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What is the order of the Tishah b'Av prayers?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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The parochet (tapestry which covers the Ark) is removed—or at the very least it is moved to a side. According to Chabad custom, the cloth on the Chazzan’s podium is also removed. Many return all these to their places before the Minchah service.1

Until midday of Tishah b’Av, it is forbidden to sit on a normal-height chair or bench. Thus throughout the evening and morning services, as well as during the reading of Lamentations and elegies, the congregation sits on low stools or the floor.


In most synagogues, chairs and benches are flipped over, or on their sides, to create many different sorts of improvised low seating areas.

Ironically, Tachanun is not recited throughout Tishah b’Av. The verse2   states regarding this day: “He summoned an assembly against me to crush my young men.” The Hebrew word used for “assembly,” moe’d, also means “festival.”


From this our rabbis inferred that just as tachanun is not recited on festivals, so too it is not recited on Tishah b’Av.3

In certain congregations a different person leads each of the five chapters of the book
Maariv:

If possible, women should attend this service in order to hear the reading of the Book of Lamentations.

Those who normally pray Maariv before dark4 should not do so on this night. (Anyhow, why would anyone want to start their fast earlier than necessary?!)

The lights in the synagogue are dimmed. Only the amount of lights necessary to read the prayers are turned on.

The chazzan does not wear a Tallit for Maariv, even in those communities where that is the custom throughout the year.

Sephardim add two sections to the Maariv Amidah: nachem and aneinu.

After the amidah, the chazzan recites the complete Kaddish. The congregation then sits down for the reading of the Book of Lamentations. One who is not praying in a synagogue should recite Lamentations alone.

A leader reads the Lamentations aloud while the congregation listens or follows along in an undertone. In certain congregations a different person leads each of the five chapters of the book.

In the overwhelming majority of Jewish communities, the Lamentations are read from a printed text, not a parchment scroll,5 and no blessing is recited on its reading.

The congregation joins the leader in reciting aloud the second to last verse of Lamentations— “Restore us to You, O L-rd, that we may be restored! Renew our days as of old.”


The leader than concludes with the last verse—“For if You have utterly rejected us, You have [already] been exceedingly wroth against us”—and then, to conclude on a positive note, the congregation followed by the leader repeat the second to last verse.

After Lamentations, the congregations recite a few short kinnot (elegies) which are printed in the Tishah b’Av Elegy Books. This is followed by the recitation of the V’Atah Kadosh, Kaddish (minus the Titkabel passage), and Aleinu.

Footnotes

  • 1. See http://www.askmoses.com/article/109,2068891/Why-are-the-mourning-laws-of-Tisha-bAv-relaxed-after-midday.html
  • 2. Lamentations 1:15.
  • 3. On a deeper level this is certainly connected to the inner potential of Tisha b’Av. See http://www.askmoses.com/article/110,43879/Is-it-true-that-the-Messiah-will-be-born-or-was-born-on-Tisha-bAv.html.
  • 4. See http://www.askmoses.com/article/148,82950/What-is-Plag-Hamincha.html
  • 5. As opposed to Purim, when the Megillah is read from a scroll. It has been suggested that the reason why we do not use a scroll for the Tisha b’Av reading is because we constantly await and anticipate Moshiach’s arrival, at which time we certainly will no longer be reading the Lamentations on Tisha b’Av—we’ll be too busy celebrating on that soon-to-be holiday. So why would one commission a scribe for the tedious task of writing a scroll of Lamentations, if the scroll will serve no use?

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Holidays » 3 Weeks

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Moshiach
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Tachanun
Sections of the prayers involving confession and asking for forgiveness. Tachanun is omitted from the prayers on the festive days of the Jewish calendar.
Tefillin
Black leather boxes containing small scrolls with passages of the Bible written on them. Every day, aside for Sabbath and Jewish holidays, the adult Jewish male is required to wrap the Tefillin--by means of black leather straps--around the weaker arm and atop the forehead.
Chabad
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Ashkenazi
(pl. Ashkenazim). A Jew of Northern or Eastern European ancestry.
Sephardim
(Pl.: Sephardim) A Jew whose ancestors stem from Southern Italy, Spain, Portugal, North Africa or the Arabian countries.
Moses
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
Amidah
Highlight of every prayer, recited silently while standing. Weekday Amidah consists of nineteen blessings, Sabbath and holiday Amidah contains seven blessings.
Aliyah
Literally means to rise up. Has two popular meanings: 1. Being called up to the Torah scroll and recite the blessings when the Torah is being read. 2. To emigrate to the Holy Land.
Shacharit
Morning prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
Haftorah
Section from the prophetic writings that is read at the conclusion of the Torah reading on the Sabbath, Jewish holidays and fast days. The Haftorah contains a message similar to the weekly reading, or speaks of the current holiday.
Maariv
Evening prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
Av
The fifth month of the Jewish calendar, normally corresponding to July-August. The saddest month of the year due to the destruction of the Temples, and the many other tragedies which befell the Jews in this month.
Jerusalem
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Tallit
A prayer shawl. A large four-cornered woolen garment with fringes attached to its corners in a specific manner. This garment is worn by males during the morning prayers, fulfilling the Biblical obligation of attaching fringes to four-cornered garments.
Jeremiah
1. Jewish prophet who lived in the 5th century BCE. 2. One of the 24 books of the Bible, containing the prophecies of Jeremiah. The book is replete with prophecies concerning the destruction of Jerusalem and the Holy Temple.
Lamentations
One of the 24 books of the Bible, this poetic scripture, authored by Jeremiah, prophetically details the destruction of Jerusalem.
Deuteronomy
The fifth of the Five Books of Moses. This book is a record of the monologue which Moses spoke to the Israelites in the five weeks prior to his passing.
Chazzan
A cantor, or any individual who leads the congregation in prayer.
Minchah
Afternoon prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
Kaddish
A prayer sanctifying G-d's name which is sprinkled throughout the daily prayers and is recited by the leader of the services. This prayer is also recited by mourners during the first year of mourning, and on the anniversary of the death.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.