Sunday, June 04, 2006

Post-Shavuot post # 2: Lessons learned re liturgy

Those not interested in Jewish prayer might want to skip this post altogether. See you later, alligator.

First of all, here's what I learned last Shavuot, before the (not-so) great kitchen fire: One of the traditional (Askenazi only?) tunes for the Shavuot piyyut (liturgical poem) Akdamut is the same tune that many (Askenazim only?) use for the kiddush for Erev Shalosh Regalim (the Eve of the Pilgrimage Festivals).

And now for something new and exciting, folks: Below is a word-by-word comparison of the difference in texts between the Orthodox version of the Musaf Amidah's "U-mip'néy chataéynu" (courtesy of my Birnbaum machzor [prayer book for the three Pilgimage Festivals] and the Conservative version found in Siddur Sim Shalom.

Birnbaum (Orthodox) and Sim Shalom (Conservative): U-mip'néy chataéyni galinu mé-artsénu, v'nitrachaknu mé-al admaténu, Because of our sins we were exiled from our country and banished far from our land,"

Birnbaum (Ortho.): v'én anachnu y'cholim laalot v'léraot u-l'hishtachavot l'fanecha, v'laasot chovotéynu b'vét b'chiratecha, babayit hagadol v'hakadosh sheh-nikra shimcha alav, mip'néy hayad sheh-nishtal'chah b'mikdashecha, and we cannot go up as pilgrims to worship You, to perform our duties in Your chosen house, the great and holy temple which was called by Your name, on account of the hand that was let loose on Your sanctuary."

Sim Shalom (Conserv.): Omits this phrase completely.

Birnbaum and Sim Shalom: "Y'hi ratzon mil'fanecha, Hashem Elokéynu v'Elokéy avotéynu, melech rachaman, May it be Your will, Hashem our G-d and G-d of our ancestors, compassionate King" (Sim Shalom adds here: haméshiv banim li-g'vulam, who restores His children to their land), sheh-tashuv u-t'rachém aléynu v'al mikdashecha b'rachamecha harabim, v'tivnéhu m'hérah u-t'gadel kovodo (feh--I don't like either translation, so I'm wingin' it) that You will return and have compassion upon us and on your sanctuary in your great compassion, and that you will rebuild it quickly and make its glory great (okay, so I won't win any prizes for translation). (Sim Shalom adds here: U-t'kabel b'rachamim et t'filat amcha Yisrael b'chol m'komot moshvotéyhem, And accept in compassion the prayer of Your people Israel in all of the places of their dwellings [my translation].

That's all, folks.

For my Orthodox readers, here's a quick lesson in non-Orthodox-but-serious-about-the-Jewish-religion logic that will probably make you roll your eyes (in amusement and/or annoyance):

If I want to davven (pray) the Orthodox version in a Conservative synagogue, or, noch besser (even better) get myself thoroughly farblunget (confused) by, heaven help me, combining the two versions, should I take an Orthodox prayer book with me to synagogue when I travel there by subway train, you should pardon the expression? My own answer: Yes on a plain Yom Tov, no on Shabbat Yom Tov, because you're allowed to carry in public on Yom Tov but not on Shabbat (and yes, obviously I'm ignoring the "traveling by subway even though you're only allowed to travel by foot" detail).

Also, here's something that I just realized this year while reading Haftarat (Yom Rishon shel) Shavuot ("Prophetic Reading" for [the First Day of the--in the Diaspora, there are two days, and boy, is that ever a long story!] Feast of Weeks/Jewish Pentecost:

The last four words of Yechezkel/Ezekiel chapter 3 verse 12--"Baruch k'vod Hashem mi-m'kmomo, Praised be the glory of Hashem from His place"--appear in every Kedusha, but the verse in its entirety--Va-tisaéni ruach va-eshma acharay kol raash gadol, And a wind lifted me up and I heard behind me a voice of a great noise, "Baruch k'vod Hashem mi-m'komo, Praised be the glory of Hashem from His place"" appears exclusively(?) in the Kedusha d'Sidra.

For those still learning their way around the siddur/prayer book (don't worry--I was in your shoes 30 years ago, and I'm still learning new things about the siddur all the time), the Keduscha d'Sidra (Kedusha/Sanctification from the Weekly Reading?) can be found beginning with the words "U'va l'Tzion goél, and to Zion will come a redeemer" just before the Full Kaddish Shalem preceding Alénu in the weekday Shacharit/morning service and just after Ashré in the Mincha/afternoon service for Shabbat/Sabbath and Yom Tom/Festivals, and beginning with the words "V'atah kadosh yohév t'hilot Yisrael, You are the Holy One enthroned upon the praises of Israel," just after Psalm 91, Yoshév b'séter elyon, Whoever sits in the refuge of the Most High" in the Maariv/evening service for the conclusion of Shabbat/Sabbath. I hope that's not too confusing.



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