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Shemoneth ‘Eareth

[page 281]


Dilling Exhibit 284

[…]garded them as posterior to the destruction of the Temple. The verse marked 5, indeed, seems to be a commentary on benediction No. xi. It begins with the word [Hebr.], and thus suggests the verse: “Lead us back to Thee and we shall return, renew our days as of yore” (Lam. v. 21, Hebr.). Instead of for the “judges,” Ben Sira prays for the reestablishment of God’s “judgments,” in open allusion to the Exodus (Ex. xii. 12; Num. xxxiii. 4; Ezek. xxv. 11, from which verse he borrows the name “Moab” as a designation of the enemy in the prayer). It is probable that the reading of No. xi. as now given is a later reconstruction of a petition with the implications of the Ecclesiasticus paraphrase. This explanation will obviate the many objections raised against the current opinions; e.g., that under Roman or other foreign rule the Jews would hardly have been permitted to cast reflections on the courts of their masters. The Maccabean period seems to furnish adequate background for the national petitions, though the experiences of the Roman war and the subsequent disasters may have heightened the coloring in many details.

The history of the petition against enemies may serve to illustrate the development of the several component parts of the “Tefillah” in keeping with provocations and changed conditions. The verses of Ecclesiasticus make it certain that the Syrian oppressors were the

Petition Against Enemies.

first against whom this outcry of the poor, oppressed victims of tyranny was directed. As the Syrians were aided by the apostates, the “zedim,” these were also embraced in the imprecatory appeal. The prayer was in fact designated even in later days as [Hebr.], a petition to humiliate the arrogant (“zedim”; Yer. Ber. ii. 3, iv. 2). A century later the Sadducces furnished the type, hence it came to be designated as the “Birkat ha-Zaddukim” (but “Zaddukim” may in this connection be merely a euphemism for “Minim“; Yer. Ber. iv. 3 ; Ber. 28b). Under Gamaliel II, it was invoked against heretics, traitors, and traducers: the “minim” and the “posh‘im,” or, as Maimonides reads, the APIKORESIM (see also his commentary on Sanh. x. 1, and “Yad,” Teshubah, iii. 6 - 8). The latter were the freethinkers; the former, the Judaeo-Christians. These had brought much trouble into the camp of faithful Israel: they disputed with the Rabbis; even R. Gamaliel had often to controvert them (see “He-Haluz” vii. 81 et seq.); they involved the Jews in difficulties with the Roman government (Tosef., Hul. ii. 24): they denounced the Jews to the authorities (hence “minim” and [Hebr.] R. H. 18a; Tos. to Sanh. xiii.; ‘Olam R. iii.; comp. Jo¨l, “Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte,” i. 33 et seq.; Gutmann, in “Monatsschrift,” 1898, p. 844).

B. Gamaliel revitalized the prayer originally directed against the Syrians and their sympathizers (so also Loeb, Weiss, and Hoffmann; Elbogen [i.e. p. 357] rejects this view in favor of the assumption that the original composition of the prayer was due to Gamaliel), his purpose being to test those suspected of being minim (Tan., Wayikra, ed. Buber, p. 2a; Yer. Ber. v. 4). The editorship is ascribed to Samuel the Younger (Ber. 28a), who, however, is reported to have forgotten its form the very next year. According to Yer. Ber. v. 3 he merely omitted some part of the prayer; and, as he was not under suspicion of heresy, the omission was overlooked.

The above account seems to suggest that this new” (revised) addition to the benedictions was not admitted at once and without some opposition. The prayer has undergone since the days of Gamaliel many textual changes, as the variety of versions

tions in "Birkat ha-Minim."

extant evidences. “Kol Bo” gives the number of the words “Eirkat contained therein as thirty-two, which agrees with none of the extant recensions. The prayer furnished the traducers of Judaism and the Jews a ready weapon of attack (e.g., Wagenseil ; see “Sefer Nizzahon,” p. 348). In the Mahzor of Salonica it begins with the word “La-meshummadim” (see Orah Hayyim, 118), as it does in the Roman Mahzor (see also “ Kesef Mishneh, Tefillah,” at the beginning of ii.). “Meshummad” designates a Jew who apostatizes (Ramban on Ex. xii. 43 gives an incorrect identification, as does Parbon, [Hebr.]) or is lax in his religious duties (‘Er. 69a; Hul. 5a; Sanh. 27a; Hor. 11a; Targ. Onk. to Ex. xii. 48; Mek., Bo, 15; Git. 45a, in the uncensored editions; the censored have “Mumar”). The prayer is not inspired, however, by hatred toward non-Jews; nevertheless, in order to obviate hostile misconstructions, the text was modified. Originally the opening words were “La-zedim ula-minim,” and the conclusion had “maknia‘ zedizn” (see “Sefer ha-Eshkol” and “Shibbole ha-Leket”). The change of the beginning into “La-meshummadim” is old (Zunz, “G. V.” 2d ed., p. 380). Another emendation was “We-la-posh’im” (idem, “Ritus,” p. 89), which readily gave way to the colorless “We-la-malshinim” (in the German ritual among others). For “minim” was substituted the expression “all doers of iniquity”; but the Sephardim retained “minim,” while Maimonides has “Epicureans.” In the older versions the continuation is: “and all the enemies of Thy people,” or, in Amram Gaon’s “Siddur,” “all our enemies”; but this is modified in the German and Roman into “and they all,” while Maimonides omits the clause altogether. Finally, there was mention of the “kingdom of arrogance” (“zadon “) = the Roman empire. For this Amram presents “the doers of ‘zadon,’” which at last was turned into “zedim,” thus reverting to the earliest expression. The conclusion is either “who breakest the enemies” (Midr. Teh.) or “humiliates the arrogant” (Amram); in the former phrase Saadia and Maimonides replace the noun “enemies” by “evil-doers.”

According to Zunz, the seventh benediction looks like a duplication and is superfluous: at all events it is misplaced. There is some probability that it originally formed part of the liturgy for the fast-days, when 18+6 benedictions constituted the “Tefillah” (Ta’an. ii. 2); for in specifying the additional benedictions the Mishnah enumerates seven, not six ib. ii. 4). The first of the seven enumerated is identical with the one contained in the “Shemoneh ‘Esreh” as No. vii. Most likely when Israel’s distress became constant this petition for help was gradually made a part of the daily liturgy.

As the prevailing use of the plural shows, the […]