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Chapter 124:1
Laws Of Tish'ah B'av

1. On the evening [of Tish'ah B'av], we enter the synagogue and remove our shoes (as was mentioned in the previous chapter) (1). It is customary to remove the curtain hanging in front of the Ark (where the Torah scrolls are kept), as [alluded to by one of the interpretations of Lamentations 2:17 as:] "He rent His regal garment" (2). Only one candle (or light) should be lit in front of the one who leads the prayer service.

The evening service should be recited slowly, in a tearful tone, like a person in mourning. The prayer "Nachem" is not added [to the Shemoneh Esreh] until the afternoon service on the following day.

After the Shemoneh Esreh [is completed], the full Kaddish including the passage beginning with the word "Tiskabel" is recited. We then sit on the ground, and light only enough candles (or lights) to be able to read the "Book of Lamentations" ("Eichah") and the dirges ("Kinos").

"Eichah" and the "Kinos" should also be read slowly, in a tearful tone, pausing slightly between each verse, and slightly longer between each chapter. At the beginning of each chapter of "Eicha", [the reader] should raise his voice slightly (3), and he should recite the concluding verse of each chapter in a loud voice. When he reaches [the second to the last verse, beginning with the word] "Hashiveinu", the congregation should recite it aloud. [The reader] should then conclude the reading, and the congregation again recites "Hashiveinu" aloud, followed by the reader. Afterwards, the passage "Attah Kadosh" is recited, and then the full Kaddish, this time without the passage "Tiskabel," because [it is a request that G-d accept our prayers, and] "Eichah" [3:8] states: "He shuts out my prayer." Similarly, this passage is not recited in the Kaddish at the conclusion of the morning service.

A person who is praying alone, because he doesn't have a minyan, should also recite "Eichah" and the "Kinos."

FOOTNOTES:

(1) According to the Maharil, one's shoes should be removed before leaving the house to go to the synagogue (Mishna Berura 553:5).

(2) The verse says "bitzah imrasoh" which literally means: "He carried out His word"; however, the Aramaic translation adopts the other meaning of "bitzah," which means "split" or "cut."

(3) So that each chapter is read in a louder voice than the previous one.

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