Fast of Ab

The numerous Kinot (lamentations) each have their own distinctive melody or chant, and these form a significant part of the S&P musical repertoire.  In fact the former Hazan of the NY S&P, Revd. Abraham Lopes Cardozo, expressed the beautiful sentiment that in the messianic age hopefully the music will remain but be sung to new, happier words. 

For details of other S&P customs for the day click here.


Recordings by Revd. Halfon Benarroch for the complete service can be found here.

In  2012, the then Musical Director of the London S&P, Eliot Alderman, completed a magnificent job he began the previous year, rehabilitating the kinot. He updated, or in most cases wrote from scratch, harmonies for the choruses sung by the congregation, greatly improving the depth of the sound. The recordings from the 2012 service at Lauderdale Road can be heard here or here.

Some notable kinot are discussed below.

Echah Hatson

Echah Tson Haharegah [LR2012] 

Sei Kinah

This has the same melody as the famous and much loved El Norah from the Neilah service on Kippur, but without the chorus.

Sei Kinah [LR2012] 

Gerushim Mibet Ta'anugehem (Libi, Libi)

This Kinah has the memorable refrain: "Libi, Libi al halaleyhem; me'ay, ma'ay al al harugeyhem" ("O my heart, my heart, what loss; my stomach,my stomach, so many dead!")

The first recording is the unadorned, simple melody, as it is still sung today in Mikve Israel, Philadelphia.

The second two recordings is of the more embellished version sung in London.

Gerushim (Philadelphia) [JC]

Gerushim (London) [HB]

Gerushim [LR2012]

Ech Navi Shudad [LR2012] 

Ebkeh Ve'al Shod [LR2012] 

Halanofelim Tekumah [LR2012] 

Bore 'Ad Anah [LR2012]

Bore 'Ad Anah (London) [JC]

For more on this kinah, see the Bore Ad Ana page

Lishchina 'Aleta [LR2012] 

Alelai Li [LR2012] 

'Al Hechali [LR2012] 

Kumi Vesifdi Torah

The verses of this moving kinah are sung recitative-style by the hazan. Each verse consists of two musical phrases repeated three times. The chorus: "a great cry...!" is then sung by the congregation.

Sifdi Vehelili - Kumi Vesifdi Torah [LR2012] 


As in other communities, Tallet and Tefillin are worn for Minha, and the atmosphere is discernably more optimistic than during the first two services, as the termination of the fast is now approaching.

The haftara blessings and text are read with the usual Sabbath chant - not with the mournful version used in the morning, and on Shabbatot during the "Three Weeks".

Nahamu, Nahamu

After the repetition of the Amidah, three sections - each beginning with the words "Nahamu Nahamu" (be comforted) - form the last of the Fast of Ab additions.

The first two "Nahamu" sections are treated as a single hymn, and sung to a simple, repetitive melody. The last phrase of the opening verse is repeated after each verse as a refrain.

Nahamu 1 and 2 [JC]

The third and final "Nahamu" section is chanted responsively by the reader and the kahal, with the reader chanting the first phrases of each sentence, and the kahal coming in with the final phrase. The chant used for this last section is the same as that used in the Selihot (the penitential prayers said during the month of Ellul), and before the blowing of the Shofar on Rosh Hashannah, thus rounding off the fast with clear overtones of the fast approaching Days of Awe.

Nahamu 3 [HB]

Photograph courtesy of Evan Der Millner.