- Divisions of Divine Service.
- Influence of the Temple on the Liturgy.
- Fast-Day Services.
- The Reading of the "Shema'."
- "Shemoneh 'Esreh."
- "Shema'" and "Tefillah."
- Doxologies During Public Worship.
- Private Benedictions the Model.
- Difference Between Bible and Talmud.
- General Doxology.
- Daily Benedictions.
- Benedictions of Historical Interest.
- Difference Between Christian and Jewish Benedictions.
- Origin and Development.
- Private Prayer.
- Influence on Early Christian Liturgy.
- Jewish Prayers and Early Christian Art.
- History of the Ritual.
- Siddur and Maḥzor.
- Influence of Cabala.
- Two Main Groups of Rituals.
- Day of Atonement.
- Changes in the Prayer-Books.
- Reforms in the Nineteenth Century.
The Jewish religious service falls, generally, into two main divisions—instruction and prayer. This division of the service has existed since the earliest times. In the time of Isaiah the people gathered in the courts of the Temple to receive instruction from the Prophets and to pray (Isa. i. 12-15), while on the day of the New Moon and on the Sabbath women also visited them (II Kings iv. 23). At the Feast of Tabernacles in the Sabbatical year the Law was read to the assembled people (Deut. xxxi. 10-13), and Ezra recited passages from the Pentateuch to the community (Neh. viii. 5-8). In the course of time this led to the custom of reading certain portions of the Scripture, especially of the Pentateuch, to the people on the Sabbath, on feast-days, and even on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as on New Moon and fast-days, and by the first century of the common era this was regarded as an ancient usage (Josephus, "Contra Ap." ii. 17, end; Acts xv. 21; B. Ḳ. 82a et passim; comp. Philo, ed. Mangey, ii. 568, 630; Winer, "B. R." ii. 549; Zunz, "G. V." pp. 1-7). This part of the worship is described under Hafṭarah; Megillot; Law, Reading from the. The second division, that of prayer, is still more ancient, and is frequently mentioned in the Bible (I Sam. i. 10; I Kings viii. 12 et seq.; II Kings xx. 2 et passim), while Deutero-Isaiah speaks of the house of God as a "house of prayer for all people" (Isa. lvi. 7; on the form of prayer and posture see Guthe, "Kurzes Bibelwörterbuch," pp. 82 et seq., and other dictionaries; also Adoration, Forms of). In general, it may be said that in the earliest times the prayers were short, and were used only occasionally in private devotion, and that no ritual was developed in the pre-exilic period. Formal prayers are found only in Deut. xxvi. 5-13 and Lev. xvi. 21.Influence of the Temple on the Liturgy.
In view of the position which the Temple occupied, it may be assumed that after the exile the public worship there influenced the liturgy, and in great part even created it; the prayers just mentioned were part of the Temple worship. The Levites recited prayers of thanksgiving and praise during the morning and evening sacrifices (I Chron. xxiii. 30), and Neh. xi. 17 indicates that this was an established ceremony. The threefold repetition of the daily prayer (Dan. vi. 11; Ps. lv. 18 [A. V. 17]) is likewise connected with the Temple service, the second prayer corresponding perhaps with the sacrifices which were offered by individuals between the official morning and evening sacrifices. The Talmud says, with correct historical insight, that the prayers were instituted to correspond with the sacrifices (Ber. 24b, passim). The fact that in prayer the face was turned toward the Temple (Dan. vi. 10; II Chron. vi. 34; Ber. 4b-5a, passim), as well as the contents of the prayer, together with various other indications, clearly shows that the synagogal liturgy was derived primarily from the Temple worship.
In the Temple itself, side by side with the sacrificial cult, there existed a liturgy whose most splendid remnants are the Psalms, which constituted the hymnal of the Second Temple and now occupy an "important position in the synagogal liturgy. Those Psalms which are cast in the form of prayers and hymns soon took their place as hymns in the service of the sanctuary, even though they were not originally composed for this purpose, and they were sung, especially on feast-days, in the synagogue and in private gatherings. In its descriptions of Temple festivities the Book of Chronicles alludes to them, especially to the eighteen 'Hallelujah,' 'Hallel,' and 'Hodu' Psalms (Ps. cv.-cvii., cxi.-cxviii., cxxxv., cxxxvi., cxlvi.-cl.). . . . Prophecy and psalmody were gradually typified in two persons, Moses and David. . . . Even after the destruction of the Temple these united elements left their impress upon the Synagogue: the readings were devoted to the Law and the discourses to the Prophets, while entire psalms, or verses from them, were used as prayers" (Zunz, "S. P." pp. 4 et seq.). The place which many Psalms occupied in the worship may still be recognized from their form (final verses, notes on the mode of recitation, etc.) or from their contents (see the commentaries to the Psalms by Olshausen, Hupfeld, and others, and especially by Graetz). The authors of the superscriptions and concluding words of the Psalms recognize the collection as liturgical (Ps. lxxii., end: "The prayers of David . . . are ended"), and tradition frequently alludes to this fact (e.g., Tamid, end). In the ritual of the Synagogue the Psalms retain their ancient position, at least as regards the text of the prayers. "In the Sabbath and festival discourses the wise man becomes the prophet, and the leader in prayer the psalmist" (Zunz, l.c.).
In addition to the sacrifice, which was in the care of the priests, and the singing of the Psalms, which was performed by the Levites, the Temple had its special liturgy for the third class of the people, the Israelites. The entire nation had been divided into twenty-four sections, so that to each division of priests there corresponded one of Levites and one of Israelites. Each section served for a week in the Temple, and this period was a time of fasting, for the Israelites assigned to the section doing service, both those who were in Jerusalem and those who had remained in their country homes. Every day they read a prescribed portion of the first chapter of Genesis. These details are recorded in Ta'an. iv. 1, in both Talmuds ad loc., and in Tosef., Ta'an., iv., which seem to assign the beginnings of synagogal worship to the Temple; that there was some foundation for their account is shown by the fact that Joshua b. Hananiah, a teacher living in the time of the Temple, is mentioned. It is possible, however, that the reading of the Torahwas taken over into the Temple ritual from an already existing synagogal ritual.Fast-Day Services.
The services in periods of drought constitute an independent source for the liturgy of the Synagogue. The frequent scarcity of rain greatly distressed the people, for it meant famine and death to man and beast. At such times public assemblies for fasting and prayer were held as early as the time of the Prophets, in which old and young, the bride and the groom, took part (Joel i.; ii. 16-17; Jer. viii., especially verse 11). An entire treatise of the Mishnah (Ta'anit) is devoted to the regulations in regard to fasting, and its second chapter discusses the liturgy in detail. The prayer consisted of twenty-four benedictions, of which eighteen were those of the daily prayer and six were additional (see Schürer, "Gesch." 3d ed., ii. 490; Israel Lévi, in "R. E. J." xlvii., where the sources and bibliography are given). The final evening prayer, "Ne'ilah," recited on this occasion, has been preserved only in the service for the Day of Atonement. The liturgy for the fast was developed long before the common era, and it is highly probable not only that it was evolved independently of the Temple, but that it influenced the beginnings of the daily form of worship.The Reading of the "Shema'."
It is certain, however, that the institution of the reading of the "Shema'" (Deut. vi. 4-9) originated entirely in the Temple service. At the morning sacrifice the priests read the Ten Commandments and the "Shema'" and recited several benedictions (Tamid v.). Contrary to the custom in all other ceremonies, the day for the Temple service began with sunrise, and not with evening or with the appearance of the moon, and since the first rays of the sun were awaited before beginning the morning sacrifice there was some danger lest it might be held that the sun-god was being worshiped. Hence the congregation was addressed as follows: "Hear, O Israel, the Eternal is our God; the Eternal is One." It may have become customary, therefore, as early as the Persian period to recite the first sentence of the "Shema'" in the Temple before beginning the sacrifice, the other verses, including Deut. xi. 13-21, being added in the course of time. The requirement that it should be recited outside the Temple and before sunrise (Ber. v. 1 et passim) points to the origin of this usage. Its antiquity may be inferred from the fact that Josephus ("Ant." iv. 8, § 13) seems to ascribe it to Moses and that in traditional literature it is explained as a Biblical custom. At that time it must have been in existence for some centuries, for its genesis had been forgotten. The reading of the "Shema'" in the evening must have been introduced somewhat later, since it was not recited in the Temple, and the rules governing it were less rigorously defined. The reading of the Decalogue probably became customary in the Greek period in order to guard, by the solemn utterance of the first two commandments, against the imminent danger from Hellenistic polytheism (see Blau in "R. E. J." xxxi. 179-201, where the history of the benedictions in the "Shema'" is discussed). In ancient times the "Shema'" was not recited in the manner now customary in the synagogue, but either with the leader, verse by verse alternately, or in some other way. As it was Israel's solemn confession of faith, each one knew it by heart (Ta'an. 26a), and it was recited in the synagogue "with one mouth, one voice, one song" (Cant. R. viii. 14). It might be read in any language (Soṭah vii. 1 and parallels), and a scribe once heard it in Greek (Yer-Soṭah 21b, below). It was sometimes read backward (Ber. ii. 4 and parallels), a custom which is reminiscent of magic practises (see Shema')."Shemoneh 'Esreh."
The second and doubtless later division of the daily liturgy is the prayer consisting of eighteen benedictions, named the "Tefillah" κατ ἐξοχήν in the sources. This petition, which is still included in every Jewish prayer-book, is called Shemoneh 'Esreh (eighteen prayers) even in the earliest sources (Ber. vi. 3; Ta'an. ii. 2). Rabbi Johanan (d. 279), the famous director of the school of Tiberias, who was distinguished also for his knowledge of the historical traditions, ascribes the introduction of these benedictions, the emphasizing of the sanctity of the Sabbath, the feast-days, and the benedictions at their close, to the Great Synagogue (Ber. 33a). Four kinds of liturgy, in the widest sense of the word, are here mentioned: "berakot," "tefillot," "ḥiddushot," "habdalot." In the benedictions are included, e.g., the sentences of thanksgiving recited after meals, which are probably very ancient (see Maimonides, "Yad," Tefillah), and which are explained as Biblical, as well as all blessings spoken on partaking of fruit, executing commands, and the like. The beginnings of these prayers, perhaps, date back to the Persian period, their brevity and pure, simple Hebrew favoring this view. Their development, doubtless, was gradual and occupied several centuries. This may be assumed even in the case of the "Shemoneh 'Esreh," of which the first and last three benedictions constitute the foundation and hence are the oldest portion; and they are mentioned in the Mishnah with special names designating the several sentences (R. H. iv.; Tamid v. 1; R. H. 32a). "The ancient regulation which designates that portion for all the days of the year, while the other passages of the 'Tefillah' are excluded on the Sabbath and on festivals, is almost certainly a proof of greater age" (Zunz, "G. V." 2d ed., p. 380). The intermediate twelve sentences are of later date, and Zunz ascribes them to various periods. Different versions of one and the same prayer were apparently differentiated and included as independent benedictions. These, however, never received a stereotyped form for general use, and each has its own history (Elbogen, in "Monatsschrift," 1902). Even before the destruction of the Temple the twelfth benediction was added expressly against apostates and traitors ("birkat ha-minim"), and later was the cause of various changes in the "Shemoneh 'Esreh" (Zunz, l.c. p. 382; Elbogen, l.c.). This prayer can not have been directed exclusively against Judæo-Christians, for at the time of its composition they can have been neither powerful nor antinomian in Palestine (see
On account of its age the "Shema'" was much more widely known than the "Tefillah" whichhas just been outlined. This is clear from the fact that the "Tefillah" is regarded as a rabbinical, while the "Shema'" is regarded as a Biblical, prayer. As late as 100
In the sanctuary the people later responded with another formula, mentioned below. They were educated for prayer only by centuries of practise, and the original formulas, consisting of one or two words, remained as distinctive signs in the amplified invocations. The "Hallel" and "Hodu" formulas, which are in fact found only in passages from the Psalms included in the synagogal ritual, are characteristic of the oral worship of the sanctuary. The "Hosanna" is likewise derived from the Temple, and the "Baruk" formula is probably taken from the same source, although the latter soon became predominant and was repeated frequently both in public and in private worship. Prayers for weekdays, Sabbaths, and fast-days, the liturgy for fastdays, and grace before and after meals, as well as all kinds of benedictions and prayers of thanksgiving, have retained the same fixed form to the present day, and may, therefore, be discussed in some detail here, together with their historical development. As regards their external form, all the prayers designated by the Talmud, in the passage cited above (Ber. 33a), as "benedictions, prayers, sanctifications and habdalahs," are merely berakot.
In the earliest times the people prayed only occasionally, and the benedictions likewise were merely incidental utterances of thanks for mercies vouchsafed, as for rescue from danger, etc. The different forms of the root "barak" occur frequently in the Bible, even in the oldest portions. The word meant originally "to bend the knee" (comp. "berek" = "knee" in Ps. xcv. 6), and hence in general "to praise," "to pray," because the ancients commonly knelt on such occasions. In this sense the participle ("baruk") is used in the "ḳal," and all the other forms ("berek," "meborak," etc.) in the "pi'el" and "pu'al."Doxologies During Public Worship.
The adjuration "Praise God!" was probably addressed to the people of earlier times only in the flush of victory after deliverance from the dangers of war (Judges v. 2, 9), but later, when a regular Temple cult had been instituted, it may have been uttered daily, so that it became a liturgical formula with which divine worship was generally concluded (Ps. lxviii. 27 [A. V. 26], c. 4, passim). In Ps. cxxxv. (comp. also cxviii. 2-4) Israelites, priests, Levites, and the pious are summoned by groups to "bless the Lord!" and it is noteworthy that this invitation is placed at the conclusion of the Psalm. The final verse, "Blessed be the Lord out of Zion, which dwelleth at Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord," constituted the benediction spoken by those who had been summoned. The benedictions that conclude the closing chapters of the five books of Psalms (xli., lxxii., lxxxix., cvi., cl.), all being in substance one and the same eulogy, may represent synagogal formulas from the time of the Temple which the people intoned after completing the singing of the several books. Occasionally, however, the people concluded with a simple "Amen" (comp. the Psalms quoted and I Chron. xvi. 36). It may also be assumed that such benedictions were not reserved for public worship exclusively, but were also pronounced in private: "I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth" (Ps. xxxiv. 2; comp. cxv. 18, cxlv. 2). Mention is made of supplications at "evening and morning, and at noon" (Ps. lv. 18 [A. V. 17]), and of praise offered seven times a day (Ps. cxix. 164), while in another passage only praise rendered in the morning is mentioned (Ps. lix. 17).Private Benedictions the Model.
The origin of this liturgical usage was the custom, on joyful occasions, of praising God for His goodness. A few examples may be given here in their Biblical order. Thus Noah says, "Blessed be the Lord God of Shem" (Gen. ix. 26); Eliezer prays, "Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth" (Gen. xxiv. 27); and Jethro exclaims, "Blessed be the Lord, who hath delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of Pharaoh" (Ex. xviii. 10). Similar utterances are found in I Sam. xxv. 32 (David to Abigail) and xxv. 39 (where David says of Nabal's death, "Blessed be the Lord, that hath pleaded the cause of my reproach") and II Sam. xviii. 28 (Ahimaaz). Solomon thanks God in similar phraseology for having placed him on the throne of his father (I Kings i. 48, viii. 15; comp. viii. 56), and Hiram, King of Tyre, uses the same formula in rejoicing that God had given David such a wise son over this great people (ib. v. 7). The Queen of Sheba says to Solomon, "Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel" (ib. x. 9). This formula is used also in Zech. xi. 5; II Sam. xxii. 47 (Ps. xviii. 47 [A. V. 46]); Ps. xxviii. 6, cxliv. 1; Ezra vii. 27; II Chron. ix. 8. It is interesting to note that in Ruth iv. 14 the women address Naomi with the same formula, which shows thatit was transferred to the liturgy from popular speech.Form.
The doxology in all these passages is really a prayer of gratitude to God for blessings bestowed, either on the speaker or on another. The occasion of the thanksgiving is stated at the end and is generally introduced by the relative pronoun "asher" (also by "ki," Ps. xxviii. 6), or by a participle preceded by an article (comp., however, Zech. xi. 5). The same order occurs also in the benedictions prescribed by the Talmud. The benediction proper is expressed in most cases by "baruk," which generally constitutes the first word. An exception is found in I Kings x. 9 (II Chron. ix. 8), which has "Yehi Adonai Eloheka baruk," imitating the phraseology of "Yehi Shem Adonai meborak" (Job i. 21; Ps. cxiii. 2). Neither of these formulas is found elsewhere in the Bible. The Tetragrammaton alone designates the name of God in Ex. xviii. 10; Ruth iv. 14; I Sam. xxv. 39; I Kings viii. 56; Zech. xi. 5; Ps. xxviii. 6, lxxxix. 53, cxxiv. 6, cxxxv. 21 (once "Adonai," Ps. lxviii. 20 [A. V. 19], and twice "Elohim," Ps. lxvi. 20, lxviii. 36 [A. V. 35]). Usually "Elohim," "Elohe Yisrael," or some similar expression is added to the Tetragrammaton, so that God is generally named in the third person. The phrase "Baruk Attah Adonai, lammedeni ḥuḳḳeka" (Ps. cxix. 12) is an exception, and the benedictions in the Talmud have, curiously enough, this form also, although only as regards the use of the second person, since "Elohenu Melek ha-'Olam" is normally added to the Tetragrammaton. This use of the second person indicates a later origin, like "Elohe Abotenu" (Ezra vii. 27; comp. "Abinu," I Chron. xxix. 10), which occurs also in the first benediction of the "Shemoneh 'Esreh." The earliest form of the Torah benediction is found in Ps. cxix. 12, which is also the only one that is a prayer and not an expression of gratitude. The benediction "U-baruk Shem Kebodo le-'olam" (Ps. lxxii. 19) is identical with the preceding "Baruk Adonai," for "Shem Kebodo" indicates the Tetragrammaton (comp. Deut. xxviii. 58, "ha-Shem ha-Nekbad"; Neh. ix. 5, "Shem Kebodeka"; and Ps. xxiv. 7-10, "Melek ha-Kabod"). This gave rise to the later formula "Baruk Shem Kebod Malkuto le-'olam wa-'ed" (which was, however, used in the Temple), in which "Adonai Elohim" is paraphrased by three words in order that the people should not pronounce the real names of God. The benediction is once called "berakah" in the Bible—"And blessed be thy glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise" (Neh. ix. 5). The words " 'olam" and "'olam wa-'ed," which with variations are added to the benedictions, are of later origin and belong to the liturgical formula. They occur only in the Psalms and in Chronicles (Ps. xli. 14 [A. V. 13], lxxii. 19, lxxxix. 53 [A. V. 52], cvi. 48, cxiii. 9, cxv. 18, cxlv. 1; I Chron. xvi. 36, xxix. 10). This formula seems to have been used only when the congregation was assembled as a whole.Difference Between Bible and Talmud.
The significance of the benediction steadily increased in the course of centuries until it finally was used on the occasion of every manifestation of nature and of human life. While it appears in the Bible only in connection with public worship and on a few special occasions, in the traditional literature it accompanies all the expressions of individual life, and sanctifies all functions of the body and the soul. The pious Jew, on going to sleep and on awakening, and on all intervening occasions, uttered, and still utters, words of praise to God. God is praised for His mercy on occasions of joy or sorrow, on satisfying the needs or desires of the body, on studying the Law, or on fulfilling the ordinances of religion. The benediction, like the entire religion, is individualized and specialized. It continually reminds the Jew of God, and only when unclean, before he has bathed or purified himself in some other way, is he forbidden to utter it. The fact that the treatise Berakot, devoted to it, precedes all the other treatises, indicates its extent and importance, and its popularity is shown by the minute questions referring to it, which were discussed even by the earliest scribes. "The benedictions of a man indicate whether he is a scholar" (Ber. 50a; comp. Ta'an. 16a). Some examples are selected here from the mass of material, which may show the variety of these utterances and their nature.General Doxology.
There were persons who were very exact in regard to the benedictions and watched their neighbors closely (ib. ). If any one made a mistake in the form in use during worship, the entire congregation corrected him (ib. 51a). He who deviated from the form laid down by scholars was remiss in his duty, although in a certain case the short sentence of a shepherd—who was the prototype of ignorance among the Talmudists—was approved (ib. 40b). Prayers and doxologies might be recited in any language (Soṭah 32a et passim). Weekdays and feast-days, as well as all kinds of food, had their special benedictions (Ber. 40a, below). A blessing might not be pronounced over anything that had been "accursed" ("min ḳelalah," unsound fruit, etc.; ib. 40b), nor in case of nocturnal pollution, nor unnecessarily (ib. 20b, 33a). The doxology is pronounced before fulfilling any of the commandments (Pes. 7b; comp. Tosef., Ber. vii. 1).
One hundred benedictions a day shall be pronounced by every one (Men. 43b, below), but whoever writes them down sins as grievously as if he had burned the Torah (Shab. 115b). The Tetragrammaton and a reference to God as the King of the World are essential to every benediction (Ber. 12a, 40b, 49a). While Johanan b. Zakkai still used the Biblical form and in a doxology referred to God in the third person (Ḥag. 14b, "Baruk Adonai Elohe Yisrael she-natan," etc.), only the second person is used in the later doxologies ("Baruk Attah Adonai Elohenu Melek ha-'Olam"). The last three words are omitted in certain cases (Ber. 46a, below). The knee shall be bent on uttering "baruk" (ib. 12b), although this rule refers only to prayer and not to other benedictions (comp. also ib. 34b, relating to the king and high priest). One person may pronounce the benediction for all the other persons assembled (ib. 53a). The principal person at table is entitled to say grace (ib. 47a, 45b), to which the others respond with "Amen," which is regarded as more important than the pronouncing of the berakahitself (ib. 53b), and it is even praiseworthy to say "Amen" after one's own eulogy. One should not pronounce a "rapid, chopped, or orphaned 'Amen,' nor speak the benediction too quickly," nor lift the voice at the "Amen" above the voice of the speaker (ib. 45a, b, 47a). The form of some benedictions depends on the number of those present (ib. 49b). "Thou shalt praise God for evil fortune as well as for good" (ib. ix. 1). One should say, even in the house of mourning, "Blessed be the Merciful One who granteth good things" ("Baruk ha-Ṭob weha-Meṭib"). Akiba, however, says, "Blessed be the Just Judge" ("Baruk Dayyan Emet," ib. 46b, 54b, 60b). After a successful journey by sea or desert, after recovery from illness, or after release from prison, one should say, "Blessed be He who granteth favors" ("Baruk gomel ḥasadim," ib. 54b). There was also a special blessing for a person who had been bled (ib. 60a). See Benediction.Daily Benedictions.
God was praised at the crowing of the cock for having given it understanding to distinguish between day and night, and there were special benedictions for every act of dressing, which are now collected at the beginning of the book of daily prayer (Ber. 60b). "Whoso profits aught from this world without reciting a benediction defrauds it" (ib. 35a). Everything that may be enjoyed (fruits of the earth, etc.) has a corresponding benediction; only the words "everything came into being at His word" may be applied to them all (ib. 40a). There is even a berakah for perfume (ib. 43b, where individual rules are given for other things). Bread and wine, being the most important articles of food, have special benedictions (ib. vi. 1). The seven kinds of fruit of the Holy Land enjoy certain prerogatives, and the oil of the patriarch and of the emperor is especially honored (ib. 40b, 43a, 44a). Most of the regulations refer to the prayer after meals, which is often called "the three benedictions." It had to be spoken and might not be recited mentally (ib. 15a, b). It was obligatory also upon women, slaves, and children, who might pronounce it in place of the head of the family, and did so if he was unacquainted with Hebrew (ib. 20b). This and the Torah benediction alone were regarded as Biblical, while the introduction of the others was ascribed to the Great Synagogue (ib. 33a, 48b; Meg. 17a). The first benediction of the prayer at meals, it is said, was composed by Moses, the second by Joshua, and the third by David and Solomon (Ber. 48b); Moses was the first one who could praise God for the food offered (the manna), Joshua the first who could praise him for the Holy Land, and David and Solomon the first who could praise him for Jerusalem, which was delivered into their hands. The fourth benediction ("Ha-Ṭob weha-Meṭib"), it was said, was introduced at Jabneh in thanksgiving for the burial of those who had been killed in the great war with Rome (70
The Torah benediction and the reading of the "Shema'" (Deut. vi. 4-8) are likewise explained as being Biblical, while the "Shemoneh 'Esreh" is regarded as a rabbinical institution (Ber. 21a). As the doxologies preceding the "Shema'" are really Torah benedictions, they also are declared to be Biblical (comp. ib. 11b, 48b, and the interesting passage, Shab. 88a, referring to the "threefold" Torah). The following is considered the best berakah: "Blessed be the Lord who hath given the doctrine" (ib. 11b). The division of the benedictions into Biblical and rabbinical is important for the matter of chronology, the first group being earlier in origin. The most important doxologies of the prayer are "Yehi Shemo ha-gadol meborak" (ib. 21a = Job i. 21 and Ps. cxiii. 2; Aramaic, "Yehe Shemeh rabba meborak," Ber. 57a; Shab. 119b; Suk. 38b, 39a; Targ. Yer. to Gen. xlix. 2; Deut. vi. 4) and the "Baruk Shem kebod malkuto le-'olam wa-'ed" already mentioned (Pes. 56a; Deut. R. ii. 31, 36). In the sanctuary the people pronounced this blessing, but no "Amen" (Ta'an. 16; Ber. 54a).Benedictions of Historical Interest.
The following rules and customs deserve special notice from a historical and religious point of view: A special berakah was pronounced at the circumcision of a proselyte (Shab. 137b, "le-mul et ha-gerim"). "Amen" may be said after the benediction of a Samaritan only if one has heard the whole of it (Ber. viii. 1); the blessing for light may not be recited for the light beheld at the end of the Sabbath in a city inhabited mostly by Samaritans (ib. 53a). At Jabneh a special berakah against Judæo-Christians (Minim) was composed after the destruction of the Temple (ib. 28b). If the ḥazzan commits an error in reciting this passage he is removed (ib. 29a). "Any one who says, 'The pious praise Thee,' is guilty of heresy" (Meg. iv. 9), while, according to R. Judah, any one uttering a benediction on seeing the sun is also guilty of heresy (Tosef., Ber. vii. 6). This mishnaic teacher ordains that one should praise God every day "that Thou hast not created me a heathen or a woman or a slave" (Men. 43b, below; comp. Gal. iii. 28; Diogenes Laertius, i. 1, § 7; James Darmesteter, "Une Prière Judéo-Persane," p. 9, Paris, 1891; "Monatsschrift," xxxvii. 14; "Magyar Zsidó Szemle," x. 100). On seeing a Hermes one should say, "Blessed be He who is lenient toward them that break His law," and on beholding a place where an idol has been destroyed, "Blessed be He who destroyeth idols in our land; as He hath destroyed it in this place, so may He destroy all in the land of Israel, and lead the hearts of their worshipers back unto His service." In a foreign country, however, one should say nothing, for the majority of the inhabitants there are heathen (Ber. 57b; comp. x. 1). "Any one beholding a place where miracles have been vouchsafed to Israel should say, 'Blessed be He who hath shown marvelous things unto our fathers on this spot'" (ib.), together with benedictions applying to manifestationsof natural phenomena. One who sees Jewish sages should say, "Blessed be He who hath granted of His wisdom to His followers"; and whoever sees pagan sages should say, "Blessed be He who hath granted of His wisdom to His creatures."
At the sight of Jewish or pagan kings praise was rendered to God, who granted of His dignity to His followers or to His creatures (ib. 58a). On beholding graves of Jews one should praise God, who created them and who will finally raise them up again (ib. 58b). He who sees the Euphrates from the bridge of Babylon or the Tigris from the bridge of Shebistena should praise the Creator (ib. 59b), for it was believed that these streams had arisen at these places and were therefore still in their original state, although a Babylonian amora of the early part of the fourth century indicates another place as the source of the Euphrates, the Persians having diverted it from its channel. God should receive praise and thanksgiving from any one beholding a ford of the sea, of the Jordan, or of the River Arnon (where Israel behold marvels); beholding hailstones (Ex. ix. 33), the cliff of Beth-horon (Josh. x. 11), the stone which Og, King of Bashan, wished to hurl upon Israel, the rock on which Moses sat when Joshua fought with Amalek (Ex. xvii. 12), the wife of Lot, or the fallen walls of Jericho (Ber. 54a). All these objects were still to be seen at the time of the composition of this baraita, about the second century.Difference Between Christian and Jewish Benedictions.
Although the benedictions of the priests, and the benedictions pronounced in the house of mourning, and at betrothals, weddings, etc., are mentioned, there are no indications that they were regarded as exercising any material influence on persons or things, i.e., that they were sacramental as the Christian Church has taught and still teaches (Herzog-Hauck, "Real-Encyc." ii. 588). They are merely utterances of praise and thanksgiving, and it can no longer be determined whether originally they had the force which the Church ascribes to them. It is certain, however, that the idea of sacramentalism was foreign to Judaism. Several passages in the New Testament in praise of God are called "doxologies" (e.g., Rom. xvi. 27; see Hastings, "Dict. Bible," i. 620).Origin and Development.
The principal component parts of public worship are the "Shema'" and the "Tefillah," the preceding recitation from the Psalms, etc., having only the force of custom. As late as the time of Maimonides morning prayer began with "Ḳaddish" before "Bareku" and ended with it ("Yad," Tefillah, ix.), and this practise still obtains in the Sephardic ritual. In the course of time additions to the liturgy were multiplied. The ritual, even in its simpler portions, took definite form only by degrees. The earliest elements of synagogal worship were developed from the Temple service and the custom of sacrificial watches ("Ma'amad"), as well as from private and public worship—from psalms and prayers which were composed at different times for special occasions. The benedictions at the beginning of the "Ma'amad" and the prayers at the end became respectively the "Shema'" and the "Tefillah" (Rapoport, "Kalir"; Zunz, "G. V." pp. 367 et seq.). The latter, which about 100
Private prayer existed side by side with the official liturgy. A large number of prayers composed by scribes and recited on special occasions are mentioned in traditional literature, and prayers by laymen are also quoted. In general, an important place was assigned to prayer, although its thoughtless drawling was condemned. Thus, it is said, "Prayer is more pleasing to God than good works and sacrifice" (Ber. 32b and parallels); while Johanan felt, "Would that prayer lasted the entire day." Worship was held to be equivalent to prayer, and indeed the ritual was actually modeled upon the sacrificial cult (Sifre, Deut. xi. 14; Ta'an. 2a; Ber. 28b). There were many rules regarding prayer (ib. 28, 31; Sanh. 22; Ab. ii. 18, etc.). He who prays should drop his eyes, but lift up his heart (Yeb. 105b), although he should not raise his voice (Ber. 24, 31). The saying "God wisheth the heart" (Sanh. 106b) has become a proverb. The suppliant knelt, or fell on his face, stretching out his hands and his feet (prostration; Ber. 34b et passim), although this is now done only on the Day of Atonement at the "'Abodah" (see Adoration). The pious made themselves ready an hour before prayer, and stood still for an hour after it (Ber. 31b). A drunken man was not allowed to pray ('Er. 64; see the eight prescriptions which, according to "Yad," Tefillah, v. 1, must be observed). All faces were turned toward the sanctuary (Ber. 30a), and Maimonides ordained (l.c. v. 6, following Ber. 31) that the windows should be opened during prayer. The hands were washed before praying (Ber. 16, 26; Shab. 10), a custom with which the construction of synagogues on the banks of rivers is connected. Ten adults were required to be present at worship (Meg. 34a), a custom which still obtains. On the other hand, the entire congregation did not pray, as it does to-day; but the leader in prayer, the "messenger of the congregation," the most learned among them (Ta'an. 17b), standing in a depression, prayed for all (Ps. cxxx. 1; Ber. 10b): "to step down before the Tabernacle" is equivalent to "leading in prayer" (R. H., end).
Among the people various superstitions arose in connection with the recitation of prayers. The reader of the "Shema'" must not blink his eyes, nor compress his lips, nor point with his fingers (Yoma 19). It is forbidden to pray with phylacteries inthe hand or with a Torah roll on the arm (Ber. 23b). He who is unwilling to lead the prayers in a colored garment may not lead when dressed in white, and he who will not lead in sandals may not lead barefoot (Meg. 24b; for other examples see Blau, "Altjüdisches Zauberwesen," pp. 146 et seq.).
The Jewish liturgy at first completely dominated the Christian. The three benedictions—still placed at the head of the morning prayer—in which the Jews praise God that he has not created them heathen, or slaves, or women (Men. 43b), express, as their brevity indicates, ancient Jewish views; and therefore they are not to be regarded as imitations of similar Greek formulas (Diogenes Laertius, i. 1, § 7). A striking allusion to this prayer is found in Paul's Epistle to the Galatians, iii. 28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." A similar view is expressed in a Parsi prayer ("Monatsschrift," xxxvii. 14 et seq.; "Magyar Zsidó Szemle," x. 113 et seq.). For early forms of liturgy see "J. Q. R." x. 654 et seq.Influence on Early Christian Liturgy.
The early Christian liturgy, in the reading of the Scriptures, in prayer, and in the singing of the Psalms, was modeled on synagogal practises. The fact that no complete Christian liturgical specimens of the first three centuries are extant indicates that the liturgy in use during that period may have been borrowed from that current in the synagogue. The earliest extant Christian prayers, the pseudo-Cyprianic (text in Michel, "Gebet und Bild in Frühchristlicher Zeit," pp. 3 et seq., Leipsic, 1902), written after 300, are still Jewish in form and content. One of them begins with the "Ḳedushshah" and continues with the introductory formula of the "Shemonch 'Esreh," and mentions also "purity of heart," which was and is still the main point in the seventh or middle benediction for the Sabbath and feast-days. After the "Shema'" the Jewish ritual placed the "salvation benediction" ("ge'ullah"); and Christian circles, in harmony with folk-beliefs, derived from this benediction various prayers for deliverance from the persecutions of the devil. Satan is mentioned in Jewish prayers also (e.g., morning prayer), although not in the official liturgy nor in the obligatory prayers.Jewish Prayers and Early Christian Art.
The liturgy of the fasts, which is the oldest, assumed definite form long before the common era (I. Lévi, in "R. E. J." xlvii. 161-171; Michel, l.c. pp. 44 et seq.). Its formulas took the deepest hold upon the people on account of its antiquity and its peculiar solemnity. This explains why the views of the early Christian Church show the dominant influence of this liturgy and why its prayers contain for the most part not New Testament but Old Testament phraseology. The liturgy naturally dominated early Christian art as well. The subjects for the figures in the catacombs, on stained glass, etc., were borrowed as a rule from those Biblical stories which were found also in the Jewish festival literature; as, for example, the sacrifice of Isaac, Daniel in the lion's den, the three Hebrews in the fiery furnace, and scenes from the story of Jonah (comp. Kaufmann in "R. E. J." xiv. 33-48, 217-253). The prayers do not always observe the chronological order of events; in one prayer the name of Job follows immediately upon that of Abraham, the author evidently sharing the Jewish view that Job was the contemporary of Abraham (see Michel, l.c., where extensive bibliography is given).History of the Ritual.
The history of the ritual is eventful and varied. At first there were no written prayers; a scribe of the end of the first century says, "The writers of benedictions are as those that burn the Torah." A man who was caught copying some at Sidon threw a bundle of his copies into a washtub (Shab. 115b and parallels; comp. Blau, "Altjüdisches Zauberwesen," p. 93). In no case was written matter used during public worship. Prayer-books appear about the seventh century. "The prayer-books are doubtless older than the prayer 'orders,' which date from the eighth century.Siddur and Maḥzor.
However, the first book of this kind of which definite mention is made was composed by Gaon Kohen Ẓedeḳ (843); a generation later appeared the Siddur of Amram Gaon, which was much used after the eleventh century and formed the foundation for benedictions and Siddur collections" (Zunz, "Ritus," p. 18). Prayer-books ("siddur") were composed also by Saadia, Hai, Nissim, and Rashi (extant in MSS.; Buber, in "Ha-Ẓefirah," 1904, No. 8), by Rashi's pupil Simḥah ("Maḥzor Vitry," ed. Hurwitz, Berlin, 1892), and by others (Zunz, "Ritus," pp. 19, 25). The most important work of the twelfth century in this direction, and one highly extolled in later times, was "the Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah of Maimonides, in which, for the first time, the texts of prayers and the ritual were arranged in masterly order by a scholar" (Zunz, l.c. pp. 26 et seq.).
Between 1180 and 1320 an immense amount of work was done in Europe in systematizing the worship, the prayer-books of this period forming the foundation for the ritual of the succeeding centuries. There were, also, Arabic forms of siddurim. Until 1300 the Halakah and the Haggadah, current practises, poetry, mysticism, and philosophy, all contributed toward the shaping of the ritual, the poetic material not being increased to any extent after this period (Zunz, l.c. pp. 27-30). The word "maḥzor" (shortened from "maḥzor tefillim"), denoting "prayer-book," means literally astronomical or yearly cycle. The Syrians use the term "maḥzor" to denote the breviary. While the Sephardim apply it to those collections which contain all the prayers for the year, the Ashkenazim apply it to the prayer-books containing the festival ritual only. Spanish, Italian, and French maḥzorim were issued sometimes in octavo and smaller sizes, and were often written in small script and handsomely bound. In Germany the various collections were seldom issued in quarto, but generally in folio, with the exception of the Siddur proper, which was issued in smaller size. In contrast to these heavy and expensive volumes for public worship, the 12mo or 16mo Siddur was used for private devotions after the thirteenth century. The latter often contained much superstitious matter, part of which, in thecourse of time, found its way into the regular prayer-books and was then accepted as part of the ritual service (ib. p. 84).Influence of Cabala.
The Cabala, which had taken deep root by 1500, effected material changes in the Siddur. "In the beginning of the seventeenth century Isaiah Horowitz and others, with their following of the school of Luria, began to introduce new prayers, strange words, and unintelligible meditations ["kawwanot"], with which they deluged public and private worship. All the siddurim and maḥzorim from Tlemçen to Kaffa are filled with mystic alterations and additions; even amulet-formulas were included and thus introduced among the people. This cabalistic-ascetic movement progressed from Palestine to Italy and Poland, from Poland to Germany and Holland, and from Jerusalem and Leghorn to Barbary. Based on ancient customs, it introduced fasting on the 'Small Day of Atonement' and on the eve of New-Moon, early-morning devotions, regular societies which held meetings for prayer and fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, and others which assembled nightly to lament over the Exile, and the like. . . . Through the dissemination of the printed Siddur, of formulas for grace at meals, and of 'tikkun' of all kinds, prayers, either old and obsolescent or new, found their way from foreign rituals and from the works of the cabalists into the ritual of the communities, and there they were retained, modifying to a considerable degree public worship" (ib. pp. 149 et seq.). On commentaries to the prayers, and on ritual books, etc., see Zunz, l.c. pp. 21 et seq., 153 et seq.; Abudarham, p. 30; for the varieties of prayer-books used after 1180 see Zunz, "Ritus," p. 33; for mystic vigil order, etc., after 1580, evening assembly at the Feast of Weeks and the "Hosha'na Rabbah," etc., see ib. pp. 151 et seq.Two Main Groups of Rituals.
On the whole, the original prayers, as handed down by the Talmud and the Geonim, agree in all the rituals with Amram's Siddur, although this, as regards the position of the Psalms and of the "Baruk she-Amar," or the wording of individual phrases and clauses, coincides sometimes with the Roman and sometimes with the German or the Spanish Maḥzor. The various rituals are divided into two chief groups, the Arabian-Spanish and the German-Roman. In the former group, the Spanish, or, more correctly, the Castilian, ritual has been preserved in the purest form. This group includes the rituals of Aragon, Catalonia, Avignon, Algeria, Tunis, Tlemçen, Majorca (Catalonio-African), Provence, Carpentras, Sicily (various rituals), and Tripoli (for further details see ib. pp. 38 et seq.). "Saadia's Siddur apparently contained the substance of the old prayer-order of Egypt, his version of the 'Tefillah' in particular being the one used in that country. . . . After 1200, however, the use of Maimonides' prayer-order became prevalent in Egypt, Palestine, Maghreb, and among the Mozarabic communities generally, the members of which were subsequently called 'Moriscos'" (ib. p. 55). At Saragossa and Traga the "Musaf Tefillah" on New-Year's Day was not recited by the congregation alone before its recitation by the ḥazzan, but together with the latter, the ignorance of the majority of the congregation being assigned as the reason for this practise (ib. p. 41). As Spain was a center for the first group of rituals, so was Germany for the second. The several rituals may vary in details, but they agree in essentials. The Jews of Germany, Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, Poland, Prussia, and Hungary have one and the same order of prayer (ib. p. 75). The French ritual is really that of Burgundy, and the English communities had probably the same or a similar one (ib. pp. 63 et seq.). The Roman ritual was widely disseminated, and the "Romanian" or Greek ritual exists in the Romanian Maḥzor, which dates from some period after 1520 (ib. pp. 76-79). The Romanian group includes also the rituals of Corfu and Kaffa, while the Palestinian ritual, which varied to some extent in the earlier period, lost its independence in the twelfth century (ib. pp. 82-84). The interrelation of the various rituals appears in individual portions of the service, chiefly in those which were not based on ancient usage, such as the dirges ("ḳinot") for the Ninth of Ab and the "Hosha'not."Day of Atonement.
"The Day of Atonement did not always have the somber coloring given it in the Middle Ages. Even in the time of the Soferim the people danced in the vineyards on that day, and as late as the beginning of the fourth century it does not seem to have been customary in Palestine for every one to spend the whole day in the synagogue (Ḥul. 101b). The form of the '
Toward the end of the Middle Ages there were many changes in the form of worship, for reasons both internal and external. "Gutenberg and Luther no less than the Cabala and the Inquisition influenced the ritual of the Synagogue. After the first decades of the fifteenth century the minute regulations of the ritual manuals allowed scarcely any initiative to the ḥazzan, who had, moreover, lost his former high position, being now neither a poet nor a teacher of theLaw, nor was he either of these at any time in Germany or Poland. When the art of printing made manuals and prayer-books accessible to all, the editor took the place of the ḥazzan. Printing imposed restrictions. . . . The similarity of the copies in the hands of the people produced uniformity; the 'Minhag' conformed to the printed editions. Within forty or fifty years printed Hebrew prayer-books were current in the countries in which there were Jews and printing-presses. The German ritual was the first one printed (grace at meals, 1480; 'Seliḥah,' n.d. and 1496; prayer-book, 1508; Maḥzor, c. 1521); then followed the Roman ritual (prayer-book and Maḥzor, 1486; 'Seliḥah,' 1487; 'Hosha'na,' 1503), the Polish (prayer-book, 1512; Maḥzor, 1522; 'Yoẓerot,' 1526; 'Seliḥah,' 1529; all printed at Prague), and those of Spain (n.d. and 1519), Greece (1520), Catalonia (1527), Aragon (n.d.), and the Karaites (1528)" (Zunz, "Ritus," p. 145; for further details on commentaries, translations, editions of prayer-books, and the ritual of the Karaites, ib. pp. 153-162; on the last-named see also Zunz, "G. V." pp. 439 et seq.; and comp. Lady McDougall, "Hymns of Jewish Origin," in "Songs of the Church," London, 1903).
After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 the Spanish ritual was more widely introduced and became an important factor. The "informers" caused material changes in the Maḥzor. Even in the Middle Ages they brought charges against the prayer-books as well as the Talmud, and consequently their owners in alarm erased passages, cut out entire leaves, and changed single words here and there. The Kol Nidre and the 'Alenu were special objects of attack as early as the fourteenth century; in the second half of the following century the persecutions steadily increased, especially on the part of the preaching friars, and soon the Inquisition began to act in the same direction. "When printing and a knowledge of the language facilitated examination of the liturgical prayers, the Roman Church being at the same time endangered by the Reformation, the books were watched more carefully, and a censorship which constantly increased in severity fettered the prayer-books also. Certain expressions were no longer allowed in the editions. . . . Since that time some prayers have disappeared entirely and others have been mutilated. . . . The Herdenheim edition of the 'Seliḥah' (1546) removed 'all offensive and dangerous matter.' Thenceforth not only the Siddur and Maḥzor, but all Jewish printed books, were subject to constant attack from the Dominicans, who employed converted Jews. . . . In the year 1559 the prayer-books of the community of Prague were taken to Vienna to be examined." These mutilations increased in the course of time (Zunz, "Ritus," pp. 145 et seq., and appendix vi.; comp. also idem, "G. S." iii. 239; Berliner, "Einfluss des Ersten Hebräischen Buchdrucks auf den Cultus und die Cultur der Juden," Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1896; Popper, "The Censorship of Hebrew Books," New York, 1899).Reforms in the Nineteenth Century.
The reform of worship began with Moses Mendelssohn as a result of the general readjustment in Jewish life and learning. Wolf Heidenheim especially rendered enduring services to this reform by the correctness of his editions, his excellent notes, and the translations adapted to his time. The editions of the Siddur by Landshuth (Königsberg, 1845) and Baer (Rödelheim, 1868) are also valuable. Liturgy was and is still the field on which the different parties within Judaism—Orthodox, Progressive, and Reform—fight their battles with more or less bitterness. Among these conflicts the Hamburg Temple controversy, in 1819, and the Reform prayer-book controversy of the Berlin community are especially noteworthy. Reform is still progressing in this department and is not likely to reach a conclusion in the near future. Leopold Zunz (1794-1886) investigated all branches of the liturgy with astonishing assiduity. In his first great work, "Gottesdienstliche Vorträge" (Berlin, 1832), which is the earliest product of modern Jewish science and which contains a complete history of the liturgy, he advocates the abolition of many old prayers and the introduction of appropriate new ones (pp. 494 et seq.). Reform, however, was not content with removing external abuses; it investigated the earliest prayers of the liturgy, the recitation of which had been declared to be obligatory as early as the time of the Talmud. It considered the views which gave rise to these prayers in connection with modern ideas and has abandoned the prayers, either partly or entirely. See Benedictions; Grace at Meals; Habdalah; Habinenu; Ḥad Gadya; Hafṭarah; Haggadah (Shel Pesaḥ); Haḳḳafot; Hallel; Halleluiah; Happiness; Ḥazzan; Heidenheim, Wolf; Holiness; Maḥzor; Megillot, The Five; Music, Synagogal; Reform; Siddur; etc.
- L. Zunz, G. V.;
- idem, Ritus;
- idem, S. P.;
- idem, Literaturgesch. (with Supplement, 1867);
- Steinschneider, Jüdische Litteratur, in Ersch and Gruber, Encyc. section ii., part 28 (English ed., Jewish Literature, London, 1857;
- Hebrew ed., Sifrut Yisrael, Warsaw, 1897);
- Schürer, Gesch. 3d ed., Leipsic, 1901-2 (see Index, s.v. Gebet);
- Benjacob, Oẓar ha-Sefarim, iii. 660, 722-885 (editions of the prayer-books). Some of the many other works on liturgical literature are quoted in the body of the article.