Events recalled in the Tisha B’Av liturgies

There is a misconception that Tisha B’Av is about Jews mourning the end of sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem. Since most modern Jews do not wish to reinstitute sacrificial services, and since Israel and Jerusalem are once against thriving and Jewish, the feeling among some is that Tisha B’Av is no longer necessary.

However if we merely open up Tisha B’Av prayerbooks of Sephardi, Mizrachi, and Ashkenazi Jews we immediately see in black and white what this day is about: It is about remembering the antisemitism which led to slaughter of Jews in Biblical Israel, and in every century since then, across Christian Europe and the Islamic middle east.

Amarti Shih’oo minee, I Said, “Let me be, I will weep bitterly.” p.496
By Kalonymus ben Yehuda about the first Crusade.

Mi Yiten Roshi Mayim. Oh That My Head Were Water (p.455)
Rabbi Kalonymus Ben Yehudah of Speyer, 11th century, for our communities attacked during the Crusades in 1096, in the Rhinelands.

Ha’Charishu Mimeynu Va’ah’dabyah by Meir Ben Yehiel
“This kina describes the mass suicides which some European communities committed rather than submit to forced conversion to Christianity.” (425) “commemorating the massacres in Speyer, Mainz, and Worms, and other related tragedies during the Crusades in Germany at the end of the eleventh century.” (430) From 1096 to 1195.

אֱמוּנֵי שְׁלוּמֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל by Emunei Shlumei Yisrael

About the Blois incident of 1171 by Hillel ben Yaaqov of Bonn.

Elokim Balunu, “O God, other lords have ruled over us“, dedicated to the martyrs of York, written by Yosef of Chartres

Ma Tithapchi, “Sword, why do you turn in all directions” dedicated to the martyrs of Boppard, Germany as well as York, 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.”

Rabbi Yonason Golomb of Sheffield United Synagogue, starting at Clifford’s Tower in York, explains the tragic story the Martyrs of York and recites a kina (elegy) composed in their memory which is said in many communities on Tisha B’Av.

Evel Ah’Ohrare Avinu Agared/I Will Arouse Grief, I Will Continue in Mourning p.532

By Makhir of Mainz, 11th century, about the destruction of the German Jewish communities in the First Crusade.

Sha’ali S’rufah V’eish/Seek, You Who Have Been Consumed By Fire p.590

Rabbi Meir of Rothenberg wrote this kina about the public burning of 24 cartloads of the Talmud and other Jewish holy books in Paris, June 1242.

בורא עד אנה | Borei Ad Anah, “Creator! How long” (after 1492 C.E.)

A ḳinah recited in a number of Sephardic communities on Tishah b’Av (or in some cases on Shabbat Hazon, the Shabbat preceding Tishah b’Av), particularly in the Spanish-Portuguese and North African traditions. Written as a poignant response to the Spanish Inquisition.

“After 1492, about 100 Kinot were composed describing the atrocities of the Spanish Inquisition and the Expulsion from Spain, and they were added to the machzor…. The Kinot from Spain are very tragic, detailing the ways Jews were tortured and burned at the stake. One kinah, written by Rabbi Moshe Nahouri describes how the Spanish [oppressors] destroyed homes and properties, slaughtered the chachamim, starved the Jewish people and abused our young women. ”

“The Shach [Shabbatai ben Meir HaKohen] similarly writes in his work, “Megillat Eiphah,” in his kinah about the Chmielnicki massacres of 1648, that on Fri., 4 Tammuz, two great communities 60 miles apart were destroyed.”

This is the Decree of the Torah, Mordechai Greenberg

Sephardic Kinot: Exploring Moroccan Tradition, Barbara Bensoussan, Jewish Action, Summer 2018

Al Ha’Shichitah/On The Slaughter
By Hayim Nahman Bialik 1873-1934 about the 1903 bloody pogrom massacre in Kishinev (Bessarabia.)

Eyn Od Mishalim/To God In Europe
By Uri Zvi Greenberg 1894-1981, written about the pogroms that he witnessed by Polish crowds against Jews.

There is a traditional kinah about Zionism by Yehuda Halevi (1100s CE), צִיּוֹן, הֲלֹא תִשְׁאֲלִי , Tziyon Halo Tishali, “My heart is in the East, but the rest of me far in the West

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