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מזמור לבן סירא על זכות אבותינו (פרקים מד-נ)‏ | Paean of Ben Sira on the Merit of the Ancestors (ch. 44-50), vocalized and cantillated with the Poetic Masoretic System by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The poem lauding the ancestors from Chapters 44 to 50 of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) is considered by many scholars to be the original influence for the Yom Kippur Avodah service, and the paean to Shimon the Righteous bears a striking similarity to the beloved piyyut “Mar’eh Khohen.” This passage from Ben Sira, the great paean on the merit of the ancestors, takes the Hebrew text of one of the Cairo Geniza manuscripts — Bodleian MS Heb e62 — and versifies it according to the standard Septuagintal text, along with vocalization and cantillation per the standard Masoretic EMe”T system for poetic books. It could be read on Yom Kippur for the avodah service, or just studied as a fascinating piece of Jewish history. . . .

תהלים קנ״ה | Psalms 155, according to the Nusaḥ of the Judean Desert Scrolls, Edited, Vocalized, Cantillated, and Translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalm 155 is an incomplete acrostic (the Dead Sea Scrolls text records it going from ב to נ, and the Syriac can be reconstructed to include up to פ) with similarities to petitionary psalms like Psalm 3, 22, and 143. It is unclear why it was not included in the Masoretic canon, but one can hazard a guess that it was just not familiar to the compilers. . . .

תהלים קנ״ד | Psalms 154, according to the Nusaḥ of the Judean Desert Scrolls, Edited, Vocalized, Cantillated, and Translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalm 154 seems to be a hymn of communal eating, very appropriate for the communal life of Qumran, but also features a very Proverbs-like anthropomorphization of Wisdom as a woman. Of the three apocryphal psalms recorded in the Dead Sea Scrolls, this one seems the most likely to have been written with sectarian intent, which may have been why it wasn’t included in the Masoretic canon. . . .

תהלים קנ״א | Psalms 151a, according to the Nusaḥ of the Judean Desert Scrolls, Edited, Vocalized, Cantillated, and Translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Loading Psalms 151 through 155 are not found in the Masoretic Text books of Psalms, or in rabbinic writings. A Psalm 151 was recorded in the Septuagint, whereas Psalms 152—155 were only found in some Syriac (or Christian Aramaic) Peshiṭṭa texts. For a long time, it was assumed that they were Greek compositions, either by . . .

תפילת עזריה חנניה ומישאל בתוך הכבשן | The Prayer of Azaryah, Ḥananyah, and Mishael from within the Furnace, according to the Aramaic text of Divrei Yeraḥmiel (ca. 12th c.)

The prayer of Azaryah and his song of praise with Ḥananyah, and Mishael from within the Furnace (also known as “the song of the three holy children”) found in Aramaic in the Divrei Yeraḥmiel (the Chronicles of Jeraḥmeel, Oxford Bodleian Heb d.11). . . .

דָּנִיֵּאל וְהַתַּנִּין | Daniel vs. the Dragon, according to the Aramaic text of Divrei Yeraḥmiel (ca. 12th c.)

The story of Daniel and the dragon held captive by the neo-Babylonians found in Aramaic in the Divrei Yeraḥmiel (the Chronicles of Jeraḥmeel, Oxford Bodleian Heb d.11). . . .

מגילת ניקנור | Megillat Niqanor (II Maccabees, chapters 13-15), a Reading for the Day of the Elephantarch

It is challenging to think of how to mark Nicanor Day, as it remains at a disadvantage, not only on years when it conflicts with Ta’anit Esther but on all years since it has no mitzvot. This is probably the main reason that, unlike Chanukah and Purim, it was lost to Jewish practice for more than a thousand years. Nevertheless, we do have its megillah, which has been translated into Hebrew and English. Perhaps, if we start reading chapters 13-15 of 2 Maccabees, even just to ourselves, on the 13 of Adar, we can begin to resurrect a holiday that was celebrated and instituted by Judah Maccabee and his followers over two millennia ago, and which they envisioned would continue throughout Jewish History. With the return of Jews to Israel and Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem, I believe it is about time. . . .

בן סירא מב:כא-מג:לא | ben Sira 42:21-43:31, a hymn of creation translated by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan

Ecclesiasticus (ben Sira) 42:21-43:31 is presented as “God the Lord of Nature” in The Sabbath Prayer Book of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (The Reconstructionist Foundation 1945), p. 376-372 in the Supplements subsection, “God in Nature.” The text of Ben Sira used here differs in places found in other manuscripts. . . .

Βηλ Και Δρακων | בֵּל וְהַתַּנִּין | Bel & the Dragon, according to Theodotion translated into Biblical Hebrew by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The story of Bel and the Dragon according to the text of Theodotion, translated into biblical Hebrew. . . .

Σουσαννα | שׁוֹשַׁנָּה וְהַזְּקֵנִים | Shoshanah & the Elders, according to Theodotion translated into Biblical Hebrew by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The story of Shoshanah & the Elders, according to the text of Theodotion translated into Biblical Hebrew. . . .

መጽሐፈ ኩፋሌ | ספר היובלים | Sefer haYovelim (the book of Jubilees, in Ge’ez) chapters 1-23

We are grateful to Dr. James VanderKam for preparing this critical text of the Book of Jubilees (Sefer Yubalim) in its Ge’ez translation in Ethiopic script. The book of Jubilees is an early Jewish deutero-canonical text originally written in Hebrew and composed during the Second Temple period sometime before the Maccabean struggle (164 BCE). . . .

סֵפֶר פְּטִירָת מֹשֶׁה | Motä Musē (the Book of the Passing of Mosheh), in Hebrew and English translation

The text of the Betä ʾƎsəraʾel legend of the death of Moses, translated to Hebrew by Jacques Faïtlovitch, and vocalized, cantillated, and translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .

መጽሐፈ ኩፋሌ | ספר היובלים | Sefer haYovelim (the book of Jubilees, in Ge’ez) chapters 24-50

Continued from the book of Jubilees Chapters 1-23. The book of Jubilees is an early Jewish deuterocanonical text composed in Hebrew during the Second Temple period sometime before the Maccabean struggle (ca. 167 BCE). . . .

The Story of Gedalyah, as told by Titus Flavius Josephus in Antiquities of the Jews

The story of Gedaliah as recorded by Josephus in his Jewish Antiquities. . . .


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