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as asking which Halakot should be given the preference in study, the
Halakot [Gedolot of Rabl)i Jehudai], or the mriTOp m^bn extracted from
the former. The more probable meaning is that the first m^^ni stands
for Talmud, the expression having been chosen under the intiuence of the
following mDbrra.

2 The judgment of Rabbi Paltoi on fn is, mutatis mutandis, tlie same
as that of the u.>"«t on Maimonides' Yad ; comp. the remark in his
Responsum XXXI, 9.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE Hg

practical and a theoretic nature put to them — replies which
in part served the purposes for which one usually resorts to
compendiums and reference books. What Miiller says in
his Mafteali, about Rabbi Natronai ben Hilai, Gaon of
Sura, and a contemporary of Rabbi Paltoi, that he com-
piled a series of Halakot Kezubot, cannot be proved a fact,
and in view of Rabbi Paltoi's words, it is highly improbable.
The " Brief Decisions " published by Horowitz in YcTi, II, 5
et seq., after a Parma MS., are assuredly not attributable
to Rabbi Natronai. They are a late compilation, without
plan or system, of Geonic and old French ^ decisions. The
Geonic portion is taken in large part from the Responsa
and decisions of Rabbi Jehudai '^. Another portion may
perhaps be traceable to Rabbi Katronai's Responsa as its
source ^. As for the superscription over this conglomerate
material, pNi \s:nD: '^1 nm:^n, it is, without a doubt, the
invention of an untrustworthy copyist.

Prayers First Put in Writing.

Nevertheless, the time we are speaking of has a work to
its credit which is closely akin to the Halakah, the Seder
Rah Amrar)i, originating about the middle of the ninth
century. When Rabbi Jehudai ventured to set aside the
old custom and permitted the writing down of the Halakah,
the prayers still remained to a large extent under the ban
against written transmission. A Responsum of Rabbi

^ Rabbenu Gershom is mentioned by name, j). 7. The Responsum
mm mbnn, 6, is by Rashi, and may be found in Tmbi r\z-\^ 'n '\rn, 42, in
a more correct form. Comp. Schorr, He-Haluz, Xll, 97.

'^ The brief oral decisions by Rabbi Jehudai in b":, 45, are most of them
to be found here again.

' The decision (p. 8) regarding a priest who left Judaism for a time is an
extract from Rabbi Natronai's ResjDonsum in fr\, 54, and D^n, 8, quoted
also in bio'ir^, I, 28. Likewise, the decision, following close upon it,
regarding any renegade who returns to Judaism, goes back to Rabbi
Natronai's Responsum in y"\r', 24 b, 8. On the other hand, the Responsum
on p. 12 regarding the sick man, contradicts the view of Rabbi Natronai
as given in bn"2;r, 42 ; comp., however, 3"n, 48.



I20 THE GEONIM

Jehudars informs us that the Reader at the synagogue in
his time was permitted to use a prayer-book on the Day of
Atonement and other fast-days. Such leniency was not
extended to the festivals — he was expected to recite the
prayers by heart on them^ At a time in which the Reader
was obliged to recite the prayers by heart, it goes without
saying that the members of the congregation surely had no
prayer-books, or at least did not use them in public.

But it did not take long for the last remnants of the
prohibition against the writing down of religious works to
disappear. In a Responsum, Rabbi Natronai, whose period
of activity is a hundred years after Rabbi Jehudai, dis-
cusses the question whether a blind man may officiate as
Reader in the synagogue 2. He decides that there is no
objection to his reciting the prayers, but he may not give
the lesson from the Torah, because it is imperative that the
latter must be read from the scroll. This reveals that, in
Rabbi Natronai's day, the general custom was for the

^ Miiller, Handschriftliche Jehudai Gaon zugewiesene Lehrsutze, lo. Though
Eabbi Jehudai was a Gaon of Sura, by education he was a Pumbeditan.
Therefore it is not extraordinary for him to use the expression msi -13 ijn:
NiiDn in his Responsum. It is interesting that opposition to the use
of prayer-books should prevail as late as the time of Rabbi Ephraim,
as appears from his remark in '?n"2\r, 12. The identity of this Rabbi
Ephraim cannot be established with certainty. He is probably the i^upil
of Alfasi, and not the Rabbi Ephraim of Bonn who lived a century
later. Buber, in his list of authors' names for '?n"n^, attributes all tlie
passages in the book to the former Rabbi Ephraim, but there can be
no doubt that the Rabbi Ephraim in 33 is the German Rabbi Ephraim,
as his correspondent is the German Rabbi Joel. From C'^n Sx, I, 5 b,
bottom, it may be seen that no prayer-books were taken to the synagogue
on week-days, though, to judge from the words of the author, this
was not to be ascribed to scruples against the use of prayer-books.
What Ibn Gajat says, in \d"xd, I, 62, regarding the recitation of the 'Abodah
on the Day of Atonement, does not prove that in his time it was not
written down ; it means that in some congregations it was recited only
by the precentor, while the worshippers merely listened. Comp, also
':rT"a\y, 58, 1112 r\->b^ Dii^b, which also presupposes recitation by heart.

2 Properly ascribed to Natronai in ri"\r, 245, and n"x, I, 18 a, while in
Ti'Mi, 42 a, Rabbi Jehudai appears as the author, which is not correct. The
prayer-books mentioned in G. S., p. 153, belong to the time after R. Amram.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE I2T

Reader to use a prayer-book, else a congregation would
not have been in doubt as to the fitness of a blind man,
who could recite the prayers only by heart, for the office of
Reader.

Of course, even after prayer-books had long been in use
in Babylonia, there was no occasion for the Geonim to
occupy themselves with the task of fixing the order of the
prayers. With centuries of continuous development in
Babylonia the conduct of the divine service lay in the
hands of men who would do the risrht thing without the
necessity of special instruction. Moreover, the judges and
the other communal officials stood under the direct juris-
diction of the Geonim, who would be sure to watch over
the divine service and its conduct in accordance with the
accepted regulations. Of the three " Orders of Prayer," it
is certain that two were compiled at the request of con-
gregations outside of Babylonia. Rab Amram wrote his
for the Spanish congregations^, and Rabbi Saadia his for
the Egyptian-, and it is altogether probable that Rabbi
Hai, too, did not arrange his Seder for Babylonia^. The
countries outside of Babylonia lacked both historical con-
tinuity and a central body with acknowledged religious
authority, and there were other circumstances, besides,
standing in the way of securing an established order of the
prayers. In spite of the high respect in which the Gaonate
was held, the Jews of Europe and elsewhere were not
altogether free from Palestinian influence *. In the depart-
ment of liturgy this influence was most marked, for even
after the disappearance of her Academies, Palestine still
remained the home of the Plyyut and the prayers. In
point of fact the chief work done by the Geonim with

^ Explicitly stated by Ibn Daud, in his n?3pn 'd, and demonstrable from
the Seder itself. 2 Comp. below, pp. 166-7.

3 For a hypothesis regarding the destination of Rabbi Hai's Seder see
below, p. 175.

^ Rabbi Hai knew this very well, as is shown by his remark in Rabbi
Isaiah di Trani the Elder, rn^o, 42. Comp. also '>r"uj, II, 55, where
Palestinian customs in Spain are mentioned.



122 THE GEONIM

regard to the prayers was to guard the main, original
prayers zealously against additions, and even so the}'
were not wholly successful in warding off Palestinian
influence ^.

Another current that threatened the stability of the order
of prayers was Karaism, especially its feeble offshoots,
wdiich were close enough to Rabbinisin to influence rather
than repel it. The Responsum by Rabbi Natronai, in
the Seder Rah Aonram, 37 b-38 a, is an interesting
exemplification of Karaitic influence on the Rabbinical
liturgy. The Haggadah fragment published in the J.Q. K,
X, 42, with its Rabbinic and Karaitic elements, shows
that this influence was so strong as to leave traces in
literature.

Spain and Egypt were the countries in which these

^ The many decisions of the Geonim, partly contradictory of one
another, on the subject of insertions in the 'Amidah, especially on the
New Year's Day and the Day of Atonement, reveal unmistakable traces
of a long struggle against the Piyyut, ending finally in a compromise.
In general, the investigator gains the impression that the Geonim of
Sura were by far more kindly disposed toward the Piyyut than those
of Pumbedita, of which a comparison between the Responsum of Rabbi
Natronai in j'^n, 50, with one by Rabbi Hai in OTii-n 'c, 252 (however,
see 1. c, 288), affords a characteristic illustration. It is difficult to see
how Weiss, 118, succeeds in discovering a predilection for Kalir in
Rabbi Natronai from his Responsum. Rabbi Natronai (in /'n, 50) names
two Piyyutirn, nvbj ympi and mbini pirnn, with disapproval. The second
is probably identical with "ppm m'jini by Kalir in the 'Amidah for Purim
in the German ritual ; and even the first, nrbj y"iip2, may be Kaliric, as
Kalir seems to have written more than one Piyyut for the 'Amidah of
Tisha' he- Ah. Comp. Landshut, minj?n mor, s. n. As for the influence
exercised by Pumbeditan tradition on Rabbi Jehudai (see above, p. 120,
n. i), the fact is significant that he opposed any and every insertion in the
'Amidah, according to the information given in G. S., on p. 51. If the
text of the u?"x"i, Berakot, 34 a, and of 'jn^'a^-, 27, is correct, the opposition
to insertions extended even to -jnnc p pi, which, however, can hardly
be so ; it seems certain that it is an insertion made in Talmudic times.
As for Egyptian conditions, it is to be noted that from rather early
vintil comparatively recent times, both Palestinian and Babylonian
synagogues flourished in Egypt, comp. J. Q. P., XVIII, 11, 564 ; XIX, 460,
Benjamin of Tudela, Itinerary, pp. 90-1, ed. Griinhut ; Neubauer-Cowley,
Catalogue, 238, no. 16 ; and Poznanski, Z. H. B., X, 145.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE I23

currents were distinctly noticeable \ and they are the
countries whence requests came to the Geonim regarding
the order of the prayers.

The Liturgical Part of the Seder Rab Amram.

Exclusive of small sections of the prayer-book, the Seder
Rab Amram is probably the first Order of Prayers issuing
from the hand of a Gaon. His predecessor, Rabbi Natronai,
sent to Spain a brief arrangement of the " hundred bene-
dictions," published for the first time in G. S,, p. 119 et seq."
It is possible, too, that the Gaon Kohen-Zedek, ofliciating
shortly before Rabbi Natronai, put a Passover Haggadah
together ^. But of a complete Order of Prayers not a trace
can be found until we reach Rab Amram.

In its quality as the first Seder arranged by an acknow-
ledged authority, Rab Amram's enjoyed greater consideration
than any work of the Geonic period. While of Rabbi
Saadia's Seder only a few quotations were preserved, and
they by specialists in liturgy, so that it was until recently
considered a lost book, there is scarcely any work of
importance belonging to the centuries between the years
1000* and 1500 that does not contain a reference to Rab

^ The remark by Rabbi Samuel ha-Nagid in u\"^7i 'd, 267, throws an
interesting light upon the masked Karaism infecting Spain during the
Geonic time. The Gaon Rabbi Natronai learnt about Anan's book
of laws from the Spanish Rabbi Eleazar Alluf, i-"ic, 38 a.

^ Rabbi Natronai seems to have arranged also regulations for the
readings from the Pentateuch ; com p. i>"iD, 29 a, and fr],ed. Hildesheimer,
623.

^ Comp. ir'"u,', II, 100, Marx, Uniersuchimgen, &c., 5-6, and Miiller in
Handschriftliche Jehuda'i Gaon zugeioiesene Lehrsciize, 17, where may also be
found the information obtained from Derenbourg, to which he refers in
Mafteah, 83. Harkavy's view, in Saadia, 144, deserves to be mentioned as
a curiosity of literature. He says that pii" jnj and r\KDr:^ ''"i, in xd""^, 1. c,
are one and the same person, that is, Ibn Gajat is supposed to have
called one person by two names in the same sentence ! The "iTDx ncwQ 'era
mentioned by Rabbi Saadia may perhaps be the maternal grandfather of
Rabbi Sherira, M^'^r: (comp. above, p. 12, last line), of v/hich 'Din is a
variant form.

* Rabbi Sherira, in 7n"2c, 11 1, is the oldest author who cites the r"ic.



124 THE GEONIM

Amram's Seder. Though it was prepared for the Spanish
Jews primarily, it was used as extensively by the Franco-
German authorities as by the Hispano-Proven9al. From
Rashi down to the anonymous fifteenth- century commen-
tator^ of the German prayer-book, published at Trino, IS'^5)
the Franco-German scholars do not leave off appealing to
the authority of Kab Amram. And the Hispano-Proven9al
scholars of the same period, from Rabbi Isaac Ibn Gajat
down to Abudraham, likewise form an unbroken chain of
authors deriving their information from the Seder Rah
Amrani. Besides, it is probably the only Geonic work of
which four complete MSS.^ have been preserved. Of
Rabbi Saadia's we have a single one, and that imperfect.

This same circumstance, that Rab Amram's Seder was
resorted to so zealously, carries with it a drawback. Due
to it, we shall probably never know its true, original form.
It was used until it was used up. To realise the whole
extent of the problem thus forced upon us, we must
remember that the Seder contains more than the prayers.
They are accompanied by a continuous chain of important
Halakot relating to the prayers. The introductory sentences
of the Seder, the words of Rab Amram to Rabbi Isaac ben
Simon, the addressee of the Seder Responsum, mention
nothing about this Halakic exposition. His words are:
" And relative to the prayers and benedictions for the
whole year, concerning which thou didst make a request
of me, it seemeth good to me to arrange them in order and
send them to thee as they have been transmitted to us, the
order of the Tannaim and Amoraim."

^ The y"iD is quoted in the commentary on the Haggadah, witli the
words D-yoSf n mo ni7n. Also in the brief observations preceding the
prayers in ^^'lon "Jimo the Seder is quoted. It ceased to be quoted only
after printed prayer-books became common.

^ On the MSS. comp. Marx, Untersuchungen zum Seder des Gaon Rah
Amram, Frankfort-on-the-Main, 1908, which reached me while this book
was going through the press. In the following pages MS. S stands for
the Sulzberger MS. in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and
MS. for the Oxford MS.



THE HALAKIC LITERATUEE I25

An argumentum ex sllentio like this may not be pressed
too hard. It is to be assumed that the Spanish congrega-
tions did not ask the Gaon simply for a prayer-book.
That they could have procured from any Babylonian Jew.
They must have desired the valuable explanations and
notes accompanying the prayers, and the Gaon, in his
introduction, briefly spoke of the order of the prayers,
which in his mind included the Halakot appertaining to
them. Indeed, the probability is that the Spanish Jews
laid more stress upon the Halakot than upon the prayers.
On the whole, and certainly in all that was essential, the
latter were settled everywhere according to local custom,
which had too strong a hold upon the congregations
to permit us to suppose for a moment that they would
have given their peculiarities up for others, though the
others had the high sanction of the Geonim. Furthermore,
the quotations in the oldest authors that mention the Seder,
Kabbi Sherira, Ibn Gajat, Rashi, and Albargeloni, are from
the Halakic portions. This leaves no room for reasonable
doubt that the Seder received its dual form from Rab Amram
himself. The introductory words quoted above also show
how untenable is the tradition reported by Azulai, in his
Waad la-Hakamim, s.v., which makes the Seder the work
of the school of Rab Amram. This tradition probably
originated in the fact that the name of Rab Amram is
mentioned several times in the Halakic portions of the
Seder, as are also decisions by authorities who lived after
him. Rabbi Nahshon, Rabbi Zemah, Rabbi Nathan, and
Rabbi Saadia^. If these decisions were the only alien
elements in the Seder, we should wonder that a book so
much used had come down to us in a comparatively
unchanged form, rather than that it had received such
additions. In fact, a critical examination of the Seder
shows that it was abused to an extreme degree, and the



^ In MS. O Rabbenu Hai is also quoted. Comp. Marx, Uniersuchungen,

&C., II.



126 THE GEONIM

portion that suffered most is the Order of Prayers specifi-
cally, rather than the Halakic explanations. In the
following paragraphs proofs will be adduced — and they
might be increased tenfold — to show that our present
Seder Rah Amram has preserved a minimum of its original
form, so far as the prayers themselves go.

The concludiug sentence of r^'om M^x in our Seder begins
D-iti^yDn b'2 |ns, w^hile Abudraham\ 27, gives O'lJ^^ycn h'2 jnn
niC^D^n b:^ |^^^ as the reading he finds in his copy, at the
same time calling our form of it just quoted the custom
of the " common people."

The formula of nninn n^nn, as it now^ appears in the Seder,
assuredly did not originate with Rab Amram. As is shown
by the Responsum by Rabbi Natronai, G^. >S^., p. 116, line 3,
the expression nninn jniJ was used in Babylonia, instead of
the ♦ . . nroi'Dn of the Seder. Rabbi Natronai' s wording is
corroborated by a''n, ed. Hildesheimer, 8. Rabbi Abraham
ben Nathan states, in his Manliig, 9, that nninn |niJ was
used at his time in Spain, while a century later, as we can
see from Abudraham, 30, the form of the Franco-German
Academies was in vogue, which is the form that agrees
with our printed text of the Seder. The version used by
Rabbi Aaron of Lunel showed still another deviation from
the original Seder Rab Amraon. It had nnin nma plDy^,
instead of nnin nm bv, also to be ascribed to Franco-German
influence ^.

The priestly blessing after minn n3n3 can be traced back
at least to the time of Rabbi Jacob, the author of the Tur ;
he had it in his copy of the Seder. But the Responsum of
Rabbi Natronai shows that it was not used in Babylonia.
In the introductory note to the Responsum, in G. S., p. no,
it is demonstrated that it was a French custom, and, there-
fore, is naturally missing in S and O.

^ I quote from the edition Warsaw, 1877.

^ Comp. D"nc, 41 c, where ~icrb is denominated a Minhag of Lorraine,
as compared with the custom prevailing in Spain. MS. S has correctly
mim )m:. Comp. Marx, Untersuchungen, &c., 7.



THE HALAKIC LITERATURE I27

Our text, 2 a, calls for the recital of the verses on the
Sabbath sacrifices, while the Manhig, 9, indicates that the
Seder provides for them also on the New Moon Day.

Abudraham, 37, accuses the "common people" of having
twisted nn^CDl m^n^^•2, as correctly given in the Seder, into
rn'^DDl rn:3tJ^a, but our text agrees with the wording used by
the people.

The nn^l^ in our text of the Seder forms the conclusion
of the nimi ^piDa, but we have a trustworthy tradition
(DTiyn 'd), 249, that the recital of the m^s:^ was unknown in
the principal sj- nagogues in Babylonia as late as the time
of Rabbi Natronai, the immediate predecessor of Rab Amram.
From another source, R. E. J., XXIII, 234, we learn that the
first one to introduce the HTC^ in Germany was Rabbi Moses
ben Rabbi Kalonymos. All this would seem to point to the
inevitable conclusion that the nn^c^ in the Seder Rah Amram
is not one of its original elements, a conclusion strengthened
by the fact that, as is patent from the Manhig, 10 b, the
r\'\'>^ did not appear in the copy of the Seder used by the
author of the Manhig ^ Indeed, the printed texts them-
selves betray that we owe the r]'V^ to a copyist. On
page 27 b, where the Sabbath prayers are recorded, the
conclusion of the nnnm ^IDD is properly given as , , . D^i'i'nDl.

The omission of the passage ^'in niN* at the end of the
first Shema Benediction cannot but be a correction made
in accordance with the Seder of Rabbi Saadia. Rabbi
Nahshon, the successor of Rabbi Amram, quotes this passage
incidentally (y'n, ed. Hildesheimer, 224), showing that he
was not aware of any objection thereto, and it was recited
in Babylonian synagogues still later, in the time of Rabbi
Sherira (^T\":i^, 13). There is even an explicit statement
that Rabbi Saadia could not make his opinion prevail in
Sura itself. This brings out an interesting point in the
history of the liturgy. It may not be out of place to dwell

* The MSS. have preserved the original text here only in part. See
below, p. 144, Com p. also n"x, I, 6 c, and Mahzor Romania, under mn\L-'
in the Sabbath Morning Prayer.



128 THE GEONIM

upon it here. Originally the prayers connected with the
^hema contained no reference to the future, the Messianic,
redemption. Zion, the Temple, and the restoration of the
house of David were prayed for only in the 'Aviidah.
Gradually the three benedictions preceding the 'Amidah
were subjected to insertions dealing with the redemption.
As we have seen, Rabbi Saadia protested, though vainly,
against the presence of I^nn niN in the first Shema Bene-
diction. His objection was that the Benediction in question
was intended to be a prayer in praise of the majesty of God
revealed in the sun and the light of day, and a prayer for
redemption could not be attached to it fittingly. The
Benediction following the Shema was originally a prayer
of thanksgiving for deliverance from Egypt, and as is
demonstrated in G. S., p. 89, the insertions bearing upon the
future redemption go back to the Geonic time, though they
established themselves in opposition to Geonic authority,
which was on the whole directed to the end of preserving
the main, central prayers intact and unchanged. In this
case, it seems their authority was here and there exercised
unsuccessfully. The second of the Shema' Benedictions, the
nnriN or nb'W nnnj^, also contains a reference to the future
redemption which must be very old, seeing that no echo
of any opposition to it has come down to us. The old
dispute about the opening words of the Ahahah has nothing
to do with the insertion of a reference to the future
redemption ^.

^ The supposition put forward by Dr. Elbogen, Studien zur Geschichte des
judischen GoUesdienstes, 27, that the discussion on the opening words of
the second Shema' Benediction actually turned upon the insertion of the
Geiillah, seems to me untenable. If his supposition were correct, what
explanation could be offered for the fact that all the liturgies preserved
until our time, the Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Italiani, Romania, all have
the Geiillah in this Benediction, though they differ as to the initial
words. Furthermore, the Talmud itself, Berakot, iib, records a difference
of opinion regarding the introductory words, but it is hardly possible
that the insertion of the Geiillah could go back to the Talmudic time.
Dr. Elbogen considers it inconceivable that so petty a variation as
between nn rtan»^ and cbiy 'ztm* should have caused so much talk and



THE HALAKIC LITEEATUKE



129



The fact that the shortened Yo^er of the printed text
is missing in the MSS. of the Seder, would by itself
suggest the conjecture that it is derived from the Seder
of Rabbi Saadia, even if the MS. of the latter did not
contain it, and so make it a certainty. But the view
that this Yozer, without a Kedushah, is the Palestinian,
that is, the older form, is decidedly incorrect. The words
of the Tosefta, Berakot, I, 9, Yp'P Tinon Dy n^iy nMi, leave
no room for doubt — Yozer contained the Kedushah as
early as the Tannaitic period, and the use of *]"i3?on in the
Tosefta passage precludes the possibility of making the
reference apply to the Kedushah of the ^Amidah ^ Tl^Dn
can only mean the recital of the Sheiim Benediction. The
"praying" of the ^Atnidah is always called ijijan^n. The
reasons given by Dr. Elbogen (Studien zur Geschichte des
judischen Gottesdienstes, 20) for supposing that the shorter
form of the Yo^er was the original form, are inadequate.
He says that an analogous case is not known, of curtailing
a prayer once used in a long form. In reality there are
at least three parallel cases : )^:^2n, the shortened ^Amidah
for private prayer, originating in the Tannaitic time ; the
shortened "Amidah for the congregation, originating in
the early Geonic time, known to us from the Eshkol (I, ^^)
by Rabbi Abraham ben Isaac, who quotes it from Geonic


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