This anonymous poem is one of the earliest known post-biblical dirges (kinot) written about the destruction of the Temple. It was written in Palestine sometime between the 4th and early 7th century. This kinah (dirge) contains many references to Lamentations; it is traditionally recited on the eve of the Ninth of Av.

In the original poem, the first verse was repeated after every two verses. In the earlier verses, the first eight signs of the zodiac bewail the fate of Jerusalem; the last four zodiacal signs, on the other hand, are practically accused of betrayal.

How long will there be weeping in Zion
and mourning in Jerusalem?
Have mercy on Zion and rebuild
the walls of Jerusalem.

Because of our sins the Temple was destroyed,
because of our iniquities the Palace was burned.
In the city that once was bound firmly together
lamentations were heard,
and a host of heaven sounded a dirge.

The Ram, first, wept bitterly
for his sheep were being led to slaughter.
The Bull wailed on high,
for we were all driven hard,
with yokes on our necks.

The Twins were seen split asunder,
for the blood of brothers was spilled like water.
The Crab would have wished to have fallen to earth,
for we were fainting from thirst.

The Lion's roar filled the heavens with terror,
for our cry did not ascend upward.
Virgins and young men were slaughtered,
and the Virgin's face grew dark with grief.

The Scales tipped in supplication,
for we preferred death to life.
The Scorpion trembled with fear
for our enemies whipped us with lashes.

The Archer turned his bow away,
for the Lord had drawn His bow like an enemy.
The water rose high above our heads,
yet the in the month of the Water Carrier
our palates were parched.

We offered a sacrifice which was not received.
The Goat would not present a he-goat as our sin-offering.
Tender-hearted women boiled their own children,
yet the Fish turned a blind eye.

With wayward hearts we forgot the Sabbath,
and the Lord failed to remember our merits.
O Lord be much more jealous for Zion's honor,
and let Your radiance shine upon the City
once so full of people.

[1] Psalms 122:3 [Back]
[2] the Pail is the Hebrew sign of the zodiac in , the rainy month. [Back]
[3] Leviticus 16:6 [Back]



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