Lemi Evkeh - rav Belgrado, Firenze


Lemi Evkeh - rav Belgrado, Firenze



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Place in liturgical year

Place in day liturgy

Liturgical unit

Text source, form or category

NLI call and system number

Y 00139

NLI url

Santa Cecilia collection number, item number

raccolta 52, 175

Santa Cecilia url

Catalogo Sommario delle Registrazioni

raccolta 52, 195

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Date of original recording

Person responsible for the recording


Informant biographical notes

Born in Firenze, 31/05/1913. Studies at the Collegio Rabbinico di Firenze and Collegio Rabbinico di Roma. Chazan in Firenze since the early 1930s, then assistant rabbi to rabbi Nathan Cassuto. Acting Chief Rabbi in Firenze since after the war, is formally Chief Rabbi from 1963 to 1978. Dies in Firenze, 11/04/1998.

A. Zimmerman, Belgrado, David Fernando , Encyclopaedia Judaica 2, voi. 3, col. 289 (born 1918)


Piattelli, Angelo Mordekhai. “REPERTORIO BIOGRAFICO DEI RABBINI D'ITALIA DAL 1861 AL 2011.” La Rassegna Mensile Di Israel, vol. 76, no. 1/2, 2010, pp. 185–256. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/41619019. Accessed 4 April 2021.

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Date of transcription


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Notes on music

In the Sephardic tradition, Lemì Evkè is the first qinà, the first lamentation to be sung on the night of Tishà b’Av. After the amidà and the qaddìsh, this moving poem introduces the themes that will dominate the whole evening, and literally introduces the reading of Echà, the Book of Lamentations. In fact, the poem ends with a direct quotation of the beginning of Ekhà: " ."ואֵיכָה יׁשְָבָה בָדָד אֲקוֹנןֵ It is worthwhile noting here the very last word of the poem: aqonèn. We have translated it “I will sing the lamentation,” but it actually stems from an uncommon conjugation from a root which means to arrange, to set in a strict order. This root gives origin to the word qinà that we use to define all poems sung for Tishà b’Av, generally rendered in English as “lamentation.” Yet noting its origin through this root, and this particular form that usually expresses an effort, the aiming at something, helps us understand that qinòt are lamentations, but also ordered, organized, rhythmic songs. The lament in these poems is not vented freely, like an unbridled outpouring of the soul, as in our cognate word of Greek origin, threnody, which implies instead a steady hum of mourning. Rather, the Hebrew funeral poem is pain that the poet strives to set into a shape, a structure. This can be seen very clearly in this poem, set as it is in a very strict form, which we haven’t even tried to emulate from the original Hebrew. Every strophe ends with a trisyllabic word whose last syllable is -nen, giving the poem a heavy, slow rhythmic cadence that evokes the melancholic pounding of a funeral drum. Many of the melodies used to sing this poem accentuate this feeling: take the richly ornate melody from the Livorno tradition. It starts with the enunciation of a minor third, almost a wail, but immediately places it inside a long modal chant in major; then, the ending of each strophe switches from major to minor, and the tune closes ominously, as the last word descends to the lowest note of the song. This effect is repeated for all the poem’s strophes, creating a sorrowful rhythm in the slow, heavy chant.

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This Item Is Part Of Item: Firenze Tempio Maggiore


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EF, “Lemi Evkeh - rav Belgrado, Firenze,” Thesaurus of Jewish-Italian Liturgical Music, accessed April 23, 2024, https://jewishitalianmusic.org/thesaurus/items/show/1491.