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Piyyut

Piyyut (perhaps from Gk., poiētēs). A Jewish poem intended to embellish community or private prayer. Originally piyyutim (pl.) were composed as substitutes for the established liturgy. Texts of piyyutim can be found in Talmudic sources, but the earliest known composer of piyyutim was Yose b. Yose who worked in Erez Israel in the 6th cent. CE, with a great period of composition, 9th–13th cents. The paytanim (‘poets’) employed different systems of rhyme and rhythm. Initially there were no fixed collections and each cantor followed his own choice, but over the years, anthologies were compiled for the various occasions.

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