Every year on Tisha B’Av I ponder, for whom were kinos written? How many people actually understand what they are saying were it not for the amazing translations available? Same goes for selichos. Were the Yidden of past generations so well versed in Hebrew and Aramaic that they appreciated the poetry of this liturgy? I get far more out of the explanations of the various kinos than the actual kapitlech. Am I alone in this?
For talmidei chachamim who would explain their meaning to their talmidim.
If that was the intention, I would think it was not necessary to write them in poetic form with difficult language.
They were written to be said, not studied. They are poetic, not scholarly prose. They convey the general idea, and are something to be recited.
What exactly is the point of just saying something you don’t understand? That’s what our great-grandmothers and grandmothers did, but if it’s just for saying, then why not make it accessible so the one’s saying it can understand it. Because people don’t understand it, they just rush through it, or say it at a pace that would be difficult for a person to even understand English at that rate. What’s more, why were these institutionalized knowing that people don’t understand it?
Every year on Tisha B’Av I ponder, for whom were kinos written? How many people actually understand what they are saying were it not for the amazing translations available?
Actually, I was pondering the same thing. My suspicion is that the kinnos/selichos were written in a similar style as li’havdil Shakespeare, with much flowery prose and avant-garde vocabulary. The upside of this writing style is simple; it can convey an idea far better. But for those who are not quite so proficient in the language these texts were written in, this strategy can backfire and make it very difficult to understand the message.