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ZEKOR BERIT:

A poem by Gershom ben Judah (960-1040), the "Light of the Exile" (Zunz, "Literaturgesch." p. 239); it is chanted in the Seliḥot of the Northern rituals as the central hymn of the early penitential prayers on the eve of New-Year, to which day the hymn has given its name in familiar Jewish parlance. Other hymns with the same commencement, which bases an appeal for the redemption of the remnant of Israel on the remembrance of the merits of the Patriarchs, were afterward written by Kalonymus ben Judah and Samuel ben Majo (Zunz, l.c. pp. 255, 263), and were also adopted into some rituals. The hymn of Gershom is specially honored in the Polish ritual by being placed at the head of the extracts from the hymns in the seliḥot quoted in the course of the Ne'ilah service. It is there always chanted to an old air which obviously originated in western Europe, and which presents points of resemblance to some of the minnelieder of the twelfth century. The commencement of the second verse, on which the others are modeled, should be compared with the melodies transcribed under Shofeṭ Kol ha-Areẓ.

S. F. L. C.
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