Jerrold Landau
Genealogical and Translation Services

PIYYUTIM IN THE BRACHOT OF SHEMA AND AMIDA: MAARAVOT, YOTZROT,  KEROVOT

 

Maaravot, Yotzrot, and Kerovot are piyyutim that adorn and embellish the evening Shema blessings, the morning Shema blessings, and the repetition of the Amida respectively. We tend to be most familiar with the additions to the repetition of the Amida on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, however these piyyutim, or at least some subset thereof, exist for the Shalosh Regalim and the Four Parshiyot. Some old siddurim, most notably Otzar Hatefillot, also include Yotzrot and Kerovot for many other occasions.

The common factor among these three types of piyyutim is that they interrupt the formula of brachot in places where modifications of the set order of the prayer are not usually permitted. In his book Olam Hatefillot [1], Rabbi Eliahu Munk devotes several pages to a discussion of the permissibility of the insertion of piyyutim into the brachot of Shema and Amida. He lists numerous rabbis who opposed such insertions, and gives several reasons for this opposition, over and above the obvious issue of the interruption of the set formula of the brachot. These reasons include the difficulty of the language, the unnecessary lengthening of the service, and the introduction of sad topics into the festival service. On the other hand, Rabbi Munk also presents an equivalent list of supporters of piyyutim. Reasons for a positive view of these piyyutim include that it is always proper to increase the praises of the Almighty, the authors were great sages whose authority can be relied upon, and the fact of the general acceptance of these piyyutim into the order of prayer. It should be noted that the opinion of the GRA [The Vilna Gaon] is that the Kerovot are of value, but should be recited following the repetition of the Amida rather than as insertions.

These piyyutim express the uniqueness and sanctity of the occasions for which they were composed. A great deal of modern literature exists on the rich array of Yamim Tovim and special occasions that grace the Jewish year. We may find it hard to relate to the difficult, archaic language of the liturgical poetry written many centuries ago, yet these ancient sources are a vital, if underappreciated, vehicle for gaining a comprehensive understanding of our treasury of special days.

I will start by examining the general structure of each of these additions to the regular service, and will then proceed to overview the content and themes expressed therein for the specific occasions upon which they are recited. I will make note of a selection of the siddurim and Maḥzorim in which they can be found. Although focus will be on the ones most commonly found, I will make note of all the other occasions for which such piyyutim exist in Otzar Hatfillot.

 

Maaravot

Maaravot [2] are a series of piyyutim that are inserted in six specific places in the Maariv service of the Shalosh Regalim. A Maaravit exists for each of the ten festival days of the Shalosh Regalim – first and last days of Pesaḥ, two days of Shavuot, first days of Sukkot, Shemini Atzeret, and Simḥat Torah. These piyyutim tend to rhyme. At a few points, they also change several words of the bracha.  Maaavot are inserted as follows:

1. A brief insertion toward the end of the first pre-Shema bracha, תָּמִיד יִמְלֹךְ עָלֵֽינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד, and the conclusion of the bracha בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה השׁם הַמַּעֲרִיב עֲרָבִים

2. A similarly brief insertion toward the end of the second pre-Shema bracha, between וְאַהֲבָתְךָ אַל תָּסִיר מִמֶּֽנּוּ לְעוֹלָמִים and the conclusion, בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה השׁם אוֹהֵב עַמּוֹ יִשׂרָאֵל

3. A much longer poetic insertion between לְךָ עָנוּ שִׁירָה and בְּשמְחָה רַבָּה וְאָמְרוּ כֻלָּם. At the end of the insertion, just preceding מִי כָמֹֽכָה, the normal ending of בְּשמְחָה רַבָּה וְאָמְרוּ כֻלָּם is enhanced with two synonyms of joy, בְּגִלָה בּֽרנָּה . As we state that the Children of Israel were about to recite a song with great joy, the author of the Maaravit took the opportunity to add a new song to the liturgy.

4. A brief insertion after בּוֹקֵֽעַ יָם לִפְנֵי משֶׁה. The normal ending of  זֶה קלִי עָנוּ וְאָמְרוּ is changed to זֶה צוּר יִשֽׁעֵנוּ פָּצוּ פֶה וְאָמֽרוּ  (This is the Rock of our Salvation, they opened their mouths and said).

5. A brief insertion after וּגְאָלוֹ מִיַּד חָזָק מִמֶּנּוּ. According to some customs, the blessing of גָּאַל יִשרָאֵל is changed to מֶלֶךְ צוּר יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגוֹאֲלוֹ. Other customs do not change the bracha, seemingly due to a greater reluctance to tamper with the set formula of the conclusion of a bracha than to add to the main body of the bracha. This difference in custom, with the reluctance to tamper with the conclusion of a bracha, is similar to that of the change of הַמַּחֲזִיר שְׁכִינָתוֹ לְצִיּוֹן to שֶׁאוֹתְךָ לֽבַדּֽךָ בְּיִרֽאָה נַעֲבוֹד in Musaf of the Shalosh Regalim prior to Birkat Kohanim. Some customs change the conclusion of that bracha, whereas others do not.

6. A brief insertion in the Hashkiveinu bracha, after סֻכַּת רַחֲמִים וְחַיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם (Nusaḥ Sephard) or סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶֽךָ (Nusaḥ Ashkenaz). On the second night of Pesaḥ, and in some customs on the first night as well, a more elaborate addition, called a Bikkur (due to the references to the bringing of the harvesting of the Omer offering on the second night of Pesaḥ), is included at this point.

 

There is a difference of opinion as to whether Maaravot are added on a Yom Tov that falls on Shabbat. The Mateh Moshe (605) states that they are not to be recited on Shabbat, because one might be tempted to adjust the candles in the synagogue to better see the wording, as these piyyutim are not familiar to most worshippers. The Maharil, on the other hand, holds that the Maaravot are to be recited on Shabbat.

It is also interesting that Maaravot are not included on the Yamim Noraim. The Levush gives the reason that these piyyutim are full of song and praise, which is not appropriate on the Yamim Noraim. Another reason advanced is that there is a custom to fast on the Eve of Rosh Hashanah. Even though the common custom is not to complete the fast, there are those who do so, and therefore, it would not be appropriate to unduly elongate the service. At Maariv on Yom Kippur, the concern of moving the candles might apply, as the prohibition of tampering with fire on Yom Kippur is equivalent with that of Shabbat. This reason is questionable, however, as we have no qualms about including a lengthy Seliḥot service with unique piyyutim following the Amida on Yom Kippur night [3].

Most Maḥzorim for the Shalosh Regalim include Maaravot. In the Artscroll Maḥzor for each Yom Tov, they are shaded in grey, so as to make them easy to skip for those congregations that do not recite them. The Rinat Yisrael Maḥzor includes the Maaravot, as well as Yotzrot and Kerovot, in a special section at the end, entitled Shaar Hapiyyutim. Maḥzor Rabba includes the Maaravot, sometimes in a different font, and at other times with the same font as the rest of the service. The Synagogue Service for Festivals, an old, one volume Maḥzor published by the Hebrew Publishing Company, does not include Maaravot. Maḥzor Or LeYisrael, a single volume Maḥzor with separate sections for each of the Shalosh Regalim, also published by Hebrew Publishing Company, includes the Maaravot. In terms of regular (non-Maḥzor) Siddurim, the small sized, but comprehensive Siddur Tefillah Hashalem includes a section with all the Maravot, as does Otzar Hatefillot. Neither of those two Siddurim include the Yotzrot or Kerovot for the Shalosh Regalim. Presumably, the assumption of the compilers of those two Siddurim is that the worshipper who recites the piyyutim may use the regular Siddur for Maariv on the Shalosh Regalim, but would use a Maḥzor for Shaḥarit and Musaf. A full English translation of the Maarivot can be found in the three volumes of the Artscroll Maḥzor [4] [5].

 

Yotzrot

The term “Yotzrot” can have three different meanings. It is a general term used for all the additions in the morning Shema blessings as well as the repetition of the Amida. More specifically, it refers to the additions to the morning Shema blessings, whereas the term Kerovot is used for the piyyutim inserted in the repetition of the Amida. Still more specifically, each of the insertions in the morning Shema blessings has a special name, Yotzer (plural Yotzrot) being the first. Presumably, since the Yotzer is the first insertion, the term morphed into a general appellation for all the morning  insertions. My usage in the title to this section implies the second meaning [6].

Yotzrot (in the second sense of the term) consist of six different sections [7], of which only four are commonly found. Each section has a unique name, depending on the location of the insertion:

  1. Yotzer: An insertion at the beginning of the first pre-Shema bracha, right after יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חשֶׁךְ עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא אֶת הַכּל. The Yotzer insertion is always introduced with the phrase: אוֹר עוֹלָם בְּאוֹצַר חַיִּים אוֹרוֹת מֵאֹֽפֶל אָמַר וַיֶּֽהִי   [Eternal light in the treasury of life, light from darkness, He said, and it was].
  2. Ofan: An insertion in the Kedusha of the first pre-Shema bracha, right after: קָדושׁ קָדושׁ קָדושׁ השׁם צְבָאות מְלֹא כָל־הָאָֽרֶץ כְּבוֹדוֹ, and before וְהָאוֹפַנִּים וְחַיּוֹת הַקֹּֽדֶשׁ. According to many, but not all, versions, the וְהָאוֹפַנִּים phrase, describing the angelic hosts uttering their praises, is replaced with an enhanced version, listing the various types of angels in detail: וְהַחַיּוֹת יְשׁוֹרֵֽרוּ וּכְרֻבִים יְפָאֵֽרוּ וּשְׂרָפִים יָרֹֽנּוּ וְאֶרְאֶלִּים יְבָרֵֽכוּ פְּנֵי כָּל חַיָּה וְאוֹפַן וּכְרוּב לְעֻמַּת שְׂרָפִים  [And the Ḥayot sing, the Cherubim glorify, the Seraphim sing in joy, and the Erelim bless, in the presence of every Ḥaya, Ofan, and Cherub facing the Seraphim…]
  3. Meora: An insertion just before  אוֹר חָדָשׁ עַל צִיּוֹן תָּאִיר, toward the end of the first pre-Shema bracha.
  4. Ahava: An insertion toward the end of the second pre-Shema bracha, just before וְקֵרַבְתָּנוּ לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל סֶלָה בֶּאֱמֶת.
  5. Zulat: An insertion in the post-Shema bracha, after אֵין אֱלֹקים זוּלָתֶךָ (Nusaḥ Ashkenaz), or וְאֵין לָֽנוּ עוֹד אֱלֹקים זוּלָתֶֽךָ סֶֽלָה (Nusaḥ Sephard).
  6. Geula: An insertion at the end of the post-Shema bracha, before בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה השׁם גָּאַל יִשְׂרָאֵל. The Geula ends with the phrase: בִּגְלַל אָבוֹת תּוֹשִׁיעַ בָּנִים וְתָבִיא גְּאֻלָּה לִבְנֵי בְנֵיהֶם .

 

On the Yamim Noraim, the Yotzrot include a Yotzer and Ofan, but no Zulat. Yotzrot are included in most Maḥzorim for the Shalosh Regalim, albeit not in regular Siddurim. Otzar Hatefillot, which includes  a plethora of Yotzrot for various occasions, does not include Yotzrot for the Yamim Tovim. On all the Yom Tov days of Shalosh Regalim as well as Shabbat Ḥol Hamoed, the Yotzrot include a Yotzer, Ofan, and Zulat. Rabbi Munk, quoting the Maharil, indicates that the reason for the omission of the Zulat on the Yamim Noraim is to minimize praises when the books of life and death are open, similar to the omission of Hallel. Given the general abundance of piyyutim on the Yamim Noraim, this reasoning seems questionable. On other occasions that include Yotzrot, such as the Four Parshiyot, the Yotzrot include a Yotzer, Ofan, and Zulat. On the Yamim Tovim of Pesaḥ, other than the eighth day, a Geula is present. Meorot and Ahavot are generally only included in Siddur Otzar Hatefillot for various occasions, but not in any of the Yotzrot for the Yamim Tovim or Four Parshiyot – the one exception I have seen is that the Rinat Yisrael Pesaḥ Maḥzor includes a brief Meora and Ahava for Shabbat Ḥol Hamoed.

 

Kerovot

Kerovot are insertions into the repetition of the Amida. The term derives from the word karov [to draw close or approach], as the prayer leader approaches Gd and offers prayers on behalf of the congregation. It shares the same root as karban [offering], as the prayers are like an offering to Gd. An alternative term for Kerovot is Krovetz, a term which is similar in sound, and is based on the acronym of ק֤וֹל ׀ רִנָּ֬ה וִֽישׁוּעָ֗ה בְּאָהֳלֵ֥י צַדִּיקִ֑ים  [The sound of joyous song and deliverance comes from the tents of the righteous] (Psalms 118:15, from the Hallel service). This term is quite descriptive of what the Kerovot are meant to accomplish.

There are two types of Kerovot: a complex, structured set of insertions into the repetition of the Amida prior to the Kedusha; and a simpler set of insertions, parallel in size, to most or all of the blessings of the Amida. Let us examine the structure of each one.

 

Elaborate style of Kerovot

 This style of Kerovot enhances the first three blessings of the repetition of the Amida on Yamim Tovim and various special Shabbatot. They exist for [8]:

  • Shaḥarit on both days of Rosh Hashanah.
  • Musaf on the first day of Rosh Hashanah but not the second day.
  • Shaḥarit, Musaf, Minḥa, and Neila of Yom Kippur.
  • All Yamim Tovim with the exception of the first day of Pesaḥ, Shemini Atzeret, and Simḥat Torah. The omission on the first day of Pesaḥ and Shemini Atzeret is seemingly due to the focus on extensive set of piyyutim for Tefillat HaTal and Tefillat HaGeshem in Musaf on those days. The omission on Simḥat Torah may be due to  focus on the enhancements to the Hakafot on that day. There are no Kerovot for Shabbat Ḥol Hamoed Pesaḥ and Sukkot. This is in contrast to the Yotzrot, which, as mentioned earlier, exist for all the above days.
  • The Four Special Shabbatot, as well as Shabbat HaGadol.

 

The structure of the elaborate form of Kerovot is as follows:

1. An opening, called a Reshut [Permission clause] in the first bracha, after לְמַֽעַן שְׁמוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה on the Yamim Noraim, and after מֶֽלֶךְ עוֹזֵר וּמוֹשִֽׁיעַ וּמָגֵן on other occasions. In the Reshut, the prayer leader asks permission for interrupting the normal formula of the Amida with insertions, basing the request on the ancient traditions of sages. The Reshut begins with מִסּוֹד חֲכָמִים וּנְבוֹנִים וּמִלֶּֽמֶד דַּֽעַת מְבִינִים אֶפְתְּחָה פִי [Through the council of scholars and sages, and based on the doctrines of people of understanding, I shall open my mouth…]. There are three different continuations of the Reshut:

  • Rosh Hashanah: in prayer and supplication, to entreat and beg before the King, King of Kings, and Lrd of lords.
  • Yom Kippur: in prayer and supplication, to entreat and beg before the King full of mercy, who pardons and forgives sins.
  • On all other occasions: in song and exultations, to thank and praise He Who dwells in the heavens.

At Shaḥarit of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Reshut is extended with a lengthy, moving supplication, different on each of the three days, in which the prayer leader acknowledges his unworthiness to stand before the congregation in prayer, and expresses his hope that his prayers will nevertheless be accepted.

2. A set of three piyyutim. The first follows the Reshut (or elongated Reshut of the Yamim Noraim). The second precedes בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה השׁם מְחַיֵּה הַמֵּתִים (on the Yamim Noraim, it precedes מִי כָמֽוֹךָ אַב הָרַחֲמִים זוֹכֵר יְצוּרָיו לְחַיִּים בְּרַחֲמִים). The third immediately follows מְחַיֵּה הַמֵּתִים. For the first two piyyutim, the third last line is recited aloud by the prayer leader, the second last is recited silently by the congregation, and the final line is recited aloud by the prayer leader. For the third piyyut, only the last line is recited out loud by the prayer leader.

3. The two sentences: יִמְלֹךְ השׁם לְעוֹלָם אֱלֹהַֽיִךְ צִיּוֹן לְדֹר וָדֹר הַלְלוּיָהּ:  וְאַתָּה קָדוֹשׁ יוֹשֵׁב תְּהִלּוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל קל נָא. The first pasuk (Psalms 146:10) is familiar from Kedusha. The second sentence, which introduces the next set of piyyutim, is “And You, the Holy One, sits atop the praises of Israel, O please Gd.”

4. A piyyut followed by the phrase חַיּ וְקַיָּם נוֹרָא וּמָרוֹם וְקָדוֹשׁ [Gd is living, enduring, awesome, supernal, and holy]. This section exists in many, but not all, Kerovot. In Shaḥarit of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, the piyyut at this point is the well-known Ata Hu Elokeinu Bashamayim Uvaaretz.

5. A varied set of piyyutim, ending with an introduction to the Kedusha. Hallmarks of this section of the Kerovot are:

  • One or more “Kadosh” phrases. The Kadosh phrase always ends with the work Kadosh, addressing Gd as “O the Holy One”. It is recited aloud first by the prayer leader and then repeated by the congregation. Kadosh phrases often, but not invariably, form the refrain of a longer piyyut. However, many congregations skip the longer piyyut, and just recite the Kadosh phrases. The Kadosh phrases often capture the essence of the occasion in a brief, pithy manner, and form a central focus of the Kerovot. They exist in most, but by no means all, Kerovot. Incidentally, Kadosh phrases may occur in the Yotzer section as well.
  • The “Uvechein” phrase, which forms the introduction to a piyyut. Uvechein is variously translated as “And so” (Artscroll); “Now” (Birnbaum); “Then” (Adler); “And then” (other versions of Hebrew Publishing Company); “And thus” (Sefaria). A full definition of the term would be “And now that we have established that which we have previously stated, we will now go on and elaborate further…” The term originates from Esther 4:16,  וּבְכֵן אָבוֹא אֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ אֲשֶׁר לֹא כַדָּת וְכַאֲשֶׁר אָבַדְתִּי אָבָדְתִּי [and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish]. Esther is stating that, now that we have made all the preparations – i.e. prayer and fasting – she will go to the king… We are quite familiar with this word from the three Uvechein paragraphs of the third bracha of the Amida on the Yamim Noraim, where the term would mean “And now that we have asserted the holiness of Gd through the Kedusha, we will elaborate on the implications of such.” The use of Uvechein in the Amida of the Yamim Noraim would predate its usage in the Kerovot, as it forms part of the essence of the text of the blessing itself. The simple, four-letter word Uvechein is a term filled with a great deal of nuance, forming a connection between what comes before and what is to follow [10].
  • The segue into the Kesusha, which begins with the word Uvechein. It opens with וּבְכֵן וּלְךָ תַעֲלֶה קְדֻשָּׁה [And so, let the Kedusha ascend to You]. There are three different continuations:

             i.   On Rosh Hashanah: For You are our Lrd, our King.
             ii.  On Yom Kippur: For You are our Lrd, our King, who forgives and pardons.
             iii. On all other days: For You are the Holy One of Israel, and the Saviour.

 

6. The Siluk (literally, the conclusion), which ends the Kerovot. The Siluk is a long, poetic piyyut, with many different rhymes. It generally focuses on various interesting aspects of the day, moves on to a description of angelic praises, and then segues into the Kedusha. Given the ending of the previous section, one might be justified in thinking that the Kedusha should immediately follow, and be surprised that a long, obscurely worded, piyyut intervenes. It seems that the Siluk is actually intended to be part of the Kedusha. In some cases, the Siluk segues so seamlessly into the Kedusha that the first phrase of the introduction to the Kedusha is omitted up to the point of   כָּתוּב עַל יַד נְבִיאֶךָ  (always in Nusaḥ Ashkenaz, and in Nusaḥ Sephard except where the Keter Kedusha is recited). The most famous and widely recited Siluk is the Unetane Tokef prayer of Musaf on the Yamim Noraim. Although often considered an independent piyyut, it is clearly a Siluk by its structure, placement, and seamless segue into the Kedusha. Some customs omit the Siluk entirely, with the exception of Unetane Tokef at Musaf on the Yamim Noraim. The Artscroll Maḥzorim do not include the Silukim in the main body of the text, but rather in the Additional Piyyutim appendix at the end (with the obvious exception of Unetane Tokef, but also with the exception of the brief Siluk of Neila). Many Artscroll Siddurim generally do not include the Siluk for the Four Parshiyot and Shabbat Hagadol [11]. The Birnbaum Maḥzor omits the Silukim entirely, other than Unetane Tokef and the brief Silukim of Yom Kippur Minḥa and Neila.

7. There may be other insertions in the Kedusha itself, and in the latter parts of the Amida, especially on the Yamim Noraim, but these are independent piyyutim and not part of the formal Kerovot (although the term could be applied to any insertion in the Amida). I will make note of these later, as I overview the Kerovot for the various occasions that they are recited.

 

The Simpler Style of Kerovot

A simpler style of Kerovot consists of a set of short, parallel stanzas inserted just before the conclusion of the brachot of the Amida. These are added in most, but not all, brachot of the Shaḥarit Amida of Purim and Tisha B’Av. They are also added to all seven brachot of the Musaf of the Four Parshiyot – commonly for Shabbat Shekalim and Shabbat Haḥodesh although they exist for Shabbat Zachor and Shabbat Parah as well. The Musaf Kerovot for the Four Parshiyot are sometimes referred to as Shivatot, as they consist of a set of seven insertions.

These Kerovot deal with the theme of the day. Other than Tisha B’Av, they weave in a pasuk (on Purim, two pesukim) that fit in with the number of stanzas. They may also weave in an alphabetic acrostic. Each section closes off with a reference to the bracha at hand.

 

Overview and Themes of Maaravot, Yotzrot, and Kerovot throughout the Year

 

מִסּוֹד:  Through the implicit council of the erudite authors of the piyyutim, and with the indulgence of my readers, I will present an overview of the Maaravot, Yotzrot, and Kerovot, as they appear through the cycle of the year.

יָרֵֽאתִי: I am afraid as I approach my laptop to type,
To overview the piyyutim that are inserted in the blessings of the Shema and Amida through the year.
Who am I, what am I? I am no poet or sage,
I cannot even get my attempt to write a Reshut to come out in rhyme.
Rinat Yisrael, Maḥzor Rabba in Lashon Kodesh, and Artscroll in English,
Have wonderful  commentaries of the piyyutim, word by word, and line by line.
My goal is not to emulate them, but rather to present overviews,
Especially for the many in this day and age who do not appreciate these piyyutim.
To differentiate between a Yotzer, a Zulat, a Geula, and a Kerova,
To hopefully enhance our appreciation of the special days of our year.
Through the study of the piyyut one learns how the paytanim of yore
Illustrated the main themes of the Yamim Tovim and other days of significance.
Where to begin, with what to start, is a difficult question,
For the Mishnah states that our year has four possible beginnings.
It might be natural to start with the Yom Tov of Pesaḥ,
But the Four Parshiyot and Shabbat Hagadol form a natural preface to the first month.
Therefore, I will begin my review from Shabbat Shekalim
Which, I admit, is not even one of the four Rashei Shanim.
I will focus on the piyyutim that appear in most Siddurim and Maḥzorim,
And at the end I will list the more obscure ones that appear in Otzar Hatefillot.

 וּבְכֵן:  And now, let us commence to look at the Maaravot, Yotzrot and Kerovot in accordance with the days.

 

Yotzrot for the Four Parshiyot and Shabbat Hagadol

What are labelled in many Siddurim as Yotzrot for the Four Parshiyot and Shabbat Hagadol are not truly Yotzrot, but rather Kerovot, to be inserted in the repetition of the Shaḥarit Amida. The term Yotzrot is used here in its broader sense. However, true Yotzrot also exist for each of these days, consisting of a brief Yotzer, Ofan, and Zulat. The Otzar Hatefillot Siddur, as well as several of the comprehensive pocket-sized Siddurim, including Siddur Tefillah Hashalem, Tefillat Kol Peh Hashalem, and Siddur Minchat Yerushalayim Kol Bo Hashalem, have the actual Yotzrot along with the Kerovot. A Shivatit addition to Musaf exists in all of these Siddurim for Shabbat Shekalim and Haḥodesh. Otzar Hatefillot also includes a Musaf Shivatit for Shabbat Zachor and Shabbat Parah [12]. The Krovetz for Purim generally appears in Siddurim alongside these Yotzrot.

As is usual for these piyyutim, they accentuate the uniqueness of the special days. It has been said that one of the purposes of Yotzrot and Kerovot, over and above their role in enhancing prayer, is to serve as a means of transmission of Torah learning. This role becomes obvious in some of the Kerovot for these Shabbatot, most notably in the Siluk [13] of Shekalim and Parah, and in the main body of the Kerovot of Shabbat Hagadol.

 

Shabbat Shekalim

The Kerovot for Shabbat Shekalim discuss many of the halachot and themes of the commandment of the giving of the Half Shekel. Some of these are as follows:

  • The Half Shekel is a remedy for the sin of the golden calf
  • The Half Shekel pre-empted the effects of the money paid by Haman to Aḥasuerus to be given permission to annihilate the Jews.
  • The Half Shekel is to be given by both the wealthy or the poor, so that the wealthy will not boast that they are saved by their wealth.
  • The shekalim were emptied from the donation boxes three times a year in order to fund the communal sacrifices.
  • Moses did not understand how the Half Shekel could be used for counting, given the promise that the Children of Israel will be uncountable. Furthermore, he did not understand how something so physical as a coin could bring about atonement. Therefore Gd showed Moses a vision of a fiery shekel.
  • Since we did not bring our shekels properly when the Temples were standing, the Temples were destroyed, and we can no longer fulfil this commandment.

 

The fascinating Siluk provides a summary of the various weights and measures that are found in Jewish law. These include the following (the lists are generally, but not invariably, in descending order):

  • Units of length, varying from a day’s journey, going through a parsa, mil, kaneh, ris, amah, zeret, seet, tefaḥ, and finger-breadth.
  • Units of volume, starting with the volume of various bodies of water including the Great Sea, the Giḥon River, the Euphrates River, the Jordan River, and moving on to the volume of a mikva, a letech, an eipha, an omer, a kela, a seah, a bat, a hin, a log, a revi’it, and a square fingerbreadth.
  • Units of time, ranging from the 6,000 years of the world’s existence, to a maḥzor, a yovel, a shmita cycle, a tekufa, a day, an ona, and a second.
  • Currency, ranging from a kikar, to a maneh, a selah, a shekel, a beka, a zuz, a ma’ah, an isar, and a perutah.

 

The Musaf Kerovot is a Shivatit, with a stanza inserted before the ending formula of each bracha of the Amida. The main theme is a lament over the fact that we cannot bring the Half Shekel to the Temple at the present time, and a hope and prayer that we will eventually merit to do so. Each section ends with the same formula “Our Lrd, lift the light of Your countenance upon us, and let me raise up a shekel in the firm, exalted House, in the merit of having read from the portion of Ki Tisa” (the opening section of Ki Tisa having been read as the special Torah reading for Shabbat Shekalim). As in all Shivatot, the final stich of each stanza accentuates the specific bracha (e.g. protect us with a shield, revive us with rain, let us sanctify You with Kedusha, etc.)

The first word of each stanza is taken from Song of Songs 1:14, which, by no coincidence, is composed of seven words: אֶשְׁכֹּל הַכֹּפֶר דּוֹדִי לִי, בְּכַרְמֵי עֵין גֶּדִי [Translation from Mechon Mamre: My beloved is unto me as a cluster of henna in the vineyards of En-gedi]. The word kofer means “henna” in this pasuk, but  the same word means “atonement” when describing the function of the Half Shekel in the Torah reading of Shekalim. There may also be a homonym relationship between the term Eshkol [cluster] in this pasuk, and the word Eshkol with a kuf [I will give a shekel].

 

Shabbat Zachor

The Kerovot of Shabbat Zachor poetically and Midrashically rehash the attack of Amalek against the Children of Israel as they were leaving Egypt, as well as further attacks against Israel throughout history. We are reminded that Amalek descended from Esau, who hated Jacob. Amalek is described as both a serpent and a reaper. We are told that the memory of Amalek is recorded in all three sections of Tanach: Torah, Neviim, and Ketuvim. The two Kadosh phrases ask that the name of Amalek be blotted out and obliterated, not to be recalled by Gd, because he did not remember to act with kindness, but rather acted like a stranger.

A long piyyut, each stanza beginning with the word Zachor, recalls the travesties committed by Esau, Amalek, Agag, Haman, and Titus (Titus being included because in Jewish thought, the Roman Empire is considered to have stemmed from Edom). Although that piyyut goes more or less in historical order, it returns to Haman at the conclusion, indicating that Haman was hung on a 50-cubit high gallows. Thus, we are returned to thoughts of the rapidly approaching holiday of Purim just before the ending of the main segment of the Kerovot on the preceding Shabbat.

The author of the Kerovot for Shabbat Zachor, and indeed for all of the four special Shabbatot, Rabbi Eleazar Hakalir, is known for his creative use of poetry and literary techniques. The opening phrase of the piyyut Atz Kotzetz is illustrative of both alliteration and onomatopoeia. One can almost hear the grating sound of the wicked reaper Amalek carrying out his vile acts in the phrase אָץ קוֹצֵץ בֶּן קוֹצֵץ קְצוּצַי לְקַצֵּץ [Atz kotzeitz ben kotzeitz ketzutzai lekatzetz].

Each section of the Musaf Kerovot, which appears in Otzar Hatefillot but not in other siddurim, begins with a word from Exodus 17:15 וַיִּ֥בֶן מֹשֶׁ֖ה מִזְבֵּ֑חַ וַיִּקְרָ֥א שְׁמ֖וֹ השׁם נִסִּֽי [Mechon Mamre: And Moses built an altar, and called the name of it Adonai-nissi.] This pasuk is from the Torah reading of Purim morning, which describes the war with Amalek.

 

Krovetz for Purim

The Krovetz for Purim consists of a series of brief stanzas inserted just before the conclusion of the bracha of 18 of the 19 brachot of the Shaḥarit Amida. The stanzas are similar in style to the Musaf Kerovot of the four special Shabbatot, albeit somewhat shorter. Two pivotal pesukim of the Megillah are woven into the stanzas. Each stanza opens with a word from Esther 2:17 וַיֶּאֱהַ֨ב הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ אֶת־אֶסְתֵּר֙ מִכָּל־הַנָּשִׁ֔ים וַתִּשָּׂא־חֵ֥ן וָחֶ֛סֶד לְפָנָ֖יו מִכָּל־הַבְּתוּלֹ֑ת וַיָּ֤שֶׂם כֶּֽתֶר־מַלְכוּת֙ בְּרֹאשָׁ֔הּ וַיַּמְלִיכֶ֖הָ תַּ֥חַת וַשְׁתִּֽי  [Mechon Mamre: And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.]. Although this pasuk contains 19 words, the accusative particle et is combined with Esther as a single opening to the third stanza. The final stich of each stanza begins with a word from one of the four pesukim of redemption that are recited aloud by the congregation during the reading of the Megillah: Esther 8:15 וּמָרְדֳּכַי יָצָא מִלִּפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ בִּלְבוּשׁ מַלְכוּת תְּכֵלֶת וָחוּר וַעֲטֶרֶת זָהָב גְּדוֹלָה וְתַכְרִיךְ בּוּץ וְאַרְגָּמָן וְהָעִיר שׁוּשָׁן צָהֲלָה וְשָׂמֵחָה [Mechon Mamre: And Mordecai went forth from the presence of the king in royal apparel of blue and white, and with a great crown of gold, and with a robe of fine linen and purple; and the city of Shushan shouted and was glad.] The middle stiches of each stanza form an alphabetic acrostic ranging from aleph to tzadi. The final insertion includes the final four letters of the aleph beit in addition to the tzadi, as there are 18 stanzas but 22 letters of the aleph beit.

The content of each stanza refers to the story of the Megillah, both in its literal sense and through the vantage point of Midrash. The Krovetz opens with “And Mordechai loved and raised the worthy orphan” (i.e. Esther). The third stanza indicates that Gd brought Esther forth from her hidden state to be a redeemer. The next stanza has Mordechai trying to understand the sin that caused the tribulations. He then orders a three-day fast and knocks at the doors of the synagogues. At the end of the Krovetz, we hear an echo of the final pasuk of the Megillah, with Mordechai speaking peace from the Source of all Blessings.

The weekday Amida has 19 blessings, yet there are only 18 stanzas in the Krovetz. There is no insertion for the blessing Et Tzema David. One common conjecture is that, given that the Purim miracle was brought about  through descendants of Benjamin and King Saul, we do not want to highlight that the ultimate Messianic redemption will be through a descendent of Judah and King David. Another view is that since Rabbi Eleazar HaKalir was presumably from the Land of Israel, he would have followed the custom of the Land of Israel in those days, combining the blessing of Et TzemaDavid with the preceding bracha [14].

Otzar Hatefillot has a longer version of the Krovetz for Purim, with three long acrostic piyyutim added before the Keter stanza of the Mishan Umivta Latzadikim blessing.

 

Shabbat Parah

The main theme of the Kerovot for Shabbat Parah is the mysteriousness of the commandment, which is considered the paradigm of a ḥok (a law without an obvious reason). The Kadosh phrase, “It renders the impure pure, and the pure impure, at the word of the Holy One” concisely sums up the mystery – the cleansing waters of the Red Heifer purify those in need of purity, but those administering the waters are rendered impure with a light form of impurity until the evening. Quoting Kohelet 7:23, the piyyut notes that even the wisest of kings, King Solomon (here called by the name Itiel, in accordance with Proverbs 30:1), found this particular law to be beyond comprehension: אָמַרְתִּי אֶחְכָּמָה, וְהִיא רְחוֹקָה [I said I would become wise, but it is distant].

As would be expected, the Kerovot also outline the ceremony of the Red Heifer, based on the regulations described in the Mishnah. A causeway is built up from the Temple Mount to the Mount of Olives. The High Priest and his entourage go to the Mount of Olives, where the High Priest immerses himself, prepares the pyre, slaughters the cow while facing east, lights the pyre, sprinkles the blood, and asks questions to confirm that he is using the correct cedar wood, and hyssop. The ashes are then divided into three parts, with one part being kept for the future purification at the time of the Resurrection of the Dead.

The Siluk reiterates the inherent contradiction in the law of the Red Heifer, which is a primary theme of the Kerovot for this special Shabbat. It then embarks on a detailed review of other areas of halacha in which apparent contradictions and inconsistencies can be seen, including:

  • We cannot eat certain internal fats, but the fat of the heart is permitted.
  • Blood is forbidden, but the spleen, which is saturated with blood, is permitted.
  • Mixtures of milk and meat are prohibited, but the milk within the udder is considered fleishig, like the udder itself.
  • Mixtures of linen and flax [shaatnez] are forbidden, but the blue strings of the tzitzit may be shaatnez.
  • One is forbidden to marry the wife of one’s brother, but it becomes a commandment in a yibum [levirate marriage] situation.
  • A married woman is forbidden, but the beautiful, female war captive is permitted.
  • Leprous lesions render the patient impure, but a lesion that spreads over the entire body does not cause impurity.
  • The goat of Yom Kippur brings purity, but, like the Red Heifer, imparts impurity to those performing the ceremony.

 

As for Parshat Zachor, the Kerovot for Musaf do not appear in most Siddurim, but are present in Otzar Hatfillot. The first word of each stanza is taken from the seven-word pasuk in Job 28:23 אֱלֹקים, הֵבִין דַּרְכָּהּ וְהוּא יָדַע אֶת-מְקוֹמָהּ  [Mechon Mamre: Gd understandeth the way thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof.]  Actually, the pasuk consists of eight words, but, as in the Krovetz for Purim, the particle et is combined with the following word. Once again, this pasuk emphasizes the central theme of the piyyutim of the day, that the law of the Red Heifer is inherently a mystery. The stanzas review the details of the ceremony. The final stanza concludes with the wish that Jerusalem be re-established in mercy, and that there shall be peace within its walls, and calm within its palaces.

 

Shabbat HaḤodesh

The Kerovot for Shabbat HaḤodesh begin by mentioning that the season of Gd’s love had arrived, and it was now time to redeem His people from Egypt. The command to take the Paschal lamb on the tenth of the month is noted. The piyyutim mention that Gd Himself had sanctified the moon for 2448 years since creation, declaring 900 leap years during that time [15], and then taught the chosen people how to do this. A long piyyut, in which Eleazar the son of Rabbi Kalir signed his name with the opening letter of each stanza, describes how Gd demonstrated to Moses the exact manner to calculate the new moon, so that the witnesses who come to report the new moon in the future can be examined properly. Gd also instructed Moses regarding the criteria for establishing leap years. The New Moon of Nissan that year occurred on Wednesday at noon. Moses suspected that Rosh Ḥodesh could be declared in the middle of the day, but was instructed that the month itself does not begin until nightfall.

The two Kadosh phrases express the fact that Nissan is the first month, for Gd will pass over the Children of Israel and be sanctified among them. The following piyyut overviews some of the miracles that occurred in Nissan, including the birth of Isaac, the destruction of Sennacherib’s army, and the hanging of Haman. The month is considered holy at all points, with Rosh Ḥodesh at the beginning, the taking of the Paschal lamb in Egypt on the tenth, the observance of Pesaḥ, the harvesting of the Omer, and the completion of the month in holiness (probably alluding to the commandment of the counting of the Omer, which extends throughout the end of the month and onward).

The Siluk begins by listing various things that are called “the head and first” including the month of Nissan, the festival of the month of Nissan, the first enemy of the Children of Israel (i.e. Amalek), the lover of the Jewish people (i.e. Gd), and the Messiah. It discusses the renewal aspect of Rosh Ḥodesh, and segues into an ode to the renaissance of the Jewish people in the future, when they will bring a new offering, and their light will be renewed seventyfold.

The Musaf Kerovot, which, as those of Shabbat Shekalim, appear in all Siddurim that include the Yotzrot for the Four Special Sabbaths, consists of the usual seven stanzas of the Shivatit form. The opening word of each stanza is taken from the seven-word pasuk of Isaiah 41:27 – רִאשׁוֹן לְצִיּוֹן הִנֵּה הִנָּם וְלִירוּשָׁלִַם מְבַשֵּׂר אֶתֵּן [Mechon Mamre translation: A harbinger unto Zion will I give: 'Behold, behold them', and to Jerusalem a messenger of good tidings.] [16]. As the month of redemption approaches, this pasuk hints to the future redemption of the Messianic era. The fourth stanza notes that these days of the beginning of Nissan are blessed days, as the crops begin to grow. One can feel the renewal of nature in the spring, as one looks forward to the renewal of the Jewish people during the time of the Messiah.

Each stanza concludes with a reference to something related to the number four:

  • The four New Years, as mentioned in the first Mishnah of Tractate Rosh Hashanah.
  • The four seasons of the year, with a wish that their light be renewed as at the time of creation.
  • The four times that the world is judged, as per the second Mishnah of Tractate Rosh Hashanah.
  • The four special Torah portions read at this time of year.
  • The four cups of wine to be drunk at the Seder, corresponding to the four times that the cup is mentioned in the dream of Pharaoh’s butler.
  • The four kingdoms that ruled over the Jewish people, and which Gd will eventually destroy.
  • The four craftsmen in the vision of Zechariah (Zechariah 2:3) who are interwoven with the ultimate redemption of the Jewish people. The Talmud (Sukkah 52b) identifies these four craftsmen as the Messiah son of David, the Messiah son of Joseph, the prophet Elijah, and the priest Melchizedek.

 

Shabbat Hagadol

As can be expected, the Kerovot begin by praising Gd for redeeming Israel from Egypt, and overview some of the events leading to the Exodus. The fact that the Children of Israel were given the Shabbat already before the revelation at Mount Sinai is mentioned no less than three times. Israel is a delightful vineyard, but has been oppressed by the wicked kingdom, and is now being redeemed in the merit of the promise to Abraham. The Kadosh phrase notes that those who left Egypt in haste were provided with food, so they would be sated and not hungry. Unlike in the Haggadah, where Moses’ role in the Exodus is minimized, the role of Moses and Aaron as Gd’s emissaries is stressed several times.

The piyyut Vayehi Baḥatzi Halayla [and it came to pass at midnight] then follows. This piyyut mentions many events and miracles that took place in the middle of the night, including the victory of Abraham over the four kings, the dreams of Abimelech and Laban, Jacob’s struggle with the angel, the plague of the killing of the firstborn at the Exodus, the victory over Sisera in the Book of Judges, the downfall of Sennacherib, the visions of Daniel, the rescue of Daniel from the lion’s den, and the dream of Ahasuerus leading to the downfall of Haman. It ends with a prayer that the “day which is neither day nor night” (Zecharia 14:7) come soon, and that Gd’s glory spread over the earth during both day and night. This piyyut has been imported into the Nirtzah section of the Seder, and the stirring melody of the final stanza is one of the popular tunes of the Seder night [17].

At this point, the Kerovot transition to a halachic discourse. A long piyyut by Rabbi Yosef Tov Elem [18] Elokei Haruchot, overviews the laws of Pesaḥ, including the search for ḥametz, the koshering of vessels, the baking of matzo, the enjoyment of the festival,  and the order of the Seder. The treatment of the halachot is thorough, at times even bringing down differences of opinion in practice. There are certain areas which are not considered normative halacha, but for the most part, this piyyut describes our common practice. This piyyut is useful as a source of study for a concise overview of the laws of Pesaḥ, and many people, myself included, have given pre-Pesaḥ shiurim based on this piyyut.

The final stanza of the Elokei Haruchot piyyut, Ḥasal Siddur Pesaḥ, forms the beginning of the Nirtzah section of the Seder. Like Vayehi Baḥatzi Halayla, it was imported into the Seder from the Kerovot of Shabbat Hagadol. At the Seder, it expresses the hope that, just as we have merited to conduct the Seder, so may we merit to fulfil the commandment of the Paschal offering in the rebuilt Temple. On Shabbat Hagadol, the meaning is different: just as we have merited to recite the order of the Seder on Shabbat Hagadol, so may we merit to fulfil the commandments of the Seder during the upcoming week.

The Siluk builds on the question and answer theme of the Seder, asking a series of questions about the laws and customs of Pesaḥ, and providing responses based on halacha, Midrash, and even word plays. For the most part, the questions relate to the observances of the Seder, but some also deal with the first Pesaḥ in Egypt. The answers provided are not always what one might expect from one’s general knowledge. The questions and answers are as follows:

  • Why does the Pesaḥ offering come from sheep? Because Gd passed over the nation that is called “sheep,” and redeemed it from the scoffers (a play on words between tzon and latzon).
  • Why was the offering taken (in Egypt) four days before the slaughter, and why did the Israelites have to be circumcised before eating of the offering? So that the Israelites would have mitzvot to earn the merit of redemption.
  • Why was the blood placed on the lintels and two door posts? In memory of the three altars built by Abraham.
  • Why must one stop eating ḥametz at six hours on the eve of Pesaḥ? To recall that the redemption was hastened (and brought about 190 years prior to the predicted 400 years).
  • Why do we eat matzo, the bread of affliction? Because the dough did not have time to rise before the Israelites were redeemed from affliction.
  • Why do we eat maror, that is soft (i.e. sweet) at first, and then heavy (i.e. bitter)? Because the Israelites were at first enslaved with soft language, and then with a heavy yoke.
  • Why do we dip the maror in ḥaroset? In memory of the mortar.
  • Why do we put spices in the ḥaroset? In memory of the straw that the Israelites had to gather.
  • Why do we have two types of meats (it mentions two types of meat rather than our custom of meat and an egg) at the side of the matzo? One in memory of the Pesaḥ offering, and the other in memory of the festive offering (Ḥagiga).
  • Why do we lift up the platter before the meal? So the children will see it and ask questions.
  • Why do we eat other vegetables first? In order to exempt the maror from the bracha, because it is not appropriate to make two brachot on a single act of eating. The piyyut then notes that we do make two brachot on the matzo before eating it, but clarifies that each bracha is on a separate matzo.
  • Why do we drink four cups that night? In memory of the four terms of redemption about which the Chosen Nation was informed (Exodus 6:6-7), and in memory of the four cups of punishment from which our enemies will ultimately drink at the end of days.
  • Why do we recline in an honourable fashion? In memory of the freedom, in the manner of the children of kings.

Unlike the Four Parshiyot, there is no Musaf Kerovot for Shabbat Hagadol. That is more than made up for by the length of the Shaḥarit Kerovot. The recitation and/or the study of the Kerovot for Shabbat Hagadol is truly a fulfilment of the halacha that one must study and expound the laws of Pesaḥ from thirty days before the festival.

 

 

ENDNOTES

1. Olam Hatefillot, Rabbi Eliahu Munk, Mossad Harav Kook, pp. 114-118 [Introduction to the Pesaḥ Prayers].

2. Singular of Maaravot is Maaravit, which refers to all the insertions for a single given day (e.g. Maaravit for the first day of Sukkot). The plural can be Maaravot, Maaravim (i.e. either the female or male plural), or Maaraviot (as used in Shaar Hapiyyut in Rinat Yisrael Maḥzorim).

3. Much of the information from this and the preceding paragraph was culled from the aforementioned Olam Hatefillot, volume II, by Rabbi Eliahu Munk. See chapters on the evening service for Pesaḥ and Rosh Hashanah.

4. The list of Siddurim and Maḥzorim presented in this paragraph is not meant to be comprehensive. The common denominator is that they all reside on the bookshelves of my home library. Many old German Maḥzorim that I have not examined have a full set of piyyutim. The Service of the Synagogue for Festivals Maḥzor is commonly known as the Adler Maḥzor. It is a single volume Maḥzor that does not have separate sections for each Yom Tov. It does not include Maaravot, Yotzrot, or Kerovot. Incidentally, it was the Maḥzor that I was familiar with from my early childhood at Beth Shalom Synagogue of Ottawa. Later on, when I started to attend Machzikei Hadas of Ottawa, the Birnbaum Siddur was be used for Yamim Tovim. Both synagogues used the Birnbaum Maḥzor for the Yamim Noraim. Mahzor Or LeYisrael, arranged by M. Stern and published by the Hebrew Publishing Company, contains separate comprehensive sections for each Yom Tov, with a complete set of Maaravot, Yotzrot, and Kerovot. Unlike the Adler, it does not contain an English translation.

5. The Maḥzorim and Siddurim listed here are a combination of Nusaḥ Ashkenaz and Sephard. My Rinat Yisrael Maḥzorim are Nusaḥ Sephard. My Artscroll set for the Shalosh Regalim is Ashkenaz, whereas I own both versions for the Yamim Noraim. The Maḥzor Rabba set, my wife’s childhood set of Maḥzorim that joined my library upon our marriage, is Nusaḥ Sephard. The Birnbaum Maḥzor as well as the two Hebrew Publishing Company Maḥzorim mentioned are Nusaḥ Ashkanaz. Otzar Hatefillot, borrowed from my father-in-law’s library, is Nusaḥ Sephard. I have the pocket-sized Siddur Hatefillah Hashalem in both Nuschaot.  In general, the Nusaḥ of the Maḥzor or Siddur seems to have little if any relevance regarding the inclusion of piyyutim, and the text or ordering thereof. This eclectic set of Siddurim and Maḥzorim in my possession reflect my own personal history: I grew up in Ottawa with Nusaḥ Ashkenaz. When I moved to Toronto at age 19, most of the shuls I attended were Nusaḥ Sephard, and as I became a frequent Baal Tefillah, I became quite acquainted with that Nusaḥ. Over the past decade, I have served as a Baal Tefillah on the Yamim Noraim at a Ḥabad style minyan that davens Nusaḥ Ari. My research into my own family background indicates that my paternal grandfather stemmed from an area where Nusaḥ Sephard was common. Although I continue to daven Nusaḥ Ashkenaz in my private prayers (when serving as a Baal Tefillah, I of course always daven the Nusaḥ of the shul), my children have adopted Nusaḥ Sephard with the approval and blessing of their father.

6. Many Siddurim include the piyyutim for the Four Special Shabbatot, and refer to them as Yotzrot. In most cases, however, (see Artscroll, but there are many other examples), only Kerovot are included. Here, the term Yotzrot refers to the first usage of the term – any insertion in the Shema blessings or the repletion of the Amida. True Yotzrot (in the second sense of the term) exist for those days as well, and are included in a minority of Siddurim.

7. Fascinating – the same number of insertions as Maaravot. Mere coincidence, I believe.

8. Otzar Hatefillot does not contain the Yotzrot or Kerovot for the Shalosh Regalim or Yamim Tovim. Furthermore, although Otzar Hatefillot includes Yotzrot for many other special Shabbatot, as I will list later on, none of those other occasions include Kerovot. Otzar Hatefillot includes the Kerovot for the Four Parshiyot and Shabbat Hagadol.

9. Translation of the Pasuk from Mechon Mamre: https://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt3304.htm . Uvechein is translated as “And so”.

10.  We are also familiar with the word from the first two piyyutim of the Nirtzah section of the Pesaḥ Seder. As we shall see later, these piyyutim are not native to the Seder, but were rather imported from the Kerovot of Shabbat HaGadol and the Second Day of Pesaḥ, respectively.

11.  Exceptions are the Artscroll small size Chumash with the Shabbat prayers, and the Hebrew-only Artscroll Siddurim, where the Siluk is included for the Four Parshiyot and Shabbat Hagadol. The Artscroll Maḥzorim include the Siluk for the Shalosh Regalim and Yamim Noraim in the Additional Piyyutim section at the end. The common denominator in Artscroll’s policies of whether or not to include the Siluk seems to be that the Siluk is left untranslated in all cases. I might add that this is most unfortunate.

12.  Prior to the Musaf for these two Shabbatot, Otzar Hatefilla notes that Krovetz for Musaf on Shabbat Zachor and Parah are found in an old parchment Mazor in Jerusalem that includes the piyyutim for the Four Parshiot, Pesaḥ, and Shavuot, and states that they were all written by Rabbi Eleazar HaKalir. An opinion exists that the Musaf Krovetz for these two parshiyot did not reach the lands of Ashkenaz at the time that the early siddurim were being formulated, and therefore were not included.

13.  As has been noted, Artscroll Siddurim with an English translation omit the Siluk for these days.

14.  See Rabbi Hershel Shachter: https://jewishvues.com/articles/yerushalayim-as-the-ir-meluchah/ as well as torasaba blog: https://torasaba.blogspot.com/2016/03/the-real-reason.html

15.  900 x 19 / 7 = 2442, which is the beginning of the 19-year cycle in which the year 2448 falls.

16.  This is a complex pasuk, with an obscure meaning, not easy to translate. I used the Mechon Mamre translation, but another translation could be as follows: I [Gd] am the first to tell Zion I am here, behold, and to Jerusalem a bearer of [good] news. No matter how this pasuk is translated, it bears a clear message of the advent of the redemption. The first two words of this pasuk, Rishon Letzion, is the honorific title of the Sephardic chief rabbis of Israel, as well as a name of one of the first Jewish cities founded in Israel outside of Jerusalem. The pasuk is used in the Havdalah service of the Sephardic rite. The term Mevaser [bearer of news] is also used in the Kol Mevaser piyyut that concludes the Hoshanot service of Hoshanah Rabba with a vivid description of the coming of the Messiah.

17.  A recording of Karev Yom can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RL8rOK5pxQQ  I personally use this melody for the entire piyyut at the Seder, as well as for the Veamartem Zevaḥ Pesach piyyut.

18.  See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_ben_Samuel_Bonfils

 

 © 2020 by Jerrold Landau