KINOT CONNECT: Part 3 - “Ad Ana B’khiyah B’Tzion”
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.
Ad Ana B’khiyah B’Tziyon – “How long must there be weeping in Zion?” The theme of this kinah, which we recite the night of Tishah B’Av, is derived from the Midrash which teaches that at the time of the Temple’s destruction the celestial star formations called mazalot joined in Israel’s mourning. It describes how God aligned all of the constellations against Israel on Tishah B’Av, so that they were all positioned in a way that would cause a negative, harmful flow upon Israel.
The author of the kinah, Abraham Ibn Ezra, a 12th century poet, exegete and philosopher who lived in Muslim Spain, records how each of the constellations cried because it had a hand in this terrible tragedy.
The kinah, in the form of a simple alphabetic acrostic, merges Ibn Ezra’s interests in poetry and astrology into a mournful song. Each constellation corresponds to another month of the Hebrew calendar. Each of the last 6 verses contains references to pairs of astrological symbols beginning with Aries corresponding to the month of Nisan. Aries, symbolized by the ram/lamb, invites additional symbolism—Passover is in Nisan, and the lamb (Aries) becomes both the feast food and the blood marker for Jews at that time.
Another example of connection between the astrological signs and the 12 months of the Jewish calendar, Libra, represented by the scales of judgment, matches up typically with Tishrei, the month of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the holiday that might be symbolized by scales of justice.
The poet cleverly connects each of the constellations to a verse from some metaphoric idea connected to Tisha B’Av, a verse from Jeremiah or another prophet, or to a verse from Lamentations. “How long must there be weeping in Zion and mourning in Jerusalem? Show Zion mercy and rebuild the walls of Jerusalem!” This is the refrain chanted by the congregation.
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.