A Brief History of The City Of Bad Homburg And Its Jewish Residents


The city's name Homburg, which was derived from the castle "Hohenberg", appeared in 1500 for the first time. By 1528 the city was renamed Homburg vor der Höhe (translated as "Homburg in front of the height"). The word “Bad” is normally used as a prefix to denote that the town in question is a spa town. The town is best known for its medicinally used mineral waters and spa. The eight mineral springs which form the attraction of the town to strangers, belong to the class of saline acidulous chalybeates and contain a considerable proportion of carbonate of lime. Their use is beneficial for diseases of the stomach and intestines, and externally, for diseases of the skin and rheumatism.

Homburg is located in the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, prettily situated at the south-east foot of the Taunus Mountain mountain range, located 12 kilometers north of Frankfort-on-Main, with which it is connected by rail. The local population is approximately 52,000. The tallest peak    in the range is the 878 meters high Großer Feldberg. Other notable peaks are the Kleiner Feldberg (825 meters) and the Altkönig (798 meters).

Homburg consists of an old and a new town, the latter, founded by the Landgrave Frederick II of Hessen-Homburg (d. 1708). Besides the palatial edifices erected in connection with the mineral water-cure, there are churches of various denominations, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Russian-Greek and Anglican, schools and benevolent institutions. On a neighboring hill stands the palace of the former landgraves, built in 1680 and subsequently enlarged and improved. The White Tower, 183 ft. in height, is said to date from Roman times, and certainly existed under the lords of Eppstein, who held the district in the twelfth century. The palace is surrounded by extensive grounds, laid out in the manner of an English park.

Homburg’s renown began when Princess Elizabeth, born in Buckingham Palace in 1770, married Frederick of Hessen-Homburg in 1814 and used her wealth to benefit the town. The first spa was named after her and opened in 1834. A casino was built by the brothers François and Louis Blanc and owing to its gaming-tables, which were set up soon after, rapidly became one of the favorite and most fashionable health-resorts of Europe. The brothers founded both “Casino Bad Homburg” and “Monte-Carlo Casino” in Monaco.

Homburg was visited by such celebrities as Robert Louis Stevenson in 1850, Fyodor Dostoevsky in 1870, and Oscar Wilde together with Lord Alfred Douglas in 1892. But changes occurred, Hessen-Homburg was allied with Austria which lost the war to and was absorbed into Prussia in 1866. König, later Kaiser Wilhelm I promptly ejected the Blancs, who took their gambling know-how to Monte Carlo. “Casino Bad Homburg” was opened again after the World War Two  in 1948. Homburg acquired a new tourist formula based on attracting the sporty and aristocratic Englishman. Kaiser Wilhelm II declared the Schloß an imperial summer residence in 1888, and made the town his own with his delightful architecture. He was often in residence up to 1918, when he actually directed the war from there.

The homburg hat is a formal felt hat characterized by a single dent running down the center of the crown (called a "gutter crown"), a stiff brim shaped in a "kettle curl" and a bound edge trim.       The Homburg was originally founded in a Homburg hat factory in 1806. It was popularized by England’s King Edward VII (1841-1910) after he visited Homburg, and brought back a hat of this style. Edward VII saw the hat for the first time on his nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm II in Homburg.    Wilhelm II wore the hat in a green variant as an accessory to his hunting uniform.  

The establishments connected with the springs are arranged on a scale of great magnificence,      and include the Kurhaus (built from 1841-1843), with a theatre, the Kaiser Wilhelmsbad and the Kurhausbad. They lie grouped round a pretty park which also furnishes visitors with facilities for various recreations, such as lawn tennis, croquet, polo and other games. The Homburg industries embrace iron founding and the manufacture of leather and hats, but they are comparatively unimportant, the prosperity of the town being almost entirety due to the annual influx of visitors, which during the season from May to October averages 12,000. In a natural surrounding lies the ancient Roman castle of Saalburg, which can be reached by an electric tramway. As the capital of the former landgraviate of Hessen-Homburg, the town shared the vicissitudes of state.

Jewish History

Homburg’s First Jewish Settlement

Bad Homburg’s Jewish community was one of the oldest in Germany. On August 5, 1335 permission was granted by Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV to Gottfried von Eppstein to settle      ten Jews "in the town and at the castle in Steinheim", "in the valley and the castle in Hoenburg" (Homburg) and "in the valley and the castle in Eppinstein" (Eppstein). It remains unclear whether Jews actually settled in Homburg. Between 1333 and 1348 transactions of Jews "from Hohenberg" or "from Hohinburg" were entered in the Frankfurt court books. They disappeared from the town after the Black Death plague and subsequent pogrom, presumably in July of 1348. A permanent community was only established 350 years later.

Homburg’s First Jewish Community

Evidence for the existence of a permanent Jewish community is found only at the beginning of the sixteenth century. Until 1600 it consisted of two or three Jewish families, and by 1632 these had increased to sixteen. The first decree regarding the Jews was issued in 1539 by the Sovereign Phillip the Magnanimous of Hesse. Further decrees were made by Landgrave Frederick III Jacob in 1684 when the landgrave invited Jews and Huguenots to settle in Homburg and in 1737. Jewish residence was limited to two years, this limitation was still in force in 1737 and conditional for their staying. This made it largely impossible for the Jews to develop a sense of permanence. They were heavily taxed as well, every Jew paying ten Gulden protection-money a year, and one Gulden on New-Year. In addition there were special taxes such as twenty-four Thalers a year to the Lutheran congregation. On November 6, 1803, the Jew’s protection-money was repealed however it took until 1827, for the protection-money to be abolished for foreign Jews as well.

The order of May 1, 1684, has thirty seven paragraphs, confirming the animosity against Homburg Jews. (Here are some of the more interesting ones:) The decrees are taken from the “Taunusbote”.


  2. We, the Landgrave, expect, that all Jews, who accept our protection, promise under oath not to use blasphemous language against Jesus and the Christian religion. 

  3. Jews shall not discuss “Religion” with Christians. 

  4. Jews shall never persecute a Christian or any Jew who converted to Christianity. 

Jews will not be permitted to build another synagogue.

12) All Jews who are beggars, are not allowed to stay in the country and not even lodge overnight.

13) A Jew shall have no power over a male or female worker.

  1. 14) Foreign Jews who stay only temporarily in the country pay the usual toll. 

  2. Jews may not engage Christian wet-nurses, but so-called Shabbesmägden (maids who helped Jewish families with tasks prohibited to Jews on Shabbos, such as retrieving the “bonensuppe” pot from the baker’s oven Shabbos morning) are permitted. 

A Jew who rapes a Christian woman shall be arrested at once and put to death.

Jews shall never conceal theft, prostitution, adultery, manslaughter etc.. They must report    such crimes to the Christian authorities at once.

  1. 19) On market days Jews may buy only when Christians have finalized their purchases. They shall never touch any of the commodities. 

A Jew shall never stand in front of a Christian house and never exercise provocative behavior towards a Christian, or force a Christian to allow him into his house.

27) We make the leader of the Jews responsible, that the “Judengaße” is always perfectly clean.

28) We allow the Jewish way of slaughtering.

  1. 29) Jews are not permitted to build big or small houses without special consent of the authorities. 

If the whole Jewish community is called together, it is ordered that they keep together till the end of the gathering, and a person, being asked something, must give the answer in a decent way.


There even was a “curfew” for Jews, not to be seen in the streets during church-hours.


The history of the first burials are unknown. Perhaps  the deceased were buried near the village of Niederstetten. The village was completely destroyed during the Thirty Years’ War, but where it once stood is an area known as the “Jewish Acre”. In 1684, Jews were granted permission to consecrate a cemetery, surrounded by a fence and to erect tombstones. In 1703 the community purchased a section of a field for burial purposes which lies on the southern edge of the Hardtwald which is currently almost entirely overgrown. The Seulberg Cemetery was used exclusively in 1790 until 1868, when a new cemetery was consecrated in Homburg.

Landgrave Frederick II with the silver leg, intended to enlarge his palace. He therefore issued a edict in 1698 for Jews wishing to build in the Louisenstraße, promising protection, wood and stone without charge and ten years of “religious freedom in their Schul” and other leniencies. The Jews at first lived in whatever part of the city they chose, but when Landgrave Frederick enlarged the city by laying out the Neustadt [New Town] in 1703, he assigned a certain street, the Judengaße      [Jew Street], “Juddegaß” as the Homburgers pronounced it, to them which was closed by gates. Although he accorded them various privileges for building up their area, the Jews were slow to settle there. There were Jews who still lived among the Christians in the Altstadt [Old Town]. They were compelled to sell their homes, and within a year, build on their assigned space in the Judengaße. In 1729 came an authoritarian command for the Jews again to leave the Altstadt. The Judengaße’s various families usually lived altogether in one house. Three to four generations (parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, etc.) were crammed together into very small dwellings. This fact as well as the restrictions on the number of Jews allowed, helped keep the Jewish community small. Despite these draconian measures and due to more “enlightened” attitudes, by 1730 not more than five Jews dwelt in the Judengaße. In 1816 the ordinance compelling them to live there was repealed, though some Jews opted to live there for many years after. Many decades ago, each Yom Tov, a very thick rope soaked in kerosene was hung across the end of Judengaße in front of synagogue. It was set alight and burned for at least two days, so that it’s Jewish residents could make use of the fire for their Yom Tov needs.

On December 15, 1808 it was ordered that the head of each Jewish family had to choose a German family name for himself and his descendents.

The philanthropic institutions were mainly the same as those in other communities. In earlier times there was a shelter for the foreign poor, to which any one could be admitted. The expenses for board and lodging were defrayed by individual members of the community, who received tickets stating, that on specified days, they were each to care for one poor person in their homes or to provide money for their support. The directors had to care for the local poor, and were compelled by the government to do so, in case of neglect on their part. The Jews of Homburg were very poor, as most of the trades were closed to them. They could work only as butchers, soap-makers, cabinet-makers, tailors, and peddlers. This last occupation afforded a meager subsistence for the majority. Commerce in groceries was entirely forbidden to them. There was a great call for philanthropy, therefore, the community had a curious organization of ten philanthropic institutions which emerged partly in the 18th Century. The Israelite Mens Health Insurance (est. 1780      1932-52 members) target: support in case of illness, The Israelite Women's Verein (Chevras Noshim), later called the Israelite Womens Health Verein (est. 1810, in 1864-97 members), target: nursing and funeral services, the charity Gemillus Chassodim Verein (1864-27, 1932-40 members), target: nursing and funeral services, the Talmud-Thora-Verein (Chevras Talmud Torah, 1864-31 members), the Hospital Auxiliary Verein (Chevras Bikkur Cholim 1864-49 members), the Jewish Wood Verein (Chevras Ez Chayyim, 1864-61, 1932-100 members), target: to distribute wood to the to the poor    in the winter, The Charity Of The Jewish Community (target-based support of the needy), The Verein For The Future Of Jewish girls (est. 1886 1932-65 members), target: to provide vocational training for Jewish girls), and Economic Aid (est. 1918) target: helping those in need.


The Tale of “Mordje Unglück” (Unfortunate Mordechai) as recalled by Sophonie Yitzchok Herz

In spite of the restrictive character of Jewish life in Homburg, there were entertaining moments, shared by Jews and Gentiles alike. The “hero” of one of the most remarkable incidents, the Jew Mordje Unglück, self created a legend both in poetry and stone for eternity. Amongst the Homburg Marketplace’s mediaeval styled half timbered buildings, on top of an open arc (Fachwerkbauten), one will find sculptures of all kinds. Faces of the “Famous” Homburgers of the past.

One figure is easily discernable: It is a Jewish characterized face; certainly ugly, with a bit of a     “Der Stürmer” - touch. One might ask: Who is represented by this “Jewish” face on the arc of Homburg’s market-hall? Well this is Schnuckel Marx or as local history recalls him - Mordje Unglück. The Frankfurt poet Friedrich Stoltze (1860-1868) in his book (“Gedichte und Erzählungen”, 1922 pp. 111-114) wrote in his honor the poem “Mordje Unglück”. He was by all accounts, a very cunning fellow and Stoltze’s story about him is definitely true.

In brief: Mordje once tricked a peasant and the farmer in question decided to go to court. The Jew, conscious of his wrong-doing promised the peasant, that he would make a full confession before the judge and compensate him for every penny he had lost in the deal. Mordje asked the gentile for a favor, namely to loan him one of his good suits, otherwise he would be unable to appear in court, the peasant agreed and Mordje, the Jew, turned up on the “day of judgement”, dressed in the clothes of his accuser. When the judge asked Mordje: Are you guilty? the defendant answered: “Not a bit, your Honor!” He argued, “You cannot believe this man at all, not a word. He does not speak the truth. This person - pointing at the peasant - will even tell you, that I am wearing his clothes.” - In his fury the peasant shouted: “My word he does!” “This is my jacket and these are my trousers, these are my shoes, this is my stick and this is my cap!” Then with an emphatic voice, Mordje said: “As you have noticed, your Honor, this man - pointing at the peasant - wants not only my money, but also my clothes. Can you trust this man?” The judge - so the story goes - agreed with      Mordje Unglück, Verdict: “Not guilty, case dismissed!”  


Jewish Printing

Jews were also occasionally employed as printers. There was no exclusive Hebrew printing establishment in Homburg, but in 1737 Landgrave Frederick III Jacob established in the government printing-office, a department for Hebrew books. A Hebrew printing house was run in Homburg by Seligmann ben Hirtz Reis from 1710 until 1713 when he moved to Offenbach am Main. Among other items, he published Jacob ibn Chabib's Ein Yaakov (1712). Hebrew printing was resumed in 1724 by Samson ben Zalman Hanau but his lack of capital limited his output. The press was acquired in 1736 by Aaron ben Levi Dessau whose publications included the Shulchan Aruch (Choshen Mishpat) with commentary (1742). The press was sold in 1748 and transferred in 1749 to Rödelheim.


In regard to Jewish ritual custom (Minhag-HaMokom), Homburg by in large followed               Minhag Frankfurt Am Main - which was the general southern German rite. [see The Bad Homburg Minhag pg XXII, for changes which occurred over time] The pronunciation of the Cholom vowel as an “au” (like in the word cow) was adopted in the 19th century as well. Most of the melodies  for the various prayers were from the composers, Chazzonim Louis Lewandowski (1821-1894), Salomon Sulzer (1804-1890), and Israel Meyer Japhet (1818-1892).



In 1684 the twelve Homburg Jews were permitted common worship and therefore, to rent a suitable apartment, not facing the street, to utilize as a common chapel. After long decades of prayer services being held in a private home, a synagogue was built in 1731 behind the house at 29 Wallstraße [the former Judengaße] which was used until 1864. In the 1780’s, Jewish children were admitted into the city’s public schools under Landgrave Louis. The first Gemeinde Haus (Community Center) was built in 1764, from donations raised locally and from as far away as Wiesbaden, directly behind the synagogue (Wallstraße) and was mostly used for board meetings and educational purposes.  By 1864, the Baroque house-like building, was dilapidated and too narrow. It was sold, it’s outside walls left, the interior removed, and converted into a large family home. The Jewish community decided to build a new synagogue, whose construction cost about 70,000 Gulden. The funds came not only from the voluntary donations of the Jewish parishioners but also the casino, the city, the city funds and even the Landgrave contributed. All felt that the proposed synagogue would attract many Jewish resort guests and would also contribute to the adornment of the city. It was designed by Homburg master builder Christian Holler and dedicated in 1866. The inauguration of the synagogue was held on Friday, Erev Shabbos Toldos (9 November). It took place with great fanfare. After Minchoh was recited in the old synagogue, the sacred Torah scrolls were taken from the Aron HaKodesh (Holy Ark). After Rabbiner Fromm held a short farewell speech, the solemn procession moved to the new synagogue. Arriving at it’s doors, the building’s builder handed over the synagogue keys to the Royal Prussian Civil Commissioner, Herr Von Briesen who in turn, handed them over to the rabbi.

The synagogue’s twin-towered front, stood on 8 Elisabethenstraße. It seemed to control and join together the narrow sides of the Wallstraße. Builder Holler chose a square church-hall-like room in the apsidal [a vaulted semicircular or polygonal recess, especially at the east end of a church] design, which was bright inside and had a very high dark blue ceiling adorned with gold stars, ending in the east with the Aron HaKodesh. The Aron HaKodesh was a remarkable piece of art, framed by two pillars, made of marble. The women’s balcony contained two long galleries with a smaller section in the west linking them together. Access to the Frauenshul (Women’s Section) was attained by a spiral staircase located in one of the four synagogue’s towers. In the center of the room, surrounded by wooden benches, stood the Almemor for the reading of the Torah. The synagogue contained seating for 320 men and 104 women. In the early 20th century electricity replaced gas lighting.

The year following it’s inauguration, the new ruler, Kaiser Wilhelm I (Hessen-Homburg had recently been taken over by Prussia), assured the Jewish citizens of his protection and that he would shield the new temple and its worshippers. The community’s Memorbuch (Yizkor Book) originated in 1790, it contained names and dates, going back to the 17th century, and some of the Torah scrolls dated from the 18th century.

In 1877, a larger Gemeinde Haus was built for the new synagogue. It still stands on the same spot today and currently houses a high school. In it’s basement there was a women’s bath [mikveh] and a small apartment for a Christian caretaker. (The caretaker wore a uniform, and swung a big elegant staff in his right hand - a symbol of his importance and power. On his head he wore a “Dreispitz” like Napoleon or Frederick the Great.) The first floor housed board rooms as well as the four hundred book “Mendelssohn Library” of the congregation, which was established on the 100th anniversary of Moses Mendelssohn’s death. The second floor housed three school rooms for religious studies, utilizing their double doors, they could easily be combined into a hall for lectures or religious services during the week. (Compulsory education was introduced in 1829. In order to comply with this new regulation, Homburg’s Jewish community appointed Süssel Anspacher as its first primary school and religious instructor. The school consisted of two classes, however, after the establishment of the first general primary school, Jewish children were transferred to this educational institution.) A small staircase led to the top-floor with its small rooms right under the roof. This was the residence of the Shammes and secondary teacher of the Jewish congregation.      The community also opened three sanatoriums and two famous kosher hotels that had an international clientele.


Homburg’s Rabbis and Kantors

In 1737, the community, with the consent of the Landgrave, united itself with the rabbinate of Friedberg, whose chief rabbi took charge of all rabbinical functions in both cities. In 1825 the Landgrave appointed Joseph Wormser, Unter-Vorsteher [Vice Leader of the Jewish Community]. Son of the Lengsfeld and Fulda Rabbi Solomon Wormser to Friedberg Oberrb. Schemajo-Jischai Feuchtwangen (died 1813). From July 9, 1813, he was approved only for conducting marriages in Homburg. He was prohibited from making arbitrary decisions of ritual questions by the new Friedberger Oberrb. Feibisch Frankfurter (born Frankfurt/Oder 1762-1841) in 1821. His 1825 attempt to build with the help of the Landgrave civil government, a  separate community, fails due to resistance from the community, which denies him the qualifications to do so. "On the contrary,  it is known that his own brother, Rabbiner Isaac Seckel Wormser of Fulda, finds him incapable of functioning as a rabbi". When Unter-Vorsteher Wormser died his widow turned to the Landgrave and requested that he appoint her son Abraham Moses from Filehne, Unter-Vorsteher. The executive board, does not recognize Abraham Moses’s capabilities. At the same time in 1775, the rabbinical candidate Callmann Löb applied for the position by putting forth two rabbinical certificates one from a rabbi in Mainz and one in Hanau. He had moved from Hamburg to Homburg with his brother. In 1808, when all German Jews were required to add a last name he chose the name Rothschild and in 1827, he was appointed Unter-Vorsteher.

The succeeding rabbis, amongst whom was the later Chief Rabbi of Hamburg, Anschel Stern, acted also as teachers in the religious school. Rabbiner Stern was the son of Moreinu HoRav Meir Stern, learned under the Talmudists Rabbis Abraham Bing, Isaac Seckel Wormser in Fulda and Seligmann Bär Bamberger in Wiesenbronn, and later in 1840 in Würzburg. In 1844 he began the study of Oriental Studies in Würzburg. He was also tutored the children of the Baron Jakob von   Joel Hirsch.

In 1851 the Landgrave appointed the teacher Dr. Seligmann Fromm. Born in 1822 in Großlangheim (Bavaria), at the age of 12 years old he assisted Rabbi Seligmann Bär Bamberger, afterwards the great Würzburg Rav, who was still living in Wiesenbronn. (He later became his son-in law.) After thorough preparation, he moved as a sixteen year old to the Pressburg Talmudic College to learn at the feet of the Chassam Sofer (Rabbi Moshe Schreiber from Frankfurt am Main) himself and he soon became his favorite student. He learned with his son and successor,             the Ksav Sofer, with whom he had a close friendship and with the Pressburger Dayan, Nathan Binyomin Wolf whom he loved as a father. Initially he worked as a tutor in Karlsruhe. As the first rabbi of Hessen-Homburg, he received a state subsidy of 200 Gulden, whose sum was paid by the Prussian government. This is the only instance in which a local rabbi received a subsidy from that government. The Jewish clergy from the year 1876, were no longer members of the community board, but possessed the right of appeal in all religious matters. Dr. Fromm, subsequently resigned because of this matter and became chaplain to Baron Wilhelm von Rothschild. He enjoyed the highest reputation in Frankfurt. In January 1888 he was given the honorable task to deliver the funeral oration on the death of Rabbiner Samson Raphael Hirsch.

He was succeeded by Dr. Auerbach who was born in 1827 in Bonn, the youngest child of the local rabbi Abraham Auerbach. His grandfather was the eminent Kabbalist Selig Auerbach (b. 1726 Brodny). Dr. Auerbach studied after 1845 with his eldest brother, Dr. Benjamin Hirsch Auerbach, who served as rabbi from 1835 to 1857 in Darmstadt. After his time in Darmstadt, Dr. Auerbach studied philosophy at the University of Bonn. In the mid-1850s he became rabbi in Nordhausen. In 1876 he was appointed in Homburg, where due to a serious illness he served for only two years. He then moved to Frankfurt, where he died in 1884.

He was followed by Dr. Appel who was born in 1851 in Jesberg. In the bourgeois society of the late imperial period, he represented the classical ideas of humanism and the compatibility of Judaism and Germanism. He attended the Latin school in Fritzlar and the Gymnasium in Kassel. After graduation, He studied from 1870 to 1878 at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau and studied in parallel at the Universities of Marburg and Breslau, where he received his doctorate in 1874 on the subject Quaestiones de rebus Samaritanorum sub imperio Romanorum peractis. In 1878 he was rabbi in Homburg for nine years. He was committed to the equal recognition of Judaism among other religions in the German state. In 1886 he left and became the second city rabbi in Mannheim. From 1893 to 1919, he served and died in Karlsruhe.

In 1887 Dr. Kottek from the Prussian capital of Posnan (Posen) took over the Homburg rabbinate. He was a student of Rabbi Israel Hildesheimer and distinguished himself in his great piety and vast Talmudic knowledge. After twelve and a half years, he and the Chevras HaShas made a Siyum Shas Bavli in 1912. Dr. Kottek together with Rabbis Bamberger of Hanau, Dr. Jonas Bondi of Mainz and Dr. Solomon co-founded the "Jewish Literary Society" in Frankfurt. He formed a close relationship with Yitzchak Eizik Halevi Rabinowitz (a close colleague of Rabbi Chayim Soloveichick in Yeshivas Volozhin), who had relocated to Hamburg, where he was Klaus-Rabbiner. Rabbi Rabinowitz came every year for a two month medical vacation to Homburg. He was the initiator of the so-called 'Homburger Conference' in August 1909, whose prominent rabbis and Torah scholars from Eastern Europe participated in the founding of the world organization 'Agudath Israel'. In 1912, Dr. Kottek celebrated 25 years in the rabbinate, unfortunately he passed away just a few months afterward.

The successor of Dr. Kottek was twenty year old Dr. Winter (till 1922), who was a Jewish chaplain of the German Armed Forces during World War One, which meant the congregation was orphaned for long stretches of time while he was at the front. Dr. Winter was born in 1878 in Mönchengladbach. After his time in Homburg, he succeeded Rabbiner Dr. Joseph Carlebach as rabbi and head teacher in Lübeck. Even after his tenure in Homburg he remained close with members    of the community. Fortunately, he left Lübeck with his family in September 1938 and emigrated     to London. He died there in 1953 and was interred in Jerusalem’s Sanhedria Cemetery.

The last Homburg rabbi, Dr. Wreschner, was born in 1865 in Breslau. He was the grandson of Rabbi Abraham Abusch Wreschner, who was a disciple of Rabbi Akiva Eger, and his mother,           a descendant of the famous rabbinical family Falk. He carried on the traditions of these great families throughout his days. He studied at the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary and the University of Berlin. From 1889 until 1921 he was rabbi in Samter, Poznan. In the aftermath of the First World War, he was forced to leave Samter. He then taught for a year at the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary until he was appointed to Homburg as a rabbi. In 1933, sixty schoolchildren studied religion in Homburg. In addition, Dr. Wreschner tutored the children’s religious instruction in the local public schools. After the death of Dr. Wreschner in 1935, the rabbinate was no longer occupied, do to increasing emigration and the ever increasing violence towards the Jewish community. All the rabbinical position’s functions were taken over by Kantor Herz. Long time teacher Leopold Goldschmidt, was hired as Assistant Kantor and Shammes until his death in March 1936.

The Chazan (Kantor) of the congregation was also a Schochet. The first person to hold the position was Joseph Glogau. He died in 1777. He was succeeded after a three year period in 1780           by Judah Klahr, and in 1797 by Moses Loeb Lipschütz. Kantor Abraham [Adolf] Braunschweig was born in 1825 in Habsheim, Kreis Mülhausen, which belonged                         to Alsace-Lorraine. In 1855 he applied to be the Kantor and Shochet for the Jewish community and was chosen from amongst the most capable. He retained those positions until he opened his resort hotel in 1898. In 1895 he was bestowed with the honorary title “Ha-Chover” from then rabbi      Dr. Kottek. Kantor Herz received the same title in his day, as Kantor of the Homburg Kehilloh.

Kantor Herz was born in 1873 in Dornheim (Thuringia). Kantor Herz was educated at the Teacher Seminars in Cologne and Würzburg and at the Breuer Yeshiva in Frankfurt. When he would read from the Torah, he would form the cantillation marks with the Torah pointer. On Tisho B’Av, he had tissues in close proximity to daub his eyes with, while he stirringly read the fast day’s Kinos.

Kantor Herz’s father Rabbi Isaak Leiv Yehudah Herz was a noted scholar and inventor. He lived for years in Berlin, founding his own congregation, which eventually became a branch of the famous Adass Yisroel. Rabbi Dr. Munk, a close friend, bestowed upon him the title of Moreinu, in appreciation of his outstanding Talmudical knowledge. He also invented and patented a “snow melting apparatus” to be used on roads and tramlines. He spent the last few months of his life in Homburg and is buried there.

While Kantor Herz worked both as a cantor and teacher in the orthodox sense, this stood in contrast to many other Homburg Jews, who by then were either "Liberal" or were for the most part no longer religious, "Formal Jews as opposed to Committed  Jews."

"We Jews see as our ideal as Germans in the German state, to serve you with good and blood,   and to love Jews as the Eternal our God, ‘with all your heart, all your soul and with all your assets.’"

The officials of the community included a Chazzan, Shochet, and a Shammes with a teaching certificate, but the emphasis was on the term Shammes. (On Shabbos he provided guest-worshippers with siddurim and chumoshim. On the cover of the books was a label with the following order in print: After the service, prayer books must be returned to the ‘Synagogendiener’ i.e. the servant of the synagogue). The official’s expenses were at first covered principally by taxes levied upon new arrivals and collected at marriages and funerals. The sale of honorary rights, gifts given upon being called to the Torah, and fees for entering the names of the dead in the Memorbuch also constituted a source of income. The salaries of all three officiants were so modest, that they were forced to take on boarders to supplement their income. In 1853 radical changes were made in the board of directors. Landgrave Ferdinand decreed that the board should consist of the rabbi as president, a director appointed by the Landgrave, and three other directors nominated by the two former and confirmed by the Landgrave. Subsequently the method of direct taxation was employed, the board apportioning the amount according to the circumstances of the individual.  The rabbi alone should decide religious questions. The whole board was to determine the budget and the taxes to be levied; appoint and supervise the officials; take charge of the synagogue, religious school, mikveh, and cemetery; and provide for the elevation and education of the community. Final changes in the board were made by the government in 1876, when it was decreed that it should consist of five members chosen by the community for a period of six years, and of one deputy for each of the members, the board retaining the same functions as it had formerly.

The Jews of Homburg were fully emancipated on March 7, 1848, when Landgrave Gustav promulgated the following ordinance: "In local and state affairs no difference shall henceforth be made between our Christian and Jewish subjects." This ordinance was issued as a consequence of the people’s petition.

Founding Agudath Israel and Russian Intellectuals

The decision to create an international organization led to the “Agudath Israel” conference on Sunday, August 1, 1909, with the express purpose of fighting Zionism. The following leaders attended:

Mordechai Alter (The Gerrer Rebbe)         Chaim Ozer Grodzensky (Vilna)        Chayim Soloveichick (The Brisker Rov)

Dr. Salomon Breuer (Av Bais Din Frankfurt)        Eliezer Rabinowitz (Chief Rabbi of Minsk)        Meir Simcha HaKohen of Dvinsk (Ohr Somayach)

Eliezer Gordon (Telshe Rosh HaYeshivah)         Reb Jacob Rosenheim (Frankfurt)         Aharon Rokeach (The Belzer Rebbe)       

Adolf Frankl (president of the Orthodox Communities in Budapest and Hungary)        Yitzchak Eizik Halevi Rabinowitz (Hamburg)        

Emmissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe and Karliner Rav/Dr. Heymann Kottek and Moses Herz (in whose residence this meeting occurred)

Homburg was already a place where a number of eastern rabbis and laymen were accustomed to spend their summers and come for medical treatment (from famous Eastern European rabbis - Chayim Soloveichick and Yitzchak Eizik Halevi Rabinowitz to Martin Buber). The German Neo-Orthodox academic educator and one of the founders of the “Bais Yaakov” movement, Dr. (Shmuel) Leo Deutschlander (1888-1935) also lived there. Rabbi Yisrael Perlow, the Yanuka of Stolin,        Russian sculptor Mark Antokolski and World Zionist Organization President David Wolfsohn all died there. Rosalia Gillelovna "Shoshana" Parsitz and  Itzhak-Yosef Zelikovich-Parsitz transferred the “Omanut” (Art) publishing house, after World War One, from Moscow to Homburg. Their home served as a meeting place for the following Russian-Jewish writers and intellectuals from 1920-1925:

Moshe Zilberg         Jacob Fichman         Gerhard (Gershom) Scholem         Shmuel Joseph (Shai) Agnon

Moshe Glickson         David (Shimoni) Schimonowitz         Moshe Ben-Eliezer Glembotsky        Judah Gur (Grasowsky)        

Avigdor Stematzky         Chayim Nachman Bialik         Isaak Leib Goldberg         Menachem Mendel Ussischkin          

Nathan Birnbaum         Joshua O. Leibowitz         David Yellin         Alter Druyanov                

Yehoshua Hana Ravnitzky             Simcha Ben Zion           Asher Zvi Hirsch Ginsberg (Achad Ha-am)


Antisemitism In The 1930’s And Deportation in 1942

In general the Homburgers in their conduct towards Jews were polite and friendly; open anti-semitism - except in singular cases - were unknown during the Twenties. Jews went to the theater, the movies, cafes, concerts, lectures, and were side-by-side with the Germans until 1933.

In March 1933 the situation of the the Jews within the “Third Reich” took a sharp turn for the worse. On April 1, the boycott of Jewish businesses, was not taken seriously by Homburg residents; even the SA (Sturmabteilung, the paramilitary wing of the Nazi Party) men who blocked entry into the Jewish stores until 6 p.m., changed into civilian clothes and re-entered the stores, this time as customers. The community, persecuted by the Nazis, dwindled from 300 (2%) in 1933 to 70 (1938).

The isolation of Homburg’s Jews from the general community was a creeping process.              Many Homburgers had relatives in countries of the Western Hemisphere. Some were able to obtain an affidavit and emigrate abroad. Unfortunately, not all were able to do so.

The Jews had already been subjected to numerous incidents of harassment, but it would only get worse. Both in 1934 and 1935, some the Jewish cemetery’s grave stones were toppled over and smashed. "The “Volkische Beobachter” (National Observer), the newspaper of the Nazi Party, which was widely read in Homburg, contributed to ever increasing racial hatred. Antisemitic posters were affixed to buildings throughout the city, promoting racial and religious intolerance. Jewish citizens were assaulted on the street for no other reason than their religion.


Kristallnacht” (Night of the Broken Glass) better termed “Pogrom Night”.

At exactly twelve o'clock sharp on November 10, 1938 the siren sounded. There was such a huge explosion within the synagogue, that it’s massive front doors flew off. Inside one could see that the benches and other flammable objects were stacked high and were already alight. Flames were shooting out of all four towers and the windows shattered almost all at once. This was not an act carried out by amateurs, but a result of thorough preparation, illustrated by the amount of gasoline poured over all areas, to cause everything to burn almost simultaneously.” The gasoline used,        had been stored in a business located nearby. Nothing was done to extinguish the blaze.              On Pogrom Night, the synagogue’s interior was destroyed, after which the building was burned to the ground.

Apartments of Jewish citizens were destroyed, storefronts of Jewish businessmen were smashed and robbed of their contents. It seemed that most of the perpetrators were from other towns perhaps in an effort to evade possible legal prosecution.

While the synagogue was engulfed in flames, the Wallstraße was closed off by the police. As the four copper domes melted, the liquid metal ran down the sides of the building. All in all, it was an eerie sight. Residents of the Wallstraße, workers and small businessmen, tried to salvage items from the synagogue, but were viciously beaten back by the Nazi thugs.

At the sight of the burning synagogue the following remark was heard: ‘They should throw the Jews altogether into the flames!’ This shows, that there were Homburg residents, who had already made up their minds in regard to the physical destruction of the Jews.

The riots against the Jewish population were conducted by the Homburg residents either actively or passively. This planned pogrom was acted out all over Germany. It was designed to project,    the anger of the German people being unleashed upon the Jews, like a lightning bolt out of the blue.

In the morning of the November 11th, the male Jews (between sixteen and sixty years old) were taken by three or four Nazis from their homes and were first penned in the local jail for thirty six hours in sub-human conditions. The arresting police officer said: “World Jewry is to blame for everything, not you, we know you!” The constable of the jail was close to tears when he saw them individually. The Homburg Jews were then taken to Frankfurt am Main and loaded on the general transports to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. They were held there for three weeks with the order that they had until the 31st of January 1939 to emigrate.

In April 1939, Germany’s Jews lost their tenants’ rights. Jews who, were evicted from their apartments, were relocated to so-called Jew Houses. In Homburg two houses (Salomon Wiesenthal’s #12 and Kantor Herz’s #14 Kisseleffstraße residences) served this purpose.              In March 1942, the apartments of Jews still living in Germany, were marked with a yellow star.

A letter was sent to the City Council of Konigstein requesting the removal of the former Homburg Synagogue. On April 14th and 15th, the city's demolition squad, dismantled the remaining walls and carted them away. Afterward people remarked "the view of the Wallstraße ... is no longer disturbed by unsightly masonry". This sentiment is likewise echoed in a newspaper article "... a dark spot has disappeared from the Elizabethenstrasse". A playground was later built on the site.                     The remaining Homburg Jews assembled in the house of the Gutmann family at 11 Wallstraße, to hold prayer services, since the Gemeinde Haus served as the home for the Homburg Hitler Youth.

After September 1939, the anti-Jewish edicts became even harsher: nightly curfews, the giving up of radios, deprivation of clothing cards, food purchases only between 4  and 5 pm. On March 7, 1941, there was listening in on telephone calls and forced labor. At the end of 1940, the virulently antisemitic film “Jud Süß”, and in mid March 1941 “Der Ewige Jude”, were shown in Homburg’s  Helipa and Thalia cinemas. In Germany, all Jews, above the age of six had, as of September 1941, to wear a yellow Jewish star on their clothing. It took courage when master bookbinder Louis Gärtner walked with Moses Herz (reduced to working as a street cleaner) together on the street.

For almost a year Homburg Jewish community had been branded, humiliated and harassed. In the end it was only a shadow of its former self. The first group of victims were forced to leave their hometown of Homburg at the behest of the Nazi regime. On Wednesday, June 10, 1942, twenty six Jews were picked up and brought to the inner yard of the Town Hall. There, men and women were separated and transported to Frankfurt. From Frankfurt they joined a deportation to the district of Lublin. Primarily young men, fit for work, were deported directly to the Majdanek Death Camp,  the rest were sent to their deaths in the Sobibor Death Camp, following a two-day stop in the Izbicia Transit Camp. Two and a half months later, on Friday, August 28, the second deportation occurred. A total of eighteen Jews (between fifty nine and seventy nine years of age) were likewise rounded up and sent to Frankfurt. The fare was to be paid by the deportees themselves. Moreover, each deportee should have 50 Reichsmark and travel food for two days. There they made to walk to the Rechneigraben Jewish Old People’s Home and forced to sleep on straw on the floor. On September 1, the journey continued to the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp. Three of the older abductees were dead within three weeks. Five of those Jews were transported to the Treblinka Extermination Camp, on September 29. After being urged by some Homburg citizens, on Thursday, May 20, 1943, six months after the second deportation, the Gestapo took into custody and deported four women who had married Christians or had converted to Christianity.

Homburg’s Second Jewish Settlement

Robert Schlesinger, one of the first Jews after 1945 came from Silesia to Homburg. He tried to ensure the preservation of marriage documents. The JRSO documentation of 1954 - states the existence of Jews once again in the city. According to the latest statistics (1969) 11 Jewish souls -    7 men and 4 women lived in Homburg.

Homburg’s Second Jewish Community

In 2012, a new Jewish community exists in Homburg consisting of some 250 members,              who originate primarily from Eastern Europe, South America and Israel.

They are intent on building a new synagogue on the same spot as the one destroyed in 1938.

Bad Homburg Historical Time Line 1335-1942 / 2012-


  782                first documentary mention

1335                 ten Jewish males are given permission to settle by Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV

1348                Black Death pogroms decimate the Jewish community

1361                 first mentioned as a city

1539                the first ordinance regarding the Jews is issued by Phillip The Magnanimous of Hesse

1577                 interest regulation, Sunday work and protection money

1580                 the Jewish cemetery in Seulberg is established

1617                Jewish meat trade begun

1622 - 1866        seat of the Landgraves of Hessen-Homburg

1625                special taxation of the Jews which had fled the Halberstadt troops

1660 - 1661        protection taxes and appealing for a reduction of the protection money to Daniel (von Seulberg)

1680 - 1895        construction of the Landgrave Palace at the site of the old castle

1681                funerals allowed on Sundays and holidays

1684                 School, Cemetery, and Sabbath celebration ordinance - Jews are permitted to rent an apartment

                as a synagogue provided it does not disturb their Christian neighbors

                opening of the first Homburg Pharmacy

1685                 settlement of Huguenots, founding of Neustadt by Landgrave Frederick II

1692                the release from the obligation to pay taxes

1695                permission to meet on the Sabbath

1702                sales ban on Sundays etc.

1703                 the Judengaße (Jew Street) is established

1710 - 1713 the second ordinance is issued by Landgrave Ernest Louis to establish the

                Hebrew printing house run by Seligmann Reis, which is moved to Offenbach am Main

1724                 Hebrew printing is resumed by Samson Hanau

1731                 the First Synagogue is built and dedicated

1736                 Hebrew printing house is acquired by Aaron Dessau

1737                third ordinance issued by Landgrave Frederick III Jacob

                It also spoke of allowing Homburg to unite with the rabbinate of Friedberg

1745 - 1764 protection money requests

1748 - 1749        Hebrew printing house is sold and transferred to Rödelheim

1749                the enclosing of the Jewish cemetery in Seulberg

1753                Jews to pay “Jew Tax”

1756                prevention of the resettlement of the Jews

1764 - 1820        the obligation for Frau Wolleb (geb. Neuhof) to erect the first Gemeinde Haus (Community House)

1776 - 1771        contributions for the war

1771                 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's stay in Homburg ("Pilgrim's Morning Song")

1774 - 1792        health insurance fund for Jewish women

1774 - 1791        Complaints of the citizens of Homburg’s Neustadt [New Town] against Jewish settlement

1777                 Chazan and Schochet Joseph Glogau dies

1780                 Judah Klahr is hired as Chazan and Schochet

1794                permission is granted to live outside the Judengaße (subsequently renamed the Wallstraße)

1797                 Moses Loeb Lipschütz is hired as Chazan and Schochet

1808                Jews must choose and adopt German family names

1813                Landgrave appoints Joseph Wormser as Unter-Vorsteher (Vice Leader of the Jewish Community)

1827                After the death of Joseph Wormser, Callmann Rothschild is appointed Unter-Vorsteher

1834                development toward a much-frequented healing bath center

                by virtue of rediscovery and new drilling of mineral springs

1841                construction of the casino by the Blanc brothers and of the first Kurhaus

1848                 the Jews are emancipated and Rabbiner Anschel Stern is appointed rabbi

1851                 Rabbiner Stern leaves post to become Chief Rabbi of Hamburg following the untimely passing

                of Chacham Isaac Bernays. The Landgrave appoints Assistant

                Rabbiner Dr. Seligmann Fromm as community rabbi and teacher

1854                Peter Joseph Lenné creator of the world-famous Sanssouci Park appointed architect of the        

                Kurpark (45 hectare), it establishes international reputation of Homburg as spa and bath city

1855                Kantor Abraham (Adolf) Braunschweig is hired as cantor and schochet

1859                 opening of the railway to Frankfurt

1863                 the Homburg Cemetery is established

1864 - 1866         the New Synagogue is built and dedicated

                death of the last Landgrave and transfer of land County to the Grand Duchy of

                Hesse-Darmstadt. In the same year follows the incorporation into the Kingdom of Prussia

1867                Kaiser Wilhelm I of Prussia visits Homburg for the first time

1868                 the last Homburg Jews are buried in the Seulberg Cemetery

1876                 Rabbiner Fromm leaves his post to become the chaplain for Baron Wilhelm von Rothschild,

                Rabbiner Dr. S. Hillmann Auerbach is installed as community rabbi and teacher

1877                the Second Gemeinde Haus is established

1878                 Rabbiner Auerbach leaves his post due to a serious illness

                Rabbiner Dr. Meier Appel is installed as community rabbi and teacher

1886                 Rabbiner Appel leaves post to become rabbi of Karlsruhe

1887                 Rabbiner Dr. S. Heymann Kottek is installed as community rabbi and teacher

1888 - 1918        Kaiser Wilhelm II declares Homburg his summer residence

1898                 Kantor Moses Herz is hired as cantor, school teacher and schochet

1904                the New Synagogue is renovated and remodeled.

1907                 Kantor Braunschweig passes away

1909                 the first conference of Agudas Yisroel is convened

1912                 Rabbiner Kottek passes away, Rabbiner Dr. David Winter installed as community rabbi/teacher

1920                 a number of Russian-Jewish writers and intellectuals settle in the resort town

1921                a memorial plaque is dedicated in the synagogue to the fallen World War Jewish soldiers

1922                 Rabbiner Winter leaves his post,

                Rabbiner Dr. J. Leopold Wreschner is installed as community rabbi and teacher

1925                 the Russian-Jewish writers and intellectuals leave

1935                 Rabbiner Wreschner passes away

                the cemetery is desecrated in 1934 and in 1935

1938                the New Synagogue is burnt down and it is subsequently dismantled by April 1939

                prayer services are held thereafter at the Gutmann family home in the Wallstraße

                the Gemeinde Haus is closed to Jews and taken over by the Homburg Hitler Youth

                about twenty male Jews (between the ages of 16 and 60) are sent

                to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp after the November 9-10 Pogrom.

                all Jewish passports are stamped with the letter “J”

1939                Homburg Jews lost their tenant rights and were evicted from their apartments.

                They are therefore required to live in so called Jew Houses.               

1942                the last forty five remaining Jews including Kantor Herz are deported to the East

2012                seventy years later, a new Jewish community is established. Most of it’s 250 members

                originate from Israel, Spain, Argentina, and Brazil, most come from Russia and the Ukraine.

                The new visiting rabbi is Israeli born Chabad Rabbi Shalom Dovber Rabinovitz

  1. Name                                                Business                        Residence 

Ackermann, Sally/Mrs.                        Fur Dealer                        Louisenstraße

                both died in Homburg

  1.                 2 Children: Julius emigrated to the USA, Edmund killed in action in Israel 

Ackermann, Julius/Mrs.                        Fur Dealer                        Louisenstraße

                both died in Homburg

                        3 Children: Wilhelm married Gretel Mainzer (who still lives in Santiago, Chile)

  1.                 Wilhelm, Trude, and Fritz died in Chile 

  2. Altschul Robert/Mrs. Frieda                        Grocery Store                        Ferdinandstraße                        both murdered at Treblinka - one daughter - the family emigrated to the USA 

  3. Auerbach together with his sister died in Homburg                                Wallstraße 

Bamberger, Felix/Mrs. - wife emigrated to Israel                            In der nähe von Gonzenheim

  1.                 3 daughters (one now lives in Frankfurt Am Main) 

  2. Blum, Lola - emigrated                                                        Hölderlinweg         

Cahn-Bronner Dr./Mrs.  Annette                Doctor                                Louisenstraße

  1.                     Dr. Cahn-Bronner and a daughter emigrated to the USA the wife was murdered in Germany 

Dinkelspüler ?/Mrs.-died in Homburg                 Haberdashery                         Louisenstraße

  1.                        5 daughters - 1 or 2 were murdered the others immediately emigrated to the USA 

Dreifuß, Walter Dr./Mrs. Heddy                Doctor                                Promenade

  1.                 One son Erich - the family emigrated to New York, NY USA 

Ehrlich        /Mrs.                                Zwieback Factory                Am Alter Bahnhof

                Wife emigrated to the USA and died there

  1.                 One son - Stephan - lives in New Jersey USA 

  2. Emmerich, Eugenie (Widow) - emigrated to England                                Kisselefstraße 

Eppstein, Hugo/Mrs. Auguste                Cigars                                Elisabethenstraße

  1.                 Husband died in Theresienstadt, wife murdered at Treblinka 

Mrs. Fettmann died in Homburg                                                Obergaße

  1.                 One daughter Lina - murdered 

Fuld, Jonas/Mrs. Emilie                        Cigars                                Elisabethenstraße

  1.                 Three children - Alice, Julius, Eli - the family emigrated to the USA 

  2. Goldschmidt ?/Mrs. - died in Homburg         Civil Servant                        Elisabethenstraße 

  3. Goldschmidt ?/Mrs.                                Sanatorium                                                                 wife died in Homburg and the husband emigrated 

Grünhut ?                                        Tailor                                Gymnasiumstraße

                I believe that at 90 years old Mr. Grünhut moved to Frankfurt and died there.

  1.                 One son killed himself with hydrochloric acid 

Guttmann, Ludwig                                Furrier                                Wallstraße

  1.                 Murdered in Sobibor/Majdanek         

  2. The married sister of L. Guttmann in Giessen murdered with her 3 children 

  3. The other sister of L. Guttmann emigrated 

Haas, Julius/Mrs.                                Baker                                Wallstraße

  1.                 Two sons - Edgar and Heinz - the family emigrated to New York, NY USA 

Herz, Berta nee Sommer                        Furniture Dealer                Louisenstraße

  1.                 One son Hermann - the family emigrated to New York, NY USA 

Herz, Moses/Mrs. Sarah                        Cantor                                Kisselefstraße

                both murdered in Treblinka

  1.                        One Daughter - Bessy - murdered in Sobibor, 3 sons - Arno, Erwin, Sophoni emigrated 

Hirsch, Julius/Mrs.                                Chocolate Factory                Hohenstraße

  1.                 One Child - Gretel - died in Philadelphia, PA USA 

Hirsch, Sally/Mrs. (Bella)                        Chocolate Factory                Hohenstraße

  1.                 Children: Fritz (died), Renate - the family emigrated to the USA 

Holzmann, Adolf/Mrs.                        Mens Clothing Store                Elisabethenstraße

            Children:         Otto - committed suicide in the forest before deportation

  1.                 Erna - murdered in Sobibor 

Holzmann, Adolf/Mrs. - died in Germany                                        Kisseleffstraße

  1.         Daughter Ruth - died in New York; married Sichel 

Holzmann, Isador/Mrs.                                                        Audenstraße

        Children        Ernst - died in England

                Tilly  - murdered with the family

  1.                 youngest daughter lives in England 

Holzmann, Isador

                One daughter

 31) Idstein, Isaac?/Mrs.                                Scrap Iron                        Promenade

                5 out of 10 Children - Willy - emigrated to the USA

                Paula - married in Switzerland

  1.                 Julius, Irene, and Bella - emigrated to Philadelphia, PA USA 

Idstein, Samuel/Mrs.                        Scrap Iron                        Promenade

                Wife died in Homburg

                One son Ludwig - died in Homburg wife emigrated to England

  1.                 One daughter - died in Homburg 

Kahn, Ludwig/Mrs.                                Butcher                                Wallstraße

  1.                 Son Ernst emigrated to Cincinnati, Ohio USA 

Kahn, Moritz/Mrs.                                Butcher

                2 Sons emigrated to the USA

  1.                 (one son died in Germany) 

Kleeblatt, Paula                                Nurse

  1.                 she died after World War One in the 1930’s 

Kleeblatt, Fritz                                Doctor                                Promenade       

  1.                 he died in the 1930’s in Homburg          

  2. Lang, Adolf/Mrs.                                Egg Dealer                        Obergaße 

Lang            /Mrs.                Mr. Lang died at the age of 90 in Homburg

        3 Children:   Gustav (wife Edith and 2 children Willy & Lilo)- emigrated to St. Louis USA

                Johanna - murdered in Majdanek

  1.                 One son emigrated earlier to the USA 

Lang                                        Cattle Dealer

  1.         Daughter Recha married Leo Rothschild        Cafe - Rothschild                Lousienstaße 

Lang, Johanna nee Sommer                        Haberdashery                         Lousienstaße

                died in Homburg

                Daughter Martha married Marx - both died in Brazil

  1.                 their daughter Ilse (Marx) Nelken lives in San Paulo, Brazil 

  2. Leibowitz, Dr.                                Sanatorium; Dr. Goldschmidt  

Levi, Wolfgang        - probably emigrated          Hedwig Sommer - Levi                 Louisenstraße

  1.                                                 Rugs and Linoleum 

Lilie, Hermann/Mrs.                        Cafe Rothschild                        Elisabethenstraße

  1.                 Two sons - Walter and Günter (who died as a child) 

Lind, Kurt/Mrs. - both emigrated to the USA                                        Ferdinandstraße

  1.                 originally from Obereschbach         

Liskewitz ?/Mrs.                                 Shoemaker                         Promenade

  1.                 Two daughters - the family deported to Poland 

Löwenstein Moritz?/2nd wife                Butcher                                Wallstraße

                1st marriage Children - Selma and Julius emigrated to Chicago, Illinois USA

  1.                 2nd marriage Daughter - I believe she emigrated on the Kindertransport to England  

Mayer, Karl/Mrs. - boarders with I. Holzmann                                        Louisenstraße

  1.                 Children: Gretel and Paul - emigrated to England 

Mainzer, Moritz/Mrs.                        Iron Dealer                        Louisenstraße

  1.                 son emigrated to Canada, daughter Gretel married Ackermann lives in Santiago, Chile 

Miltenberg  /Mrs.                                Hotelier                         Louisenstraße

  1.                 Three children - 2 sons and I daughter - the family emigrated to the USA 

Neugaß, Rudolf                                Banker                                Obergaße

  1.                 Died in Theresienstadt - (mother of R. Neugaß died in the early 1930’s) 

Öttinger, Manfred                                Employee                        Elisabethenstraße

  1.                 was murdered either in 1939 or 1940 by the Nazis 

  2. Pariser, Mrs. Dr. - suicide in Frankfurt                (last address)                        Louisenstraße 

Rehbock    /Mrs.                                                                Ferdinandstraße

  1.                 Two sons and one daughter         (the entire family were murdered in Germany) 

Reinach, Martin/Mrs. Edith                        Iron Dealer                        Louisenstraße

  1.                 One son - Albert - the family emigrated to New York, NY USA 

  2. Rosenberg, Willy/Mrs. both murdered in Sobibor 

Rosenthal Dr./Mrs.                                Sanatorium                        Promenade

  1.                      3 sons - Erich and Theo emigrated to Australia, Bertram died young in Homburg  

Rothschild, Louis/Mrs.                        Banker                                Louisenstraße

                both died in Theresienstadt Concentration Camp

  1.                 2 Children: Marianne - lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan USA         Eduard - murdered in Mauthausen 

Rothschild, Richard/Mrs.                        Shoe Store                        Louisenstraße

                Wife was murdered in Germany

  1.                 3 Children:         Fritz - a rabbi (USA), Ellen (Zimbabwe, Africa), Edith (USA)  

Salomon,  - died in Homburg?                                                        Promenade

  1.                 Two sons - one married Edith (sister of Martin Reinach) - murdered in Sobibor 

Scharatzik, Leo                                Cigars                                Louisenstraße

  1.                 Four children - probably emigrated 

  2. Schiff, Beno - emigrated to Brazil                Grain Broker                        Ludwigstraße 

Schwarzschild Dr. Ludwig/Mrs.                Doctor                                Kisselefstraße       

  1.                 2 Children Martin and a daughter - the family emigrated to New York, NY USA 

Sommer, Emil/Mrs.        murdered in Germany        Cattle Dealer                        Obergaße

  1.                 2 Sons - Ernst and Kurt - both live in Chicago, Illinois USA  

  2. Sommer, Klara single  - Murdered in Treblinka                                        Wallstraße 

Stein Moritz/Mrs. - Crippled in WWI died in Homburg (last address)                 Kisseleffstraße

  1.                 Children: Julius and Bertel        Wife and children were murdered in Sobibor 

Stern   /Mrs.                                                                Kisselefstraße

  1.                 One son Rolf (adopted) - emigrated 

Stern   /Mrs. - emigrated to the USA                Cattledealer                        Haingaße

  1.                 Two daughters and one son          (Mr. Stern died in Homburg) 

Strauß  Josef/Mrs. Bertha                        Furrier                                Kisselefstraße

  1.                 2 sons - Norbert and Hermann - the family emigrated to the USA 

Weiß, Paul Dr./Mrs. emigrated to Israel        Doctor                                Kisselefstraße

71) Wertheimer, Alfred Dr./Mrs.                 Lawyer                                Ferdinandstraße

  1.                 One daughter Ruth - the family emigrated to Israel 

Wiesenthal, Sally/Mrs. Herta                Iron and Coal Dealer                Kisselefstraße

  1.                 3 children: Hildegard, Gisela, Günter - the family emigrated South Africa, Zimbabwe and Chile 

Wreschner Leopold/Mrs.                        Rabbi                                Audenstraße

  1.                 one daughter emigrated 

Wertheimer, Salo - died in Frankfurt                                                Gymnasiumstraße

                Two daughters -         Hedwig married Willy Idstein and emigrated to the USA

  1.                                 the other daughter married outside Homburg and emigrated 

Wiesenthal, Bernard                        Lawyer                                Louisenstraße

                - murdered in Sobibor/Majdanek


Those were at that time only identified as half-Jews,

I only know their names but what became of them is mostly unknown to me.

Assmann, Escribeus, Groß, Holler-Schulemann, Dr. Kobler, Löw, Martino, Neumeier, Rechold, Sulzbach


Reference: This list was compiled in 1983 by my father from his recollections. (He left Homburg as a boy of fourteen in January 1939.)

יזכור אלהים את נשמות

Years As Homburg Officiant

רבני הקהילה

סגן ראש הקהילה יוסף בן שלמה וורמסער ז"ל

  1813 - 1827                     Unter-Vorsteher Joseph Wormser                                              - 1827                            

סגן ראש הקהילה הרב קלמן בן לייב רוטשילד ז"ל

  1827 - 1848                  Unter-Vorsteher Callmann L. Rothschild                                      ?  - ?

מורינו הרב אשר (יעקב) בן מורינו הרב מאיר שטרען ז"ל

          1848 - 1851                  Rabbiner Anschel M. Stern                                  1820 - 1888                            

מורינו הרב פנחס זעליגמאן בן הירש פרומם ז"ל

  1852 - 1875                  Rabbiner Dr. P. Seligmann Fromm                                 1822 - 1898                  

מורינו הרב שמואל בן הרב אברהם אוירבאך ז"ל

  1875 - 1877                  Rabbiner Dr. S. Hillmann Auerbach                                 1827 - 1884          

מורינו הרב מאיר בן יעקב אפעל ז"ל

  1877 - 1886                  Rabbiner Dr. Meier Appel                                 1851 - 1919                          

מורינו הרב שמואל הילמאן בן אברהם קוטעק ז"ל

  1887 - 1912                         Rabbiner Dr. S. Heymann Kottek                                 1860 - 1912  

מורינו הרב דוד בן אלכסנדר הלוי ווינטער ז"ל       

  1912 - 1922                   Rabbiner Dr. David A. Winter                                 1878 - 1953

מורינו הרב יעקב יהודה בן הרב זאב נחום וורעשנער ז"ל

  1922 - 1935                   Rabbiner Dr. J. J. Leopold Wreschner                                 1865 - 1935      


חזני הקהילה

יוסף גלוגאו ז"ל

          - 1777                   Chazan Joseph Glogau                                            

יהודה קלאהר ז"ל

  1780 - 1797                   Chazan Judah Klahr                                            

משה בן לייב ליפשוץ ז"ל

  1797 - 1855                   Chazan Moses Loeb Lipschütz                                            

החבר יעקב אברהם בן ר' יוסף יצחק ברונשוויג ז"ל

  1855 - 1898                   Kantor Adolf Braunschweig                                                  1825 - 1907

החבר משה בן מורינו הרב יצחק לב יהודה הירץ הי"ד  

  1898 - 1942                   Kantor Moses Herz                                  1873 - 1942              


של ק"ק באד הומבורג פאר דער הא עם נשמת אברהם יצחק ויעקב . שרה רבקה רחל לאה . בעבור שהאירו עיני הקהילה בפסקיהם . והרביצו תורה בישראל .

בשכר זה תהא נשמתם צרורה בצרור החיים עם צדיקים וצדקניות שבגן עדן . אמן


The Bad Homburg chapter of the “Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers”,

donated an impressive marble-topped tablet crowned with a quotation

from the first chapter of the Second Book of Samuel, which states:


"אֵיךְ נָפְלוּ גִבֹּרִים בְּתוֹךְ הַמִּלְחָמָה!  

אֵיךְ נָפְלוּ גִבּוֹרִים וַיֹּאבְדוּ כְּלֵי מִלְחָמָה:"

How did the mighty fall in the midst of the battle?

How have the mighty fallen and the weapons of war perished!”


                Name        Geburtsdatum                Todestag       


        Ackermann, Edmund        29.11.80                22.08.14       

        Blum, Julius                06.03.75                12.03.17

        Emmerich, Gustav                19.06.92                14.03.15       

        Fuld, Julius                05.05.94                02.08.17,     Ltnt. E. K. I

        Kahn, Moritz                22.03.77                25.04.16       

        Neugaß, Willy                29.10.80                07.09.14

        Scharatzik, August                19.10.96                04.10.18       

        Sommer, Moritz                02.09.73                28.01.19       

        Wiesenthal, Hermann        28.02.77                09.10.17     (vermißt)                       

                                EHRE   IHREM  ANDENKEN       


Ackermann, Edmund, - born כ"ו כסלו, died ל' אב        Merchant 33 yrs. old in Neufchateau, Belgium, Rank Private

Blum, Julius         - born כ"ט אדר, died כ' ניסן         Merchant 42 yrs. old in Frankfurt Am Main, Rank Private

Emmerich, Gustav        - born כ"ד סיון,         died כ"ח אדר         Bank Employee 22 yrs. old in Galicia, Rank Private

Fuld, Julius        - born כ"ט ניסן,         died י"ד אב        Bank Employee 23 yrs. old Galicia, Rank Ltnt. Iron Cross 1st Class

Kahn, Moritz        - born ח' ניסן,         died כ"ב ניסן         Merchant 39 yrs. old in France, Rank Militia Recruit

Neugaß, Willy        - born כ"ד מרחשון, died ט"ז אלול        Merchant 33 yrs. old in Sermaize les-Bains, France Rank Prvt

Scharatzik, August        - born י"ב תשרי, died כ"ח תשרי         Bank Employee 21 yrs old in France, Rank Infantry Private

Sommer, Moritz        - born י' אלול,         died כ"ז שבט        Butcher 45 yrs, old in Bad Homburg Rank Cavalry

Wiesenthal, Hermann - born ט"ו אדר, died כ"ג תשרי        Merchant 40 yrs. old in Bad Homburg


more information about his fate was unavailable.


The tablet was unveiled and affixed to the south side of the synagogue in September 1921.  Very few of the Jewish war veteran’s Christian comrades, attended the plaque’s dedication. Rabbiner Dr. Winter and Kantor Herz officiated. This memorial plaque for the fallen Homburg Jewish sons, was smashed and became part of a huge debris pile with the destruction of the synagogue on Homburger Pogrom Day, 10th November 1938.


Gustav Emmerich was my grandmother Herta (Emmerich) Wiesenthal’s twin brother.

Hermann Wiesenthal was my grandfather Salomon Wiesenthal’s older brother.



Weltkriegsopfer.de         http://www.weltkriegsopfer.de/Opfer-Krieg-Gewalt-Datenbank Soldatenliste Suche.html

Meine Errinnerung an Bad Homburg und seine 600-Jährige jüdische Gemeinde (1335-1942)” von Yitzhak Sophoni Herz

Geschichte der Juden in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe 1866-1945” von Heinz Grosche

[The first wave of German Reich deportations were carried out from mid October 1941. In the course of just less than three weeks, German Jews were transported to the Lodz Ghetto in Poland. Soon afterward, more were deported to Riga, Kaunas and Minsk. Most of them were placed in the local ghettos, but some were shot immediately upon arrival.]

The Jewish deportees in 1941 which had relocated from Bad Homburg to Frankfurt:

Rudolf Rieß         20/10                66       16/01/1942        Lodz Ghetto

Rosa Rieß         20/10                68       20/10/1942        Lodz Ghetto

Selma Benjamin                 59       20/10/1941         Lodz Ghetto

Charlotte Fleischmann                 69       20/10/1941         Lodz Ghetto

Bella Rothschild geb. Strauß         57         1884                 Auschwitz

Flora Rothschild geb. Strauß         59       28/02/1882         Auschwitz

Jenny Löwenstein         11/11         53                              Minsk Ghetto

Edith Löwenstein         11/11         15                               Minsk Ghetto

Adolf Lang                 22/11         71      25/11/1941           Kaunas Fort IX

Amalie Löwenthal         22/11        66      25/11/1941            Kaunas Fort IX

Ernst Reinach 23/12/1901                        39      07/02/1941            Hadamar

[After the Wannsee Conference, early in March 1942, most of the deportation trains from the German Reich were rerouted from the ghettos of Minsk and

 Riga in Ostland to ghettos and camps in the Lublin district. This change coincided with the opening of the Belzec death camp in mid March 1942,         and the building of the Sobibor and Treblinka death camps. Jews from the German Reich arrived in the Lublin district from April 1942.]The Jewish deportees in 1942 which had relocated from Bad Homburg to Frankfurt:

Charlotte Lang 17/01/1869  74 Deported 19/08 Theresienstadt 05/10/43

Arthur Auerbach   80   Deported 18/08     Theresienstadt 22/09/1942

Emma Meyer        70   Deported 15/09   Theresienstadt        08/05/1943


Isidor Sommer 77 17/01/1869 Deported 11/11 Theresienstadt 19/08/1942

Jenny Sommer 1898         Theresienstadt, Minsk, 1943 Auschwitz

Dora Hardt geb. Schwarz 3/10/1885     57        Deported 25/06        

                Ravensbrueck - Auschwitz 3/10/1942


On the 10th of June, 1942, twenty six Jews were deported, seven men, seventeen women, a girl and a boy.

Helene Adler geb. Gutmann 30/07/1888         53 Sobibor

Margot Adler 21/10/1921         20 Sobibor

Leontine Blum geb. Lorch 08/05/1881         61 Sobibor

Franziska Gutmann 1891         51 Sobibor

Ludwig Gutmann 04/02/1893         49 Sobibor

Bessy Herz 14/10/1901         42 Sobibor

Erna Holzmann 12/02/1894         48 Sobibor

Therese Idstein 04/09/1889         52 Sobibor

Fanny Kahn geb. Katz 05/03/1887         55 Sobibor

Johanna Lang 1883        58 Majdanek

Melitta Lichtenstein 1901        41 Sobibor

Blanche Neugaß 15/05/1886        56 Sobibor

Gertrud Neugaß 1890         53 Sobibor

Karl Rosenberg 08/04/1882                               60 Sobibor

Willi Meier Rosenberg 15/10/1884                               57 Sobibor

Arno Salomon 16/12/1908                              33 Majdanek  30/08/1942

Edith (Seppi) Salomon geb. Reinach 17/06/1917         25 Sobibor

Emil Sommer 17/04/1877                         65 Majdanek

Johanna Sommer geb. Karlsberg 26/08/1887                         54 Sobibor

Berta Stein 1927                        14 Sobibor

Julius Stein 1928                        13 Sobibor

Minna Stein geb. Katz 14/03/1892                        50 Sobibor

Adolf Stern 1884                        57 Sobibor

Regina Stern geb. Wallach 02/06/1893                        49 Sobibor

Karoline Weiß geb. Altschul 02/08/1879                         62 Sobibor

Bernhard Wiesenthal 28/06/1884                         57 Sobibor

On the 28th of August, 1942, eighteen Jews; seven men, eleven women, from Bad Homburg

and two from the town of Ober-Eschbach were deported. (All except Frau Rosa Lind never returned!)

Frieda Altschul geb. Bender 23/02/1881         61 Treblinka, 29/09/1942

Robert Altschul 22/04/1876         66 Treblinka 29/09/1942

Auguste Eppstein geb. Löwenthal 01/05/ 1868         74 Treblinka 29/09/1942

Hugo Eppstein 20/6/1864         78 Theresienstadt 11/9/1942

Margarethe Groß geb. Freundlich 3/08/1878         65 Auschwitz 15/05/1944

Max Groß 27/10/1872                                               69 Theresienstadt 16/10/1943

Ida Haas 15/11/1866         75 Theresienstadt 30/11/1942

Berta Harth 24/10/1886                                             59 Theresienstadt 01/12/1943       

Franziska Idstein geb. Seckbach  1/11/ 1862            79 Theresienstadt 18/09/1942



Kantor Moses Herz 19/11/1873                               69 Treblinka 29/09/1942

Sofie Herz geb. Haas 05/08/1866         76 Treblinka 29/09/1942

Klara Sommer 13/11/1880        66 Treblinka 01/06/1943

Rosa Lind geb. Reiß         66 Frau Lind returned

Salomon Lind 09/02/1875         70 Theresienstadt 07/01/1945

Rudolf Neugaß 20/09/1876          65 Theresienstadt 18/11/1942

Louis Rothschild 06/04/1864         78 Theresienstadt 17/09/1942

Melanie Rothschild geb. Emmerich 13/12/1880 61 Theresien  15/08/1944

Emma Solling geb. Mayer 06/01/1874         68 Theresienstadt 18/07/1943

On the 20th of May 1943, the Gestapo deported:

Margarete Daub geb. Daniel         1883 60 Catholic Missing

Adelheid Clara Jacobi geb. Hanau         1872 71 Lutheran Frau Jacobi returned

Ida Martino geb. Bernheim 05/06/        1895 47 Jewish Auschwitz 29/12/1943

Elisabeth Müller geb. Michel 14/02/        1893 50 Catholic E. Europe Missing


The following chose to take their own lives in Bad Homburg or in other cities rather than be taken to their deaths:

Otto Holzmann 21/02/1893 (frankfurt)                       48 Suicide  08/05/1941

Sophie Klieneberger geb. Hamburger* 19/06/1848  91  Suicide  11/04/1941

Anna Schönemann geb. Klieneberger* 24/04/1881  60  Suicide  11/04/1941

        Annette Cahn-Bronner 1895 (in Berlin)        47 Suicide 29/04/1942

        Thekla Dinkelspühler 04/06/1901 (Frankfurt)         61 Suicide 22/05/1942

        Elsbeth Pariser 1871 (in Frankfurt )         71 Suicide 20/11/1942

* both had converted to the Protestant faith.

Those forty nine Bad Homburg Jews which moved to a different city/country or fled their town and perished in Holocaust:  

Ellen Benas geb. Rothschild 25/05/1872                70

        Berlin to Theresienstadt 03/10/1942       

Sara Bermann 01/06/1854                                85

        Bad Homburg 09/03/1940

Minna Dörnberg geb. Dinkelspühler 1888                55

        Eschwege to Theresienstadt 1943

Emilie Fuld 26/11/1867                                73

        Gurs, France 09/12/1940

Regina Goldschmidt  geb. Guggenheim 6/07/1870         72

        Westerbork 24/02/1943

Siegfried Goldschmidt 29/05/1899                        43

        Berlin to Auschwitz 1942

Josef Haas 27/04/1898                                 44

        France to Auschwitz 1942

Adele Harth geb. Block 1878                                64

        Köln to Lodz, Poland 1942               

Dr. Joseph Harth 1887                                 56

        Köln to 22/10/1941 Lodz 24/04/1943        

Sara Herz 08/08/1864

        Theresienstadt to Auschwitz

Sophie Hillesum geb. Kottek 25/05/1891                 52

                Westerbork to Auschwitz 06/03/1944

Emma Hirschberg geb. Fromm 1866                        76

                Lublin, Sobibor 15/06/1942

Flora Hirschberger 24/07/1909                                 33

        Auschwitz 12/04/1943

Martin Holzmann 24/03/1898                                 44

        Berlin to Auschwitz 03/02/1943

Selma Holzmann 14/09/1900                                 41

        Malines to Auschwitz 15/08/1942

Therese Idstein 04/09/1889                                 53

        Frankfurt to Sobibor 11/06/1942                       

Max Kahn 06/07/1905                                 37

        Drancy to Auschwitz 10/08/1942

Anneliese Kottek 04/06/1909                                33

        Westerbork 15/02/1944 to Bergen Belsen 10/04/1944

        Theresienstadt 02/05/1945 Tröbitz 02/05/1945

Aron Kottek 1896                                 44

        Amsterdam The Netherlands 1940       

Moritz Moses Kottek 19/03/1900                         42

        Amsterdam The Netherlands to Auschwitz 19-8-1942

Dr. Salomon Kottek 23/06/1894                         50

        Haag,The Netherlands to Bergen Belsen to Troebitz,

        Frankfurt, Brandenburg, Germany 30/05/1945

David Israel Lang 24/11/1910                       

        Rotterdam, Netherlands, Auschwitz

Henriette Lindenheim geb. Sommer 26/05/1917                24

        Berlin to Auschwitz 01/04/1942

Josef Liskewitsch

Nache Liskewtsch geb. Kadeschewski

Cornelia Löwenthal geb. Feis 18/1/1879                 64

        Sobibor 28/5/1943

        Heinrich (Heinz) Mainzer 10/01/1908                 35

                Haag, The Netherlands to

                Beuthen/Bobrek, Camp 21/03/1943

        Klara Mainzer geb. Hirsch 09/07/1883                 59


        Hans Marcus 11/10/1935                        7

                Berlin to Auschwitz 29/11/1942

        Josef Mayer 1902

                Deported - Disappeared

        Ludwig Neumeier 23/04/1893                         51

                Auschwitz 30/10/1944

        Öttinger, Manfred 21/8/1910                        32       

                Frankfurt to Majdanek 7/9/1942

        Eduard Rothschild 26/03/1921                         21

                Mauthausen 12/11/1942

        Frieda Sandberg geb. Dinkelspühler 11/10/1890        54

                Breslau to Auschwitz 12/10/1944

        Berta Schwarz geb. Sommer 15/07/1871                68

                Bad Homburg 23/07/1939

        Gusta Schwarz geb. Steinbach 1909                 33

                Cracow 1942

        Ester Schwarz 1931                                11

                Cracow 1942

        Moshe Schwartz 1934                        8

                Cracow 1942

        Salo Shlomo Schwartz

                Cracow 1942

        Josefine Sichel 29/01/1855                         85       

                Gurs, France 22/11/1940

        Kurt Sommer 17/04/1877

                Presumed Dead

        Moritz Moshe Stein 1897 [Disabled Veteran]


        Rosa Steinbach 1879

                Cracow Bochnia, Murder Site       

        Ilse Strauß 19/12/1932                         10

                The Netherlands Auschwitz 24/9/1943

        Sophie Strauß geb. Lang 19/11/1865                77

                Theresienstadt 11/01/1943

        Karoline Weiß geb. Altschul 02/08/1879                62

                Sobibor 11/06/1942

        Simon Werner 10/07/1903 Berlin to Theresienstadt         41                        17/06/1943        to Auschwitz 23/10/1944       

        Siegfried Wohlfarth 26/3/1904                        40

                The Netherlands Auschwitz 03/09/1944

                to Stutthoff 12/05/1944

        Hans Erwin Wolf 04/12/1900                         44

                Mittelbau (Dora) 1944

        Albert Moses Franz Wiesenthal 25/02/1877                65

                Frankfurt to Theresienstadt 01/09/1942

                to Treblinka 29/09/1942



Meine Errinnerung an Bad Homburg und seine 600-Jährige jüdische Gemeinde (1335-1942)” von Yitzhak Sophoni Herz

Geschichte der Juden in Bad Homburg vor der Höhe 1866-1945” von Heinz Grosche

The Central Database of Shoah Victim’s Names http://db.yadvashem.org/names/search.html

Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der Nazi Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland http://www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch/directory.html.de

The Hebrew word מנהג can be translated as custom as it has developed in cities, outside the הלכה - that is, the original decision of the Act, as interpreted in Talmudic literature. The result: in Orthodox synagogues that adhere strictly to the Torah tradition-bound, minor variations occur in the leadership of worship, without coming into conflict with the basic interpretation of Jewish law. We then speak of a מנהג המקום, i.e. a practice that applies only to a particular community.


Thus we find today in prayer books that were printed in Germany, footnotes such as, "This paragraph is not said in Frankfurt / Main, Fürth and Strasbourg." Homburg adapted by and large the Frankfurt rite - like many other towns in southern Germany. Small deviations nevertheless speak of a "Homburger מנהג" or customs in the liturgy.


1) The עלינו prayer ended with the קדיש. (Despite the fact that it runs contrary to מנהג אשכנז, either according to HoRav Kottek ז"ל reasoning, because the recitation of עלינו was never banned in Homburg or maybe to take into consideration the foreign visitors, for instance, when there isn’t a Psalm after עלינו.) Those who said קדיש left their seats and stood next to the Kantor. They said the קדיש in chorus-form, so that the congregation could answer at the right moment: בריך הוא - אמן.


2)         In former times - the Kantor read out portions from the Memor-book on שבתות - (except on the שבת before ראש חודש - New Moon).


The שבת on which the New-Moon was announced, (the יהי רצון prayer was not recited according to the old Southern German מנהג) the Kantor was supposed to sing 'אשרי' in the tune of the festival or event occurring in the forthcoming month. You might notice smiling happy faces among the worshippers, when the tune indicated the approach of פורים or שבועות etc..


4) “קדיש of the year”, called Jahreskaddish:

On שמיני עצרת at the end of מנחה the Kantor was “ordered” to sing the “Jahreskaddish”, which presented in chronological sequence the tunes of all Jewish events of the year - commencing with 'חנוכה' and ending up with 'שמחת תורה'.


5)  On the day of 'שמחת תורה (Torah Joy), about the end of September, all the Torah scrolls were taken out of the Ark and whilst singing in a joyous procession around the synagogue (in the same manner as circling with the לולב), in a very dignified way. On שמחת תורה the President and members of the board wore silk טליתות. Only 10 men were called up on this day. Homburg had about 20 Torah scrolls, some of which were decorated with antique silver on this day. During the Kaiser period this impressive train was led by Homburg Jewish school youth. Each student carried a black, white and red flag, in the days of the Weimar Republic they were replaced by black, red and gold flags. After the service, the children received, out of the hands of two ladies of the Jewish women’s club, bags with chocolate and other sweets.


This Torah joy fest firmly marked the end of all the holidays and built its highpoint on the last paragraph of the Torah. Only a Torah scholar, usually the Rabbi, was called up for this act like a "groom on his wedding day". - Since Torah learning never knows an end, subsequently the first section of the entire Bible was read from a second Torah scroll, it began with the following:

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" until the seventh day of the creation story, which arranges the sanctification of the day of rest, the שבת.

Also, for this section, a particularly meritorious and honorable community representative was called and also greeted with honors.

In contrast to the serious public holidays (New Year and the Day of Atonement) was the "Torah joy fest" expression of true spiritual openness. In today's State of Israel it can be seen far and wide until deep into the night on all streets and squares who people dance around the תורה scroll.


6)                On ראש השנה and יום כפור and days when מתנת יד was said, only married people were called up to the תורה. The same rules were observed for the special שבתות (4) before פורים and פסח.


For the תוכחה (Retribution), read twice a year, it was the custom to call up the Shammes, - an ugly custom. It would have been an insult to call up a person of “higher social strata” to the portion containing so many curses.


8) בואי כלה  When on Friday night the Kantor sang the last stanza of the hymn 'לכה דודי' (Sabbath-Hymn by Shlomoh Alkabez) he and the congregation turned towards the entrance of the synagogue only for the words 'בואי כלה'. It was reasoned as undignified for the congregants to turn their backs to the ארון הקודש (Holy Ark) longer than absolutely necessary. In this connection - להבדיל - I may mention, that England, in one of her ceremonial performances, shows a similar custom. When the Queen opens the parliament the “Lord - in charge” leads her from the minor hall to the throne, but he walks backward during this procedure always facing the ruler of the country. Although it is not my intention to give the Queen of England possibly the same status as an 'ארון הקודש', the idea of reverence is the same.


Seiferstellen. in other words, to put the ספר (תורה) into the right position for a special שבת, when two or even three ספרים had to be taken out. It was the strict order for the Shames to roll each scroll into the proper position. In order to avoid and hold-up during the “Reading of the Law”. (Leinen).


People were called up by numbers. The numbers were engraved on silver plates, which the Shammes put on the place of the person shortly before he was called up. If the man wore his טלית like a stola (scarf) he was ordered to unfold it and put it “according to דין. - In summer no person was called up to the תורה, if he wore a straw hat. The Shammes ordered him to put on a hat kept in the office for this purpose.


The ספר תורה was rolled and held tightly together with a pennon (Wimpel). This was Originally a square piece of white cotton, used for the baby-boy during his ברית (מילה). Some weeks before the child was brought to the synagogue for the first time by his father, the mother cut the linen into four equal pieces. Then she brought it to my father (Kantor Moses Herz הי"ד) a brilliant calligrapher who wrote on the Wimpel in (the) most colorful letters the name of the boy and a suitable פסוק (verse) from the פרשה (chapter the boy would say on the day of his בר מצוה). The artist Moritz Oppenheim took this custom as a theme for his painting “Das Schulentragen”. Certainly, on such occasions the father was called up for 'גלילה', while the little child touched the  תורה- Scroll. After this “ceremony” the baby - about two years old - was brought to the Rabbi for Benschen (to bless the child).


The פרוכות (curtains) of the ארון הקודש (Holy Ark) as well as the מפות השלחן (covers) of the בימה or Almemor were exchanged for all special שבתות.


Homburg, like many communities in southern Germany held a special memorial to the memory of all the communities that were wiped out during the Crusades or the time of the "Black Death." The names of these communities, often those of all its members were murdered, were detailed in so-called Memorbuchern. The Jewish community of Bad Homburg arranged - like other קהילות - these commemorations twice a year, once in the שבת before the Jewish "Feast of Weeks" (late May), then the שבת before 9 אב (about mid-July), the day of mourning in memory of the first and second temples. Special prayers were recited by the Rabbi and Kantor from the Almemor (תורה reading table), they mentioned the most important communities that had suffered particularly in the Middle Ages or were exterminated. In the Homburg service the following communities were mentioned: Andernach, Bacharach, Frankfurt, Nordlingen, Nuremberg, Speyer, Strasbourg, Trier, Worms, and Xanten. From the end of World War I the nine Homburg Jewish soldiers that lost their lives for Germany were also mentioned. According to Paul Arnsberg there existed a Homburg Memor-book, dating from 1790, with entries going back to the 17th century. The word Memor comes from the Latin word memoria, which means something like memory and remembrance. Old Homburger residents said if they participated in such memorial hour: "Es wird gememmert". (When the Nazis in November 1938 burned down the synagogue, unfortunately, the Memor-book went up in flames as well.)            Finally it should be mentioned that most of the persecution of Jews occurred during the spring weeks between פסח ("Easter"), and the שבועות. These were once happy days in the Jewish calendar. But after these terrible occurrences, the seven weeks between the said feasts was turned into a time of mourning, weddings may not be celebrated during these days neither are jubilant parties celebrated.


The oldest of Homburg’s Jewish associations was the חברה קדישה; it was still in existence in 1933. In this connection Arnsberg informs us, that the “Maariv Kippe” as the eveningשיעור  was the so-called Kippestub, Nr. 24 Wallstrasse. The annual foundation-festival of the association - always celebrated on the eve of ראש חודש שבט, it was the custom to eat Fietsen (?) possibly a wheel shaped pastry which came out of “vogue” in later years.  Not only the Fietsen disappeared, but also the organization itself, when it was incorporated into the “Talmud-Torah-Verein” (Foundation).


15) מוצאי שבת (End of שבת). Maybe, it is worthwhile to mention the הבדלה - Service as it was performed in some Homburg families (homes), also in my parents’ home (till the end of World War I). After the ceremony with its different blessings my father sang a special prayer. It was pronounced in good German, although it must have come originally from the East. I still remember the main-stanza:


Gutt von Avrohom, Yitzchok und Yaakov Behuet Dein

Volk Yisroel mit Deinem Lobe

Die sieben Tage der Woche Soll’n uns kommen Zu

Massel und Broche fuer alle Frommen

Der Liebe Sha’bes Kaudesh geht dahin

Die Woch soll bringen G’sundheit und Gewinn

Omein - Omein - Omein - Omein.


The "Feast of Weeks (the giving of the תורה at Sinai and the summer harvest festival) the synagogue in Homburg - as it was the custom in many other communities, was adorned with palm trees, young trees and flowers.


A rabbinical decision was made in Homburg that a man who had became a Septuagenarian (70 years old), had the privilege to be called to the תורה from now on with the honorary title חבר.


The Jews of Germany showed their gratitude to their Emperor, King and State which protected their lives, so they followed both a command of the Jewish sages, to pray for the state and peace, and to give expression to an inner need, their German feeling. On each שבת, a prayer for the government was said. In the imperial days it was worded as follows:


Lord of the World and King of kings, You have already received the mortal and the earth son of Thy power, that He may turn into law and honesty on earth, peace and justice among men handle of your glory! We pray to you for your protection and your grace, for your blessing and support for our King and Lord, the German Emperor,

Wilhelm the Second.


Support him in strength and health, that he may live long and happy peace and welfare of his people true that he, untroubled and lead them, which he manages for the good of his nation

Give his undertakings and any start for the salvation of his kingdom’s promotion, prosperity and progress, fame and glory, make his reign prosperous for his country, that it may shine in ever increased power and glory and dignity to rise up.


Bless our Empress and Queen Augusta Victoria

on the side of her illustrious husband.


Bless the Crown Prince and all the members of the Royal House. Bless the ministers and councilors and all those who are called by word and advice, bloom and flourish in his country to convey that they do their job for the good of the complete truth and insight.


Bless the fathers and representatives of the city and give all of your healing grace treasure and peace. Holding away from this city and its inhabitants as of the entire fatherland each doom and woe, every adversity and every error, need, want, and disease, to rule that blessing and welfare of all varieties and propagating itself. So it was pleasing to you, O Lord, in your mercy! Amen!


In the era of the Weimar Republic, the prayer for empire, government and welfare of the city, was kept short and to the point.


With the beginning of the persecution of the Jews in 1933 - after the seizure of power by the Nazis - the prayer for government and the empire was omitted.


It is seen from the aforementioned that the Homburg Jews never forgot theirמנהג   (custom) and that they were connected with the German fatherland.



Even during his lifetime, the great Belzer Rebbe, הרב אהרן רוקח זי"ע, was considered one of the greatest בעלי רוח הקודש of his time. Not everything he said or did was immediately understood, but everyone knew there were profound meanings behind his every word or act.

In the late spring of 1929 the Rebbe was in Berlin for medical reasons. As he ended his stay there,       he mysteriously informed his gabbaim that instead of returning home he wished to go to the resort of Bad Homburg. Reb Chaim Nota Katz, a Belzer Chassid who had lived in Frankfurt, was given the task of arranging for an appropriate place for him to stay. He found an apartment facing a hotel frequented      by German political officials. The Belzer Rebbe was very pleased by the choice but cryptically complained that he would liked the windows to be twice as large.

He stayed for six full weeks in that room. He did not visit any of the baths or go for any treatments.   His gabbaim could not understand why he wanted to travel to this place, nor could they fathom          his peculiar behavior during that entire period. He was extremely agitated, fasting most days              and spending much of the time in extraordinarily intense prayer. He was heard whispering repeatedly, "אַֽל־תִּ֭תְּנֵנִי בְּנֶ֣פֶשׁ צָרָ֑י" (תהלים כז:יב) - “Do not deliver me to my oppressors”. At the end of these six weeks he abruptly decided to pack up and leave. “Es iz mir nisht gelüngen” - “I did not succeed,” he exclaimed, overcome with grief.

The Bad Homburg episode remained an enigma for many years. It wasn’t until decades later              that someone took notice that for the same six weeks there was a certain politician staying at that hotel facing the Rebbe’s apartment. He headed a tiny political party called the National Socialists, or Nazis. Those same weeks he worked with his aides in Bad Homburg planning a strategy for an upcoming referendum. That referendum did not go his way, but it was a turning point for this politician. It brought him great acclaim and catapulted him and his party into major national prominence.

Within only four years of those fateful six weeks in Bad Homburg, the people of Germany            elected Adolf Hitler to be their führer.     [Hamodia Magazine “Invitation From A German Village” 4 Elul 5775 / August 19, 2015]

 ליל שבת

The highlight of the Friday night service was 'לכה דודי, which the חזן sang from the אלמעמער, a Spanish word for בימה. He mostly sang melodies of the composers Louis Lewandowski, Salomon Sulzer, and Israel Meyer Yaphet. The “Shammes” brought the  חזן an oversized silver cup, placed on a silver plate. Some 4 or 5 boys under בר מצוה age were waiting for a sip of the wine after קידוש, which was served to them by the Shammes in little קידוש cups.


יום שבת

Homburg’s Rabbi was supposed to deliver a דרשה on the שבת before ראש חודש. If there were to be a בר מצוה in the course of the month, the Rabbi had the opportunity to address the קהילה once again.

[In an effort to encourage early attendance on שבת, three blue-striped טליתות were set aside in the synagogue to be worn by the first three boys under בר מצוה.]

Under the guidance of the חזן a שבת-Youth-Service in the early afternoon. (Keep in mind that those Jewish students who attended German schools, had to attend on Saturday mornings as well. The more religious students could be exempted from writing.) All students, boys and girls alike, had to turn up. The חזן read the whole סדרה, whilst one of the boys was in charge of the מוסף prayer. The whole youthful congregation had to act as choir. The service started with a mighty 'ויהי בנסע...' and ended with 'אין כאלדינו'.



There was a מנהג to obtain milk directly from the farmer into the person’s כשר לפסח buckets.



As far as the season was concerned, שבועות was the most beautiful יום טוב of the year. The Kurpark, the area around the imperial palace and the many gardens bordering the Kur-district were luxuriantly green and showed a lavish display of flowers. It was the time, when the flowers on the many chestnut trees turned from white to red. The air was filled with the scent of flowers and blossoms; from the ground you could hear the incessant “concert” of the insects, which managed without a conductor to create the sounds of a breathtaking symphony. From all groups of trees the twittering and chirping of birds brought perfection to this choir of nature. In the synagogue the ספרי תורה were decorated with flowers, and so was the synagogue itself. Palms and coniferous (evergreen) trees were placed on the side of the Ark. In the late evening the “Lernen” was held in a suitable private home; where some 50-60 people turned up. From the תיקון ליל שבועות they read portions from תנ"ך and at the end they said תהלים, taking turns in reading.


תשעה באב

In the Northern Hemisphere the fast days of שבעה עשר בתמוז and תשעה באב are the longest of the year. On תשעה באב morning the service lasted till 11:30 am. People were sitting, on foot-stools between the synagogue benches, all saying קינות and Lamentations. It was the duty of the Shammes to tell each member when his turn would be. After the service everybody took off his slippers and put on leather-shoes. How could anybody have walked through a German street in light sandals. The Jews in Germany always felt embarrassed to expose their Jewish customs to the public eye.



With the end of the Summer-holidays (July/August) the approach of אלול could be felt. On the first Sunday of this Hebrew month, it was a custom to walk to the old Jewish cemetery. This was situated between Homburg and the nearby village of Seulberg. About 20 people participated.

In the old tradition the שופר was blown after the morning and evening service during אלול.


ראש השנה

The synagogue boasted a strong congregation when ראש השנה arrived.

The Jewish business world really adhered to these two days of ראש השנה, and יום כפור, the holiest day of the year. Advertisements were printed in the local press containing the following wording: “Due to the High Holy-days, our shops will be closed on September (date) as well as on October (date).”

יום כפור

We draw attention to an earlier closing of our shops on the eve of the Day of Atonement (Oct.), (date.) The local press even felt obliged to add to the editorial part some lines that “Our Jewish citizens will celebrate on September (dates) the Jewish New Year 569_ - since the creation of the world”.

[There is an ancient custom, not much observed today, not to sleep on the night of יום כפור.             After prayers on כל נדרי night, an announcement would be made that women and children should go home. The doors of the synagogue were locked, and men would learn until dawn, when the morning prayers began. Whenever a man got tired he could go up to the women’s balcony and take a nap.]

Every year Homburg’s Jewish Board, called “Israelitischen Kultusvorstand”, printed a time-table for יום כפור.  It was expected, that each בעל תפלה begin and complete his תפלה within the time allotted him. It was resented, when - for instance - for מנחה - the חזן finished 10 minutes after schedule. During the various services - שחרית, מוסף, מנחה and נעילה - there was no הפסקה (interval). Indeed, the davenen (the German Jews used the word “Oren”, derived from the Latin verb orare, to pray) went right through the day. For many years Homburg had its own mens/boys choir and also during the year. After the end of World War I, however, they performed only on ראש השנה and יום כפור. At the end of the “Great Day” the people wished each other “all the best” and “Gutes Anbeissen” (breaking the fast).



The congregational סוכה stood in the backyard of the synagogue. It’s size was extremely small, allowing just enough room for the Shammes, his wife and one guest. There were about 10 סכות throughout Homburg. On סכות, most Orthodox Jews went to synagogue, with their לולבים carefully wrapped in paper, so that no one would recognize it.


שמחת תורה

The spirit of שמחת תורה permeated the synagogue at מנחה-time of שמיני עצרת, when the חזן sang the “Jahreskaddish” after עלינו. The קדיש caught the spirit of all the Jewish festivals and other events, marked in the Jewish calendar, by always singing the main-theme of the ניגון, starting with the tune of  'מעוז צור'and ending with שמחת תורה. He intoned a new tune at each new verse of the קדיש. The faces of the listeners revealed deep happiness. There were no הקפות (processions) in the evening.

This is how the Jews of Homburg celebrated the “Festival of the תורה. Accompanied by the singing of 'אתה הראת' the גבאים took out about 20 ספרי תורה. The first six ספרים were “dressed” completely with crowns and plates of antique silver. Those gentlemen who were called up to receive a ספר, appeared mostly in Top-hats and silken טליתות. The חזן then led the procession in perfect precision around the small aisles of the Synagogue. The חזן typically was the only one, who turned around a few times with the תורה, which may be called “dancing with the ספר. He sang the well known tunes of the day, while the other scroll-bearers walked behind. There were about 40 to 50 children, up to the age of 12, who marched in front of the תורה parade. In the Imperial Time (till 1918) the boys carried black-white-red flags; from 1919 on - they carried black-red-gold. Only when Hitler came to power, a few children walked around with blue-white flags. Sometimes an apple supporting a burning candle was placed on top of the flag-stick. In all those years the little girls never participated in this political demonstration of colors. They always carried hoops, decorated with flowers. After the service, the children had to line up by two. The leading ladies of the Kehilloh, appeared with two domestics wearing black dresses and white aprons. The maids carried a big basket full of small bags of sweets. The ladies took the bags out of the basket and handed them over to the children, who politely said “Thank you”, answered by the ladies with a friendly smile.

In the twenties, when the Russian intelligentsia settled in Homburg for some years, they arranged their own מנין and their own שמחת תורה. They celebrated in the “Religionsschule”, adjacent to the synagogue. From the backyard of the synagogue, one could hear their singing and drinking לחיים.  



A חופה would take place in the synagogue. The Rabbi, Kantor, and members of the families took their positions in front of the ארון הקודש, where the חופה was erected. Beginning with the Kantor’s ברוך הבא and ending with the breaking of the glass.

Rabbi Binyamin Shlomo Hamburger

Translated by Rabbi Reuven Poupko


The Migration of Torah Tradition from the Land of Israel to Ashkenazic Lands


I hold of our tradition and that of our ancestors, the sages of Ashkenaz, whose Torah teachings were passed down to them from their ancestors since the time of the Churban (destruction of the Holy Temple). — The Rosh, R’ Asher b. Yechiel.


Ashkenazic Jewry had yeshivos continuously, generation after generation, since the time of the Churban. They put their souls into the knowledge of the Torah and its observance, following its laws of justice and other halachos. Therefore,   it is certain that their correct knowledge of its details goes back farther [than other traditions]. — R’ Yakov Emden.

During the Second Temple Period, Jerusalem was the center of Jewish life. The kernel of Torah tradition was ensconced in the Lishkas Hagazis (Chamber of Cut Stone), the basilica set into the north wall of the Holy Temple. The Sanhedrin was situated there.1 The Sanhedrin was the superior court and the final word in all matters of Torah law. All eyes turned to the sages of the Sanhedrin for guidance in every area of Jewish life. From there Torah went forth to world Jewry. As such, it was the place to which the oral tradition of the Torah legacy was entrusted.
After the destruction of the Second Temple, about ninety thousand Jews were exiled from the Land of Israel by the evil emperor Titus (39-81 CE).2 The Torah sages continued to safeguard the oral tradition passed down to them from earlier sages.3 This legacy was kept in its entirety by core yeshivos and by rabbinic supervision over its precise practice in the community.

The Jews settled in Italy under the dominion of Titus toward the end of the first century and brought their Torah heritage with them. When they migrated north to Ashkenazic lands, the authorities entrusted with transmitting Torah remained with them, all the while retaining steady contact with the seats of Torah in the Land of Israel and Babylon. The Jewish heritage of Ashkenaz continued uninterrupted for almost two millennia, and in every generation, yeshivos and Torah sages have guarded, cultivated, and glorified this ancient tradition.

The nation of Ashkenaz is mentioned several times in the Scriptures. Sources indicate that Ashkenaz was located in Asia Minor (present day Turkey, Armenia, and Iraq) and that during the great world migration that had begun during the Second Temple Period, these light-skinned4 Germanic tribes eventually migrated westward toward Europe from the Mountains of Ararat5 (which were outside the boundaries of the Roman Empire) to the Alps. These tribes had been forced out of Asia Minor by marauding barbarians who decimated everything in their path. The Germanic tribes continued wandering until they found land suitable for agriculture. They divided those lands among themselves and established individual kingdoms therein. When they settled the area, each head of tribe became king of his province. As time progressed they pushed the Romans out of central Europe.6
Interestingly, the Talmud and Midrash identify some of the biblical names mentioned in the family of Ashkenaz, grandson of Japheth, with Germany. The names Togarma7 and Gomer,8 Ashkenaz’s brother and father, even sound like Germany. Gomer’s brother, Magog,9 is also associated with Germany. Moreover, we know of places in Asia Minor that were called Garmania or Caramania. This all indicates that the source of Germany is in fact the biblical nation of Ashkenaz.10

Although sources also point to a Jewish presence in these lands during biblical times and during the Second Temple Period, no records exist of an organic, continuous Jewish community during the tribal migrations, nor do we have details about their Torah traditions. Thus, although biblical Ashkenaz does seem to have a historical association with modern Germanic lands, from a Jewish perspective it has no bearing upon the line of the Ashkenazic Torah heritage.

Some ancient Jewish communities in the diaspora claim that their traditions come directly from the pre-Temple period. This also has no bearing upon the line of Torah tradition. An authentic Jewish community had to be intimately associated with the sages of the Mishnah and Talmud. A community claiming to have bypassed the Temple Period is indeed ancient, but invalid as a conduit of Torah tradition.

Similarly, the present Jewish community of Babylonian heritage cannot claim to be the heir to the seat of Torah legacy in classical Babylon, as its tradition has obviously been infiltrated by Sephardic customs such as those of the Ari, a fact which indicates that its legacy is not a consistent, direct line to ancient Babylon. Indeed, only Ashkenaz has had a continuous line of Torah sages and yeshivos since the time of the Churban of Jerusalem until the Churban of Europe in our day.

Although the oral tradition came with Hillel the Elder from Babylon11 and continued there and in the Land of Israel after the Churban, the seat of oral tradition did not remain in Babylon or in the Land of Israel until modern times. When the communities of the Ge’onim began to dwindle, the oral tradition passed to Ashkenazic Jewry. Ashkenaz had been in close contact with the great yeshivos in Jerusalem and Babylon throughout the centuries, and its traditions reflect those legacies without any changes based on logic, popular pressure, or peripheral influences.
As R’ Amram Gaon of Babylon (c.810-c.875) writes:12


In all the communities of Ashkenazic lands, they are all noted for a thousand-fold of goodness and blessings, for they are all filled with Torah and mitzvos as the seeds of a pomegranate, and their deeds are fine. They are strict in the laws of kosher animal slaughter, the immersion of a niddah, and in all that it is proper to be strict about.


The Ashkenazic communities gradually spread to other parts of Europe. Torah students from the core communities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz went on to become Torah leaders in neighboring lands. Some examples are France (Rashi and others), Bohemia and Austria (the Or Zarua and others), Poland (Maharam Mintz, R’ Yakov Falk, and others), and Italy (the Shibolei Haleket, Mahari Mintz, and others).

In general, these communities continued to practice Ashkenazic customs in the lands they spread to. As a result, we refer to all European Jews — except the Spanish, Portuguese, and those Jews who came under their influence — as “Ashkenazim.” An indication of their Ashkenazic origin is the obvious linguistic link between Yiddish and German. However, due to oppression, migration, and a lack of insistence on rejection of any change, the heritage of those new communities eventually lost its Ashkenazic authenticity.

It must be noted that there were cases of debate between our medieval sages and differing customs in various Ashkenazic communities, as mentioned below. Such debate within the tradition is not an indication of inauthenticity. In fact, the constant challenge to tradition inherent in the debates of the Babylonian Talmud is what gives life to its tradition and has always been the main topic of Torah study. When we speak of precision and authenticity we mean that any opinion, custom, or law voiced by our sages is based upon teachings that had always been accepted as part of their heritage, as opposed to being based upon those influences mentioned above.

Thus the concept of the authentic Ashkenazic tradition is not based on the geographical region, political district, or genealogical lineage of Germany or the German people; rather, the focus is on an unbroken chain of precise, supervised oral tradition from the time of the Churban until today. No other tradition can make that claim.

Detailed information about the actual period of migration to Ashkenaz is lacking. Various traditions go very far back in history, and although there are specific indications of a Jewish presence in Germany at the time of the Churban and maybe even much earlier, not all details are confirmed. Besides, even if there were such a presence, it remains unclear whether the community was an organic, continuous one.13 What is certain is that the heritage of Torah and halachah (Torah law) in Ashkenaz originally came from the Land of Israel and from there was preserved for a long time in Roman Italy, where our ancestors arrived after the Churban.
Italy and the Land of Israel remained in close contact, as they were both under the dominion of the Roman Empire. Sources indicate that this contact persisted for a very long time — until the end of the Ge’onic Period (about 1000 CE). The sages of Italy were also in close contact with the Talmudic sages and the Ge’onim in Babylon throughout the centuries.14

From Italy, the tradition was brought north to Ashkenaz with the Torah sages who migrated there toward the end of the Ge’onic Period. The first records of specifically Ashkenazic customs appear during this period of migration from Italy to Germany.

R’ Elazar of Worms (1160-1237), the Rokei’ach, records in his introduction to the siddur (prayer book) the following intriguing chain of oral tradition:15


They had received the inner meanings of the prayer text and other traditions from teacher to student back to Abu Aharon son of R’ Shmuel Hanasi who had left Babylon because of a certain incident, and had been forced to wander across the continent. He reached a city named Luka in the land of Lombardy [northern Italy], where he encountered Rabbeinu Moshe, the poet of “Eimas Nore’osecha,” son of Klonimus, son of Meshulam, son of Klonimus, son of Yehuda and passed down the entire tradition to him.

R’ Moshe was the first to leave Lombardy. His sons R’ Klonimus and R’ Yekusiel, his relative R’ Isiel, and other distinguished people came with him. King Carlo16 brought them to settle in Mainz, where they were fruitful and multiplied exceedingly until the wrath of G-d struck the community in the bloody year of 1096 [when the Crusaders slaughtered most of the Jewish community. R’ Moshe survived and] passed his teachings on to R’ Elazar, the Chazzan of Speyer, who passed the tradition to R’ Shmuel Hachassid, who passed it to R’ Yehuda Hachassid. I, the meek one, in turn received the tradition from him.

Another source indicates that the Rokei’ach’s tradition was passed down generation after generation from Yosef Ma’on, one of those exiled from Jerusalem to Rome by Titus toward the end of the first century.17

At the decline of the Ge’onic Period, a monumental turning point occurred — the confluence of the Babylonian and Jerusalem legacies in Ashkenaz. Ashkenaz became the sole guardian of the composite legacy which it had been following for centuries.

Since the details of the two branches did not always concur, there existed differing customs in various Ashkenazic communities, depending upon which legacy they favored. This phenomenon is discussed by the Tosafists18 (early medieval commentaries on the Talmud) and is evident in the practices of earlier Rishonim, such as R’ Yitzchak b. Yehuda of Mainz, R’ Yitzchak Halevi of Worms, and R’ Yakov b. Yakar of Mainz- Worms,19 teachers of Rashi (R’ Shlomo Yitzchaki of Troyes 1040-1105). An examination of those traditions indicates that the Babylonian influence was somewhat greater.20

The rise of the Rishonim at the beginning of the Middle Ages ushered in a time of growth for the Ashkenazic legacy. The communities of Ashkenaz had become known as Torah centers of worldwide influence. This cultural development reached its apex with the appearance of the great earlymedieval Ashkenazic sages such as Rabbeinu Gershom Me’or Hagolah of Mainz (960-c.1028), Rashi, and the Tosafists. By anchoring the practice of true customs, weeding out popular alterations, and creating ordinances (such as those of Rabbeinu Gershom) for the welfare of society, these leaders became known as the “founders” of Minhag Ashkenaz in Germany.

As R’ Moshe Sofer of Pressburg (1763-1840), the Chasam Sofer, writes:


Know that all these Ashkenazic customs were founded under the supervision of our sages the Tosafists and Rashi and his students, residents of that land.


During the late eleventh century, renewed persecution of Ashkenazic Jewry created another turning point which threatened to endanger the continuity of the preciously guarded heritage. This dark period in Jewish history occurred between the times of the Crusades and the Black Plague, notoriously known as the “decrees” of 1096 and 1249. Those two years made an especially bloody imprint on medieval Jewish history, when Christian mobs wiped out entire Jewish communities.

Our great sages realized the peril threatening the unbroken chain of Torah tradition. They risked their lives to ensure the continuity of our heritage and the transfer of Torah to their children and students. By valiantly dedicating themselves to passing the Torah down to following generations, orally and in writing, they prevented the loss of Torah. They taught the halachos and minhagim (customs) to their students in yeshivos and made their writings accessible to the rest of the people. These writings are a repository of customs for prayer, mitzvah performance, and an overall way of life.

During its period of prosperity, the Ashkenazic community served as a wellspring for the spiritual lifestyle which had emanated from its deep source with vigor and intensity for many generations. Famous Jewish communities known by the names of the cities hosting them rose and flourished. Those vibrant communities nurtured the world with Torah, purity, mitzvos, and tradition.

When the barbarous Crusaders gave the Jews a choice of apostasy or death, the Jews remained faithful to their heritage and preferred a death of “Kiddush Hashem” (in sanctification of G-d’s name) to a life without Torah practice. In famous towns such as Speyer, Worms, Mainz, and many other cities and settlements, the survivors continued guarding our authentic Jewish heritage, keeping its flame burning strong.

The period of upheaval in Ashkenaz was followed by a period of stability. In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, several factors led to a further solidification of Minhag Ashkenaz: reduced oppression, the influence of R’ Yakov Molin of Mainz-Worms (1360-1427) — the Maharil — and the invention of the printing press. Subsequently, when the cataclysmic sixteenth century wreaked havoc on the German community of Worms with the expulsion of 1615, the effects of the Thirty Years War, and the pogrom of 1689, the traditions remained uncannily accurate.

The Maharil has often been called the “Founder of Minhag Ashkenaz.” The term “founder” in the sense of “inventor” is a misrepresentation; nothing can be farther from the truth. The role of the Maharil was consolidator of Minhag Ashkenaz —rendering the ancient customs firm and secure. A study of his influence on Minhag Ashkenaz would fill volumes.21
At the end of the sixteenth century, another shining light rose in Worms — R’ Yair Chaim Bachrach of Worms (1628-1701), the Chavos Yair. In one rare case, the people requested the alteration of a custom because of the situation of turmoil. The Chavos Yair refused. He had faith that the persecution would end and that peace would return to the land.22 Thus, he stands out as one of the valiant leaders and protectors of the Ashkenazic tradition.


2. Types of Customs


Some people erroneously define “custom” as trivial, peripheral matters and popular folklore. The Hebrew word for custom, “minhag,” does imply these things, but when minhag is used in the context of custom, it means something specific and much more significant. The literal meaning of minhag is any phenomenon that is repeated habitually or at certain regularities. Even natural and technological phenomena are referred to as minhag. For example, when Chazal (classical sages) tell us about the mechanism of King Solomon’s royal throne, which Pharaoh Nechoh, king of Egypt, wished to operate, they describe that “this wicked Pharaoh Nechoh wished to sit on Solomon’s throne, but he did not know its minhag (the way it worked).”23 Similarly, when Chazal describe the way animals  behave, they say, “The minhag (way, habit, or instinct) of nature is that wolves prey on goats.”24
In human context, the word minhag has always been used to describe laws and legally binding accepted practice that do not necessarily have a source in the Torah or Jewish tradition. For example, the first mishnah in tractate Bava Basra teaches that when building a wall between two properties, one must use the accepted materials. The mishnah’s phraseology is, “It all has to be done in accordance with the minhag (accepted practice) of the country.” Similarly, the Talmud says, “A great minhag was practiced in Jerusalem. One who supplies food for a banquet (what we call a caterer) and spoils the food, must pay restitution for the value of the embarrassment experienced by both the host and the guests.”25

Nevertheless, when dealing with the topic of Torah tradition, the concept of minhag is generally used only for matters relating to the performance of mitzvos. There is a hierarchy, though, of various types of customs associated with mitzvos according to their level of importance in the eyes of halachah. Some customs are related to biblical mitzvos and others to rabbinic mitzvos. Some have arisen in association with post-Talmudic rabbinic ordinances, while others were started by the people and became popular practice. Some customs must be kept always, and others have a weak connection to halachah or even run in opposition to it and therefore may be abolished. Some customs are practiced by all and others only by individuals.

We will try to cite examples for all these categories from our treasury of Ashkenazic customs.

Firstly, an example of a biblical custom is the mitzvah to blow the shofar on Rosh Hashanah: “A day of horn blowing (teru’ah) shall it be for you.”26 Even during the days of Chazal, it was unclear whether the teru’ah mentioned in the Torah was a staccato cry, a long sigh, or both together. Therefore, Chazal decided to cover all bases by blowing shevarim, teru’ah, and shevarim-teru’ah together. We do this to ensure that we are fulfilling the biblical mitzvah of teru’ah in the correct and precise way.27

Over the years the issue has become more complicated because new uncertainties have arisen, such as the actual sound of the shevarim and teru’ah themselves.

R’ Yakov Emden of Altona (1698-1776) presented the problem in the following words:28

We find that nowadays — even this very day — different lands have different ways of producing the actual sound of the teru’ah itself. There is a distinct difference between the Ashkenazic teru’ah on the one hand and the Sephardic and Polish teru’ah on the other. The former blow a trembling sound (terumitin) and the latter blow a toot toot sound.... Each fulfills the mitzvah according to its custom because in both situations the sound is what a teru’ah implies. Still, I think it is preferable to make a trembling sound, as the halachic codifiers have mentioned and as the verse says, Vaharei’osem.

This teru’ah (terumitin) which R’ Yakov Emden preferred has been kept throughout the years as part of the authentic Ashkenazic tradition in Germany. When R’ Emden mentions “the halachic codifiers,” he is referring to all the Rishonim (medieval rabbinic sages). Although not all the Rishonim agree on the sound of the shevarim, every one of them agrees on this authentic sound of the teru’ah.29
We have thus examined a custom instituted to ensure the precise fulfillment of a biblical mitzvah. Now we shall look at a custom associated with a rabbinic mitzvah. A difference of opinion exists between the Rambam (1135-1205) and the Ramban (1194-1270) whether prayer is a biblical obligation or a rabbinic enactment. Even the Rambam, however, who holds that it is a biblical obligation, agrees that the nusach (prayer text) of the Shemonah Esreh prayer is rabbinic.30 The topic of nusach is very crucial. It stands out in the field of minhag as the prime example of the evolution of customs in different Jewish communities. Indeed, the prayer text one uses identifies one’s social circle, community, family origins, and even the type of hashkafah (philosophy of life) one associates with.

Among the Ashkenazic Jews, two prayer texts are in common use: Nusach Ashkenaz and Nusach Sepharad. Historically, Nusach Ashkenaz is the authentic text of European (non-Sephardic) Jewry. Relatively recently, a new prayer text named Nusach Sepharad, due to its heavy reliance on Sephardic nusach, became prevalent. This divergence has raised the question whether one may change an essential custom instituted by Chazal.

Rabbinic leaders all over Europe wrote against this deviation.

For example, R’ Yechezkel Landau of Prague (1714-1793), the Noda Bihudah, claims adamantly:31


Our Ashkenazic text is as authentic as the Torah, but the Sephardic Jews should still keep their minhag, as they have what to rely on, and one should not deviate from his ancestors’ minhag. Recently, however, Ashkenazim have gone and changed the holy customs of their fathers. In my opinion they are at fault and are degrading the respect of the Tosafists and the Rosh, and will be judged accordingly. There is no love or unity here; rather, there is just a source of scorn, as it says, “He who keeps himself apart seeks to satisfy his own vanity.”32 About them I say, “Those who despise me adore death,”33 and “He who goes back on a commitment has the lower hand.”34

Still on the topic of prayer, let us look at the issue of piyyutim and selichos (poetic and penitential prayers). These additional prayers are post- Talmudic, and therefore their level of importance is lower than that of the established prayers of Chazal. The customs relating to piyyutim have much more variation than those associated with the main prayer text because their arrangement as part of the text took place at the end of the Middle Ages, and it was usually left up to the individual communities to choose what to say. Many combinations of piyyutim and selichos have emerged, but they remained in the possession of the individual, isolated communities and provinces where they were recited.

Among the piyyutim that were fortunate enough to get printed are, for example, “Minhag Swabia and Switzerland” and “The Altnoi Shul Minhag in Prague.” Since piyyutim are post-Talmudic, and more importantly, since some Sephardic Rishonim had been opposed to saying them at places in the prayers where interruptions are generally not allowed, a degree of contempt for their recital has appeared. This opposition influenced other halachic sages to encourage and emphasize the importance of their continued practice. This friction is evident in the words of the Mishnah Berurah, who summarizes the opinions of the main proponents of the



R’ Chaim Vital [1543-1620] writes that [his teacher] the Ari did not recite piyyutim and pizmonim [poems chanted alternately by the leader and congregation], aside from those arranged by Rishonim, such as the Kaliri [R’ Elazar Kalir], which are based on Kabbalah. The Ari also did not recite the Yigdal poem. Nevertheless, R’ Chaim Vital’s son testifies that when his father led the congregation on the High Holidays, he would in fact recite all the vidduyim (confessional prayers) and piyyutim. A wise person will take note of this and use his wisdom and good sense and not change customs. The Shlah wrote a long piece citing several Ge’onim who believed that it is a mitzvah to say the piyyutim. When R’ Elazer Kalir wrote the poem Vechayos Asher Heinah Meruba’os (in the Kedushah prayer of Mussaf [additional services] on Rosh Hashanah), a fire blazed around him.


Even more intimidating is the warning of R’ Yehuda Hachassid of Mainz (c.1150-1217) in his Sefer Chassidim: “One who changes a minhag of Rishonim, such as piyyutim, has been known to die as a result. In a place where the krovetz (poetic prayer inserted into the Amidah prayer) of R’ Meshulam is usually recited, someone said a different krovetz and died within thirty days.”36
R’ Yoel Sirkish of Cracow (1561-1640), author of the Bayis Chadash or the “Bach”, confirmed the severity of the issue, testifying that “someone, in our times, began to abolish the recitation of krovetz in his community. He did not live out the year.”37

Besides the importance of reciting piyyutim per se, some sages found a basis for strictly following the order in which they were said. They justified their opinion with reasons based on Kabbalah. R’ Yedidia Tiah Weil (1722-1806), son of the Korban Nesanel and heir to his rabbinate in Karlsruhe, writes the following in his approbation to The Order of Selichos for All Year According to Minhag Alsace, which was printed in Karlsruhe in 1798:


Each river takes its course and follows its own channel when it comes to prayer and selichos, especially in the province of Alsace, where the customs are organized and unique, in distinction with such issues in other provinces of Ashkenaz. G-d forbid that we should abolish their customs, which have been passed down from the time of the Rishonim, for each minhag has a gate above in heaven.”


An additional type of minhag is considered fully obligatory by all rabbinic authorities, but its nature — halachic versus popular — is disputed. For example, on the evening before a bris milah (circumcision), all of Jewry observe what we call a “Wachnacht,” the recital of Krias Shema (Deut. 6:4-9) and a night of study in the presence of the baby. According to Minhag Ashkenaz, a dinner including meat and wine is also arranged on this evening. The question came up as to whether this is considered a se’udas mitzvah (a meal that is a mitzvah to partake of) or a se’udas reshus (voluntary).

The ramification is that had one vowed not to eat from a voluntary meal, he may or may not be permitted to partake of this Wachnacht dinner. The Nachalas Shiv’ah38 holds that it is a se’udas mitzvah, while the Magen Avraham39 and the Chavos Yair40 claim that it is a se’udas reshus. If it is considered a se’udas reshus, the halachah does not obligate its function; rather, it is a minhag be’alma (simply a custom) instituted to lend greater honor to the mitzvah.41
Another type of minhag is neither biblical nor rabbinic in origin, but nevertheless is considered very important — this is the minhag issur. A minhag issur is adopted either by an individual or by a community as a safety fence around a biblical prohibition. For example, the community of Worms adopted the minhag not to eat dried fruit at all, to avoid, G-d forbid, inadvertently eating the bugs, which tended to infest the fruit.42 The rabbinic sages have debated about whether these customs may be abolished and under which circumstances.43

3. The Boundaries of Minhag Ashkenaz


We have treated several types of customs and their respective levels of importance. This hierarchy of customs applies to all locations. “Minhag Ashkenaz” is more specific and refers to the totality of religious Ashkenazic way of life. Ashkenaz has specific historic boundaries within which Minhag Ashkenaz was practiced.

It would seem that these boundaries should follow at least the geographic, if not the political, borders of Germany, but that is not the case. Minhag Ashkenaz, as opposed to Minhag Poland, has its roots in Minhag Rheinus, named after the communities along the Rhine River in Germany. This tract of land was the cradle of Ashkenazic Jewry and the nucleus of its cell. The ancient towns on the banks of the Rhine — Speyer, Worms, and Mainz — sprouted Torah centers a thousand years ago. These communities had a vast influence on European Jewry for many generations. This core of Rhine communities carefully tended to its heritage of customs with great precision. On the other hand, although ancient French Jewry had absorbed its heritage and some of its traditions from Ashkenaz, it was open to influences from the south, from Provence and Spain, and therefore its customs do not carry the uniform stamp and stability of its Ashkenazic sister community.

During the fourteenth century, the Jewish expulsion from France led to the fortification of another Torah center, mainly in Austria, but also in certain areas of southeastern Germany. Here developed a set of customs bearing the mixed influence of the Rhine and France. This tradition is called Minhag Austreich. In the Maharil’s times these two traditions, Minhag Rhine and Minhag Austreich, stood opposite each other as two sets of well-organized customs. The details of certain customs were further differentiated in local communities.

The advent of the printing press and the codification of halachah in the Shulchan Aruch of R’ Yosef Karo of Safed (1488-1575) were the next turning points in the history of Minhag Ashkenaz. The concepts of Minhag Rheinus and Minhag Austreich fell out of use, except in individual cases in which customs fortunate enough to remain under those titles spread beyond their geographic borders. As the fifteenth century progressed, expulsions and migrations brought Minhag Rheinus to large sections of Germany. Concurrently, Minhag Austreich reached Poland and many other parts of eastern Europe. From that time on, Minhag Rheinus became known as Minhag Ashkenaz, while Minhag Austreich became known as Minhag Poland.

During this period, Minhag Poland branched out to many surrounding countries. It was adopted in Moravia, Bohemia, Hungary, and Lithuania. The new Jewish communities of the semi-Slavic areas in eastern Germany accepted Minhag Poland as well, including cities such as Hamburg and

Berlin. These cities are usually identified with German minhag; however, their true history is different. Hamburg and Berlin were settled relatively recently by Austrian and Polish Jews who brought along Minhag Poland which they had been used to in their countries of origin. Certainly, Minhag Ashkenaz did have a degree of influence on these communities as a result of certain periods of migration of Jews to these cities from southern and western Germany. Two examples of this Ashkenazic influence are the musical notes for the Torah reading and the Hebrew pronunciation.

Meanwhile, what were the main routes of Minhag Ashkenaz, which, as we have said, had become the successor of Minhag Rheinus? The main route traveled south to Bavaria and took over from Minhag Austreich-Poland. Another course followed the new Jewish settlement in northern France. Minhag Ashkenaz also penetrated northern Italy and remained there for a long time. It reigned in Alsace, Holland, and Switzerland, and primarily in all of southern and western Germany. The border between Minhag Ashkenaz and Minhag Poland cut through Germany itself, roughly following course of the Elbe River, which traverses eastern Germany from north to south.


4. The Significance of Minhag Ashkenaz


Similarly to the Chasam Sofer, many other great Torah sages recognized the significance of Minhag Ashkenaz. Its spokesmen enthusiastically praised it for many centuries and saw in the traditions of other lands a veering from the authentic tradition. The Rambam, who was in a position to judge Minhag Ashkenaz objectively, as he did not live in Ashkenazic lands, wrote that the western Europeans were “unaffected by tainted practices and by the trends and paths that the current sages take. All their ways agree with the Talmudic text.”44
The sages of Europe who intimately understood the differences between Minhag Rheinus and other European customs held Minhag Rheinus in high esteem. R’ Yitzchak b. Moshe of Vienna (1180-1250), the Or Zarua, a native of Bohemia who had studied in Germany, was once asked on what basis the “fools” (as the questioner calls them) make Kiddush in synagogue even when no guests in need of Kiddush are present. Although the custom of reciting Kiddush in synagogue was practiced by Jews all over Europe with or without guests, the Or Zarua felt that since this had in fact also been in practice in Germany, where only authentic customs were kept, the question posed an attack against Minhag Ashkenaz. He was angered and answered thus:45


About that which you wrote, asking me to supply a justification for those “fools” who make Kiddush in synagogue, considering that they do not fulfill any obligation with that Kiddush [since they are going to make Kiddush at home anyway] and there being no guests there to fulfill the mitzvah, you should be ashamed of yourself, and I have good reason to be upset at you, for you have allowed yourself to commit a sin. I wonder how a wise and understanding person like you could permit such words to leave his mouth. Do you not know how many great sages and holy men were in Mainz, Worms, and Speyer, and that from there Torah emanates to all of Jewry? Have not our fathers and ancestors, righteous and holy, the wisest of the wise, practiced this minhag from the day all the communities of the Rhine and elsewhere in the land of Ashkenaz and its dominions were established? And now you come and call them “fools”! The halachah states46 not to change the customs practiced by our ancestors, whose souls are at rest, because they are not empty things, and if they seem empty, it is because of shallow understanding and vacant minds, for our ancestors acted in accordance with the laws of the Torah.

The Or Zarua goes on to explain that the original custom of making Kiddush in synagogue was not instituted for the sake of guests; rather, it was introduced as a general public sanctification of the day. Based on several sources in the Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud), he shed new light [a play on the words of the name Or Zarua] on the halachah as it appears in tractate Pesachim of the Babylonian Talmud. At the end of his letter he rebukes the questioner again, saying, “As for you, a man of wisdom and understanding, let your mind remain humble when considering the views of your rabbinic sages, whose souls are at rest, so that you may merit length of days and years of Torah study and mitzvah observance.”

We encounter truly zealous defense of the Ashkenazic heritage in the struggle of Chassidei (the pious of) Ashkenaz against changes introduced in the prayer text in France and England. When compared with the Ashkenazic text, one can find additions in several places in the early French-English text.

It seems that some Jews in Ashkenazic lands found the French-English text richer or generally better than theirs, and they adopted it as their prayer text. This aroused the active interest of the Chassidei Ashkenaz, and they issued a stern warning against changing the text. The Siddur Chassidei Ashkenaz includes the following admonition regarding French changes to the Rosh Hashanah prayers:47


One who adds or subtracts even one letter from the prayer text, his prayers are not heard, for the whole text was formulated precisely and put in proper balance with respect to both the letters and the words, which have a deep underlying meaning. Every G-d-fearing person must take care not to subtract or add and not to listen to the French and the islanders [the English] who have added several words, for the sages are uncomfortable with what they have done, because the reasons behind the text and its underlying meanings were not passed down to them. The Chassidim Harishonim (the early pious ones) were known to keep the deeper meanings and the reasons behind the text hidden until our holy rabbi, R’ Yehuda Hachassid, came and passed them down to pious members of his family both in writing and orally.... And that pious rabbi wrote, “One who adds even one letter to the prayer text, about him the verse says,”48        [My heritage has become to me as a lion in the forest;] it cries out against me: therefore I have hated it.”


The writings of Chassidei Ashkenaz generally do not criticize the common nusach in Ashkenaz. They verify that it fits well with the reasons behind the text and the underlying meanings that were passed down to them. The sages of Ashkenaz had a clear preference for their ancestors’ tradition as opposed to other traditions, especially the Spanish (Sephardic) one, to which they preferred even the French tradition.

Also in halachic decisions the ancient Ashkenazic tradition had been accepted as unreservedly accurate. R’ Yosef Cologne of Italy (c.1420- 1480), the Maharik, establishes that:49

If in ancient times the custom in Ashkenaz had been to force a chalitzah, whether it was customary everywhere or just in some places, such as Speyer, Worms, and Mainz, ...woe unto the yavam who relates lightly to this practice of our ancestors, which has the imprimatur of Torah. With a headstrong spirit and a rigid heart, he has gone against our sages in Ashkenaz.


R’ Asher b. Yechiel (1250-1328), the Rosh, wrote in a similar vein when he was forced to flee Germany and settle in Spain. While living in Spain, the Rosh was asked about the kashruth of fowl which had a local tradition to be kosher.50
His response was the following:51


You should know that I would not eat something on the basis of their tradition, because I hold of our tradition and that of our ancestors, the sages of Ashkenaz, whose Torah teachings were passed down to them from their ancestors since the time of the Churban (destruction), and the same is true of the tradition of our French rabbis, as opposed to that of the land in which I am living now.


The Rosh’s brief but weighty words made an impression for future generations and have been frequently quoted in the writings of the halachic sages. Among those stands out the Sephardic codifier, R’ Yosef Karo, who cites these words of the Rosh in their entirety without reservation in his Beis Yosef.52 The historical background of the Rosh’s approach is provided by R’ Yakov Emden:53


The Ashkenazic Jews have a sturdy tradition, as the Rosh writes in his letter, more reliable than that of the Sephardim, even considering their known roots from the time of the exile from Jerusalem. They had their great sages in Babylonia, leaders and teachers such as R’ Moshe and his son R’ Chanoch, and from then on they produced more great Torah sages, but before that period they had been very empty. The Talmud had not reached them at all. However, Ashkenazic Jewry had yeshivos continuously, generation after generation, from the time of the Churban. They put their souls into the knowledge of the Torah and its observance, following its laws of justice and other halachos. Therefore, it is certain that their correct knowledge of its details goes back farther.


The Rosh made his statement in the context of personal experience, but the Maharil endorsed it as a general ruling and used it in deciding the halachah and teaching it to the public. In one of his letters, the Maharil writes, “Our tradition is superior, as the Rosh writes in his letter.... Therefore, let us reject other traditions in deference to ours.”54

5. Polish Customs in the Rama’s Writings

Toward the end of the Middle Ages, when a new Torah center had developed in Poland, Minhag Ashkenaz found itself faced with new competition that threatened its very existence. Sixteenth-century Poland had suddenly become a powerful Torah center and supplanted the older Torah center in Ashkenaz. As the Jewish population of Ashkenaz dwindled, Poland became the new Torah metropolis, and its sages began making an impact throughout the world. The shining light among those sages was R’ Moshe Isserles of Cracow (1520-1572), the Rama, whose halachic writings rapidly became the final word in halachah for all of European Jewry.

This development is expressed clearly in the writings of one of the greatest German rabbis of the period, R’ Yitzchak Mizei of Hechingen:55


I was asked if one should decide the halachah according to the code of R’ Moshe Isserles (the Rama), considering that he has compiled all the stringent opinions of the later rabbis and all the customs of our lands and countries, as he writes in his preface. My answer is that he definitely has the proper level of authority, he is unequalled... and his code is set up in a very reasonable way, in accordance with our rabbis whom we in Germany rely upon for deciding the halachah.”


While R’ Yitzchak Mizei goes on to mention more advantages of the Shulchan Aruch with the Rama’s decisions, he does not hide his reservations about its use by one who is not a competent halachic authority. Since the Rama’s style is brief and lacks deliberation of the halachic opinions, there is a chance one may misinterpret the halachah.

By cautioning against relying upon the Rama’s decisions without researching the sources, R’ Mizei avoided a different problem which now challenged Ashkenaz. In addition to presenting decisions which concur with the original Ashkenazic customs, the Rama also presents many current customs which generally reflect Minhag Austreich-Poland. As the authority of the Shulchan Aruch grew in Ashkenaz, so did the concern that the Rama’s addenda would eventually cause the old Minhag Ashkenaz to phase out. A competent halachic authority would have the insight to check the provenance of each of the Rama’s decisions.

Interestingly, the most prominent combatant against the infiltration of Polish customs in Ashkenaz was actually one of the Polish sages. R’ Chaim b. Betzalel of Friedeburg (c.1550), brother of the Maharal of Prague (1520-1609), had studied with the Rama in R’ Shalom Shachna’s yeshivah in Lublin. R’ Chaim was confident that he had the authority to deal with the relationship between Minhag Ashkenaz and Minhag Poland, because he had lived and served as a rabbi in both lands and thus knew the customs of both intimately. He wrote a critique on Toras Chattas of the Rama, called Vikuach Mayim Chaim. In his extensive introduction he argues his main objections to the Rama’s methodology in deciding halachah. In this introduction, R’ Chaim endeavors to invalidate the prevalent understanding that the Rama’s writings also represent Minhag Ashkenaz.

R’ Chaim begins by saying that he wishes to give warning against adopting Polish customs. He writes that as opposed to the Jews of Poland, German Jewry did not migrate from land to land, and that as a result, their tradition is continuous and faithful to its origins.

Then he expresses the following logic: Just like the Rama felt a necessity to differentiate his local customs from those of the Sephardim in eastern lands, so too it is imperative to distinguish between the true Ashkenazic heritage and the local Polish customs. Furthermore, considering that the Rama did not opt to reject his customs in deference to those practiced in the Land of Israel, it goes without saying that the German Jews should not reject their customs in deference to those practiced in Poland.

R’ Chaim did not think that the Rama himself had presumed to impose Polish customs on Germany. It was the printer who had presented the Rama’s writings as if they reflected upon German customs also. He did this to increase his sales throughout Europe. As R’ Chaim writes, “The Rama himself only mentioned his country’s customs in his introduction; he did not mention Minhag Ashkenaz at all.... On his own accord, the printer added explicit mention of Minhag Ashkenaz on the first page, since potential buyers always look at the beginning of the work, and thus sales in all countries would be increased.”


6. Guardians of Minhag Ashkenaz


Were the efforts of R’ Chaim of Friedeburg successful? Did Minhag Ashkenaz hold its own in face of the powerful influence of the Shulchan Aruch with the Rama’s addenda (figuratively called the “tablecloth” upon the table that is the Shulchan Aruch)? It is hard to answer this question conclusively. Regarding halachic decisions which do not relate to established customs, the Rama’s superior authority is virtually uncontested. When it comes to established customs, however, the German Jews cleaved to their ancient customs, generally using as a guide the writings of the Maharil, whom they considered the father of Minhag Ashkenaz in the Middle Ages. They had stood up to the tremendous, constant pressure to surrender to Sephardic, kabbalistic, and other influences of the time.

The Maharil’s influence on the preservation of Minhag Ashkenaz was great both during his lifetime and after his death. During his lifetime he was personally active in the spiritual restoration of the Ashkenazic communities destroyed during the “decrees” of 1349, and he preached for the rejuvenation of the ancient customs. The Maharil’s student, R’ Zalman of Shutigvera (St. Goar), published the Maharil’s customs. That work also includes a description of the customs of the Rhineland communities.

The Maharil’s customs had been printed about a hundred years before the Shulchan Aruch. Distributed as tens, if not hundreds, of handwritten manuscripts, it served German Jewry as a buttress against the influence of the Polish customs included in the Rama’s addenda — customs which even knowledgeable people today erroneously think of as ancient practice. The mainstay of Minhag Ashkenaz, though, were the very people who practiced it. These people fell into three groups: the simple villagers, members of prominent urban communities, and most importantly, the Torah sages.

Each group espoused Minhag Ashkenaz according to its own inclination. The simple villagers cleaved to the traditions of their ancestors with a deep feeling of conservatism. The great R’ Chaggai Chanoch Frankel (-1691), rabbi of Hanau (a suburb of Frankfurt) at the end of the seventeenth century, defined their character with a truly fitting description:56


I know and recognize the best of the elder leaders in rural Germany. They would give up their lives not to alter a custom, even one that has no logic or foundation at all, more than they would for the actual mitzvos of the Torah, almost resulting, because of our sins, in the Torah being wrapped up and put away in the corner with no one to get up and teach it to his son, to increase its study and expand it. For the sake of perpetuating a custom, they will uproot mountains in order not to alter it at all. My opinion about this is... that one should not dissuade them from performing any custom, even one that has no basis.... Who knows? Maybe their customs do have a solid foundation, based on their holy ancestors of this land, from whom teachings have emanated to all Jewry.


The second group was that of members of prominent urban communities. The most renowned community at this point in history was Frankfurt-on-Main. Here there developed what is called in German lokal Patriotismus, or local patriotism. On an aron kodesh (holy ark) in Worms, the verse57 “I am not better than my fathers” was inscribed as a warning against altering the customs of Worms in any way.
The third group — the great German Torah sages — was different. They assessed each custom in light of the Talmud and the halachic commentaries. Some of those sages had written complete orders of customs for the purpose of perpetuating every last nuance practiced in their communities. These Torah sages had high regard for the Ashkenazic legacy. Many said outright that they preferred it over other traditions, arguing, like the Chavos Yair,58 that German Jewry is “healthy and strong, unplagued by mistaken and corrupted customs.”
R’ Nesanel Weil (1687-1764),59 author of the Korban Nesanel, repeated the view of his predecessors that “German customs are firmly based and superior to Polish customs.” He clarified that even in his day this superiority persisted, because “the great sages who had disseminated Torah to Jewry, such as the Maharil and his student R’ Yakov Weil, the Mahariv, set down for all generations all the stringencies and customs that we, the Ashkenazim, follow diligently.”
R’ Yonasan Eibschitz (1690-1764)60 also expressed this view, adding that “the Torah has been entrusted to the German sages, ...and what could we know that they had not known?”           “Be aware,” exhorted R’ Moshe Sofer,61 author of the Chasam Sofer, “that all German customs were founded under the supervision of our rabbis the Tosafists and Rashi and his students, who dwelled in that land.”

7. The Community of Frankfurt — Stronghold of Minhag Ashkenaz


While some German communities had begun abandoning the historical Minhag Ashkenaz in later generations, whether as a result of the influence of Polish Jews who had migrated to Germany, or because of the impact of halachic works written in other lands, Frankfurt-on-Main stood as a valiant stronghold of the authentic Minhag Ashkenaz. This spiritual birthright, which had once been entrusted to the communities of Speyer, Worms, and Mainz (“Kehilos Shu’m”), was passed over to the Jewish community of Frankfurt. The Jews had been expelled from Mainz and Speyer hundreds of years earlier, and the population of Worms had diminished in body and


The Jewish community of Frankfurt had gradually become the “Jerusalem of Germany” over the past four hundred years at least. Its credentials were its antiquity, its famous and eminent yeshivos, its great Torah sages who served in its rabbinate, and its remarkable ability to preserve the Ashkenaz legacy without compromise. Among the ancient German communities, Frankfurt had inherited the birthright. It served as a compass and signpost for the other communities, big and small, in southern and western Germany.

R’ Klugman, in his recent monumental work on R’ Samson Raphael Hirsch, writes:62


The Jews of Frankfurt were fiercely proud and zealously protective of their traditions, and changes in the services were not undertaken lightly. Entire books detail the intricate customs known as Minhag Frankfurt, which were practiced for hundreds of years.


This distinctive status is recorded in the words of R’ Shabtai Sheftel Horowitz (1592-1660), author of the Vavei Ha’amudim:63


The “mountain summit,” Frankfurt, the great city of G-d, in all Germany is the peak that all others turn to.


Throughout all the years of turmoil and evil decrees in Germany, the Ashkenazic communities had continued to keep almost all the customs handed down to them from the Rishonim. The Rama’s brother-in-law, R’ Pinchas ben Yisrael Horowitz of Cracow (1540-1618), singles out Frankfurt as:64


A “matriarchal” city in Germany, in Torah and all matters of holiness, from Sinai they have received their legacy.

In some cases this idea is evident in prayer books. On the title page of a machzor           (holiday prayer book) printed in 1625 without note of place of publication, it reads:65


See, this is new, has not been around for ages, a small machzor arranged according to the order of customs of Frankfurt and other communities and Ashkenazic provinces, may G-d protect them, and also according to Polish custom.


Note that Frankfurt is singled out as the leading community in Germany. Similarly, on the title page of a machzor printed in 1712 in a Polish city under Prussian jurisdiction, the subtitle reads:66 “According to the customs of Frankfurt and the Ashkenazic countries.”
R’ Yakov HaKohen Papris (1670-1740), author of the Shav Yakov, writes in one of his letters:67


It is unnecessary to talk about issues of custom, because I have truly seen that he has investigated the matter in Frankfurt, and all Ashkenazic countries are dependant on the custom there. When writing about his first rabbinate in Koblenz (on the west bank of the Rhine, at its confluence with the tributary river Moselle), the Shav Yakov says that the members of his community practiced the customs of Frankfurt in all matters.68


R’ Yakov Emden similarly asserted that:69


The community of Frankfurt ...serves as a leading community in Germany, which all other communities diligently follow.


R’ Tzvi Hirsch Horowitz (-1817),70 author of the Machaneh Levi and son and heir to the rabbinate of R’ Pinchas Horowitz (c.1731-1805), the Haphla’ah, in Frankfurt, repeated and confirmed this claim to Frankfurt’s superiority in 1815, saying that “most of the German communities follow our customs.”
R’ Shlomo Zalman Geiger (1792-1878)71 published his Divrei Kehillos in 1862 to make known “the superior customs of prayer in Frankfurt on the Main and the rest of the German communities that follow them.”
Even the ancient communities of Worms and Friedeburg recognized the distinction of Frankfurt, so much so that R’ Chaim of Friedeburg, the Maharal’s brother, who had served in the rabbinate in both those communities, claimed that through his exposure to Frankfurt he had been fortunate enough to identify the true German customs. He writes:72


During my twenty-six years in Worms and Friedeburg, I would continually travel to the “King’s city,” Frankfurt, and I would constantly and thoroughly investigate the customs of the country.


Likewise, R’ Yair Chaim Bachrach (1628-1701), author of the Chavos Yair, a third generation rabbi in ancient Worms, deliberated with other German rabbis of his generation about a certain wedding custom. He relates that to avoid an uncertainty:73


After all that was said, I wrote to a special member of the Frankfurt community, requesting that he let me know the custom there.


The communities which stood under the influence of Frankfurt or had similar lifestyles and customs were mainly those situated nearby. Earlier in this work we presented the fact that the ancient customs of Germany fall under two categories: Minhag Rheinus and Minhag Ashkenaz. Both terms essentially define geographical boundaries. An additional, less known geographical region is Franconia, which refers to the territories on both sides of the Main River. From there came the name Frankfurt, which means “Gate of the Franks” in Old German. The river became familiar to anyone studying Jewish history, because of the eminent city that rests upon its banks.

The Chasam Sofer (1763-1840), writes of his native city Frankfurt,74 “She is unique to her people, in the whole world there exists not her equal.” He delineates the geographical boundaries of the uniform heritage of Franconia in his letter defending its heritage from attack. A Hungarian rabbi had written to the Chasam Sofer in scathing terms against the German custom to permit a mourner to take a haircut if he was to take part in a circumcision during his thirty-day mourning period. The Chasam Sofer replied:75


What he wrote in reference to the cities of Franconia, that their practice is not in accordance with Torah law, Heaven forbid one should say such things against G-d’s people, for this insults the honor of my teachers, rabbis, colleagues, and holy ancestors, both living and dead.... They have the upper hand in these matters, and they are great and virtuous, of lofty holiness....Let it be known that the cities of Franconia are comprised of all the German communities south of the villages of Fürth [a suburb of Nuremberg], for the communities [in the vicinity of Fürth] still practice the Polish customs [that had infiltrated Germany] in most matters.... From there on, however — from the Würzburg region on — along the Main and Rhine rivers all the way to the sea, those we count among the cities of Franconia, among them Frankfurt, Mainz, Worms, Metz, Mannheim, etc.

Most of their customs follow R’ Amram Gaon, whose grave I stood at in Mainz, and R’ Yoel, R’ Ephraim of Bonn, the Tosafists, Rashi, the Maharam of Rothenburg, the Rosh, and the Tur. What can I add to that? You can see, for example, Noheig Katzon Yosef and Yosef Ometz, ...where you will find customs that differ greatly from the decisions of [the Rama], because he spoke for Minhag Poland, whereas they [the people of Franconia] did not alter their ancient customs because of this [the Rama’s decisions].


The Chasam Sofer points out that in Fürth “they still practice the Polish customs in all matters.” Indeed, in Fürth the machzor of Minhag Ashkenaz was used and many authentic Ashkenazic customs were practiced. An examination of the customs of Fürth shows that they were more faithful to the Ashkenazic heritage than most German Jewish communities of today. They were not, however, as insistent and precise as Frankfurt, the Chasam Sofer’s birthplace, and therefore he branded them as being followers of Minhag Poland in most matters. Notice that he had hopes that the situation would be temporary, as he writes, “They still practice,” implying that they may go back to the authentic customs.

Some cases in which the practice in Fürth was true to Minhag Ashkenaz are the prayer book text (with the short version of Veyiten Lecha, etc.) and the order of piyyutim. Alternatively, some signs of influence from the east, indicating a deviation to the Austrian customs, are the following: Birkas Kohanim (priestly blessings) is said in Mussaf (late morning services), but not in Shacharis (morning services); when a holiday falls on Sabbath there is no Birkas Kohanim at all, and neither are ma’aravos (evening service piyyutim) recited; when holidays or intermediate days of holidays fall on Sabbath, Bameh Madlikin (chapter of mishnah on the topic of Sabbath candle lighting) is not recited; Barechi Nafshi (Psalm 104) is recited on Sabbath afternoon in the winter; and Kiddush is recited on Sabbath night after Amar Rabbi Elazar — and not before.


Siddurim (Prayer Book Texts)


The conservatism in Frankfurt and its suburbs applied not only to all customs related to the four sections of the Shulchan Aruch, but also to the prayer text. The community of Frankfurt had tenaciously guarded the ancient prayer texts over the centuries, and had scarcely been influenced by new siddurim, notwithstanding the pressure to adopt changes such as those suggested by grammarians or those from Sephardic sources.

The customs under discussion are based primarily on Minhag Frankfurt, for there the Jews had kept most details of the Ashkenazic heritage, which earlier had been widespread all over Germany. When certain elements were changed because of various influences, Minhag Frankfurt still represented the most authentic, robust, and ancient Minhag Ashkenaz, but not in every detail. Some customs going back to the time of the Rishonim had actually been more faithfully kept in other communities, while in Frankfurt a newer form was adopted. Some examples of ancient customs that were altered in Frankfurt are the recital of Yizkor (the memorial service for the departed) only on Yom Kippur, the removal of seven Torah scrolls for the Hoshana Rabbah circuits, and the true pronunciation of the cholam vowel. In such cases, we would certainly opt for the authentic customs when establishing a new Ashkenazic community today.

It should be noted that the general characteristics of the synagogue were kept almost identical in all Ashkenazic communities. These characteristics were also preserved in central European communities, who prayed with machzorim which followed pre-Chassidic Minhag Poland. (During Chassidic times, Sephardic elements were intentionally added.) The most conspicuous differences between authentic Minhag Ashkenaz and Minhag Poland appear in the order of the piyyutim and selichos. Additional differences between Frankfurt and other communities arose as a result of the fact that other communities had not kept the ancient legacy as tenaciously.

During the period of the Rishonim, Ashkenazic Jews had prayed with siddurim (daily prayer books) and machzorim handwritten on parchment. In the writings of the Rishonim and in the vernacular of Ashkenazic Jewry until later generations, the term tefillah (prayer) referred to the siddur tefillah (prayer book), just as the term “Torah” refers to the Torah scroll. Even during the past several hundred years, when printed siddurim and machzorim became available and prevalent, the custom in ancient communities was for the leader of the services to use a special siddur written by a scribe on parchment. One of several reasons given for this is that when a scribe copies a manuscript there is more control over the precise transcription of the community’s earlier text, as opposed to a printing press, which just runs off the most commonly used texts in the country. This custom of providing a handwritten siddur for the leader was important especially in ancient Ashkenazic communities, which took great pains to protect the ancient legacy.

Another reason for this custom is that it is fitting for the leader to pray from a siddur that is the property of the entire congregation. Moreover, in a handwritten siddur the names of G-d are manually written with their holiness in mind; regarding print, however, the halachic codifiers disagree as to whether it has the same status as handwriting.76 Alternatively, for this reason some protested the use of handwritten siddurim, as the Talmud teaches that siddurim should not be written.77
In any case, writing these siddurim for the prayer leader was generally considered to be a great mitzvah. Many people would “spend great sums of money to write the prayers and thereby deplete their savings.”78 The high cost of such a project led some communities to institute the practice of using charity money for this purpose.

In practice most communities were forced to make due with printed machzorim, which came off the presses of printers in various cities in Europe, such as Venice, Sulzbach, Amsterdam, Metz, and others. In 1800 a new siddur began to appear — the Saffah Berurah and the Seffas Emes of R’ Binyamin Wolf Heidenheim of Rödelheim (1757-1832), the Ravah. His significant contributions to the legacy of prayer texts was the correction of printing mistakes in the piyyutim and the addition of precise, consistent vowelation. The problem is that the Ravah often changed the prayer texts from the old Minhag Ashkenaz on the basis of recommendations from the maskil, Yitzchak Satanov (1732-1804). He also casually interspersed Sephardic and Polish versions, which had been rejected by the Rishonim of Ashkenaz.

Nowadays people do not realize that the Ravah’s Rödelheim prayer texts had not been accepted in Frankfurt because he had changed the ancient versions. He had allowed himself to be influenced in some matters by Yitzchak Satanov (who feigned to be a believing Jew by wearing Polish dress). The Ravah writes in his introduction to the Pesach machzor, “And one should know that in establishing the order of prayer I have followed the sage who authored Vaye’tar Yitzchak, and I have printed most of the text on the basis of his view and decisions.”

Furthermore, at times the Ravah mixes Sephardic and Polish versions into the authentic Ashkenazic texts. He was definitely a great grammarian, weeding out bad vowelization from the text, but his interest in sales in Minhag Poland communities led him to blend Ashkenaz and Poland, with additional changes in vogue in his day.

The traditionalist community of Frankfurt refused to accept the new Rödelheim prayer texts. An examination of the most important Frankfurt book of customs, Divrei Kehillos, by R’ Shlomo Zalman Geiger (1792-1878), shows that he criticizes the Rödelheim siddur and machzor in dozens of places!

In later generations, Frankfurters began using the Rödelheim siddur for want of a better printed siddur, but they would write the correct versions in the margins throughout the siddur. Only a few of those notes made it to the printing press in later editions of the Rödelheim siddur, and even those were not always precise. Frequently they were contributed by secular members of the community who had some affiliation with the Reform movement. Those notes seem to bear the Reform imprint and consciousness.

Our great sage the Chasam Sofer praises the Ravah for his corrections of the piyyutim and for their translation. He writes that if not for the Ravah, people would have ceased to recite them in his generation. He does omit, though, praise of the actual version of the prayer text. Notice his emphasis on piyyutim:79


The accomplished sage, our teacher R’ Wolf Heidenheimer ...spent much time correcting the piyyutim and translating them into German, and if not for him the piyyutim would have already been forgotten and omitted in these generations, something that is clear to all.

He went to the trouble of amassing hundreds of texts necessary for such a task and invested a great sum of money.... Our eminent sages, the Chassidei Ashkenaz, had set in such a case the due privilege of his selling this work exclusively for twenty-five years, and no one may encroach upon his right.


Approbations for the Ravah’s project from other contemporary sages are also directed toward his revival of the piyyutim in his machzorim, his translation of them, and his wonderful explanations. Not one word, though, is written about his siddur text and the version of prayers presented in his machzorim.

Had the Ravah seen all the siddurim of the Rishonim — the precise versions of which have become available to us only recently — he surely would not have printed versions which followed the myopic logic of his own generation.

Siddur Rödelheim served as a prototype for many siddurim in both western and eastern Europe. Some siddurim, such as the common German Siddur Tefillas Yisrael, by R’ Yechiel Michel Zaksh (nineteenth century, Berlin), were transcribed entirely from the Rödelheim text. The widespread distribution of these siddurim brought about a change in practice in the small and medium sized communities which relied upon those texts. Large, precision-oriented communities such as Frankfurt, on the other hand, rejected Heidenheim’s additions and changes and continued to pray according to the ancient versions preserved in old siddurim. In Frankfurt, the leader’s siddur was written according to the accepted version there, and community members who appreciated the significance of a precise text would write corrections in their personal Rödelheim siddurim according to the customs of Frankfurt.

A very small number of these corrections were eventually printed in later editions of the Siddur Sefas Emes as alternate versions. Most of the distinctive characteristics of old Minhag Ashkenaz siddurim, though, were not recorded. For example, a note indicates that in the Sabbath evening

prayers, the custom in Frankfurt was to say poreis sukkas shalom, and not haporeis... (the Sephardic version). There is no note, however, saying that in Baruch She’amar they said Av Harachaman, instead of Ha’av... (this too the Sephardic version).

Other examples of authentic Ashkenazic prayer customs are as follows: Le’olam yehei adam yerei shamayim is not recited at all, since it is only an introduction explaining the significance of what comes next. Birkos HaTorah are said before Parshas Tamid and not before Birkos Hashachar (and certainly not after Asher Yatzar, which would interfere with Elokoy Neshamah). Birkas Kohanim and Eilu Devarim, which come from eastern Europe, are not recited at all; rather, Korbanos (the sacrifice section) serves as the customary Torah study. Mizmor Shir Chanukas Habayis, a Sephardic custom, is omitted, as in Ashkenaz no Tehillim (Psalms) are recited before the blessing Baruch She’amar. The recital of Aleinu ends at timloch bechavod. The additions of the Ari are omitted, as they cause the sum of letters to deviate from the tradition of Chassidei Ashkenaz.

The fact that these deviations from Minhag Ashkenaz are printed in the siddur without any mention of their being inauthentic — and in some cases directly opposed to authentic custom — gave rise to the misconception that they are, in fact, part of the original nusach.

Therefore, the Nusach Ashkenaz siddurim of today are not authentic Minhag Ashkenaz texts at all. They are based on an Ashkenazic version with additions and changes adopted in later years in eastern Europe, just as Nusach Sepharad is based on a Sephardic version with many changes. A Sephardic Jew would not pray from an eastern European Nusach Sepharad siddur; similarly, an Ashkenazic Jew who wishes to follow the tradition of his ancestors will not find what he is looking for in the standard Nusach Ashkenaz siddur.

The time has come to print a siddur suitable for those who wish to pray according to the authentic text of ancient Minhag Ashkenaz.

Just as the sages did not allow their heritage to be lost in face of persecution and migration, so too today, those who thirst to discover the invincible spirit of the Torah heritage of our fathers have the opportunity to plow through the wreckage of World War II and bring our ancient culture back to life.

Those interested in learning more about the Ashkenazic heritage, are encouraged to see Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, a series by the same author.

אוֹיסהֵיבּעֶן אַיינהֵיבּעֶן                        הוֹצָאַת וְהַכְנָסַת סֵפֶר תוֹרָה       

אוֹיפגְרוּפעֶן                                Called to the תּוֹרָה

אוֹסֶר                                        Ironic Negation “Osser Sagt Schiller!”

אוֹרֶן, גְאוֹרְטְ, אוֹרֶנעֶן                        Latin "ora" (="pray") pray, has prayed, praying

אַכִילֶה                                        food (Hebrew)

אַלמעֶמעֶר                                בִּימָה [the elevated center platform of the synagogue]

אֱמֶת, תּוֹרַת אֱמֶת                        Truth, Really!, The Honest Truth

אֶפְשֶׁר?                                        Possibly

אַרְבַּע כַּנְפוֹת                                      A Four-Cornered Undergarment

בַּוֹיעֶן זִי גוּט!, בָּאוּ גוּט!                        A greeting conveyed on Seder night from

                                        “אַדִיר הוּא אַדִיר הוּא, Bau Die Tempel שִׁירָה!”

בּוֹיעֶל                                        Old Wares

בָּחוּר, בָּחוּרשֶׁן, בַּחוּרִים                        Young Man, Little Young Man, Young Men

אוּנטֶרבָּחוּר as opposed to a אוֹבֶּרבָּחוּר        Someone who has not yet finished his Talmud studies

חַזֶרבָּחוּר                                   A driller of religious information

בְּחֵינְט                                        A Charming Person

בִּיסְטְ דּוּ אָבֶל?                                Are you an אָבֵל (walking around the house without shoes)?

"בְּכָל לְבָבְךָ, וּבְכָל נַפְשְׁךָ, וּבְכָל מְאֹדֶךָ!"        “With All My Being!”

[מִיזֶר] בַּל דָּֽבֶר                                [Miserable] Person In Question

בַּל תְּפִלֶה                                A man skilled in reciting the prayers

בִּלבּוּלִים                                Confusion

בְּלֶט, שַׁבֶּתבְּלֶט                                Billet, i.e. A ticket for room and board with the

                                        member of the community

בֶּנשׁ לִישְׁטְ                                Blessing the שַׁבָּת or יוֹם טוֹב Candles

בַּעַלְבּוֹת                                        Boss. Many people believe that the word “Boss” comes                                                 from the Hebrew contraction of the two words בַּֽעַל הַבַּיִת.

בּעֶשׁעֶר and opposed to בּעֶכעֶר        Kiddush Cup

 בְּגִילוּי רֹאשׁor  בְּקַלוֹת רֹאשׁ                 Bareheaded or Levity

בּרוֹיכֶס                                        Upset

בְּרָקעֶן or מַצָהקַאפֶה                        Breakfast food containing mashed מַצָה, sugar,

                                        hot coffee and milk.

בְּשָׁלוֹם, לְחַיִּים וּלְשָׁלוֹם!                        Peacefully, In Good Health And Peace!

גְּבַּדֶלְטעֶה חָמֶץ                                The leavened goods gathered the evening before פֶּסַח

גְּבוּרֶה                                        Pomposity

גוּטֶס אַנְבּאַיסעֶן or בַּאִיס גוּט אַן!        good eating - after the יוֹם כִּפוּר fast day

גּוּטֶן אוֹרְט                                Cemetery בֵּית הַחַיִּים

גוּטעֶ שְׁטוּבֶּע                                Parlor

גוֹמֶל בֶּנְשֶׁן                                The בְּרָכָה recited by those who have escaped danger

גַּם זוּ לְטוֹבָה!                                        Lit. This Is Also For The Good!,

"גַּנְז יאָר שִׁיקֶר אוּנ' פּוּרִים נִשְׁטֶרן!"        Lit. “All Year Drunk And פּוּרִים Sober!”

                                        (Thank God it worked out!)

גַּנֶף                                        Thief

גְעוֹמֶרט                                        To count the Omer [i.e. Hast Du “G’Omert”?]

גְרוּס גוֹט!                                   A greeting in God’s name like “הַשֵׁם עִמָכֶם!

דַּאיִס                                        Troubles

דַווקֶא                                        Defiance

דַּלֶס                                        Poverty

"דעֶר מעֶנְשׁ דעֶנְקְט אוּן גוֹט לעֶנְקְט!"        “Man Calculates And God Does!”

דַּפִּישׁ                                        Clumsy

הֶקְדֶשׁ גַּבַּאי                                Director of the shelter for poor Jewish families

וִוימְפּעֶל                                        Made from a swaddling cloth which had been placed under                                                 a baby during the בְּרִית מִילָה, was cut into four long strips

                                        and sewn together. This roll was decorated and                                                         embroidered and later to be wrapped around a סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה.

וִוידֶערהָלוּנג                                חַזָרַת הַשַׁ"ץ

וֶוערַאין                                        organization

וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן                                End Of Discussion

זֵילִישׁ                                        Of Blessed Memory

חָבֶר                                        friend or member. A title given to a talmudic scholar,

                                        who has excelled himself in learning (Austria, Germany).

חַבְרוּתֶה                                        Learning partner, Community

חוּצְפֶּה (פּוֹנִים)                                Gall (Face)

חוּקַת הַגּוֹי                                A non-Jewish Custom

חוּשׁ                                        Sense

חִיבּעֶ חָנְטעֶר                                Cry Baby

חִיפּוּס                                        Preparing the סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה so the בַּֽעַל קְרִיאָה

                                        could easily find the place

חַלוֹישִׁית                                Junk

חַמִימֶה                                        Warmth

חָמֶץ בַּאטעֶלן                                Disposing of the חָמֵץ before פֶּסַח

חַמֶר                                        Stupid Person

חַרְפֶּה                                        Humiliation

טִינֶף                                        Bad Goods, Cheap Quality Items

יאַרקַדִישׁ                                The קַדִישׁ whose melodies span the year said on שִׂמְחַת תּוֹרָה

יְהוּדִים, יְהוּדִי                                Jude (short form “Judd” sometimes had an antisemitic touch)

יוּדעֶנשְׁטעֶרן                                A six branched שַׁבָּת oil lamp which was

                                        suspended from the ceiling

יוֹם טוֹב-פֻגֶלעֶ                                Lit. “The Yom Tov Birdies”

                                        Students on vacation from school.

"יָחֶד שְׁמוֹ!"                                “Blessed Be His Name!”

יְרוּשֶׁה                                        Inheritance

יִשׁוּבמַן, יִשׁוּבִים                        Country Jew, Villages

יַשְׁרוֹנוּת                                        Honesty

בְּכּוֹבֶד,בְּכָּבוֹד                                Syn. with Honorable, Dignified, Important, Beneficent, etc.

[שֶׁלֹא בְּ]כָּבֶד, כָּבֶדִיק                        [Without] Honor, Honorable

[אִיךְ כַבֶּע בּוּשָׁה] דִּי כַבְּנֶה בּוּשֶׁה         Lit. I Am Embarrassed, the humiliation

                                        [“Die ‘Chabeneh Busheh’ Ist Zu Gross!”

                                        “The shame is too great!”]

כּוֹבֶד רֹאשׁ                                Lit. Heavy Head, Decorum

כֹּחַ, "שְׁכּוֹחַ"! [יִשָׁר־כֹּחֲךָ]                Strength, Well Done! (i.e. after someone has read a הַפְטָרָה)

כְּרֵימֶרזֵילִין                                Shopkeepers

לַאינֶען                                        Old German for reading. Refers to the public Torah reading.

לַוֹיבְּהֻטעֶן פעֶסְטְ                        סֻכּוֹת

לְהַכִיס [פָּנִים]                                In Spite of, Brazen

לַכוֹידעֶשׁ                                A dialect of cattle dealers and schmoozers

                                        in the region of Franconia. A corruption of the

                                        Hebrew words לָשׁוֹן הַקוֹדֶשׁ.

לעֶרנעֶן                                        learning i.e. the learning on the first night of שְׁבוּעוֹת

מַאלצַייט                                   an expression used after בִּרְכַּת הַמָזוֹן to conclude the meal

מוֹירֶה                                        Fear

[מַאךְ] מוֹצֶה                                Reciting the בְּרָכָה of הַמוֹצִיא

[מוֹרֶה] מוֹרֵינוּ הָרַב                        Titles awarded to great Rabbinical Talmudical scholars

מַזֶל                                        A Lucky Person

מִילשְׁדִינג, פְלַישְׁדִינג, מִינְשׁ                Dairy, Meaty, Pareve (the term Pareve

                                        comes from the name of a room in the בֵּית הַמִקְדָש)

מְלַמֶתּ                                        A teacher

מַמְזֶר בְּנִדֶה                                The worst thing to call someone

מְנֵא מְנֵא תְּקֵל וּפַרְסִין                        God has counted your kingship (and terminated it for you).

                                        You have been weighed in the scales and been found

                                        wanting. Your kingship has been broken and given

                                        to Media and Persia.

                                        [Daniel 5:25-28] (סנהדרין כב)

מַנֶשָׁמֶה                                                A corrupted form of “מַאינֶה נְשָׁמֶה

מַצָהקְלֻס                                מַצָה dumplings

מְצִיאֶה                                        A bargain, My greatgrandmother would say,

                       "מִיט מְצִיאֶת גִיבְּט מַאן זאַין גֶּלְט אוֹיס!"                       

                                        “With deals one gives (still) one’s money away!”

מְשׁוּגֶע [מְשׁוּי]                                Mad, Crazy

מְשָׁרְתִים מְשׁוֹרֶת,                        Farm Hands, Servants

מְשׁוּמֶד                                        Baptized Jew, Renegade

מוֹישֶׁלשִׁין                                Stories

מִשְׁפָּחֶה                                        Relatives

נֶבִּישׁ [נֶבִּיךְ]                                Regrets

נְדוּנְיֶא                                        Dowry

"נִישְׁץ פוּר קִידֶשׁ אוּנ' נִישְׁץ פוּר הַבְדָלָה!" “Not For קִידוּשׁ And Not For הַבְדָלָה!”

נֵס, נִסִים        Miracle,Miracles “What Are You Waiting For, נִסִים?”

נַר                                        Simpleton

סֶדְרֶה                                                The weekly תּוֹרָה portion, a סִידְרָא contains many פַּרְשִׁיוֹת

סאַרגְנֶס                                קִיטֶל (A white burial shroud worn on the יָמִים נוֹרָאִים

                                        and by some leaders of the פֶּסַח סְדָרִים (

"עִבְרִי אנֹכִי!" (ספר יונה א:ט)                “I Am A עִבְרִי [Jew]!” (how Jews identified each other)

עַוְלָה                                             Injustice

עַמְרַצֶת, עַמְרַצִים                           the uneducated, uneducated people

עֵצֶה, עֵצֶת                                Advice

עֵר קַן גוּט לעֶרנֶן                        He can learn well!

פּוֹשֶׁט                                                Simpleton

פֵּסַח פּוּץ                                   פֵּסַח cleaning

פְרוֹיעֶנשׁוּל                                Ladies’ Gallery in the synagogue

פְרוֹמם                                        Religious

פַּרְנֶס                                                President Of The קְהִילָה

צוּ גוֹט וִויל                                   "With God’s help!”

צוּם פֶסטֶס מַאלֶס וַאשֶׁן וּנְס נוּן אַלֶס!"” A Seder saying “For the Festival meal all will wash (their

                                           hands)!”referring to the second washing before מוֹצִיא מַצָה

קוֹזנִימִין or קוֹזֶן, קוֹזִינִים                        Rich Man, pl. Rich Ones

קַלוֹת רֹאשׁ                                Lit. Light Head, Irreverence

קִיפֶּה                                        Company

קִנֶה־שִׂנֶה                                Jealousy

קֶפּשֶׁן                                        Yarmulke, Kippah, Kappel

קְרִירֶה                                        Cold

רוֹיכֶס קִיקֶל                                Hothead

רוּמפעֶלנַאכט                                Packing the פֶּסַח dishes and pots and pans after פֶּסַח

רִישֶׁת                                        Antisemitism

                                        [example: “Judd, mach mores!” Jew, mind your manners!]

רָשֶׁע                                        "The Evil Man”, Antisemite

רַב, רַבָּנִים                                Rabbi, Rabbis (as opposed to the term Rabbeim)

שַׁאיטעֶל as opposed to שֵׁיטֶל                a wig, worn by Orthodox Jewish women after their marriage

"שַׁבֶּת בִּמְנוּחָה!"                         שַׁבָּת With Rest!”

                                        [Not something to do or talk about on שַׁבָּת]

שַׁבֶּתמעֶגדעֶ                                maids who carried the pot with the שַׁבָּת soup

                                        from the bakers to the homes of the Jews

[מִצְוֹת] שְׁדַייגִין                                   Bidding on מִצְוֹת or כִּיבּוּדִים in the synagogue

שׁוּל                                        Synagogue

שׁוּלקְלָפֶן                                During the year of mourning, אַבֵלִים the were expected

                                        to make the rounds and wake the householders to come

                                        to synagogue.

שְׂכוֹרֶת                                        Goods

שֵֽׂכֶל                                        [Common] Sense, Understanding

גֶזֶצְתֶּה בּוֹנֶן סוּפֶּה, בָּנֶן שַׁאלעֶט                Gruenkern (Spelt) or Navy Bean soup with smoked meat

שִׂמְחֶה                                        Joy

שְׁלֶמַזֶל                                        The Unlucky Fellow

שְׁלֶמִיל                                        Unfortunate One

                                        [my father would call me that when was sick]  

שְׁמוּץ שְׁמוּצִישׁ,                                Dirt(y)

שְׁמִינִי קָמעֶ דִי שְׁוַולמעֶ                        The first swallows arrive when is סִידְרָא שְׁמִינִי read.

שַׁמֶת                                        Sexton, official in charge of keeping the synagogue in order

                                        lights the other נֵרוֹת חֲנוּכָּה

שַׁנְדַה הוּיפֶל                                Grammen, rhymed verses of color which wittily alluded

                                        to happenings

שֶׁנָדֶּר                                        A Yiddish corruption of the Hebrew שֶׁנָדַר,

                                        (“Because He Vowed”).

                                        The vow or pledge of a donation to the synagogue.

שְׁנוּדֶל, שְׁנוּדֶלן                                Mumble, Mumbling

שְׂרוֹכֶה                                        Stench

שְׂרָרֶה                                        A Genteel Person

תָּהוֹ וַבָּהוֹ                                A complete mess

"תּוֹי, תּוֹי, תּוֹי!"                                Thankfully! [without the Evil Eye]

תְּחִינֶת                                        Special prayers or supplications recited by women

תִּישׁ גֶּבֵּיט                                Lit. Table Prayer, Grace After Meals

[מַךְ] תַּכְלִית                                Be Practical (Brass Tacks)

תַּלְמוּד תּוֹרָה חָכָם                        Scholar

תְּפִלֶה                                        סִידוּר

תְּפִילִין לֵיגֶן                                Lay (don) תְּפִלִין

תְּרֶנְדֶל                                        Dreidel נ - נִישְׁץ/none,ג  - גאַנְץ/all, ה - הַלְףֿ

                                        /half, ש - שְׁטֶל אַיין/put in.

תַּשׁעֶר, בֶּרשִׁית/ דַּשׁעֶר                        Bread for שַׁבָּת and יוֹם טוֹב

Many of the terms my father used have a  קמץor a שורוק at the end of the word,

many when used in conversational Yiddish, are pronounced as a סגול:


        אָבוֹת אֲבוֹתֵינעֶס                 אָבוֹת אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ                 אַכִילֶה אַכִילָה

        אֶפְשֶׁר אֶפְשַׁר                        אֱלִיָנָבֶה אֱלִיָה(וּ) הַנָּבִיא         אַלְמֶעמֶר אַלְמֶעמָר                         בּוּשֶׁה         בּוּשָׁה                         בּוֹחֶר בָּחוּר                         בַּל דָֽבֶר בַּֽעַל דָבָר

        בַּל תְּפִלֶה בַּֽעַל תְּפִלָה         גְבוּרֶה גְּבוּרָה                 גַּנֶב גַּנָב                                 דְּבָרֶה תּוֹרֶה דְּבַר תּוֹרָה         דַּוְקֶא דַּוְוקָא                         דְרָשֶׁה דְרָשָׁה

        חֶבְרֶה         חֶבְרָה                         חוֹל מוֹט חוֹל הַמוֹעֵד         חָכְמֶה         חָכְמָה                                 חַמְעֶר         חַמוֹר                         חוּצְפֶּה חוּצְפָּה                 טְרֵפֶה, טְרֵפֶנֶה טְרֵיפָה

        יְרוּשֶׁה יְרוּשָׁה                 כַּלֶה, כַּלֶת כַּלָה, כַּלוֹת         כָּל נִדְרֶה כָּל נִדְרֵי                         מוֹירֶא מוֹרָא                         מַזֶל מַזָל                         מַלְאַכֶה הַשָׁרֶת מַלְאַכֵי הַשָׁרֵת

        מְלַמֶתּ        מְלַמֶד                        מוֹצֶה הַמוֹצִיא                מַמְזֶר בְּנִדֶה מַמְזֶר בְּנִדָה                 מְנוּחֶה מְנוּחָה                 מְצִיאֶה מְצִיאָה                 מְשׁוּגֶע מְשׁוּגָע

        מִשְׁפָּחֶה מִשְׁפָּחָה                 נְדוּנְיֶה נְדוּנְיָה                 פַּרְנָסֶה פַּרְנָסָה                         סִדְרֶה         סִידְרָה                 קִנֶה שִׂנֶה קִנְאָה שִׂנְאָה         קְנֶס קְנָס

        רַחְמָנֶת רַחְמָנוּת                 רִישֶׁת רִישׁוּת                         רָשֶׁע רָשָׁע                                 שַׁבֶּת שַׁבָּת                         שֶׁהֶחֱיָנֶה שֶׁהֶחֱיָינוּ                 שׂוֹכֶר שׂוֹכֵר                                 שְׁלַח מָנֶת שַׁלַח מָנוֹת         שִׂמְחֶה שִׂמְחָה                 שַׁמֶת שַׁמָשׁ                                 שְׂרָרֶה         שְׂרָרָה                        תִּילֶם תְּהִלִים                        תְּפִלֶה תְּפִלָה


"ווֹא זִינְטְ דִי גוּטֶה אַלְטֶה פְרַנְקפוּרטֶה יוּדעֶן?" “Where are the good old Frankfurt Jews?”

A popular Frankfurt Am Main expression my grandfather said, being nostalgic for the old style Frankfurt Jews.


"עֶת גֵאִיט מִיר נִיכְט אִין קוֹיפּ הִינְאַין, ווִי קַאן אַיִן מֶענְשׁ נִיכְט פָן פְרַנְקפוּרט זַאִין?"

I cannot get it through my head; how can anyone not come from Frankfurt?”


"יוּד ווֹא אִיזְטְ דַּאִין לִינְק אוֹיר? זוּי רוּם!" “Jew, where is your left ear?” “This way!”

If someone said something far fetched. [the hand gesture is, to grab one’s ear with one’s hand over the head.]



Jewish Life in Germany, Memoirs from Three Centuries” Edited by Monika Richarz, Translated by Stella Rosenfeld and Sidney Rosenfeld

Jewish Life in the Village Communities of Southern Germany” by Hugo Mandelbaum

Meine Errinnerung an Bad Homburg und seine 600-Jährige jüdische Gemeinde (1335-1942)” von Yitzhak Sophoni Herz

Portraits of Our Past, Jews of the German Countryside” by Emily C. Rose

The Wiesenthal family’s everyday conversational speech


Vom Geistlichen Stand.

Here's an interesting excerpt from a 1754 lexicon of Hebrew terms used by Jews and translated into German. The Hebrew is transliterated into German for the ease of readers, who may not even know how to read Hebrew. Here's an excerpt under the category "Spiritual Terms:"


Vom Geistlichen Stand. - Spiritual Terms Hebraisch                Teutsch                        English TranslationGallach                 ein Geschorner oder Pfarrer          A shaved person, or pastorLamdan                 ein Gelehrter                        a learned personMelamet                 ein Schulmeister                a school masterRabbiner                 ein Juden = Priester                a Jewish priestRav                                 ibid.                                ibid.Rosch Jeschiwe                ein Jüdischer Rector. Mag.        a Jewish rector, magister

Balschem                 ein Geister=Beschwörer                an exorcistBochur                         ein Student                        a studentChason                 ein Jüdischer Vorsinger                a Jewish song leaderChosid                        ein frommer Mann oder Pietist        a frommer man, or pietistZadidig                        ein Gerechter                        a righteous manSchames                der Schul = Klopffer                the synagogue knocker                                                                                                     Bess Hackneses        die Synagogue                        the synagogueTefilla                        das Gebet                        the prayerSchir                        Gesang                                songOrrun Hackodesch         der Altar darinnen die                 the altar where the 10 commandments

                        10: Gebot stehen                are containedOmuth                        des Vorsingers Stelle                the choirmaster's placeAllmemer                darauf man die 10. Gebot liset        where the 10 commandments are placedDrosche                ein Predigt                        the sermonMigdol                        der Kirch=Thurn                        the church towerPaimon                        die Glocken                        the bellsZedocke                 das Ullmosen                        almsBeß Chaiem                der Juden Begräbniß                the Jew's graveyardKewer                        das Grab                        a graveMazewa                das Grab=Stein                        a grave stoneKabron                        der Todten=Gräber                tomb of the deadMitta                        die Toden=Bahr                        death bedOrren                        die Toden=Truhe                the casket for the deadMeß                        ein Todter                        a dead bodyHeureg                        ein Erschlagner                        a murder victimOwel                        ein Leid=tragender                the mournersKewura                        begraben                        burialKriereissen                uber einem nahem Befreunden        a nearby friend tears the clothes

                        die Kleider zureissen

From Friedrich Osterchrist "Hebräisch und Teutsches Sprach-Buch" (Regensburg 1754).

שליט"א הרב שטיינמן and הרב שלמה זלמן אוירבאך ורב אלישיב זצ"ל spoke about the importance of reciting פיוטים as discussed in such ספרים as שרשי מנהגי אשכנז, ירושתינו and גדולי הדורות על מנהג אשכנז.


אמירת הפיוטים

הפיוטים נקראו גם קרובות. יש אומרים שהוא מלשון קרבן, ויש אומרים שהוא מלשון קרוב"ץ ־ קול רנה וישועה באהלי צדיקים (ויש אומרים שקרוב"ץ הוא שיבוש של המילה קרובות, שבצרפת היו אומרים צ' ות' רפה שניהם בצורה דומה). יוצר הוא הפיוט שאומרים מיד אחר יוצר אור ובורא חושך, בלבד.


כתב השו"ע באורח חיים סימן סח, וז"ל: יש מקומות שמפסיקים בברכות ק"ש לומר פיוטים, ונכון למנוע מלאמרם משום דהוי הפסק. וברמ"א: ויש אומרים דאין איסור בדבר (הר"י ס"פ אין עומדין והרשב"א והטור) וכן נוהגין בכל המקומות לאמרם, והמיקל ואינו אומרם לא הפסיד וכו', וע"כ אין לאדם לפרוש עצמו מהציבור במקום שנהגו לאמרם, ויאמר אותם עמהם וע"ל סימן צ' סעיף י' (מהרי"ל וד"מ).


ובאמת בענין הפיוטים מצינו כמה טעמים שלא לאומרם.


  בספר העתים (סימן קע"ג) כתב איך יניח אדם ברכה ותפילה של נביאים כמו שהיא ויקח לעצמו דברי כל גדול                 שבעולם, המספר בשבחו של מקום יותר מדאי נעקר מן העולם.

ב)    עוד כתב שם שהוא משנה ממטבע של ברכות.

ג)     ועוד שיש שם בקשת צרכים בשבת, ובשבת בטלו אפילו את תפילת שמונה עשרה מטעם זה.

        וכן הוא ברמב"ם פאר הדור סימן ר"ח.

ד)    ובהערה שם (עתים לבינה) הוסיף שלש"ס שלנו מה שביטלו תפילת י"ח בשבת הוא כי לא אטרחוהו רבנן,

        וא"כ ק"ו שאין להטריח על הצבור בריבוי פיוטים.

ה)    עוד שמערבים דברי תורה באמצע התפילה וצריך להיות דברי תורה לחוד ודברי תפילה לחוד. ובספר העתים                 כתב בזה שהוא נתקן

        בשעת השמד משום עת לעשות לה' הפרו תורתך, אבל היום צריך לשוב ולא לאומרם.

ו)     באבן עזרא הוסיף שבמקום שאין יודע פירושו אין זה ראוי לומר כן לפני מלך גדול ונורא שבידו להמית                 ולהחיות.

ז)     אסור לאדם לבקש צרכיו בג' ברכות ראשונות, והרבה מהפיוטים הם בג' ראשונות.

ח)   יש לדון מטעם הפסק. ובזה חמור יותר פיוטים שבברכות דק"ש (ע' תרומת הדשן סי' פ"א שבטורח התירו הגאונים לומר פיוטים להפסיק בברכות), ובספר צרור החיים (להרב אברהם לווענשטאם רב עמדין, בתשובה בישישים חכמה) כתב שכל דברי הרמ"א שהמיקל ואינו אמרם לא הפסיד הם דווקא בברכות ק"ש שאסור להפסיק שם, אבל בחזרת הש"ץ שכבר התפללו הציבור והש"ץ לא היקל הרמ"א.


אבל למרות זאת:


היום כולם נוהגים להפסיק בפיוטים, בין בקריאת שמע, ובין בחזרת הש"ץ בג' ברכות ראשונות.

שבספר העיתים שמדבר כנגד אמירת הפיוטים התחיל בתחילת דבריו (סימן קעב), וז"ל: נהגו עלמא ברוב מקומות למימר בשבתות הכל יודוך והכל ישבחוך עד שרפים עם אופני הקודש לא' אשר שבת מכל המעשים ביום השביעי נתעלה וישב וכו' עד בשמים ממעל ועל כל שבח מעשה ידך וגומר את הברכה כמו בכל יום והא מילתא הכין כתב מר רב עמרם (בהערת אגב, רב עמרם גאון כתב גם שבשמונה עשרה של שבת אומרים רצה והנחל שבתות לבניהם למנוחה למען שמך באהבה, מלך עוזר וכו', וע' בב"ח שמה שאנחנו לא אומרים כן הוא מכיון שכבר אומרים שאלה זאת באמצע או"א רצה במנוחתנו) והכי נהוג עלמא באתרין, ואנן לעניות דעתן חזי לן דהאי מנהגא אין לו עיקר וטעותא היא דלא אשכחן בעולם בתיקון רבנן לאדכורי של שבת אלא בתפילה בלחוד בברכה רביעית ובברהמ"ז בבונה ירושלים וכל המזכיר של שבת בשאר ברכות טועה ולא יצא י"ח מפני שהוא משנה מן המטבע שטבעו חכמים בברכות וכו', וכל הממעט באותן מנהגות ומתפלל התפילה לבדה בלא תוספת ובלא גירוע כדרך שתקנוה מאה ועשרים זקנים ובהם כמה נביאים שכרו שמור לפני המקום וכו' (ובתוספות ביוצר) חדא שמוסיפין בברכה מה שלא תקנו חכמים, [שלא תקנו חכמים] של שבת. ועוד שמסירין הברכה כמו שהיא סדורה בכל יום ומוסיפין במקומה דברים אחרים. וכן מה ענין בברכה זו לשנותה בין בשבת בין בחול והלא ברכה של שבת היא ואין בה צורך שאלה כמו בשמונה עשרה וחייבין אנו לומר אותה בין בשבת בין בחול כמו שתיקנוה חכמים.


וסיים שם: הלכך מה שראוי לעשות בהכל יודוך מאן דבעי למימריה יאמר אותה לאחר ברכו קודם שיפתח ביוצר אור ומסיים הכל יודוך ואשר שבת מכל המעשים עד ומנחיל מנוחה לעמו ישראל ביום שבת קודש ואח"כ פותח בא"י אמ"ה יוצר אור ובורא חושך ומסדר הברכות כולה כמו בחול כדרך שתקנוה חכמים בלא תוספת ובלא גרוע, וכתב שכך הוא נוהג.

ובאמת להלכה נראה שהחשיבו את קל אדון לפיוט, שבאשל אברהם (מבוטשאטש, מהדו"ת סימן נ"ב), דן בעניין לדלג בברכות ק"ש כדי להספיק עם הש"ץ, ונקט שקל אדון אולי נכון לדלג ואמרנו אחרי התפילה (אבל כתב שלקל אשר שבת שדינו שאם דלגו חוזר ואמרו מדינא אחר התפילה, לא ידלג, ואולי הוא עיקר נוסח ברכה מאנשי כנסת הגדולה).


ובג' ראשונות של שמונה עשרה אומרים זכרנו לחיים ומי כמוך ע"ש בספר העתים שכתב ואשכחן לרבינו האיי גאון ז"ל דקאמר דלא רגילי רבנן בישיבה למימר הלין מילי כלהון כגון בחנוכה ופורים כשם שעשית להם נס כן עשה עמנו פלא ונסים וכגון בר"ה ויוה"כ זכרינו לחיים ומי כמוך וכתוב לחיים ואם הלין מילי דצרכי רבים נינהו ונהיגי בהו רוב ישראל למימרינון מימנעי בישיבה לאדכורי, ובתשובה מרבינו גרשום (לקמן) הביא שגם בזה טענו שלא להפסיק (ושם הטעם לפי שאינם מענן הברכה). ובאמת במעשה רב סימן קס"ד כתב שהיה אומר את הפיוטים של ר"ה ויו"כ (למרות שלשיטתו הפיוטים הם הפסק), ובדברי שלמה הביא ביאור בזה, שמכיון שבלאו הכי מפסיקים את התפילה בזכרינו לחיים, שוב אפשר להפסיק בשאר דברים.


ובאמצע שמונה עשרה בודאי מפסיקים (שגם הספרדים אומרים את פיוט סדר העבודה ביום כיפור וכה"ג).          ע' בשבלי הלקט (סימן כ"ח) בשם הר"ח שכתב המאריך והמקצר באמצעיות לית לן בה.


ובאמת כך פסקו להלכה:


רש"י בספר הפרדס (סימן קע"ד), שבלי הלקט (סי' כ"ח), מחזור ויטרי (סימן שכ"ה), רבינו גרשום מאור הגולה (סימן א'), שו"ת מן השמים (סימן נ"ח), ובתשובה מאהבה (סימן א') [יש לציין שבחרו דווקא את הסימן הראשון לדון בדבר זה], שדנו בדין אמירת הפיוטים והסיקו כולם שהוא ראוי ורצוי לכתחילה.


"לא יהיה קל בעיניך באמירת פיוטים של קרוב"ץ, וחיוב על כל אדם לומר הפיוטים בשמחה ובכונת הלב בשפה ברורה, בי בבל פיוט ופיוט יש סודות נפלאין, ולא יהיו הפיוטים דומין עליך כמשא כי הפיוטים נתחברו על פי עצת מלאכי מעלה שנגלו לר' אליעזר הקלירי שסידר הפיוטים על פי אלף בית ועל פי תשר"ק כי כן מזמרין ומשבחין למעלה, וקבלה בידי מפי זקנים ומפי חסידים. מי שמקל באמירת קרוב"ץ ואומר שאינו חיוב כל כך לאומרם אינו מאריך ימיו חס ושלום,  כי כל היחידים שחברו הפיוטים היו גדולי הדור ואנשי מעשה אשר נעשה להם כמה נסים בחייהן ובמיתתן." ר' צבי הירש קוידנובר (ספר קב הישר פרק פו)


Let the recitation of poetry (פיוטים) not be light in your eyes…. it is an obligation upon every person to say פיוטים with joy, concentration of the heart, and clear enunciation, because in every single פיוט there are wondrous secrets. The פיוטים should not appear to you as a burden, because they were composed according to the counsel of angels on high that were revealed to ר' אליעזר הקליר who arranged them in alphabetical order and reverse alphabetical order, since that is how they sing and praise on high…..”


Upon attending a synagogue which omits פיוטים, they should not be said in the midst of           the תפילה but after synagogue, since they may be considered a הפסק. Likewise, one should not add the introductory phrases (i.e. אור עולם וכו'), since they are only recited when פיוטים are actually recited. However, הרב ווזנר זצ"ל ruled that if one is inspired by reciting פיוטים and            it invigorates ones תפילה, one may recite פיוטים individually as they occur in תפילה along with    the introductory phrases, even if the congregation does not recite them.


When should the צבור only recite the stated responses to the חזן during the recital of פיוטים  and when should the צבור recite the entire פיוט. What if the חזן is going too fast to say the entire פיוט, what should one do?


Any פיוט which is not said aloud by the חזן, one should say on one’s own. If the חזן says it aloud, one may rely on his recital (but even in this case it is better to say on one’s own).

It is that it is better to recite פיוטים in a language one understands, than not to say them at all  or say them and not understanding what one is saying.                 [Response from רב המבורגר]


  1. אמירת יוצרות בשבתות הפסקות 

For what purpose and special character do the שבתות הפסקות have, that יוצרות are recited?


Since there are many consecutive שבתות during which יוצרות are recited (from שבת שקלים until שביעי של פסח), it would be considered an "insult" to skip a שבת and not say יוצרות, therefore they are said during the הפסקות as well. There is similar logic in regard to ב' סיון - א' סיון is ראש חודש, days ג', ד', ה' are שלשת ימי הגבלה and therefore noתחנון  is said. Actually there is no reason to refrain from saying תחנון on ב' סיון. תחנון is not said in order not to "insult" it, since it is occurs between days without תחנון, (therefore it is called euphemistically 'יום המנויות', a day of distinction).


By BaltimoreJewishLife.com/Rabbi Yirmiyohu Kaganoff


Question 1:

"Many people tell me that the lengthy recital of קינות on תשעה באב does not inspire them because they do not understand the passages. Is the mourning of תשעה באב intended to be simply a day of much tedium?"


Question 2:

"I once heard a רב give a running commentary to the קינות of תשעה באב, and he mentioned that the first קינה is a continuation of the פיוט recited during the repetition of the שמונה עשרה. But I never saw anyone recite פיוטים during the repetition of תשעה באב שמונה עשרה and do not even know where to look for them."


Question 3:

"As a child I remember that all the shullen recited פיוטים during מעריב on ימים טובים, and many did during קדושה on special שבתות. Now, I see פיוטים recited only on ראש השנה and יום כפור. What has changed?"


Although these questions seem unrelated, they all focus on a central subject: the additions of פיוטים and other special passages in our davening, of which the קינות we recite on תשעה באב are one example. After an introduction explaining the background to the פיוטים, I will return to answer the first two questions.


What are פיוטים?

During the period of the ראשונים, the גאונים, and even earlier, great Torah scholars wrote prayers and other liturgical works that were inserted into many different places in the davening, particularly during the ברכות קריאת שמע (between ברכו and שמונה עשרה) and during the repetition of the שמונה עשרה. Standard synagogue practice, particularly among Ashkenazic Jewry, was to recite these פיוטים on all special occasions, including ימים טובים, mourning and fast days, and special שבתות (see רמ"א אורח חיים סח:א; קיב:ב). These פיוטים express the mood and the theme of the day, often recall the history of the day, and sometimes even provide the halachic background for the day's observance. At times, they served as a means for teaching people the הלכות germane to the day or season. Studying these פיוטים not only gives us tremendous appreciation for these days, but sometimes provides us with certain aspects of mystery, as I will explain.


There is also a humbling side to the study of פיוטים. All the פיוטים predate the printing press and bring us back to the era when all works had to be painstakingly hand copied. Most communities could not afford hand-written manuscripts of all the פיוטים, and therefore part of the job of every חזן was to commit all the פיוטים to memory.


Some of the more common “פיוטים

We are all aware of the סליחות recited on Fast Days and during אלול and עשרת ימי תשובה, which are a type of פיוטים. Another famous part of davening that qualifies as פיוט is אקדמות, recited prior to קריאת התורה on שבועות. This introduction to the קריאת התורה for שבועות was written by רבינו מאיר בן יצחק of Worms, Germany, who was one of the great leaders of Ashkenazic Jewry, pre-רש"י. Other examples of פיוטים that are commonly recited include תפילת טל and תפילת גשם, the poem דוי הסר -- authored by דוּנַשׁ אִבֶּן לַבְּרַט, an early poet-grammarian cited by רש"י in several places, which is recited before bensching when one will be reciting שבע ברכות -- and נודה לשמך, which takes the same slot at a ברית מילה.


Double Duty

Some פיוטים are used in two different contexts. For example, the song frequently chanted at a ברית, שירה חדשה, originated as a פיוט recited immediately before the close of the ברכה of גאל ישראל in ברכות קריאת שמע on the Seventh Day of פסח. This פיוט, written by רבי יהודה הלוי, refers both to the splitting of the ים סוף and to ברית מילה and is therefore appropriate on both occasions.



Teaching תורה through פיוטים

Many times, the rabbis used poetry as a means of teaching Torah. For example, a very extensive literature of פיוטים lists and explains the תרי"ג מצות. Most of these pieces date back to the times of the גאונים; indeed, the famous count of מצות by רב סעדיה גאון is actually a poem.



Other examples include פיוטים that instruct us in different special observances throughout the Jewish calendar. Among the most famous is the סדר עבודה of יום כפור, which is already referred to in the גמרא, although the text they used is long lost. Dozens of different פיוטים were written in the period of the גאונים and ראשונים describing the סדר עבודה in detail. The ראשונים devote much halachic discussion to the technical accuracy of several of the versions they received from earlier generations, often taking issue and making corrections to the text of the פיוט.


ונשלמה פרים שפתינו

Reciting the סדר עבודה also fulfills the concept of "ונשלמה פרים שפתינו", “And let our lips replace the (sacrificial) bulls” (הושע יד:ג). The מדרש teaches that when we are unable to offer קרבנות, God accepts our recital of the procedure as a substitute for the קרבנות (מדרש רבה, שיר השירים ד:ג). This implies that we can achieve כפרה (atonement) by reciting these פיוטים with כוונה. Therefore, a person who recites the וידוי of the סדר עבודה and truly regrets his sins can accomplish atonement similar to that achieved through the וידוי recited by the כהן גדול.


Other "Substitute" Prayers

The same idea of ונשלמה פרים שפתינו is followed when we recite פיוטים that describe other קרבנות, such as, for example, the קרבן עמר, the water libation (ניסוך המים) of סכות, or the קרבן פסח. We can achieve the drawing close to God that קרבנות achieve by discussing them and by longing for their return. This broadens the rationale for reciting פיוטים.


Educating in Observing מצות

Some פיוטים serve not only to teach תורה, but also to educate people how to correctly observe מצות. For example, the פיוט 'אלדי הרוחות', recited on שבת הגדול contains a lengthy halachic description of all the preparations for פסח, including detailed instructions for koshering and preparing the house. This halachic-liturgical classic was authored by רב יוסף טוּב-אֶלֶם, the halachic leader of French Jewry prior to רש"י's birth. תוספות and other ראשונים devote much debate to the halachic positions taken by רב יוסף טוב-אלם in this poem, and later ראשונים, such as רבינו תם, edited 'אלדי הרוחות' to reflect their opinion of what is the correct הלכה. Since this פיוט serves to teach people the correct way to observe פסח, the ראשונים felt it vital that the text be halachically accurate. It is obvious that this פיוט was meant to be read, studied, and understood.


Who Authored Them?

You might ask how we know who wrote the different פיוטים, particularly when many are over a thousand years old?


In general, most פיוטים follow an אלף בית acrostic in order to facilitate their memorization. (Remember that they were written with the assumption that the חזן would recite them for the community from memory.) In many, if not most, instances, the author completed the work by weaving his name into the acrostic pattern he used for the particular פיוט. Thus, אלדי הרוחות begins with stanzas following an אלף בית pattern, but closes with stanzas that spell יוסף הקטן בר שמואל חזק, which is the way רב יוסף טוב-אלם chose to "sign" this פיוט.


An Old Controversy

Early controversy surrounded the practice of interrupting ברכות קריאת שמע or the repetition of שמונה עשרה to recite the יוצרות, the word frequently used as a generic word for all פיוטים inserted into the regular davening. (The word'יוצרות'  originally referred only to those פיוטים inserted after ברכו, shortly after the words 'יוצר אור ובורא חושך'. However, in standard use, the word יוצרות refers to all פיוטים inserted into ברכות קריאת שמע or the repetition of שמונה עשרה). The שלחן עורך, reflecting accepted Sefardic practice, rules: "There are places that interrupt the ברכות קריאת שמע to recite פיוטים, but it is correct not to say them, for they constitute an interruption" (אורח חיים סח:א). On this point, the רמ"א, reflecting early Ashkenazic practice, adds: "Others say that this is not prohibited, and the practice in all places is to recite them." Each country and community had its own special customs concerning what was said and when; often, this was recorded in a community ledger.


מסוד חכמים ונבונים

To acknowledge that these פיוטים interrupt the regular repetition of the שמונה עשרה, an introductory request, beginning with the words מסוד חכמים ונבונים (Based on the tradition of the wise and understanding) is recited prior to beginning the פיוטים of the repetition of the שמונה עשרה. These words mention that early great Torah leaders advised the introduction of these praises.


Why פיוטים have recently fallen into disuse

The וילנא גאון, in his commentary to שלחן ערוך (ibid.), explains both the position of those who encouraged the recital of יוצרות and those who discouraged them.

For the most part, the Lithuanian ישיבות followed the personal practice of the גר"א not to recite פיוטים during ברכות קריאת שמע, and did not recite יוצרות during the repetition of שמונה עשרה (מעשי רב נ"ז). (The ישיבות recite יוצרות during the repetition of שמונה עשרה on ראש השנה and יום כפור.) With the tremendous spreading of shullen that follow the practices of the ישיבות rather than what was previously followed by the Ashkenazic communities, it is increasingly difficult to find a synagogue catering to yeshivah alumni that recites the פיוטים. This answers the question asked above: "As a child I remember that all the shullen recited פיוטים during מעריב on ימים טובים, and many did during קדושה on special שבתות. Now, I see פיוטים recited only on ראש השנה and יום כפור. What has changed?"


Unfortunately, due to this change in custom, this vast, treasured literature of the Jewish people is quickly becoming forgotten.


Who was the First פייטן?

The title of being the earliest פייטן may belong to רבי אלעזר הקליר, often referred to as the ראש הפיטנים, who authored the lion's share of the קינות we recite on תשעה באב as well as a huge amount of our other פיוטים, including תפילת טל and תפילת גשם, the פיוטים for the four special שבתות (שקלים, זכור, פרה, החודש), and many of the יוצרות we recite on ימים טובים. We know virtually nothing about him personally — we cannot even date when he lived with any accuracy. Indeed, some ראשונים place him in the era of the תנאים shortly after the destruction of the בית המקדש, identifying him either as ר' אלעזר בן ערך (שו"ת רשב"א א:תסט), a disciple of ר' יוחנן בן זכאי, or as ר' שמעון בן יוחאי's son אלעזר, who hid in the cave with his father (תוס', חגיגה יג ד"ה ורגלי; רא"ש ברכות ה:כא); others date ר' אלעזר הקליר much later and even during the time of the גאונים.


We do not know for certain what the name 'קליר' means. Since there are several places where he used the acronym 'אלעזר ברבי קליר', it seems that his father's name was קליר. However, the ערוך explains that 'קליר' means a type of cookie, and that he was called 'הקליר' because he ate a cookie upon which had been written a special formula that blessed him with tremendous erudition (III ערוך, ערך קלר).


Kalirian Curiosities

ר' אלעזר קליר's פיוטים and קינות require studying rather than reading. They are often extremely difficult pieces to read, relying on allusions to מדרשים and historical events. Many commentators elucidated his works, attempting to illuminate the depths of his words. Also, he sometimes employs extremely complicated acrostics. This is sometimes cited as proof that he lived later, when such poetic writing became stylish, but, of course, this does not prove his lack of antiquity.


It is universally assumed that ר' אלעזר הקליר lived in ארץ ישראל, based on the fact that we have no פיוטים written by him for the second day of יום טוב (תוס', חגיגה יג ד"ה ורגלי; רא"ש ברכות ה:כא). תוספות [op. cit.] uses this evidence to prove that he lived at the time that the בית דין determined ראש חודש on the basis of visual evidence.). However, theיוצרות  recited immediately following ברכו on the second day of סכות clearly include his signature and follow his style. This, of course, would imply that ר' אלעזר הקליר lived in a time and place that the second day of יום טוב was observed. If that is true, why would he have written special פיוטים only for the second day of סכות and not for any other יום טוב?


Perhaps ר' אלעזר הקליר indeed wrote this particular פיוט for the first day of סכות, but subsequently Diaspora Jews moved the יוצרות the he wrote for the first day of יום טוב to the second day! This approach creates another question, since the יוצרות recited on the first day of יום טוב were also written by him: Would he have written two sets of  יוצרות for שחרית on סכות? There are other indications that, indeed, he did sometimes write more than one set of פיוטים for the same day.


Why is את צמח דוד Ignored?

There is another mysterious practice in some of his writings. The פיוטים he wrote for the weekday שמונה עשרה (such as for פורים) include a paragraph for every ברכה of שמונה עשרה except one, the ברכת 'את צמח דוד' that precedes 'שמע קולנו'.

Why would רב קליר omit this ברכה? Perhaps the answer to this mystery can help us understand more about when he lived.


Answering the Mystery

Our use of the words שמונה עשרה to identify the focal part of our daily prayer is actually a misnomer, dating back to when this ברכה indeed included only eighteen ברכה. In the times of the משנה, a nineteenth ברכה, למשמדים, was added, and the תלמוד בבלי notes that this increases the ברכות of the 'שמונה עשרה' to nineteen.


However, there is evidence that even after למשמדים was added, not everyone recited nineteen ברכות. A תוספתא implies that they still recited eighteen ברכות in שמונה עשרה, and that two ברכות, ובנה ירושלם and את צמח דוד, were combined. This would explain why someone would not write a פיוט for the ברכת 'את צמח דוד', since it was no longer an independent ברכה. Thus, if we can identify a place and time when these two ברכות were combined, we might identify more precisely when ר' אלעזר הקליר lived. It would seem that this would be sometime between the introduction of the ברכת 'למשמדים' and the תלמוד בבלי's practice of a nineteen ברכה 'שמונה עשרה' became accepted.


Kalirian Controversies

The antiquity of רבי אלעזר's writing did not save him from controversy. No less a גדול than the אבן עזרא stridently opposes using ר' קליר's works, arguing that prayers and פיוטים should be written very clearly and be readily understood (Commentary to קהלת ה:א). After all, the goal of prayer is to understand what one is saying.אבן עזרא   recommends reciting פיוטים written by רב סעדיה גאון, which are easy to understand, rather than those of קליר.


None of these criticisms should be taken as casting aspersion on ר' אלעזר הקליר's greatness. The שבולי לקט records that he heard that when רב אלעזר wrote his פיוטים, the angels surrounded him with fire (quoted by the מגן אברהם at the beginning of סימן ס"ח.)


רב קליר's פיוטים in general, and his קינות in particular, are written in an extremely difficult poetic Hebrew. Often his ideas are left as allusions, and the story or מדרש to which he alludes is unclear or obscure. They certainly cannot be understood without careful scrutiny and study. Someone who takes the trouble to do this will be awed by the beauty of the thoughts and allusions. The אריז"ל recited all of the קליר's פיוטים, because he perceived their deep kabbalistic allusions (מגן אברהם at the beginning of סימן ס"ח).


The קינות

Having completed my general introduction to the role of פיוטים in Judaism, I want to paraphrase the first question mentioned above: Why are the קינות so difficult to comprehend?


Most of the קינות we recite on תשעה באב are authored by ר' אלעזר הקליר, whose works are typically written in a very poetic and difficult Hebrew. Many commentaries have been written on the קינות, and the only way to understand hisקינות  is either to study them in advance, to read them together with a translation, or to hear a שיעור from someone who understands them. Furthermore, I recommend reading each קינה slowly so that one can understand what the author meant. This may entail someone reciting only a few קינות for the entire morning of תשעה באב, but he will understand and experience the meaning of what he read.


Other parts of קינות

קינות include several pieces that describe specific historical events, including the death in battle of the great king מלך יאשיהו, the personal tragedy of the children of רבי ישמעאל כהן גדול, the burning of the twenty-four wagons of manuscript תלמוד and commentaries in Paris, and the destruction of Jewish communities during the Crusades. These  קינות are not as difficult to understand as רב קליר's are, but, still, they are deeply appreciated by those who prepare them, or attend a קינות presented by someone who understands them.



We see that liturgical poems enhance our appreciation of the day and provide a background for our mourning. This is borne out even more with the several קינות that begin with the word ציון, which all bemoan our missing the sanctity of ארץ ישראל and our desire for the return of שכינה. Another קינה that stands out,  קינה אז בהלוךdescribes howירמיה' הנביא  gathered the אבות and the אמהות to pray on the behalf of the exiled Jewish people. This story is described greater in the moving מדרש which quotes how רחל אמינו beseeched God on behalf of the Jewish people.רחל  points out the extent of sacrifice that she underwent to save her sister from humiliation. In the מדרש,רחל  closes her prayer: "If I, who am flesh and blood, dust and ashes, felt no jealousy towards another woman married to my own husband, and went out of my way to guarantee that she would not be embarrassed, You, the living King, All-merciful… why were You zealous against idolatry, which has no basis, and why did You exile my children… allowing the enemies to do with them as they desired?" As a result, God responded with great mercy, replying: "For your sake, רחל, I will return the Jews to their home" (איכה רבה, end ofפסיקתא כד ).



        The leaders of a certain city set out to recruit a rabbi to lead their community.            They approached a qualified and notable scholar and appealed to him to accept the position, explaining to him how fitting it would be for him to serve as the spiritual guide to their city, where the ט"ז, the מגן אברהם and רבי עקיבא איגר were all buried. They felt that it would be       only appropriate for a man of his stature to assume the role as rabbi of their town.

        A little while later, after having accepted the position, the rabbi learned that the ט"ז     was in fact buried in Lvov, the מגן אברהם in Kalish and רבי עקיבא איגר in Posen. He called        the leaders of the community to his home and confronted them with the news. “Why did you  fool me?”, he asked.

        “We did not mean to trick you at all,” they answered. “In Lvov, the teachings of the ט"ז are learned and studied daily. His legacy is alive and well, as if he himself lives eternally.          In Kalish, the מגן אברהם lives on by means of his writings. His lips continue to quiver in          the grave as the education which he provided, serves to guide and direct the daily life of the town until this very moment. Furthermore, רבי עקיבא איגרs lessons are the talk of the town in Posen, the issues that he taught are still discussed as current events. In our city, however, no one           is studying these books. The words of Torah which they disseminated are not heard here, and   for all intents and purposes they are dead and buried in our town.” (ספר שער בת רבים)

שִׁמְעוֹן נְזִירָא בְּשֵׁם רְבִי יִצְחָק אָמַר, כָּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁאוֹמְרִים דְּבַר הֲלָכָה מִפִּיו בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, שְׂפָתָיו רוֹחֲשׁוֹת עִמּוֹ בְּקֶבֶר. שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: "וְחִכֵּ֕ךְ כְּיֵ֥ין הַטּ֛וֹב וגו' דּוֹבֵ֖ב שִׂפְתֵ֥י יְשֵׁנִֽים:" (שיר השירים ז:י) מַה כּוֹמֶר שֶׁל עֲנָבִים זֶה, כֵּיוָן שֶׁמֵּנִיחַ אָדָם אֶצְבָּעוֹ עָלָיו, מִיָּד דּוֹבֵב, אַף שִׂפְתוֹתֵיהֶם שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאוֹמְרִין דְּבַר הֲלָכָה מִפִּיהֶם שֶׁל צַדִּיקִים, שִׂפְתוֹתֵיהֶן מְרַחֲשוֹת עִמָּהֶן בְּקֶבֶר: (גמ' שקלים ז:)


אָמַר רְבִי יוֹחָנָן מִשׁוּם שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַי כָּל תַּלְמִיד חָכָם שֶׁאוֹמְרִים דְּבַר שְׁמוּעָה מִפִּיו בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה, שִׂפְתוֹתָיו דּוֹבְבוֹת בְּקֶבֶר. אָמַר רְבִי יִצְחָק בֶּן זְעִירָא וְאִיתֵימָא שִׁמְעוֹן נְזִירָא,    מַאי קְרָאָה? "וְחִכֵּ֕ךְ כְּיֵ֥ין הַטּ֛וֹב הוֹלֵ֥ךְ לְדוֹדִ֖י לְמֵישָׁרִ֑ים דּוֹבֵ֖ב שִׂפְתֵ֥י יְשֵׁנִֽים:" (שיר השירים ז:י) כְּכוֹמֶר שֶׁל עֲנָבִים, מַה כּוֹמֶר שֶׁל עֲנָבִים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁמַּנִּיחַ אָדָם אֶצְבָּעוֹ עָלָיו מִיָּד דּוֹבֵב,            אַף תָּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים, כֵּיוָן שֶׁאוֹמְרִים דְּבַר שְׁמוּעָה מִפִּיהֶם בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶה, שִׂפְתוֹתֵיהֶם דּוֹבְבוֹת בַּקֶבֶר: (גמ' יבמות צז.)

  1. כף הכינוי 

Amongst the manuscripts of אשכנז we find two מנהגים regarding the כף הכינוי. In some manuscripts it is in its pure Hebrew form (שו"א או סגו"ל ואח"כ כף קמוצה) while in others it is in its Aramaic/Mishnaic Hebrew form (קמ"ץ ואח"כ שו"א תחת כף). In the ספרי מהרי"ל (סדר תפילות ראש השנה Section 6) says, 'כל תיבה שמסיימת לך מן לך תן אמרו בסגו"ל'. As HoRav Hamburger mentions in his introduction to the ספר מנהגי וורמישא by רבי יוזפא שמש, the מהרי"ל was not a חדשן או ממציא מנהגים, and on the contrary he only collected and recorded the authentic customs of אשכנז of antiquity. However, since so many manuscripts are in opposition to his custom as cited in הלכות ראש השנה, including מחזור וורמישא, which was used by the בעל תפלה in Worms until World War II, is it fair to say that this was the מהרי"ל's own innovation, or is he merely recording the authentic custom of אשכנז?


The מהרי"ל did not innovate new מנהגים, but he would decide which מנהג to chose if there were some differentמנהגים  before him. In this case, he may have chosen the נוסח with סגו"ל before theכף , because this was one of the נוסחאות he saw, and for his own reasons he decided to accept this נוסח more than other נוסחאות. The חות יאיר in his commentary on אורח חיים (מקור חיים) in סימן תקפ"ב הלכות ראש השנה  quotes the מהרי"ל giving credence to the notion that this was his practice on ראש השנה/ימים נוראים only. The מהרש"ס (ר' שבתי סופר) in the  הקדמה כלליתto his סידור in פרק ו' אות יו"ד quotes the מהרי"ל as well. He also quotes the סידור של המהרש"ל, as using the Hebrew form of the  כף הכינויand cites an example from the תפילות ראש השנה.         The מהרש"ס himself precedes to apply this concept to all תפילות, because the Aramaic/Mishnaic Hebrew form of the כף הכינוי is a .'נקוד אשר שוה לזכר ולנקבה ואין ראוי לדבר כן נגד הש"י להשוותו לנקבה'


  1. קויף מערובית 

In Jüdisch Deutsch we find the word Kauf written as: קויף. How was this pronounced by Jews of אשכנז. Kauf or Koyf as it is written phonetically? Did this change over time. Is there any connection between the spelling of this word (and others) and the fact that in modern German when the diphthong 'au' has an umlaut over the letter 'ä' it is pronounced 'oy'? Is there any connection between any of the above and the corruption of the pronunciation of the vowel חול"ם in Hebrew?


The letter ‘יו"דwas added to strengthen the pronunciation, as we have a יו"ד in אליך, even though one is not expected to pronounce a חירי"ק there (we don't say Eleycho, just Elecho, with an emphasis on the "le"). Therefore, when one wanted to write קאוף, he would write it as קויף, in order that the reader would make the "o" of the חול"ם not just a regular long "o", but an au. In שרשי מנהגי אשכנז א' (pg 249-250), HoRav Hamburger discusses this issue. He states there, that in Eastern Europe, the Jews read books in Yiddish Deutsch, and thereforeקויף  was mistaken to read Koyf instead of Kauf.

חטף פתח תחת הרי"ש

What are the rules that determine when, according to the ניקוד of ר' וולף היידנהיים וסיעתו, a רי"ש that otherwise would get a שוא נא gets a חטף פתח instead? A רי"ש must be preceded by a vowel, so (with the possible exception of a רי"ש preceded by another רי"ש that has a שוא נח), any רי"ש preceded by (a consonant with a שוא נח beneath it), or that begins a word (like the רי"ש in ראובן), will have a שוא נא and not a חטף פתח.


Regarding the חטף פתח under the רי"ש I'm not sure if this is ר' וולף היידנהיים's שיטה or not. If you look in theרודלהיים  printings which were printed during his lifetime you'll find that the only (to my knowledge) word with a חטף פתח under a רי"ש is the word ברכו when it appears in תהלים מזמור קל"ה, which is said on שבת and יום טוב. When it appears in all other places, it simply has a שוא נא. And in ברכת יוצר (שחרית) and the wordמשרתים  has a regular שוא נא. רודלהיים printings published after his lifetime, all have a חטף פתח. And in the notes to his עבודת ישראל סידור on the word ברכו, Dr. Seligmann Baer wrote:


ברכו הרי"ש בחטף פתח כן צריך לומר על פי המסרת, שכל לשון ברכה אם יהיה הנגון על הבי"ת הרי"ש בשוא נח ואם הנגון על הכ"ף הרי"ש בחטף פתח חוץ מן אחד ולעלאה ברכת (דניאל ד':לא) ותמה על רוו"ה שלמעלה בפסוקי דזמרה נקד בית ישראל ברכו רי"ש בחטף פתח) את ה' כדינו, וכאן שכח הכלל)

Regarding the words משרתיו and משרתים he wrote:

משרתים הרי"ש בחטף פתח וכן משרתיו כן צריך לומר וכן כל לשון שרת אשר נגון בתי"ו וכן כל לשון גרש ולשון ברך והוא בעבור אות הרי"ש, וראה למעלה במלת ברכו ודברי מה שכתב לבראשית י"ב, וכן כתב בהדיא בן־אשר מסורותיו

In the foreword titledדברי המגיה  to the 1855 printing of the רודלהיים סליחות, Dr. Seligmann Baer writes:

אומר יצחק בן אריה. בשנת תקצ"ד ויצא מתחת מכבש דפוס האדון לעהרבערגער סדר סליחות מוגה על פי סדור שהניח החריו ברכה רוו"ה ז"ל שהגיהו אף בארו בקצת מקומות, ומאז ועד עתה שוב נדפס סדר זה פעמים הרבה. אך ראיתיו ובדקתיו בעיון דק ומצאתי כי בכל מטהרו הונח עוד מקום לי להתגדר בו בכמה מקומות אשר נשארו מוטעות אם לענין נקודן אם לענין נוסחן. וע"כ קרבתי והגהתי עוד הפעם את כל הסדר ע"פ כללי הדקדוק וע"פ סדורים כי"י אשר חנני ה' והביאם לפני, ושמתי כל מגמתי שיצא סדר סליחות הזה מלובן ומזוקק מכל אשר היו לפניו.         רעדעלהיים, חדש אדר תרט"ו לפ"ק


  1. פיאות / זקן 

Were "big פיאות" (which many place behind their ears) worn in אשכנז? How about shaving/growing a beard? Was it common among רבנים/regular population, only married etc. Was it reflective of the times? Even among רבנים which had beards, many had the typical “German Rabbi” type beard like הרב ברויער and הרב יונה מערצבאך, which would obviously require one to shave.


There are many pictures of people (especially רבנים) in אשכנז with פיאות, some behind their ears and some in front (usually those who had a beard wore their פיאות in front and those who did not have a beard had their פיאות behind their ears). It was commonly accepted in אשכנז to have big פיאות, as opposed to a beard which was not deemed as important. In pictures of הרב הירש, his פיאות are visible behind his ears, הרב וואלף היידנהיים had big פיאות as well. Shaving ones beard was commonplace in אשכנז dating back to the Middle Ages (many generations before the advent of Reform). Various types of beards were likewise sported. The תרומת הדשן states he was insistent on leaving 40 beard hairs on his chin, clearly therefore, he did not have a full beard.

הרב הירש in his פירוש על התורה suggests that פיאות form a symbolic separation between the front part and the rear part of the brain. The side of the head which is located in front of the ears, is the intellectual part, from the ears themselves and around the back of the head, is the more physical, the more sensual part. One may therefore, even shave the hair on the back of one’s head down to the scalp, however, one should let the hair in front the ears, which includes the whole side of the head, grow until it reaches the bottom of the ears.

  1. נענועים בתפילה 

During תפילה, may one pace the floor? Also, is it the custom to sway or stand stationary?


מנהג אשכנז is not to pace during תפילה. In recent generations many places made a תקנה that one should not leave one’s place, from the beginning of תפילה until the end, except for receiving an עליה or similar כיבוד. Swaying is מנהג אשכנז. Some were against swaying for Kabbalistic reasons. By the nineteenth century swaying became very rare, (because of strict גבאים). הרב ברייער, in an essay entitled “Our Way,” describes what he does and does not consider being indigenous to the “Yekkish” way of life. On the topic of swaying during תפילה, he writes as follows. “The same holds true for our posture during the תפילה. הלכה is silent on the preference of stationary versus a moving positions in regard to the intensity of כוונה during the תפילה. The sainted אריז"ל, and with him many of our Torah Greats, assumed stationary positions during the תפילהand they were certainly not German Jews.”

The מטה משה, a well known source of מנהגי אשכנז wrote the following:

"צריך אדם לנענע עצמו בשעת התפלה שנאמר 'כל עצמותי תאמרנה ה' וגו'' וכ"כ הצרור המור פרשת יתרו

וכן כתב הר"ר יונה בספר היראה וכן עשה מהרי"ל שהי' מתנועע בעת תפלתו"

(The מטה משה many times cites מנהגי אשכנז, even though he lived in Poland.

The reason being that the old מנהג פולין was very similar to מנהג אשכנז, and the מטה משה was a staunch supporter of the old מנהג.)


  1. מסורת אשכנז 

Why is it that מנהג פרנקפורט is purported to be the most correct מנהג? I would think that since the Jews first settled in Italy after the second חורבן, that the מנהגים practiced there are the most authentic.


Our סידור is based upon two מנהגים - מנהג בבל (Babylonia) and מנהג ארץ ישראל. מנהג ארץ ישראל was transmitted through Italy, and מנהג בבל may have come through Italy as well, or maybe it came to Europe only later on, directly to אשכנז.


  2. At the time of the  גאונים in Italy, there were few תורה centers, and its possible that there were a few different מסורות (very little is known to us about European מנהגים from that time as opposed to Babylonia).  


At the time of the ראשונים, the תורה centers were already established in אשכנז and people     from Italy came to learn תורה in אשכנז. Therefore the most proper and well kept הלכה           and מנהגים were kept in אשכנז from that period on. The רא"ש (כלל כ) remarks he relies on     מנהג אשכנז, since the תורה has been kept by the בני אשכנז since the days of חורבן בית שני.       (See HoRav Hamburger’s "גדולי הדורות על משמר מנהג אשכנז"). פרנקפורט became an important תורה center in אשכנז, and the מנהגים practised there, were most authentic (historically).       מנהג ספרד is based fully on מנהג בבל, and מנהג אשכנז has more elements of מנהג ארץ ישראל in it.


How did it occur that נוסחי פולין / ליטא are referred to as נוסח אשכנז?


  1. Early on, the מנהג of those in ארצות אשכנז, contained slight variations between מנהג אושטרייך (Austria) and מנהג ריינוס (Rhine). (By the way, in Northern Italy, מנהג ריינוס was followed.) מנהג אושטרייך spread to Poland, Hungary, Russia and Lithuania, and every place east of the River Elbe. 

  2. מנהג אושטרייך received its name 'מנהג פולין', since the printers wanted to sell their books of פיוטים, סליחות etc., so they wrote on the title page, the places these פיוטים or סליחות were said. פולין was mentioned first because it had the largest population, and therefore, the name became 'מנהג פולין'.  

  3. Eventually two types of מחזורים evolved. If printers wanted to sell מנהג ריינוס מחזורים they called them 'אשכנז' since this was the מנהג used in ארצות אשכנז (Germany, Switzerland and France). 


When the חסידים began using the Chassidicנוסח  (which at first was called נוסח האר"י, then נוסח ספרד), they referred to נוסח פולין as נוסח אשכנז as well, since it wasn't נוסח ספרד, but in reality was indeed נוסח אושטרייך. By the nineteenth century, one finds Poland’s non-Chassidicנוסח  referred to as 'נוסח אשכנז'.


Is one always permitted to change back to the Ashkenazic מנהגים of ones ancestors?


The חזון איש and רב משה פיינשטיין and a majority of פוסקים maintain that the חסידים should revert to נוסח אשכנז.

  1. רב משה פיינשטיין, addresses a variation of this question;  

  2. הנה ידוע שכל אנשי פולין ואונגארן ורוסלאנד...הם בני אשכנז אף החסידים ועד שנתפשטה שיטת החסידות התפללו כולם בנוסח אשכנז אך אח"כ התחילו ראשי החסידים להנהיג להתפלל בנוסח אחר באיזה שינוים. ...הם שינו        מנהג אבותיהם ורבותינו אדירי עולם חכמי צרפת ואשכנז. ואין ידוע טעם ברור במה שהתירו לשנות נוסח הקבוע   נגד הירושלמי שהביא המג"א ר"ס ס"ח? כי מה שיש אומרים שנוסח ספרד הוא נוסח כללי למי שאינו יודע שבטו    עיין בחת"ס או"ח סימן ט"ז שבטל סברא זו. וגם לבד זה הא הנוסח שמתפללין אינו נוסח ספרד שהעתיק הרמב"ם דברוב הדברים הוא כנוסח אשכנז ורק באיזה מקומות שינו ונמצא שאין הנוסח לא כנוסח אשכנז ולא כנוסח ספרד. ...כשאחד רוצה לחזור ולהתפלל נוסח אשכנז שהוא נוסח אבותינו ורבותינו ודאי רשאי שהרי חוזר לקדמותו.                    (אגרות משה אורח חיים, ב:כד) 

[For example; Rav Dushinski said that חסידים who perform הגבהה before קריאת התורה            for several generations (like the ספרדים), should change back to the מנהג אשכנז and perform הגבהה following קריאת התורה.]


ניטל נאכט

רבינו אייזיק טירנא (Oberlander) says that עלינו is recited aloud that night. The חתם סופר cites from רב נתן אדלר that the reason for ניטל נאכט is אבילות, but he disagrees with him. He remarks that the Hungarian Jews would go to sleep early, wake up at midnight and learn the rest of the night. Since the גוים go to midnight ceremonies, this could cause a  קטרוגon כלל ישראל, since they are going to their worshiping in the middle of the night, and we are going to sleep. Therefore there should have been a תקנה that one should learn at midnight, in order that there won't be such a קטרוג. But the רבנים did not want to make such a תקנה to learn on this date, since it would seem that we are copying the מנהג הגוים, therefore the תקנה  was not to learn until midnight, which would cause the תלמידי החכמים to go to sleep at the beginning of the night, and then begin learning at midnight.

The following is the תשובה of the חתם סופר:

הנראה לי, אפשר נהגו קדמונינו כן משום שלא ליתן מקום לבע"ד לחלוק ולשטן לקטרג, בהיות באותה הלילה      כל העמים נועדים בבית אלהיהם מחצות ואילך כידוע, ועם ה' אלו ישנים על מטותיהם, אפילו לומדי תורה רובם ככולם נעורים תחילת הלילה וישנים אחר חצות, ולא רצו לגזור שיהיו כל ישראל עומדים השכם מחצות ואילך באותה הלילה כאלו אנו נגררים אחר חוקותיהם, וגדולה מזה נהגו לאכול באשמורת ערב ראש השנה שלא יחקו את המינים [שו"ע או"ח סי' תקפ"א ס"ב] מכ"ש שאין לגזור נדידות השינה בעת ההיא, ע"כ בהשכל מנעו הלימוד קודם חצות לגמרי, וממילא כל תלמיד חכם ישן תחילת הלילה ויקום אחר חצות, ומכ"ש בעלי משא ומתן הקובעים עתים לתורה בכל יום מסתמא בתחילת הלילה ואותה הלילה נמנעים מפני המנהג, ע"כ יעמדו אחר חצות לשלם חובתם דבר יום ביומו, וממילא יהיו כמה וכמה עוסקים בעבודת ה' אלו מפה ואלו מפה וחמת המלך שככה, וטעם זה הגון בעיני:

Some German קהילות abstained from learning תורה on the night of December 24th until midnight, while others did not have this מנהג. A difference between the German and Chassidish מנהג is that Germans will learn if the night of December 24th is Friday or Saturday, while Chassidim are not universal about this. הרב ברויער cancelled a regular Friday nightשיעור  due to it occurring on ניטל נאכט.


The titles חבר and מורינו.

Beginning in the fourteenth century, individuals received the title'חבר'  and'מורינו' . Originally,   the title חבר was given to an individual who learned a few years in ישיבה and was able to continue learning by himself (more than the המון עם). The person would receive handwritten notice from the רב stating he had received the titleחבר , and was called to the תורה the next שבת. Unfortunately, by the nineteenth century the big ישיבות in Germany were closed, and not many deserved the title חבר, so it was given to whoever would help and contribute to the community.  It was bestowed voluntarily, for a special occasion; if his רב is the מסדר קידושין, and ascribes the חבר title within the כתובה, or for the person’s sixtieth birthday. According to מנהג אשכנז, a רב receives סמיכה and the title מורינו. It is given to one who is מורה הוראה and can פסקין שאילות. The latest the title of 'חבר' is granted, is before an individual’s קבורה, (when the body is still present).


In 1603, Germany rabbis held a synod in Frankfurt, which enacted various תקנות. The fifth תקנה, by הרב מרכוס הורוביץ, deals with the manner in which rabbis could be ordained in Germany.

ראינו עומק הצורך לעלות על ספר פריטגמ' ישנ' אשר נתייסד' מאבותינו ז"ל עמודי הגולה בראיתם כי רבים חללים הפילה. דהיינו שלא יסמוך בכל אשכנז שום רב למורינו אא"כ במסכמ' ג' מורים תופסי ישיבה באשכנז ולמען לא יתחלל תורתינו הקדושה הסכמנו לגזור על כך חדשה, גם אפי סמיכת חבר הניתן מאיזה חכם אשר הוא חוץ למדינ' אשכנז, לא יכונה בשם חבר לס"ת מימיו מי מערה ולא יסמכו לשום בחור רק אחרי כלות שתי שנים אחר החתונה ודווק' כשהבחור ההוא יבא לדור שלא במקום ישיבה כדי שיוודע טבעו בעולם, אם הוא נוהג כשורה ביראת שמים ותלמודו מתקיים בידו.


Yekke or Jecke - German Jew

In ארץ ישראל many people believe the term is an abbreviation for "יוצאי קהילות אשכנז". There are many theories as to its origin. Most historians are of the opinion that it was a derogatory term used by the Slavic nations, A name they gave the Germans out of jealousy, in an effort to ridicule them, since they were much more sophisticated and more well off. Later the Eastern European Jews used this term for the same reason trying to make fun of the Western European Jews. Having lost its negative meaning, it became just a nickname for Western Jews, referring to their jacket, and today the word Yekke is used with pride.

The רמב"ן in סידרא ויחי (בראשית מ"ט: י') explains the words"וְלוֹ יִקְּהַת עַמִּים"  by saying:

 "בעלי הדקדוק אמרו ביקהת ששרשו יקה, ופירשו בו לשון משמעות וקבול המצוה:"

Free Translation: A Yekke is someone with the proper discipline who follows and fulfills מצות.

הרב יונה מערצבאך was fond of pointing out this רמב"ן.

Two of the rebbes of the Gerrer Chassidim stated the following about German Jews. The שפת אמת, הרב יהודה אריה לייב אלטר (18471905), stated that they are wealthy since they recite ברכת המזון aloud. The אמרי אמת,הרב אברהם מרדכי אלטר  (18661948), commented, that in the Holocaust 90% of the Polish and Lithuanian Jews were killed, whereas almost 66% of German Jews escaped. We may assume this to be a result of their concern for כבוד בית הכנסת and their refraining from talking during תפילה.


It is noteworthy that הרב שמעון שוואב related that the אמרי אמת once told him that “The Tzaddik of Frankfurt [Rav Hirsch] was a liebidige mussar sefer [a living mussar sefer].” The Gerrer Rebbe’s assessment and awe of Rav Hirsch should now come as no wonder.


The אמרי אמת was not the only rebbe to hold Rav Hirsch is high esteem.

On one occasion, while he was attending the shiurim of Rabbi Simcha Bunim Schreiber (1843 - 1907), a grandson of the Chasam Sofer and author of Shevet Sofer, Reb Shraga Feivel found himself the object of criticism when he was seen studying Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch’s works. Because Rabbi Hirsch wrote in German vernacular, his works still occasioned suspicion within the deeply conservative Hungarian yeshiva world of the day. Reb Shraga Feivel was summoned to appear before the yeshivah administration. At his “trial” he enlisted the assistance of an old Jew living in Pressburg, who testified that thirty years earlier, when his first wife’s mental disability forced him to seek permission from one hundred rabbis to take a second wife, the Divrei Chaim of Sanz had advised him to travel to Frankfurt-am-Main to obtain the signature for Rabbi Hirsch, telling him, “What I am to Galicia, he is to Germany.”


Placement of the עמוד and the אלמעמער (בימה).

        The עמוד has been located in the front of the synagogue as far back as the tenth century! The reason being that the בעל תפלה represents and therefore stands, in the front of the congregation. We have many pictures and illustrations of synagogues, in which theעמוד  directly faces the ארון הקודש. This includes the ערוך לנר Synagogue in Altona, the רמ"א Synagogue in Cracow, the פני יהושע's Synagogue in Berlin, and הרב שמשון רפאל הירש's Synagogue in פפד"מ. [In the פיוט recited during מוסף ימים נוראים we say:  ספרדים ['גשים מול ארון הקודש באימה'have a similar מנהג, however, Hungarian רבנים of the nineteenth century, learned from the ספר חסידים, that the עמוד should not be face the ארון הקודש directly, for the reason that we may not request from Godפנים מול פנים  (face towards face). Therefore they said the עמוד should be to the right ofארון  הקודש .

        The Reform Movement wanted to have the אלמעמער in the same area as the עמוד,       with both in front and up high, similar to churches. This was one of the first things the Reform changed (although there were two Orthodox synagogues that followed suit, as a compromise with those congregants who were influenced by the Reform). There are many תשובות concerning this issue, and many reasons were put forward for placing the אלמעמער in the center of the synagogue; a) in order for קריאת התורה to be heard better since it is likened to מתן תורה, where עם ישראל were encamped around הר סיני, b) in order for the הושענות procession to proceed around the אלמעמער, which is compared to the מזבח (Altar).

Collecting צדקה

In one particular Yekkish synagogue, the Pushka sits at the entrance to the synagogue and people are supposed to giveצדקה  upon entering or exiting. No collection is made in middle of orenen. This was the custom in Berlin as well. The custom of collecting during orenen is a very disturbing one which distracts the צבור from חזרת הש"ץ, קדיש, עלינו, etc.


תפילות ובקשות לפני התפילה

The ספרדי בקשות (שחר אבקשך, אני קראתיך, and יגדל) are not part of תפילה בציבור, and may be said in private. אדון עולם and יגדל were accepted in all קהילות אשכנז (except for וורמישא). שחר אבקשך is rarely seen, and although it is printed in the סידור פרנקפורט (5416), it was not included in other אשכנזי סידורים before the רודלהיים.


זמני מנחה וערבית

According to the מנהגי מהרי"ל, one may oren מנחה and ערבית very early, if circumstances warrant it (e.g. a wedding). Since ערבית is a תפילת רשות which has been accepted as a חיוב, one may be מיקל with the זמן. For this reason, it is acceptable to oren ערבית earlier than the time considered night (one can oren מנחה and ערבית after פלג המנחה, even though they are 'תרתי דסתרי'). Possibly, the same פסק applies to making early שבת. (ספר מנהגי וורמישא ס' ק' הגהות 2). בין השמשות was not considered to begin from שקיעה, therefore the מנהג was to oren מנחה later than שקיעה. ארץ ישראל which is closer to the equator, one has to oren closer to the שקיעה, and the more one is located in the north - the later one could oren (therefore Washington Heights orens מנחה ten minutes after the שקיעה). It appears to me that relying on the בין השמשות of the גאונים was done primarily just for מנחה, when many ראשונים and אחרונים held that you may oren until צאת הכוכבים ממש. However, for hundreds of years, the בין השמשות of the גאונים was accepted in Frankfurt, even for purposes of delaying the date of מילה, in which one cannot just be 'מחמיר' like the גאונים because this leads to a מילה being performed on the ninth day, according to those who have a later            בין השמשות. When controversy struck in Frankfurt in 5495 regarding this issue, ר' יעקב קץ's תשובה to rule like the גאונים, was the accepted position. So this would seem to indicate that, in אשכנז for questions of a מצות דאורייתא, theמנהג  was to be חושש for the שיטה of the גאונים as a real ספק,     as already ruled להלכה according to the ש"ך (long before the גר"א) on the basis of the מהר"ם אלשקר.  For further information, see Chapter 46 of "הזמנים בהלכה" by חיים בעניש (in לשון הקודש).            הרב ברייער preferred to oren מנחה as late as possible because he said that it is better to recite קריאת שמע in its proper time as it is דאורייתא. In דרבנן issues - they were not חושש for that שיטה.

While it is true that in many countries, mostly in Eastern Europe, זמני רבינו תם were followed. In אשכנז in particular, they were not accepted, and the זמנים stayed in accordance with the גאונים. In general, מנהגי רבינו תם were not accepted by בני אשכנז. The only מנהג רבינו תם which was generally accepted inאשכנז , was the textual change to כל נדרי, in which we mention the נדרים from this year to next (not the נדרים from last year to this year).


Oren - אורן

A word formed by the addition of the German infinitive suffix to the Latin "ora" (="pray") which was very familiar to every one in the Middle Ages, as it still is in Catholic countries, from its repeated use in the frequent litanies of the Church. "Oren" is used by Jews of German descent not so much to signify "to pray" as "to say one's prayers"; that is, to recite a set form of devotions, whether with the congregation or in domestic privacy. Among Jews resident in Slavonic lands, "oren" is replaced by "dawenen"; in England and America, more generally "daven." This word has been supposed (by I. B. Lewisohn originally) to be a varied pronunciation of the Middle English "dawen" in its lengthened form "dawenen," identical with the modern English "dawn," and referring especially to the prayer of early morning. But much more probably it is to be derived from the Arabic "da'wah" = invocation, although this word is not used in Arabic for "prayer," since "du'a" (from the same root, "da'a")denotes prayer. In some manner, however, perhaps through the Turkish, "da'wah" became known to the Jews of eastern Europe in the sense of "prayer," the verbs "da'wenen," "dawenen" being formed from it.


The woman who recites prayers aloud to companions unable to read the square Hebrew or rabbinic characters, or unprovided with books, is, on the other hand, called a Sagerin, from the German word "sagen" (= "to say"), because while all the men "said" their prayers in Hebrew, the women as a rule "said" them—especially the less frequent piyutim and other passages reserved for festivals and the like—in "Tchines-Teutsch" or "Siddur-Teutsch" (i.e., "prayer German").

Both "oren" and "dawenen" are sometimes specifically used to connote the artistic and devotional elements in the musical intonation of the prayers according to the traditional Jewish manner; but this is only when one who publicly officiates as cantor is spoken of, and in the same sense an officiant is termed a "ba'al tefillah" (lit. "master of prayer," i.e., "competent leader of the devotions"). When a private worshiper is alluded to, the terms are applied to the monotonous wailing chant in which the prayers were crooned in an undertone by congregants or private worshipers of a past generation in northeastern Europe. The melody of this intonation was a form of the plaintive strain which prevails in the recital of the Kinah and much other medieval Hebrew verse, and which, closely reproduces the melancholy that is so noticeable in much of the folk-song of the Slavonic peoples.


Jewish Encyclopedia

שבת שפינהולץ

 In regard to the possible origins of the term שבת שפינהולץ, the following is by הרב חנוך ארנטרוי,

נשים גם נהגו באותם הימים לטוות ליום החתונה ולכן אומרת הגמרא בגיטין פ"ט ע"א שאם מעידים שראו "נשים טוות לאור הנר" זאת אחת הראיות שהיום שם חתונה. בימי הבינים קראו באשכנז לשבת שלפני החתונה "שבת שפינהולץ", עיין מגן אברהם תקנ"א ס"ק ו'

But there are some other explanations. This is what Hermann Schwab, "A World in Ruins" wrote: The first festive harbinger of a wedding was the preceding Sabbath called Spinholz. The origin of the word is disputed. One explanation, according to which it found its way to the German ghetto from the Italian Jews, traces it back to the Italian 'spinalzare' (to make merry). Others link the word with spinning, an activity which in the Middle Ages constituted a large part of a housewife's work. It may be a reference to the new home awaiting the young wife. Be that as it may, the Spinholz Sabbath was a round of gaiety focused on the betrothed pair. The programme varied in different communities. The Friday evening as well as the Sabbath was taken up with visits to the homes of bride and bridegroom, and merry-making at the dance-house; which no community lacked. The bridegroom would already be wearing his ceremonial Sarbal (festive coat) and Mitron (cap), and the bride, too, would be dressed in festive garments. The ensuing days before the wedding also found the betrothed pair in this attire. The celebrations on the Spinholz Sabbath were not confined to the home. They were no less manifest in the synagogue, where the bridegroom was the object of special honors and Spinholz-melodies rang out.


אָמַר רַבָּה, 'כִּי מִיפַּטְרֵי רַבָּנָן מֵהֲדָדֵי בְּפוּמְבְּדִיתָא, אָמְרֵי הָכִי - 'מְחַיֵּה חַיִּים יִתֵּן לְךָ חַיִּים אֲרוּכִים וְטוֹבִים וּמְתוּקָּנִין''.

Rabboh said: “When the Rabbis would take leave of one another in Pumbediso, they would say the following: ‘The One Who gives life to the living should give you a long, good, and well-provided life.’” (גמ' יומא עא.)


Four Methods Of Reciting תהלים

Comparison And Contrast of The Different Methods

In general, after various distractions, it seems that speeding, or excessive speed, is perhaps the greatest enemy of proper כוונה, and spirituality. (See פרק "תפלה בנחת ובמתינות" בספר 'שרשי מנהג אשכנז חלק ד'').


1) The ש"ץ says/chants/sings the opening פסוק of theמזמור  aloud, the קהל says the entire מזמור on their own until its conclusion, the ש"ץ says/chants/sings the last פסוק aloud.

There is a significant probability and temptation for people to speed through מזמורים, since they are recited at their own pace.


2) The ש"ץ and קהל says/chants/sings the מזמור together (ספרדים, מזרחים, מניני קרליבך).

The recitation is usually quite slow and deliberate, which is an improvement in terms of battling the scourge of speed, and creating moreכוונה .


3) The ש"ץ says/sings/chants a פסוק, followed by the repetition of the פסוק by the קהל. (Widely used when תהלים are said for aחולה  or in anעת צרה .

It may feel needlessly slow, since it is essentially repeating each  פסוק twice, once hearing, and once saying it.


4) The ש"ץ opens with the first פסוק, followed by the קהל responding with the next פסוק, and so on, until the end of the מזמור, when the ש"ץ chants the last פסוק aloud. (i.e. אנעים זמירות)

It has an alternating interaction between the ש"ץ and the קהל, being active and passive, alternating between reading/speaking and listening/hearing.


Alternating Way Of Reciting תהלים (4 above) Background

While many are familiar with the first three methods, the fourth is less known. According to הרב בנימין שלמה המבורגר, in his notes (חלק א', סימן ט', עמוד יב, הערה 3) onמנהגים דק"ק וורמישא , it is a very ancient method ofתהלים  recitation, and also a מנהג מפואר (glorious, beautiful custom), with origins in תנ"ך. It is further described in the ancient סדור attributed to ר שלמה מגרמייזא, as being בנעימה , כדרך שיר, a pleasing recitation, song-like. In מנהג אשכנז it is employed on certain occasions, for example on ליל שבת, when a number of מזמורים are said as part of קבלת שבת. In the Middle Ages פסוקי דזמרה were read responsively by ש"ץ and קהל in a similar fashion. Therefore is a great deal of ש"ץ - קהל interaction, which leads to more active involvement than there might otherwise be, and necessitates paying more attention. The קהל is more empowered, by not just following the ש"ץ's recitation, but rather being almost equal partners, or co-leaders.

אָמַר רַב יִצְחָק בַּר יוֹסֵף אָמַר רְבִי יוֹחָנָן: 'הַיוֹצֵא בְּטַלִית מְקוּפֶּֽלֶת מוּנַֽחַת לוֹ עַל כְּתֵיפוֹ בְּשַׁבָּת חַיָּיב חַטָאת': (שבת קמז.)

רב יצחק בר יוסף  stated in the name of רבי יוחנן, one who goes outs into the public domain

with a folded cloak resting on his shoulder on שבת, is liable for a חטאת:


Commentary:The גמרא understands טלית to be a large four-cornered garment similar in size and dimension to the טלית used duringתפילה  today (ערוך השלחן ס' ש"א ס"ק פ"א); see also (ל"א ערוך השלחן ס' ש"א ס"ק). In Talmudic times, this garment was a normal part of daily attire (ריטב"א). It was generally worn draped over the head and shoulders in such a way that most of one’s body would be covered by it; the sides of the cloak would flow down one’s arms, and the end of the cloak would extend down one’s back towards the floor (see רש"י andערוך השלחן  ad loc.). Here, though, the גמרא discusses a case where the cloak was not worn in this manner. Instead of allowing the cloak to drape behind him, the person lifted the back end of the garment onto his shoulders, in effect folding the cloak in half width-size (רש"י). His purpose in doing so was presumably to guard against the end of the cloak touching the ground and becoming soiled or ripped (see ערוך השלחן ad loc.). Since this is not the normal way the cloak is worn, the person is deemed to be carrying the garment rather than wearing it (see רש"י here and above, דף נ"ה, ד"ה חייב חטאת), and carrying from a private to a public domain is prohibited on שבת. [Since the cloak is not usually worn in this manner, the person cannot be said to be wearing the garment (see אורח חיים ס' ש"א ס"ק כ"ט, ל').]


בני אשכנז were מקפיד not to fold the טלית over their shoulders, but to wrap their bodies in it, to wear it like a blanket. The טלית is considered clothing, not just something resting on one’s shoulders. The חזן would wear it the same way as חזנים wear it today in קהילות אשכנז. This is discussed at length by רבי אליעזר רוקח. The רוקחs opinion is as follows, a) one should have two ציציות in the front and two in the back, (Those who wished to follow his opinion, would wrap two ציציות back around their neck!) According to the ancient מנהג this was not done, as most people were not מקפיד. People by not folding the טליתות over their shoulders, might cause their ציציות to drag on the floor, this does not pose a halachic problem. (Those who wish to wear their טלית in a similar way to the ancient מנהג, and don't want to have the ציציות on the floor, should tuck in the bottom ציציות through their belt, in this way they fulfill all מנהגים.) The רוקחs opinion is quoted by the דרכי חיים ושלום (Munkaczer מנהגים Paragraph 35 of the footnotes). This was also the מנהג of many חסידים in the Ukraine and surrounding regions, including those of Chernobyl, Skver, Karlin-Stolin, and Belz.


As mentioned in שרשי מנהג אשכנז חלק א' according to מנהג אשכנז, a טלית גדול is neither only for davening, nor only for daytime use. Rather it is appropriate garment for communal functionaries (רב / חזן) performing certain functions, מפני כבוד הצבור, both during the day and at night. (for example: Droshos, Hespeidim, Weddings, and Kerias HaMegilloh)


"דְּאָמַר רַב יְהוּדָה אָמַר רַב 'כָּךְ הָיָה מִנְהָגוֹ שֶׁל רְבִי יְהוּדָה בַּר אִלְעַאי:

עֶרֶב שַׁבָּת ... וּמִתְעַטֵּף וְיוֹשֵׁב בְּסְדִינִין הַמְצוּיָיצִין וְדוֹמֶה לְמַלְאַךְ ד' צְבָאוֹת:'" (שבת כה:)


"אָמַר לֵיה רַב יוֹסֵף לְרַב יוֹסֵף בְּרֵיהּ דְרַבָּה: 'אֲבוּךְ בְּמַאי זָהִיר טְפֵי?' אָמַר לֵיהּ 'בְּצִיצִית,

יוֹמָא חַד הֲוָה קָא סָלִיק בְּדַרְגָּא, אִיפְּסִיק לֵיהּ חוּטָא, וְלֹּא נָחִית וְאָתָה כַּמָּה דְּלֹא רַמְיֵהּ:'" (שבת קיח:)

 טלית וכובע על הראש בשעת התפילה


טלית על הראש


בעת התפילה יש המכסים את ראשם הטלית, ויש שחובשים כובע לראשם אך ללא כיסוי טלית. מנין נובעים שני מנהגים אלה?

        בגרמניה בימי הביניים נהוג היה לכסות את הראש בטלית של מצוה בכל תפילה שבה היו מתעטפים בטלית. כך עולה מדברי רבי יהודה החסיד בעל 'ספר חסידים' (-ד' תתקע"ז) : "היושב מעוטף בטלית בשחרית, ישים הטלית לפני עיניו, כדי שלא יסתכל אנה ואנה".80 שימת הטלית נעל העינים אפשרית כאשר הטלית מכסה את הראש. אין זה הגיוני לדרוש מהמתפלל לכרוך את העינים בטלית בלא כיסוי הראש.
        עובדה זו ברורה עוד יותר בדברי חכם איטלקי רבי יהודה יעלה ב"ר בנימין הרופא למשפחת הענוים הריבב"ן (-ה' כ'-) רבו ובן דודו של בעל 'שבלי לקט': "ולי נראה להוריד הטלית על פניו טפח, שלא יסתכל הנה והנה, אלא יתכוין בתפלה".81 עצה זו לא נאמרה לחכמים או לשליחי ציבור, אלא לכל אחד שרוצה לכוין בתפילתו.82 והיא ניתנה ללא ספק לכלל המתפללים שטלית היתה מכסה את ראשם.
        בחיבור נוסף מאותה תקופה, שמוצאו מחבל הריין בגרמניה, 'ספר מנהגים דבי מהר"ם מרוטנבורג', נמצאת עדות מפורשת לכיסוי הראש בטלית: "ביש מקומות נהגו החתנים הבחורים להתחיל עיטוף ראשן בטלית בחתונתם".83  לאחר חתונתם ודאי שהיו מכסים ראשם בטלית, אם כי לא ברור לנו אם בני מקומות אלה בעצם היו מתעטפים בטלית לפני חתונתם ומעת חתונתם כיסו את גם הראש, או שמא כל ההתעטפות בטלית של בני מקומות אלה החלה רק אחר הנישואין.

        בידינו ציור מתוך מחזור משלהי ימי הביניים, בו רק הש"ץ עוטף ראשו בטלית ולא שני המתפללים מתוך הציבור. אולם לפי צבע הלבוש של שני המתפללים הנוספים בציור המקורי, אדום וחום בהיר, נראה שאין הם מעוטפים מטלית כלל, אלא בלבוש אחר, רק הש"ץ מעוטף בטלית בצבע לבן, ומדובר איפוא בתפילה מנחה או ערבית בה אין הציבור מתעטף בטלית, מלבד הש"ץ.

        תלמיד של רבי ישראל איסרלין בעל 'תרומת הדשן' (ק"ן-ר"ך) העיד עליו כי היה "מניח הטלית על ראשו כל זמן שהתפילין בראשו, וכן עשו רוב בני אושטריך".84 לא היה זה איפוא רק מנהג הרבנים אלא של רוב הציבור באוסטריה.
        בתקופה מאוחרת יותר עדיין המשיכו בקהילות גרמניה לכסות את הראש בטלית,  והזכיר זאת רבי יוסף יוזפא שמש בעל 'מנהגים דק"ק וורמיישא' (שס"ד-תל"ח) בכתבו שהש"ץ "משים טלית של קהל על ראשו".85
        לא רק הש"ץ אלא גם שאר המתפללים היו מכסים ראשם בטלית מעל המצנפת. זו היתה התרשמותו של המלומד הגרמניה יעקב יוהאן שודט בקהילת פראנקפורט כפי שעולה מתיאורו בשנת תע"ד: "ליהודי... בבית הכנסת ... על ראשו יש לו את הטלית".86  


טלית מעל הכובע


כאן אנו מגיעים לנקודה חשובה נוספת. נפוץ מאוד המנהג, לפחות מאז שלהי ימי הבינים, להניח את הטלית מעל הכובע שעל הראש. כך מתברר מתגובתו של בעל 'תרומת הדשן' הנ"ל על טלית בנו: "זכורנו כשבנו שלום ז"ל יורד לפני התיבה להתפלל, כשנופל טליתו מעל ראשו לאחוריו על עורפו, ואמר לי להגביה הטלית על ראשו, אף על פי דהוה מטרון על ראשו שקורין קפא".87
        רבי שמעון עקיבה בער ב"ר יוסף הענוכש, ממגורשי ווינה בשנת ת"ל ששימש ברבנות בכמה עיירות בדרום גרמניה, הזהיר את המתפללים מפני עשיית אוהל בשבת, כאשר הכובע שמתחת לטלית הוא רחב תיתורה: "צריך להתעטף הטלית כמו טפח למעלה מראשו על המצנפת, כדי שגם יכסה התפילין. אבל בשבת אסור לכסות הטלית על המצנפת טפח למעלה מראש, משום אהל".88


בתחריטים מהמאה ה-81 של בתי כנסת בגרמניה, עדיין נראים רוב המתפללים כשטליתות על ראשיהם מעל כובעיהם. הכהנים בבית המקדש חבשו 'פארי מגבעות' בשעת עבודתם, כך גם במקדש מעט, בבתי כנסיות חבשו המתפללים כובעים. הפוסקים עודדו את חבישת הכובעים, בנימוק שהם תורמים למורא שכינה. רבי מרדכי יפה בעל ה'לבוש' (ר"ץ שע"ב). "בבית הכנסת... בראש מגולה לא יכנס אפילו במקום שנוהגים ללכת כן לפני השרים שזהו דרך קלות ראש מאד, כאלו אין לו מורא שכינה שעליו, וכשיש לו כובע בראשו יש לו אימה וכובד ראש לפני יתברך".89 הוא ציין 'כובע' ולא 'כיסוי ראש' בעלמא, מחמת אותה סיבה שהצביע עליה רבי אברהם דאנציג בעל 'חיי אדם' (תק"ח-תקפ"א): "ישים כובע בראשו כדרך שהולך ברחוב ולא בכובע הקטן שתחת הכובע".90
        נימוק זה לחבישת הכובע השמיע גם רבי ישראל מאיר הכהן בעל 'משנה ברורה' (תקצ"ח-תרצ"ג): "צריך להשים בעת התפלה כובע בראשו כדרך שהולך ברחוב, ולא בכובע הקטן שתחת הכובע, כי אין דרך לעמוד כן לפני אנשים חשובים".91


הסרת הטלית מהראש


בסוף המאה ה-71 החלה מגמה של אי-הקפדה על כיסוי הראש בטלית אצל החזנים. רבה של קהילת וורמיישא רבי יאיר חיים בכרך בעל 'חות יאיר' (שצ"ח-תס"ב), ראה זאת כרפיון והוכיח את החזנים שלא כיסו ראשם בטלית:    "ש"ץ... נכון שיכסה ראשו בטלית... ויהיו דברי אלה נגד המשחיתים שמטילים העטרה של טלית אחר גיום כל התפילה, ואין זה רק קלות ראש", וזהו "מוסר לחזנים שמשליכים הטלית אחר גיוום".92 עוד התאונן על מה ש"בכפרים ועיירות קטנות, אף בעלי יכולת ירע עינם מליקח מצנפת וטלית של מצוה, ואפילו אותם שיש להם ומונחים לפניהם, מתעצלים מלבושם ולהם לטורח, אוי להם מיום הדין".93 עדות על רפיון בכל עניני עיטוף טלית.
        במשך הזמן הקפידו רק המדקדקים על כיסוי הראש בטלית, עד שנחשב להנהגה בלעדית של תלמידי חכמים, שהתחמקו ממנו בעלי בתים רגילים. בדרשה בפראנקפורט בשנת תקס"ו, הוכיח רבי צבי הירש הלוי הורוביץ אב"ד פפד"מ, את הזלזול של המון העם בעיטוף הראש בטלית: "דרך היצר הרע לעשות הבעלי בתים בבית הכנסת לעם הארץ, שלא להאריך בתפילה, גם שלא להתעטף הטלית על ראשו, כדרך שמתנהג התלמיד חכם, ומסיתו למנוע מדברים כאלה, שלא יאמרו עליו הבריות: לא עם הארץ חסיד".94
המנהג הישן, לחבוש כובע ומעליו לעטוף הטלית - נשתקע, מפני השתנות צורת הכובעים. בקוים כלליים ניתן לומר כי נתפצלו בדורות האחרונים בני מרכז אירופה ומערבה מבני מזרח אירופה, שאלו הקפידו על חבישת כובע בשעת התפלה בלא טלית על הראש, ואלו על עיטוף הטלית מעל הראש בלא חבישת כובע. אמנם נמצאו אף בערי ליטא יהודים רבים שלא כיסו את ראשם בטלית, ובעיר ידועה כמו בריסק רק שליח הציבור היה מכסה ראשו בטלית.95
        מאידך במרכז אירופה יש שהטיפו לכיסוי הראש בטלית והסרת הכובע, כמו רבי שמואל עהרנפלד אב"ד מאטרסדורף בעל 'חתן סופר' (תקצ"ה-תרמ"ג), שהעלה חשש, שהכובעים חדישים שבימיו דוחקים את התפילין לכיוון המצח, ולכן היתה נטייתו לעודד את הסרת הכובע לגמרי: "הנה במדינתינו [אוסטרו-הונגריה] יראים ושלמים מונעים מלתת טלית על ראשם, שלא להתלבש במנא דתלמיד חכם, אבל בכל מדינות... משימים הטלית על ראשם ומסירים הכובע העב, כדי לקיים מצות תפילין בשלימות, ואשרי להם, וכן יעשו יראי ה', ולא יבושו מפני המלעיגים".96
        ברוב המקומות באירופה המערבית בתקופת המאוחרת רק הרבנים כיסו ראשם בטלית, וכאשר הופיע מאן-דהו שלא היה ידוע כרב וראשו מעוטף בטלית, היו מעירים לו על חוסר הנימוס שבדבר. הדבר היות גם קרקע פוריה לפריחת חידודים ושנינות. מסופר כי צעיר אחד נראה בבית הכנסת של ווירצבורג מתפלל וראשו עטוף כולו טלית. פנה אליו הרב גדליהו טאכאור ואמר לו: "בחור! אתה כתלמיד חכם יודע היטב שאסור לעם הארץ להתפאר באופן כזה".97
        פרופסור אולריך גרהארדט, מלומד גרמני שבין השנים תרס"ב-תרצ"ג חקר בדקדקנות את מנהגי ישראל בכל ארצות תבל, ציין בעינן זה: "בארצות המזרח נוח למשוך את הטלית מעל כיסוי הראש [הטורבאן]. לעטוף את הטלית מעל כובע אירופאי, התבטל כמעט בכל אתר ואתר, ומנהג זה קיים עוד רק אצל מעטים בקהילות         דרום גרמניה".98 עוד סיפר כי מצא בבית הכנסת אחד בקראקא יהודי שהתפלל בשבת לפני התיבה עם הטלית מעל השטריימל!99

        כיום יחידים מזקני בני עדות המזרח עדיין חובשים כובע ומעליו כיסוי הטלית.

מנהגי ספרד COMMONLY PRACTICED BY אשכנזים

1) מודה אני  - ר' משה בן מכיר, who lived in צפת with the אריז"ל.


2)  תהלים at meals before ברכת המזון - ר' משה בן מכיר.


3)  קבלת שבת


4) תיקון ליל שבועות והושענא רבא


5) קדיש דרבנן  by the אבודרהם and the רמב"ם.



מנהגי אשכנז COMMONLY PRACTICED BY ספרדים

1) Answeringברוך הוא וברוך שמו  upon hearing ברכות, from the חסידי אשכנז, promoted by the רא"ש.


2) Saying ויתן לך on מוצאי שבת.


3) תשליך first mentioned in the מהרי"ל.

4)  כפרות on ערב יום כיפור. Although theמחבר  opposed it, other ספרדי גדולים accepted it.


Moroccan ספרדים have more מנהגי אשכנז, due to the influence of the רא"ש.



  1. מנהגים SHARED BY בני אשכנז AND ספרדים 

Boys wear טליתות. If you see a בחור with a טלית, is either a ספרדי or בן אשכנז.


2) The  חופהat a חתונה. The original חופה, which was widely prevalent in ancient days, was a  טלית (meaning a טלית draped over the חתן and כלה). As per the ancient expression חוֹפֶה אוֹתָהּ בְּטַלִיתוֹ. חוֹפֶה means to cover. ספרדים and בני אשכנז practice this ancient מנהג.


3) תפילין with small בתים. Both בני אשכנז and ספרדים had small תפילין.


Reading הפטרות from a ספר אפטרתא (a collection ofהפטרות  written  בקדושהon a קלף).




וְגָלֻ֣ת הַֽחֵל־הַ֠זֶּה לִבְנֵ֨י יִשְׂרָאֵ֤ל אֲשֶֽׁר־כְּנַעֲנִים֙ עַד־צָ֣רְפַ֔ת וְגָלֻ֥ת יְרֽוּשָׁלַ֖ם אֲשֶׁ֣ר בִּסְפָרַ֑ד יִֽרְשׁ֕וּ אֵ֖ת עָרֵ֥י הַנֶּֽגֶב: (עובדיה א:כ)

And this first exile of the ten tribes of Israel [רש"י] who dwell from Germany [אבן עזרא - כנענים] / [Holland], even unto France [רש"י, אבן עזרא, רד"ק, אברבנאל, דעת סופרים - צרפת] / England [אברבנאל - צרפת] and the captivity of the Jews of Jerusalem in Spain [תרגום יונתן - ספרד] shall possess the cities of the South.


אָמְרוּ, שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֶלֶף זוּגִים תַּלְמִידִים הָיוּ לוֹ לִרְבִי עֲקִיבָא, מִגְּבָת עַד אַנְטִיפַּרִס, וְכוּלָן מֵתוּ בְּפֶרֶק אֶחָד,

מִפְּנֵי שֶׁלֹּא נָהֲגוּ כָּבוֹד זֶה לָזֶה, וְהָיָה הָעוֹלָם שָׁמֵם, עַד שֶׁבָּא רְבִי עֲקִיבָא אֵצֶל רַבּוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁבַּדָרוֹם וּשְׁנָאָהּ לָהֶם,

רְבִי מֵאִיר וּרְבִי יְהוּדָה וּרְבִי יוֹסֵי וּרְבִי שִׁמְעוֹן וּרְבִי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן שַׁמוּעַ, וְהֵם הֵם הֶעֱמִידוּ תּוֹרָה אוֹתָה שָׁעָה.

תָּנָא, כּוּלָם מֵתוּ מִפֶּסַח וְעַד הָעֲצֶרֶת. (גמ' יבמות סב:)

Some of the reasons for the מנהגי ספירה are the following: 1) the תלמידי רבי עקיבא died during this time period, because the didn’t respect each other, 2) the עמר could no longer be brought to the בית המקדש,      3) the massacres by Crusades, especially for German Jews, which took place at this time of year.  


This is a brief summary of the different customs,

as to which days between פסח and שבועות have the עמר period restrictions.

A- Theאריז“ל , as per the שערי תשובה 493:8, who is quoted by ר' שמעון אידער, "Halachos of פסח" vol II, pp 330-331. It's also mentioned by ר‘ בלומנקרנס, "The Laws of פסח  - A Digest", 5753/1993 edition, pp 17-2, 17-3, as custom 4a. - The מהרי“ל personally followed this practice, no haircuts from פסח until ערב שבועות including ל“ג בעמר.


(All of these use the phrase "עד ערב שבועות" implying that one may get a haircut ערב שבועות during the day. They make no mention of not having to observe ל“ג בעמר.)


B- Same as A, but ends the morning of the first day of the שלשת ימי הגבלה.


C-  רמ“א 493:2, as per משנה ברורה 493:6 and ביעור הלכה "יש נוהגים". In the ב“ה, it is the second custom listed under the first opinion. It's mentioned in the אגרות משה (2nd custom) and ר' שמעון אידער (ibid; B), quoting this רמ“א, ר‘ בלומנקרנס (ibid; custom 1) and ר‘ אהרן פעלדער in "מועדי ישורון". In the last two sentences of the תשובה, ר‘ משה says that the רמ“א was giving this opinion for ספרדים, disagreeing with the מחבר (next).


D-  ערוך השלחן 493:2, as explained in the משנה ברורה (ibid) and באר היטב (ibid; 1st custom in the 1st opinion), the ערוך השלחן 493:4, אגרות משה (ibid; 1st custom), ר' שמעון אידער (A) and               ר‘ בלומנקרנס (custom 2). The מהרי“ל taught his בוחרים from פסח until after ל“ג בעמר.


E- באר היטב (ibid; 2nd opinion). He takes this as an explanation of K, and not a separate custom. אגרות משה (6th מנהג), quoting the מגן אברהם (no reference), however, ר‘ משה holds no one follows this מנהג. Of the thirty nine days, six are going to be שבתות, leaving thirty three.


F- אגרות משה (5th minhag), quoting מ“ב 493:15 from סידור דרך החיים. This is the custom of פרנקפורט. - [This was true not only פפד“מ, but Germany before the חורבן in general. The rationale is simple: all days from פסח to שבועות except for days on which תחנון isn't said. (NB: On פסח שני, it is said.)]


G - מגן אברהם, as per בער היטב 493:8, MB 493:15 (who also quotes  חיי אדם), ערוך השלחן 493:6, אגרות משה (4th minhag), ר' שמעון אידער (C, "The is..."), ר‘ בלומנקרנס (custom 3b), ר‘ אהרן פעלדער and is the custom in Elizabeth, New Jersey.


H- בער היטב 493:3, quoting אור זרוע


I- ר‘ בלומנקרנס  (custom 3a)


J- אגרות משה (3rd מנהג) quoting the רמ“א 3 and מגן אברהם 5, and ר‘ אהרן פעלדער.


K- רמ“א 493:3, first opinion, as explained by משנה ברורה 493:14 (2nd half) and 493:15        (1st sentence), בער היטב 493:7 (quoting the ב“ח), ביאור הלכה (ibid; 2nd opinion), ר' שמעון אידער (C: first 2 paragraphs).


L - The usual custom at the time of the מהרי“ל was - from ר“ח אייר until after ל“ג בעמר.


M - ... or, according to the מגן אברהם's understanding, from after ר“ח אייר until after ל“ג בעמר.


N and O - are variations on L and M, respectively, according to those פוסקים (מהרי“ב) who allow shaving on ערב שבת in case of ל“ג בעמר being on Sunday.


O - has only fourteen days, and something between this and nineteen (L) was common specifically in those areas that had a local and fresh memory of the Crusades.


P - The longest שיטה in comparison observes fifty days (including the afternoon of ערב פסח and ערב שבועות until daytime), or in theory, 51.5 days, even if ערב שבועות is a שבת shaving is not allowed on this ערב שבת.


ר‘ משה lists six customs, given here as: D, C, J, G, F, and E. ר‘ משה says that the רמ“א ruled against the first of these (i.e. D), and that in practice, no one follows the last (E). He shows that the other four are variations of the same מנהג, and therefore one can switch among them without התרת נדרים.


The two most common מנהגים, are probably C and either J or K.


The following days are observed with the restrictions of the עמר according to the מנהגים listed:

[All methods include ה' אייר, and the afternoon before ל"ג בעמר.                ]



















































אסרו חג

















כ"ד - כ"ט ניסן

















א' ראש חדש אייר

















ב' ראש חדש אייר

















ב' - י"ז אייר

















ל"ג בעמר

















י"ט אייר

















כ' - כ"ט אייר

















ראש חודש סיון

















ב' סיון

















א' יום הגבלה

















ב', ג' יום הגבלה

















ערב שבועות

מנהג אשכנז and Recent ל"ג בעומר Innovations

By Treasures of Ashkenaz אוצרות יהדות אשכנז


  1. מנהג אשכנז And The Traditional Way Of Enjoying The Day 

One does not observe aיום טוב  not mentioned in ש"ס and פוסקים (יורה דעה רל"ג חתם סופר). Making a holiday out of the day a צדיק passed away (aka הילולה) runs contrary to the גמרא which mentions such a day as a day of fasting. In מסורת אשכנז the term used for such a day    is יאהרצייט, a day of fasting and introspection. We don’t make a small village in northern    ארץ ישראל the focus of a giant pilgrimage, greater than ירושלם עיה"ק.

  1. בני אשכנז      are משמח because the תלמידי ר' עקיבא ceased dying. 

  2. A number of Chassidic groups Satmar, Belz, Bobov and Lubavitch, as well as others, did not light bonfires in the past (as evidenced by the lack of proof of such bonfires in prewar Europe). Another interesting development is the development of new practices by some adding a Litvish-Yeshivish twist to their adoption of this new Chasidic practice, auctioning off the lighting of the fire to bochurim who bid for it with pledges to learn various amounts of gemara. Some “Ashkenaz” shuls and yeshivous jump on the Chasidic bandwagon and have bonfires as well, even without such modifying touches, but one cannot do so. To mix customs from differing traditions is problematic, fraught with danger, and introduces confusion into the minds of their followers. Such mixed messages are confusing and dangerous. The bonfires themselves which are part of the “celebration” create giant clouds of smoke. Pollution and smoke inhalation can be dangerous to people and the environment. In ארץ ישראל , some people suffer from the smoke, have to stay inside all day and night and keep their windows closed. Contractors complain of significant losses from wood disappearing from building sites.          It is a day when בני אשכנז students are given leisure. 

  3. What are the origins in our tradition of bonfires in connection with such a day? There are those who do so, all over the world as well, something which was not done in the past.         בני אשכנז enjoy music and conduct weddings. 

  4. Upsherin is not מנהג אשכנז at all. This topic has been well covered by  שרשי מנהג אשכנז חלק ג'. בני אשכנז take the first haircut since ראש חודש אייר. 

ח"י רוטל משקה is a Chassidic סגולה, connected to the מירון event. Interestingly though, in the ספר מנהגי וורמישא, (ר יוזפא שמש), it does mention thatמלמדים  gave יי"ש to תלמידים, presumably within reason of course, probably for ‘making a לחיים’. בני אשכנז believe there is a place    for משתה ושמחה.


We see here a great example of the common practice and outlook of paramount gedolim, at the pinnacle of Torah leadership in our time. Both Sepharadic and Ashkenazic recognized the problematic aspects of the Meron pilgrimage and stayed away.

According to מנהג אשכנז one does not reciteתחנון  only at תפלת שחרית.

Many גדולים, not only גדולי אשכנז, but also great Chassidishe רבנים and ספרדי גדולים, deliberately do not participate in this event. רב שך זצ"ל told his תלמידים not to go to מירון. רב אלישיב זצ"ל, never went to מירון in his life (at any time of the year) as was reported in the Jerusalem Post. חכם עובדיה יוסף זצ"ל, also never went to מירון on ל"ג בעומר, in his ninety three plus years of life!

If the חתם סופר voiced reservations about the מירון pilgrimage close to two hundred years ago, when the attendance there was presumably much smaller than it is nowadays, would his reservations not be much greater today?

Without getting into the question of possible חילול שבת caused by preparations for ל"ג בעומר, when it occurs on Sunday like this year, and whether it is actually the יאהרצייט of ר' שמעון בן יוחאי.

        אם יש ב"א שהתפללו כל א' בפ"ע ביחיד או שאחרו לבוא לביה"כ ולא שמע קדיש וברכו, עומד אחד   ואומר קדיש וברכו, וברכה ראשונה של יוצר אור בלבד, וזהו נקרא פורס על שמע שנזכר במשנה ל' חתיכה         (כמו פרוסה המוציא) שא"א אלא קצת ממנה ואסמכוה אקרא בפרוע פרעות בישראל בהתנדב עם ברכו ה'         ה"פ בפרוע מל' כי פרוע הוא, ות"א ארי בטיל הוא, כלומר כשבטלו ולא עשו מה שמוטל עליה' לעשות                   אז יתנדבו העם לברך ה', ויש מוסיפין עוד לאחר שסיים ברכה ראשונה דיוצר מדלגין ואומרין אבות וגבורות וקדושת השם, וזה נקרא עובר לפני התיבה השנוי במשנה ואין עושין דברים הללו אלא בעשרה ואומרין אותו     אפי' בשביל אחד שלא שמע, ובמדינות הללו אין נוהגין לפרוס ע"ש אלא אומר קדיש וברכו ועונין ברוך ה'     והולכין להם ומי ששמע ברכו מפי מעולה לקרות התורה דיו ואע"פ שעדיין לא הגיע ליוצר, כשענה ברוך ה' המבורך, יצא י"ח מכל המקום. ומי שלא יוכל לקבץ מנין עשרה יתקן מה שבידו לתקן, להשלים חסרונו בפסוקים     וברייתות המדברות מענינים אלו, ונציגם כאן שהם סדורים בספרים.


מי שמאחר לבא לבית הכנסת ולא שמע חצי קדיש קודם ברכו בשחרית יאמר זה.

זה אומר אני במקום חצי קדיש וקודם ברכו של שחרית.

        במדבר י"ד:יז  וְעַתָּ֕ה יִגְדַּל־נָ֖א כֹּ֣חַ אֲדֹנָ֑י כַּֽאֲשֶׁ֥ר דִּבַּ֖רְתָּ לֵאמֹֽר: יחזקאל לח:כג  וְהִתְגַּדִּלְתִּי֙ וְהִתְקַדִּשְׁתִּ֔י וְנ֣וֹדַעְתִּ֔י לְעֵינֵ֖י גּוֹיִ֣ם רַבִּ֑ים וְיָֽדְע֖וּ כִּֽי־אֲנִ֥י יְיָֽ: תהלים קד:א בָּֽרֲכִ֥י נַפְשִׁ֗י אֶת־יְ֫יָ֥ יְיָ֣ אֱ֭לֹהַי גָּדַ֣לְתָּ מְּאֹ֑ד ה֖וֹד וְהָדָ֣ר לָבָֽשְׁתָּ: לֶהֱוֵא שְׁמֵהּ דִּי אֱלָהָא מְבָרַךְ מִן עָלְמָא וְעַד עָלְמָא דִּי חָכְמְתָא וּגְבוּרְתָא דִּי לֵהּ הִיא:            אָמַר רְבִי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן לֵוִי כָּל הָעוֹנֶה אָמֵן יְהֵא שְׁמֵיהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא בְּכָל כֹּחוֹ קוֹרְעִין לוֹ גְזַר דִּינוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר בִּפְרוֹעַ פְּרָעוֹת בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל בְּהִתְנַדֵּב עָם בָּרֲכוּ יְיָ, מַה טַּעַם בִּפְרוֹעַ פְּרָעוֹת מִשּׁוּם דְּבָרֲכוּ אֶת יְיָ, אָמַר רְבִי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן לָקִישׁ כָּל הָעוֹנֶה אָמֵן בְּכָל כּוֹחוֹ פּוֹתְחִין לוֹ שַׁעֲרֵי גַן עֵדֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר ישעיה כו:ב  פִּתְח֖וּ שְׁעָרִ֑ים וְיָבֹ֥א גוֹי־צַדִּ֖יק שֹׁמֵ֥ר אֱמֻנִֽים: אַל תִּקְרֵי שׁוֹמֵר אֱמוּנִים אֶלָּא שֶׁאוֹמְרִים אָמֵנִים:


מי שלא שמע ברכו דשחרית יאמר זה.

זה אומר אני במקום ברכו כשחרית.

        שופטים ה:ב  בִּפְרֹ֤עַ פְּרָעוֹת֙ בְּיִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּהִתְנַדֵּ֖ב עָ֑ם בָּרֲכ֖וּ יְיָֽ: נחמיה ט:ה  בָּֽרֲכוּ֙ אֶת־יְיָ֣ אֱלֹֽהֵיכֶ֔ם מִן־הָֽעוֹלָ֖ם עַד־הָֽעוֹלָ֑ם וִיבָֽרֲכוּ֙ שֵׁ֣ם כְּבֹדֶ֔ךָ וּמְרוֹמַ֥ם עַל־כָּל־בְּרָכָ֖ה וּתְהִלָּֽה: קיג:ב־ד יְהִ֤י שֵׁ֣ם יְיָ֣ מְבֹרָ֑ךְ    מֵֽ֝עַתָּ֗ה וְעַד־עוֹלָֽם: עב:יח־יט בָּר֤וּךְ ׀ יְיָ֣ אֱ֭לֹהִים אֱלֹהֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל עֹשֵׂ֖ה נִפְלָא֣וֹת לְבַדּֽוֹ: וּבָר֤וּךְ ׀ שֵׁ֥ם כְּבוֹד֗וֹ לְע֫וֹלָ֥ם וְיִמָּלֵ֣א כְ֭בוֹדוֹ אֶת־כֹּ֥ל־הָאָ֗רֶץ אָ֘מֵ֥ן ׀ וְאָמֵֽן: אָמַר רְבִי עֲקִיבָא בְּכָל־יוֹם מַלְאָךְ אֶחָד עוֹמֵד בְּאֶמְצַע הָרָקִיעַ בְּשַׁחֲרִית וְאוֹמֵר י:טז יְיָ֣ ֖מֶֽלֶךְ צג:א יְיָ֣ מָלָךְ֘ שמות טו:יח יְיָ֥ ׀ יִמְלֹ֖ךְ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד: עַד כְּשֶׁמַּגִיעַ לְבָרֲכוּ חַיָּה אַחַת שֶׁשְׁמָהּ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְחָקוּק עַל מִצְחָהּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עוֹמֶדֶת בְּאֶמְצַע הָרָקִיעַ וְאוֹמֶרֶת בְּקוֹל רָם בָּרֲכוּ אֶת יְיָ הַמְבוֹרָךְ, וְכָל גְּדוּדֵי מַעְלָה עוֹנִין בָּרוּךְִ יְיָ הַמְבוֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד:


במקום קדושה דשחרית יאמר זה.

זה אומר אני במקום קדושה כשחרית.

        ויקרא כב:לב  וְלֹ֤א תְחַלְּלוּ֙ אֶת־שֵׁ֣ם קָדְשִׁ֔י וְנִ֨קְדַּשְׁתִּ֔י בְּת֖וֹךְ בְּנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל אֲנִ֥י יְיָ֖ מְקַדִּשְׁכֶֽם:        שְׂרָפִים עוֹמְדִים מִמַּעַל לוֹ שֵׁשׁ כְּנָפַיִם לְאֶחָד בִּשְׁתַּיִם יְכַסֶּה פָנָיו וּבִשְׁתַּיִם יְכַסֶּה רַגְלָיו וּבִשְׁתַּיִם יְעוֹפֵף: ישעיה ו:ג וְקָרָ֨א זֶ֤ה אֶל־זֶה֙ וְאָמַ֔ר קָד֧וֹשׁ ׀ קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְיָ֣ צְבָא֑וֹת מְלֹ֥א כָל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּבוֹדֽוֹ: וַתִּשָׂאֵנִי רוּחַ וָאֶשְׁמַע אַחֲרַי קוֹל רַעַשׁ גָּדוֹל יחזקאל ג:יב בָּר֥וּךְ כְּבוֹד־יְיָ֖ מִמְּקוֹמֽוֹ: תהלים קמו:י יִמְלֹ֤ךְ יְיָ֙ ׀  לְעוֹלָ֗ם אֱלֹהַ֣יִךְ צִ֭יּוֹן לְדֹ֥ר וָדֹ֗ר הַֽלֲלוּ־יָֽהּ: כְּשֶׁעָלָה מֹשֶׁה לַמָּרוֹם מָצָא כַת אַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת קָד֧וֹשׁ ׀ קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְיָ֣ צְבָא֑וֹת         מְלֹ֥א כָל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּבוֹדֽוֹ: וְכַת אַחַת אוֹמֶרֶת בָּר֥וּךְ כְּבוֹד־יְיָ֖ מִמְּקוֹמֽוֹ: וְכֻלָּם עוֹנִים בְּפֶה אֶחָד וְאוֹמְרִים       יִמְלֹ֤ךְ יְיָ֙ ׀ לְעוֹלָ֗ם אֱלֹהַ֣יִךְ צִ֭יּוֹן לְדֹ֥ר וָדֹ֗ר הַֽלֲלוּ־יָֽהּ:

במקום קדיש שלם יאמר ועתה יגדל וכו' ככתוב לעיל עד ברכו את יי ואח"כ יאמר זה.

זה אומר אני במקום קדיש שלם.

        אָמַר רְבִי יְהוֹשֻׁעַ בֶּן גַּדְיָא כָּל מִי שֶׁעוֹנֶה אָמֵן בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה זוֹכֶה וְעוֹנֶה אָמֵן לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא      שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר תהלים פט:נג בָּר֖וּךְ יְיָ֥ לְעוֹלָ֗ם אָ֘מֵ֥ן ׀ וְאָמֵֽן: בָּעוֹלָם הַזֶּה וְאָמֵן לָעוֹלָם הַבָּא:


למנחה במקום חצי קדיש יאמר ועתה יגדל וכו' ככתוב לעיל עד די לה היא ואח"כ יאמר זה.

זה אומר אני במקום חצי קדיש קודם מנחה.

        תַּנְיָא אָמַר רְבִי יוֹסֵי פַּעַם אַחַת הָיִיתִי מְהַלֵּךְ בַּדֶּרֶךְ וְהִגִּיעַ זְמַן תְּפִלַּת מִנְחָה וְנִכְנַסְתִּי לְחָרְבָה אַחַת מֵחָרְבַּת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם לְהִתְפַּלֵל בָּא אֵלִיָּהוּ זָכוּר לַטּוֹב וְשָׁמַר עַל הַפֶּתַח אָמַר לִי מַה קּוֹל שָׁמַעְתָ בְּחָרְבָּה זוּ אָמַרְתִּי שָׁמַעְתִּי בַּת קוֹל שֶׁמְנַהֶמֶת כְּיוֹנָה וְאוֹמֶרֶת אוֹי שֶׁהֶחְרַבְתִּי אֶת בֵּיתִי וְשָׂרַפְתִּי אֶת הֵיכָלִי וְהִגְלֵתִי אֶת בָּנַי לְבֵין הָעַכּוּם, אָמַר לִי בְּכָל־יוֹם וָיוֹם אוֹמֶרֶת כַּךְ וּכְשֶׁיִשְׂרָאֵל נִכְנָסִין לְבָתֵּי כְנֵסִיוֹת וּלְבָתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת וְאוֹמְרִים אָמֵן יְהֵא שְׁמֵיהּ רַבָּא מְבָרַךְ לְעָלַם וּלְעָלְמֵי עָלְמַיָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מְנַעֲנֵעַ בְּרֹאשׁוֹ וְאוֹמֵר אַשְׁרֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ שֶׁמְקַלְסִין אוֹתוֹ בְּבֵיתוֹ כָּךְ מַה לּוֹ לְאָב שֶׁהִגְלָה אֶת בָּנָיו וְאוֹי לָהֶם לְבָנִים שֶׁגָּלוּ מֵעַל שֻׁלְחָן אֲבִיהֶם:


אָמַר רְבִי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן לָקִישׁ כָּל הָעוֹנֶה אָמֵן בְּכָל כּוֹחוֹ פּוֹתְחִין לוֹ שַׁעֲרֵי גַן עֵדֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר

ישעיה כו:ב  פִּתְח֖וּ שְׁעָרִ֑ים וְיָבֹ֥א גוֹי־צַדִּ֖יק שֹׁמֵ֥ר אֱמֻנִֽים: אַל תִּקְרֵי שׁוֹמֵר אֱמוּנִים אֶלָּא שֶׁאוֹמְרִים אָמֵנִים:


למנחה במקום קדושה יאמר ולא תחללו וכו' כמו שכתוב למעלה ואח"כ יאמר זה.

זה אומר אני במקום קדושה של מנחה.

        אָמְרוּ עָלָיו עַל סַנְדַּלְפוֹן שֶׁהוּא גָּבוֹהַּ יוֹתֵר מֵחֲבֵרָיו מַהֲלַךְ חֲמֵשׁ מֵאוֹת שָׁנָה וְעוֹמֵד אֲחוֹרֵי מֶרְכָּבָה וְקוֹשֵׁר כְּתָרִים לְקוֹנוֹ וּמַשְׁבִּיעַ אֶת הַכֶּתֶר וְעוֹלֶה וְיוֹשֵׁב בְּרֹאשׁ אֲדוֹנוֹ וּבְשָׁעָה שֶׁיּוֹצֵא הַכֶּתֶר כָּל חֵילֵי מָרוֹם נִרְתְּתִין וּמִזְדַּעְזְעִין וְחַיּוֹת דּוֹמְמוֹת וּמְנַהֲמוֹת כַּאֲרִי בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה עוֹנִין וְאוֹמְרִין ישעיה ו:ג קָד֧וֹשׁ ׀ קָד֛וֹשׁ קָד֖וֹשׁ יְיָ֣ צְבָא֑וֹת מְלֹ֥א כָל־הָאָ֖רֶץ כְּבוֹדֽוֹ: וּבְשָׁעָה שֶׁמַּגִּיּעַ לַכִּסֵּא מִתְגַּלְגְּלִין גַּלְגַּלֵּי הַכִּסֵּא וּמִתְרַעֲשִׁין אַדְנֵי שְׁרַפְרֵף וְכָל רְקִיעִין אוֹחַזְתָן חַלְחָלָה וּבְשָׁעָה שֶׁהוּא עוֹבֵר עַל כִּסְאוֹ כָּל חֵילֵי מָרוֹם וְכֶתֶר הַכָּבוֹד שֶׁלּוֹ פּוֹתְחִין פִּיהֶם וְאוֹמְרִים יחזקאל ג:יב בָּר֥וּךְ כְּבוֹד־יְיָ֖ מִמְּקוֹמֽוֹ: בֹּא וּרְאֵה כַּמָּה גְדוּלָתוֹ וּשְׁבָחוֹ שֶׁל הַקָדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא   שֶׁבְּשָׁעָה שֶׁמַּגִּיעַ הַכֶּתֶר לְראשׁוֹ מַחֲזִיק עַצְמוֹ לְקַבֵּל הַכֶּתֶר מֵעֲבָדָיו וְכָל חַיּוֹת וּשְׂרָפִים וְגַלְגַּלֵי הַמֶּרְכָּבָה  וְכִסֵּא הַכָּבוֹד וַחֲיָלֵי מַעְלָה וּמַטָּה מִתְגַּדְּלִין וּמִתְגַּבְּרִין וּמִתְגָּאִין וְנוֹתְנִים הוֹד וְהָדָר וּמַמְלִיכִים כֻּלָּם בְּפֶה אֶחָד וְאֹמרִים שמות טו:יח יְיָ֥ ׀ יִמְלֹ֖ךְ לְעֹלָ֥ם וָעֶֽד:


לערבית במקום ברכו יאמר אחר והוא רחום.

זה אומר אני במקום ברכו של ערבית.

חַיָּה אַחַת בָּרָקִיעַ כְּשֶׁהוּא יוֹם אוֹת אֱמֶת בְּמִצְחָהּ וְיוֹדְעִין הַמַּלְאָכִים שֶׁהוּא יוֹם וְלָעֶרֶב אֱמוּנָה בְּמִצְחָהּ וְיוֹדְעִין שֶׁהוּא לָיְלָה וּבְכָל פַּעַם אוֹמֶרֶת בָּרֲכוּ אֶת יְיָ הַמְבֹרָךְ וְכָל גְּדוּדֵי מַעְלָה עוֹנִין בָּרוּךְִ יְיָ הַמְבֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד:

The Development of קדיש יתוםFundamentals and History – From ancient times to the modern era.

(Based on a comprehensive שיעור delivered in ארץ ישראל by רב בנימין שלמה המבורגר שליט"א, edited and arranged by Treasures of Ashkenaz)


We all know that if someone is an אבל, or if has יאהרצייט, then one attempts to recite קדיש, or even better, to daven in front of the עמוד. Often, there is competition to get the עמוד, and in the past, there was also competition to be able to recite a קדיש. Why? Because the קדיש was never established as a “group קדיש, rather as a single קדיש.which leads to the development of how the single קדיש turned (among some) into a “group קדיש, which we will discuss this later on in this שיעור. But first, some basics.



The first question which I would like to address, is how can an action or a deed that is performed after פטירה of a נפטר, after a person is already deceased, help after the deceased has gone to the עולם האמת? We find the ספר חסידים (1171) explains it very clearly. We find an expression in חז"ל, 'ברא מזכי אבא'  (סנהדרין קד) - a son adds זכותים, adds merits to his father. How so? If the father has not acted properly in his lifetime, yet he sends his son to a Talmudic school, ללמוד תורה ומעשים טובים, he sent him to cheder, sent him to a Jewish school…….and there the son learns Torah, he learns how to behave himself properly, and perform good deeds, 'הואיל ועל ידי האב זכה הבן'. The son’s good behavior is a result of the education which the father saw to, whatever the son does now as a result of this education, is'ברא מזכי אבא'  – the son therefore adds זכותים to his father. And furthermore, if the father commanded his son, he left a צוואה to do this and that, to do something after his פטירה, 'הרי כשעשו הבנים כאילו יעשו האבות', what the son does is as if the father did it (even though the father is not living anymore). From this concept comes the מנהג that people give צדקה לעילוי הנשמות. Similarly, davening for נפטרים, is also a תועלתit does give help to them, because 'מה לי תפלה מה לי צדקה?'. What difference does it make to הקדוש ברוך הוא if it is this מצוה or that מצוה, so long as it is done as a result of the father’s חינוך.



So far haven’t mentioned anything about קדישים. We have plenty of מדרשים which point out the special כח of קדיש. We have to keep in mind that קדיש is only one of many means to help a נפטר. There are plenty of others. רב יוסף האן נרדלינגן of Frankfurt, a member of the של"הs בית דין when the של"ה was aרב  in Frankfurt, who wrote a ספר called יוסף אומץ. It is at the same time both a ספר מנהגים and ספר הלכה. He writes a very important comment. The idea of קדיש, ברכו, ברכת המזון, שיר המעלות, ולמנצח for אבלים, (going to the עמוד for אשרי, למנצח, ובא לציון), going to עמוד for ברכו (ברכו is an expression for davening before the עמוד)…. also ברכת המזון, meaning the אבל leading the זימון, which is also a זכות for the נפטר, not common nowadays…….'מעלין המה על ידי הם מגיהנם' (raises the נפטר from גיהנם). Of course, he says, davening the whole תפלה is better than bits of it. And of course קדיש is also very important. But the most important thing, which people overlook he says, the biggest זכות, is לימוד תורה, learning Torah! Another point he makes is, תפלות קדישים ברכו... are mainly for עמי הארץ (unlearned people) – but if you can learn, and you learn, 'לימוד תורה מועיל שבעתים' (לימוד תורה helps seven fold), more than all these תפלות. Through that, not only מעלין מגיהנם, but מכניסין לגן עדן (they take the נפטר to גן עדן), which is a greater level. And if the son goes further and he is מחדש חידושי תורה, he’s a למדן and is on a level that he creates his own חידושים? Then the כבוד his father gets in גן עדן is even greater yet. He cites the זוהר, that in such a case הקדוש ברוך הוא calls everyone in פמליא של מעלה, and says ‘come in and assemble, to hear the beautiful חידושי תורה of this person, the son of פלוני בן פלוני (true חידושים, [not just made up ones]), the son of this נשמה. This is the greatest honor that one can give, to say חידושי תורה



However, קדיש nevertheless is well known by all as a great tool and most people try to have an opportunity to recite it.... Where does the text of קדיש come from? Is it in תלמוד בבלי? תלמוד ירושלמי? No!

מסכת שבת (בבלי) makes mention of a critical phrase, "אמר ריב"ל 'כל העונה איש"ר מברך בכל כחו' (רש"י – בכל כוונתו) 'קורעין לו גזר דינו'" , if one answers קדיש, which can mean כח הכוונה, according to רש"י and תוספות, or with all his strength, according to a second פשט brought in תוספות, his bad גזר דין is torn up, those inscribed for bad in the ספר החיים. We find in the מדרש, that רבי עקיבא attempted to help a נשמה he found in trouble in the עולם האמת, by teaching his son to say ברכו and קדיש, and in that way to get his father out of גיהנם. The ability of קדיש to bring people out of גיהנם, is mentioned by both the גמרא, and the מדרש.

The נוסח הקדיש is not mentioned either in מדרש or in גמרא. The first source in which find a text is in the סדור רב עמרם גאון, the oldest siddur we have – there we find the נוסח קדיש, but without 'ויצמח פורקנה ויקרב משיחיה', like נוסח אשכנז. That is the very first קדיש we find in Jewish literature. The phrase 'ויצמח פורקנה' we find in a later Babylonian siddur, that of רב סעדיה גאון. But just 'ויצמח פורקנה', not 'ויקרב משיחיה', so that must have been a later development.



So what is the purpose of קדיש? We find קדישים besides קדיש יתום. קדיש יתום is a very specific קדיש that is said after a תפלה. But we have קדישים within תפילה as well. The ספר האשכול, says that we have the קדיש for the purpose of separation. He says that the first קדיש is to separate between פסוקי דזמרה (ישתבח) and ברכת יוצר אור in שחרית. (The קדיש said nowadays after קרבנות is very recent, we will come back to that later). The second קדיש is after we finish שמנה עשרה. After שמנה עשרה we have תחנון, which is attached to it. If there isתחנון  we say קדיש after it, and that קדיש acts as a separation between the שמנה עשרה part of תפילה and קריאת התורה. If there is קריאת התורה, a קדיש separates קריאת התורה from אשרי ובא לציון, which is a new section. The final קדיש after אשרי ובא לציון, קדיש תתקבל, which ends all קדישים. Such is the structure whichקדיש  imposes on the service.


קדיש יתום, which has little to do with davening before the עמוד, which was instituted later, perhaps in the beginning of the second millenium. We do find it in the מחזור ויטרי already. It was introduced for יתומים קטנים who are not allowed to go before the עמוד. The son is a minor and therefore can’t help his father with קדיש, so they instituted קדיש יתום for him. But how many times does aיתום  have a chance to say קדיש? Initially, not at all. After עלינו? No, עלינו was not said daily in the ancient times. After the מזמור, שיר מזמור לאסף? Some shuls say it, you may know it from there, some after שחרית, some have it even after מעריב. This too did not exist in the time of the גאונים. So they instituted a non-specific מזמור after תפלה, and they enacted a קדיש to be said by קטנים. In the beginning, קדיש יתום was not said during the week, but only on שבת. On שבת we recite במה מדליקין after מעריב, This is still done in in חוץ לארץ as it used to be in European countries. במה מדליקין, 'אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא ...' which is אגדתא, then קדיש יתום. Nowadays, people say קדיש דרבנן, which is a later development. Initially this קדיש was for יתומים, קדיש forקטנים  who couldn’t recite קדיש during תפילה. The second opportunity for קדיש יתום was on שבת morning, after פטום הקטרת, 'אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא ...'. The third קדיש יתום, on מוצאי שבת after ויתן לך, after שיר המעלות אשרי כל ירא ה'. These were the only קדישים at the time of the ראשונים…….they eventually introduced קדיש יתום on weekdays as well……but that was a much later development. Eventually they began reciting שיר מזמור לאסף, after עלינו. שיר של יום developed even later. So the principle is, that one can only say קדיש יתום after sections of תנ"ך or at least פסוקיםwe never find that after a shiur קדיש is recited right away, rather the pesukim, 'רבי חנניא בן עקשיא אומר רצה הקבה לזכות את ישראל'……or 'אמר רבי אלעזר אמר רבי חנינא'…. (however not after a משנה). The קדיש said nowadays after the שלש עשרה מדות דרבי ישמעאל, before ברוך שאמר, is a disputed מנהג which does not fit with ancient the הלכה, but only with the מנהגי האריז"ל.



Reciting קדיש is a wonderful thing! חזרת הש"ץ is also a wonderful thing. What would you say however, if someone thought חזרת הש"ץ is a wonderful thing, I will say it twice. I want to repeat שמונה עשרה twice. How would we look at such a person? Is he doing something good? He has repeated שמונה עשרה twice. What if a person before a person drinks Coca Cola, says 'שהכל נהיה בדברו', then takes another sip and says it again and again, and again, after each sip. Is he more frum? Or if he says three times 'בורא נפשות' – is he more religious? Or is it a case of ברכה שאינה צריכה/ברכה לבטלה? Many פוסקים bring down, including the משנה ברורה, that just as we don’t repeat the same ברכה again and again, because the more you repeat them, the more difficult it is halachically (ברכה שאינה צריכה/ברכה לבטלה), the same way, one should not say קדיש more than needed. According to the plain הלכה in the משנה ברורה and earlier פוסקים, saying extra קדישים is wrong. And he says, 'כשם שממעטין לומר קדיש ...'. The ערוך השלחן uses very sharp terms against this practice. He says (אורח חיים נה, ג) “There are common people who believe that the more קדישים one says, the better, how wrong they are! One doesn’t use the scepter of הקדוש ברוך הוא more than He allows us to use it.” There is a limit to the amount of usage! By saying קדיש you are crowning הקדוש ברוך הוא. And if you repeat it again and again, it is a זלזול, you’re degrading the divine. And we find  פוסקיםthat say, those who increase the number of קדישים are weakening the divine קדושה of the great sacred name of הקב"ה, חס ושלום.


Nevertheless there is a great desire to say קדיש. It has increased so much, that people recite more קדישים, not only the number of times, but also in terms of the number of people saying it at one time. What we call nowadays a “group "קדיש, which didn’t exist in the past. Just as a “group חזרת הש"ץ(two בעלי תפלה saying חזרת הש"ץ together) would not be tolerated, the same should be true of the “group קדיש. It was created for קטנים, a קטן who can’t daven before the עמוד, so he may recite a קדיש after davening. Nowadays people join him! It’s like joining the בעל תפלה! We have a rule that תרי קלי לא משתמעי (two simultaneous voices are not heard). Imagine if a number of people would stand up here talking at the same time. One would get confused. The same holds true with a קדיש. This is the conception of the classical פוסקים.



We do find that ספרדים believed so much in the power of קדיש that they found all kinds of היתרים to say a “group "קדיש. They invented the idea of “group קדיש. It went so far in some places of the ספרדים, that in Iraq, we find the בן איש חי recording (בן איש חי, שנה א, פ' ויגש, סעיף טז) that in his city of Baghdad, the מנהג was, that everybody would say every קדיש possible during davening. When they finished ישתבחwhat happened after ישתבח? (even in those places that recite “group "קדיש, only the בעל תפלה says this קדיש and then ברכו.) In Baghdad, the whole congregation stood up and everyone said קדיש. Not only that קדיש, every קדיש! After שמנה עשרה, everyone stood up and said קדיש. The בן איש חי was very disgusted by it. קדיש יתום, might still be tolerated, but every קדיש? He said, “These people think that when they say קדיש they cause תחיית המתים.” They believe so much in קדיש, they view it out of proportion and in that they err.” We find that קדיש at one time, was only for the בעל תפלה. The קדיש after קריאת התורה likewise, became a קדיש יתום amongst ספרדים. This became widespread in some Ashkenaz communities as well ([ספר ירושתנו א, קיג־קכה] – רב המבורגר shows conclusively that this קדיש properly belongs to the בעל תפלה/בעל קריאה, not an אבל).



In קהלות אשכנז they give the one saying קדיש יתום the כבוד he deserves. The אבל is treated as a בעל תפלה. Firstly, the primary rule of a בעל תפלה is, that he goes to the עמוד. He doesn’t stand wherever he finds himself in synagogue says קדיש, he goes forward to the עמוד. Since the בעל תפלה is still at the עמוד, having more מזמורים to say, the person saying קדיש stands nearby, as close to theעמוד  as possible. This is brought down in several פוסקים, including the משנה ברורה. Secondly, one who recites קדיש dons a טלית, because like a בעל תפלה, and this is likewise brought down in the פוסקים.


The conception of group קדיש did not (historically) exist in Europe, not even in Eastern Europe, or even in Chassidishe circles.

If you open a שלחן ערוך, with the רמ"א, מגן אברהם. etc…., or if you look in פוסקים, like the אור החיים, כנסת יחזקאל……and many others, you will find something called סדר קדימה. It delineates in great detail who has the right to say קדיש. If you have several people in synagogue required to say קדיש, it lays out in what order and who has priority. We know that a בן שבעה (someone within שבעה) has priority over a בן שלושים, (someone within שלושים) בן שלושים over בן יב' חודש (someone within the twelve months of אבלות), and a יארצייט (Yahrzeit – marking the anniversary of a passing) has priority over all of them. All these priorities? All these discussions among פוסקים about who has priority? Someone may even have to wait a day, week, or month to say קדיש. Why? If there is a “group קדיש, there is no need for all these priorities, since everybody has the right to say קדיש.

I remember once I came to Manhattan, as a tourist from Israel. I had to daven מנחה. We went into a modern synagogue. I’m not used to this, living in ארץ ישראל. People came in without כיפותfor an ordinary מנחה. It was very heart warming for me to see so many people at a regular weekday מנחה. They all stood around and at the end of the תפילה, the penny dropped. I realized what was going on. Everyone said קדיש! I was the only one to answer this קדיש. Women said it as well – everyone, except and my wife and myself. This is something that did not exist in the past.



As I mentioned already, ספרדים accepted the “group קדישfirst. Then חסידים, who adopted נוסח ספרד, and certain מנהגי ספרד, were the next ones to accept it. And yet, even in the Chassidishe world, we find those who were not happy about it. The sharpest is the Komarna Rebbe. In his ספר, (שלחן הטהור (תל אביב, תשלג, סימן קלב, הלכה ד, p.194), he writes that if two people say קדיש together, 'הוא פגם וחטא גדול' – it is a flaw and a great sin! Not only does he not do a favor for the נפטר, but it could be that it even harms him, bringing him down to a lower stage in גיהנום, or גן עדן, חס ושלום. He remarks that it comes from the ספרדים, and therefore is not part of our heritage, and we should reject it. Unfortunately, hardly anyone in Chassidic world follows him.



How did “group קדישcome to the non-Chassidic world, which follows the משנה ברורה and the פוסקי אשכנז?

We have a number of historical factors, beginning in the nineteenth century. One was Napoleon Bonaparte. To some extent he is the one responsible for this change in our religious history.

Now that’s puzzling! What does Napoleon have to do with our קדישים?

Well, Napoleon was a tremendous conqueror, he conquered almost every part of Europe and he established new states, one of which was the Kingdom of Westphalia. He let his brother, Jerome-Napoleon, rule it. Jerome-Napoleon had new ideas of liberty, equality, and fraternity (equality, freedom, brotherhood). He wanted to make the Jews equal to everyone else, and make their religion equal as well. So he established the Consistories, which meddled in the religious lives of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews. He opened churches for all three. The Consistories, ruling Jewish life instituted reforms, appointing reform motivated individuals to introduce all types of (relatively) mild reforms, in Jewish life. Amongst them was the “group קדיש.

The “group קדישwas a way of democratization, and equality. Ideas of equality, of rights which led to the forbidding of calling up people by name (יעמוד פ"ב"פ) for עליות to the תורה. The reason being, some people are called up by titles (e.g. יעמוד מורנו הרב)……Inequality! Can’t fit in with the regime of Napolean Bonaparte! So they didn’t call up anybody by name – they gave out cards instead (there are remnants of this practice in some synagogues today). Another thing the Consistories didn’t like were priorities in קדיש. Why should there be priorities for קדיש? We want everyone to have the right to say קדיש! They abolished the priorities for קדיש and forced the “group קדישon the German - Jewish communities which they governed. Obviously, as soon as this regime collapsed, after a few years, it was rejected strongly by all the רבני אשכנזthough it slowly made its way into Eastern Europe (הישיבה הרמה בפיורדא, V.II, pg. 410-417).


הרב עקיבה איגר AND THE “GROUP קדיש

We find an interesting role played by the great master רב עקיבה איגר in this development. What happened? How did רב עקיבה איגר become involved?

In the year 1831 there was a great Cholera Epidemic in Europe, which cost the lives of thousands upon thousands of people. It hit Jewish communities hard as well, including רב עקיבה איגרs city of Posen. רב עקיבה איגר was confronted by immense pressure from people desiring to say קדיש for their loved ones, and therefore he gave them a היתר for “group "קדיש. The great רב עקיבה איגר?! He writes in his own handwriting, ‘In ראש חודש אב 5591/1831 when cholera started here in our city, there were so many אבלים, that needed to recite קדיש. I made a תקנה allowing “group "קדיש, for one year only…..” He gave a היתר for one year only …and after that year (by the following ראש חודש אב), ב"ה, the epidemic had stopped, people stopped dying, and when the trouble was over it was stopped. “It was a הוראת שעה (strictly temporary enactment) not allowed from then on except for one קדיש a day which was still allowed as a ‘group קדיש’”.

People extrapolated that if the great רב עקיבה איגר could allow a “group קדישin his city, in his time, so we can allow it in our time, unlimited, anytime we need a קדיש. If it’s good enough for רב עקיבה איגר, it’s good enough for us! This is a misconception, many people go around and say, רב עקיבה איגר allowed it, he allowed a “group קדיש”…..

I have a recent discovery, – a manuscript of his son, רב שלמה איגר, his successor in the רבנות of Posen, and he refers to this הוראה of his father, regarding the “group קדיש. I will now read from this newly discovered manuscript, which has not yet been published -

It’s clear in my mind that what my late father זכרונו לברכה, the great רב עקיבה איגר, instituted for everyone to say קדיש together, was not his wish at all, rather it was against his will. He found a היתר to be מתיר an איסורnote that he refers to it as an איסור (prohibition). There was a terrible need for the common people. צורך ההמון he calls it – a psychological need. At the time of the Cholera Epidemic, people were panicking – trying to do anything which could help the deceased. He says that we find a similar היתר in regard to a נר יאהרצייט that goes out בין השמשות. One may have a non-Jew light it again, because of a psychological need. But those תלמידי חכמים who say a “group קדיש דרבנןafter a שיעור? What is their היתר to say such a “group קדיש? This היתר was not meant for תלמידי חכמים! It is meant for the common people who have psychological need. Am Haaratzim, המון עם. Don’t lean on my father רב עקיבה איגר (for a general blanket היתר of a “group קדיש)! This is a discovery, which I must say, is an eye opener in the whole notion of רב עקיבה איגר and the “group קדיש.”


הרב יעקב עמדין AND THE “GROUP קדיש

When the Consistoire in Westphalia introduced the “group קדיש, as well as other היתרים that had not existed, they tried to give it a halachic image, or to find halachic grounds to support them… For example, they instituted that all אשכנזים should consume קיטניות on פסח. Not only the Consistoire allowed them to, they forced רבנים by a decree to eat it, as non-Ashkenazim do. The Consistoire put forward opinions, which served their purposes that the איסור קיטניות did not apply to their times, and they claimed that in times of war or shortage of food, it was perfectly acceptable. They found the חכם צבי and רב יעקב עמדין, his son, both expressing the view that now as opposed ancient times, the איסור קיטניות doesn’t make sense. The grains we buy today are not mixed together as they were in days of old. However, these רבנים themselves only brought up the notion, that there is no room for איסור קיטניות in our times. They didn’t introduce it practically, and did not rely on it.

Similarly, the comments of these two great גדולים, were applied to “group "קדיש. They lived in Portuguese/Spanish exiled communities in Hamburg, Amsterdam, and London. Portuguese/Spanish Jews which had fled a hundred years after the great exile of Spanish Jews in 1492, and established beautiful flourishing communities in Western Europe. These Sephardic communities, observed Sephardic practices. The חכם צבי and רב יעקב עמדין, observed and admired what was worthy to learn from them. But again, they never practically introduced it, never said that it was proper for an Ashkenazi to rely on a Sephardic heter.



The Rabbis that were engaged in the Consistories of Westphalia took advantage of the expression of רב יעקב עמדין in this matter as the model for a Rabbi who was trying to institute it (למעשה).

Therefore it is worthwhile to quote the exact quotation of רב יעקב עמדין regarding this matter, and see if he actually wanted to institute it. He writes in his very famous רב יעקב עמדין סידור, perhaps the most important siddur of an אחרון. We find no אחרון on his level who compiled his own siddur. The two volume (עמודי שמים and שערי שמים) siddur itself, and commentary, which he published in his own lifetime, in his own home.

When it comes to קדישים, he says that he will not mete out קדימות (priorities) in קדישים, which are discussed elsewhere 'כבר דברו בו מספיק גדולי האחרונים ...' (it has already been sufficiently discussed by the great later authorities)………anyway, 'מה טוב ומה ישר הוא מנהג ספרדים', that more than one person says it. Therefore there is no reason for מחלוקת, no competition…. you don’t have to go into all those דינים of who goes first. If you really want to know the קדימות, see שלחן ערוך, לבוש, other מפרשים etc..

This is the passage proponents of “group "קדיש like to quote but they miss two points. Firstly, people forget that he says go look it up (the קדימות)….he doesn’t say you do not have to do it – he says look elsewhere for the information. He says I admire it (the Sephardic way), but he does not say ‘I am a Sephardi’. Secondly, he says, you know אשכנזים have a מנהג that the last day of saying קדיש in the year of אבילות (called יום הפסקה- the day people stop saying קדיש), he gets top priority, to recite all the קדישים of that day, everyone else is pushed aside.

These rules would only apply according to one person reciting קדיש. רב יעקב עמדין says, “I want to warn you….When you finish the last day of the eleventh month, you should stop (saying קדיש) then, and not go by the practice of the ספרדים who have a פסק that you can continue for another week and stop after eleven and a quarter months, a week later.” So we see that רב יעקב עמדין didn’t actually follow the מנהג ספרד. He himself says that he stopped immediately after the eleventh month, like אשכנזים. This is the same רב יעקב עמדין who wrote that though he admired  Sephardic practice, never attempted to introduce the same among אשכנזים.


THE חתם סופר RESPONDS TO הרב יעקב עמדין, DEFENDS THE SINGULAR קדיש

What is particularly interesting is that there was a citation of what the חתם סופר wrote in a תשובה, defending the old מנהג אשכנז, that only one person says קדיש at a time, and taking issue with רב יעקב עמדין about it.

The analysis of the חתם סופר, contrasting the מנהג אשכנז singular קדיש with the group קדיש practice, is quite enlightening.

He says as follows "That which רב יעקב עמדין wrote regarding קדיש, that the מנהג ספרד in which everyone recites קדיש together is easier, and many, e.g. a group, who do a מצוה, are better than individuals who do so…. can we, blithely assume, that theגדולי אשכנז  clung to an inferior practice without justification? So it is a wonder, astounding, that our ancestors, the great תלמידי תורה of אשכנז, to whom the תורה was an inheritance, as is stated in the  תשובות רבינו אשר, the  רא"ש(which is quoted by the great Sephardic Rav, the בית יוסף, in his commentary on שלחן ערוך יורה דעה as well), didn’t follow such a practice. Can we lightly assume that they had an inferior and defective stance in this matter? And furthermore, how can we understand the סדר קדימה, the מנהג that an אבל in שבעה has precedence over one in שלושים, who has precedence over a בעל יאהרצייט, who has precedence over an אבל in י"ב חודש? After all, if there are partners who find profitable merchandise, can one of them say, I need it more, give it all to me, and the others have no share in it? No, the partners divide it. So too, with קדיש, if several people need to say קדיש, they should not share it and say it all together, but rather than only one should recite it.

So the חתם סופר explains that the main benefit to theנפטר  (deceased) that comes from sayingקדיש  is not from the mere recitation of it, but rather from the many responses of אמן, and especially אמן יהא שמיה רבה, that it elicits from theצבור  (congregation). Since those come about via the אבל, the benefit accrues to the נפטר.

(We could view this in terms of a multiplying effect. If one person saying קדיש causing a ציבור of fifty people, for example, to answer four אמןs, one אמן יהא שמיה רבה, and one בריך הוא, he has done so much more than just say קדיש with six responses of אמן, איש"ר, ובריך הוא. He has brought about three hundred such responses)

Therefore, explains the חתם סופר,  מנהג אשכנזwhich requires that only one person says קדיש at a time, is beautiful and most potent. Because where many say קדיש at the same time, the bringing about of the responses of אמן which comes about through just one of them, causes the others to be  in the category of מסייע, those who extend a hand, the act of which is considered by הלכה, as 'אין בו ממש', lacking in substance compared to one who is the clear cause of an action….



The reason why in the German communities, they did not follow these new היתרים, is because they knew exactly what their origins were. It did not come from the רבנים like רב עקיבה איגר, it definitely did not come from the חתם סופר. It was one of the early Reform inroads, from the Consistoire.


רב יעקב עטלינגר a German Rav, the ערוך לנר, his ספרים are learned in all ישיבות. He was once asked about the “groupקדיש . Would it be acceptable for a community to adopt this new Sfardishe מנהג. To support their view they cited the words of רב יעקב עמדין. His response was the  following. “You refer to it as a great תקנה to go along with the “group קדיש? To change a מנהג ישראל which has prevailed in אשכנז, prevailed in Europe, not only in Western Europe, but also in Eastern Europe, for hundreds and hundreds of years. Ever since קדיש יתום was established, we have had only one person reciting a קדיש, and you want to follow these מתחדשים, the reformers who instituted this, and have changed so many other things of תפלה as well? No, no, no, one should not do it!” (תשובות בנין ציון, קכב).



The bottom line is, we think that, okay, some Yekkes still obey this הלכה, they don’t say “group קדיש, that even some Litvaks still obey this rule, they follow the Chazon Ish, for example,…but all ספרדים do say it. However, we find that that even some ספרדים, like those of the Tunisian Jewish capital, Djerba, according to their רבנים down to the present day, are very מקפיד that only one person should say קדיש.

I trust I have shown the historical development of קדיש, that initially everyone recited a single קדיש, the ספרדים started the concept of a “group קדיש, then חסידים adopted it, and eventually some אשכנזים followed.... There are still some pockets which do not follow רב יעקב עמדיןs idea, but רב יעקב עמדיןs פסק, not to change, and they therefore still say a single קדיש.

The Contemporary Confusion about the קדיש after קריאת התורה

קדיש לאחר קריאת התורה  למי שייך ?האם כל דאלים גבר

By Treasures of Ashkenaz

 רב המבורגרwas asked, in light of the statement in  ספר פני ברוך(a popular contemporary work on אבילות, translated into English under the title “Mourning In Halachah” (Artscroll)), the the קדיש after קריאת התורה belongs to אבלים, what basis is there for the contrary מנהג אשכנז requirement that the בעל קריאה - not an אבל - says this קדיש?

He responded that the מנהג is a continuation of the ancient practice been passed down to us from the גאונים and ראשונים (while the practice cited by the פני ברוך is a later distortion of מנהג הספרדים, which some אשכנזים have adopted).

רב המבורגר then makes a very trenchant observation. In various halachic literature, there is discussion concerning when there are multiple mourners, which gets preference. In those discussions, the different קדישים available for such are delineated. However, notes רב המבורגר, in all those discussions, not once is the קדיש after קריאת התורה included in such a framework! The reason simply being, because it was known that that קדיש belonged to the שליחי ציבור  (בעלי קריאה), and not אבלים.

As was discussed previously, in some ספרדי circles, due to the great desire of the masses to say קדיש, people engaged in questionable practices, such as saying קדיש together with the ש"ץ, something the בן איש חי, complained about and tried to address. Until today though, in קהילות הספרדים, such practices continue.

The purpose of the קדיש after קריאת התורה is explained by the ספר האשכול, האגור, and the בית יוסף. The בית יוסף states, טעם על הקדישות שאומרים בתפלה..וקדיש אחר קריאת התורה, "כי היא מצוה בפני עצמה.". The קדיש is to make a separation between different segments of תפילה, distinguishing between various segments thereof. It was not instituted to serve אבלים by giving them a chance/place to say it, unlike other קדישים.

רב המבורגר quotes from over thirty authorities, from the זמן הגאונים to the present day, which show that this קדיש belongs to the  בעל תפלה(בעל קריאה). These authorities cover a very great spectrum of גדולי עולם, such as רב עמרם גאון, the מחזור ויטרי, the רמב"ם, ראב"ד, ראבי"ה, רוקח, אור זרוע, אבודרהם, מהר"ם מרוטנבורג ,שבלי הלקט, מאירי, מרדכי, בעל הטורים, מהרי"ל, בית יוסף, יעב"ץ, בעל התניא, ר אהרן מקארלין, ר' וולף היידנהיים, מהר"ם בריסק, דברי יואל (סאטמאר), אגרות משה,   מנחת שלמה (ר שלמה זלמן אויערבאך).

As time went on, some ספרדים began granting this קדיש to mourners, mainly in parts of North Africa, and in ארץ ישראל, while other רבני הספרדים opposed this change. רב שם טוב גאגוין (Gaguine) writes in כתר שם טוב, that in London and Amsterdam that קדיש was always said by the בעל תפלה). As time passed, it became more widespread among ספרדים, to the point that it was seen as a trademark מנהג הספרדים, which אשכנזים did not practice, as רב עובדיה יוסף wrote in his שו"ת יביע עומר, חג יו"ד סי כ"ו אות ד'. It spread to some אשכנזי immigrants to ארץ ישראל as well, some of them having adopted certainמנהגי ספרד . Others, such as the family of רב חיים בריסקר, held fast to the old מנהג אשכנז that this קדיש belongs specifically to the ש"ץ, מפניני הרב מ"ד)-מה).

In some Chassidic circles, where there already existed an inclination for מנהגי הספרדים, they accepted to a limited degree this change, to transfer the קדיש after קריאת התורה to an אבל. However, this was limited to an אבל that received the last עליה, not a mourner that was not involved with the קריאה, who just came over afterward to say קדיש. Over time though, that stipulation was forgotten and/or discarded (as sometimes happens when a limited היתר is given, which may not be understood by the masses), with the great demand by אבלים for opportunities to say קדיש, and in some of these circles אבלים took over that קדיש. However, even in the Chassidic camp, important and powerful figures, such as theדברי יואל מסאטמאר  for one, were insistent that only the ש"ץ (בעל קריאה) should say this קדיש, and this insistence among someחסידים  continues to this day.

There is still a very pressing question. Why does only one person (e.g.אבל ) say that קדיש, even though there are several people sayingקדיש  at other points where קדיש יתום is said, e.g. after עלינו? If these people claim that the קדיש after קריאת התורה is a קדיש יתום, not the קדיש of the בעל תפלה, why is it only said by one אבל and not by all אבלים (although according to מנהג אשכנז only one person at a time says קדיש, in these places they follow the modern מנהג הספרדים that multiple people recite it simultaneously.) So why not here as well? The answer must be that somehow, under the surface, it is known that this קדיש is really not just a regular קדיש יתום, but that it is different.


Further Comments About the Form and Function of the קדיש.

The טור states that the פסוקים, 'ועתה יגדל' and 'זכר רחמיך' are recited before every קדיש. Very few people have the מנהג to say them, possibly because of issue of הפסק. Practically, the פסוקים are only recited before a קדיש תתקבל.

The תלמוד does not require standing for  קדישat all. חסידי אשכנז accustomed themselves to stand just for אמן יהא שמיה רבא.... The מהרי"ל comments, that those already standing, should not sit until after אמן יהא שמיה רבא..., otherwise it belittles the קדיש. (i.e. since one is already standing for ישתבח one should remain standing for the קדיש before ברכו.) The חות יאיר was surprised to find out that the מהרי"ל didn't stand for קדיש. רב יוספה שמש and יוסף אומץ are of the opinion, that one should stand for every קדיש.


These are the words of the בעל האגודה to מסכת ברכות (דף ג) :

 'יהא שמו הגדול מבורך מכאן משמע שיש לומר יְהֵא שְׁמֵיה ולא מפיק ה' שְׁמֵהּ דהוי משמע שם יה''.


Until the early seventeenth century the first two words of קדיש were not pronounced with a צירי (יִתְגַּדֵּל וְיִתְקַדֵּשׁ). The first to do so was the בנין שלמה (ר' שלמה זלמן האנא Frankfort a. d. Oder 1723). This work was highly controversial; in fact, he was forced to print an apology which was appended to the end of the book. Numerous works came out that took issue with many of his textual changes. ר' יעקב עמדין and many of the others that disagreed with ר' שלמה זלמן האנא here as well as in other parts of תפילה. ר' שבתי סופרs understanding is that the first two words are Hebrew, and therefore he rejects pronouncing them with a צירי. ר' שלמה זלמן האנאs changes  were accepted by a) theויעתר יצחק , who advocates for pronouncing it with צירי. b) the פרי מגדים and the גר"א ((מעשה רב ס' נד.

The original נוסח of קדיש did not include וְיַצְמַח פֻּרְקָנֵהּ, since the whole prayer of the קדיש is for גילוי כבוד מלכות שמים  which will be at the time of the גאולה. The ערוך השלחן (או"ח 56:2), explains that the explicit תפילה for משיח, 'וְיַצְמַח פֻּרְקָנֵהּ וִיקָרֵב מְשִׁיחֵהּ', which was added by נוסח ספרד, is alluded to by the words, וְיַמְלִיךְ מַלְכוּתֵהּ, meaning הקב"הs kingdom should rule, in order for the פסוק of 'וְהָיָה יְיָ לְמֶֽלֶךְ עַל־כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ' to be fulfilled, with the coming of משיח. נוסח ספרד added the phrase whereas נוסח אשכנז did not for reasons of פשט and סוד. In general, the preference in נוסח אשכנז is a more concise נוסח, understanding that brevity is an advantage. In general, where there is a shorter and longer נוסח, the shorter one is the original and the longer a later addition, since words were added in certain places, but not taken away. רבינו אלעזר רוקח of Worms (4936-4998) makes it quite clear, that the first part of קדיש contains only twenty words corresponding to the עשרת הדברות plus the ten instances of the word אני in סדרת קדושים. The twenty words also correspond to the twenty times it says ד' אלדים in בראשית and the twenty kinds of כוונות that דניאל recited in his תפילה. Additionally, according to נוסח ספרד which does say'וְיַצְמַח פֻּרְקָנֵהּ וִיקָרֵב מְשִׁיחֵהּ'  should אמן be said in response? Since the רמב"ם makes no mention of אמן following 'וְיַצְמַח פֻּרְקָנֵהּ וִיקָרֵב מְשִׁיחֵהּ'   - even those who do add this phase, should not answer אמן (גרי"ז סולובייציק).


It is appropriate for the חזן to wait until the ציבור has also completed reciting the word יתברך.


There is no doubt that one should answer אמן after 'יתגדל... שמה רבא'. This is discussed by the רוקח and the רמב"ם.

There is a מחלוקת הפוסקים as to whether one should respond אמן following the phrase בריך הוא. In order to alleviate a doubtful situation,פוסקי אשכנז  ruled, that both ש"ץ and קהל should recite בריך הוא together.


According to מנהג אשכנז, the פסוקים,  'ככתוב בתורתךand 'ונאמר' are not considered part of עלינו, and need not be said, even in a non-מנהג אשכנז synagogue. The פסוקים should be said however, if one wishes to recite קדיש after עלינו. (Notwithstanding the fact that reciting קדיש after עלינו is quite problematic according to מנהג אשכנז).


קדיש דרבנן originated from נוסח ספרד. Later it was accepted in אשכנז - but not recited during תפילה (after the recital of פטום הקטורת, פרקי אבות, במה מדליקין), but only outside the נוסח התפילה. There are no sources for adding באתרא 'קדישא' to קדיש דרבנן. The Steipler Gaon expressed opposition to saying'קדישא' . The חתם סופר did say 'די בשמיא וארעא'.


The recital of (דהוא עתיד לאתחדתא...) by some at a סיום is a relatively recent development. Originally, it was only recited at a לויה. מנהג אשכנז is to recite a regular קדיש דרבנן at a סיום מסכת או סדר משניות. Ancient editions of ש"ס do not have (דהוא עתיד לאתחדתא...) in the text of קדיש דרבנן of the הדרן. The reason for saying it at a לויה is understandable, since it mentions תחית המתים, which has no relevance to a סיום. Perhaps since people often make סיומים לזכר נשמות הנפטרים, to coincide with a שלושים or יאהרצייט, some began reciting דהוא עתיד לאתחדתא as well.


The פסוקים in the middle of קדיש (קבל ברחמים, יהי שם ד', עזרי מעם ד') are not mentioned by the ראשונים, but were added in the first printed סידורים. The source for their recital is unclear, therefore, some are accustomed to say them while others are not.


עושה השלום is said by those who do not change to ברוך אתה ד' עושה השלום at the end of עמידה (during עשרת ימי תשובה), so instead they say עושה השלום at the end of קדיש.


The usual custom of a קהילה is to give each חיוב an opportunity to recite one קדיש. If an individual fails to receive a קדיש by himself, it is still a greater עילוי נשמה for him to attend synagogue and answer אמן יהא שמיה רבא, then to oren at home. Many פוסקים maintain that reciting multiple קדישים is tantamount to a ברכה שאינה צריכה! Not only is it not beneficial to the מת, but may be חס ושלום detrimental. In מגנצא, קדיש יתום was recited only once a week, namely on  שבת (after the recital of ויתן לך, פטום הקטורת, במה מדליקין). This was still the prevailing מנהג at the time of the מהרי"ל. Although today, it is the view of most people, that the most important thing is to say as many קדישים as possible, this does not seem to be the way the ראשונים viewed it.

If a נפטר has no sons, a) a grandson or son-in-law may recite קדיש b) brother(s) say קדיש or c) someone is hired to say קדיש. In Prague the מנהג was that a woman would say קדיש in such an instance, standing in a separate room where she could be heard in the synagogue, however, this was not a widespread מנהג.


ו. בביאורו


והיות שכל עוצם זכות הקדיש הוא שעי"ז מתקדש שמו הגדול יתברך שמו - הרי צריכים להבין פירוש הדברים     של השבח. ונבאר כאן בעזהי"ת בקצרה את דברי הקדיש :


יתגדל ויתקדש - הוסד על פי המקרא "והתגדלתי והתקדשתי" האמור במלחמת גוג ומגוג שאח"ז יתגדל שמו    של הקב"ה, כדכתיב ביום ההוא יהי ה' אחד ושמו אחד (לשון הטור או"ח נ"ו)


    שמי' רבא - שיחזור להיות שמו שלם, כשמגיע לזמן הגאולה ולנקמה בעמלק, דכל זמן שליטת עמלק אין שמו של הקב"ה שלם ואין כסאו שלם (וכביכול בהסתר פנים), כדכתיב "כי יד על כס י-ה" שאין הכסא שלם ואין שמו שלם עד למפלת עמלק (שטנו של ישראל), ואז יקוים "האויב תמו חרבות לנצח כו' וה' לעולם ישב כונן למשפט כסאו", השם שלם וכסאו שלם (מלשון הטור ועוד).


ב) בעלמא דברא כרעותי' - בעולם הזה שבראו כפי עומק רצונו הוא, ולא כלל כפי השגת רצון בני אדם [עולם מלא פלאות ופליאות בהמון יצוריו ועל כולם האדם בתכונתו ושאיפתו הפכפכנית, שברשותו להכניס את יוצרו ולעשות ההיפך מרצונו וברשותו לעשות רצונו ולעלה ולקלס]. ומרמז גם לדברי רבי אבהו (ב"ר פ"ג) מלמד שהי' בורא עולמות כו' ואמר דין הניין יתהון לא הניין לי (וכפי' "דובר שלום" הנדפס בסדור הבר רא"ל גורדון מירושלם).    וראה גם פי' הגר"א זלה"ה שקאי על יתגדל ויתקדש שמו כרצונו (ומובא בפי' עיון תפלה שבסדור הנז"ל).


ג) בחייכון וביומיכון - לא רק בחייכון העתידים בתח' לעת"ל אלא גם ביומיכון העכשוים. ובחיי דכל בית ישראל - לאלה החיים כיום ולכל אלה שיקומו לתחי' העתידה.


ובאבודרהם ועוד - מפרשים : לפי שקודם הגאולה יתרבו התלאות והרציחות בישראל ר"ל, עד שרבים מחכז"ל  אמרו ייתי ולא אחמיני' (סנהדרין צ"ח :) לכן אומרים בחייכון וביומיכון שתזכו להיות מהנשארים לחיים.  


ד) בעגלא -במהרה (שנזכה לאחישנה) ובזמן קריב (ושתי' התופעה כענני שמיא ולא כעני ורוכב על החמור),         [כופל הלשון מרמז אפשר לשני הממראות הנז"ל של ריב"ל בסנהדרין צ"ח.].


ה) יהא שמי' רבא מברך - לא יפסיק בין רבא למברך (כמ"ש הפוסקים ומובא ברמ"א שם נ"ו). ובתוס' (ברכות ג.) הביאו בשם מחזור ויטרי כי "יהא שמי' רבא" היא תפלה שימלא שמו ויהי' שלם, ז"א שגם הציבור עונה אותה המשאלה (מלעיל אות א'). ומברך לעלם היא תפלה אחרת (ומובא גם פי' זה בטור), וע"ז כתבו התוס' שמלשון הגמ' מוכח שהאי מברך מחובר למעלה, יהא שמיה רבא מברך (וכמ"ש הרמ"א), וכ"מ מכל דברי הזוהר דבכל דוכתי שמזכירין יש"ר נאמר "יהא שמי' רבא מברך", [ובסוכה ל"ט. אמר רבא לא לימא אינש יש"ר והדר מברך אלא יש"ר מברך א"ל רב ספרא כו' אלא התם והכא כו', משמע שזוהי המחלוקת בגמ'].

        והיות שגם הפי' השני של מחזור ויטרי הביאו כמה פוסקים (הטור ואחרונים) רצוי שהמהדרים יכוונו     לשני הפרושים : א) שיהא שמי' רבא, (ז"א שיהא שמו שלם ויכירו הכל שאין מלבדו). ב) ושיהא שמי' (הרבא)     מברך (לעלם ולעלמי עלמיא).

        ובכן אין מפסיקין לא בין שמי' לרבא, ולא בין רבא למברך (ראה מש"ש מג"א סק"ב ואחרונים עוד).

        והנה הגר"א ועוד כתבי לענות איש"ר עד עלמיא. וי"פ לומר גם תיבת יתברך (כפשטות לשון השו"ע סס"י נ"ו). וי"א לסיים עם הש"ץ עד דאמירן בעלמא (וכמשמעות דברי הב"י וכאשר הבין מדבריו המג"א, וכ"כ השל"ה).

        ואחרי שיש מחלוקת בזה - לכן כשמפסיקין באמצע הברכה או באמצע ק"ש לאיש"ר ודאי אומרים רק    עד עלמיא, ועל בסתם (כשאינו עונה באמצע) יכולים לומר עד דאמרינן בעלמא, [ועכ"פ עיקר השבח הוא עד עלמיא,   וז' תיבות הללו (היינו עד עלמיא) אומר בכל כוחו והשאר אומר בלחישה עם החזן עד דאמרינן בעלמא].

        כשעונים אמן יהא שמי' רבא כו' - אין מחברים תיבת אמן ליהא שמי', ומפסיקין בין אמן ליש"ר,        דעניית אמן קאי אלעיל, על יתגדל ויתקדש כו', ויש"ר הוא שבח אחר.

        [בהא דאז"ל "העונה איש"ר בכל כוחו" ופרש"י בכל כונתו - ראה את אשר הביאו לעיל סעיף ה' ושם בהגהה פי' גאון ישראל בעל נפש החיים].

ו) שמי' דקודשא בריך הוא לעילא מִכָּל־בִּרְכָתָא כו' - לפמ"ש רוה"פ האי בריך הוא מחובר להלאה. בריך הוא לעילא  מן כל ברכתא (ד"מ ורמ"א שם בשם או"ז). אבל לפמ"ש שע"ת בשם ס' הכונות האי בריך הוא מחובר ללעיל       "שמי' דקודשא בריך הוא" ואח"כ מתחיל שבח אחר לעילא מן כל ברכתא כו', וכ"מ מבאור הגר"א.


ז) תושבחתא ונחמתא -יש מבארים "ונחמתא" תפארת והלל (כפמ"ש הכתב והקבלה שבלשון ערבי עתיק הוא      לשון תפארת), ורבים מפורשים שהמכוון לזמן הנחמה המקווה, שאז יושר לו שיר ושבח חדש מהולל בתשבחות, וע"ז אנו אומרים לעילא מִכָּל־בִּרְכָתָא ושירתא תושבחתא ונחמתא - כלומר אפי' מזו שתאמר בזמן הנחמה והגאולה (וכ"מ מתרגום ירושלמי בראשית מ"ט א', ומדרש שה"ש עה"פ סמכוני באשישות, כמובא בפי' עיון תפלה בסדור  הרב רא"ל גרדון ז"ל).


ח) בהקדיש ישנן עשר תשבחות : - יתגדל, - ויתקדש, - יתברך, - וישתבח, - ויתפאר, - ויתרומם, - ויתנשא, - ויתהדר, ויתעלה, - ויתהלל. והן (השבחות הללו) נאמרים בלה"ק (כמ"ש הב"י בשם אבודרהם) - שהם נגד עשר הדברות, ועשרת המאמרות שבהם נברא העולם.


ט) לאמירת איש"ר רצוי לעמוד (וראה ד"מ סק"ה).

י) רובם נוהגין לכרוע באמירת הקדיש ה' כריעות : באמירת א) יתגדל ויתקדש. ב) בעגלא ובזמן קריב. ג) יתברך וישתבח. ד) שמי' דקוב"ה ה) ובאמרית אמן. ויש שכתבו הכריעות באופן אחר (ראה טור נ"ב, מ"ש בשם הכלבו ובשם הפרדס וראה שו"ע או"ח נ"ו וב"ח ולבוש). וכתבו כי מחמשת הכריעות ד' מהן חובה והחמישית רשות.

Four pronunciations of the חוֹלָם prevailed among Ashkenazic Jews in recent generations up to the time of the Holocaust: two in Eastern Europe and two in Western Europe. The table below illustrates these four pronunciations in both English and German as well as in the Ashkenazic pronunciation of לשון הקודש.

Region of Diaspora

Accent in Ashkenazi pronunciations

Accent in German diacritic

Accent in English

Poland, Austria-Hungary

komatz chirikאָאִי



Lithuania, Russia

segol chirikאֶאִי



Northern Germany, Holland

patach shurukאַאוּ



Southern Germany, Switzerland, France, Latvia, England, North America

komatz shurukאָאוּ





THAT THE 'חוֹלָם' IS NOT PRONOUNCED “Oy”.Written by Rabbi Y. Kramer - Jerusalem Israel

FIRST PROOF (The pronunciation of various גדולים)


In theספר משנת הגר"א , the גר"א writes that the pronunciation of theחוֹלָם  is a diphthong - a blending of two vowels - the קָמַץ קָטָן and theשוּרֻק  - the sounds of which issue from the lips (which excludes the ‘Oy’ sounds completely - since the ‘Y’ sound comes from the palate). (Regarding the above mentioned blending of vowels, specifically theקָמַץ קָטָן  which is aתוֹלְדָה  of theחוֹלָם  and is sounded from the ‘lips’ - and not the קָמַץ גָדוֹל which is the אָב of the פַּתַח and is sounded from the ‘throat’). The שרשי מנהג אשכנז (הרב בנימין שלמה המברגר שליט"א) writes - according to the testimony of הרב הגאון שלמה וולבא שליט"א - the Kelm Talmud Torah, as a matter of principal, pronounced the חוֹלָם as 'Ou'. Ullman הרב שלום testified that his רבי, הרב אליהו דעסלער, the מכתב מאליהו, who was a תלמיד in the Kelm Talmud Torah, was  מקפידuntil the end of his days to pronounce the חוֹלָם as ‘Ou’ both in ‘davening’ and in reading תורה. הרב נתן שטערן of Monsey, N.Y. testified that his grandfather, הרב הגאון יעקב קאמינעצקי זצ"ל, was מקפיד to pronounce every חוֹלָם in קריאת שמע as ‘Ou’ and not ‘Oy’. This was corroborated by his son הרב אברהם קאמינעצקי and his daughter Rebbetzin Rivka Diskind. A ישיבה בחור once asked הרב הגאון משה פינשטיין זצ"ל the following question - his father (בעל תשובה) pronounces theחוֹלָם  as ‘Ou’ and he attends a ישיבה where they all pronounce it as ‘Oy’, how should he conduct himself - should he follow his father’s מנהג or pronounce it the ישיבה way? רב משה answered he should follow his father’s מנהג and then added the following words “the pronunciation of the חוֹלָם as ‘Ou’ is probably the correct one”.  הרב זאב   לעף, the רב of מושב מתתיהו in ארץ ישראל, testified that his רבי the הרב הגאון גיפטער זצ"ל, the ראש הישיבה of Telz Yeshiva, was very מקפיד to pronounce theחוֹלָם  AS ‘Ou’and not ‘Oy’, at all times and not just in קריאת שמע. He wasמקפיד  as well in all other 'דקדוקים' such as proper accents, etc..

SECOND PROOF (Pronunciation during קריאת שמע)


The pronunciation of the חוֹלָם as ‘Oy’ seems to be a relatively recent phenomenon - the last 150 to 200 years or so - and was due to the influence of the migrating Jews from country to country in Europe during the upheavals that occurred in the nineteenth century!! - From  ספריםbefore that time we see that the sound of ‘Oy’ for aחוֹלָם  was unknown. - for example the סדור of הרב שבתי סופר,יסוד ושורש העבודה , the באר מים חיים and others - point out how to be careful in the pronunciation of קריאת שמע - one of the points they make is to be careful to separate the attached - that is not to blend two words together (where the last letter of the first word is the same as the first letter of the 2nd word) such asבְּכָל ׀ לְבָבְךָ  (one should make a very slight pause between the two words) so that the two ‘לַמֶ"דִיםshould be heard - and not as one ‘לָמֶ"ד(if the 2 words would be said together). Likewise, one should make a pause betweenמִצְוֹתַי ׀ אֲשֶׁר  - so that the  יוֹ"דat the end ofמִצְוֹתַי  (Which is a ‘y’ sound) should not make the word אֲשֶׁר, which follows it, sound like 'יַשֶר'. - Likewise, every conceivable combination of words in קריאת שמע, which if read without pause, would make them sound otherwise is pointed out. If theחוֹלָם  were pronounced ‘Oy’ - then one ought to be careful separating like sounding letters for example וְלֹֹא יִהְיֶה andבְּעִתוֹ יוֹרֶה . If   בְּעִתוֹ were pronounced as “B’eetoy” andוְלֹֹא  were pronounced as “V’loy” - because of the ‘Y’ sounds at the end of those two words - they certainly would have pointed out to be careful to separate them from the words that follow them - namely  יִהְיֶהand יוֹרֶה - so as not to make the two ‘Y’s sound as one ‘Y’, (as they pointed out by all the other words where the last letters of one word would be blended with the with the first letters of the next word, and the letters would sound like one letter.) b) וּזְכַרְתֶם and אוֹתוֹ which ifאוֹתוֹ  were pronounced ‘Oysoy’ the ‘Y’ sound at the end would blend with the next wordוּזְכַרְתֶם  and sound like “יוּזְכַרְתֶםbut since its not mentioned - it is clear that the חוֹלָם was not pronounced as ‘Oy’.

OBSERVATION!It is strange that those who pronounce God’s name (אֲדֹנָי) as “Adoynoy”, have not realized a contradictionמִנֵיה וּבֵיה  - that theחוֹלָם  over theדָלֶת  in God’s name has the same sound as the  קָמַץ-יוֹ"ד at the of the word - that is the sound of theחוֹלָם  which comes from the lips, should have the same sound as קָמַץ-יוֹ"ד which comes from the throat and palate respectively? and are two different vowels entirely! Why should or could they sound the same?

OBSERVATION!The usage of certain terms today should also be an indication of the sound of ‘Ou’ being retained even by those who say ‘Oy’! For example; we wish each other a “Gut Yom Tov” - no one says “Gut Yoym Toyv”. likewise there are; יוֹרְשִים, רֹאש הַשָנָה, שוֹחֲטִים, מַזָל טוֹב, רוֹצְחִים, and others.




STEP  1 - We find in all of תנ"ך that when a word begins with one of theבֶגֶד כֶפֶת  letters, if the word right before it ends with an open syllable - that is, the last sound the word makes is a vowel - then there is no דָגֵשׁ in theבֶגֶד כֶפֶת  letter. - i.e. in קריאת שמע- וּבְלֶכְתְּךָ בַדֶרֶךְְ. The last sound one hears in the first word is theקָמַץ - therefore an open syllable - there is no דָגֵשׁ in the ב in the next word. Another example - לֹא תִתֵן - since the last sound ofלֹא  is a vowel (the ‘Ou’ sound) there is no דָגֵשׁ in the ב in the next word and instead ofתִּתֵּן  it becomes תִתֵּן.[If the  לאis pronounced ‘loy’ the  דָגֵשׁ should appear in תִּתֵּן]. This is true throughout all of תנ"ך.

(By the way the above rule is NOT applied when there is a pause [like a comma or period] between two words, i.e. ‘וּלְעָבְדוֹ בְּכָל, since both first words have ta-amim that are considered a stop (like a comma) so in spite of them ending with an open syllable, the word following retains theדָגֵשׁ.- The reason for the דָגֵשׁ, is for ease of pronunciation - it is easier to blend an open syllable with one of the above six letters when the דָגֵשׁ is removed than with theדָגֵשׁ. Therefore,   if there were a pause between the two words, blending them could not be done, and the rule doesn’t apply. Another case where it does not apply is, where it would cause a problem in pronunciation - i.e. בְּשִׁבְתְּךָ בְּבֵיתֶךָ  - to change theב  to aבּ  in the second word and have to read the word - בְּבֵיתֶךָ is too problematic and not easy to pronounce, therefore the דָגֵשׁ is retained and the rule is not applied. )


STEP  2 - When a word begins with one of the בֶגֶד כֶפֶת letters and the word right before it ends with a closed syllable - the last sound the word makes is a consonant - then the בֶגֶד כֶפֶת letters of the following word retains the דָגֵשׁ, i.e. מְזוּזוֹת בֵּיתֶךָ.


STEP  3 - The letter יוֹ"ד ( “Y” in english) functions most times as a consonant and sometimes as a vowel. It functions as a consonant for example in the words יד, ילד, יהיה etc.. It functions as a vowel - only when it follows one or two vowels - the חִירִיק or theצֵרֵי  - i.e.מִי  or בְנֵי. The reason being, since the יוֹ"ד comes from that organ of speech called the ‘Palate’ (according to the ספר יצירה), and the two vowels - the חִירִיק  and the צֵרֵי also come from the ‘Palate’ - they blend together, and the 'יוֹ"ד' takes on the property of a vowel. That is why in all of תנ"ך whenever a word ends with a  יוֹ"ד the vowel before it is a חִירִיק or a צֵרֵי, it is considered an “open syllable” (the last sound heard is ‘ee’ or ‘ay’) - if the following word begins with one of the בֶגֶד  כֶפֶת letters, the דָגֵשׁ is removed from those letters. i.e.וִימֵי בְנֵיכֶם, כַּנְפֵי בִגְדֵיהֶם  and וַיהִי בֹקֶר (בראשית פרק א:ה,ח,יג,יט,כג,לא) and in  (ויקרא כו:כב) וְהִשְׁלַכְתִּי בָכֶם.


STEP  4 - When a word ends with a יוֹ"ד and the vowel proceeding it - is not a חִירִיק or a צֵרֵי - but it is either a,קָמַץ ,חוֹלָם , orשׁוּרֻק  - then the  יוֹ"דis considered a consonant. (because the sound of the  פַּתַּחthe קָמַץcomes from the throat - and the sound of theחוֹלָם  and theשׁוּרֻק  come from the lips - there is no blending with the יוֹ"ד which comes from the palate - it is therefore considered a consonant in these cases.). Throughout all of תנ"ך whenever a words ends with a יוֹ"ד preceded by one of the vowels that is not a חִירִיק or aצֵרֵי  and the next word begins with one of the בֶגֶד כֶפֶת   letters, the דָגֶשׁ in theבֶגֶד כֶפֶת  letter is retained. - (where theיוֹ"ד is proceeded by aפַּתַּח )מִצְוֹתַי תִשְׁמְרוּ (ויקרא כו:ג) andבְחֻקֹתַי תִמְאָסו  (ויקראֹ כו:טז) andשְֹפָתַי תִפְתָח  (תהלים נא:יז). i.e. (Where the יוֹ"ד is proceeded by a קָמַץ) ישעיה ז:כ))אֲדֹֹנָי בְתַעַר, and in דניאל א:ב)) אֲדֹֹנָי בְיָדוֹ. (i.e. where the יוֹ"ד is proceeded by a שׁוּרֻק  as inויקרא ב:טו)  קָלוּי בָאֵשׁ )(.

In these instances the יוֹ"ד closes the syllable, as it is a consonant, the דָגֶשׁ is retained in the בֶגֶד כֶפֶת letters that follow it.


STEP  5 - In all of תנ"ך we find - that when a יוֹ"ד at the end of a word is proceeded by a חוֹלָם as in the word גוֹי - and if followed by a word that begins with a בֶגֶד כֶפֶת letter - the בֶגֶד כֶפֶת letter retains the דָגֶשׁ - i.e.גוֹי כְרֵתִים  (צפניה ב:ה) andגוֹי בְּגוֹי  (דברי הימים ב טז:ו) and everywhere it is written גוֹי גָּדוֹל (numerous places - one example - (דברים ה:ז), the גִמֶ"ל inגָּדוֹל  always has a דָגֶשׁ. Other examples -הוֹי כָל  (ישעיה נה:א), and בָנִים הוֹי (ישעיה ל:א).

Whereas - in all of תנ"ך we find - any word that ends with just a  חוֹלָםand is followed by a word that begins with aבֶגֶד כֶפֶת  letter then the דָגֶשׁ is always removed from that  בֶגֶד כֶפֶת letter. This shows that a word ending in aחוֹלָם  is an ‘Open Syllable’ and a vowel. - In דברים יג:ה there are four words that end with aחוֹלָם  followed by four words that begin with aבֶגֶד כֶפֶת  letter  תnot תּ    the דָגֶשׁ was removed - because it followed an ‘Open Syllable’ word. We see clearly that aחוֹלָם  at the end of a word is an ‘Open Syllable’. We see from above that a word that ends with a יוֹ"ד following aחוֹלָם  closes the syllable. This is in all of תנ"ך!


It is therefore clear, from above, that whenever one pronounces aחוֹלָם  as an “Oy” he is adding aיוֹ"ד , ר"ל, to a word which does not belong. Therefore when one pronounces God’s name as “A-DOY-NOY”, he is adding a יוֹ"ד - no different from adding any another letter for instance “A-DO-B-NOY” or “A-DO-G-NOY” which has no קְדוּשָׁה whatsoever. (It is no different from theמַחֲלָה  [sickness] which is frequently heard, people saying God’s name as “adEE-noy” [changing theחוֹלָם  to an ‘ee’] or “ad’noy” [omitting theחוֹלָם  completely] or “adono” [omitting the יוֹ"ד at the end of God’s name] all of which also have no קְדוּשָׁה whatsoever) Therefore it would seem that any ברכה said with ‘A-DOY-NOY’ (or “a-dee-noy” or “ad’-noy”) has noקְדוּשָׁה  and noאָמֵן  should be answered. (It would probably be an “אמן יתומה.) Furthermore, it would seem that one who pronounces God’s name with an ‘Oy’ has never made a ברכה, nor has been יוצא מצות קריאת שמע .

In the בית המדרש of the חזון איש, if aש"ץ  (in שמונה עשרה) ended the ברכה of השיבה שופטינו with"מלך אוֹיֵב צדקה ומשפט"  ( אוֹיֵבinstead of אוֹהֵב) - it is well known, (and brought in a number ofספרים ) that theחזון איש  would not answer אמן.

Some people wish to be מלמד זכות quote the מדרש inשיר השירים רבה  on the פסוק, "ודגלו עלי אהבה" - theמדרש  seems to indicate that any mistake in wording or pronunciation is acceptable to God. - ספר הטעמת מלים הקדושות (הרב אברהם י הופמאן שליט"א states, “After a lengthy discussion regarding the above מדרש concludes (with the corroborating testimony from הרב ש. גרינעמאן - that the חזון איש agrees) that theמדרש  is only discussing a case of (1) an עם הארץ , (2) a תינוק , (3) anאונס , and (4) there is no one to learn from, - only in such cases is there a special ‘Love’ from God for their efforts and intentions - but the  מצוהis still not considered fulfilled.”

But why look forהֶתֵּרִים ? In aמדרש  (שיר השירים), one can see the seriousness of proper pronunciation. Inגמרא מגילה (דף כד:)  רבינו הקדש (רבי יהודה הנשיא) castigated רבי חייא telling him that whenever he comes to the פסוק (ישעיה ח:יז) “וְחִכִיתִי לד'(And I will wait for God) he is being מְגַדֵף and  מְחַרֵף(He has reviled and blasphemed God). רש"י explains that רבי חייא pronounced a ה instead of aח  (not unlike our difficulty in America with this sound -since there is noח  in English), - instead of saying the wordוְחִכִיתִי  with a ח (And I will wait for God), he saidוְהִכִיתִי  with a ה (And I will smite God).תוספות  point out - it was not impossible forרבי חייא  to vocalize a ח, but if he concentrated with difficulty, he could pronounce it. Now we can be sure thatרבי חייא  had the properכַּוָנָה  when he said the word   וְחִכִיתִי - still רבינו הקדש castigated him in the strongest terms. (In spite of the fact that it was רבי חייאs מסורה ).

How careful must one be in pronunciation - it may lead to חירוף & גידוף, חס ושלום. (Like sayingבַּל גבורות  (no powers) instead of בַּֽעַל גְּבוּרוֹת (Master of mighty acts), or in [שירת הים] וַיִרוּ העם (the nation shot at ...) instead of וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם (the nation feared God). etc., etc..

Some people point out that it is unnecessary to be careful in the pronunciation of the words or letters in קריאת שמע since we rule in accordance רבי יוסי inברכות (פרק ב' משנה ג') , which states “if one reads (קריאת שמע) and is not meticulous in its letters - רבי יוסי  says one has fulfilled one’s obligation. The משנה ברורה (סימן סב, א), explains רבי יוסי differently way. (After seeing the above משנה ברורה, one should be careful to pronounce the ה in the word יְבוּלָהּ in order to fulfill ones obligation).

It would be appropriate at this time to point out that the (צַוָאָה סימן ב') 'יסוד ושרש העבודה' states that the long and bitter גלות is due to the fact that Jews do not pronounce the letters, vowels and דָגֵשִׁים correctly during davening, and that such flawed prayers do not accomplish anything in the upper worlds.


משנה ברורה אורח חיים סימן ה' סעיף קטן ב':

בנקודת אדני דהיינו מאלף בחטף פתח אבל לא בפתח לבד או בשב"א לבד והד' בחולם

והנון בקמץ וידגיש היו"ד שתהא ניכרת יפה רק בכונה יכוין לשם הוייה.


There are various מנהגים, how to pronounce the שם השם.

American / Sephardic Pronunciation         British / German Pronunciation

   Ahdonoy/Adonai [Short ‘O’ Sound]                 Ahdaunoy/Ahdounoy [Long ‘O’ Sound]


Rav Shimon Schwab זצ"ל100 writes, “the most important word in all of our תפילות is the Name of הקדוש ברוך הוא. In place of the Ineffable Name, which is written י־ה־ו־ה, we use אדני (my Master), the plural of word אדון with the first person singular pronominal suffix. This word is written with a חולם, which can be pronounced differently, depending on individual מנהגים. However, it is certainly not pronounced “EE.” Consequently, the often mispronounced word “ahdeenoy” 'אֲדִנָי' (or “ahd’noy” 'אֲדְנָי') are not the Name of הקדוש ברוך הוא and are totally meaningless. The use of this word for שם הקדוש is            a travesty, and those who pronounce it this way should be corrected.”


The פתח under the א is a חטף פתח. חטף comes from the word לַחֲטוֹףto cut off”. Therefore the accent is not on the first syllable (אֱמֶת, אַהֲרֹן). To accent the second syllable in הרב יעקב עמדיןs opinion may be considered 'חירוף וגידוף' and moreover according to the נודע ביהודה it is simply incorrect. It is deplorable that there are חזנים who insist upon accenting the second syllable, and feel that the melody demands this pronunciation, as if the melody rather

than the הלכה were the standard.


The accent is therefore on the last syllable.

"אבל בשם הנכבד למה יגרע שם אבינו מלבוא בו הטעם כמשפטו הלא הנו"ן נקודה בת"ג ונח נראה ולית כאן ספיקא שהטעם מלרע ולא שמענו מעולם שום פקפוק בדבר זה וכל המשנה אינו אלא טועה והמחזיק במחלוקת ועומד על דעתו לקרות מלעיל הוא עצמו מלרע וידו על התחתונה."                        שו"ת נודע ביהודה, (או"ח מהדורא קמא, ס' ב')

        The accents used in the Book of תהלים deserve to be given just as much consideration with respect to their relevance in its interpretation as the accents which are employed in the other books of the Scriptures. However, it must be understood that in part they have a different value and are designated by other names in the Books       of תהלים, משלי and איוב (ספרי א֗ מ֗ ת֗) than in the remaining books. We therefore present here a list of the accents occuring in the ספרי א֗ מ֗ ת֗, which is based on the one included in the edition of 1825 by Heidenheim.





א֡         פזר, as in: כי אין בפ֡יהו (תהלים ה:י).


ב֤ ׀ מהפך לגרמיה, as in: כ֤י ׀ לא אל (תהלים ה:ה).


ג֨ ׀ אזלא לגרמיה , as in: ל֙דוד ׀ שפטני (תהלים כו:א).


ד֗  רביע גדול, is distinquished from the רביע קטן by its greater separating effect                and sometimes also transforms שוא into a vowel, as in: כי רשעים יאבֵ֗דו (תהלים לז:כ), or in: נרננה בישועת֗ךָ (תהלים כ:ו).


הׄ         רביע קטן, has a lesser separating effect and is always followed by a עולה ויורד, as in:

        אספרׄה א֫ל ח֥ק (תהלים ב:ז).       


ו֘ צינור   , is a זרקא which is always placed at the end of a word when the stress is on      the next to the last syllable, as in: כסוס כפרד֘ (תהלים לב:ט), or as in: פחדו פחד֘ (תהלים נג:ו).   It must be distinguished from the ‘joining’ צינורית, which occurs together with מרכא or מהפך and precedes the stressed syllable, as in: אל י֘בושו בי קויך֘ (תהלים סט:ז). In this פסוק י֘בושו is צינורית and קויך֘ is צינור. In monosyllabic words צינור is placed at the end and צינורית at the beginning of the word. מי ז֘ה מלך (תהלים כד:ח) is accented with a צינורית.


ז֥֫         עולה ויורד, is the accent which has the greatest effect in separating parts of sentences from each other. Its value in this respect is the same as that of the אתנח in the other books of תנ"ך. In fact, the אתנח in the ספרי א֗ מ֗ ת֗ is weakened in its effect when preceded by an עולה ויורד, e.g., in תהלים א:א,ג. The עולה ויורד consists of a מרכא underneath the stressed syllable and of aמהפך  above the preceding syllable, as in: מהרה הצ֫יל֥נו (תהלים לא:ג), בח֫סדֶ֥ך (ibid. 8), יכ֫לכלֶ֥ך (תהלים נה:כג). In case of a monosyllabic word, or when in a two syllable word the מרכא is placed underneath the first letter, then the מהפך is placed at the end of the preceding word, as in: אבפרה אל֫ ח֥ק (תהלים ב:ז), פלגי֫ מ֥ים (תהלים א:ג). When such a word itself takes no accent, as in the examples just cited, then the מהפך takes the place of a מקף.


ח֖ דחי    , is a טפחא which appears always at the beginning of a word in front of the initial vowel, even if the latter is not stressed. It must be distinguished from the טפחא, which is always found on the stressed syllable, is called טפחא מאילא and serves in a connecting function. The accent in ו֖עלהו לא יבול (תהלים א:ג) is a דחי, whereas               וכ֖ל אשר יעשה (ibid.) is accented with a טפחא מאילא. In all monosyllabic words containing the vowels חולם or שורק the דחי must always be placed in front of the first letter, as underneath it, it would be a טפחא מאילא. In ע֖ז לעמו (תהלים כט:יא) it is דחי, but in אך ט֖וב (תהלים עג:א) it is טפחא מאילא.

ט֑ אתנח   , has a separating effect only (as in the other books of תנ"ך) if it is not preceded by an עולה ויורד in the same sentence, e.g., in תהלים א:ד,ה,ו (Cf. ז above).


יׄ֝ רביע מוגרש  , the רביע is always placed on the stressed syllable and the גרש on the first letter, as in: יבושו ר֝שעׄים (תהלים לא:יח), or as in: ממצוקותיׄה֝ם (תהלים קז:ו). However,               if the first letter is also stressed, then רביע and גרש are placed together above it, as in: על יׄ֝תר (תהלים לא:כה).


יא֓ ׀ שלשלת גדולה, is always followed by a vertical line, which is similar to a פסק, in order to  distinguish it from the שלשלת קטנה, which belongs to the group of ‘joining’ accents. In לדר וד֓ר ׀ (תהלים פט:ב) it is a של' גדולה, whereas in מלאך ד֓' (תהלים לד:ח) it is a של' קטנה.


יבֽ סילוק  , is a סוף פסוק which which closes a sentence as in the other books.




א֤ מהפך , is sometimes found in connection with צינורית in order to distinguish it from             מהפך לגרמיה, as in: קומ֘ה֤ ׀ הוש֘יע֤ני (תהלים ג:ח).


ב֥ מרכא    , is sometimes found in connection with צינורית in order to distinguish it from עולה ויורד, as in: ג֘א֥ץ (תהלים י:ג).


ג֨ אזלא     . -


ד֣ מונח    , is found underneath a letter and is called שופר הולך מלמטה.


ה֬ עילוי    , is found above a letter and is also called שופר הולך מלמעלה.


ו֢  ירח בן יומו    , is also called גלגל.


ז֖     טפחא מאילא (Cf. דחי).


ח֘ צינורית   , occurs only in connection with מהפך and מרכא and always precedes them so as to mark them as joining accents (Cf. א and ב). It may be distinguished from the ‘separating’ צינור by its position (Cf. ibid.). When a צינורית occurs with two monosyllabic words, which by rights should be connected with a מקף, a צינורית is always placed above the beginning of the word which precedes the one accented with a מהפך or מרכא and thus takes over the function of a מקף, as in: כ֘י הו֤א אלדינו (תהלים צה:ז).


ט֓ שלשלת קטנה   , is never followed by a vertical line.


        All the remaining accents which occur in the other books of תנ"ך, but are not enumerated in the foregoing, are not found in the ספרי א֗ מ֗ ת֗, except in the introductory and concluding פסוקים of the Book of איוב.


The first Jew, Morris Baumgarten, arrives in Chicago.



The City of Chicago, with it’s five thousand inhabitants, is incorporated       as a city.



Morris Baumgarten is followed by Isaac Ziegler, the brothers Benedict and Jacob Shubert and Phillip Newburgh. The following settle in Chicago between the years 1840 and 1844: H. Fuller, Jacob Fuller, Marx L. Mayer, Rosbach, Isaac Engle, B. Stern, A. Frank, Marcus Peisser,  Levi Rosenfeld, Jacob Rosenberg, Morris Einstein, the brothers   Julius, Abraham and Moses Kohn, James Marks, the two brothers Benjamin and Henry Meyer, and Mayer Klein the first Chazzan in Illinois.



Religious services are held for the first time in the Jewish settlement of Chicago, on Yom Kippur, in a small room above a store on Wells and Lake streets. The following persons are present: Benedict Shubert,           Jacob Rosenberg, S. Friedheim, who live at Pigeon Woods, west of Elgin, Illinois, the Bavarian brothers Julius, Abraham, Morris and Mayer Kohn, who had come to Chicago from New York City. Harry Benjamin,         Philip Newburgh and Mayer Klein. The last two officiate as chazzonim.

Jewish Burial Ground Society founded - the first Jewish organization in Chicago.



The second public services are held on Yom Kippur, also in a private room, above the store of Messrs. Rosenfeld & Rosenberg, 155 Lake Street.   The chazzonim this time were Philip Newburgh and Abraham Kohn.    Not many more persons are present at this service than at the first.

A Jewish cemetery is established near Lake Michigan just north of      North Avenue, within what is now known as Lincoln Park.



Kehillas Anshe Mayriv - Congregation of The Men Of The West - the first Jewish congregation in Chicago and possibly the Midwestern United States, is founded. The Kohn brothers, they had left their widowed mother Dila      in New York. Mrs. Kohn would come only if she could be provided            with kosher meat. Her sons hire a schochet from New York City,          Rabbi (Reverend) Ignatz Kunreuther.

Rabbi Kunreuther (1811-1884), was born in Gelnhausen near Frankfort-on-the-Main. The son of Rabbiner [Naftoli] Hirsch Levi Kunreuther, the last rabbi of Gelnhausen and head of the town’s large yeshiva. While he was not an ordained rabbi, he was a chacham, a learned man. He was the schochet, chazzan, Torah reader, teacher and Minister of congregation. He is an upright and kindly character, well-versed in Talmud and Hebrew lore.   He conducts the services at K.A.M. in accordance with the strict observances  of Orthodoxy. Rabbi Kunreuther assembles the first Beth Din in the city.   The rabbi’s residence and the K.A.M. synagogue are spared from destruction by the Chicago Fire of 1871, while on the other side of the street, and north of it are completely burnt. Rabbi Kunreuther insists that his prayers          (in accordance with Minhag Ashkenaz) saves that side of the street.

Abraham Kohn (1819-1871) born in Moenichsroth, Bavaria, Germany, becomes the leader of the Chicago Jewish community and serves as K.A.M.’s vice president and third President of from 1853 to 1856. He is an enthusiastic advocate of establishing a Rabbinical College in the United States. Abraham fights the battle of conservative Judaism against modern Reform. Not less attractive is the other side, the gentler side of his character: his detestation of human slavery. These two qualities are complimentary.



The lot on Clark Street, between Adams and Quincy, is leased by K.A.M.    for the erection of a permanent synagogue.

The first Jewish wedding in Chicago occurs, between Jacob Rosenberg and Hannah Reese (of the Michael Reese family).



Chicago obtains its first Jewish Teacher, “Lehrer” Leopold Mayer. His first position is in Chicago as a private teacher of German and Hebrew.           Mr. Mayer at once becomes a power force, and uses his influence to reform Judaism in Chicago. He makes it possible for later friends of reform,           to establish the “Jüdischer Reformverein.” It was this influence, which induces K.A.M. to entrust the instruction of its children to a progressive man like teacher Godfrey Snydacker (Gottfried Schneidacker). Born in Westphalia, Germany. Mr. Snydacker receives an excellent education in the national schools. It is expected that he will teach the children in his new way and imbue them with his new thoughts of Judaism. He is a man of modern education and progressive ideas. His engagement is quite a step for a congregation, which is until now has been strictly Orthodox. For three years he is preacher of K.A.M., and also teaches the day school in connection with the Congregation. When Sinai Congregation is formed in 1858, Mr. Snydacker becomes a member and is on several occasions, it’s presiding officer.



Kehillas Anshe Mayriv builds it’s first Jewish house of worship, on Clark Street between Adams and Quincy, now the site of the Kluczynski Federal Building. The synagogue also houses the first mikveh (ritual bath) in Chicago.

At K.A.M. from the start, Minhag Frankfurt, the rituals of the Jews from Frankfurt Am Main, is adopted, "but it doesn’t take long before demands   are made for a more ‘reformed’ ritual and more ‘modern’ services for the synagogue. The leaders of the congregation gradually yield, and grant a few concessions from time to time. Piyutim and Selichos are first abolished,  then prayers are sung in the vernacular of the country, the organ               is introduced and then a few more such ‘slight reforms’ are adopted.        The kosher dietary laws though, are still strictly adhered to by most of the members of the congregation, and they therefore still require the services of a Schochet."



Twenty Jews from Posen, Germany have become discontented enough to break off from K.A.M. (partly because of the majority of its members originating from Bavaria it has become known as the “Bayerische Shul”) and found Chicago’s second Jewish congregation, Kehillath B’nai Shalom which is more Orthodox and practices Minhag Polin as well as cultural differences between Eastern European and German immigrants, leads to creation of this new congregation.          



Rabbi Kunreuther sits on a Bais Din with a lay person Samuel Straus, as well as Rabbi Isador Kalisch (1816-1886), who journeys from     Cleveland, Ohio to be the necessary third. The rabbinical court on which they sit had been convened to perform the conversion of Caroline Hamlin        of Ohio, who marries (Colonel) Marcus Spiegel, a young Chicago Jew whose father Moses Spiegel, teaches in K.A.M.’s religious school. Colonel Spiegel one of the highest ranking Jewish officers in the Union Army during the American Civil War is mortally wounded during the Red River Campaign on May 4, 1864. His brother Joseph Spiegel founds the famous Spiegel Catalog in 1865.

Rabbi Kunreuther severes his connection with K.A.M. when his ‘extreme’ Orthodox views compel him to resign rather than to submit to innovations in the ritual. However, according to one document, he is actually expelled. Later in life, Rabbi Kunreuther engages in real estate and loans, in which he is very successful. Mr. Snydacker is then appointed president of the congregation and engaged by the congregation as Torah reader and teacher.


K.A.M. establishes an all-day school and also Sunday school.



The question or ritual is still agitating the minds of the members. Resolutions are adopted in one meeting and reconsidered in another. Minhag Hamburg is proposed by one group, the Merzbacher Reform Prayer-Book by another. As a compromise Minhag Frankfort is briefly reintroduced, and again discarded. The reform element of the congregation is by now restless and dissatisfied, and the conservative element unyielding and persistent. Towards the close of 1861 twenty-six members secede K.A.M. and form a new organization under the name Sinai Congregation. Rabbi Kunreuther is succeeded in the pulpit by Rabbi Liebman Adler (1812-1892), born in Lengsfeld, near Eisenach, Saxe-Weimar, Germany, a position he occupies continuously, with the exception of 1872-1876, until his retirement in 1882. Rabbi Adler was educated by prominent Hebrew scholars, including his father and the father of Rabbi Kunreuther. Rabbi Adler is an exceedingly modest and unassuming man. His congregation soon learns that he is a staunch abolitionist, but also equally strong on the need for reconciliation after the Civil War. He abhors every kind of polemic, every expression of unkindness. In his religious views he is conservative: yet his conservatism does not prevent him from feeling the necessity to introduce, to a moderate extent, some reform in the liturgy of his congregation and in the ceremonial life of his people.



Kehillath Bnai Shalom’s first synagogue is built on Harrison Street        and Fourth Avenue. (In 1906, Kehillath B’nai Shalom, Chicago’s second Jewish congregation, merges with Temple Isaiah Israel.)



Rabbi Aaron J. Messing (1840-1916) born in Argenau, Germany becomes Kehillath B’nai Shalom’s first rabbi. He is the son of a well-known Hebrew author, Rabbi Joseph Messing. He leaves the congregation for three years, assuming the pulpit of Congregation Sherith Israel in San Francisco.         His understanding is that the synagogue is Orthodox. Rabbi Messing does not know that there are important elements within the congregation that favor modest reforms in the practices of the Congregation. One of those reforms concerns mixed seating. Some time before, they have abolished separate seating. To what extent Rabbi Messing knew of the situation is indicated in a letter: “I will have a lot of work to do in order to lead them on the right track back to Torah Judaism.” He returns to Chicago in 1873,     and remains until 1876, when the second Chicago fire leaves the Congregation without a rabbi or a home. He then returns to San Francisco and serves Congregation Beth Israel with grand success from 1877 to 1890.  The congregation is at this time more in tune with his Orthodoxy. In 1890, Rabbi Messing returns to Chicago for the third time, and resumes his ministry here. He is Chicago’s first brilliant Jewish public orator.



A fledgling minyan of Austro-Hungarian Jews rents space in an assembly hall at the corner of Peoria and Ohio Streets. Gemeinde Rodef Sholom—the first to meet in Chicago after the Great Fire—is born.



Gemeinde Rodef Sholom purchases the wood frame of an old Norwegian Lutheran church on the corner of Huron and May Streets. The synagogue then moves the structure to land it has purchased, on the corner of Huron and Peoria Streets. Shabbos morning services are held in the Orthodox tradition with leadership largely provided by the Rabbi Ignatz Kunreuther who walks a considerable  distance from his home on Harrison Street and Fourth Avenue, to officiate at the minyan. Rabbi Kunreuther officiates there for approximately one year. At this time, the congregation is composed entirely of German-speaking immigrants from Central Europe, mainly from Bohemia, Silesia (a region comprising parts of Germany, Poland and Czechoslovakia), and Austria-Hungary, with several additional members from central Germany. The liturgy and ritual practice are derived in large part from the services at older Central European synagogues, and the Divrei Torah are delivered in either Hebrew or German.



Rabbi Dr. Herman Eliassof (1849-1918) born in Vilna, Lithuania, arrives  in Chicago. With a highly favorable recommendation from K.A.M.’s German Reform Rabbi Reverend Dr. Michaelis Machol (1845-1912), Dr. Eliassof is hired and installed as the first official rabbi of Rodef Sholom.               He possesses a good Rabbinic training, and has mastered the Hebrew, English, and German languages. He goes on to teach both Hebrew and German. He does not occupy the pulpit for long. He also becomes the Principal of the Sabbath School of K.A.M. in 1897. Early in the Twentieth Century, the congregation changes it’s name to Temple Beth-El and becomes a Reform congregation.

Congregation Anshe Emet is founded. It is the first synagogue since 1852 begun by German Jews, which is not established as a Reform but a Conservative congregation.



Isaiah Temple is organized, and Temple Israel is organized in 1896.



K.A.M. officially becomes a Reform congregation.


Temple Israel merges with Kehillath B'nai Sholom, the second oldest Jewish congregation in Illinois. Temple Isaiah merges with B'nai Sholom Temple Israel; the merged congregation takes the name Temple Isaiah Israel.



[North Side] The Sport Center of Jewish Youth is established a sports and social club on Chicago’s North Side by Jewish refugees of Nazi persecution, who come to Chicago from Germany and Austria in the mid 1930’s. They are followed by Holocaust survivors from Europe, Australia, China, Cuba and Latin America. The Sport Center of Jewish Youth later evolves as the North Center of Jewish Youth. In 1946, The first full time rabbi, Rabbi Davin Schoenberger (who performed the marriage of Anne Frank's parents) suggests, the North Center of Jewish Youth’s name be changed to Temple Ezra. In 1962, Temple Ezra joins the United Synagogue of America and in 1967, the congregation changes its name to Ezra Congregation in order to formally identify with the Conservative Movement.


[South Side] The Jewish Center also begins with the arrival of refugees of Nazi persecution, young and old, who come to Chicago from Germany and Austria in the mid 1930’s and by Holocaust survivors who arrive from Europe, Australia, China, Cuba and Latin America after World War II. The Jewish Center negotiates with Sinai Congregation to conduct a separate services for the High Holy Days. In 1939, another group of unaffiliated newcomers forms Conservative Friday evening services. The group is incorporated by the State of Illinois in 1945 under the new name of Habonim. In 1946, both south side groups merge under the name Habonim Jewish Center and Rabbi Bernard Wechsberg is appointed its spiritual leader. In 1960, Habonim joins the United Synagogue of America.



K.A.M. and Temple Isaiah Israel merge.



Ezra and Habonim merge and become Congregation Ezra-Habonim.



Congregation Ezra-Habonim splits into two segments, One segment of the congregation, merges with Niles Township Jewish Congregation and the synagogue building is sold. Those who remained members form Congregation Ezra-Habonim, the Rogers Park Conservative Synagogue which shares the facilities of Temple Menorah. They remain an independent synagogue until their merger with Ner Tamid Congregation. In 2007, Ner Tamid - Ezra Habonim Congregation merges with the Egalitarian Minyan of Rogers Park. The congregation currently rents space within the Chedar Lubavitch Girls School building.



Kehillas Ashkenaz Chicago is founded by Rabbi Rallis Wiesenthal. Kehillas Ashkenaz Chicago holds monthly prayers services, in the  Temple Menorah building. It is founded as a vehicle for Jews of German ancestry, to explore their rich traditions and customs.



Kehillas Ashkenaz Chicago becomes the Minhag Ashkenaz Minyan and now meets on a monthly basis in Congregation Knesset Israel Nusach Sefard of West Rogers Park’s Beis HaMedrash. The first minyan occurs on January 6, 2012 at K.I.N.S., where the following people are in attendance:

Mara D’Asra, Rabbi Leonard Matanky         Mr. Mitchell Goldberg

Rabbi Rallis Wiesenthal                                 Mr. Barry Goldberg

Rabbi Moshe Kahn                                         Mr. Mark Lebovitz

Rabbi Aaron Jacoby                                         Mr. Neil Harris

Dr. Jordan Pollack                                         Mr. Mattan Meital

Dr. Edward Loew                                         Mr. James Mainzer

Mr. David Bier                                         Mr. Yitzi Cohen

Above the entrance of the Bad Homburg Community House was inscribed with these words:

My Family Customs, Memoirs and Traditions

Many years ago מורינו הרב המבורגר שליט"א gave me the following sage advice; “Write down your family traditions!” In this way, you will create a written record to pass down to the coming generations. No matter at what observance level you currently find yourself or how limited your recollection of your traditions are, time will only make those memories all the fainter!  I encourage you to utilize these last few pages of the siddur to begin the process. (I categorized my family customs and traditions in the following manner; ימי חול, שבת, יום טוב, ימים נוראים etc.)











נשלם הסדור: בעזרת אלוה על כל אלהים:

לסדר ולפרט כִּי־גָדוֹל אַתָּה וְעֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֹת אַתָּה אֱלֹהִים לְבַדֶּךָ לפ"ק:




על ידי הפועל העומק במלאכת הקודש באמונה

הרב שלמה הירץ בן ר' משה וויזענטאל יצ"ו:

Rabbi Rallis Hermann Wiesenthal

עיר אבותינו ק"ק באד הומבורג פ' ד' ה' במדינות אשכנז:

לעת עתה מלאכת הקודש בק"ק שיקגו אילינוי בארצות הברית:


(גמ' ברכות ו:) אָמַר רְבִי חֶלְבּוֹ אָמַר רַב הוּנָא, כָּל אָדָם שֶׁיֵשׁ בּוֹ יִרְאַת שָׁמַיִם דְּבָרָיו נִשְׁמָעִין, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר:

'ס֥וף דב֖ר הכ֣ל נשמ֑ע את־האלה֤ים ירא֙ ואת־מצות֣יו שמ֔ור כי־ז֖ה כל־האדֽם:'

(קהלת יב:יג)


תם ונשלם תהלה לאל בורא עולם:






  Yoma 25a.


2See R’ Yosef (Yousep) Shamash, Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (Jerusalem: Machon Yerushalayim 1988), introduction by R’ Binyamin Shlomo Hamburger, p. 78, note 61.


3See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), pp. 78, 79.


4Mishnah Nega’im 2:1.


5Yirmiyahu (Jeremiah) 51:27.


6See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), pp. 70, 71.


7Midrash Bereishis Rabbah 37:1.


8Yoma 10a.


9See Yerushalmi Megillah 1:9, where Magog is identified with Gothia.


10See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), p. 71, notes 19, 28.


11Sukkah 20a.


12R’ Amram Gaon (Goldschmidt edition) (Jerusalem 1972), p. 16. See also Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), p. 78.


13See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), pp. 73-78, with notes.


14See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), p. 80.


15R’ Elazar of Worms, Peirushei Siddur Hatefillah LaRokei’ach (Jerusalem 1992), vol. 1, p. 229. See also R’ Binyamin Shlomo Hamburger, Gedolei Hadoros al Mishmar Minhag Ashkenaz,     note 4; and Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), p. 79, note 68.


16King Carlo was one of the many Carolingian emperors of similar name, descendants of Charlemagne (747-814), who ruled Germany and Italy during the mid-ninth century.


17See Gedolei Hadoros al Mishmar Minhag Ashkenaz, note 5.


18See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), p. 85.


19See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), pp. 86, 87.


20See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), pp. 79-89, and especially note 76.


21See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), pp. 95-105.


22In one case a popular custom was adopted instead of the old custom. See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), p. 95, note 57.


23Midrash Vayikra Rabbah §20.


24Bava Basra 15b.


25Bava Basra 93b.


26Bemidbar (Numbers) 29:1.


27See Rosh Hashanah 34a.


28R’ Yakov Emden, Mor Uktzi’ah §590.


29See Hamburger, R’ Binyamin Shlomo, Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz (Bnei Brak: Machon Moreshes Ashkenaz 1995), vol. 1, chap. “Kol Hashevarim Vehateru’ah.” See also vol. 4.


30Rambam, Laws of Tefilla, chap. 1. See also R’ Yechiel Michel Epstein, Aruch Hashulchan, Orach Chaim §89.


31R’ Yechezkel Landau, Tziyun Lenefesh Chaya (Tzlach), Berachos 11b, s.v. Tanya nami hachi.


32Mishlei (Proverbs) 18:1.


33Cf. Mishlei 8:36.


34Bava Metzi’a 76a.


35R’ Yisrael Meir Kagan, Mishnah Berurah §68:4.


36R’ Yehuda Hachassid, Sefer Chassidim §607.


37R’ Yoel Sirkish, Bayis Chadash (Bach), Orach Chaim §68.


38R’ Shmuel Segal Mezeritch, Nachalas Shiv’ah §12, subclause 1.


39R’ Avraham Avli Gombiner, Magen Avraham §640:13. In his commentary he mentions the opposing view of the Nachalas Shiv’ah.


40R’ Yair Chaim Bachrach, Chavos Yair §70.


41R’ Simcha b. Shmuel, Machzor Vitri §506.


42Chavos Yair, addendum to §126.


43See R’ Yitzchak Lampronti, Pachad Yitzchak, vol. 5, pp. 137-139, and many other sources.


44Rambam, Commentary to the Mishnah, Gittin, chap. 5, mishnah 8.


45R’ Yitzchak b. Moshe, Or Zarua, vol. 1, §752.


46See Yerushalmi Eiruvin, chap. 3, end of halachah 9; Magen Avraham §68.


47Siddur (prayer book) of R’ Shlomo of Germeiza (Worms) (Jerusalem 1972), p. 221


48Yirmiyahu 12:8.


49R’ Yosef Cologne, Maharik, shoresh 102.


50Fowl have no biblical kashruth indications; rather, the Oral Law requires a specific tradition to testify to the kashruth of each species.


51R’ Asher b. Yechiel, Teshuvos HaRosh, category 20, paragraph 20.


52R’ Yosef Karo, Beis Yosef, Yoreh Dei’ah §82.


53Siddur Amudei Shamayim (prayer book) (Altona 1745), pp. 411, 412. This piece is quoted in its entirety in R’ Shimon Sofer, Michtav Sopher §2, s.v. Ukvar. Also see Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), note 41.


54R’ Yakov Molin, Teshuvos Maharil §95.


55R’ Yitzchak Mizei, Yefeh Nof, miscellaneous §4, p. 236.


56Nachalas Shiv’a §77.


57Melachim 1 (I Kings) 19:4.


58Quoted in R’ Yair Chaim Bachrach, Mekor Chaim §66, paragraph 9.


59R’ Nesanel Weil, Toras Nesanel §5.


60R’ Yonasan Eibschitz, Kreisi Upleisi §35.


61R’ Moshe Sofer, Teshuvos Chasam Sopher, Even Ha’ezer, vol. 1, §98.


62R’ Eliyahu Meir Klugman, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch (Brooklyn, New York: Mesorah Publications, 1996), p. 109.


63R’ Shabtai Sheftel Horowitz, Vavei Ha’amudim, introduction.


64R’ Pinchas b. Yisrael Horowitz, Derushim Lechol Cheftzeihem (Cracow 1609), introduction.


65R' Naphtali Wieder, Hitgabshut Nusach Hatefillah Bemizrach Ubema’arav (Jerusalem 1998), vol. 1, p. 414.


66Jerusalem Judaica, Sales Catalogue for 4 I Adar 5757 (11 February 1997),number 30.


67R’ Yakov HaKohen Papris, Shav Yakov, vol. 2, Choshen Mishpat, end of §13.


68Ibid., vol. 1, §14, s.v. Hinei.


69R’ Yakov Emden, Toras Hakna’os, Amsterdam 1752, p. 36a.


70R’ Tzvi Hirsch Halevi Horowitz, Chomer Bakodesh (letters) §6.


71R’ Shlomo Zalman Geiger, Divrei Kehillos (Frankfurt on the Main 1862), title page.


72R’ Chaim of Friedburg, Vikuach Mayim Chaim, introduction.


73Chavos Yair §52.


74Teshuvos Chasam Sopher §7:9.


75Teshuvos Chasam Sopher (new letters) §10.


76See Minhagim Dekehillas Kodesh Vermeisa (ibid.), central text, p. 18, §13; and see also R’ Moshe Isserles, Rama, Orach Chaim §53:26.


77Shabbos 115b. See Shorshei Minhag Ashkenaz, vol. 3.


78R’ Yakov Yukev Weil, Toras Shabbos §284:1.


79Teshuvos Chasam Sopher, Choshen Mishpat, end of §79.


80ספר חסידים, כת"י פארמא, סי' תתתשפ"ד.


81דבריו הובאו ב'פסקי אור זרוע' לרבינו חיים ב"ר יצחק מווינא, ח"ב, ברוקלין תשנ"ז, עמי' תמט הע' 22.


82עי' מהר"ל, באר הגולה, באר ד', רבינו החת"ם, תורת משה השלם, דברים, ירושלים תשנ"ב, עמ' קסה.


83ספר מנהגים דבי מהר"ם מרוטנבורג, נו יארק תפרח"י, עמ' 38.


84לקט יושר, ח"א, עמ' 31.


85ספר מנהגים דק"ק וורמיישא לר"י שמש, ח"א, ירושלים תשנ"ח, עמ' נו.


8605 p., J. J. Schudt - E. Frisch, Von der Frankfurter Juden Vergangenheit, Berlin 1934


87לקט יושר, או"ח, עמ' 02.


88מהדורא בתרא של עבודת הבורא, זולצבאך תס"ז, דף לט ע"א.


89לבוש התכלת, סי' קנ"א סעיף ו'.


90חיי אדם כלל כ"ב סעי' ח'.


91משנה ברורה, סימן צ"א ס"ס י"ב.


92מקור חיים, סי' נ"ג סעיף א'.


93שם, סי' קנ"א סעיף א'.


94רצ"ה הורוויץ, לחמי תודה, אופיבאך תקע"ו, דף ז טור ד.


95מפי הג"ר אהרן לייב שטיינמאן שליט"א, יליד בעיר בריסק.


96קונטרס 'אזהרות בענין קדושת תפילין', בסוף תולדות המחבר בשו"ת חתן סופר.


97ישעיהו וולפסברג-אביעד, דברים של עצמי, ספר אביעד, י-ם תשמ"ו, מע' נד.


98U. Gerhardt, Jüdisches Leben im Jüdischen Ritual, Heidelberg 1980. p. 48


99שם, עמ' 081.


100 ראשי תיבות זֵ֣כֶר צַ֭דִּיק לִבְרָכָ֑ה (משלי י:ז) ועיין גמ' יומא לח:.