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תפלת מנחה לשבת | Shabbat Minḥah Prayers (Jakob J. Petuchowski, 1966)

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This prayer-leaflet is primarily intended for a group of Hebrew Union College students who meet every sabbath afternoon for extra-curricular (noncredit) Torah study. It is fitting, therefore, that their weekly gatherings should begin with the Sabbath Minḥah Service; and it was for that purpose that this leaflet was compiled. The service is conducted entirely in Hebrew and in the traditional nusaḥ. We have omitted only the various repetitions as well as the prayer for the restoration of the sacrificial service. (But we have retained the place of Zion as the symbol of the messianic hope.) In the ‘Alenu prayer, we have preferred a positive formulation of the “Election of Israel” to the traditional negative one.

The English translation does not claim to be literal. While a literal translation has been given of Scripture passages and of a few of the prayers, we have, in many cases, not attempted a “translation” at all. Instead of a translation, we have endeavored to describe the contents of the prayers and the meaning which they could have for the modern Jew in the Western world. The classical concreteness of the traditional material has been retained in the Hebrew text which is being used for worship. But it must be admitted that this concreteness does not always lend itself to literal translation when it comes to English sentence structure and ways of thought.

It was the late Frans Rosenzweig who stressed the “messianic” atmosphere of the Sabbath Afternoon Service. The Friday Evening Service deals with the belief in Creation. The Sabbath Morning Service speaks of Revelation. It is the Sabbath Afternoon Service in which the belief in Redemption is concentrated. Here, the central section of the ‘Amida says: “Thou art One, and Thy Name Is One” – a clear reference to “that day” when, according to the Prophet, “the Lord shall be One, and His Name One.” The weekly sabbath is meant to give us the flavor of that age which will be “a day that is altogether sabbath and rest in the life of the world to come.” It is the task of this leaflet to arouse an appreciation of that “flavor” among those who are preparing themselves for rabbinical leadership in American Judaism.

Iyyar 4th, 5726. [April 24th, 1966] J.J.P.


Graciously, the family of Dr. Petuchowski has shared the creative content in this work (not already in the Public Domain) with a Creative Commons Attribution/ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license. I found this “prayer-leaflet” included within the papers of Rabbi Jacob Freedman provided to the Open Siddur Project by Harry Aizenstadt and Lisa Rubins.

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