These are books containing the texts of daily and festival prayers. The book containing regular prayers is known as the Siddur. The earliest known Jewish prayer book is the 9th-cent. Seder Rav Amram Gaon. Other famous siddurim include the 10th-cent. Siddur Saʿadiah Gaon and the 11th-cent. Maḥzor Vitry compiled by Simḥah b. Samuel, a pupil of Rashi. The Ashkenazim use four types of prayer book: Ha-Maḥzor ha-Gadol (Kol Bo) containing all the yearly prayers, the Maḥzor which contains the prayers for each particular festival, the small Siddur for individual use, and the fuller Ha-Siddur ha-Shalem. The Sephardim use the Tefillat ha-Hadesh which contain daily and Sabbath prayers, Moʿadim which contain the prayers for the pilgrim festivals Rosh ha-Shanah containing New Year prayers, Kippur for the Day of Atonement, and Taʿaniyyot which has prayers for Av 9. The Ḥasidim and the Progressive movements have produced their own prayer books reflecting their own customs.
See BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER; BREVIARY; MISSAL.
AMRAM (Heb.עַמְרָם; "the Divine Kinsman is exalted"), father of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam (Ex. 6:18, 20; Num. 26:58–59). Amram married his aunt Jochebed (Ex. 6:20), which is contrary to biblical law (Lev. 18:12–13; 20:19–20). He was the son of Kohath, the grandson of Levi, and his name frequently appears in genealogical lists of the tribe of Levi (Num. 3:19; i Chron. 5:28–29; 6:3; 23:12–13; 24:20). Amram was also the father of the Amramites, a Kohathite branch of the tribe of Levi (Num. 3:27; i Chron. 26:23).
In the Aggadah
The aggadah relates that Amram was "head of the Sanhedrin" (Ex. R. 1:13), and describes him as "the leader of his generation" (Sot. 12a). When Pharaoh decreed the death of all the male Jewish children, Amram divorced Jochebed, his wife, declaring: "We labor in vain." His example was followed by all the men in Israel. His daughter, Miriam, however, criticized his action declaring that his example was worse than Pharaoh's decree. Amram heeded her words, and remarried Jochebed. All the men of Israel, thereupon remarried their wives (Sot. 12a).
Amram's piety is described as being partly responsible for bringing the divine presence closer to earth (pdrk 1). It is also recorded that he was one of the four personalities (the others were Benjamin, Jesse, and Chileab), who died untainted by sin (Shab. 55b; bb 17a).
H.H. Rowley, From Joseph to Joshua (1950), 57–108; Ginzberg, Legends, 2 (1910), 258–61; I. Ḥasida, Ishei ha-Tanakh (1964).
[Elimelech Epstein Halevy]
AMRAM , name of two Babylonian amoraim. amram i (third century). His preceptors were Rav and R. Assi, whom Amram quotes both in halakhah and aggadah (Pes. 105a; Ned. 28a; et al.). He was once requested by his colleagues to relate "those excellent sayings that you once told us in the name of R. Assi" (Er. 102a). Among his aggadic statements are "[There are] three transgressions which no man escapes for a single day: sinful thought, calculation on [the results of] prayer, and slander" (bb 164b). On Psalms 112:1 ("Happy is the man that feareth the Lord") he comments, "happy is he who repents while he is still a man," i.e., while he is still in the prime of life (Av. Zar. 19a). amram ii (early fourth century) was a pupil of R. Sheshet, whose halakhic rulings he quotes (Yev. 35a, et al.). Sheshet affectionately called him "My son Amram" (Av. Zar. 76a). Once when Amram was guilty of hairsplitting, Sheshet remarked: "Perhaps you are from Pumbedita where they try to make an elephant pass through the eye of a needle?" (bm 38b). Only a few sayings are transmitted in his own name (e.g., Nid. 25b), as he generally quotes halakhah in the name of others such as R. Isaac (Zev. 6b); R. Naḥman (Ber. 49b); Ulla (Git. 26b); and Rabbah b. Bar Ḥana (Yoma 78a). He engaged in discussions on halakhah with Rabbah and R. Joseph (Sot. 6a). According to the aggadah, in one of these, Rabbah expressed himself so sharply when opposing Amram that a pillar in the academy cracked (bm 20b).
Hyman, Toledot, 983.
[Yitzhak Dov Gilat]
AMRAM (late 14th century), *nagid of the Jewish communities in Egypt. Amram is mentioned as nagid in a document of 1377 and in a letter written in 1380, probably by Joseph b. Eliezer Tov Elem of Jerusalem. The name Amram, appearing without the epithet nagid in a partially preserved document dated 1384, may refer to him. His name also appears in a Hebrew letter which states that rumors of the exodus of the Ten Tribes have spread through Italy, and emissaries have been sent to the East to check their veracity.
Ashtor, Toledot, 2 (1951), 21–26; Assaf, in: Zion, 6 (1940/41), 113–8.