shoah within our liturgy. There is an opinion that we cannot tamper with the Kinot service, as nobody in our times is at the level of the authors of the original Kinot. Others say that the memorialization of the Shoah deserves its own special day – and Yom Hashoah (27 of Nisan) has been designated for that purpose. Yet Yom Hashoah is not universally accepted within the Orthodox world for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons put forward are that it was an invention of the secular Israeli government, that it takes place in the month of Nisan when no mourning should occur, that we should not be adding days of mourning to our calendar, and that Tisha B’Av already fulfils the general role of mourning for all of the tragedies of our people. Even if one objects to any liturgical or religious significance to the 27th of Nisan, nobody should have any objection to Yom Hashoah serving as a day of Holocaust education and awareness. An attempt has been made to designate the 10th of Tevet as a general day of mourning for the Holocaust, but this has not received widespread acceptance.

This controversy should not be taken in bad light. Liturgical changes and additions, even ones that do not tamper with the essence of the normal prayer service, are not easily introduced within Orthodox tradition. However, the necessity of some formal liturgical commemoration of the Shoah eventually found its way into normative Orthodox practice. It is now commonplace in most congregations to recite a Kina in commemoration of the Shoah. Furthermore, the victims of the Shoah are memorialized with a special Kel Maleh Rachamim during the Yizkor service four times a year. In the opinion of this author, a Kinot service on Tisha B’Av without mention of the Shoah is incomplete and deficient.

At least five Kinot exist in commemoration of the Shoah. There is no need to recite all five to discharge what I regard as an imperative to commemorate the Shoah on Tisha B’Av. One would suffice, and one can choose any of the existing Kinot, although all four are worthy of study. The place for the recitation of the Kina for the Shoah is just prior to Eili Tzion, toward the end of the Kinot service. The Mesoret Harav Kinot, published by Koren, includes all five of these Kinot in English translation. Other Kinot books include one or two of them. These five Kinot are as follows:

אֱלִי, אֱלִי נַפְשִׁי בְּכִי  [Lament, lament, my soul weeps]:  This Kina was written by the late Holocaust survivor Yehuda Leib Bialer (1896-1977) in 1945, after his return to Warsaw at the conclusion of the war. It is written with the same poetic meter of Eili Tzion, and can be sung to the same haunting melody. It mentions the death camps of Auschwitz, Treblinka and Majdanek. It notes the crowded railway cars, the victims buried alive in pits, the desecration of the holy books, the gas chambers, the deaths of the righteous sages, the youth who mounted resistance, and the Kiddush Hashem. Given the poignancy, the melody, the fact that it was written almost immediately after the Shoah, and its general survey of the story of the Shoah, this Kina is a wonderful means of memorializing the Shoah on our day of national tragedy [103]. I frequently use this Kina when I conduct a Kinot service.

אֵיכָה תּפְאַרְתֵּנוּ  [How did You cast down our glory]:  This Kina was written by Rabbi Abraham Rosenfeld, the translator and compiler of the Authorized Kinot – the first English translation of the Kinot service, published first in 1965, well before Artscroll and Koren came on the scene. It is a threefold acrostic. It mentions the camps of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Majdanek, and Treblinka. It notes the gas chambers, the crematoria, as well as the brave fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto. It discusses the desecration of the Torah scrolls and the destruction of the Yeshivot and academies. It states that the victims gnawed the dry ground because of hunger, that women of virtue took their own lives, and the sound of the weeping could be heard as far as the Red Sea. It concludes with a plea for redemption, and a request that the State of Israel blossom. Given that Rabbi Rosenfeld provides a fine English translation, readily available in the Authorized Kinot as well as the Mesoret Harav Kinot by Koren, this Kina fits very well into an English language explanatory Kinot service.

זִכְרוּ נָא וְקוֹנְנוּ כׇּל יִשְׂרָאֵל  [Remember, and let all of Israel grieve]:  This Kina was written by the Bobover Rebbe (1908-2000), Rabbi Shlomo Halberstam, who lost his parents, his first wife, and all but one child in the Shoah. He later remarried in the United States and built a new family. He and his son also rebuilt the Bobov Hassidic community. Rabbi Halberstam wrote this Kina in 1984. Until that time, he did not feel himself worthy of writing a Kina, but in his older age, he felt the imperative to do so. The Kina notes the death by starvation and thirst, the people crowded into cattle cars to be taken to the crematoria, the calls of Shema Yisrael as the martyrs were being taken to their deaths, the deaths of the Yeshiva leaders and students, the deaths of the young children, and the burning of the synagogues, Beis Midrashes, and Torah scrolls. It calls out for revenge, and begs for the rebuilding of the Beit Hamikdash. The Sefaria online Kinot includes this Kina, along with an English translation [106].

הַזוֹכֵר מַזֽכִּירָיו  [He Who remembers those Who remember Him]:  This Kina was written by Rabbi Shimon Schwab (1908-1995), a rabbi both in pre-war Germany and post-war United States [107]. From 1958, he was the rabbi of Kehillat Adath Jeshurun in Washington Heights. He managed to leave Germany with his family in 1936, prior to the Shoah, as the situation in Germany was rapidly degenerating. This Kina was written at the request of Rabbi Breuer, the head of the congregation at the time, and is recited in Kehillat Adath Jeshurun at the end of the evening Kinot, but can certainly be recited as part of the day Kinot as well. It laments the destruction of the communities, notes the number 6,000,000, the rivers of blood and tears, the mockery and derision, the pillars of smoke from the crematoria, the piles of corpses, and the infamous “Right and left” gesture during the selektions. It makes mention of the gruesome medical experiments by the sadistic doctors, the loss of children to Judaism in the Christian monasteries, and the calls of Shema Yisrael of the martyrs. The nation was left like an orphan, and the victims have no gravestones. It concludes with a request for Gd’s mercy. The text of this Kina in both Hebrew and English has been made available online by Artscroll [108].

סְלַח נָא   [Please Forgive] : This Kina was written by Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandl, who had unsuccessfully tried to save the Jews of Slovakia during the war. He lost his entire family during the Shoah, and remarried and built a second family after the war. He then rebuilt the Nitra Yeshiva in Mount Kisco, New York. Aside from lamenting the destruction of the Shoah, Rabbi Weissmandl gives vent to his personal frustration by decrying the disinterest of the nations of the world to the plight of the Jewish people. I have been unable to find a full English translation of this Kina. The full Hebrew version can be found at: Rabbi Weissmandl Kina

A biography of Rabbi Weissmandl can be found at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Dov_Weissmandl

A comprehensive article on Rabbi Weissmandl and the Kina can be found in the Torah To-Go publication of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary – YU Center for the Jewish Future [July 2021] at https://www.yutorah.org/togo/tishabav/ (search for Weissmandl)

 

These are the five Kinot of the Shoah, written by a Holocaust survivor when the wounds were still very fresh, a British rabbi and scholar, a Hassidic Admor who lost his first family in the Holocaust and then rebuilt his family and community, a leading German rabbi who himself suffered during the early days of Nazi Germany, and a Slovakian sage who did his utmost to save his brethren and went on to reestablish the Nitra Yeshiva in the United States. All with different experiences, and all lamenting the same colossal tragedy in different words. All five Kinot are worthy additions to the corpus of piyyutim that have been added to the Jewish treasury of prayer throughout the millennia. All are testimonies to the strength and resilience of Am Yisrael. All are worthy of recitation and study on Tisha B’Av, and indeed on any occasion of Holocaust remembrance.

 

Tikkun Ḥatzot

Tikkun Ḥatzot is a non-obligatory set of prayers lamenting the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. It is recited in the middle of the night, usually but not invariably in private. Derech Hashem 6:16 (by Rabbi Moshe Chayim Luzzatto) states that this non-obligatory prayer service was instituted for the second part of the night, analogous to Minḥa in the second part of the day, by King David, based on Psalm 119:62 : חֲצוֹת לַיְלָה אָקוּם לְהוֹדוֹת לָךְ עַל מִשְׁפְּטֵי צִדְקֶךָ  [I will arise in the middle of the night to give thanks to You for Your righteous statutes]. Since King David was on a lower level than the patriarchs who instituted the three main daily prayers, it was not instituted as an absolute obligation. According to this theory of authorship, the theme would have been a general supplication when it was first instituted, and it would have only become a lament after the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash.

There are two parts to Tikkun Ḥatzot: Tikkun Raḥel and Tikkun Leah. Tikkun Raḥel is only to be recited on days when Taḥanun is said, and is to be recited sitting on the ground, while not wearing leather shoes. Tikkun Leah is recited following Tikkun Raḥel, even on days when Taḥanun is not said. One need not sit on the floor for Tikkun Leah. In accordance with many opinions, it can be recited even on Shabbat and Yom Tov. Both parts consist of various selections from the Tanach. Tikkun Raḥel also contains a set of five Kinot, hence my inclusion of Tikkun Ḥatzot in this section of the book.

One can find Tikkun Ḥatzot in some Siddurim, including Otzar Hatefillot, Tefillat Kol Peh Hashalem, Siddur Tefillah Hashalem, and Siddur Minchat Yerushalayim Kol Bo Hashalem. It can also be found online [109].

The structure of Tikkun Raḥel is as follows:

  • One places ashes on the forehead and recites Isaiah 61:3: [Mechon Mamre]: To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them a garland for ashes.
  • One then remove one’s shoes, washes one’s hands (assuming one has risen from bed), sits on the floor, and recites the Vidui: Ashamnu, Mah Nomar, Atah Yodeah, but stops just before Al Ḥet. Whereas all other recitations of the Vidui are to be done in a standing position, the Vidui of Tikkun Ḥatzot is to be recited while sitting on the floor.
  • Psalm 137 (Al Neharot Bavel), Psalm 79, and the fifth chapter of the Book of Lamentations.
  • A set of pesukim lamenting the destruction. These start with Isaiah 63:15-18 and Isaiah 64:7-11.
  • The first Kina: Hikabtzu Veshimu [Gather and listen]: This ten-verse Kina was written by Rabbi Moshe Alshich (1508-1593) [110]. This Kina asks the Jewish people to rend their hearts and confess their sins. It laments the exile of the Shechina, and calls upon Gd to return to us. The final verse looks forward to the restoration.
  • The second Kina: Kol BeRamah [A voice in Ramah]: This eight-verse Kina was written by Rabbi Ḥaim HaKohen of Aleppo (Aram Tzova) (1585-1655) [111]. The refrain is: A voice of wailing is heard in Ramah (i.e. the voice of Mother Raḥel), a voice of crying from the praiseworthy Zion. Raḥel, or perhaps Zion, laments that she was once full of glory, but has now been cast off and gone into exile. She asks the Merciful Father to return Himself to Zion.
  • The third Kina: Ad Matai  [Until when?]: The authorship is unknown. This Kina asks for how long will Gd’s nation have to continue weeping over the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash; for how long will Gd forget about us; for how long will the victorious nations rejoice.
  • The fourth Kina: Beheichalecha Shamir Vashayit  [In Your sanctuary there are thistles and briers]: The authorship is unknown. This short Kina laments the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, and concludes with a request for its rebuilding. Each stanza ends with the word Bayit.
  • The fifth Kina: Al Heichali Evkeh Yomam Valayla  [I will weep day and night for my sanctuary]: The authorship is unknown. The first half of this Kina laments the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. Oholo and Oholiba (as in the Shomron Kol Kina of Tisha B’Av) are mentioned in the third verse. The middle verse asks the nation to strengthen itself so that the Beit Hamikdash can be rebuilt. The final four verses begin with the words Urah Na [Arise now], asking Gd to rise up, comfort His nation, and send the redeemer to Zion.
  • At this point, one rises from the floor and recites several pesukim of comfort. These pesukim vary by custom, but include Isaiah 52:2 and 62:6-9.

 

The structure of Tikkun Leah is as follows:

  • Tikkun Leah is not recited on the floor. One can sit on a chair.
  • According to the standard custom, it begins with the Ashamnu Vidui. This would be omitted on days when Taḥanun is not said.
  • Psalms 24, 42, 43, 20 (omitted on days where Taḥanun is not said), 67, 111.
  • Isaiah 24:20-21.
  • On days when  Taḥanun is said, Psalm 51 (the confession of King David upon being confronted by Nathan over the sin of Batsheva).
  • Several pesukim of comfort are recited.
  • Some sources [112] mention a poem by Rabbi Ḥaim HaKohen: Dodi Yarad Legano [My Beloved has gone down to His garden].
  • The prayer for the restoration of the Beit Hamikdash from the Musaf of the Shalosh Regalim (Elokeinu Velokei Avoteinu, Melech Raḥaman).
  • At this point, one is supposed to study some Torah. The standard version includes the first chapter of Mishnah Tamid, dealing with the guarding of the Beit Hamikdash at night, the removal of the ashes, and the preparations for the daily service. The Nusaḥ Ari version recommends the study of Zohar and Ḥasidut.

 

Elegies Following the Avoda of Yom Kippur Musaf

Following the Avoda service of Yom Kippur Musaf, right after Mareh Kohen, there is a series of 14 elegies lamenting the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash. These elegies are generally not classified as Kinot, but they certainly resemble such in style, and especially in content. After reminiscing about the unique service in the Beit Hamikdash on Yom Kippur, it is quite logical and well within the spirit of the day to lament our inability to fulfil this service in this day and age. The change in mood from the ecstatic Mareh Kohen piyyut to this set of elegies is quite dramatic. Unlike the Kinot of Tisha B’Av and Tikkun Raḥel, this set of elegies is not said while sitting on the floor.

On Yom Kippur, the quintessential day of prayer, the service includes Yotzrot, Kerovot, Seliḥot, and, at this juncture, a section of Kinot. All are integral to the Yom Kippur prayer experience. When time is of the essence, and some skipping is called for, there is a tendency to skip some or all of this section. One misses an important part of the service by skipping this entire section, and at least one of these Kinot should be recited even if time is of essence. After reciting the Avoda, some element of lamentation for the lack of our ability to perform the actual Avoda is called for.

This series of elegies is generally read silently by the congregation. There are no musical or cantorial renditions, and the prayer leader does not even recite the end of each piyyut aloud.

The authorship of this set of elegies is unclear. The Artscroll Maḥzor states that these were written by an anonymous paytan. The Birnbaum Maḥzor states that these piyyutim were composed by various medieval authors, including Rabbi Solomon ibn Gabirol, Rabbi Yehuda HaLevi, Rabbi Moshe ibn Ezra [113], and Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra. However, Birnbaum does not identify the specific authorship of the individual elegies.

The series of elegies is introduced with the statement:  All this took place when the Beit Hamikdash existed upon its foundation, the sanctuary was on its site, and the Kohen Gadol stood and performed his service. His generation watched and rejoiced. The fourteen elegies are as follows:

אַשְׁרֵי עַֽיִן  [Happy is the eye]:  This elegy reviews various aspects of the service of the Beit Hamikdash, especially on Yom Kippur, but also the water drawing of Sukkot. The refrain is: Our soul grieves at the mention of it.

אֲבָל עֲו‍ֹנוֹת אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ הֶחֱרִֽיבוּ נָוֶה  [The sins of our fathers caused our home to be destroyed]: This elegy laments the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash and the delay of the redemption, but notes that remembering this can bring forgiveness. It then reviews the importance and power of Yom Kippur.

וּמֵרוֹב עֲו‍ֹנֵֽינוּ  [Because of our many sins]: This elegy reviews aspects of the Beit Hamikdash that we no longer have. It is a double acrostic, with 44 stiches.

וּמֵעֵת חָסַֽרְנוּ כָּל אֵֽלֶּה  [From the time that these were taken away]:  This elegy describes the terrible tribulations of the exile that followed the destruction of the Beit Hamikash. It concludes with: How can we find rest?

וּמִשֶּׁחָרַב בֵּית מִקְדָּשֵֽׁנוּ  [From the time our Beit Hamikdash was destroyed]:  This elegy continues to review the various tribulations of the post-Temple period. Calamities grow every day, those who practise falsehood are in power, we are bereft of everything, we have said that death is better than life, we have been cut off and are lost. It ends with a plea for Gd to send salvation.

אַל תַּֽעַשׂ עִמָּֽנוּ כָּלָה  [Do not put an end to us]:  This elegy is a plea for Gd’s redemption.

וְהֵן אָֽנוּ עַתָּה  [And now we are]:  This elegy laments our sorry state. We are like captives with nobody to redeem us, like starving people with nobody to feed us, like poor people with nobody to show mercy…

אִם תָּעִֽינוּ לֹא תַתְעֵֽנוּ  [Even though we have strayed, do not make us stray]:  This elegy begs for Gd’s mercy despite our sins.

וּמֵרוֹב עֲו‍ֹנֵֽינוּ  [Because of our many sins]:  This elegy once again describes our sorry state that resulted from our sins. We have not fulfilled our heart’s desire, we were met with wrath rather than peace, salvation is distant, we are filled with disappointment…

תֹּאמַר לִמְחוֹת אֲשָׁמֵֽינוּ  [Command to erase our sins]:  This elegy once again asks for Gd’s mercy.  We beg for the Messianic era to draw near. We ask that Gd be close to us.

אוֹרְךָ תַּזְרִֽיחַ לַחֲשֵׁכָה  [Let Your light shine]:  We beg Gd not to forget us, to hear our voice, to rule over us, and to bring us back to the Holy Mountain and make us happy in the Beit Hamikdash.

אֹֽפֶל אַלְמָנָה תָּאִיר  [Light up the darkness of the widow (i.e. Jerusalem)]:  This elegy asks for the restoration of the Beit Hamikdash. It concludes with the hope that the shofar of redemption will be sounded, as the Jews are returned to the Holy Mountain and gladdened in Gd’s house of prayer (based on Isaiah 56:7, a pasuk that appears many times in the Yom Kippur liturgy).

תִּתֵּן אַחֲרִית לְעַמֶּֽךָ  [Give a happy ending to Your nation]:  This elegy is another plea for the redemption, and the return of the Divine presence to our mist.

תָּעִֽינוּ מֵאַחֲרֶֽיךָ  [We have strayed from following You]:  This final elegy of the series is a confession of our sins, and a lament for the resulting destruction. The final stich states that Your cherished place was smashed because of our sins.

The concluding statement asks: What can we say before the One Who speaks in fairness, and how can we justify ourselves before the One Who girds Himself in justice? Gd has done good, but we have repaid Him with evil, so we have no justification to cry out before the King. This statement is somewhat ironic, as we spend virtually the entire day of Yom Kippur crying out before the King. Following these elegies, the Seliḥot portion of the repetition of the Amida commences with Zechor Rachamecha.

 

Conclusion

I conclude this long chapter on Kinot with the words of Isaiah (25:8) (Mechon Mamre): He will swallow up death for ever; and the Lrd Gd will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the reproach of His people will He take away from off all the earth; for the Lrd hath spoken it.

 

 

ENDNOTES

92.  A Saturday night Tisha B’Av is not an uncommon occurrence, since it takes place in two of the four possible days of the week upon which the ninth of Av can fall. The ninth of Av can fall on a Saturday, Sunday, Tuesday, or Thursday. If it falls on Saturday, the observance is deferred to Sunday. Thus, a Saturday night Tisha B’Av occurs 39.5% of the time. See http://hebrewcalendar.tripod.com/#24.1 by the late expert on the Jewish Calendar, Remy Landau  (See Endnote 27).

93. The Haftarah of Tisha B’Av serves as an introduction to the Kinot service. See my commentary on the Haftarah of Tisha B’Av at https://jerroldlandau.com/Special_Days_(12).php

94. See the Kerovot section of this book for analysis of the Kerovot of Tisha B’Av.

95.  According to the Midrash, the parochet dripped blood after being pierced by Titus. This is not meant to be taken literally, but is rather a statement that the Beit Hamikdash is more than an inanimate object. The same theme is expressed in the modern Israeli song Hakotel, with the refrain “There are people with hearts of stone, and there are stones with human hearts.” ( http://www.hebrewsongs.com/song-hakotel.htm ). Lehavdil (to differentiate), medieval Christendom had a notion that the communion wafer would drip blood if violated, and Jews were persecuted and killed for accusations of desecration of the host ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Host_desecration ). Regarding the Midrash about the boatloads of boys and girls choosing suicide over a destiny of sexual slavery, the Kina does not provide full details. I added more of the Midrashic details in my commentary above.

96. During the dastardly attack in the Sbarro Restaurant during the second Intifada (August 9, 2001), in which, among others, five members of the Schijveschuurder family lost their lives, the father Mordechai z’l was heard telling his family to recite Shema as their lives were slipping away. See https://torah.org/interest/fromheaven/

97. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zionides

98. See my commentary on these Haftarot at https://jerroldlandau.com/Devarim_-_Deuteronomy_(11).php

99. I tried to find a link to this popular song. Pretty much all of the YouTube versions I found were sourced by Messianic Jewish singers. This alone gives us another reason to lament on Tisha B’Av. While I have no argument with observant Christians who observe their faith with sincerity and goodwill, I have severe issues with those who conflate Judaism and Christianity, and in so doing, promote supersessionism (replacement theology) and cast aspersions on the legitimacy of the Jewish belief system. I will not link to their sites. In any case, I would assume that most of my Jewish readers are familiar with the Tzion Tzion Tzion song.

100. See https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/burning-of-the-talmud

101. The melody of Eli Tzion from virtualcantor: http://www.virtualcantor.com/AV21%20Eli%20Tsion%20(kinat%209%20Av).mp3

Eli Tzion lead by Rabbi Yosha Ber Soloveitchik at the Tisha B’Av service of Yeshiva University in 1978: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7dBa3R30duE

Three versions of Eli Tzion, similar to each other but with some differences (the first is equivalent with the Virtual Cantor version above):  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl89waBrX_o

A discussion of the melody of Eili Tzion: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/eli-x1e92-iyyon-ve-areha

It is interesting to note that part of the melodic theme of Eli Tzion is used for the phrase of Musaf of the Shalosh Regalim where we yearn for Gd to rebuild the Beit Hamikdash.

102. See https://jewishaction.com/religion/jewish-culture/sephardic-kinot-exploring-moroccan-tradition/ 

https://www.ou.org/holidays/spanish-inquisition-kinot/

Although not a Kina, one can get a description of a typical Eastern European Pogrom from my translation of the 1905 pogrom in Kalarash (Călărași), Moldova at https://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/kalarash/kal333.html

103. For a biography of Leib Bialer, see https://yleksikon.blogspot.com/2015/01/yude-leyb-byaler-yehuda-leib-bialer.html    For the entire Hebrew version of the Kina with some commentary, see http://old.piyyut.org.il/textual/english/329.html

104. See https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/rosenfeld-abraham-isaac-jacob for a brief biography.

105. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shlomo_Halberstam_(third_Bobover_rebbe)

106. For the Hebrew text and English translation of the Bobover Rebbe’s Kina, see https://www.sefaria.org/Kinnot_for_Tisha_B'Av_(Ashkenaz)%2C_Kinot_for_Tisha_B'Av_Day.46.2?lang=bi 

107. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shimon_Schwab

108. Artscroll has very graciously made the Kina of the Bobover Rebbe as well as Rabbi Schwab available online at: https://artscroll.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/kinnah-bobov-rschwab.pdf

109. The full version of Tikkun Ḥatzot, as it appears in the four aforementioned siddurim, along with instructions, can be found at:

https://web.archive.org/web/20160303172627/http://www.briskodesh.org/PDF/tikkun-chatzos.pdf

The following version from halachipedia does not contain the Kinot. Seemingly, this is based on the custom of Eidot Hamizraḥ: https://www.halachipedia.com/documents/TikkunChatzot.pdf

Here is the accompanying halachic description. It follows the custom that Tikkun Raḥel is not to be recited on Shabbat and Yom Tov: https://www.halachipedia.com/index.php?title=Tikkun_Chatzot

I have also found Tikkun Ḥatzot (Nusaḥ Ari), with explanations, on the Open Siddur Project. (Note: The Open Siddur Project is non-denominational, or possibly post-denominational, and my reference to it here does not imply that I approve of all their content or motivations. Nevertheless, this version of Tikkun Ḥatzot appears authentic and faithful to tradition.) It does not contain the five Kinot (from this, I surmise that the Kinot are only included in accordance with Nusaḥ Ashkenaz and Nusaḥ Sephard, but not in accordance with Eidot Hamizraḥ or Nusaḥ Ari). https://opensiddur.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Tikkun-%E1%B8%A4atzot-Nusa%E1%B8%A5-Ha-Ari-%E1%B8%A4aBaD.pdf

110. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moshe_Alshich (note 19 under the Works section mentions this Kina). See also https://www.chabad.org/kabbalah/article_cdo/aid/380706/jewish/Rabbi-Moshe-Alshich-Works.htm

111. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ḥaim_HaKohen . From this and the preceding Kina, it seems that the authorship of the Kinot of Tikkun Ḥatzot was several centuries later than the authorship of most of the Kinot of Tisha B’Av.

112: https://web.mit.edu/amgreene/hh/sha001 . I have not been able to find the lyrics for Dodi Yarad Legano, but I found this Sephardic version of it being sung: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TiEM_vhU7M

113. A relative of the Bible commentator Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_ibn_Ezra

 

 © 2020 by Jerrold Landau