Why do we say these songs in the morning and not in the afternoon or evening, as is the case with other parts of the prayers that are repeated? The Beis Yosef writes that the appointed time for the Levi’im to say these shirim was in the morning. Therefore, we only say them in the morning (Tur 133).
Other commentaries note that the Levi’im did, in fact, sing their shir in the early afternoon. If so, why don’t we say the shir during the afternoon prayers?
We can understand this practice in light of the fact that the Levi’im would only sing their song at the start of the afternoon. Since our custom is to recite their shir at the end Shacharis at the conclusion of our prayers, saying the shir at the start of the afternoon prayers would create a divergence of practices. Therefore, the custom is only to say the shir in the morning (Magen Avraham 133,4).
On the morning of Tisha B’Av, when we are totally consumed with mourning the Temple’s destruction, we do not recite shir. Tisha B’Av afternoon is already a time of consolation, and we start off our prayers with the shir (Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 124,19). Following the practice of the Levi’im, on Tisha B’Av we recite the shir at the start of the afternoon prayers.
Text Copyright © 2011 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org