KINOT CONNECT: Part 1 - “Zekhor Adonai Meh Hayah Lanu”
Cantor Sidney Ezer and Asher Farber present a series of prerecorded videos on Kinot, liturgical dirges and poetry associated with Tishah B’Av. Different melodies will be presented in the days leading up to Tishah B’Av.
“Zekhor Adonai Meh Haya Lanu” – Written by Baruch Ben Shmuel of Mainz in the 12th century, this kinah is traditionally the first one recited on the night of Tishah B’Av. It is based on the fifth chapter of the book of Lamentations. Each stanza contains two lines, the first being the opening phrase of the corresponding verse in Lamentations followed by the word “Oy” (O Woe!) The second line rhymes with the first and is either the poet’s extension of the lament in the original verse or his explanation of why the tragedy described occurred. The phrase Oy meh haya lanu “O woe! What has befallen us!” is inserted at the end of each stanza.
A key element in this kinah and many others is the congregational response. Each verse recited by the reader is punctuated by a repetitive and woeful congregational response. The last four verses of Lamentations appear in their entirety at the end of the kinah, emphasizing the plea for redemption.
The melody we recorded is a Polish or Eastern European melody as transcribed by German Cantor Abraham Baer (1834-1894) in his work, Bā’al Tefillah, der Practische Vorbeter — an almost complete collection of Jewish traditional melodies published in 1871 which has become the standard reference work for cantors throughout Europe and North America.