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סדר התפלות ליום כפור (ספרד)‏ | Seder haTefilot l’Yom Kippur, edited and revised by Moses Gaster (1904, amended 1934)

 

This work is in the Public Domain due to its having been published before January 1st 1924.

This work was scanned by Aharon Varady for the Open Siddur Project from a volume held in the collection of the HUC Klau Library, Cincinnati, Ohio. (Thank you!) This work is cross-posted to the Internet Archive, as a repository for our transcription efforts.

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PREFACE.

The present volume contains all the prayers and supplications arranged for the Day of Atonement יום הכפורים or כפור. According to Holy Writ this day is established for the purpose of bringing home to us the consciousness of human weakness and frailty of sin and transgression, and by means of self-imposed affliction and repentance to turn us from the evil ways which we have pursued in the course of the year, and to lead us, through prayers and confessions, to the gates of Heaven, there to obtain mercy and forgiveness. It is thus a day which begins with physical mortification and ends with spiritual exaltation. It is a day of affliction, and at the same time a day of solemn rest, a Sabbath of Sabbaths שבת שבתון. For can there be a greater spiritual joy than to have passed through the valley of death, and to have approached the realm of bliss, to have loft behind the storm-tossed sea, the pangs and remorse of sin, and to have reached the haven of rest, the calm of purification and of spiritual contentment? The prayers included in this volume are adapted to this purpose, and are so arranged as to form a gradual ascent from the misery of grief, from the shame and trepidation of guilt to the joy of divine mercy and to the confident reliance on God’s grace and love.

Few there are who will own themselves fallen from a high standard of morality, who would willingly identify themselves with some of the Confessions recited in the course of the day. But slowly and gradually the whole range of human activity is unrolled, and the tangled web of our complicated life, with its weakness, is unfolded. We begin to look upon ourselves and upon our actions with eyes cast down, and with a chastened conscience. In that wonderful poetic composition of Gabirol, “The Royal Crown,” we are first introduced to the marvellous structure of the world, to the infinite wisdom and love which governs all that God has created. We proceed to the description of man, with his failings and weakness, and the puny creature is contrasted with the greatness of the universe and the wisdom by which it is ruled. We learn to know how small and frail we are, how short is our life, how great our presumption, and how transitory all the glory of this world. We are thus slowly humbled from the proud position which we have taken up, and humiliation is the first step towards the recognition of the possibility of sinfulness. In the Viduyim, of which each Amidah contains one, we are taught to examine ourselves in the spirit of humility which has now been born within us, to see whether, with all the desire we may have to avoid failings and backslidings, we have succeeded in our endeavours. We then recognize, to our dismay, that there is no man who is absolutely free from sin. And as a natural sequence follows the Confession, the desire of repentance, the wish never to be found guilty again. By fasting and praying we fortify our-selves on this day against the temptation of the world, we conquer the demands of our physical life, we rise to greater heights of introspection and self-examination, and then we are more able to render account of our actions, and to judge ourselves in the light of these Confessions. The more we pray, the more heavy the burden of guilt grows, the consciousness dawns upon us, that it is utterly impossible adequately to atone for all those sins which we now see in their fulness. But instead of despair at our futile efforts, and of dread of the consequences of our actions, hope springs up in our heart, for by the Supplications we are directed to throw ourselves on the love and mercy of God. We are bidden to turn to him, we are taught and encouraged, to approach him as the repentant son, who, with tears in his eyes, draws near to his father. We are told that no intercessor is required, no mediator between us and our Creator, and above all are we assured beforehand of his forgiveness; for ho doth not love the death of the sinner, but that he return from his evil way and live. We throw ourselves confidently on his mercy, and the grand day closes with the sound of the Shofár, which in ancient times proclaimed the freedom of the people, and is now proclaiming to us the spiritual freedom gained by spiritual exertions and physical self-chastisement. We have in some measure expiated our sins, but ho who is the God of forgiveness cleanses us from all our transgressions.

The translation in this volume has been subjected to a most searching emendation and alteration. Special attention has been paid by me to the poetic compositions contained therein, notably to the great philosophical poem of Ibn Gabirol, which embodies the whole of his profound system of philosophy, destined to exercise a lasting influence upon the thoughts of man; and then to the Confessions, which have been almost entirely recast, so as to answer the purpose of their composition, and to convey to the reader a more concrete meaning of their contents. They are couched in the original in a sublime language, suited to the solemn occasion. The other portions have been equally thoroughly improved, and among them special care has been bestowed on the translation of the “Gnabodáh,” the recital of the ancient service in the Temple of Jerusalem. The Hebrew text has been care fully revised, and no pains have been spared to make this volume worthy of the grand object for which it has been intended.

The antiphonal way of reciting many of these prayers has been marked in this edition by asterisks. It is to be noted that the Echál is kept open throughout the Day of Atonement.

The musical notes of the traditional tunes have been again kindly supplied by Mr. Jessurun; some of these have never before been set to music.

May the meditations of our heart, and the utterance of our lips, assist us on this solemn day to free ourselves from temptation and sin, and lead us to a life of moral elevation and spiritual bliss.

M. Gaster.

London:
17 Tammuz, 5664.
June 30, 1904.

PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION.

As the last edition of this Book of Prayer has become exhausted, the Society of Heshaim have availed themselves of the occasion to arrange for a revision of the Hebrew text and rubrics. In carrying out this task they have sought to record finally and exactly the forms of prayer and ceremony which have become established in our Congregation of Sahar Asamaim; and to this end no pains have been spared to present the text of the prayers in accurate classical spelling, while several rubrics have been corrected and a few more added. The heaviest burden in this labour has been borne by the Rev. David Bueno de Mesquita, B.A., who has consecrated to it the ripe fruits of his deep learning and long experience; and the Society gladly set on record their debt of gratitude to him for his devoted services. They now send forth this sacred Oflice with a prayer that like the offering of Judah and Jerusalem it may be “pleasant unto the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years,” guiding seekers of God through the paths of devotion to the Gates of Forgiveness.

Tamuz, 5694— June, 1934.


 

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