Baladi-rite prayer

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The Baladi-rite Prayer is the oldest known prayer-rite used by Yemenite Jews, transcribed in a tiklāl ("siddur", plural tikālil) in Yemenite Jewish parlance.

It contains the prayers used by Israel for the entire year, as well as the format prescribed for the various blessings (benedictions) recited.[1] Until the 16th century, all of Yemen's Jewry made use of this one rite.[2] Older Baladi-rite prayer books were traditionally compiled in the Babylonian supralinear punctuation,[3] although today, all have transformed and strictly make use of the Tiberian vocalization. The text, however, follows the traditional Yemenite punctuation of Hebrew words.

First printing[edit]

The Baladi-rite prayer book or Tiklāl remained in manuscript form until 1894, when the first printed edition (editio princeps) was published in Jerusalem by the Yemenite Jewish community,[4] which included the Etz Ḥayim commentary written by Rabbi Yihya Saleh. Today, it is used primarily by the Baladi-rite congregations of Yemenite Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. Baladi is an Arabic word denoting "of local use" (i.e. Yemeni), as distinguished from the prayer-rite widely used in the north (i.e. Syria and the Land of Israel), which is called in Arabic شامي Shāmī "Levantine, Eastern".

Section of the "Pirkei Avot" section of a Yemeni Siddur with Babylonian vocalization)

Comparison with the Sephardic prayer rite[edit]

The Baladi-rite prayer differs in many aspects from the Sephardic rite prayer, or what was known locally as the Shāmī-rite prayer book, which by the 18th and 19th centuries was already widely used in Yemen, although only lately introduced into Yemen by Jewish travelers. Their predilection for books composed in the Land of Israel made them neglect their own hand-written manuscripts, though they were of a more exquisite and ancient origin.[5]

The nineteenth century Jewish historiographer, Hayyim Hibshush, has given some insights into the conflict that arose in the Jewish community of Sana'a on account of the newer Sephardic prayer book being introduced there. Yiḥya, the son of one of the community's most respectable leaders, Shalom ben Aharon HaKohen al-Iraqi (known as al-'Usṭā - "the artisan"),[6] whose father served under two Zaydi Imams between the years 1733–1761 as the surveyor general of public buildings, had tried to make the Sephardic prayer book the standard prayer-rite of all Jews in Yemen in the 18th century. This caused a schism in the Jewish community of Sana'a, with the more zealous choosing to remain faithful to their fathers' custom (i.e. the Baladi-rite) and to continue its perpetuation, since it was seen as embodying the original customs practised by Yemenite Jews. Out of a total of twenty-two synagogues in Sana'a, only three synagogues in the city chose to remain with the original Baladi-rite prayer, while the others adopted the Spanish-rite prayer with its innovations introduced by Isaac Luria.[7][8] By the time of the Jewish community's demise, owing to mass immigration in the mid-20th century, most synagogues in Sana'a had already returned to praying in the Baladi-rite,[9] albeit, in the vast majority of towns and villages across Yemen they clung to their adopted Sephardic-rite as found in the printed books of Venice, Thessaloniki, Amsterdam and, especially, the Tefillath Haḥodesh and Zekhor le-Avraham prayer books printed in Livorno.[10]

According to Rabbi Yiḥyah Qafiḥ (1850–1931), a Chief Rabbi of Yemen, the original Yemenite version of the Amidah is the format that was prescribed by the Great Assembly (Hebrew: אנשי כנסת הגדולה), who enacted the prayer in the fourth century BCE, with the one exception of the Benediction said against sectarians, which was enacted many years later.[11] Yihya Saleh (1713–1805) wrote an extensive commentary on the Baladi-rite Prayer Book in which he mostly upholds the old practices described therein (e.g. the practice of saying only one Mussaf-prayer during Rosh Hashanah, etc.),[12] although he also compromises by introducing elements in the Yemenite prayer book taken from the books of the Kabbalists and the Shulchan Aruch, which had already become popular in Yemen.[13] He is often seen praising the old Yemenite customs and encouraging their upkeep:

I have also with me a responsum concerning the matter of changing our prayer custom which is in the Tikālil (Baladi-rite Prayer Books) in favor of the version found in the Spanish-rite Prayer Books, from the Rabbi, [even] our teacher, Rabbi Pinḥas Ha-Kohen Iraqi, ... and he has been most vociferous in his language against those who would change [their custom], with reproofs and [harsh] decrees in a language that isn't very cajoling. May his soul be laid up in paradise.[14]

Cover page of Tiklāl Bashiri, copied in Yemen in 1938

Textual development[edit]

While the ancient format of the Amidah may have seen little changes since its enactment by the latter prophets, the history of the Yemenite Baladi-rite prayer book—as can be said about every Siddur—is a history of recensions and later interpolations,[15] with the addition of elements taken from the Siddur of Rabbi Saadia Gaon[16] and of Rabbi Amram Gaon, the printed Sephardic siddurs,[17] as well as elements taken from liturgies found originally in the Land of Israel. Most of these changes began to make their way into the current Baladi-rite prayer book over a two-hundred year period, from the time of Rabbi Yiḥya Bashiri (d. 1661) who published his Tiklāl Bashiri in 1618 (a copy of which was made and published under the name Tiklāl Qadmonim)[18] to the time of Rabbi Yihya Saleh (d. 1805), the latter of whom incorporating in the Baladi-rite version elements taken from Kabbalah, as prescribed by Isaac Luria (Ari), as well as certain liturgical poems taken from the Sephardic prayer books. In the title page of one Yemenite Siddur completed in 1663 by the notable scribe and kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac b. Abraham Wannah, the copyist makes note of the fact that, aside from the regular customs of the people of Yemen, some of the entries in his Siddur have been culled "from the customs of the people of Spain who have it as their practice to add in the prayers the Tikūn Ha-geshem[19] and the Tikūn Ha-ṭal[20] (special emendations made for rain and for dew so that they may not be withheld), as well as the Tikūnei Shabbat Malkah as is practised by the people of the Land of Israel,"[21] i.e., the Psalms readings beginning with לכו נרננה, etc.,[22] and the liturgy לכה דודי, followed by בר יוחאי, and יגדל אלהים חי. Originally, the practice was to begin the Sabbath prayer on the night of the Sabbath by reciting only “mizmor shir le'yom ha-shabbath” (Ps. 92).[23] The first recorded mentioning of Tikūn Ha-ṭal (said before the Mussaf-prayer on the first day of Passover) in any extant Yemenite prayer book appeared only in 1583.[24] Included in the Tikūnei Shabbat book were the special readings for the nights of Shavu'ot and Hoshanna Rabba.[25]

The texts of old Yemenite Siddurs copied by Rabbi Yihye Bashiri are an invaluable source for comparing the variae lectiones (Textual variations) of liturgy before the redaction of the Babylonian Talmud. For example, in all older Yemenite Siddurs copied by Bashiri is found the version גואל ישראל (He who redeems Israel) in the second blessing after Qiryat Shema in the evening prayer and on the night of Passover, that is, in the present-progressive tense instead of in the past tense (גאל ישראל), although the requirement made by Rava in the Talmud (Pesaḥim 117b) calls for saying it in the past tense. Scholars point out that the Yemenite practice was the original custom in Yemen before Rava's interdict,[26] the memorial of which also being brought down in the Jerusalem Talmud.[27]

Siddur written in Yemen showing Sephardic influence

Changes to the original Yemenite text[edit]

Among the later changes made to the text of the Baladi-rite prayer book is the wording Kether Yitenu (Hebrew: כתֿר יתנו), etc., said during the Ḳeddushah (i.e. the third benediction in the prayer itself) at the time of the Mussaf prayer, as is the custom of Spain (Sepharad) with only minor variations.[28] In spite of its wide acceptance in Yemen, among both Baladi and Shāmī congregations, Rabbi Yiḥyah Qafiḥ (d. 1932) did not accept this innovation, but rather ordained in his place of study to continue to say Naqdishakh (Hebrew: נקדישך) in all of the prayers,[29] just as had been their accepted tradition from the Great Assembly.[30] The Yemenite adaptation of saying Kether during the Mussaf—although not mentioned in the Order of Prayers prescribed by Maimonides—is largely due to the influence of Amram Gaon's Siddur,[31] which mentions the custom of the two Academies in Babylonia during the days of Natronai ben Hilai to say it during the third benediction of the 'Standing Prayer.' The practice of saying Kether during the Mussaf is also mentioned in the Zohar ("Parashat Pinḥas").[32]

Notable changes occurring in the Baladi-rite prayer book during the geonic period are the additions of Adon ha-ʿolamim (אדון העולמים), which mark the opening words in the Baladi-rite Siddur before the Morning benediction, and the praise which appears further on and known as Barukh shʾamar (ברוך שאמר),[33] which appears immediately following a short praise composed by Judah Halevi, Ha-mehulal le'olam (Heb. המהולל לעולם)[34] and which is said before the recital of the selected Psalms (zemirot). These, among other innovations, have long since been an integral part of the Baladi-rite Siddur.

In subsequent generations, other additions have been added thereto, such as the Yotzer verses that are said on the Sabbath day (i.e. those verses which mention the creation, hence: yotzer = "who createth");[35] and the last blessing made in the recital of Ḳiryat Shĕma (i.e. the second blessing thereafter) on the Sabbath evening, since in the original prayer text there was no difference between Sabbaths and weekdays; Likewise, the modern practice is to chant the prosaic Song of the Sea (שירת הים) before one recites Yishtabaḥ, although in the original Baladi-rite prayer the song came after Yishtabaḥ, seeing that it is not one of the songs of David.[36] In today's Baladi-ride Siddur, an interpolation of eighteen verses known as Rafa'eini Adonai we'erafei (Heb. רפאיני יי' וארפא) has been inserted between the prosaic Song of the Sea and Yishtabaḥ, just as it appears in the Tiklāl Mashta, compiled by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi in 1655,[37] although the same verses do not appear in the Tiklāl Bashiri compiled in 1618. Another custom which has found its way into the Yemenite prayer book is the practice of rescinding all vows and oaths on the eve of Rosh Hashanah (Kol Nidre).[38]

Moreover, in the older handwritten Baladi-rite prayer books, in the first blessing following the Ḳiryat Shĕma, or what is called in Hebrew: אמת ויציב = emeth wayaṣiv, the original Yemenite custom was to say only eight waws in the opening lines of the blessing, just as the blessing appears in Maimonides' Seder Ha-Tefillah (Order of Prayer),[39] and not as it is now commonly practised to insert seven additional waws in the blessing for a total of fifteen.[40] These changes, like the others, are directly related to the dissemination of Sephardic Siddurs in Yemen, and influenced, especially, by the writings of Rabbi David Abudirham.[41]

Lurianic Kabbalah[edit]

No doubt the greatest changes to the Baladi-rite prayer book have come in wake of kabbalistic practices espoused by Isaac Luria, which have since been incorporated in the Yemenite Siddur. The proclamation "Adonai melekh, Adonai malakh, Adonai yimlokh le'olam wa'ed" said by some each day before Barukh shĕ'amar is from the teachings of Isaac Luria.[42] The saying of Aleinu le'shebeaḥ (Heb. עלינו לשבח "It is for us to praise the Lord of all things", etc.) at the conclusion of the prayer, although originally said only during the Mussaf-prayer on Rosh Hashanah, is also an enactment made by Isaac Luria,[43] Rabbi Moshe ben Machir[44] and Meir ben Ezekiel ibn Gabbai.[43]

Shulchan Aruch[edit]

The Shulchan Aruch has also left an indelible mark upon the Baladi-rite prayer in certain areas. Yiḥyah Salaḥ (1713–1805) mentions that the old-timers in Yemen were not accustomed to reciting Mizmor le'Todah (i.e. Psalm 100) in the Pesukei dezimra of the Morning Prayer (Shahrith),[45] although it too soon became the norm in the Baladi-rite congregations, based on a teaching in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim § 51:9) and Rabbi Joseph Karo's specification that it be cited in the Morning Prayer. Yiḥyah Salaḥ agreed to insert it in his Baladi-rite prayer book, saying that it was deemed just and right to recite it, seeing that “there is in it a plethora of praise unto Him, the Blessed One.”

Yiḥyah Salaḥ also initiated the custom of saying Ṣidqathekha, etc.,[46] in his own synagogue immediately following the Amidah of the Afternoon Prayer (Mincha) on Sabbath days, in accordance with an injunction in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim § 292:2), and which practice soon spread amongst other Baladi-rite congregations.

The Shulchan Aruch, with Yiḥyah Saleḥ's endorsement of certain Halachic rulings, was also the cause for other Baladi-rite customs being cancelled altogether, such as the old Yemenite Jewish custom of saying a final blessing after eating the "karpas" (in Yemenite tradition, "parsley") on the night of Passover; and of saying a final blessing over the second cup of wine drunk on the night of Passover; and of making a distinction between the number of matzot that are to be taken up during the blessing when Passover falls on a Sabbath day, as opposed to when it falls on a regular day of the week; and the custom to drink a fifth cup of wine during the Passover Seder.[47] Yiḥyah Saleḥ also changed the original Baladi-rite practice of gesticulating the lulav (the palm frond and its subsidiaries, viz. the myrtle and willow branches in one's right hand, and the citron fruit in one's left), enacting that instead of the traditional manner of moving them forward, bringing them back, raising them up, and lowering them down, while in each movement he rattles the tip of the lulav three times,[48] they would henceforth add another two cardinal directions, namely, to one's right and to one's left, as described in the Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim § 651:9).[49] Not all changes in the siddur, however, were the result of Yiḥyah Saleḥ's own decision to force change in his community, but rather Yiḥyah Saleḥ chose to incorporate some of the Spanish rites and liturgies in the Baladi-rite prayer book since these same practices had already become popular in Yemen.[50][51] One such practice was to begin the night of each Yom Tov (festival day) with the mizmor related to that particular holiday,[52] although, originally, it was not a custom to do so, but only to begin the first night of each of the three Festival days by saying three mizmorim taken from Psalms 1, 2 and 150.[53] The practice found its way into the Yemenite rite from the Spanish prayer books, whereas now the Yemenite custom incorporates both traditions.[54]

Maimonides' influence[edit]

To what extent Maimonides’ writings actually influenced the development of the Yemenite prayer ritual is disputed by scholars. Some suggest that since the Baladi-rite prayer is almost identical to the prayer format brought down by Maimonides (1138-1204) in his Mishneh Torah[55] that it is merely a copy of Maimonides’ arrangement in prayer. This view, however, is rejected by Rabbi Yosef Qafih (1917–2000) and by Rabbi Avraham Al-Naddaf (1866–1940). According to Rabbi Yosef Qafih, the elders of Yemen preserved a tradition that the textual variant used by Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah was copied down from the texts presented to him by the Jews of Yemen, knowing that they had preserved the ancient format of the prayers, with as few innovations as possible.[56][57][58] Elsewhere, in the Preface to the Yemenite Baladi-rite prayer book, Siyaḥ Yerushalayim, Rabbi Qafih writes that Maimonides searched for the most accurate prayer rite and found the Yemenite version to be the most accurate.[59] According to Rabbi Avraham al-Naddaf, when the prayers established by Ezra and his court (the Men of the Great Assembly) reached Yemen, the Jews of Yemen accepted them and forsook those prayers that they had formerly been accustomed to from the time of the Temple. In subsequent generations, both, in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, the rabbinic scholars of Israel made additional innovations by adding certain texts and liturgies to the prayer format established by Ezra, which too were accepted by the Jews of Yemen (such as Nishmath kol ḥai, and the prosaic Song of the Sea, established by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). Later, penitential verse written by Rabbi Saadia Gaon, by Rabbi Yehudah Halevi and by Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra came to be incorporated in their prayer books. Eventually, when Maimonides came along and arranged the prayers in his Code of Jewish law, the Jews of Yemen saw that his words were in agreement with what they had in their own prayer books, wherefore, they received him as a rabbi over them, although Maimonides had only written the format that he received from the Men of the Great Assembly, and that it happens to be the original version practised formerly by the Jews of Spain.[60]

Rabbi Avraham al-Naddaf’s view is corroborated by an ancient Jewish source contemporaneous with Maimonides’ Mishneh Torah before his momentous work reached Yemen, in which Jewish scholars in Yemen had debated on how to arrange the second blessing after the Shema during the Evening Prayer. The source was copied down by Yihya Saleh[61] from the glosses of the Baladi-rite Prayer Book (Tiklāl) written by Rabbi Yihye Bashiri (d. 1661), and who, in turn, copied it from the work of a Yemenite Jewish scholar, entitled Epistle: Garden of Flowers (רסאלה' בסתאן אלאזהאר), in which he wrote the following:

Now what you have mentioned to us about the great geon, [even] our teacher and our Rabbi, Moses [Maimonides] (may his God keep him), how that by his magnanimity [he enjoins us] to say, Borukh shomer 'amo yisroel (Blessed be He who guards His people Israel ברוך שומר עמו ישראל), it is most correct what has been transmitted unto him. Who is it that knows to do such a thing, save that man whom the spirit of the holy God is within him? For the Rabbis have spoken of only two blessings coming after it (i.e. after Ḳiryath Shema),[62] but not three! Now, as for us, concerning our composition of the order of prayers, and its arrangement and its custom which was written in the language of our Sages and used by some of the students, we have asked this question[63] during our debates on the aforesaid composition, and we were indecisive about it due to its ambiguity, but we arranged the verses after Hashkiveinu (Hebrew: הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ) in such a way that they do not conclude after them with a blessing employing God's name, and forthwith will we stand up in prayer. After your letter reached us, teaching us about its proper application, we returned to its proper application! We succeeded in our composition to write the verses in such a way as to be identical with that which was written by him! Even so, his words seem to be even more exact than our own, proof of which is shown by what is written in Tractate Berakhoth:[64] Mar says he reads [the verses of] Ḳiryath Shema and prays. This supports what was said by Rabbi Yohanan, ‘Who is he that is a son of the world to come? He who juxtaposes the word, Geulah, in the Evening Prayer with the actual Amidah itself!’ Moreover, they have said: Although one must say Hashkiveinu (Cause us to lie down in peace, etc.) between Geulah and the standing prayer itself,[65] this does not constitute a break in continuity.[66] For since the Rabbis enacted the saying of Hashkiveinu (Cause us to lie down in peace, etc.) in that part of the benediction which comes directly after Geulah, it is as if the benediction of Geulah was protracted! Now had it been like our words, he should have rather said: Although the Rabbis enacted Hashkiveinu and certain verses which come after it, [etc]. But since he did not say this, except only Haskiveinu, learn from it that at the end he concludes [with a blessing employing God's name]! Now this blessing is as one continuous thing, and not two things.

Based on this testimony it is evident that the Talmud, along with Maimonides’ order of the prayer as transcribed in his Mishneh Torah, have been used together to establish the final textual form of the Baladi-rite prayer commonly used in Yemen. Prior to Maimonides, the general trend in Yemen was also to follow the halakhic rulings of the geonim, including their format used in the blessings. Rabbi Saʻīd ibn Daoud al-ʻAdeni, in a commentary which he wrote on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah (ca. 1420 – 1482), writes of the final blessing said over wine: "What is found in the writings of most of the geonim is to conclude the blessing after drinking the fruit of the vine by saying, ['Blessed art Thou, O Lord], for the vine and the fruit of the vine,' and thus is it found written in the majority of the prayer books in the cities throughout Yemen."[67] However, today, in all the Baladi-rite prayer books, the custom after drinking wine is to conclude the blessing with the format that is brought down in Maimonides, "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, for the land and for its fruits",[68] showing that Maimonides' impact over the development of the Yemenite Siddur has been vital.

Distinguishing features[edit]

The Baladi-rite prayer in its current textual form, at least in its uniqueness as a text that stands in a distinct category of its own and that does not fully conform with any other version, belongs without question to the Babylonian or eastern branch of the prayer ritual variants, a branch whose first clear formulation came through Rabbi Saadia Gaon and his Siddur. By simple comparison with other prayer-rites of other Jewish communities, the Yemenite version shows distinct signs of antiquity, in which, generally speaking, it is possible to say that it is the version least adulterated of all prayer versions practised in Israel today, including the original Ashkenazi version.[69] In spite of a general trend to accommodate other well-known Jewish traditions (e.g. Sephardic, etc.), the Baladi-rite prayer book has still retained much of its traditional distinguishing features. Among them:

  • In the Baladi-rite tradition, there is no "confession of sins" (Hebrew: וידוי) arranged in alphabetical order, nor is there any confession said immediately prior to saying taḥanūnim (supplications) during nefilat panim following the Standing Prayer. Rather, the custom is to lie upon the floor on one's left side, cover one's head in his talith and to say the supplication, Lefanekha ani korea, etc., followed by Avinu malkeinu, avinu attah, etc., excepting Mondays and Thursdays on which days the petitioner will also add other suppliant verses such as, ana a-donai eloheinu, etc., and wehu raḥum yikhaper 'awon, etc., as are found in the Sephardic prayer books.[70]
  • The custom of the Jews of Ashkenaz is to read the verses of Ḳiryat Shema ("Shema Yisrael") each man to himself and silently. In contrast, with the Sephardic Jews, the ḥazan reads aloud the verses of Ḳiryat Shema, without the participation of his congregation. With the Yemenites, on the other hand, the entire congregation reads it aloud and in perfect unison.[71][72]
  • The version of the Kaddish used in the Baladi-rite is also unique, containing elements not found in the Siddur used by other communities, and is believed to date back in antiquity. (Open window for text)
  • In the earlier Baladi-rite prayer books one could not find at the conclusion of the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers the text now widely known as ʻAleinu le-shabeaḥ (Hebrew: עלינו לשבח),[78] but only in the Mussaf-prayer said on Rosh Hashanah. Unique to Jewish prayer rituals, today, the custom among adherents to the Baladi-rite is to say Aleinu le’shebeaḥ only during the Morning (shaḥrith) and Evening ('arvith) prayers, but not in the Afternoon prayer (minḥah).[79][80]
  • The older prayer books also contained formularies of documents (Marriage contracts, bills of divorce, court waiver of rights to payment,[81] legal attestations,[82] calendric tables for reckoning the intercalation of the years, etc.) which are lacking in the modern prayer books. Most also contained Halakhic compendia, such as the modi operandi for Havdallah ceremonies at the conclusion of Sabbath days and festival days, and for establishing symbolic joint ownership of a shared courtyard ( 'erub), and for separating the dough portion (ḥallah), as well as for the redemption of one's firstborn son (pidyon haben) and for the ceremony of circumcision. So, too, the Old Baladi-rite prayer books contained a brief overview of the laws governing the making of tassels (tzitzit) worn on garments, and the writing of door-post scripts (mezuzah), inter alia. Most also contained a copious collection of liturgical poems and penitential verse (selichot).
  • The single individual who prays alone and who is unable to join a quorum of at least ten adult men (minyan) follows nearly the same standard format as those who pray among the congregants. However, unlike the congregation, he that prays alone alters the Kaddish by saying in its place what is known as Bĕrīkh shĕmeh deḳuddsha bĕrikh hū le'eilā le'eilā, etc., both, before and after the Standing Prayer.[83][84] (Open window for text)
  • The single individual who prays alone does not say the Keddusha (e.g. Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh), but rather says, “Keddushath Adonai Tzevo'oth” (Hebrew: קדושת יי' צבאות), in lieu of the words Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh, insofar that the Talmud (Berakhoth 21b) requires a quorum of at least ten adult males to say the Keddusha.[85]

Megillat Antiochus[edit]

One of the more salient features of all the older Baladi-rite prayer books,[86] as well as those compiled by Rabbi Yiḥya Bashiri, is the Aramaic Megillat Antiochus[87] with Saadia Gaon's Arabic translation, the original Aramaic being written by the elders of the Schools of Shammai and Hillel.[88]

Aramaic Megillat Antiochus written with Babylonian vocalization, including a Judeo-Arabic translation

Tractate Avoth[edit]

According to 16th–17th century Yemenite prayer books, many Yemenites, but not all, recited but only the first chapter of Avoth after the Shabbath Minchah prayer, doing so throughout the entire year.[89] Beginning with the 17th century, external influence[90] —just as with the Shami prayer text—brought about completely changed customs, with the prevalent custom today being to read the entire tractate throughout the Sabbaths between Passover and Shavuoth, a chapter each Shabbath as non-Yemenite Jews customarily do.[91] Rabbi Yosef Shalom Koraḥ was quoted[92] as pointing out that in the synagogues of Rabbi Yiḥye Qafih and Rabbi Yiḥye al-Abyadh, rather than apportioning the learning for the Sabbaths between Pesaḥ and Atzeret,[93] they would learn the entire tractate with Maimonides' commentary during the two days of Shavuoth.[94]

First night of Shavuoth[edit]

The custom among Yemenites in recent years was to read the Tikkun in the synagogues on the night of Shevu'ot, although in the old Yemenite siddurim they did not mention anything unique about the night of Shavuoth compared to other holidays; the practice relating to the Tikkun came to Yemen only from approximately the second half of the eighteenth-century.[95] Furthermore, while in most of the synagogues in Yemen they would learn the "Tikkūn" printed in Machzorim and Sefardic Siddurim, in some they would learn the Sefer Hamitzvot compiled by Maimonides, while by Rabbi Yihya Qafih it was learnt in its original Arabic.[95] Even among the Baladi-rite congregations in Sana'a who embraced Kabbalah, they received with some reservation the custom of the kabbalists to recite the "Tikkūn" all throughout the night, and would only recite the "Tikkūn" until about midnight, and then retire to their beds.[96]

Other features peculiar to the Baladi-rite[edit]

  • In Baladi-rite synagogues, the corresponding verses of the weekly Torah reading (parashah) are read aloud from the Targum Onkelos, the Aramaic translation assigned for each verse. This is read on Sabbath mornings, and on holidays, when the Torah-scroll is taken out of the Heikhal and read in public.[97]
  • On the night of Passover, the Baladi-rite Siddur requires making four separate blessings over the four cups of wine prior to drinking them, as prescribed by the Geonim and the Jerusalem Talmud.[98]
  • The Yemenite custom is to make a blessing over the hand washing prior to dipping a morsel (karpas) into a liquid, especially during the night of Passover.[99]
  • The blessing over the Hanukkah candles is with the preposition "of" (Heb. של), as in: ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להדליק נר שֶׁלַּחֲנֻכָּה.[100]
  • The Baladi-rite custom requires making the blessing, "to dwell in the Sukkah," each time one enters his makeshift booth during the seven days of Sukkoth, even though he had not intended to eat a meal there, in accordance with teachings brought down by Rabbi Isaac ibn Ghiyyat (1038–1089)[101] and by Maimonides.[102]
  • The Grace said after meals (Heb. ברכת המזון) shows an old format, lacking the additions added in subsequent generations by other communities.[103] (Open window for text)
  • The "Counting of the Omer" (sefirath ha-ʻomer) between Passover and Shavu'oth is said in Aramaic, rather than in Hebrew. The emissary of the congregation (Shaliach Tzibbur) commences by making one blessing over the counting and fulfills thereby the duty of the entire congregation, although each man makes the counting for himself.[98][106]
  • The textual variant of the third benediction (Ḳeddushah) said in the Mussaf Prayer on Sabbath days shows signs of an early tradition, believed to antedate the version used by other communities (both, Ashkenaz and Sepharad), insofar that the original version was said without mentioning Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai Eḥad.[107] (Open window for text)
  • The practice in Yemenite congregations is for the Shaliach Tzibbur (emissary of the congregation; precentor) to say the Berakhot (benedictions) before and after the Shema, while everyone else in the synagogue remains quiet as they listen to him and answer Amen. He is the mouthpiece of the Tzibbur. Those who choose to recite the words along with him, do so silently. Only the Shema itself is recited in unison.
  • The Evening Prayer (ʻArvith) on weekdays is unique in that, in the second blessing said after Ḳiryat Shema, there is an extension enacted by the Geonim, now abandoned by most other communities.[111] (Open window for text)
  • The third blessing of the Amidah retains the same form throughout the Ten Days of Repentance, even on weekdays, with the addition of ובכן.
  • In Yemenite public service (both, Baladi and Shāmī), the pesukei dezimra of the Morning Prayer is chanted in unison by the whole sitting congregation, unlike other communities where only one person, usually the Shaliach Tzibbur (precentor), recites it aloud.[113] The same rule applies to the recital of the Qiryath Shema.[114]
  • In Yemenite public service (both, Baladi and Shāmī), only one person says the Kaddish at any given time, but never two or more simultaneously. Moreover, in every Kaddish the words וְיִמְלוֹךְ מַלְכוּתֵיהּ וְיַצְמַח פּוּרְקָנֵיהּ וִיקָרֵב מְשִׁיחֵיהּ וְיִפְרוֹק עַמֵּיהּ are incorporated. The yod in the word וימלוך is vocalized with a ḥiraq, and the lamad with a ḥolam.[115]
  • The custom of the Baladi-rite is to answer "Amen" at the conclusion of the benediction known as Yotzer in the Morning Prayer, as also to answer "Amen" during the Evening Prayer at the conclusion of the benediction, Ma'ariv 'Aravim.[115]
  • The Cohenim do not have a custom to wash their hands prior to their standing up to bless the congregation.[116]
  • On days when they read from two scrolls of the Torah in the synagogue, the Baladi-rite custom is not to take out the two scrolls at one time, but they would take out one scroll, read from it, and after the conclusion of the reading the scroll is returned to the Heikhal and the second scroll taken out and read. The Haftarah is read only after the scrolls have been returned to the Heikhal.[117][118]
  • The Baladi-rite custom, on any given Monday or Thursday, as well as on Rosh Ḥodesh (New Moon), is to return the Scroll of the Law (Torah) to the ark after reading it in the synagogue, before the congregation recites Ashrei yoshəvei vethəkha, 'odh yehallelukha seloh, etc. (אשרי יושבי ביתך עוד יהללוך סלה). This rule, however, does not apply to Sabbath days and Festival days.[119]
  • The Yemenite custom (both, Baladi and Shāmī) when reciting the Hallel is that the congregation attentively listens to the Shaliach Tzibbur reading without repeating the words of the Hallel, but only cites the word "Hallelujah," in a repetitious manner, after each verse. "Hallelujah" is repeated 123 times, like the number of years attained by Aaron the High Priest. The congregation will, however, repeat after the Shaliach Tzibbur only a few selected verses from the Hallel, considered as lead verses.[120]
  • The Tikkun Chatzot (Midnight Rectification) does not appear in the Baladi-rite liturgies.

Selections from siddur[edit]

The 'Standing Prayer' known as the Eighteen Benedictions, or Amidah, as prescribed in the Yemenite Baladi-rite tradition, and which is recited three times a day during weekdays, is here shown (with an English translation):[121] (Open window for text)

Nishmath Kol Hai is recited on the Sabbath day, and dates back to the 5th century CE:[124]

Published siddur editions[edit]

  • Siddur Tefillath Kol Pe, ed. Yosef Hasid and Shelomo Siani, Jerusalem 1960
  • Siyaḥ Yerushalayim, Baladi prayer book in 4 vols, ed. Yosef Qafih, Kiryat-Ono 1995–2010
  • Hatiklāl Hamevo'ar, ed. Pinḥas Qoraḥ, Benei Barak 2006
  • Torat Avot, Baladi prayer book (7 vols.), ed. Nathanel b. Yihya Alsheikh, Benei Barak
  • Tefillat Avot, Baladi prayer book (6 vols.)
  • Tiklāl (Etz Ḥayim Hashalem), ed. Shimon Saleh, 4 volumes, Jerusalem 1971
  • Tiklāl Ha-Mefoar (Maharitz) Nosaḥ Baladi, Meyusad Al Pi Ha-Tiklal Im Etz Ḥayim Ha-Shalem Arukh Ke-Minhag Yahaduth Teiman: Bene Berak: Or Neriyah ben Mosheh Ozeri: 2001 or 2002

Baladi as original Yemenite custom[edit]

Although the word "Baladi" is used to denote the traditional Yemenite Jewish prayer, the word is also used to designate the old Yemenite Jewish custom in many non-related issues treating on Jewish legal law (Halacha) and ritual practices, and which laws are mostly aligned with the teachings of Maimonides' Code of Jewish Law, as opposed to the Shulchan Arukh of Rabbi Joseph Karo.

  • One of such practices is to constrict the blood locked within meats before cooking by throwing cut pieces of the meat (after salting and rinsing) into a pot of boiling water, and leaving them there for as long as it takes for the meat to whiten on its outer layer. This practice prevents the blood from oozing out, and is only a rabbinical precautionary measure (Cf. Hullin 111a).[125] If soup was to be made from meat which was thrown into a pot of boiling water, it was not necessary to take out the meat. Rather, the froth and scum which surfaces were scooped away, and this sufficed. It was also a Jewish practice in Yemen that when salting the cut meat, the pieces are prepared no larger than half a roṭal (about the size of half an orange) so as to permit the effectiveness of the salt on that meat.[126]
  • The Baladi custom is to make tzitzit (tassels)[127] with only seven "joints" (Hebrew: חוליות), without counting the first square-knot that is tied to the tassel where it is attached to the cloth. These seven "joints" each consist of only three windings and are not separated by knots. They are placed on the upper 1/3 length of the tassel, symbolic of the seven firmaments in heaven, while in the other 2/3 length of the tassel the strings are left to hang loose. Their Rabbis have interpreted the Talmud (Menahoth 39a) with a view that the "joints" and the "knots" are one and the same thing.[128]
Yemenite tzitzit
  • Another custom of the Baladi-rite community (which is also true of the Shāmī-rite community) is for a child to read aloud the Aramaic translation (Targum Onkelos) in the synagogues on Sabbath days, during the weekly biblical lection, as well as on holidays. The custom is for the Aramaic translation to be read one verse at a time, following each verse that is read aloud from the scroll of the Law (Torah), a practice long since abandoned by other communities.[129]
  • The Baladi-rite custom of tying the knot (Hebrew: קשר) on the head phylactery (Tefillin) follows the custom mentioned in Halakhot Gedolot (Hil. Shimushei Tefillin): "One doubles the two heads (i.e. ends) of the straps [in the form of two separate loops] and feeds one through the other, and the head (i.e. end) of the one in the end (loop) of the other, so that there is formed thereby the shape of a daleth." Practically speaking, its shape is only an imaginary daleth, made also in accordance with the old manner prescribed by the Jews of Ashkenaz (an illustration of its tying method shown here).[130]
  • The Baladi-rite custom is to wear one's large talith on the night of the Sabbath, as well as on the night of any given Festival day.

Further reading[edit]

  • TEMA - Journal of Judeo-Yemenite Studies (ed. Yosef Tobi), vol. 7. Association for Society and Culture, Netanya 2001. Article: Nosaḥ ha-tefillah shel yehudei teyman, pp. 29 – 64 (Hebrew)
  • Amar, Zohar (2017). Differing Halachic Customs between "Baladi" Yemenite and Other Jewish Communities (ספר החילוקים בין בני תימן לבין בני הצפון) (in Hebrew). Neve Tzuf. OCLC 992702131.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Qorah, A. (1987), p. 96 (Hebrew); Ratzaby, Yitzhak (2001), Orach Chaim vol. 3 (Section 105, note 15)
  2. ^ Gaimani, Aharon (2014), p. 83
  3. ^ Gavra, Moshe (1988), pp. 258–354; Shows photocopies of different Yemenite Prayer books, the earliest from the year 1345 (now preserved at the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York, MS. no. 3015), and the latest from 1656, all of which bear Babylonian supralinear punctuation.
  4. ^ Greidi, S. (1995), pp. 71–72
  5. ^ Qorah, A. (1987), pp. 16–17
  6. ^ Rabbi Yosef Qafih, his edition of the Yemenite Haggadah, p. 10
  7. ^ Qafih, Y. (1989), vol. 2, s.v. Qorot Yisra'el be-Teman by Rabbi Hayyim Hibshush, p. 718 and Sefunot, volume 2, Jerusalem 1958, page רסז (p. 275 in PDF pagination) (Hebrew), in which the author writes,

    If your soul be grieved [at the calamity that hath befallen us], please consider the events that have happened to the scholarly Rabbi, our teacher and Master, Yiḥya the son of the honorable Rabbi Yehudah al-Ṣa'adi, the President of the beit din for the [Jewish] communities in Yemen, who fought a just battle against those who make themselves pious, forsaking their own customs and their Yemenite fathers' customs, which have been the customary practice according to the handwritten Prayer Books that are called by us al-tikālil, and who grasp anew customs, found in the printed Machzors, in matters of the prayers and other customs... And also, [other] men, Talmidei Chachamim, had joined together with the President of the court, the honorable Rabbi Yiḥya al-Ṣa'adi, [in his fight] to abolish these new customs [which they had taken] upon themselves, but to no avail, for in their time there was a certain wise man great in Torah, stature (Hebrew: ובמעלה‎), and [knowledgeable in the writings of the] poskim, and above all was infatuated over the books of the kabbalists, [namely] the honorable Rabbi Yiḥya son of the esteemed Minister Shalom HaKohen al-Iraqi. He was the one who stood in the breach to annul the customs of the ancients and to hold onto the new customs, until a great quarrel had been aroused [thereby, whereupon] he went [around] to synagogues to force them to leave the ancient Prayer Books in their possession and to accept the [printed Sephardic] machzors. Now, because of the greatness of his position and the position of his father, the Minister, nineteen synagogues accepted it upon themselves, except for three synagogues [who] prepared themselves within the synagogues to resist him with staves and were unwilling to listen to him unto this day.

  8. ^ It must be noted that the above is told through the lens of Hibshush who writes of Yiḥya, the son of Shalom (al-'Usṭā). However, Rabbi Yosef Qafih, the editor of Hibshush's Qorot Yisra'el be-Teman cited above, tells not of the son Yiḥya, but of Shalom ben Aharon HaKohen Iraqi (Qafih's edition of the Yemenite Haggadah [אגדתא דפסחא, 5719], p. 10-11) as did the court of Sana'a in their 5671 (1911) response to Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook (Masa' le-Teiman (Hebrew: מסע לתימן; Tel Aviv, 5712), p. 197: "ובזמן שעמד הנשיא ר' שלום עראקי שהיה משנה למלך הערבי המולך בצנעה. והיו ידיו רב לו לעשות כרצונו וביד חזקה הכריח קהילות רבות להתפלל ע"פ סידור האר"י נוסח ספרד ולעזוב סידור התפילה להרמב"ם. וגם שלא לגלח בימי העומר וכיוצא בענינים אלו. וקצת קהילות עמדו על עמדם ולא אבו לשמוע לו."). Cf. Qorah, A. (1987), pp. 16–18 (Hebrew pagination), who writes (p. 17): "In the days of the Minister, Shalom (al-'Ousta), a few of the wise men of that generation saw [fit] that it was best that the entire congregation would pray like the custom found in the land of Israel [namely] in the prayer-rite of the Sephardic Prayer Books, and their counsel was that those unto whom the Baladi-rite Prayer Book (Tiklāl) was still fluent in their mouths, that the Nasi would provide them with Sephardic Prayer Books so that all would be accustomed to praying with one prayer-rite, and the Nasi consented to this [advice]. Then were those Rabbis stirred who held fast to praying as the Tiklāl [i.e., Baladi-rite], and at their head was Rabbi Yehuda ben Shelomo al-Sa'adi [d. 1740] and the Judge Rabbi Pinhas ben Shelomo Ha-Kohen al-Iraqi of blessed memory, and they wrote proclamations in the form of rabbinic decisions [saying] that it is forbidden to change the customs of [their] fathers that were established according to the words of the Geonim of old and the 'Composition' of Maimonides that came after them."
  9. ^ Gaimani, Aharon (2014), p. 84
  10. ^ Tobi, Yosef (2001), pp. 31–32; Gavra, Moshe (2010), p. 337
  11. ^ Gaimani, Aharon (2014), pp. 83–92. It is worthy of mentioning that the Great Assembly comprised such men as Daniel, Nehemiah and Ezra, concerning whom the Jerusalem Talmud (Berakhot 17a) says, "One-hundred and twenty or so elders and among them eighty or so prophets enacted this prayer." Cf. Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 28b. Aside from the first three benedictions and the last three benedictions, none of the middle benedictions were at first arranged in any special order, until the first or second century CE, when they were finally given the set order that we have today (Rabbeinu Hananel, ibid.)
  12. ^ The Yemenite custom of praying only one Mussaf-prayer during the Jewish New Year, rather than making first a silent prayer followed by a repetition of the prayer made aloud by the Shaliach Tzibbur, is described by Rabbi Yihya Saleh in his Tiklāl Etz Ḥayim, facsimile edition, published by Karwani Yaakov of Rosh Ha-Ayin, Vol. II, on the morning of Rosh Hashanah, s.v. תפלת מוסף, and which Yemenite practice is similar to a teaching brought down in the Jerusalem Talmud (Berakhot 36a – 36b). Yiḥyah Salaḥ makes use of harsh expletives while writing about the preservation of the original Yemenite Jewish practice: "'Moreover, it can be stated that the benedictions [made in our prayers] on New Year's day and on the Day of Atonement are different, for [on these days] the emissary of the congregation who leads them in prayer fulfills everyone's obligation.' Wherefore, it was thought by Rabbi Yonah that even if someone had turned his heart to other things while in the midst of [saying] a benediction, the emissary of the congregation [still] fulfills his obligation. Yet in the other blessings he does not [fulfill his obligation]. So has it been stated under this man's name. For our purpose, I have copied down all of his words where a lesson was to be learned by such words of an exemplary nature as far as several halachic practices were concerned. And in the Tiklāl that our teacher wrote, even the Rabbi, Yiḥya al-Bashiri of blessed memory, it is written in the Arabian tongue, of which this is its content: 'Let it be known that, throughout the entire course of the year, men ought to pray silently. After which, the emissary of the congregation prays with a loud voice in order to fulfill the obligation of those who do not know [the prayer themselves]. However, during the Mussaf prayer on the New Year's Day the custom is not to begin by praying silently, but rather the emissary of the congregation begins praying aloud and he fulfills the obligation of, both, those who know the benedictions in their entirety and those who do not know them. The reason for this being that the benedictions are long [during these days of the year] and not everyone is familiar with them as is the emissary of the congregation. Yet during the other days of the year, the emissary of the congregation does not fulfill the obligation [of any], except only of that person who knows not [the benedictions].' You have, herewith, been shown [the matter] so that you might know just how many great multitudes of men confirm our customs, even the custom of our ancient most forebears [as it has been passed down unto us] nearly since the days of the destruction, as it is generally held and accepted by us, [which is to say], the traditions of our forefathers. So who is it that after considering these mighty kings (who all agree with common consent, and all walk with perfect persuasion of the affirmative [saying] that there must be only one [Mussaf] prayer), will yet incline his thoughts, as it were, to contradict their practice? Certainly he ought to be apprehensive and wary lest they [come and] crush his skull…. Hear my son the instruction of thy father, and do not thou forsake the law of thy mother. Be attentive to this and note it.” END QUOTE
  13. ^ Qorah, A. (1987), p. 21, note 19
  14. ^ Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1 (Introduction)
  15. ^ Sassoon, D.S. (1932), Introduction, p. xxxvi. Bibliophile, David Solomon Sassoon (1880–1942), who collected some sixteen Prayer books of the Yemenite rite, ranging from the early sixteenth century (1531) to the twentieth century, writes of the Yemenite Siddur: "The study of these MSS. leads to the assumption that the liturgy of the Yemenite Jews went through many changes during the ages, and that in Yemen itself the liturgy varied according to different localities. There are traces of an earlier rite, used before Western influences penetrated into the Peninsula..."
  16. ^ One of the more popular liturgies found in the Siddur of RSG is the piyyut known as Terumah Hivdilanu, which is recited on the night of Passover, during the reading of the Hagaddah. Another custom taken from the Siddur of RSG is the recital of Kol Nidrei on the night of Yom Kippur, just as Rabbi Yihya Saleh states in his Tiklal ‘Etz Ḥayim Hashalem. See: Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 4, p. 196a.
  17. ^ Qorah, A. (1987), pp. 96–97
  18. ^ Bashiri, Y. (1964). A microfilm of one of many Siddurs written by Rabbi Yiḥya Bashiri can be seen at the Hebrew University National Library in Jerusalem, Manuscript Dept., Catalogue # 26787 (Hebrew); also in the archives of the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, Microfilm # 1219 (Hebrew)
  19. ^ The Tikūn Ha-geshem consists of several verses in rhyme, beginning with שפעת רביבים, followed by these in rapid succession: מכסה שמים, and לשוני כוננת, and ישבעון, and אל חי יפתח, and finally אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו.
  20. ^ The Tikūn Ha-ṭal consists of four liturgical poems in rhymed verse: שזופת שמש, and לשוני כוננת, and לך לשלום גשם and finally אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו.
  21. ^ Golb, N. (1972), p. 18. Although the prayer book in the Spertus College of Judaica collection is dated 1663, the same innovations were added in the Title-page of a Siddur written by Rabbi Yitzhak Wannah in 1645. By Tikūnei Shabbat Malkah is meant the recital of six Psalms (Pss. 95–99; 29) established by Rabbi Moshe Cordevero, and the piyyut "Lekha Dodi" written by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz in Safed, as well as the piyyut "Bar-Yochai." See: Wannah, Yitzhak (1992), pp. 43, 74; Gaimani, Aharon (2005), p. 52
  22. ^ Pss. 95–99; 29
  23. ^ Gaimani, Aharon (2005), p. 52
  24. ^ Gavra, Moshe (2010), vol. 3, p. 219
  25. ^ Wannah, Yitzhak (1992), pp. 43–44, note *ג
  26. ^ Gavra, Moshe (2010), vol. 1, pp. 68, 260–261; Gavra, Moshe (1988), vol. 1, pp. 146–153.
  27. ^ Ratzaby, Yitzhak (1996), p. 329
  28. ^ Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 289b
  29. ^ Gamliel, Shalom (1988), p. 137
  30. ^ See Or Hahalichot periodical, Nisan 5774 issue (p. 4) where Rabbi Yosef Qafih talks about כתר and נקדישך.
  31. ^ Amram Gaon (1971)
  32. ^ Sefer Ha-Zohar (with Ha-Sulam commentary), vol. 8 (P. Pinḥas), section # 569), London 1975, p. 219.
  33. ^ Qorah, A. (1987), p. 96. Notwithstanding, the actual existence of this famous praise dates back to a much earlier time and which, according to Dhahiri, Z. (1991), vol. 2, p. 28 [14b]), "fell down from heaven inscribed on a slip of parchment", and which praise contained in it the word "Baruch" ten times, representative of the "ten enunciations" (Heb. ma'amarot) with which God created the universe. See also Saleh, Y. (1993), vol. 1, p. 113. Rabbi David Abudirham, in his seminal work Sefer Abudirham, writes in the name of Rav Amram Gaon that the word "Baruch" should be said fifteen times, signifying the fifteen words in the Birkath Cohenim (Sefer Abudirham, Warsaw 1877, p. 37 [19a]).
  34. ^ On Yehudah Halevi's authorship of המהולל לעולם, see: Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 58b. In the words of Yiḥyah Saleḥ (ibid.), Etz Hayim commentary: המהולל וכו' שבח זה מרבי' יהודה הלוי ז"ל ("`He that is praised`, etc. This praise is from Rabbi Judah Halevi, of blessed memory.")
  35. ^ The Yemenite custom is now to say the benediction known as Yotzer Shabbath. Yiḥyah Salaḥ adopted the view that it ought to be said while relying upon Yemenite Rabbi Shelomo Taizi, who states: "The reason it was omitted in our prayer books, and even in the books of Maimonides, of blessed memory, is because it was forgotten on account of the many hardships and wanderings [suffered by the people]." The Yotzer Shabbath comprises that liturgy known as the "greater Alpha-Beta", viz., El Adon 'al kol hama'asim (The Lord is Master over all His works); Borukh u'mevorakh befi kol haneshamah (Blessed is He and acclaimed by every living thing), etc.," and is a teaching from the Zohar.[citation needed]
  36. ^ Gavra, Moshe (2010), pp. 206–208
  37. ^ Shabazi (1986), p. 37
  38. ^ Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 4, p. 73b
  39. ^ Bashiri, Y. (1964), p. 6b – also in note "aleph" (ibid.). For example: אמת ויציב, נכון וקיים, ישר ונאמן, אהוב וחביב, נחמד ונעים, נורא ואדיר, מתוקן ומקובל, טוב ויפה הדבר הזה עלינו לעולם ועד.
  40. ^ Example: אמת ויציב, ונכון וקיים, וישר ונאמן, ואהוב וחביב, ונחמד ונעים, ונורא ואדיר, ומתוקן ומקובל, וטוב ויפה הדבר הזה עלינו לעולם ועד.
  41. ^ Yiḥyah Saleḥ makes mention of Sefer Abudirham in his commentary Etz Ḥayim, when mentioning emeth wayaṣiv and how that Rabbi David Abudirham, in his treatise on the Tefillah (Sefer Abudirham, Warsaw 1877, p. 50; in PDF p. 47), requires saying fifteen waws, symbolizing the fifteen ascensions in the Book of Psalms, commencing with Shir hama'aloth (Pss. 120–134). See: Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 95b.
  42. ^ Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 57b
  43. ^ a b Saleh, Y. (1894), vol. 1, p. 88a
  44. ^ Author of book, Seder Ha-Yom.
  45. ^ Saleh, Y. (1894), vol. 1, p. 16a; Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 61a
  46. ^ The reference here is to the three verses taken from three different places in the book of Psalms, all making mention of the word Ṣedeq, or "justice," in recognition of God's justice who caused three pious men of Israel to pass away from the world during the Afternoon oblation – viz., Moses our Master, Joseph and King David. A debate, however, quickly arose whether or not it was permitted to make ṣidūq ha-din (i.e. the act of justifying God's judgment) on certain days, since normally it is not permitted to engage in mourning on a Sabbath day or Festival day. See: Saleh, Y. (1979), vol. 3, responsum # 150.
  47. ^ Gavra, Moshe (1988), vol. 1, pp. 129–142
  48. ^ Thus is the practice described in the Talmud and in the writings of the geonim, in Maimonides' Code of Jewish law, and in Rabbi Yihya Bashiri's Baladi-rite Siddur
  49. ^ In Yemen, the synagogues faced north in the direction of Jerusalem and the congregants also stood facing north. When gesticulating the lolav, they stretched it forward toward the north, facing Jerusalem. Today, in the land of Israel, if one were standing in prayer in Tel-Aviv, he would face Jerusalem which lies toward the east.
  50. ^ Greidi, S. (1995), p. 97 (71)
  51. ^ Rabbi Amram Qorah wrote of Yiḥyah Saleḥ, saying: "He toiled much to render the precise text used in prayer according to the text of ancient Baladi-rite prayer books (Tikālil), and he purged them from the versions that the later copyists of the Baladi-rite prayer books had amended thereto. Indeed, those additions which were added in the Baladi-rite prayer books based on the Spanish-rite and which they had [already] begun to observe as their own practice, he did not remove them; instead, he explained them and they were incorporated in the Baladi-rite prayer book." See: Qorah, A. (1987), pp. 21-22, note 19.
  52. ^ For example, Psalm 107 for Passover; Psalm 68 for Shavuʻoth and Psalms 42 and 43 for Sukkoth.
  53. ^ Bashiri, Y. (1964), p. 29a
  54. ^ Razhaby, Yehuda (1981), pp. 104–105
  55. ^ Maimonides (1985), Seder Ha-Tefillah (end of division called Ahavah)
  56. ^ Qafih, Y. (2018), p. 39
  57. ^ Qafih, Y. (1958), p. 261; Qafih, Y. (1985), Preface to Nusach Ha-Tefillah, p. 711
  58. ^ Qafih, Y. (1989), vol. 2, pp. 828–830: [Translation]: "As for the format of the prayer-rite that is used by them, a tradition bequeathed to us by our forefathers from early generations avers that the prayer format fixed by Maimonides in his book, Mishne Torah, he received from the Jews of Yemen, when he realized that it was unadulterated by the emendations of the Geonim and their improvements, and that it contained not the enhancements of the sages of Spain, nor the so-called "corrections" made by the cantors of Ashkenaz; as Rabbi Yiḥya Saleh (Maharitz) has written, saying that we have a tradition that all our customs regarding the prayers are very ancient, effectively dating back to the time of the [First] Temple's destruction. Even though we cannot cite proof to this effect, it can still be deduced elsewhere, by virtue of the fact that Maimonides, when he mentions incidentally the format of the prayer, writes what is different from the prayer format that he fixed in his magnum opus, at the end of Sefer Ahavah. A few examples are brought down in what follows: (1) In his commentary on the Mishnah, Tractate Berakhot, chapter 5, he wrote that in the benediction said for the annual seasons, during the winter months, one is to say, "Bless [this year] unto us" (ברך עלינו), but in the prayer format in his larger work he did not differentiate between the summer months and the winter months, writing instead that one is always to say, "Bless us" (ברכנו); (2) In Maimonides' commentary on the Mishnah, Tractate Berakhot 6:5, he writes for the version of the final blessing, known as Boré Nefashot ("The Creator of many souls"), that one is to conclude by saying, "…upon all that was created of Him who sustains the universe" (על כל מה שברא חַיי העולמים= ḥai ha-ʿolamim), but in his larger composition and in his Guide for the Perplexed (Part 1, chapter 69), he makes use of the version, "the life of the universe" (חֵי העולמים= ḥei ha-ʿolamim), and thus is it written in all the prayer books of Yemen; (3) In the benediction known as Me'ayn shalosh (brief form of grace after eating cakes, etc.), there he makes use of a different version, concluding with the words, "…and for Zion, your honorable dwelling place, and for the pure land; and build Jerusalem your city, even quickly in our days, and let us eat of her fruits." However, in his larger composition, Hil. Berakhot 3:13, he did not write this version, but rather brought down the version that is found in the prayer books of Yemen; (4) Similarly, he reverts himself in the matter of the Hallel, and how the congregation is to answer the one who recites the Hallel; (5) In Maimonides' Responsa, he writes that the concluding lines for the eleventh benediction in the Amidah is, "O Lord, who loves righteousness and judgment," while during the Ten Days of Repentance one is to say, "O Lord, Thou King, who loves righteousness and judgment." However, in his larger composition, under the format of the prayer, he writes that for the entire year one says, "O Lord, Thou King, who loves righteousness and judgment," but during the Ten Days of Repentance he is to conclude the blessing with, "The King of the judgment"; (6) Moreover, in his Responsa, in the benediction said after a circumcision, the version used by him is, "…has commanded, just as you have commanded those who are holy," etc. However, in his larger composition, the version of all the old texts is as the version used in Yemen, "…has commanded, by a testament of holy men," etc.; (7) Also in the composition itself, in Hil. Tefillah 2:14, he wrote that on the Ninth of Av fast day (Tish'a be-Av) they add the version known as Raḥem in the place of the prayer that begins, "Dwell in the midst of Jerusalem" (תשכון), for this used to be his custom, based on the Siddur of Rabbi Saadia Gaon. However, in the prayer format brought down in his larger composition, he wrote the version as it appears in Yemen, saying that Raḥem is said instead of the benediction, "Dwell in the midst of Jerusalem," that is, rather than being incorporated within it; (8) In his "Mishne Torah" (Hil. Matanot ʿAniyim 10:3[6]), he wrote: "…as it says, 'You shall hear the cry of the poor'," (a verse that does not exist in the Hebrew Bible) and which statement is no more than an instance of his habitual usage of these words, taken from the text of Nishmat kol ḥai ("The Breath of All Living Things"), as found in the Spanish prayer books. However, in the format of the prayer brought down in the same composition, such words do not appear, but only the version that is used in Yemen. Neither are these words found in the prayer format that was published by D. Goldschmidt. (9) Moreover, in his prayer format, he wrote: "The people have it as their practice in each of the Mussaf-prayers, whenever they say, 'Just as you have written concerning us in your Torah, through Moses your servant,' to mention the sacrifices of the day, just as they are written in the Torah, and they read aloud the same verses. If, however, they did not mention [them], since they said, 'Just as you have written concerning us in your Torah,' etc., they are no longer required [to say them]." It follows that, as a first resort, they are required to say these verses, as the practice adhered to by Rabbeinu Tam (see: Tosefot in Rosh Hashanah 35a, s.v. אילימא), and only as a last resort, if they had not mentioned them, they are no longer required to do so. However, in the same prayer format itself, in all handwritten manuscripts of the book "Mishne Torah" (also known as, Yad ha-Ḥazaḳah), as also in the Oxford MS on which text Dr. Daniel Goldschmidt published Maimonides' prayer format, the verses of the Mussafin (i.e. additional offerings made on Sabbaths and Festival days) are missing altogether. Does this not clearly prove that even after he wrote down the prayer format, just as he had been accustomed to saying, "the people have it as their practice," that he retracted the statement, correcting it to read as the version he received from Yemen, and deleting those verses? So it would seem, and nothing more."
  59. ^ Qafih, Y. (2010), vol. 1, Foreword
  60. ^ Al-Naddaf, A. (1981), responsum # 33, pp. 164–165
  61. ^ Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, s.v. Evening Prayer on weekdays, p. 192a
  62. ^ Mishnah Berakhoth 1:4
  63. ^ i.e., about whether or not the words, "Borukh shomer 'amo yisroel lo'ad", should be concluded with a blessing that employs God's name.
  64. ^ Berakhoth 4b
  65. ^ The sense is to the beginning of that blessing which says: Emeth emunah kol zoth qiyam 'aleinu, etc., and concludes with, Borukh attoh adonai ğo'al yisroel. After which they say Hashkiveinu, etc.
  66. ^ Since the suppliant are normally required to go from the benediction known as Geulah directly into the standing prayer (as in the Morning Prayer), the practice differs in the Evening Prayer with the addition of "Hashikiveinu."
  67. ^ Al-ʻAdeni, Saʻīd ben David (2010), s.v. Berakhot 8:14, p. 87. Cf. Sefer Halakhoth Pesuqoth le'Rav Yehudai Gaon z"l, Jerusalem 1999, p. 476, which final form of the blessing is exactly like the old Yemenite tradition.
  68. ^ Maimonides (1974), vol. 1, Hil. Berakhot 8:14; Tiklal Torath Avoth (ed. Nathanel Alsheikh), vol. 1, Benei Barak 1996, p. 318.
  69. ^ Tobi, Yosef (2001), Article: Nosaḥ ha-tefillah shel yehudei teyman, p. 41
  70. ^ Moreover, on Mondays they say: ה' איה חסדיך הראשונים, etc., while on Thursdays they say: ה' שארית פליטת אריאל, etc. Even so, the practice of saying these verses was only lately introduced in Yemen around the 18th century, seeing that in all the old Baladi-rite prayer books there is no recollection of the said suppliant verses on Mondays and Thursdays, nor of Avinu malkeinu on the other days of the week. See: Gavra, Moshe (2010), vol. 1, pp. 336–343.
  71. ^ Ratzaby, Yehuda (2018), p. 60. In the Midrash Rabba (Canticles Rabba) on the verse (Song of Songs 8:13), "She who sits in the gardens, [your] friends listen to your voice; let me hear it," which has been expounded there to mean: "When Israel enters the synagogues and they recite Ḳiryat Shema, with sincerity of purpose and perfect unison, with concentration and agreeable sound, the Holy One, blessed be He, says to them: She who sits in the gardens, when you read [as] friends, my retinue and I listen to your voice; let me hear it. But when Israel recites Ḳiryat Shema with discord, the one preceding ahead and the other lagging behind, and they do not recite Ḳiryat Shema with sincerity of purpose, the Holy Spirit calls out and says, "Go off, my beloved!"
  72. ^ R. Yosef Karo wrote in his Shulhan Arukh, Orach Chaim 61:24, that Ḳiryat Shema must be recited during the prayer by making use of its cantillations (i.e. the diacritical points written next to the vowels and above the letters), just as they are found written in the Torah. However, in Yemen, the practice was somewhat different; viz., to recite the Ḳiryat Shema during the prayer in an impromptu-like manner (without taking notice of its cantillations), yet, the entire congregation would read the words aloud in complete rhythmic unison, and singular melody.
  73. ^ Bashiri, Y. (1964), pp. 11b – 12a
  74. ^ "דיברא" in the Yemenite text adopted by Maimonides and included in the back of Sefer Ahavah, Qafih's edition, p. 720.
  75. ^ In the קדיש דְּרַבָּנַן however, וְיַבַּע appears instead of ויקרב (Yemenite text adopted by Maimonides and included in the back of Sefer Ahavah, Qafih's edition, p. 720. See also התכלאל המבואר נוסח בלדי לימות השנה (חלק ראשון), ה'תשס"ו, page 33.)
  76. ^ "דאמירן" in the Yemenite text adopted by Maimonides and included in the back of Sefer Ahavah, Qafih's edition, p. תשכ.
  77. ^ Today, the Baladi-rite custom in the Kaddish is to add the conjunction "and" in all of these words: "...may the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, be blest, and honoured, and glorified, and extolled, and exalted, and magnified, and praised and uplifted, etc." Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, pp. 83a–b, mentions the custom of saying the conjunction "and" seven times, and which practice has been attributed unto the Spanish kabbalist, Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla, although it was not an original Yemenite Jewish custom to do so.
  78. ^ Qafih, Y. (2010), p. 89 (note 1)
  79. ^ Yitzḥak Halevi, Shalom (1993), p. 289. According to Rabbi Shalom Yitzhak Halevi, quoting from Tiklāl Khalaf, the reason Aleinu le'shebeaḥ is not said during the Afternoon prayer (minḥah) is because they never enacted the saying of Aleinu le’shebeaḥ except to counter the worshipers of the sun in the morning, and the worshipers of the moon in the evening. He cites from the words inscribed in the margin of his 1894 edition of Tiklāl Etz Ḥayim, p. 88a. This opinion is also brought down by Rabbi Yitzhak Wanna in his Baladi-rite prayer book. Even so, according to Maharitz, in his commentary Etz Ḥayim, the omission of Aleinu le'shebeaḥ during the Afternoon prayer was a teaching espoused by the Rabbi and kabbalist, Meïr ibn Gabbai, author of Tola'at Ya'akov (written in 1507), who wrote: "We do not say Aleinu le'shebeaḥ except in the morning and in the evening, but not during the Afternoon prayer." See: Saleh, Y. (1894), vol. 1, p. 88a; Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 168a.
  80. ^ According to Dr. Aharon Gaimani of Bar-Ilan University, Yihya (Zechariah) al-Dhahiri (d. 1608) was the first of Yemenite Sages to introduce the practice of saying Aleinu le’shabeaḥ at the conclusion of the prayer, which practice was adopted also among Baladi-rite congregations. Dr. Gaimani, citing Dhahiri, Z. (1991), who brings down elements of the Sephardic prayer rite in his theosophical commentary on the Pentateuch, Ṣeidah la’derekh (Victuals for the Road), vol. 2, on Leviticus, chapter 7 – Parashat Ṣav, p. 32 (16b): "He then concludes after everything [by saying] Aleinu le’shabeaḥ. The reason being that in the world there are idolaters, who according to their custom bow down to their idols each day, while we [on the other hand] are required to praise and to bow down in our manner of service, seeing that we are not like unto them, may God forbid, since they bow down to vanity and emptiness and pray to that which is no profit, etc." (See: Gaimani’s lecture notes, entitled: מנהגים עתיקים ומנהגים חדשים בתורתו של ר' זכריה אלצ'אהרי, given at the Ben-Zvi Institute on 18 June 2014).
  81. ^ Hebrew: שובר. See: Bashiri, Y. (1964), p. 221b, s.v. נוסח שובר
  82. ^ Hebrew: קיום השטר. See: Bashiri, Y. (1964), p. 222a, s.v. קיום השטר
  83. ^ This tradition is mentioned by Rabbi Yiḥya Bashiri, in his Tiklāl Qadmonim, a Hebrew translation of which is brought down in Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 3, s.v. Leshon tiklāl haqadmon, pp. 238b–239a; in other editions, vol. 3, p. 310. It is also mentioned by Saleh, Y. (1993), vol. 1, p. 153 (Hil. Birkot ha-shaḥar, Halachah 79); p. 206 (Hil. Tefillah, Halachah 11).
  84. ^ Shabazi (1986), vol. 1, pp. 61–62; 67
  85. ^ Qafih, Y. (2010), vol. 1, p. 31; Tiklāl Torath Avoth (ed. Nathanel Alsheikh), vol. 1, Benei Barak 1996, p. 30, et al. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim § 59:3) cites the matter as being disputed, and sides with the view that a single individual praying alone can say the Keddusha. Even so, the Yemenite Jewish practice is to rely upon a very old practice mentioned in several writings of the Geonim, namely: The teaching brought down in Halachoth Gedoloth, (Halachoth Tzitzith), by Shimon Kiara which says, “They asked [the question] before R. Naḥshon, the Exilarch of the academy at Matha Maḥaseya, 'How shall a man pray when he is alone?' He answered them, 'Let him say 'yotzer or' in its regular manner, until he reaches we-khūlam pōthǝḥim eth piham biqǝḏūsha u'vǝṭaharoh u'mǝshabeḥim u'mǝvorekhim u'maqdishim lǝ'el shǝmō ho-el ha-ğoḏōl ha-ğibbōr wa-hanōro. Afterwards, let him say the Psalms [which we are accustomed to say, namely], weyomeru, [etc.] and we-tushbehoth yashmi'ou [etc.], at which he concludes his prayer. But why is it that he skips over [the part of] holiness (Keddusha)? Because he is praying alone, and it is not permitted that a lone prayer says the holiness (Keddusha).” Although the version used by the Yemenites in their prayer books (Tiklal) is different from the version used by the Gaon , they nevertheless adhered to his stringency. Other Geonim, who have taken the like position, are: a) R. Tzemach Gaon (Brought down in the words of the Tur, Orach Chaim § 132). b) R. Saadia Gaon (Brought down in the complete Seder of Rav Amram, page 97) c) R. Amram Gaon (ibid.) d) Netronai Gaon. RAMBAM (Maimonides) ruled in accordance with the stringent ruling of the Geonim in his Mishne Torah (Hil. Tefillah 7: 17), and which ruling is understood by some to mean that Rambam recanted his statement in his Questions & Responsa, responsum # 81.
  86. ^ Rabbi Yosef Qafih, Daniel, p. 219.
  87. ^ The Yemenite tradition is to pronounce אַנְטְיּוּכַס, not אַנְטִיּוֹכוּס (Rabbi Yosef Qafih, Daniel, p. ריט and רכו; as heard in recording of Rabbi Salem Cohen thereto.).
  88. ^ Bashiri, Y. (1964), pp. 75b–79b, s.v. מגלת בני חשמונאי
  89. ^ Sharvit, Shim'on (1995), pp. 45–46
  90. ^ Sharvit, Shim'on (1995), pp. 50–51
  91. ^ Sharvit, Shim'on (1995), pp. 45, 49–50.
  92. ^ In a conversation with Shimon Greidi regarding the learning of Pirkei Avoth in Yemen.
  93. ^ עצרת (rather than שבועות) appears here in the source, reflecting Rabbi Yosef Qafih's note that the Shavuoth holiday was also called "עצרת" in Yemen (Halichoth Teiman, p. 29). Cf. Schottenstein Edition of the Babylonian Talmud, Sanhedrin, 101a ("בהלכות עצרת בעצרת"), note 11.
  94. ^ Greidi, S. (1987), as cited by Sharvit, Shim'on (1995), p. 53
  95. ^ a b Qafih, Y. (1982), p. 32.
  96. ^ Arussi, Ratzon (1986), p. 305, who cites Rabbi Shalom Yitzḥaq Halevi and Rabbi Shalom Qoraḥ.
  97. ^ The reason for the abandonment of this practice by other Jewish groups is because of R. Yosef Karo's words in his Shulhan Arukh. There, he wrote in Orach Chaim 145:3 that, today, they do not practice reading the Aramaic translation aloud on those days when the Torah is taken out and read in the synagogues, since they do not understand the meaning of its words.
  98. ^ a b Saleh, Y. (1971), Tiklāl Etz Ḥayim
  99. ^ Tiklāl Etz Ḥayim, s.v. Passover. Compare Tosafot on Pesahim 115a-b, s.v. כל שטיבולו במשקה צריך נטילה, where it states at the very end of the Tosafist's response that "in all of the Siddurim it was written that a person is required to bless [over hand washing made when dipping a morsel into a liquid]," although the Tosafist dissented with that view. Today, the only Siddur which requires blessing over the hand washing when dipping a morsel into a liquid (such as at Pesach - Passover) is the Yemenite Baladi-rite Siddur. All other Siddurim have since changed their custom in accordance with the view of the Tosafist.
  100. ^ The Sephardic tradition differs, in that it omits the word "of." See: Tiklāl Etz Ḥayim.
  101. ^ Ibn Ghiyyat (1861), vol. 1 (Hilkot Sukkah), p. 87 (end)
  102. ^ Tiklāl Etz Ḥayim; cf. Mishne Torah, Hil. Sukkah 6:12
  103. ^ Rabbeinu Ya'akov, the son of Rabbeinu Asher (the Rosh), says in his Tur (Orach Chaim § 189:1) that the fourth blessing known as "the good and the benevolent" had been expanded in later generations to include the words: "He hath been good unto us, He doeth good unto us, (and) He will do good unto us." This addition is missing in the old Yemenite version of the Grace said after meals. However, the same addition has been prescribed also by Tosafoth (Berakhoth 46b), s.v. והטוב, and by Rabbeinu Yonah, who all require saying these words in accordance with a homily brought down by Rabbi David Abudirham. Even so, Rabbi Ya'akov in his Tur (ibid.) admits that it is only a later practice, and was not originally part of the fourth blessing – the good and the benevolent.
  104. ^ The Babylonian Talmud (Berakhoth 48b) teaches us that from the mere standpoint of the Law, it is only necessary to say "Thank-you, God, for this meal," and one has fulfilled thereby his obligations. However, when God gave manna to the Israelites in the wilderness, Moses enacted that Israel make use of a set formula when blessing God after eating it, which enactment constitutes the first part of the blessing that we now make use of today in our Grace. When the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, Joshua enacted that we say an additional blessing after that which Moses gave us, in recognition of the good land. By the time that King David and Solomon came along, they enacted a third blessing, in recognition of the building of Jerusalem and its Temple, adding this blessing immediately after that which was given by Joshua. These three blessings constitute what is known as the Grace after meals (Heb. birkath hamazon). Afterwards, in circa 132 CE, the Sages of Jamnia (Yavne) added a fourth and final blessing to these original three, requiring us to say "the good and benevolent King," in remembrance of God's mercies to the slain at Beter (Beth Tor), who were killed during the days of Hadrian, during the Jewish insurrection against Roman occupation. The slain had long been without burial, by order of the Roman Emperor, but eventually were afforded a burial – when a new emperor came to power in Rome – but only after their corpses had been left strewn in the fields to form hedges for Hadrian's vineyard. It is said that during this time, their bodies never gave-off a putrefying smell or stench, a thing seen as a reflection of God's goodness towards the fallen and the slain (See: Babylonian Talmud, Taanith 31a).
  105. ^ Here, on the eight days of Hanukkah, one must add the following praise: “For the miracles, and for the valiant acts, and for the wars, and for the Divine help, and for the redemption, and for the deliverance, which thou hast wrought for us and with our forefathers during those days at this time; [even] during the days of Mattithiah, the son of Yoḥanan the High Priest, the Ḥasmonai and his sons, when the wicked kingdom of Greece stood up against thy people, the house of Israel, to make them desist from thy Divine laws, and to draw them away from the precepts determined by thee. However, thou, in thy great mercies, stood up for them in their time of trouble, and judged their case, and contended their contention, and took revenge upon their vengeance, delivering valiant men into the hand of the weak, and a multitude of people into the hand of the few, and those who were defiled into the hand of those who were pure, and the wicked into the hand of the righteous, and transgressors into the hand of those who keep thy Divine laws, and hast made for thyself a great name in thy worlds, and for thy people hast thou wrought a wonder and miracles. Just as thou hast done for them miracles and mighty acts, so do thou even for us miracles and mighty acts during this time and season.” (Heb. על הנסים ועל הגבורות ועל המלחמות ועל התשועות ועל הפדות ועל הפרקן שעשית עמנו ועם אבותינו בימים ההם בזמן הזה. בימי מתתיה בן יוחנן כהן גדול חַשְׁמוּנַּאי ובניו כשעמדה מלכות יון הָרִשְׁעָה על עמך בית ישראל לבטלם מתורתיך ולהעבירם מחקי רצוניך ואתה ברחמיך הרבים עמדת להם בעת צרתם ודנת את דינם ורבת את ריבם ונקמת את נקמתם ומסרת גבורים ביד חלשים ורבים ביד מעטים וטמאים ביד טהורים ורשעים ביד צדיקים ופושעים ביד עושי תורתיך ועשית לך שם גדול בעולמיך ולעמך ישראל עשית פלא ונסים. כשם שעשית עמהם נסים וגבורות כך עשה עמנו נסים וגבורות בעת ובעונה הזאת)
  106. ^ Yitzhak Halevi, Shalom (1993), p. 451, § 99
  107. ^ Gavra, Moshe (2010), vol. 2, pp. 232–233. An early 9th century Babylonian scholar, Pirkoi ben Baboi, in a document originally preserved in the Old Cairo Geniza at Fusṭaṭ (now in the Cambridge Univ. Library, Taylor-Schecter Collection, T-S NS 275.27, published in Ginzei Schechter by Louis Ginzberg, book 2, Jewish Theological Seminary of America:Hermon 1969, pp. 544–573) makes note of the fact that during the persecutions under the Roman-Byzantine emperors, there was a decree which prohibited Jews from reciting the Shema (Hear, O Israel) verses, but in order to circumvent this prohibition, Jews had inserted the addition of Shema (Hear, O Israel) in the Mussaf Prayer on Sabbath days. However, when the persecutions ceased, the recital of the Shema in the Mussaf remained the norm for most communities, whereas Pirkoi ben Baboi implores the Jews of North Africa to return to their original practice, calling their continuance in such practices as being no more than “customs of abjuration.” In the view of Rabbi Yihya al-Qafih (Milḥamoth Hashem, 1931), as well as Maharitz (see infra.), who allege that the original Yemenite Jewish custom in the third benediction on Sabbath days was not to say Kether yitenu lekha, etc., but only to make use of the third benediction said on weekdays (e.g. נקדישך וכו), it would seem that the newer Baladi-rite custom to say Kether yitenu lekha, etc., follows the old custom in the Land of Israel (as described in the Zohar, Parashat Pinḥas) before the changes took effect in consequence of those persecutions. Even so, the Zohar makes it clear that saying, "Kether yitenu lekha," etc. was only a later enactment. Cf. Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, Mussaf shel-shabbath, s.v. כתר, p. 218a; p. 289b in other editions (Hebrew)
  108. ^ a b Isaiah 6:3
  109. ^ a b Ezekiel 3:12
  110. ^ a b Psalm 146:10
  111. ^ Their enactment was to say the addition, beginning with the words, ברוך שומר עמו ישראל לעד. ברוך יי' לעולם אמן ואמן. ימלוך יי' לעולם אמן ואמן, etc., in the second blessing after Ḳiryat Shema, and which addition was intended to prolong the time of prayer in the synagogues for late-comers, so that they could still arrive in time to pray with the congregation when they reached the Standing Prayer, without being compelled to remain there alone when the congregants had all departed from the synagogue and walked to their homes at night. Synagogues were then built in fields at a distance outside of the city and there was a concern for their safety when returning home alone at night. For a greater summary of the Geonic enactment, which was once also practised by the Spanish Jewish community before they eventually broke away from its practice, see: Meiri (2006), vol. 1 (Berakhot, s.v. וסמיכת גאולה לתפלה), p. 9; Tiklāl Etz Ḥayim
  112. ^ In some older Baladi-rite Prayer Books, the version here is as follows: "Protect us and preserve us, and deliver us from every thing, as also from the fear of the day and from the fear of the night, etc." See: Bashiri, Y. (1964), p. 13a, note 5; Gavra, Moshe (2010), vol. 1, pp. 443–444
  113. ^ Isaac E. (1999), Foreword, p. 15
  114. ^ In the last chapter of Song of Solomon, where it says, "she who sitteth in the gardens, [thy] friends hearken to thy voice," it says that this verse refers to those who read the Qiryath Shema in perfect unison. (This practice has been so misconstrued by others, that to-day, many well-meaning worshippers have come to whisper the famous recital.)
  115. ^ a b Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 39a (in some editions, p. 30a); Adani, Samuel ben Joseph (1997), Introduction.
  116. ^ Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, pp. 39a-b (in some editions, p. 30b); Naḥalath Yosef, Introduction, Shemuel b. Yosef Adeni, Jerusalem 1997 (Hebrew). Compare Shulhan Arukh (Orach Chaim 128:6) and Rabbi Yaakov Castro's commentary, Arakh Leḥem (ibid.). According to R. Yaakov Castro, there was no custom in Egypt for the Cohenim to wash their hands immediately prior to blessing the congregation. The reason for the disparity in Jewish custom in this case is owing to the ambiguity of the teaching, which simply states that a Cohen (priest of Aaron's lineage) is not permitted to stand and bless the people with unwashed hands. The Yemenites hold this to mean the washing of hands in the morning, while others hold this to mean the washing of hands immediately prior to blessing the people.
  117. ^ Sassoon, D.S. (1924), p. 12 (s.v. The Order of Returning the Book of the Law in accordance with the People of Yemen); It is worthy of noting that the Yemenite usage here is identical to the ancient practice described in the Jerusalem Talmud, Sotah 7:6; 33b ("Rabbi Yose commanded Bar Ulla the overseer of the Synagogue of the Babylonians [saying that] whenever only one Torah scroll [is read] let him return it behind the curtain. Whenever there are two [Torah scrolls], carry one away, and bring the other"), where it can be inferred that the Palestinian Jews in the 'Babylonian Synagogue' returned the sacred scrolls before reading the Haftarah, and secondly that they did not take out two Torah scrolls simultaneously. The same customs were in vogue among the Yemenite Jews.
  118. ^ Sassoon, D.S. (1932), vol. 2, p. 934
  119. ^ Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 39a-b (in some editions, p. 30b); Naḥalath Yosef, Introduction, Shemuel b. Yosef Adeni, Jerusalem 1997 (Hebrew).
  120. ^ This practice is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud, Sukkah 38b and in Tractate Sofrim (chapter 16). Cf. Maimonides, Hil. Hanukkah 3:12.
  121. ^ Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, pp. 102a–119b
  122. ^ In those places where rain falls in the summer months, such as in Yemen, Ethiopia, North America, etc., they follow the usual order of the blessings in the Baladi-rite standing prayer, but they also add this blessing (request for rain) where it is said in the middle of the blessing known as שמע קולנו (Hear our voice, O Lord our God. Have compassion and mercy upon us, etc.), beginning with the mid-festival days of Passover and ending with Sukkot (Maharitz, Tiklāl ʿEṣ Ḥayyim (1st edition), vol. 1, p. 140b).
  123. ^ The Yemenite tradition differs from the Sephardic tradition, insofar that the Sephardic Jews will say during the winter months, "Bless [this year] unto us" (ברך עלינו), but the Yemenites will say, both in the winter months and in the summer months, "Bless us" (ברכנו), without distinction.
  124. ^ Based on origin of Nishmat Kol Hai, as described in the Baladi-rite siddur Rabbi Yiḥye Bashiri at the Jewish National and University Library (JNUL) in Jerusalem, Manuscript Dept., Catalogue # 26787 (Hebrew), towards end of reel; also in the archives of the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, Microfilm # 1219 (Hebrew). According to this account, the Nishmath Kol Hai was composed by a Babylonian Jew named Shimon and who was contemporary with Nestorius.
  125. ^ Cf. Maimonides, Mishne Torah (Hil. Ma'akhaloth Asuroth 6:7; 6:10)
  126. ^ Alfasi, I. (1960), citing Rabbi Saadia Gaon. Half of a roṭal, was a weight used in Arab countries during the Middle-Ages, equivalent to about 216 grams, or about the size in bulk of half an orange. This practice follows the Yemenite custom, which differs from a late Commentary on the Shulchan Arukh by the name of TAZ (Turei Zahav), Yoreh De'ah 69:5:16, who writes that the pieces can be "very thick" when salting. The Yemenite practice follows Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, dating back to the year 930 of our Common Era, and who says the meat should not be larger than half a roṭal when salting.
  127. ^ Deuteronomy 22:12
  128. ^ So writes Rabbi Yihye Bashiri, in his Baladi-rite Siddur written in 1654, of which a microfilm copy is available at the Hebrew University library in Jerusalem (Givat Ram Campus), Manuscript Department, film no. F-38354 (Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic): “Any garment which consists of wool, or linen, or silk, or cotton, there is a biblical command that obligates him to attach thereto tassels with hitches (bindings) made-up of four strings, each of the strings being doubled to form eight threads. The four strings are inserted in the aperture made at the edge of the garment, less than 3 fingerbreadths in the corner of the garment, and then doubled so as to make eight threads, while one of them is longer [than the others] with which he binds the eight strings together. The hitches (bindings) are made each one of three windings, whereas the knot is what is called a hitch (binding). Thus is it required to be done on each of the four corners, to fulfill one’s duty in the Law…”. Cf. Qafih, Y. (1985), Hil. Tzizith 1:6–8.
  129. ^ cf. Mishnah (Megillah 4:4; BT Megillah 3a). In the book She'iltoth by Rav Ahai Gaon (P. Nitzavim § 161), he writes: "And when he reads [from the Torah], a translator must respond [to each verse], and they are to adjust the tone of their voices together [so that they are the same]. But if the translator cannot raise his voice, let the reader [from the Torah] lower his own voice."
  130. ^ Sefer Halakhot Gedolot (ed. Ezriel Hildesheimer) vol. 1, Jerusalem 1971, p. 492 (Aramaic); Ginzei Qedem (ed. Benjamin Menashe Levin), vol. 3, chapter 14 (Hil. Tefillin of Rabbi Hai Gaon), Haifa 1925, pp. 73–74 (Hebrew).


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