Siddur and Maḥzor
SIDDUR AND MAḤZOR
SIDDUR AND MAḤZOR . The siddur and the maḥzor (pl., siddurim and maḥzorim ) are the prayer books used in Jewish public worship. The term siddur ("order"; from the Hebrew root sdr, "order, arrange") signifies an order of prayer and generally denotes weekday and Sabbath liturgy. The term maḥzor ("cycle"; from the root ḥzr, "return, come around again") denotes the annual cycle of prayer for holidays that come but once a year; the maḥzor is therefore usually subdivided nowadays into separate volumes for each holiday: that is, the maḥzor for Passover, Sukkot, or Shavuʿot (the Pilgrimage Festivals) or for Roʾsh ha-Shanah or Yom Kippur (the Days of Awe, or High Holy Days). Surprisingly, the determination of a standardized text for these volumes is a relatively late phenomenon and, in fact, is still open to editorial discretion. Even though there now exists authorized wording for all standard prayers, and even though one can anticipate generally what basic prayers each siddur or maḥzor will contain, many siddurim published today also contain selections drawn from the maḥzor, and different editions vie with each other to be more comprehensive.
No comprehensive textual standardization seems to predate the ninth century. Until then, and particularly before the promulgation of the Mishnah (c. 200 ce), the very nature of early rabbinic liturgy militated against prescribed texts for prayer, in that a single authorized set of fixed wording was avoided. Instead, prayer leaders were given a certain order of mandated themes that they were encouraged to express creatively as worship proceeded; they thus combined the complementary principles of structural fixity (qevaʿ ) and linguistic spontaneity (kavvanah ). After the close of the tannaitic era (c. 200), there are isolated individual orders of prayer (called seder tefillot ), and the very act of saying prayers is often described by the verb meaning "to order" them, as if an official "order," or siddur, were in existence; but except for specific prayers attributed to the personal taste of individual rabbis, there is evidence against the existence of authoritative, generally accepted, inalterable sets of wording such as are found in the siddur or maḥzor of today.
This principle of freedom within structure is particularly evident in the prayers of Palestinian Jewry where it continued in force even beyond the amoraic (or Talmudic) age (after c. 500), at least until that community's partial destruction by the Crusades, at which time Palestinian spiritual independence was interrupted. True, there are Palestinian orders of service from that time with their own typical linguistic preferences, but these are marked by enormous poetic variation, both within the basic prayers themselves and in the insertions or additions for special occasions.
Babylonian Jewry, on the other hand, favored ever-increasing linguistic fixity, particularly after the middle of the eighth century, under the leadership of its newest scholarly elite, the geonim. In their attempt to standardize worldwide Jewish practice, these authorities initiated the practice of sending responsa to outlying Jewish communities, in which they described their own liturgical preferences and declared them as universally binding. By the middle of the eleventh century, they had penned at least two complete orders of prayer, and it is from these compositions (especially the first one) that today's siddur and maḥzor eventually evolved. Later sources mention a third prayer book, compiled by Hʾai Gaon (d. 1038), but it has not survived.
The first of these comprehensive compendiums of prayer, and the most influential to this day, is Seder Rav Amram, sent by Amram Gaon (d. 871) to a Jewish community in Spain, whence it circulated widely to become the model for all western European rites. In content, it is Amram's prescribed wording for a comprehensive set of prayers—both siddur and maḥzor combined—along with detailed legal instructions regarding how worship is to proceed. Extant manuscripts of Seder Rav Amram are somewhat undependable with regard to the text of the prayers, which scribes did not always copy accurately, but the accompanying legal commentary is preserved faithfully enough to ascertain that Amram relied on Babylonian precedent and was motivated, in fact, by the desire to universalize its practice at the expense of Palestinian alternatives that were vying for cultural influence in newly established Jewish settlements of North Africa and western Europe. So Amram sought to demonstrate a clear chain of authority going back to the Babylonian Talmud, via Geonic interpreters, such as his predecessor in office, Natronai (d. 858), who had tried to accomplish the same goal by recording a list of daily blessings incumbent on every Jew, and whose list Amram now borrowed for inclusion in his Seder.
The second Geonic prayer book is Siddur Saʿadyah, the work of Saʿadyah Gaon (d. 942). In an introduction thereto, Saʿadyah states his intention: to help the average worshiper differentiate the proper from the improper in the baffling array of liturgical customs then extant. Like Seder Rav Amram, Siddur Saʿadyah is comprehensive, being at once both siddur and maḥzor. But it differs from Seder Rav Amram in at least five ways: (1) it contains only short, uncomplicated instructions on the conduct of worship, rather than lengthy excurses; (2) these are recorded in Arabic, not Aramaic; (3) Saʿadyah incorporates Palestinian material; (4) he favors piyyuṭim (poetic insertions in the standard body of prayers); and (5) in general, he displays a mastery of the Islamic liturgical aesthetic typical of his day, particularly in his preference for logical order, grammatical purity, linguistic precision rooted in scripture, and philosophy (see his two baashot, petitions, following the Tefillah, for example).
By the tenth century, the center of the Jewish world had shifted to western Europe. There, each nascent community proceeded to define its own liturgical identity, paying special heed to Amram's paradigmatic Seder, but in some cases showing familiarity also with Siddur Saʿadyah or other independent Geonic precedents, and also with decisions reached by earlier authorities in North Africa (especially in Kairouan) and in Palestine itself. Thus every community developed its own liturgical rite, which amounted in each case to a local modification of Geonic prototype, in which Amram's prayer book predominated. All such European variations eventually became classified as rites common either to Ashkenaz (Franco-Germany) or to Sefarad (the Iberian Peninsula), but in either case, the resulting liturgical corpus did not yet differentiate its material calendrically, so that daily, Sabbath, and holy day prayers were all combined indiscriminately in one volume called variously maḥzor or siddur (or even seder, as in Seder Rav Amram ). By the fourteenth century, however, the liturgy had expanded to the point where its unmanageable bulk resulted in a subdivision into several works. In Ashkenaz, these were the siddur, for daily and Sabbath prayers; the maḥzor, for holiday liturgy; and a further subdivision of the maḥzor, which more and more frequently appeared as a separate work, the Haggadah, a Passover Eve home devotional "order," or seder.
By the 1520s both the siddur and the maḥzor appeared in printed form, with the result that mass-produced standardized texts began to whittle away at long-standing local points of diversity. These texts, however, were often the work of printers whose competence lay in the new technology and its business-related affairs, not in rabbinic scholarship relevant to the rigorous reproduction of authentic texts. Consequently, texts from the seventeenth to the nineteenth century featured efforts to emend their errors. Especially noteworthy in this regard is Shabbetai Sofer, a prominent Polish grammarian and qabbalist, who (from 1613 to 1618) attempted to fix a scientifically accurate rite. Wolf Heidenheim (1757–1832) extended his critical spirit into the modern age by printing scientifically annotated editions; and in 1868, Heidenheim's disciple, Seligman Baer, summarized critical opinion up to his time in Seder ʿavodat Yisraʾel.
By then, the Sephardic rite had been carried throughout the Mediterranean, Holland, England, and even the New World by Spanish émigrés and their descendants, where it evolved further according to liturgical canons of these lands. The Ashkenazic rite was carried eastward across northern Europe to Poland and Russia, and then to North America where it now predominates. Qabbalists after the sixteenth century and their spiritual descendants, Polish Ḥasidim, combined the two rites.
In the 1800s, liturgical reform based on theological, academic, political, and aesthetic considerations was the norm for much of European Jewry, particularly in Germany, but increasingly also in America. The most significant works, perhaps, are the 1819 Hamburg Prayer Book, which first introduced comprehensive and theologically based liturgical reform to Germany, and David Einhorn's ʿOlat tamid (1858), which became the model for the Reform movement in the United States and Canada, where a standardized Union Prayer Book has existed since 1894/5.
Alongside those of the Reform movement, the most numerically significant liberal prayer books in America are those of the Conservative movement. The original series emerged in the 1940s as the Conservative movement sought to delineate its own ideological specificity. But the appearance of its Maḥzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur in 1972 heralded a major liturgical renaissance, in which all Jewish communities now find themselves, and the older books are being replaced.
Since the work of Leopold Zunz (1794–1886), prayer books have been studied according to geographic provenance, so that rites are assumed to correlate with the rise and fall of Jewish communities around the world. Actually, the determining factor is not geographic, but social, distance; prayer books today reflect ideological positioning of specific Jewish groups and their consequent social distance from each other. Prayer book preference derives from a prior communal self-definition—as British Reform, or Hasidic (according to this or that sect), or American Conservative, and so on. A few years after publication of the American Conservative movement's new maḥzor in 1972, a new Reform siddur, Gates of Prayer, appeared in 1975, and its companion maḥzor, Gates of Repentance, was published in 1978. These were patterned to some extent after Service of the Heart (1967) and Gate of Repentance (1973), the twin volumes issued by Great Britain's Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues. Clearly, world Jewry is in the process of defining a new post–World War II identity, replete with remarkable liturgical creativity, including a proliferation of alternative prayer books that replicate on the level of whole books the very principle of "freedom within structure" that has marked rabbinic liturgy from its earliest days.
Structure and Contents
Every siddur and maḥzor is identical in that the public liturgy consists of a specified core of daily prayers, which are elaborated on holy days so as to reflect their relevant calendrical themes and moods. This normal daily structure calls for three services: morning (Shaḥarit), afternoon (Minḥaht), and evening (ʿArvit, or Maʿariv); the latter two are generally combined, in practice, and recited together just before and just after nightfall. On holy days, an additional service (Musaf) is appended to the morning one. On Yom Kippur (originally, on all fast days) a concluding service (Neʿillah) is recited.
Traceable in part to pre-70 days, before the destruction of the Temple, are two central rubrics: (1) the Shemaʿ (Dt. 6:4–9, 11:13–21; Nm. 15:37–41) and its blessings and (2) the Tefillah (lit., "the prayer"), also known as the ʿAmidah (The Standing Prayer) and as the Shemoneh ʿEsreh (The Eighteen Benedictions). Derived from Deuteronomy 6:7, "You shall speak of them … when you lie down and when you rise up," the Shemaʿ approximates an evening and morning creed that asserts the unity of God. Its accompanying blessings further define God as creator of light; loving revealer of Torah to the convenanted chosen people, Israel; and redeemer in history (at the paradigmatic salvific event, the Exodus from Egypt, and by analogy, ultimately, for final redemption at the end of days).
The subsequent Tefillah presents nineteen benedictions of which the middle thirteen constitute the basic liturgical petitions. Gamliʾel of Yavneh (c. 90 ce) is credited with arranging eighteen of them. Until then, numerous alternative sets of benedictions—"proto-tefillot, " so to speak—were the norm, and these varied in both number and content. Those who accept the authenticity of chapter 51 of the Book of Ben Sira consider it the earliest known example of such a proto-tefillah (c. 280 or 180 bce). But Gamliʾel's standardized formulation superseded local usage, and (perhaps a century or two later, in Babylonia) the single petition for a messianic rebuilding of Zion was divided into two separate requests, so that the "Eighteen Benedictions" now number nineteen.
Theologically speaking, the Tefillah's first three benedictions assert (1) the continuity of Israel's covenant with God, in that the merit of the biblical patriarchs is said to warrant messianic deliverance to their descendants ever after; (2) God's power, particularly, to resurrect the dead; and (3) God's sanctity. The last three blessings may have originated in the Temple cult, as they (1) anticipate a restoration of that cult (in messianic times), (2) offer God thanksgiving, and (3) pray for peace. Some scholars see a further theological message in Gamliʾel's arrangement of the middle blessings, which are said to reflect the classical Jewish doctrine of salvation, beginning with knowledge of God, repentance, and divine forgiveness; and culminating in the ingathering of the exiles, establishing a system of justice for the appropriate meting out of reward and punishment, and rebuilding Zion under messianic rule.
Not every current liturgy includes all these classical theological statements. Since the Hamburg Prayer Book, Reform Jews in particular have modified some of these positions in one way or another, and even Orthodox prayer books that hew faithfully to the received texts have often emended their literal message by the inclusion of running commentaries that accompany the prayers in question.
In time, other rubrics were added to the Shemaʿ and the Tefillah. Personal prayer within the context of public worship, for example, originally followed the final blessing of the Shemaʿ; but with Gamliʾel's mandate to say the Tefillah in that place, it was postponed until the Tefillah's conclusion. The current siddur includes an ideal example of personal prayer attributed to one of the rabbis of the Babylonian Talmud, instead of calling for personal devotion from individual worshipers upon conclusion of the Tefillah. Similarly, a Talmudic tradition that as much as an entire confession is appropriate after the recitation of the Tefillah led, by the Middle Ages, to a series of fixed supplications called Taḥanun, which beg God to act graciously despite humankind's paucity of good works. So today's siddur appends to the Tefillah first the "private prayer" from the Talmud and then the Taḥanun. On Mondays and Thursdays a scriptural reading then precedes the conclusion of the service (a practice ascribed by tradition to Ezra).
Concluding prayers include the ʿAleinu and the Qaddish. The ʿAleinu is a second-century composition intended for Roʾsh ha-Shanah, but by the fourteenth century it was recited here too, where it provides a daily reminder of two polar attitudes in Judaism: universalism (in that God is sovereign over all), and particularism (in that God selected Israel as the chosen people). The Qaddish resembles Christianity's "Our Father" (the Lord's Prayer), in that both it and the Qaddish date from the first century and request "the coming of the Kingdom." Originally, the Qaddish was intended as the conclusion to a daily study session that culminated in a sermonic exposition on the theme of God's promise, but by the eighth century it had become associated with death; it was known in Austria, some five hundred years later, expressly as a mourners' prayer. It is said as such today, though it appears elsewhere in various forms to divide the sections of the service.
These expansions—"private prayer," Taḥanun, reading of scripture, the ʿAleinu, and the Qaddish—after the second major rubric, the Tefillah, are balanced by comparable additions before the first one, the Shemaʿ. A second-century practice of preparing for formal prayer by the informal recitation of psalms, grew by the ninth century (at least) to become an entire rubric called Pesuqei de-Zimraʾ (Verses of Song). Its essence is Psalms 145–150, followed by a benediction known as Birkat ha-Shir (Blessing of Song). These psalms are known as the Daily Hallel, and thus form one of three hallel s in the siddur and maḥzor, the other two being the Great Hallel (Ps. 136) and the Egyptian Hallel (Ps. 113–118), which, in general, characterize holy day worship.
Even these introductory Verses of Song are now prefaced by another lengthy unit known as Birkhot ha-Shaḥar (Morning Benedictions). It arose as private home devotion but was included as public worship in Amram's Seder, and it has remained so despite centuries of debate. Birkhot ha-Shaḥar contains (1) several blessings, generally predating 200 ce, relevant to awakening and preparing for the new day and (2) study material devoted in the main to recalling the Temple cult.
The afternoon service consists primarily of a Tefillah. The evening service presents the nightly Shemaʿ with, however, an additional blessing requesting divine protection at night (the Hashkivenu). There then follows a Tefillah, which was originally optional but has been treated as obligatory since at least the twelfth century. Both services conclude wtih the ʿAleinu and the Qaddish.
The basic core just outlined is altered for special days, by (1) a variety of linguistic changes in standard prayers and (2) the inclusion of new material befitting the Sabbath theme. For example, the Sabbath is treated as a foretaste of the perfect messianic age, so the thirteen intermediary Tefillah petitions, which imply a lack, and therefore imperfection, drop out. Instead, one finds a single benediction affirming the day's holiness, "Qedushat ha-Yom" ("Sanctification of the Day"). The morning Torah reading is supplemented by a correlated reading from the Prophets called the hafṭarah, and the Torah alone is read again on Sabbath afternoon.
The siddur calls also for introducing the Sabbath at home by another Qedushat ha-Yom (known as Qiddush) that accompanies the drinking of wine and the lighting of candles; these practices date from the first century, if not earlier, though the benediction accompanying the Sabbath lights is a later addition (c. ninth century). At Sabbath's end, the Havdalah prayer asserts Judaism's fundamental binary dichotomy of reality into opposite realms of sacred and profane.
In the sixteenth century, a service of welcoming the Sabbath (Qabbalat Shabbat) was added to the siddur for Friday evening. Rooted in qabbalistic theology, it portrays creation as a series of continually advancing stages of divine emanation, so that creation and creator are one and the same entity seen from two different perspectives, both of which eventuate in the Sabbath. Sabbath (Heb., shabbat ) thus signifies not only the last day of creation but also the final emanation of the godhead, the female part, so to speak, of an androgynous God who is pictured as if its masculine and feminine aspects are in exile from each other, paralleling the fragmentation of this, the unredeemed world. Accordingly the Qabbalat Shabbat service welcomes the Sabbath not only as the seventh day of creation but also as the female aspect of the creator, God, personified as the Sabbath bride. The service progresses through the recitation of six psalms, representing the first six days of creation, after which the Sabbath arrives and is greeted with the sixteenth-century poem Lekhah dodi (Come, my beloved), in which the masculine aspect of God is invited to greet his feminine counterpart, or bride, in preparation for divine union.
Holy day liturgy
Like the Sabbath prayers of the siddur, the holy day maḥzor demonstrates the principle of relevant thematic expansion of a basic liturgical core. But it differs in that it is rich in piyyuṭim (sg., piyyuṭ ). These are highly stylized poems initiated in Byzantine-ruled Palestine from the fourth or fifth to the seventh century and composed continually thereafter elsewhere, until the dawn of modernity. Scholars do not agree on an explanation of the phenomenon: Some see piyyuṭim as a form of natural creativity, akin to surrounding Byzantine church hymnody; others follow medieval etiology and explain this poetry as a Jewish response to persecution. Whatever the case, some piyyuṭim were somehow selected for retention in the versions of the maḥzor that survived history to become the extant rites actually practiced, and thousands more are still being uncovered in manuscript caches. Piyyuṭim are categorized and named according to their poetic form and function, and the liturgical place they occupy. The most important piyyuṭim, for example, are qerovot, by which one designates those interwoven in the benedictions of the Tefillah.
The mood and message of specific holy days are implicitly imparted by their piyyuṭim. Sukkot piyyuṭim, for example, focus on the booths (sukkot ) and the taking of the lulav and the etrog (the "four species" commanded in Leviticus 23:40); and, following rabbinic interpretation of Sukkot as a day of judgment, the Sukkot maḥzor features piyyuṭim called hoshanot that implore God to save. Shavuʿot, the holiday that celebrates revelation on Sinai, includes piyyuṭim called azharot, which list commandments. Passover is recognizable from piyyuṭim regarding the Exodus and related traditions, such as the law and lore pertinent to the making of matsah (unleavened bread). Passover has also a home Seder with its accompanying liturgical Haggadah. Its contents and structure are largely recognizable by the first or second century, though many passages now in use are medieval, and some reach back only a few hundred years.
The two minor festivals of Purim and Ḥanukkah, which celebrate divine redemption as reported in the Book of Esther and in Maccabees, respectively, are marked liturgically by a special Tefillah insertion acknowledging thanksgiving "for the miracle." Purim also features public liturgical recitation of the scroll of Esther, a practice paralleled since the Middle Ages by the reading of four other biblical "scrolls": Lamentations, on Tishʿa be-Av; Ecclesiastes, on Sukkot; Song of Songs, on Passover; and Ruth, on Shavuʿot. The Ḥanukkah home ritual of kindling lights for eight days contains two blessings, one that interprets the practice as being derived from divine command and another that affirms the Ḥanukkah miracle. Both blessings are Talmudic, and the second one is used by later authorities as a paradigm for the benediction over the Sabbath lights.
Like the other holy days, Roʾsh ha-Shanah and Yom Kippur present their own maḥzorim. The former is marked by a service for the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn) on two separate occasions. The more important of the two asserts the trifold doctrine of malkhuyot, zikhronot, and shofarot, that is, (1) God's sovereignty, (2) God's abiding remembrance of the covenant with Israel, and (3) the significance of the shofar sound as, first, an evocation of the covenant at Sinai and, second, its role in foreshadowing the messianic era. Malkhuyot ("sovereignty") seems to have been added only in the second century; the other two elements are observable in pre-70 fast-day liturgy.
Two of the many Roʾsh ha-Shanah piyyuṭim deserve mention. First, Unetanneh toqef posits the grand imagery of judgment before God, and a book of life in which human deeds are recorded, such that one's fate is written down on Roʾsh ha-Shanah and sealed on Yom Kippur; but (it concludes) penitence, prayer, and charity affect atonement. Legend ascribes this poem to an era of persecution in medieval Germany, but its actual origin lies in Byzantine Jewish hymnody centuries earlier. Second, Avinu malkenu begs for grace despite one's lack of works. It began as a brief prayer for rain by ʿAqivaʾ ben Yosef (second century), but it is today a much expanded litany, each line beginning with "Avinu malkenu" (lit., "Our father and king"; today often rendered "Our parent and ruler").
The maḥzor for Yom Kippur, the climax of the penitential season, contains a suitably day-long compilation of prayer, which begins with the famous Kol Nidrei, an Aramaic liturgical legal formula, deriving either from post-Talmudic Palestine or from Babylonian magical folk-traditions. It became popular despite the condemnation of authorities, and in Ashkenazic worship it became known for its chant, which bears traces of the oldest stratum of synagogue music (called mi-sinai, "from Sinai"), traceable to twelfth- or thirteenth-century northern Europe. The Yom Kippur maḥzor repeats some Roʾsh ha-Shanah liturgy too, notably Avinu malkenu, certain alterations in the Tefillah that emphasize the themes of divine judgment in the year ahead and the inscription of one's fate in the book of life, and Unetanneh toqef.
A short and a long form of communal confession are embedded in the services for Yom Kippur Day. The rabbinic concept of con fession (viddui), implied originally pro fession as well, that is, recognition of human failure and virtue alike. Thus, for example, pilgrims bringing their second tithe (Maʿas. Sh. 5.10–13) pro fess their successful fulfillment of covenantal responsibility and call on God to respond in appropriate measure. But con fession of shortcomings was emphasized on Yom Kippur, as can be seen from the formula recited by the high priest in the Temple then (Yomaʾ 3.8, 4.2, 6.2). That formula later entered the synagogue service, along with spontaneous personal confessions, a format favored at least until the sixth century (B.T., Yomaʾ 87b). But by the eighth century, standardized communal confessions had become the norm.
The Yom Kippur maḥzor is known also for the ʿAvodah and for Yizkor. The ʿAvodah is a lengthy poetic saga detailing sacred history from creation to the appointment of Aaron and his descendants as hereditary priests. The Temple cult is then portrayed in loving detail, drawing heavily on rabbinic recollection of what once transpired there on Yom Kippur Day. Yizkor (more properly, Hazkarat Neshamot) is a memorial rubric consisting largely of prayers composed in the wake of massacres by Crusaders in central Europe, and the Khmelʾnitskii persecutions in seventeenth-century Poland. Liberal liturgies have expanded these two rubrics, so that their ʿAvodah sometimes extends sacred history up to the present and anticipates the future; their memorial services regularly include explicit reference to the Holocaust. (Indeed, the Holocaust and the subsequent birth of the modern state of Israel have emerged as newly celebrated holy days—Yom ha-Shoʾah and Yom ha-ʿAtsmaʾut—with their own liturgical insertions in some siddurim printed today.)
Finally, it should be noted that both the siddur and the maḥzor, even though they are intended primarily for public worship, contain home prayers as well. In addition to those already mentioned—Sabbath lights, Qiddush, and Havdalah; Ḥanukkah lights; Passover Seder; the sukkah and waving the lulav and etrog —the siddur contains regular table liturgy—blessings over diverse foods and grace after meals—which go back to first-century strata, if not earlier.
The tannaitic and amoraic periods (i.e., until c. 500 ce) are best surveyed in Richard S. Sarason's translation of Joseph Heinemann's Prayer in the Talmud (Berlin, 1977). The period thereafter, including the Geonic standardization process, and Geonic prayer books, is analyzed in detail in my book The Canonization of the Synagogue Service (Notre Dame, Ind., 1979). For further evidence of tannaitic linguistic variety (i. e., before 200 ce), dealt with by Heinemann, see my essay "Censoring In and Censoring Out: A Function of Liturgical Language," in Ancient Synagogues, edited by Joseph Guttman (Chico, Calif., 1981), pp. 19–37.
The earliest relatively complete compilations of prayer texts come from the post-Talmudic period, either from Palestine or Babylonia. Many Palestinian texts have been published, and a good sampling of them is listed in the bibliography of genizah fragments given by Heinemann in Prayer in the Talmud, p. 302. Of the two extant siddurim composed by Babylonian Geonim, only Seder R. Amram Gaon exists in English translation: part 1, translated by David Hedegord (Lund, 1951), and part 2, translated by Tryggve Kronholm (Lund, 1974). An illustration of the critical discussion surrounding the veracity of Amram's textual recension can be found in volume 1 of Louis Ginzberg's Geonica (1909; reprint, New York, 1968), pp. 119–154. Though Siddur Saʿadyah is not in English translation, a classical discussion thereof can be found in Ismar Elbogen's "Saadiah's Siddur," in Saadia Anniversary Volume of the American Academy for Jewish Research, edited by B. Cohen (New York, 1943), pp. 247–261. A treatment of some of the problems in reconstructing that siddur is available in Naphtali Wieder's "Fourteen New Genizah Fragments of Saadiah's Siddur Together with a Reproduction of a Missing Part," in Saadya Studies, edited by E. I. J. Rosenthal (Manchester, 1943).
For a sampling of studies on individual rites and prayer books, see Abraham I. Schechter's treatment of the early Italian rite, Studies in Jewish Liturgy (Philadelphia, 1930), and D. Kaufman's "The Prayer Book according to the Ritual of England before 1290," Jewish Quarterly Review 4 (1892): 20–63.
Because they are Hebrew poems of considerable linguistic complexity, most piyyuṭim remain untranslated. An exception is Ismar Elbogen's excellent "Kalir Studies," Hebrew Union College Annual 3 (1926): 215–224, and 4 (1927): 405–431. Several piyyuṭim have also been translated and annotated by Jakob J. Petuchowski. See especially the chapter entitled "Cult Entertainment and Worship" in his Understanding Jewish Prayer (New York, 1972), pp. 26–34, which discusses the perspective adopted by Elʿazar Kalir, the author of the poetry investigated by Elbogen, and the single person whose primacy among authors of piyyuṭim is rarely questioned; and Theology and Poetry (London, 1978), which discusses the origin of piyyuṭim only briefly but then translates and annotates a variety of these poems with theological consequence. Petuchowski also collaborated with Joseph Heinemann in producing a popular translation of basic prayers and some piyyuṭim, along with short but reliable introductions, in Literature of the Synagogue (New York, 1974).
The later European era in which the "authorized" shape of the current rites was determined deserves much more research than has been conducted to date. Lacking are liturgically oriented investigations of the influence of specific personalities and movements from the beginnings of the early western European literature until the printing press and the advent of the Enlightenment, particularly in English. A summary of some attitudes typical of the later period of Hasidic prayer books can be encountered in Louis Jacobs's Hasidic Prayer (New York, 1972); and for a theory regarding qabbalistic influence generally on the standardization of prayer texts, see my review of Stefan C. Reif's Shabbethai Sofer and His Prayer Book (Cambridge, 1979) in the Journal of Reform Judaism 29 (1982): 61–67. Reif is excellent on the seventeenth century and the process of standardizing prayer books that it brought.
Treatments of individual prayers are too numerous to be listed here, but many are referred to in the notes to Heinemann's Prayer in the Talmud and my Canonization of the Synagogue Service, mentioned above. In addition, many pioneer studies of lasting value, including descriptions of the Palestinian order of service, and theories on the origins of the major rubrics in the siddur have been collected by Jakob J. Petuchowski in Contributions to the Scientific Study of Jewish Liturgy (New York, 1970). For the early lectionary, one should consult Ben Zion Wacholder's "Prolegomenon" to Jacob Mann's The Bible as Read and Preached in the Old Synagogue, vol. 1, rev. ed. (New York, 1971).
The siddurim and maḥzorim resulting from modern-day prayer book reform have attracted much attention. The issues facing German reformers are beautifully summarized, albeit with considerable bias, by an early American Reform rabbi, David Philipson, in his classic account The Reform Movement in Judaism (1907; rev. ed., reprint, New York, 1967). A more scientific account is Petuchowski's Prayerbook Reform in Europe (New York, 1968) and his essay "Abraham Geiger, the Reform Jewish Liturgist," in his New Perspectives on Abraham Geiger: An HUC-JIR Symposium (New York, 1975), pp. 42–55. American alterations in the siddur and the maḥzor can be traced by looking first at Eric L. Friedland's "ʿOlath tamid by David Einhorn," Hebrew Union College Annual 45 (1974): 307–332, and "The Atonement Memorial Service in the American Maḥzor," Hebrew Union College Annual 55 (1984): 243–282. The former details the influence and style of Einhorn's epochal ʿOlat tamid, and the latter treats the memorial service from its origins to date. The Union Prayer Book is treated in Lou H. Silberman's essay "The Union Prayer Book: A Study of Liturgical Development," in Retrospect and Prospect, edited by Bertram Wallace Korn (New York, 1965), pp. 46–80, and in my article "The Language of Survival in American Reform Liturgy," CCAR Journal 24 (1977): 87–106. The prayer books that defined Conservative Judaism in the 1940s can be approached through a reading of Robert Gordis's candid account of the siddur he himself directed, "A Jewish Prayer Book for the Modern Age," Conservative Judaism 2 (October 1945): 1–20.
The liturgical renaissance of today arises out of the initial, somewhat inchoate, strivings of a "creative liturgy" movement that I surveyed in "Creative Liturgy," Jewish Spectator 40 (Winter 1975): 42–50. The Conservative movement's new Maḥzor for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, edited by Jules Harlow (New York, 1972), is reviewed in Petuchowski's "Conservative Liturgy Come of Age," Conservative Judaism 27 (1972): 3–11. The Reform movement's current siddur, Gates of Prayer, and its maḥzor, Gates of Repentance, both edited by Chaim Stern (New York, 1975–1978), are accompanied by companion volumes, prepared under my editorial supervision, that discuss the purpose and philosophy behind them: Gates of Understanding, 2 vols. (New York, 1977–1983), in which see especially vol. 1, pp. 131–168. Finally, my own thought has most recently been published in Beyond the Text: A Wholistic Interpretation of Liturgy (Bloomington, Ind., 1986).
Brisman, Leslie. "'As It Is Written' in the New Conservative Prayerbook ['Siddur Sim Shalom']." Orim 1–2 (1986): 6–22.
Ellenson, David Harry. "A New Rite from Israel: Reflections on 'Siddur Va'ani Tefillati' of the Masorati (Conservative) Movement." Studies in Contemporary Jewry 15 (1999): 151–168.
Falk, Marcia. The Book of Blessings: New Jewish Prayers for Daily Life, the Sabbath, and the New Moon Festival. San Francisco, 1996.
Gelbard, Shmuel Pinhas. "Prayer and the 'Siddur.'" Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy 24 (2001–2002): 8–18.
Hammer, Reuven. Entering the High Holy Days: A Guide to the Origins, Themes, and Prayers. Philadelphia, 1998.
Newman, Judith Hood. Praying by the Book: The Scripturalization of Prayer in Second Temple Judaism. Atlanta, 1999.
Silverman, Morris. "Further Comments on the Text of the Siddur." Journal of Jewish Music and Liturgy 13 (1990–1991): 33–42.
Weissler, Chava. Voices of the Matriarchs: Listening to the Prayers of Early Modern Jewish Women. Boston, 1998.
Lawrence A. Hoffman (1987)
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