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Tish B’Av, the 9th of Av

07/19/2022 06:44:28 AM



    No matter when I eat a latke, even if it is in the middle of the summer, I am transported to Chanukah. I am not sure why I would eat a Hamentash in August, but, if I did, I would likely start thinking about every Purim memory I have. Likewise, particular melodies from the Jewish calendar evoke a similar reaction. This past Sunday, we began observing a three week period of mourning in the Jewish calendar leading up to Tish B’Av, the 9th of Av which commemorates the destruction of both the Temples in Jerusalem. This day also carries melodies. The melodies of the chanting of Lamentations and the melodies of the sad poetry, the dirges or “Kinot” are among the most mournful of our musical tradition. The best known dirges, Eili Tziyon is an acrostic poem which begins by describing Jerusalem (Tziyon) as a woman in labor pains, and as a young woman, in sackcloth having just been widowed. 

     It is traditional during the three weeks between 17th of Tammuz and the 9th of Av to chant L’cha Dodi to this very mournful melody. Why? Because L’cha Dodi also speaks of Jerusalem. The third stanza of L’cha Dodi depicts  Jerusalem as a woman sitting shiva and implores her to get up from her mourning and leave her valley of tears. Successive stanzas of L’cha Dodi develop this metaphor. So, it is only appropriate to chant these stanzas to the mournful melodies of of Eili Tziyon. 

    Click on this link for a beautiful rendition of Eili Tziyon:

Wed, April 17 2024 9 Nisan 5784