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ברכה למדרש החכמה | Prayer for the University [of Oxford] (22 June 1931)

This “Prayer for the University” is found in the Seder ha-Tefilah (Order of Service) arranged by the Oxford Jewish Congregation in 1931 at a special event, arranged by Herbert Loewe (1882-1940), celebrating the centenary of the birth of the Oxford scholar and librarian at the Bodleian Library, Dr. Adolf Neubauer (1831-1907). Two Torah scrolls from the Canterbury Jewish Congregation were also received, and historical markers were unveiled indicating the scene of the martyrdom of Haggai the Proselyte at Osney (17 April 1222) and the sites of the Oxford Synagogue and cemetery in the 12th and 13th centuries. Introducing the prayer, a note attached to the title explains:

[The prayer is] based on the Aramaic Bidding Prayer recited on behalf of the Colleges of Sura and Pumbeditha in Babylonia during the third century and on the Hebrew Thanksgiving pronounced after a single lecture or at the completion of a Terminal Course.


Source (Aramaic and Hebrew)Translation (English)
יְקוּם פּוּרְקָן מִן־שְׁמַיָּא
חִנָּא וְחִסְדָּא וְרַחֲמֵי
וְחַיֵּי אֲרִיכֵי וּמְזוֹנֵי רְוִיחֵי
וְסַיַּעְתָּא דִי־שְׁמַיָּא וּבַרְיוּת גּוּפָא
וּנְהוֹרָא מַעַלְיָא ·
זַרְעָא חַיָּא וְקַיָּמָא זַרְעָא
דִּי לָא־יִפְסֻק מִקוּשְׁטָא
וְדִי לָא־יִבְטֻל מִפִּתְגָּמֵי אוֹרַיְתָא ·
לְמָרָנָן וְּלרַבָּנָן דִי חֲבוּרְתָּא חַכִּימְתְָא דִי הָכָא ·
לְרֵישׁ מְתִיבְתָּא יִתְגַּדַּל אִיקָרֵיהּ ·
וּלְתִנְיָנֵיהּ סְגַן כְּנִישְׁתָּא יִסְגֵּי הֲדָרֵיהּ ·
The Reverend Doctor Frederick Homes Dudden
מְמַנָּא לְרֵישָׁא עַל בֵּי מִדְרָשָׁא דְפֶּמְבּרוֹק ·
וּלְדַיָּנֵי דִי בָבָא ·
וּלְרֵישֵׁי בַּלֵּי ·
לְחַבְרַיָּיא וּלְאַלּוּפֵי בֵי מִדְרָשָׁא ·
רַבְרְבַיָּא עִם זְעֵירַיָּא ·
וּלְכָל־תַּלְמִידֵי תַלְמִידֵהוֹן
וּלְכָל־מָן דִּי עָסְקִין בְּאוֹרַיְתָא ·
וּלְכָל מָן דְאָתִין בְּהֵימָנוּתָא
וּבְקַשִּׁיטוּת לִבָּא לְמֵילַף
וּלְאַלָּפָא כָּל מִלֵּי דְחוּכְמְתָא ·
May salvation from heaven,
grace, lovingkindness, mercy,
long life, ample sustenance,
heavenly aid, health of body,
a higher enlightenment,
and a living and abiding succession of disciples
that will not break with truth
nor neglect the words of the Law,
be vouchsafed unto all the members of this learned University;
unto the Right Honourable the Chancellor,
the Reverend the Vice-Chancellor —
Doctor Frederick Homes Dudden,[1] Frederick Homes Dudden (1874–1955) was an academic administrator and theological scholar. He was Chaplain to King George Ⅴ and George Ⅵ (1929–52), Master of Pembroke College, Oxford (1918–55) and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University (1929–32). 
Master of Pembroke College,
the Doctors,
the Proctors,
the Heads of Colleges and Halls,
Fellows and Scholars,
Graduates and Undergraduates;
unto all their disciples
and unto all the disciples of their disciples;
unto all who busy themselves in the Law
and unto all who in faith and sincerity
come here to learn
or to teach all other branches of learning.
מַלְכָּא דִי־עָלְמָא יְבָרֵךְ יָתְהוֹן
יְפִישׁ חַיֵּיהוֹן
וְיַשְׂגֵּא יוֹמֵיהוֹן
וְיִתֵּן אַרְכָה לִשְׁנֵיהוֹן ·
וְיִתְפָּרְקוּן וְיִשְׁתֵּיזְבוּן
מִן כָּל־עָקָא
וּמִן כָּל־מַרְעִין בִּישִׁין ·
May the King of the universe bless them,
prolong their lives,
increase their days,
and add to their years,
and may they be saved and delivered
from every trouble
and mishap.
מָרַן דִּי בִשְׁמַיָּא
יְהֵא בְסַעְדְּהוֹן כָּל־זְמַן וְעִדָּן ·
וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן׃
May our Lord Who is in heaven
be their help at all times and seasons;
and let us say, Amen.
יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶיךָ
יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ
שֶׁתְּהֵא תּוֹרָתְךָ אוּמָנוּתֵנוּ
בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וּבָעוֹלָם הַבָּא׃
מוֹדִים אֲנַחְנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ שֶׁשַּׂמְתָּ חֶלְקֵנוּ
מִיּוֹשְׁבֵי בֵית הַמִּדְרָשׁ׃
וְהַֽעֲרֶב־נָא דִבְרֵי תוֹרָתְךָ
בְּפִי כָל־יִרְאֵי שְׁמֶךָ
גַם בְּפִי כָל־יוֹשְׁבֵי קְרָנוֹת׃
May it be Thy Will,
O Lord our God and the God of our fathers,
that Thy Law be our occupation
in this world and in the world to come.
We thank Thee that Thou hast cast our lot
among those that study in College:
vouchsafe that the words of Thy Law
be ever in the mouth of all that fear Thy Name,
and even yet of all that loiter at the corners of the streets.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ
לַמְּרֵנִי חֻקֶּיךָ׃
Blessed art Thou, O Lord,
teach me Thy statutes.

This prayer for a University (Oxford) is found on pages 12 and 13 of a prayer pamphlet arranged for a service commemorating the centenary of Dr. Adolph Neubauer (11 March 1831 – 6 April 1907). The Centenary was organized by Herbert Loewe and was held on 21 June 1931. Following the centenary, the Canterbury Jewish Congregation (in the process of dissolving) entrusted the Oxford Jewish congregation with the care of two Torah scrolls. The entire event was organized by Herbert Loewe, and although he is not specifically credited, we believe he likely adapted and translated Yequm Purqan for this purpose. –Aharon Varady

Many thanks to Shufra Judaica (Elli Fischer and David Selis) for contributing the page images of the prayer pamphlet from which our transcription was derived.


Prayer for the University (Oxford Jewish Congregation 1931), p. 12

Prayer for the University (Oxford Jewish Congregation 1931), p. 13



1Frederick Homes Dudden (1874–1955) was an academic administrator and theological scholar. He was Chaplain to King George Ⅴ and George Ⅵ (1929–52), Master of Pembroke College, Oxford (1918–55) and Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University (1929–32).



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