Friday, June 16, 2006

Half-a-book review: "Jewish Liturgy and Its Development"

Abraham Idelsohn's Jewish Liturgy and Its Development was recommended to me by NaomiChana of Baraita. Maybe I should have taken notes while I was reading it, because I can remember only four things that I learned:

1. The likely reason why the hymn Yigdal does not appear as the final prayer for Erev Shabbat or Yom Tov (the evening of a Sabbath or Festival) in either the Birnbaum or Artscroll (Orthodox) siddur (prayer book) is that singing it as the final hymn is not a custom of Ashkenazi origin. It's either Sefardi or Yemenite (I forget). However, the Conservative Movement, in which I grew up, has always used this for the end of services on Erev Shabbat or Yom Tov. So that's my minhag (custom), and I'm stickin' to it.

2. The phrase “Or chadash al Tzion tair, v’nizkeh chulanu m’heirah l’oro, May You shine a new light on Zion, and may we all speedily merit its light” was a controversial addition to the brachah (blessing) “Baruch . . . yotzer ha-m’orot, Blessed [is the One] who fashions the luminaries.” It’s a good thing those words made the cut, because, if they hadn’t, Mark would have been short the lyrics to one of his songs! (No free link this time, folks—this one’s only on the album.)

3 “There are two series of blowing of the Shofar. One is called tekioth myushav—The blowing while seated, i.e., after the Scriptural reading; the other is called tekioth meumad—the blowing while standing, i.e., during the Amida of the Musaf service.” (Page 211). I’m astounded. For the life of me, I can’t remember ever having remained seated for a Shofar blowing!

4. I purchased this book on March 27. When I realized that I was still only 2/3 of the way through the book over two months later, I concluded that, apparently, not only was I not going to be able to finish this book, I was also not cut out for a degree in Liturgy from JTS after all.


Blogger Elie said...

I know at least three modern O., ashkenazic shuls where yigdal is used to end the evening Shabbos/Yom Tov services. So it's by no means an exclusively Sefardic or Conservative custom any longer.

In terms of the first set of tekiyus being called "meyushav", I don't think that term is used because people literally sit for them, I think it's just to contrast with the ones done during the Amidah, which by definition means "standing service".

Sat Jun 17, 11:39:00 PM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

Elie, thanks for the information re Yigdal. I guess I'm not the only one flipping pages back to Birchot HaShachar/Blessings of the Morning. (That's the only place of which I'm aware that Yigdal appears in my Birnbaum and Artscroll siddurim/prayer books.)

It would actually make sense for the tekiot during Musaf to be called "standing," because, as you said, the Amidah is recited while standing (at least during the silent reading and for Kedushah), and for the ones after the haftarah to be called "sitting," because one is usually seated for the chanting of the haftarah. Thanks for the clarification.

Sun Jun 18, 01:03:00 AM 2006  
Blogger Shira Salamone said...

I bought "Entering Jewish Prayer" on your recommendation. Thanks!

Unfortunately, well, you know it's time for some serious housecleaning when you're sure you've purchased something but you can't find it! I know it's around here *somewhere.* I've been looking for it for several days. Wish me luck unearthing it!

Tue Aug 15, 07:12:00 AM 2006  

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