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The Purpose is Kedusha

13 1 11
15.08.2022

Shabbat is special. There are many expressions of that reality in Jewish law and custom, but none so clear as in our liturgy. Days, in our tradition, are marked by a progression of services, Shacharit-Mincha-Ma’ariv. The core of these services is basically the same for all three times of the day, whether the eighteen-turned-nineteen blessing prayer of weekdays or the seven blessings of a Chag. There’s one exception to this standard rule, Shabbat. Over the next four weeks, I’m going to discuss the unique nature of each, the Arvit, Shacharit and Mincha silent devotion or AMIDA prayers. This week Arvit, the Friday night Amida.

After we recite the standard three opening blessings (AVOT, GEVUROT, KEDUSHA), we immediately encounter a historic problem. The present version of this prayer seems to be relatively new. The earliest source for this well-known prayer is the Machzor Vitry, written by R. Simcha ben Shmuel of Vitry, a student of Rashi who died in 1105. However, the earliest existent Sidur, by Reb Amram Gaon (d. 875), has the following opening paragraph:

And from Your love O Lord, our God, that You have loved Yisrael, Your nation, and from the beginning of Your Kingship over us, You have bestowed Your Covenant upon the Children of Yisrael. You have given us the Seventh Day, which is great and holy, for greatness, power, sanctity, rest, worship, and thanksgiving for the OT (sign), BRIT (covenant), and TIFERET (splendor). And You have given us blessing and SHALOM from You.

And from Your love O Lord, our God, that You have loved Yisrael, Your nation, and from the beginning of Your Kingship over us, You have bestowed Your Covenant upon the Children of Yisrael. You have given us the Seventh Day, which is great and holy, for greatness, power, sanctity, rest,........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)


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