I am referring to public reading - Nusach Ashkenaz. (Other nuscha'ot, perhaps, may vary).

Megillot Shir Hashirim (Song of Songs), Ruth, and Kohelet (Eclessiastes) are read in the morning only.

Megillat Esther is also read in the morning.

4 of the 5 Megillot are read in the morning.

Why is Esther also read at night?

Why is Eicha read only at night?

  • 1
    Some read Eicha also during the day, see e.g., end of here
    – mbloch
    Jul 23, 2018 at 15:07
  • @mbloch I was just in a Mizrachi shul this time and they also repeated it Jul 23, 2018 at 15:49
  • 1
    – Joel K
    Jul 23, 2018 at 15:56
  • I don't really understand why youd think the times should be identical. When would you think they should be read?
    – Double AA
    Jul 23, 2018 at 15:56

1 Answer 1



Megilla 4a

Rabbi Joshua ben Levi taught that we read the Megillah twice as a reflection of the verse in Psalms (22:3), “O my G‑d, I call in the day time . . . and in the night I am not silent.” This verse is part of a chapter which the sages of the Talmud (Yoma 29a) associate with Queen Esther.

As the threat of genocide loomed, the distressed Jews of the Purim story cried out to G‑d during the night and day. Thus, we recall His kindness on the eve of Purim and then again the following day.2

Rabbi Chelbo would quote Ula of Biri, who associated this practice with the verse in Psalms (30:13), “So that my soul will sing praises to You and not be silent . . . I will thank You forever.“

Reading the Megillah twice is thus an expression of thanksgiving to G‑d, as well as a testament to His everlasting kindness.

Eicha is read at night as it says in the passuk Eicha 1:1:

בָּכ֨וֹ תִבְכֶּ֜ה בַּלַּ֗יְלָה - Bitterly she weeps in the night...

Rashi (ibid) cites three explanations:

בַּלַּיְלָה. שֶׁהַמִּקְדָּשׁ נִשְׂרַף בַּלַּיְלָה, דְּאָמַר מַר "לְעֵת עֶרֶב הִצִּיתוּ בוֹ אֶת הָאוּר". דָּבָר אַחֵר: "בַּלַיְלָה", לַיְלָה שֶׁל בְּכִיַּת מְרַגְּלִים בְּתִשְׁעָה בְאָב גָּרְמָה לָהֶם. דָּבָר אַחֵר: "בַּלַּיְלָה", שֶׁכָּל הַבּוֹכֶה בַלַּיְלָה, הַשּׁוֹמֵעַ קוֹלוֹ בּוֹכֶה עִמּוֹ:

In the night. For the Beis Hamikdosh was burned at night, as the [Midrash] says, “at the time of evening they set it on fire.

Another explanation of “in the night,” [is that] the night of the weeping of the spies on the ninth of Av caused it to happen to them.

Another explanation of “in the night,” is that whoever weeps at night, the one who hears his voice weeps along with him.

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