RABBINIC PRAYER IN LATE ANTIQUITY, SS Fine, LI Levine

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Content: Chapter 22 RABBINIC PRAYER IN LATE ANTIQUITY REUVEN KIMELMAN I THE CHARACTER OF RABBINICAL PRAYER Worship of God in the rabbinic period differs from that of the biblical period in its conceptualization of the synagogue and prayer. Practically, this shift is most noticeable in the role of the synagogue, the content and the modalities of the rabbinic liturgy, the role of the precentor, and that of the priests. Theologically, the shift is most noticeable in its central liturgical affirmation that the God of Israel is the King of the world.1 II THE SYNAGOGUE AND PRAYER With the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE the center of Jewish worship shifted to the synagogue. There is disagreement among modern scholars and ancient practitioners on the extent of this shift. Nonetheless, all agree to some extent that from tannaitic (70 CE­220 CE) to amoraic times (220 CE­500 CE) there occurred a ``templization of the synagogue'' and ``a sacrificization of prayer.''2 Since this tendency grew as time went on, it cannot be explained as a way of making up for the just-destroyed Temple. More significant was the awareness over time that the Temple would not soon be rebuilt. The hope in the imminent rebuilding of the Temple initially staved off the sanctification of alternative space.3 But as memory 1 CHJ I I I contains two studies on prayer and the synagogue: S. J. D. Cohen, ``The Temple and the Synagogue,'' 298­325; and S. Reif, ``The Early Liturgy of the Synagogue,'' 326­57. For the distinguishing gestalt of rabbinic theology in the Graeco-Roman world see ch. 37 in the present volume. 2 See S. Fine, This Holy Place: On the Sanctity of the Synagogue During the Greco-Roman period (Notre Dame, 1977); idem, ``From Meeting House to Sacred Realm: Holiness and the Ancient Synagogue,'' in S. Fine (ed.), Sacred Realm: The Emergence of the Synagogue in the Ancient World (New York, 1996), 21­47; Cohen, ``The Temple and the Synagogue''; and L. I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (New Haven, 2000). 3 Philo (De Spec. Leg. 1.67); Josephus (Contra Ap. 1.93; Ant. 4.200); and the Rabbis (Tanh., Qorah. 5; Num. R. 18, 8) held, to use the words of Philo, that ``Since God is one there should also be only one Temple.'' The displacing of the Temple by another holy place such as the 573 Downloaded from https://www.camCbarmidbgrei.dogrge/cHoirset.oBrrieasndOeinslUinneiv©ersCitaymLibbrraidryg,eoUn n25ivOercsti2ty01P7reasts1,92:5010:386, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/CHOL9780521772488.024
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of the Temple, or at least the apprehension of creating something like the inimitable Temple outside of Jerusalem, receded, the synagogue assumed increasingly a Temple-like aura. The growing sacralization of the Church in the Byzantine period is a parallel, if not contributing, phenomenon.4 In tannaitic times, the synagogue already assumed many of the activities associated with the Temple, such as the priestly benediction (by barefoot priests), blowing the ram's horn on a New Year which coincides with the Sabbath, shaking the palm branch and citron during all of Sukkot along with the reciting of the Hoshannas, reciting the Levitical hallel psalms and the psalm for the day, saying the priestly benediction, blowing the shofar to announce the onset of the Sabbath, and consoling mourners in public.5 This assured Jews that the synagogue would continue the role of the Temple as the locus of communal worship. Nonetheless, in the early sources neither the synagogue nor communal prayer is described in terms redolent of the Temple. Even in later sources, the sacrifices, the cherubim, and the sacred vessels remained reserved for the Temple. Thus the synagogue never obviated totally the need for the Temple.6 In amoraic times, the synagogue acquired also a physical orientation to the Temple. Synagogues began to face Jerusalem, as the bema, niche, to which people turned in prayer was on the Jerusalem-oriented wall. The seven-branched Temple menorah and the eternal light also appear with increasing frequency.7 Calling the holy ark arana, chest, and the synagogue bet am, house of hoi polloi, was discouraged.8 Indeed, synagogue inscriptions refer to it as ``holy,'' ``place,'' and ``house of God.''9 Still, the synagogue remained a non-sacred place. It could be bought and sold or even converted into something less.10 In sum, the synagogue assumed a semblance of the
synagogue was later viewed as verging on the idolatrous; see M. Zucker, Rav Saadya Gaon's Translation of the Torah (New York, 1959), 174­75 (Hebrew). 4 See Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 225­31. 5 See Cohen, ``The Temple and the Synagogue,'' 322; and Fine, This Holy Place, 56­7. 6 See S. Safrai, ``The Temple and the Synagogue [Hebrew],'' in A. Kasher, A. Oppenheimer, and U. Rappaport (eds.), Synagogues in Antiquity ( Jerusalem, 1987), 31­51 (Hebrew); Z. Safrai, ``The Synagogue to `Little Temple,' '' Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish Studies B/I I , ( Jerusalem, 1990), 149­58; Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 183; Fine, This Holy Place, 50­1. 7 See Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 181­2, 223­4, 332­6; and R. Hachlili, The Menorah, the Ancient Seven-armed Candelabrum: Origin, Form and Significance, JSJSup 68 (Leiden, 2001), 41­120. There was also a not-so-successful effort to have the synagogue at the height of the city; see Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 183. 8 Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 183, following Rashi, BT Shabb. 32a. Apparently, when not associated with the word holy, arana could denote ``coffin.'' 9 See Cohen, ``The Temple and the Synagogue,'' 320; and Fine, This Holy Place, 99. 10 See Cohen, ``The Temple and the Synagogue,'' 321; and Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 222.
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Temple without becoming its surrogate. Its linkage to the Temple was liturgical-functional, not ontological or structural. The problem was how to appropriate Temple terminology to create a religious continuum without creating a religious equivalency. The following material wrestles with the problem of creating a place that partakes of the sacred without threatening the sacrality of the Temple. A late Byzantine work states:11
And thus said the sages: One must not enter the Temple Mount with his staff and shoes. And if, owing to our sins, the Temple Mount is no longer available to us, a lesser Temple (mikdash me`at) is and we must behave in [it] in a spirit of holiness and veneration, as is written: ``You must venerate My sanctuary'' [Lev. 19.30]. Therefore, our ancestors have determined that in all synagogue courtyards there should be a large fresh water vessel for sanctifying [i.e., washing] hands and feet.12
This source reflects exquisitely the balancing act between the desire to upgrade the religious significance of the synagogue and the fear of encroaching on the uniqueness of the Temple. From the beginning it appears that the synagogue will come across as something verging on the Temple, but by the end the only consequence is washing. Even this linkage with the Temple is minimized by not making it explicit, saying only that the Temple also had a laver for the priests to wash their hands and feet ``when they entered the Tent of Meeting and when they approached the altar'' (Exod. 40.33). Rabbi Saadya Gaon (882­942) extended the Temple analogy to the priests. For him, the verses ``Make a laver . . . for washing; and let Aaron and his sons wash their hands and feet [in water drawn] from it . . . when they approach the altar to serve'' (Exod. 30.17­21) demand ``the purification of hands and feet before each prayer service. Just as the priests were obligated before their entry to the Temple so should we not say the Amidah (daily statutory standing silent prayer) until we wash our hands and feet.''13 Commenting on the same verse, Rabbi Avraham the son of Rambam (1186­1237) extended the analogy to the sacrifice: ``The washing of hands and feet is required . . . for every service, since the Amidahs were instituted to correspond to the daily offerings; and since the Amidah takes
11 See Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 223. 12 M. Margulies, Hilkhot Erets Yisrael Min Ha-Genizah ( Jerusalem, 1973), 131­2. A laver for ablutions already appears at the entrance to the mid-third-century synagogue of Dura Europos; see Fine, This Holy Place, 141. 13 Cited from Naftali Wieder, The Formation of Jewish Liturgy in the East and West: A Collection of Essays, 2 vols. ( Jerusalem, 1998), I I 667 with n. 160 (Hebrew).
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the place of the sacrifice.''14 From the late Byzantine period to the early
medieval, washing was endowed with cultic significance, whether that of
Temple, priest, or sacrifice.
The result was that in much of the Islamic world, Jews washed hands and
feet upon rising or before prayer. In Europe only the hands were washed, but
also on the grounds ``that the high priest would sanctify his hands before the Temple service.''15 While this emphasis on washing may be medieval, it
is not too dissimilar from a passage in the Babylonian Talmud. There Rabbi
Yoh.anan states: ``He who relieves himself, washes his hands, lays tefillin, recites the Shema, and says the Amidah, Scripture accounts it to him as if
he had built an altar and offered a sacrifice on it, as it is written: ``I will
wash my hands in cleanliness, and walk around Your altar, O Lord'' (Ps. 26.6).''16 Again, washing of the hands prior to prayer is justified by
reference to the altar.
Other sources, however, understand the washing without reference to the
Temple, but as preparatory to prayer. Book 3 of the Sibylline Oracles, c. first
century BCE, praises ancient Jews as ``a sacred race of pious men who . . . at
dawn lift up holy arms toward heaven, from their beds, always sanctifying their hands with water,''17 a practice that the somewhat contemporaneous
Letter of Aristeas relates to ``their prayer to God'' (305). A ninth-century CE
work, One Hundred Blessings by Natronai Gaon, justifies washing before prayer by the verse ``Prepare to greet your God, O Israel'' (Amos 4.12).18
Whatever the justification for pre-prayer washing, it explains the one-time practice of locating synagogues adjacent to bodies of water.19
The requirement for washing before prayer or synagogue entrance is
similar to that of pre-prandial washing. The idea is that all Israel is partially
subject to the priestly demands of holiness. The practice of washing before
meals was thus derived from verses that speak of the sanctity of the whole
people:
So they taught: ``Sanctify yourself'' refers to pre-prandial washing. ``And be ye holy'' (Lev. 11.44) refers to post-prandial washing. And what if they are not washed? ``Just as soiled hands render one unfit for the Temple service, so do they render one unfit for meal-related blessings.''20
14 Sefer Ha-Maspik Le`Ovdey Hashem, ed. D. Nissim (Ramat-Gan, 1989), 69. Also see Wieder, The Formation of Jewish Liturgy, I I 675­6. 15 Abudarham, ed. M. Baron, Tehillah Le-David ( Jerusalem, 2001), 97 with n. 160. 16 BT Ber. 15a. 17 Sibylline Oracle 3.573, 591­3, in J. Charlesworth (ed.), The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols. (Garden City, NY, 1983­5), I 375, l. 592 with n. t.3. 18 L. Ginzberg, Geonica, 2 vols. (New York, 1968), I I 114, l. 9. 19 See Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 106. 20 BT Ber. 51b.
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And what if they are not wiped? ``Whoever eats bread without first wiping his hands is as though he eats impure food.''21 ``Raise your hands and bless the Lord'' (Ps. 134.2) was also interpreted to mean that the blessing over bread should immediately succeed the washing of the hands.22 Another source uses both ``Go to the people and sanctify them'' (Exod. 19.10) and ``Sanctify yourselves and be holy'' (Lev. 11.44) to spell out the idea that priestly holiness should be extended to the whole people by comparing pre-prandial washing to the washing of the priests before approaching the altar.23
When Israel were in the wilderness, wandering around in it, the Holy One, blessed be He, said to Moses: Go to the people and sanctify them today and tomorrow (Exod. 19.10). And the Sages taught: ``sanctify them'' by immersion [in the ritual bath]. Likewise we infer the precept of washing the hands from the Torah, from [what was said to] Moses, Aaron and to his sons, You shall make a laver of brass (Exod. 30.18), which Moses, Aaron and his sons were to use for washing, as it is said when they go into the Tent of Meeting . . . (Exod. 30.20). But with regard to the Israelites, where does Scripture command washing the hands? In the verse Sanctify yourselves and be holy (Lev. 20.7). On the basis of this verse Rabban Gamaliel observed Levitical precautions of self-purification when he ate everyday [unhallowed] food. They (he) said: Sanctity was not mandated for priests alone (at Sinai), rather for priests, Levites, and all Israelites, as Scripture states: The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to the congregation of Israel, and say to them: Ye shall be holy (Lev. 19.1­2). Hence they say: anyone who trivializes the washing of hands, it is for him an ill omen.24
Similarly, two late third-century amoraim said: ``As long as the Temple stood, the altar atoned for Israel; and now, a man's table atones for him.''25 Whatever the hortatory value in the cultic comparisons, they were not to be taken literally. Israelites are no more priests in a cultic sense than tables are altars. Laxity with regard to handwashing may bring about an ill omen, but it does not lead to encroachment on the sacred or commit sacrilege. The synagogue, the daily liturgy, and washing before prayer and meals, all shared in the rabbinic program of extending some of the holiness of the
21 BT Sot. 4b. On the rabbinic limitation of impurity to the hands, see M. Haran, The Biblical Collection: Its Consolidation to the End of the Second Temple Times and Changes of Form to the End of the Middle Ages ( Jerusalem, 1996), 207, 212 n. 14 (Hebrew). 22 PT Ber. 1.1.2d; Midr. Pss. 134.4. (ed. Buber, 518 and parallels; subsequent citations refer to this edition). 23 According to Josephus (Bell. 2.8.5), the Essenes underwent immersion as a pre-prandial purification rite. In the Talmud (BT Ber. 15a, with Rashi, s.v. dikhtiv), the washing of the hands was deemed a miniature immersion. 24 SER 16 (ed. Friedmann, 72). The parenthetical parts follow Yal. Shim. 1.386 (end). 25 BT Ber. 55a (R. Yohanan and R. Eleazar) ј BT Hag. 27a (R. Yoh.anan and Resh Laqish).
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Temple/sacrifice/priests to the whole people, but the holiness was metaphorical, not cultic.26 Thus, none of this should be understood as vitiating the Temple cult or obviating the need for its restoration, as is made clear in the next source:
As long as the Temple existed, the daily offering and sacrifices would atone for the sins of Israel. Nowadays, the synagogues of Israel replace the Temple, and as long as Israel prays in them, they, in effect, replace the daily offerings and sacrifices; and when prayers are recited [therein] at the proper times and [the Jews] direct their hearts [to God through their prayers] they get to see the rebuilding of the Temple and the sacrificing of the daily offering and [other] sacrifices, as it is written: ``And I will bring them to My holy mountain, and I shall rejoice in My house of prayer; your sacrifices and offering are welcome on My altar, for My house will be called a house of prayer for all peoples'' (Isa. 56.7).27
The tension between the synagogue and the Temple, or, better, the ambivalence at accepting the synagogue as a Temple replacement, is evident. Thus what is exalted is not the actual synagogue, but the prayers recited therein at the proper time, the reward for which is the offering of real sacrifices in the real house of prayer. Virtual reality leads to reality. In this scenario, synagogue prayer does not replace Temple sacrifice or prayer, but serves only as the next-best thing, an interim accommodation, until its replacement by the original. As Rabbi Isaac said:
At this time we have neither prophet nor priest, neither sacrifice nor Temple nor altar. What is that which can make atonement for us, even though the Temple has been destroyed? The only thing that we have left is tefillah (i. e., the Amidah).28
In the absence of the Temple and its accoutrements for atonement we have no recourse save prayer.29
26 See B. Bokser, ``Ma`al and Blessings Over Food: Rabbinic Transformation of Cultic Terminology and Alternative Modes of Piety,'' JBL 100 (1981), 557­74. On the Pharisaic extension of holiness to the lay Israelites without thinking of themselves as priests see H. K. Harrington, ``Did the Pharisees Eat Ordinary Food in a State of Purity?,'' JSJ 36 (1995), 42­54. 27 L. Ginzberg, Genizah Studies, 2 vols. (New York, 1969), I 152­3. Thus R. Pinh.as compared prayer in the synagogue to a pure meal offering at the Temple, PT Ber. 5.1.8d. 28 Tanh., Vayishlah. 9; see Tanh., Korah. 12; Num. R. 18, 21 (ed. Halevy, 772); Midr. Pss. 141.2, 531; see also Exod. R. 31.4. Here tefillah is minimally the Amidah and maximally prayer in general. 29 The exigency of the issue was expressed by Rabbi Isaac's older contemporary, Origen, a Church Father who was likewise a third-century Palestinian: ``The Jews say that they do not have altars, a temple, or a priesthood, and because of this, not offering any sacrifices, our sins, they say, remain with us and for that reason no pardon comes'' (Homilies on Numbers 10.2). On Rabbi Isaac as a respondent to the charges of Origen, see
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Nonetheless, there are sources that consider the synagogue and academy on a par with the Temple. By taking the verse of Ezekiel (11.16) to mean ``I will be for them a small Temple,'' they justified placing a Temple-like eternal light in synagogues and academies on the grounds of their being Temple equivalents.30 Similarly, the plural of sanctuary in ``I will make your sanctuaries desolate'' (Lev. 26.31) was taken ``to include synagogues and academies.''31 In the early fourteenth century, Rabbi Jacob ben Asher gave this position its classical expression when he incorporated into his code of Jewish law the following:
That the Amidah is instead of the sacrifice . . . and thus one should be careful that it match the sacrifice in attentiveness . . . standing . . . placing the feet as the priests at the time of the sacrifice, and in fixing a place . . . and not to have anything interfere between him and the wall . . . and it is fitting that he wear nice clothes special for prayer such as the garments of the priesthood.32
In the same vein, he introduced in the morning liturgy a prefatory prayer that considers the morning service so compensatory of the cult that its restoration is not requested:
Master of the worlds, You commanded us to bring the daily offering at its appointed time; and have the priests perform their service and the Levites [sing and play music] on their platform and the Israelites be at their station. And now because of our sins, the Temple is destroyed and the daily offering discontinued; we have neither priest at his service, nor levite on his platform, nor Israelite at his station. But You said: ``Let the offering of our lips replace bullocks'' (Hos. 3.14). Therefore let it be Your will, O Lord our God, and God of our fathers, that the prayer of our lips be considered acceptable and pleasing to You as if we had offered the daily offering at its appointed time and stood at its station.33
R. Kimelman, ``Rabbi Yohanan and Origen on the Song of Songs: A Third Century
Jewish­Christian Disputation,'' HTR 73 (1980), 567­95, 593. 30 See Ginzberg, Genizah Studies, I 77, 153; Midrash Ha-Gadol Num., 119; Sefer Pitron
Torah, ed. E. Urbach ( Jerusalem, 1978), 18; and Zucker, Rav Saayda Gaon's Translation of
the Torah, 170­1.
31 32
Sifra Lev., Beh.uqotai, 6 (ed. Weiss, 112a); see M. Meg. 3.3. Arba`ah Turim, Orah. H. ayyim, 98. Rabbi Joel Sirkes in his commentary (Bayyit H. adash),
ad loc., points out how many of these exceed talmudic requirements, which is exactly my
point when I argue that the sacrifice­prayer equivalency is more medieval than rabbinic. 33 Arba`ah Turim, Orah. H. ayyim, 48. For a comprehensive expression of the equivalency between the rites of the Temple and those of the synagogue, see the penitential prayer of
the eleventh-century German, Rabbi Meir Bar Isaac (Sheliah. Tsibbur), Tefillah tiqah. (The Complete Art Scroll Selichos), ed. A. Gold, Sefarad [Minhag Polin]) (Brooklyn, 1993),
374­83; and J. Woolf, ``The Synagogue in Medieval France-Germany: Between
Perception and Law,'' in J. Tabory (ed.), Kenishta: Studies in the Synagogue World, I I
(Ramat-Gan, 2003), 9­30 (Hebrew).
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As we have seen and shall see below, this cultic understanding of prayer as a surrogate for the sacrifice is more a result of the late Byzantine period than of the classical Roman period.
III THE RABBINIC LITURGY A THE MODEL OF THE SACRIFICIAL CULT The daily synagogue morning service consisted of the Shema liturgy and the eighteen/nineteen-blessing Amidah. The Shema liturgy derives its name from the first word of its opening verse ­ ``Shema [ј Hear] O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one'' (Deut. 6.4). This verse heads a constellation in the liturgy and the Mishnah of three biblical sections, the first two from the book of Deuteronomy (6.4­9; 11.13­21) and the third from the book of Numbers (15.37­41). The biblical sections are preceded by two blessings and succeeded by an acknowledgment of the terms of the covenant and a blessing.34 The evening version added a second blessing. The Shema is not part of the afternoon service. The Amidah, however, appears in every statutory service. As the first such service to emerge after the destruction of the Second Temple, it was designated Ha-Tefillah, that is, ``the prayer'' for the communal statutory liturgy.35 There are different variations of the Amidah for special days. The Sabbath and Festival versions each contain seven blessings, the High Holiday Additional Service comprises nine, and fast days twenty-four. The weekday version now consists of nineteen blessings. While still consisting of eighteen,36 it became known as Shemoneh Esreh, the Hebrew for ``eighteen,'' a term still in use. Since the Amidah now comprises nineteen blessings and is recited standing, the name Amidah, ``standing,'' has rightfully gained in usage. The Amidah is composed of various elements, some of which hark back to the Second Temple period, indeed the Temple service itself. It crystallizes an extended process of liturgical composition. According to the Talmud, 34 For an exposition, see R. Kimelman, ``The Shema` Liturgy: From Covenant Ceremony to Coronation,'' in J. Tabory (ed.), Kenishta: Studies in Synagogue Life (Ramat-Gan, 2001), 9­105. 35 For an exposition, see R. Kimelman, ``The Literary Structure of the Amidah and the Rhetoric of Redemption,'' in W. G. Dever and E. J. Wright (eds.), Echoes of Many Texts: Essays Honoring Lou H. Silberman on His Eightieth Birthday, BJS 313 (Atlanta, 1997), 171­218. For an abbreviated exposition of both the Shema and Amidah, see R. Kimelman, ``Prayers in the Mishnah and Talmud,'' in Mark Kiley (ed.), Prayer from Alexander to Constantine (London, 1997), 108­20. 36 On the change, see R. Kimelman, ``Birkat Ha-Minim and the Lack of Evidence for an Anti-Christian Jewish Prayer in Late Antiquity,'' in E. P. Sanders et al. (eds.), Jewish and Christian Self-Definition (Philadelphia, 1981), I I 226­44, 391­403.
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the number of blessings, the topics, and the order were fixed in Yavneh under the auspices of Rabban Gamaliel (c. 90 CE) It was also Rabban Gamaliel who promoted the daily recitation of the Amidah for the individual. Fixing the order and number of topics facilitated the recitation of the Amidah by the individual. Apparently, a set liturgy had been only a communal obligation comparable to the public readings of the Torah, and limited to holidays and Sabbaths as it apparently was at Qumran.37 A fixed sequence of topics formalized the Amidah as liturgy as it formalized other liturgical units such as the hallel, the liturgical reading of the Scroll of Esther, the Shema, and the blessings for fast days as well as those for the New Year38 and the liturgical structure of the Day of Atonement.39 Since the daily statutory liturgy, consisting of the Shema liturgy and the Amidah, was not originally conceived of as a substitute sacrifice, it makes scant reference to the cult. The Shema liturgy lacks any mention of the cult or its restoration. With regard to the Amidah, there are telling differences between the Palestinian and Babylonian recension.40 Such differences move toward a ``sacrificization of prayer.'' The first generation of rabbis after the destruction of the Temple did not seek to explain the liturgy in terms of the cult. But by the mid-second century, according to Justin Martyr, Jews were asserting ``that He is pleased with the prayers of the individuals of that nation dispersed, and calls their prayers sacrifices.''41 Daily statutory prayer is also conceived of as equivalent to sacrifice in an anonymous comment in Sifre Deuteronomy, which asserts that the term for the sacrificial cult, avodah,42 is applicable to tefillah (i.e., statutory prayer, read: Amidah), for ``Just as the worship (avodah) of the altar is called worship, so tefillah is called worship.''43 Similarly, the verse ``You shall perform avodah to the Lord your God'' (Exod. 23.25) was taken to indicate the Shema and the Amidah.44
37 See Falk, Daily, Sabbath, and Festival Prayers in the Dead Sea Scrolls, 247­51. 38 See Tos. Ber. 2.3­4; Tos. Meg. 2.1­3; M. Taan. 2.2­4; and M. Rosh H. 4.5. 39 M. Yoma 5.7; Tos. Kippurim 3.3 (ed. Lieberman, 241). 40 For both, see J. Petuchowski, ``Jewish Prayer Texts of the Rabbinic Period,'' in J. Petuchowski and M. Brocke (eds.), The Lord's Prayer and Jewish Liturgy (New York, 1978), 27­35. 41 Dialogue with Trypho 117. 42 See J. Milgrom, Studies in Levitical Terminology (Berkeley, 1970), 37, 87. 43 Sifre Deut. 41 (ed. Finkelstein, 88, and parallels in n. 2; subsequent citations refer to this edition). The designation of ha-tefillah as Amidah (standing) attests to its position after the sitting Shema. Since such a juxtaposition is a post-tannaitic phenomenon, its designation as ``Amidah'' (first appearing in Massekhet Sofrim 16.6) must also be so. 44 BT Bava K. 92b; BT Bava M. 107b.
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Referring to prayer as avodah grants it a cultic valence. Such a valence explains the formulation of the fifth and seventeenth blessings in the Babylonian version of the Amidah. Blessing 5 of the Palestinian only says: ``Turn us back to You, O Lord, and we shall return; renew our days as of old. Blessed are You, O Lord who delights in repentance,'' whereas the Babylonian states:
a
b
c
1. Bring us back
our Father
to Your Torah.
a
b
c
2. Draw us near
our King
to Your service.
a
c
b
3. Lead us back in complete repentance before You.
4. Blessed are You, O Lord who delights in repentance.
The Palestinian version consists simply of a verse (Lam. 4.21) with the peroration on repentance. The Babylonian, however, presents a full rhetoric of return. The first strophe is based on the parallel drawn by Nehemiah between ``returning . . . to You'' (Neh. 9.26) and ``returning . . . to Your Torah'' (Neh. 9.29). The point is that the return to God is through the Torah. Associating the two elements of Torah and return with the addressee ``our Father'' drives the point home. Through both ­ ``bring us back,'' and ``our Father'' ­ the case is made that to repent one needs only to recommit, not to start over. The idea that repentance involves the recovery of lost ground smooths the path for such a return. The argument for such an about-face is strengthened through the use of the same root (shuv) for both return and repentance. The second strophe, with its use of the multivalent term ``service'' (avodah), is so rich with associations that it defies any single construction. Biblically, it could mean ``grant us access to the Temple/cult service,'' since ``to draw near'' (karev) is the technical term for access to the Temple, whereas ``service'' (avodah) is the technical term for the cult. The meaning of drawing near is retained in its Qumran and rabbinic use in the sense of gaining admission. In the pilgrimage holiday liturgy, however, it refers to the Sinaitic revelation. There, as here, God is addressed as ``our king.'' A similar expression appears at the end of the second blessing before the Shema. As a post-Temple formulation, however, the connotation of ``service'' points more to the general service of God, as it appears in the Passover Haggadah,45 or to prayer as the service of the heart, as already mentioned.
45 See E. D. Goldschmidt, The Passover Haggadah: Its Sources and History ( Jerusalem, 1960), 13­14 (Hebrew).
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There is also the association with Mishnah Avot 1.2, where ``the world/age stands on three things: Torah, avodah, and acts of piety.'' This tripartite statement parallels significantly the three in our blessing: Torah, avodah, and repentance.46 In both cases, the term avodah bears a similar range of associations. Even if the rabbinic meanings are foregrounded here, the appropriation of biblical cultic terminology for communal prayer keeps the cultic connotation close to consciousness. Indeed, the choice of the term is dictated by the desire to suggest both meanings simultaneously to the reader. One serves as the primary or dominant meaning; the other as the secondary concept, thereby enriching the thought and emotion of the reader. Such a double-serving term makes the point that God is now as accessible through communal prayer as He had been through the cult. The third strophe of blessing 5 reverses the order of the previous strophes. Whereas strophes 1 and 2 are parallel, both adhering to a pattern of abc, strophe 3 reverses the order of b and c, making the pattern acb. Thus the blessing concludes with ``before You.'' The result is that the return to Torah and the drawing near to the service of God become the means for the complete repentance that is epitomized by being brought ``before You.''47 This climactic conclusion is accentuated by replacing the normal biblical preposition for the verb ``return,'' namely, ``to [You]'' by ``before [You].'' In any case, all three strophes end with a term whose first letter is lamed. While all these points are important for understanding the rabbinic reading of Judaism, it is the equating of the value of prayer with avodah that needs to be highlighted as we turn our attention to blessing 17. Blessing 17 is entitled avodah, a title that originally referred to the Temple service. Such a topic for a blessing appears often in tannaitic literature, as, for instance, in the New Year Additional Service, the holiday yaaleh ve-yavo, the daily Temple service, and as the second among eight blessings of the High Priest on the Day of Atonement.48 The Palestinian version, its blessing 16, reads: ``Be pleased, O Lord our God, to dwell in Zion; and may Your
46 It also parallels the three requests of Rabbi Yoh.anan ben Zakkai with regard to Torah Study, set prayer, and performance of mitsvot (ARN a 4 [ed. Schecheter, 12]), the last of which recalls the triadic formulation of avodah, Torah, and mitzvah (2 Chron. 31.21), except that the rabbinic formulation, here as elsewhere, emphasizes the primacy of Torah by placing it first through reversing the order of the first two. 47 The reversal of the order of the final strophe not only marks completion but also privileges the final word as climax. For a similar instance, see M. Avot 3.13 (R. Akiva). 48 M. Rosh H. 4.5; Tos. Ber. 3.10; M. Tam. 5.1; M. Yoma 7.1.
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THE LATE ROMAN PERIOD
servants worship You in Jerusalem. Blessed are You, O Lord, whom we worship in reverence.'' This version, as others,49 does not mention prayer. In the Babylonian version, however, the word for ``prayer'' (tefillah) is interpolated into an ancient blessing on the Temple service (avodah) twice. The resultant abab structure alternates between ``prayer'' and ``service'':
1. Be pleased, Lord our God, with Your people Israel and with their tefillah. 2. Return the avodah to the Temple precincts. 3. Accept willingly and with love the offerings of Israel and their tefillah. 4. May the avodah of Your people Israel, be acceptable to You. 5. May our eyes see Your return to Zion in mercy. 6. Blessed are You, who restores His Presence to Zion.
By alternating tefillah and avodah, as if they were interchangeable, the blessing creates an equivalency between them. It also intersperses forms of the technical term for the acceptance of a sacrifice (le-ratson) three times.50 They are rendered above as ``be pleased,'' ``accept willingly,'' and ``be acceptable.''51 The location of this blessing at the head of the last triad of the Amidah guarantees that the term tefillah refers to the Amidah. In both cases, the Babylonian version reformulated the theme of the blessing to incorporate recent developments. The Palestinian version of blessing five hews to the biblical view of repentance, indeed the substance of the blessing is a verse whose content is that repentance consists in return to God. The Babylonian version incorporates the rabbinic understanding of repentance which adds return to Torah and Avodah.52 Similarly, with regard to blessing 17, the Palestinian version assumes that God is dwelling in Zion and that His worship takes place in Jerusalem. In contrast, the Babylonian version, faced with the absence of the Temple, beseeches the restoration of
49 See U. Ehrlich, ``The Earliest Versions of the Amidah ­ The Blessing about Temple Worship,'' in J. Tabory (ed.), From Qumran to Cairo: Studies in the History of Prayer ( Jerusalem, 1999), 17­38, 24. 50 Lev. 1.4; 19.7; Isa. 57.7. 51 Following L. Hoffman, Beyond the Text: A holistic approach to Liturgy (Bloomington, 1987), 109. 52 The lateness of the Babylonian version is also reflected in the reference to God as both Father and King, a combination that amoraic literature attributed to Rabbi Akiba (BT Taan. 25b); Philo used it still earlier; see below, 607, and R. Kimelman, ``Blessing Formulae and Divine Sovereignty,'' in R. Langer and S. Fine (eds.), Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue: Studies in the History of Jewish Prayer (Winona Lake, IN, 2005), 22­3, n. 102.
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RABBINIC PRAYER IN LATE ANTIQUITY
585
the Divine Presence to Zion. Its understanding of worship thus adds prayer to sacrifice.53
What is implicit in the Babylonian version corresponds to the thinking
of later amoraic times. The idea that statutory prayer can take the place of
sacrifice was deduced from Hosea 14.3: ``Forgive all guilt and accept what is
good; instead of bulls we will replace with [the offering of] our lips.''
The early fourth-century Palestinian amora Rabbi Abahu said: ``What
shall replace the bulls we offered to You? ``Our lips,'' i.e., with the tefillah we pray to You.''54 Similarly, on the same verse the following is appen-
ded: ``Israel said: Master of the world, when the Temple was around we
would offer a sacrifice and be atoned for, now we have no recourse except tefillah.''55 There was also an effort to synchronize the times of prayer with daily offerings.56 Based on the verse ``Let my prayer be as an offering of incense,
my upraised hands as a twilight meal-offering'' (Minh. a) (Ps. 141.2), others
sought to incense.57
co-ordinate the afternoon (Minh. a) One was invited to lead in prayer
service with the offering of by saying: ``Come and draw
near [to the ark], perform our sacrifices, petition for our need, fight our battles, seek reconciliation for us.''58 Apparently, around this time the
Additional Amidah (Musaf ) for Sabbath and holidays incorporated the recitation of the sacrifices that used to be offered in the Temple.59
Rabbi Yoh. anan encased the Amidah in verses that may underscore the
Amidah as the replacement for the sacrifice. As an epilogue, he appended,
``May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable
53 See U. Ehrlich, ``The Location of the Shekhina in the Early Versions of the Shemone Esre,'' Sidra 13 (1997), 5­23. The formulation of the Babylonian peroration is probably geonic, but it reflects an earlier position; see Ehrlich, ``The Earliest Versions of the Amidah,'' 17­38. 54 Pes. de-R. K., 24, 19 (ed. Mandelbaum, 377 and parallels; subsequent citations refer to this edition). 55 Tanh., Korah. 12 (p. 74a); Num. R. 18, 21. Tanh., Kee Tavo 1 (p. 118b) even states that God prefers prayer to sacrifice. 56 BT Ber. 26b; PT Ber. 4.1.7b; see below. 57 Rabbi Yosi (PT Ber. 4.1.7b) and Rabbi Samuel ben Nah.man (Tanh., ed. Buber, ah.arei 14, 68­9). In Second Temple times, there may have been a practice of co-ordinating prayer with the incense offering; see Judith 9.11 and Luke 1.10, along with N. M. Sarna, ``The Psalm Superscriptions and the Guilds,'' in S. Stein and R. Loewe (eds.), Studies in Jewish Religious and intellectual history Presented to Alexander Altmann on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday (University of Alabama, 1979), 281­300, 293­4. 58 PT Ber. 4.4.8b; see R. Langer, To Worship God Properly: Tensions Between Liturgical Custom and Halakhah in Judaism (Cincinnati, 1998), 6 n. 16; M. B. Lerner, ``On the Beginnings of Liturgical Poetry: Midrashic and Talmudic Clarifications,'' Sidra 9 (1993), 13­34, 22­3 nn. 50, 54 (Hebrew); and G. Blidstein, ``The Sheliach Zibbur,'' in J. Tabory (ed.), From Qumran to Cairo: Studies in the History of Prayer ( Jerusalem, 1999), 39­73, 56 n. 33 (Hebrew). 59 See Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 184.
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THE LATE ROMAN PERIOD
to You, my Rock and my Redeemer'' (Ps. 19.15).60 For the prologue, he
appended, ``O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will proclaim Your praise'' (Ps. 51.17).61 Others considered Psalm 19.15 as the prologue.
In any case, Psalm 51.17 serves as an apt lead-in to the Amidah by virtue
of its intrinsic pertinence to prayer and its original location before the
verses: ``You do not want me to bring sacrifices, You do not desire burnt
offerings. True sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit'' (Ps. 51.18­19).
In saying, ``O Lord open my lips,'' the informed reader will think of the
next verse ­ ``You do not want me to bring sacrifices . . . True sacrifice to God is a contrite spirit'' ­ as he begins the Amidah.62 Psalm 19.15, for its
part, contains the words ``be acceptable,'' which is the technical term for the
acceptance of sacrifices, except that what is deemed acceptable here is ``the
words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart,'' implying that
prayerful words when accompanied by the appropriate thoughtfulness are equivalent to the sacrifice.63 The Shema recitation, evening and morning, was also seen as corresponding to the morning and evening sacrifice.64
Indeed, analogies were made between the daily prayer service and the
sacrificial cult. In order to grasp the inadequacy of reciting the Shema
without tefillin, Rabbi Yoh.anan compared it to offering ``a burnt [or, thanksgiving] offering without a meal offering and a sacrifice without libations.''65 Just as sacrificial offerings without meal offerings or libations
fail to meet all the requirements of Numbers 28, so reciting Deuteronomy
6.4­9 without laying tefillin (mandated in 6.8) fails to meet all its require-
ments. Here again the requirements of the Shema are understood in terms of
the requirements of a sacrifice. Rabbi Yoh. anan also states: ``He who relieves himself, washes his hands, lays tefillin, recites the Shema, and says the
Amidah, Scripture accounts it to him as if he had built an altar and offered
a sacrifice on it, as it is written: `I will wash my hands in cleanliness, and walk around Your altar, O Lord' (Ps. 26.6).''66
60 BT Ber. 4b, 9b; PT Ber. 4.3.8a. 61 BT Ber. 9b. 62 See Abudarham (M. Baron, ed., Tefillah Le-David), 215 with n. 77. 63 Israel Ibn Al-Nakawa, Menorat Ha-Ma'or, ed. H. G. Enelow, 4 vols. (New York, 1930), I I 136, cites an otherwise unknown text from Gen. R. as saying: `` `Ve-zeh (And this) you should do on the altar' (Exod. 29.38), Ve-zeh is the numerical equivalent of eighteen, corresponding to the eighteen benedictions, that is to say, when the Temple no longer exists the Amidahs take the place of the sacrifices.'' 64 See Deut. R. (ed. Lieberman, 63); Z. M. Rabinovitz, The Liturgical Poems of Rabbi Yannai According to the the Triennial Cycle of the Pentateuch and the Holidays, 2 vols. ( Jerusalem, 1985­7), I I 138 n. 5, 144 l. 66; (Hebrew); and Yal. Shim., Deut. 835 (ed. HeymanShiloni, 109 ll. 14­15). 65 BT Ber. 14b, for the ``thanksgiving'' reading, see Abudarham, Tefillah Le-David 182 n. 146. The ``burnt'' version matches Lev. 23.37. 66 BT Ber. 15a.
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B ALTERNATIVES TO THE CULTIC MODEL The inadequacy of the cultic model for liturgy is reflected in the Talmud's difficulty in correlating the daily offerings with thrice-daily prayer as the evening service lacks a cultic correlate.67 The Talmud thus concludes that the Rabbis correlated the times of prayer with those of the sacrifice, but not that the prayers were instituted because of the sacrifice.68 Even so, some objected to limiting prayer to set times, citing, ``What great nation is there that has a god so close at hand as is the Lord Our God whenever we call upon Him?'' (Deut. 4.7).69 Similarly, there were objections to conceptualizing prayer as sacrifice, since prayer is so rooted in the request for mercy.70 The ambivalence of viewing the Amidah as a replacement for the sacrifice corresponds to the ambivalence of viewing the synagogue as a replacement for the Temple. Opposition to such equivalences is captured in the proclamation that ``There is no `avodah' more dear to God than the `avodah' of the Temple.''71 Much of the rabbinic balancing act between prayer and sacrifice has antecedents in that of Qumran. The Damascus Document states: Let no one send to the altar a whole offering, or grain offering or incense or wood by the hand of one defiled by any of the impurities, thus allowing him to pollute the altar. For it is written: ``The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination, but the prayer of the righteous is like a pleasing offering'' (Prov. 15:8).72 This appropriation of Proverbs 15.8 seems to support the thesis that prayer served as a substitute for the sacrifice. According to Falk, ``The context, however, negates this possibility because the quote is used to guard the sanctity of the Temple cult, not to question it . . . What is asserted is that care must be taken to follow all propriety in sacrifice since impure sacrifice
67 This lack is one of the explanations for prefacing the evening service with Ps. 78.38: ``He, the merciful one, atones iniquity''; see Abraham b. Nathan of Lunel, Sefer Ha-Manhig, ed. Y. Raphael, 2 vols. ( Jerusalem, 1978), I 119; and Abudarham, Tefillah Le-David, 304­5, with Pes. de-R. K. 1.257 and parallels. 68 BT Ber. 26b; PT Ber. 4.1.7b. 69 See Agadat Breishit 77 (ed. Buber, 148 ll. 1­2; Pes. de-R. K., 2.349 l. 7; and Midr. Pss. 4.3, where the verse is cited. 70 BT Ber. 26a, Tosafot, ad loc., makes the point that even if the holiday Additional Service corresponds to the additional holiday sacrifice, the other Amidahs reflect the principle of beseeching mercy. With regard to whether the Amidah is primarily a cultic act or a request for compassion, Rabbi Avraham the son of Rambam argues that the incorporation of the verse, ``He, the merciful one, atones iniquity'' (Ps. 78.38), is not because prayer corresponds to sacrifice, but ``because prayer/Amidah is rooted in mercy'' (BT Ber. 26a) (Sefer Ha-Maspik Le'Ovdey Hashem, 190). 71 ARN a 20. 72 CD 11.18­21.
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THE LATE ROMAN PERIOD
is abominable to God. In fact, God would rather receive prayer alone than to have impure sacrifice. The value of prayer as a parallel to sacrifice is indeed noted, but not to the exclusion of sacrifices, as is evident by the preceding rule (CD 11.17­18).''73 He further argues: ``Replacement for the Temple cult . . . is not intrinsically the raison d'^etre of liturgical prayer.''74 Indeed, there are Qumran texts that anticipate the restoration of Temple worship in Jerusalem.75 ``Thus,'' Schuller concludes, ``it seems that the recitation of prayers is not to replace, indeed cannot replace, ultimately the sacrificial system ordained by God for all eternity in the Torah; only in the present `time of Belial' did it need to take of that role.''76 This statement also matches one of the rabbinic positions which sees all the so-called Temple replacements as something that ``will do'' in the interim, be-zman ha-zeh. If Temple correspondence cannot account for thrice-daily prayer, then what does? The following source notes the discrepancy without offering an explanation:
When the Temple existed twice a day they would prostrate themselves with the tamid offering, as it says, ``When the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord and the trumpets began'' (2 Chron. 29.27b) and it is written ``that they may offer pleasing sacrifices to the God of Heaven and pray . . .'' (Ezra 6.10). This teaches that at the time of the offering of the sacrifice they prayed. And when the Temple was destroyed the sages of the generation and the prophets instituted three prayers a day, as it says, ``and three times a day'' (Dan. 6.11).77 Biblically, thrice-daily prayer is first mentioned78 as a practice of Daniel (Dan. 6.10).79 Rabbinic literature added also the patriarchs,80
73 See D. Falk, Daily, Sabbath, and Festival Prayers in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Leiden, 1998), 243. 74 Ibid., 89; see ibid., 124. 75 See 1QM2.106. 76 E. Schuller, ``Worship, Temple, and Prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls,'' in A. Avery Peck, J. Neusner, and B. Chilton (eds.), Judaism in Late Antiquity, Part Five: The Judaism of Qumran: A Systemic Reading of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Leiden, 2001), I 123­43, 132. She also notes that at Qumran ``it is not a particular prayer or liturgical ritual nor a particular component of communal life that substitutes for, or replaces, specific sacrifices, but rather it is an entire way of life, of which prayer is an intrinsic part'' (ibid., 131). 77 Sefer Pitron Torah (ed. Urbach, 238); see Tos. Ber. 3.6; and ARN. a 4 (p. 21). 78 In 2 Enoch 51.4 it is only an ideal. The mention of thrice-daily moaning in Ps. 5.18 may indicate no more than ``constantly,'' as does ``seven times a day do I praise You'' (Ps. 119.164), or ``My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness, and of Your salvation all the day'' (Ps. 71.15, see 24), or ``I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth'' (Ps. 34.2); see Pss. 57.9; 88.14; 119.164; and B. Nitzan, Qumran Prayer and Religious Poetry (Leiden, 1994), 40. 79 See PT Ber. 4.1.7a with Tos. Ber. 3.6 (ed. Lieberman, 12 n. 18), for parallels. 80 Gen. R. 68.9 (ed. Theodor and Albeck, 778­9) with parallels; see L. Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, 7 vols. (Philadelphia, 1968), V I 449 n. 58. According to PT Ber. 4.1.7a, the
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Moses,81 the elders and the prophets,82 the early prophets [or sages and prophets];83 and early pietists (or sages).84 Even Ahitofel was said to pray three new prayers daily.85 By anchoring thrice-daily prayer in biblical role
models, it assumed an aura of legitimation independent of the cult.
Thrice-daily prayer was also correlated with the religious experience of
the daily cycle. Two such efforts are attributed to rabbis who flourished
at the turn of the fourth century. (See table 22.1.) According to one (I), `The
three times that the word sing is used in Psalm 96.1­2 correspond to the
three prayers during which Israel sings praises every day to the Holy One,
blessed be He.'' The other (II) correlates daily prayer with the three
transformations that humanity undergoes daily. The similarity is striking.
Still, source I praises God for the past and is grateful for the onset of
evening, whereas source II makes two requests for the future, the second of which is apprehensive about the onset of evening.86 This idea of correlating
statutory prayer with those moments of the day that are most religiously
pregnant is epitomized in the position of Rabbi Yosi ben H. annina, who would pray right before sunrise and right after sunset while the redness
still lingered, so that the awe of God would remain with him throughout the day.87
Despite these efforts to ground the Amidah in extracultic phenomena, the
Amidah remains the most cultic-like of any other prayer, be it of biblical, of
Second Temple, or of rabbinic provenance. Unlike much of biblical, Second
Temple, and other rabbinic prayer which is individual, optional, occasional, and improvisatory,88 the Amidah is primarily communal, statutory, with a
fixed content and order of themes, set times, and ­ relative to location ­
a fairly fixed wording for normal occasions. Biblical prayer was said
practice was derived (lamdu) from the Patriarchs. According to BT Ber. 26b and Gen R. 68.9, the Patriarchs instituted (tiknu) it; according to Num. R. 2.1, they fixed (kavu) it. 81 Tanh., Kee Tavo 1. Alternatively (Num. R. 2.1), the Patriarchs instituted the practice of thrice-daily prayer, whereas from Moses and Aaron we derive its content of eighteen blessings. 82 See source cited in S. Lieberman, Tosefta Ki-Fshutah, 10 vols. (New York, 1955­88), I 30 l. 20. 83 Sifre Deut. 393. 84 Midr. Pss. 17, 4. For the variant reading here and in the previous note, see L. Finkelstein, New Light from the Prophets (New York, 1969), 125 n. 14. In any case, they are probably to be identified with the aforementioned elders and the prophets; see Lieberman, Toseftah Ki-Fshutah, I 30 l. 20. 85 PT Ber. 4.3.8a; cf. L. Ginzberg, A Commentary on the Palestinian Talmud, 4 vols. (New York, 1941­61), I 338­9 (Hebrew). 86 For the theological significance, see Kimelman, ``The Shema Liturgy,'' 35­6 n. 90. 87 PT Ber. 4.1.7b. 88 See Nitzan, Qumran Prayer and Religious Poetry, 39­40. For rabbinic examples, see BT Ber. 16b­17a; PT Ber. 4.2.7d.
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Table 22.1 Daily experience and thrice-daily prayer
I
II
Thus Sing unto the Lord a new song corres- At dawn one should say: ``I thank you, O Lord
ponds to the morning prayer during which my God, and God of my fathers, that You
Israel sings praises to the Holy One, Blessed have brought me forth from darkness to
be He, because He renews daily the work of light.''
creation;
Sing in Sing unto the Lord, all earth corres- In the afternoon one should say: ``May it be
ponds to the afternoon prayer, because dur- pleasing to you, O Lord my God, and God of
ing the day all the inhabitants of the earth my fathers, that just as I got to see the sun
enjoy the sun and its beams;
rising, so may I get to see its setting.''
And sing in Sing unto the Lord, praise His In the evening one should say: ``May it please
Name corresponds to the evening prayer You, O Lord my God, and God of my fathers,
when the Holy One, blessed be He, is just as I was in darkness and you brought me
praised because He brings on the evening to light to bring me forth from darkness into
twilight. a
light.'' b
a Rabbi Abahu, Midr. Pss. 96.1. b Rabbi Samuel ben Nah.man, PT Ber, 4.1.7; see Gen. R. 68.9 (779), with parallels and notes along with I. Ta-shma, Early Franco-German Ritual and Custom ( Jerusalem, 1992), 190 n. 5 (Hebrew). aloud89 while prostrate, as was Temple prayer.90 Possibly taking its cue from the Temple cultic service,91 the Amidah was said standing92 and quietly. The Amidah is a highly regulated liturgical act. It has more requirements than any other aspect of the liturgy.93 These include a specified number of blessings, recited at specified times, performed with a specified orientation of eyes, face, and feet while standing. There are also rules with regard to mode of recitation, volume, room, dress, footwear, number of bows, and entering and exiting steps with prescribed body gestures. There is,
89 Moses alone calls out multiple times (Exod. 8.8; 14.15; 17.4; Num. 12.13). Also, prayer during the Second Temple period was said aloud: ``And they called out in a great voice to God'' (1 Macc. 3.50). Indeed, ancient prayer was regularly said aloud; see P. W. van der Horst, ``Silent Prayer in Antiquity,'' Hellenism­Judaism­Christianity: Essays on Their Interaction (Kampen, 1994), 252­81. The Targumim, however, are sensitive to the distinction between biblical crying out in prayer and the Amidah; see M. Maher, ``The Meturgamanim and Prayer,'' JJS 51 (1990), 226­45, 230, 239. 90 See Ehrlich, The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer, 39­41 (ET 38­9). 91 See Letter of Aristeas 95; and I. Knohl, ``Between Voice and Silence: The Relationship Between Prayer and Temple Cult,'' JBL 115 (1996), 17­30, 26­8. 92 Ehrlich, The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer, 24­9 (ET 19­26). 93 For the rules of liturgy in general and of blessings in particular, see Langer, To Worship God Properly, 20­36.
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however, no fixed place, hand motion,94 or prescribed clothing. Precedent
for much of this was found in the prayers of Hannah and Daniel. From the case of Hannah (1 Sam 1.26),95 they justified the requirements of
standing, attentiveness, verbalizing of words albeit in an undertone, and sobriety.96 From Daniel's practice (6.11), they found precedent for daily
prayer, whether in or out of Israel, at three distinct times, all facing Jerusalem,97 and, if inside, the need for windows.98 The one element of
Daniel's prayer that is not emulated is his genuflection on his knees, though
much of Second Temple prayer was said while bowing or prostrating oneself.99 The requirement of standing, the distinguishing characteristic of the
Amidah, deserves special comment, since Hannah just happened to be
standing, whereas Daniel specifically knelt, a posture which typifies much of biblical prayer.100
Why the change in the posture of prayer from genuflection or prostration
to standing? The simplest answer is that standing is an act of veneration evincing respect for God.101 More to the point is that the Amidah is
thought of as praying in the presence of God, an activity that mandates standing.102 There were two ways of conceiving oneself as being in the
presence of God: as a priest serving in the Temple, and as an angel serving
on high. Standing with legs straight for the Amidah was justified by both, since angels serve God standing straight103 and priests served standing.
Indeed, the verse that says that the priest was chosen ``to stand and serve in
the name of the Lord'' (Deut. 18.5) ``teaches that there is no proper service except standing.''104 All who entered the inner precincts of the Temple, called the arena of the Presence,105 were required to stand.
94 As opposed to the typical biblical position of outstretched hands, a practice that perdured through Second Temple times; see 2 Macc. 3.30; 14.34; 15.12, 21, 34; 3 Macc. 2.1; 5.25; Tobit 3.11; Philo, Contra Flacc. 121; Josephus, Contra Ap. 1.209. 95 BT Ber. 31a (R. Joshua b. Levi). 96 PT Ber. 4.1.7a; see Tos. Ber. 3.6; BT Ber. 31a. 97 See Tos. Ber. 3.15 (ed. Lieberman, 156, with parallels in n. 65). 98 BT Ber. 34a in order to face Jerusalem (Rambam, ``Laws of Prayer,'' V 6) or the heavens (Rashi, BT Ber. 34a, s.v. halonot). 99 See, e.g., Judith 9.1; 10.9; and 3 Macc. 2.1; Tos. Sheqalim 2.17, with Lieberman, Tosefta Ki-Fshutah, I V 695­6. 100 See M. Gruber, Aspects of Nonverbal Communication in the Ancient Near East (Rome, 1980), 96. 101 So BT Kidd. 33b; see U. Ehrlich, `` `When You Pray Know Before Whom You Are Standing' (bBer. 28b),'' JJS 49 (1998), 38­50. 102 BT Sanh. 42a (Abayei on blessing the new moon). 103 Ezek. 1.7; see Gen. R. 65.21 (738); and BT Ber. 10b. 104 Sifrei Deut. 167; see Num. 16.9. 105 Tos. Kel. Bava K. 1.12 (ed. Zuckermandel, 570); Sifre Num. 1 (ed. Horovitz), 4.
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C PRAYER AS STANDING BEFORE GOD How was the Amidah conceived as service in the presence of God? Unlike angelic or priestly prayer, it lacks biblical precedent. It is possible that the synagogue, as the Temple's alternative, became the new locus for the presence of God,106 or that the Amidah itself creates a space for the Divine Presence so that ``the pray-er of the Amidah should see himself as if he is in the presence of God.''107 Thus there is some overlap of the rules that govern the space of the synagogue with those that govern the four ells surrounding the reciter of the Amidah.108 Since the four ells of a person praying is inviolate space,109 one concludes by stepping out of such space with three steps backwards.110 Despite similar requirements for praying the Amidah and serving in the Temple, there are significant differences. For example, sitting while performing the Temple service would disqualify it,111 whereas, while praying the Amidah, standing is desirable, it is not mandatory. It may even be said while riding on an animal were one unable to dismount. Still, one should try to face the Temple and, barring that, at least be mindful of it.112 What is mandatory for Temple service is optimal for the Amidah. Thus ``a blind person or one who lacks a sense of direction can direct their hearts to their Father in Heaven and pray the Amidah,''113 but not serve in the Temple. This last expression, ``direct their hearts to their Father in Heaven,'' raises an alternative way of understanding the focus of the Amidah. This comes to expression in the debate on whether the posture of standing on two straight feet is in imitation of priests or of angels.114 This issue is whether the focus should be on the celestial or the terrestrial Temple.115 In either case, the Amidah takes its cues from a Temple service, whether by priests below or angels above. The model of the earthly Temple also comes to the fore in the
106 PT Ber. 5.1.8d­9a (R. Abahu); BT Meg. 29a (Abayei). 107 BT Sanh. 22b. For the Maimonidean extension of this position, see I. Twersky, `` `And One Should Regard Oneself as if Facing the Lord': Intention in Prayer according to Maimonides,'' in S. Elizur et al. (eds.), Knesset Ezra: Literature and Life in the Synagogue: Studies Presented to Ezra Fleischer ( Jerusalem, 1994), 47­67 (Hebrew). 108 Tos. Ber. 2.19; PT Ber. 3.5.6d; PT Meg. 3.1.73d; BT Meg. 27b; BT Ber. 24b. 109 Tos. Ber. 2.19; BT Ber. 31b (R. Joshua b. Levi). Thus ``It is prohibited to pass in front of those reciting the Amidah'' (BT Ber. 27a). 110 See the geonic comment cited by Zidkeiah ben Rabbi Abraham Harofe, Shibolei Haleket Completum, ed. S. Mirsky (New York, 1966), 191. For the gestures and words said while exiting, see Y. Gartner, ``Shalosh Pesi`ot Ve-Netinat Shalom Be-Sof Tefillat Ha-Amidah,'' Asufot 14 (2002), 83­98. 111 Sifre Deut. 167. 112 M. Ber. 4.5. 113 Tos. Ber. 3.14. 114 PT Ber. 1.1.2c. 115 PT Ber. 4.5.8c. For the Temple focus, see, e.g., 1 Kgs. 8.29­30.
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assertion that the times for saying the Amidah correspond to the times of the daily sacrifice.116 On the one hand, many aspects of the Amidah evoke the Temple, including facing it, standing, exiting on the model of the priest, the Palestinian practices of praying barefoot, prohibiting expectoration,117 and maybe the bowing at the start of the penultimate blessing, Modim. On the other hand, much of the behavior of the Amidah contrasts with the Temple service. This includes the limitations on bowing, and the two Babylonian practices of allowing for shoes and expectoration in the synagogue.118 The limitations on the extent of bowing and the wearing of shoes are noteworthy for preventing physical contact with the floor of the synagogue, as opposed to Temple practice, where the main posture for prayer was bowing, if not total prostration, and the service was conducted barefoot. This difference underscored that the synagogue was not the holy ground of the Temple. Such a sensibility predominated in Babylonia, which limited the synagogue to a ``semblance of the Temple'' (mikdash me`at).119 The challenge consisted in producing a semblance of the Temple without creating a surrogate. The point was to make the synagogue, albeit not the Temple, a place where God can be found.120 This tension between imitation and differentiation is evident in the rules for bowing. Unlike in the Temple, bowing is limited in frequency and extent. There are four bows, two encasing the first blessing and two encasing the eighteenth. Not only was exceeding that limit discouraged,121 but so was overextending the bow;122 indeed, even a nod of the head was deemed adequate,123 despite individual voices to the contrary, who aptly cited the verse, ``All my bodily parts shall declare: `O Lord, who is like You?' (Ps. 35.10).''124 The bowing was limited not only in frequency and extent, but also in duration. Thus one bowed at the opening word, ``Blessed,'' but stood erect by the third word, ``God.''125 Even the one bow, at the Modim, that may have been rooted in the prostration after the sacrifice, was only a bow and not a prostration. The result is that little of the choreography of the Amidah is modeled after that of the priest who stands in the Temple before the divine Presence. In sum, Temple associations were appropriated to create a religious continuum without creating a religious equivalency.
116 BT Ber. 26b.
117 See Ehrlich, The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer, 150­7 (ET 160­7).
118 See ibid. 119 BT Meg. 29a. 120 See PT Ber. 5.1.8d­9a.
121 Tos. Ber 1.8 (ed. Lieberman, 3 and parallels). 122 PT Ber 1.8, 3d.
123 124
BT Ber. 28b (R. H. anina); see PT Ber 2.4.5a (R. Matneh). PT Taan. 2.2.65c; BT Ber. 28b (R. Joshua b. Levi).
125 BT Ber. 12a; PT Ber. 1.8.3d (Rav).
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An alternative to the cultic model for prayer was the angelic. Some prayer virtuosi and precentors took their cue from the angels in having special garments for prayer. Still, the fact that angelic prayer is performed without any specific direction, and aloud, indicates the secondary nature of the angelic model. In actuality, neither the cultic nor the angelic model accounts sufficiently for the distinctiveness of the Amidah. The choreography of the Amidah reflects a posture of reverence before God, more than submission. This distinction between veneration and servility as the primary stance of prayer accounts for much of the deportment of the Amidah. The posture is described as that of a disciple before his master or as a son before his father. In both cases a modicum of dignity is retained so that lavish praise,126 clasping of hands,127 raising of eyes128 and voices,129 constant and extensive bowing, partial dress, standing barefoot, and shouting were discouraged.130 The removal of garments, the clasping of hands ``as a slave before his master,'' and the raising of the voice ­ as did the biblical priests in time
126 BT Meg. 18a; BT Ber. 33b; PT Ber. 9.1, 9d; Midr. Ps. 19.2, 163. Such lavish compound- ing of divine epithets did characterize oaths; see Sefer Ha-Razim, ed. M. Margalioth ( Jerusalem, 1966), 98, lines 35­6. Alternatively, the consideration is theological, namely, ``if a man thinks that he knows the magnitude of God, he diminishes it'' (Octavius, Of Marcus Minucius Felix, ed. G. W. Clarke, ACW X X X I X [New York, 1974], 18.8, 81). 127 Still, some rabbis prepared for prayer by donning a garment and ``clasping the hands as a servant before his master'' (BT Shabb. 10a). 128 BT Yeb. 105b; see Ehrlich, The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer, 98­9 (ET 101­2). 129 BT Ber. 24b. Quiet prayer was also evidence of God's closeness. According to BT Ber. 24b, loud prayer reflects a lack of faith or the rantings of a false prophet (see 1 Kgs. 18.27­8), whereas quiet prayer reflects such a confidence in God's closeness that ``one can address Him as one speaks into the ear of another'' (PT Ber. 9.1.13a; Mid. Pss. 4.3 [p. 43]; Deut. R. 2.10). In contrast to the prayer of the angels who ``raise their voice because they are far from God and do not know His location . . . Israel knows that when they stand in prayer God is nigh'' (Yal. Shim. Deut. 1.825 [ed. HeymanShiloni, 85­6]). These strictures apply only to the Amidah; other rabbinic prayers were said aloud (BT Ber. 15a­b). 130 See Ehrlich, The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer, 190­2 (ET 204­6). In the medieval period, there appeared the practices of shutting the eyes, shaking the body, rising on tiptoes, clasping of hands, and enrobing in special garments. Most of these were the result of a more mystical grasp of prayer that focused on ecstasy, concentration, or contemplation; see Y. (E.) Zimmer, Society and Its Customs: Studies in the History and Metamorphosis of Jewish Customs ( Jerusalem, 1996), 72­113 (Hebrew). Noteworthy is the prohibition among Kabbalists against ``swaying during the Amidah since one is as standing before a king''; see ibid., 102. On special garments for the Sabbath, see R. Kimelman, The Mystical Meaning of Lekhah Dodi and Kabbalat Shabbat ( Jerusalem, 2003), 149­67 (Hebrew).
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of need131 ­ are in order at moments of tribulation,132 but not at normal
times. Normal times demanded quiet dignity in the presence of the Divine.
Indeed, the verse cited for proper dress for the Amidah was ``Prepare to greet your God, O Israel'' (Amos 4.12).133 This distinction is epitomized in
the pronunciation of the divine name. During the daily Amidah it is
pronounced while standing erect, whereas during the Day of Atonement
liturgy all prostrated themselves on the floor of the Temple upon
hearing it.
Asserting that the Body language of the Amidah underscores the dignity of the worshiper134 does not gainsay the supplicatory nature of much of the
Amidah, but only indicates that the supplications do not reflect primarily
pressing needs, but ongoing ones, be they spiritual (4­7) physical (8­9), or
national redemptive (10­16). The prime requirement is attentiveness.
Indeed, even the requirement for standing, praying quietly, and facing
Jerusalem can be waived were these practices to interfere with concentration or be undoable.135 The rules of prayer, dealing as they do ultimately
with the inner life, are more subject to the vagaries of human subjectivity
than the service of the Temple, where the absence of the proper comportment and deportment can disqualify the act.136 Even when the Amidah
seems to take its cue from the cult, it does not become locked in its
constraints. Indeed, if one cannot attend properly to the act of prayer, one should wait until one can, or not recite the Amidah at all.137 Medieval
opinion deemed such attentiveness only optimal, holding that it was
sufficient to meet the requirement of the sacrifice of no alternative intentionality.138
This emphasis on the dignity of the worshiper in the Amidah correlates
well with the absence of images of the worshiper as slave. The contrast is
reflected in the prayers for the restoration of Jerusalem in Daniel and in the
Amidah. Referring to himself as a servant Daniel says:
131 See Joel 2.17. 132 See M. Ber. 9.3­4 for praying aloud about the past or future, and M. Taan. 2.4­5 for praying aloud during the additional prayers of an emergency fast. 133 BT Shabb. 10a. 134 See Ehrlich, The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer, 224­8 (ET 231­6). Cf. J. Soloveitchik, Worship of the Heart: Essays on Jewish Prayer (New York City, 2003), 175. 135 Tos. Ber. 3.18­19; PT Ber. 4.5.8b; BT Ber. 30a; see Maimonides, Mishneh Torah, ``Laws of prayer'' 5.1. 136 M. Zev. 2.1. 137 BT Ber. 30b; BT Er. 65a. 138 See Z. b. R. Abraham Harofe, Shibolei Haleket Completum, 182­3. Thus it is surprising to find the opinion that colors the reciting of the laws of the sacrifices in the daily service with liturgical hue by requiring it to be done devotionally (be-kavvanat ha-lev) in order to count as a sacrifice; see Abudarham, Tefillah Le-David, 124.
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O our God, hear now the prayer of Your servant and his plea, and show Your favor
to Your desolate sanctuary, for the Lord's sake. Incline Your ear, O my God, and
hear; open Your eyes and see our desolation and the city to which Your name is
attached. Not because of any merit of ours do we lay our plea before You but
because of Your abundant mercies.
(Dan. 9.17­18)
The Amidah, which lacks any self-reference as a servant, simply states:
Have compassion, O Lord, in Your abundant mercies, upon Israel ­ Your people,
upon Jerusalem ­ Your city, upon Zion ­ Your glorious dwelling-place, upon Your
Temple, and upon Your abode.
(Palestinian version)
Just as the worshiper in the Amidah is not called servant, God was not originally addressed as King.139 ``King'' is totally absent from Palestinianbased Genizah versions, from the Havinnenu abridgment of the daily Amidah, and from the Magen avot abridgment of the Sabbath Amidah. The Babylonian evidence appears different, but is actually quite similar. ``King'' is not only absent from the blessing perorations (which are the oldest parts) of the standard Babylonian-based Amidah, including some versions of blessing 11; it is also absent from some versions in the body of blessings 1, 2, 3, 5 and 8, where it so often appears in contemporary versions. Indeed, the absence of kingship as opposed to the mention of God's name was deemed the distinguishing mark of the blessing formulas of the Amidah.140 The Palestinian version of the Amidah even resisted the Babylonian practice of changing the peroration of the third blessing from ``the holy God'' to ``the holy King'' to mark the High Holidays. The absence of any mention of sovereignty in the original Amidah may also explain the need for the interpolation of the Kedushah, with its ceremony for emulating the angelic acceptance of divine sovereignty. Through the interpolation of the Kedushah the Amidah was updated to the rabbinic understanding of communal liturgy as the occasion for declaring divine sovereignty. Since God was not originally addressed as King in the Amidah, the metaphors for the posture and choreography of the worshiper lack royal images such as that of a servant before a king. The rabbinic material focuses on the models of a servant taking leave of his master, of a disciple taking leave of his teacher, and of a worshiper taking leave of the divine presence, as opposed to models of royal entrance and exit etiquette, which are used for
139 See the Talmudic Encyclopedia, ed. S. Zevin, 24 vols. ( Jerusalem, 1974­2003), I V 293. This discussion of Divine kingship in the Amidah is excerpted from Kimelman, ``Blessing Formulae and Divine Sovereignty,'' 9­10. 140 Midr. Pss. 16.8 (p. 123); and BT Ber. 21a; see Abudarham, Tefillah Le-David, 126 n. 174; and Sefer Kolbo, ed. D. Avraham, 2 vols. ( Jerusalem, 1990), siman 11.
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the Holy of Holies. However implicit the royal metaphor for the Amidah is in the Talmud, it does not become explicit until the medieval period. Precisely because of the rabbinic claim that the various Amidahs correspond to the sacrifices or reflect the prayerful experiences of the Patriarchs, the difference between its mode of prayer and that of biblical or Temple prayer is so glaring. Symptomatic of this is the use of Hannah as a model instead of the prayers of the Patriarchs or of the Temple. Hannah is the woman whose mode of prayer was so strange to the High Priest Eli that he deemed her drunk. Similarly, the Amidah is so different from biblical prayer that it would not be recognized by biblical authorities. This is all the more surprising in view of the Amidah's appropriation of biblical phraseology. The Palestinian version, as noted, cites verses outright, while the Babylonian, in blessings 10­16, weaves threads of verses from Isaiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joel, Malachi, and Psalms. Although the resultant liturgical tapestry is new, there is hardly a word not pronounced by the prophets.141 The Amidot also stands in contrast to the other rabbinic contributions to the liturgy, such as the Shema liturgy and the manifold blessings for sensual, aesthetic, and ritual experiences. In comparison with the Shema, the Amidah is more stringent on matters of posture, concentration, cleanliness, and modesty. With regard to the posture of the Shema, the position of the House of Hillel, which requires no specific bodily position, prevailed.142 With regard to concentration, the Shema does require removal of distractions, but no special requirement for concentration or facing Jerusalem. The Amidah requires an integration of mind, face, and body, whereas the Shema requires only the focus of the mind, and even that to a lesser degree than the Amidah.143 With regard to cleanliness, the requirement of handwashing for the Amidah is more stringent than for the Shema.144 Finally, with regard to modesty and covering of the body, the demands of the Amidah exceed the Shema.145 These stringencies with regard to the Amidah prevailed though the Shema is a biblically mandated text and requirement, whereas the Amidah is only rabbinic. The contrast between the Amidah and the Shema liturgy is most noticeable during the morning and evening service when the Amidah follows on the heels of the Shema. In moving from the Shema to the Amidah, the worshiper
141 On the scripturalization of prayer, see J. H. Newman, Praying by the Book: The Scripturalization of Prayer in Second Temple Judaism (Atlanta, 1999). 142 M. Ber. 1.3; BT Ber. 11a. 143 Tos. Ber. 3.15­20. The Amidah is also more stringent with regard to interruptions than the Shema; see M. Ber. 2.1; 5.1. 144 BT Ber 15a. 145 BT Ber. 24b­25a.
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moves from a vocal performance to a quiet one, from a sitting position to a standing one, from facing anywhere (or the center of the synagogue), to facing Jerusalem, from imaging God as King to imaging God as Master (primarily in a pedagogic sense, but also in a servile one). The requirements for other prayers are even less than for the Shema. Among them, most are for the prayer of travelers, for the blessing upon seeing the new moon, and for blessings after meals, which require (at most) standing or (at least) the cessation of any activity that interferes with focusing on the blessing itself.146
IV THE PRECENTOR The role of the prayer leader also shares in the balancing act of the synagogue and the Amidah, between the old and the new, the sacred and the everyday.147 The prayer leader or precentor was designated a shaliah. tsibbur, an emissary or representative of the congregation. Although such a designation could imply other functions, its use is limited to prayer. As representative of the congregation, the precentor has something in common with the priests and the prophets of old, while constituting a new phenomenon. Like the prophets, the precentor represents the congregation in prayer,148 but unlike them he does not, under normal conditions, intercede for them.149 On the one hand, the precentor is viewed in priestly terms as one who offers the sacrifice of the congregation.150 On the other hand, he is viewed as representing the community in prayer as opposed to praying for it.151 Precisely because the Amidah is only compensatory of sacrifice, it does not require priestly leadership. To guarantee that the precentor be seen as a lay position, the Mishnah prohibited him from assuming priestly deportment, such as leading the services in white clothes or barefoot.152 By promoting lay leadership, the danger of misconceiving the liturgy as a sacrifice was minimized. This deheirarchization of communal liturgy 146 BT Ber. 30a; BT Sanh. 42a; PT Ber. 7.5.11d; see Ehrlich, The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer, 211­2 (ET 225­6). 147 See Blidstein, ``The Sheliach Zibbur,'' 39­73. 148 See Jer. 42.6; 1 Sam. 7.5. 149 As did Moses and Samuel (see Jer. 15.1; Ps. 99.6), whom God could ask to desist (see Jer. 7.16). 150 PT Ber 4.4, 8b; Gen. R. 49.23. 151 There is a case (Sifre Deut. 343) in which the structure of the Amidah (praise of God followed by specifying the needs of Israel) is compared to the way a Greek rhetor makes his case for his client before a king. The analogy, however, stops short of comparing the precentor with the rhetor, albeit comparing the mode of prayer of Moses and David with a rhetor. 152 M. Meg. 4.8. On the Day of Atonement, however, both were practiced; see Yal. Shim. Deut. 1.825 (ed. Hyman-Shiloni, 86).
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limited the overlap between the synagogue and the Temple, a by-product of which was the democratization of synagogue leadership. It is precisely the normality of the precentor's role which explains the lack of sacerdotal or inspirational prerequisites. His qualifications are functional. Such was not the case for those specifically chosen to lead in moments of crisis, whose role verged more on the intercessory. Even then, the standards are those of character, erudition, and being like those he represents.153 Intercessory prayer for rain may demand the services of a holy man,154 but not the everyday function of the precentor for the Amidah.
V PRIESTS This balancing act between Temple exclusives and synagogue prerogatives also influenced the role of the priests in synagogue ritual.155 Priests got priority in the public reading of the Torah as well as in leading congregational prayer. Their distinctive role, of course, was in reciting the priestly benediction. The appending of the priestly benediction to the Amidah was intended to enhance the correlation between the synagogue and the Temple service, both ending with the same priestly benediction.156 Still, care was taken to prevent the priestly benediction of the synagogue from appearing like its Temple counterpart. True, the priests would wash their hands, ascend a special platform, remove their shoes, spread their fingers, and, at least in Babylonia, face the congregation. In Palestine, however, they would face the locus of the Torah, that is, the Ark, a change that could indicate their subordination to the Torah and, by implication, to its interpreters, the Rabbis. Unlike the Temple, where it was recited without breaks or response,157 each part of the blessing was recited separately, followed by the congregational amen. In the Temple, the priests held their hands over their heads, but only up to their shoulders in the synagogue. The Tetragrammaton was pronounced in the Temple, but not in the synagogue.158 In the absence of a priest, Palestinian practice eliminated the priestly blessing, whereas the Babylonian had the precentor recite it. As in other cases, the Babylonian practice tended to sever the umbilical cord between Temple and synagogue, whereas the Palestinian practice tended to attenuate it. In both cases, there was an effort at maintaining continuity with the Temple without replicating it. 153 See M. Taan 2.2; PT Taan. 2.2.65b­c; BT Taan. 16a. 154 Rabbi Yosi Ha-Galilee (PT Taan 1.1.63d). 155 See Levine, The Ancient Synagogue, 496­500. 156 See Tos. Sot. 7.8 (ed. Lieberman, 193 ll. 63­4). 157 See M. Sot. 7.6, M. Tam. 7.2. 158 See Sifre. Z., Naso 2 (ed. Horovitz, 250, with parallels); and Philo, 2 Mos. 114.
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VI DIVINE SOVEREIGNTY IN RABBINIC LITURGY The single most important innovation of rabbinic liturgy is the focus on divine sovereignty. This is based on conceiving of the relationship to God primarily through the acceptance of divine sovereignty. Elsewhere, I have discussed the absence of any address to God as King in biblical prayer in general and in blessings in particular, as well as its rarity in Second Temple prayer and blessings, its virtual absence from Josephus, from the earliest forms of the Amidah, from tannaitic blessings, and from the prayers of Jesus.159 With regard to the liturgy,160 the first stage in the incorporation of the theme of divine sovereignty was the introduction of a separate malkuyot blessing into the New Year liturgy, probably in Rabbi Akiva's time,161 in the early part of the second century. The second stage was the explanation of Akiva's student, Rabbi Shimon bar Yoh. ai, for the structure of the Decalogue. According to Simeon, the sequence of the first two sayings of the Decalogue adheres to the theory that the acceptance of God's sovereignty precedes the acceptance of his commandments.162 He understood the words ``I am the Lord your God'' (of the Decalogue as well as of Lev. 18.2) to mean, `` `Am I not He whose sovereignty you have accepted at Sinai?' When the Israelites replied, `Yes,' (God continued): `As you accepted My sovereignty accept My decrees: You shall have no other gods besides Me.' ''163 The third stage was the application of this two-part sequence to the first two biblical sections of the Shema by his younger contemporary, Rabbi Joshua ben Korh. a. According to Joshua, the first section of the Shema (Deut. 6.4­9), because it constitutes ``the authority of God's kingship,'' logically precedes the second (Deut. 11.13­21), which constitutes ``the authority of the commandments.''164 Accordingly, the first section of the Shema functions as an equivalent to the first statement of the Decalogue, both constituting ``the authority of God's kingship''; whereas the second section functions as the second statement (and probably the rest) of the Decalogue, both constituting ``the authority the commandments.'' In stages three and four, the acceptance of divine sovereignty has replaced the biblical terminology of covenant. In the Torah,165 the Decalogue
159 See Kimelman, ``Blessing Formulae and Divine Sovereignty'', 1­12. The exception in
Josephus is his citation of the prayer of Onias, ``O God, King [basileus] of the Universe''
(Ant. 14.22).
160 For fuller documentation, see ibid., 22­5.
161 See Tos. Rosh H. 2.13 (ed. Lieberman, I I 318 ll. 71­3, with parallels).
162 163 165
Mekh. Massekhta Ba-H. odesh 6 (ed. Lauterbach I I 238). Following the version cited in Nah. manides to Deut. 22.6. Exod. 34.28; Deut 4.13; 5.19; 9.11.
164 M. Ber. 2.2.
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constitutes the covenant; whereas here, it and its equivalent constitute the acceptance of divine sovereignty. The fourth stage was the insertion of ``Blessed be the name of His glorious kingship for ever and ever'' after the Shema verse. This probably took place at this time, since its recitation out loud was associated with Usha,166 which was the rabbinic center of the mid-second century. This late development helps account for its absence in the traditions of the prior death of Rabbi Akiba, all of which deal with the Shema.167 The fifth stage involved the insertion of the kingship motif into the Emet ve-yatsiv in the next generation by Rabbi Judah the Prince (c. 200 CE)168 and subsequently into the first and third blessing of the Shema liturgy.169 The sixth stage was the adding of the kingship motif to the blessing formulary in the next generation by Judah's students, Rav or Rabbi Yohanan.170 The requirement of mentioning kingship in the third and eleventh blessing of the Amidah during the High Holiday period is also attributed to Rav.171 The result of adding ``king'' to the blessing formulary is that the function of the Shema verse, the expansion of Psalm 72.14 (``Blessed be the name of His glory for ever'') to produce the expression ``Blessed be the name of His glorious kingship for ever and ever,'' and the inclusion of kingship into the blessing formulary all reflect the same liturgical goal of highlighting God as sovereign. Originally, neither the Shema verse, Psalm 72.14, nor tannaitic blessing formulas were associated with divine sovereignty. When the Shema verse became the verse for the acceptance of divine sovereignty, it was linked to the sovereignized form of Psalm 72.19. In any case, the adding of kingship to produce ``Blessed be the name of His glorious kingship for ever and ever'' parallels the adding of kingship to the blessing formulas of 1 Chronicles 16.36 and 29.10 to produce the rabbinic blessing formulary.
166 See E. Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs ( Jerusalem, 1969), 349 n. 9. (Hebrew) (ET The Sages: The World and Wisdom of the Rabbis of the Talmud (Cambridge, Ma, 1987), 859 n. 9. 167 See PT Ber. 9.7.14b ј PT Sot. 5.7.20c; Tanh., Kee Tavo 4 (ed. Buber, 47); Midr. Mishlei 9 (ed. Visotzky, 67 l. 19f.) BT Ber. 61b; and D. Boyarin, Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and Judaism (Stanford, 1990), 105­8, 120­3. 168 Tos. Ber. 2.1; PT Ber. 1.9.3d. The other positions all advocate inserting an element of the Exodus story. 169 See Kimelman, ``The Shema` Liturgy,'' 58­63. 170 PT Ber. 9.1.12d; BT Ber. 40b; Midr. Pss. 16.8 (122f. with nn. 32f.). The innovative aspect of the kingship requirement is underscored by the fact that the Talmud (BT Ber. 40b) can find tannaitic support (see Sifre Deut. 303 for mentioning the divine name, but not for mentioning kingship. The focus on kingship may have been a factor in the selection of Ps. 145 for daily recitation; see BT Ber. 46b. 171 BT Ber. 12b.
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From the early second century CE to the mid-third century, the rabbinic liturgy became centered around the idea of acknowledging God as sovereign. This drive toward the ``sovereignization of the liturgy'' may account for the later interpolation of the Kedushah into the Palestinian Amidah and the many interpolations of ``king'' in the Babylonian Amidah, as noted above.172
VII WHY WAS THERE A SOVEREIGNIZATION OF THE LITURGY?173 Some explain the sovereignization of the liturgy as a response to the claims of human rulers. Those who date the response to the Second Temple period prefer a Jewish ruler. Those who date it later prefer a Roman one. The infrequency of the sovereignty motif in Second Temple blessings argues against a polemical thesis being applicable then. The thesis that the sovereignty motif was introduced to counter the cult of the emperor is also difficult to maintain. As the former thesis, it relies on the questionable assumption that political events spur liturgical innovation and that political claims can be countered by liturgical ones.174 Moreover, it suffers from a lack of correlation among the Roman, rabbinic, and Christian data. The various cults of the emperor would have been as threatening to Christianity as they were to Judaism, yet Christian liturgy was not characterized by the sovereignty motif. In fact, Christian literature of the time rarely mentions the imperial cult at all. On the contrary, there is a slew of both patristic and rabbinic sources that expatiate on the positive value of the Roman Empire and of having a single emperor. Indeed, Christians prayed for its welfare, as may have rabbis. Of course, anti-Roman invective is also noted in rabbinic literature. What is rare, however, is material contrasting the kingdom of Rome with the kingdom of God as opposed to just contrasting the King of kings with a king of flesh and blood. Were
172 It even accounts for the ``sovereignization'' of the Bavli's presentation of Rabbi Akiva's death. All the sources that mention Rabbi Akiva's death (above, n. 167) record that it was the time for the recitation of the Shema and that the issue was the fulfillment of the requirement to love God with all your soul (Deut. 6.5). Only the Bavli (BT Ber. 61b; see Diqduqei Sofrim, Berakhot, 356 n. 8) adds that Akiva was involved in the act of acceptance of divine sovereignty. 173 For further documentation, see Kimelman, ``Blessing Formulae and Divine Sovereignty,'' 25­39. 174 See R. Kimelman, ``Liturgical Studies in the 90's,'' Jewish Book Annual 52 (1994­5/ 5755), 59­72.
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rabbinic liturgy about the kingship of God aimed primarily at the imperial cult, material contrasting the heavenly King and His authority with that of the earthly king would abound.175 What does abound in both patristic and rabbinic literature is anti-iconic material, which, inter alia, includes the image of the emperor but without special focus on the imperial cult as such. Attempts to explain the kingship motif in the liturgy with the antiemperor thesis also ignore how emperors, desiring to maintain the facade of the republican tradition, were circumspect in appropriating the title ``king'' (basileus/rex). In the context of the imperial cults, emperors were more likely to be dubbed theos (god), in accordance with their function as visual gods. There are rabbinic traditions that protest against and satirize the deification of kings/emperors,176 and even one that specifies Emperor Hadrian.177 In such a context, however, instead of proclaiming God ``King of the world,'' the Rabbis should have acclaimed God as ``God of gods'' as does the Bible,178 or ``King of gods'' as does Qumran179 or Hellenistic Jewish Literature.180 Alternatively, they could have stressed that God was the Savior of the world, matching the claim of various emperors. Near the end of the second century, imperial claims became more divine and monarchial. Emperor Commodus, who reigned from 180 to 192, made invictus (ј invincible) a component of the imperial title and had the sun god portrayed on his coins. Emperor Caracalla (d. 218) came to be regarded as world ruler (cosmocrator), through whom shone the divinity of Sol Invictus (the Invincible Sun). And Emperor Aurelian, in 274, sought to found a state cult of Sol Invictus at Rome in order to enhance the cult of the emperor by associating it with that of the sun. This development may have contributed to the expansion of the motif of divine sovereignty in the liturgy. Rabbi Judah Hanasi, who lived under Emperor Caracalla, introduced the motif into the Emet ve-yatsiv and incorporated into the Mishnah the position of Rabbi Joshua ben Korh. a, which maintained that the first two paragraphs of the Shema reflect, respectively, the acceptance of the authority of divine sovereignty and the acceptance of the authority of the commandments. The authors of the requirement of kingship in the blessing were also students of Rabbi Judah Hanasi.
175 As for example in 2 Macc. 15.4­5. For rabbinic attitudes toward Rome see G. Cohen, Studies in the Variety of Rabbinic Cultures (Philadelphia, 1991), 262 n. 17; and L. Feldman, ``Remember Amalek!'' Vengeance, Zealotry, and Group Destruction in the Bible According to Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus (Cincinnati, 2004), 63­83. 176 See Mekh, Shirata 8 (ed. Lauterbach I I 61); Gen. R. 9.5 (p. 70); Tanh., Bereishit 7. 177 Tanh, Bereishit 7; Shoftim 12. 178 Deut. 10.17; Dan. 2.47. 179 See 4Q403. 1.34. 180 See Philo, Contra Flacc. 170; Pss. Sol. 17.3; and Wis. Sol. 10.10. This tactic is adopted in 1 Enoch 9.4.
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In its Roman context, the blessing would be understood as ``Blessed are You, the Lord our God, who is [the real] king of the world.'' The emphasis on the God of Israel as the king of the world also appears in a passage of the New Year Amidah which awaits the day when all humanity will proclaim: ``The Lord, God of Israel, is king and His kingship rules over everything.'' This point that what makes God truly King is that he rules over all is made explicit in the following talmudic statement cited in the name of the latethird-century amora, Rabbi Eleazar:
What is the relationship between (the first part of Ps. 146.5), ``Happy is he that has the God of Jacob for his help'' (and the second part) ``who made heaven and earth?'' It is like this: a king of flesh and blood having a patron (above him) rules in one province but not another province. And even if you say he is a cosmocrator and rules the earth, does he rule the sea? But the Holy One, blessed be He, is not so. He rules the sea and the land.181
In this statement, the extent of divine rule is contrasted with rule of the greatest of human rulers, the so-called cosmocrator. The irony is clear. Whereas a human king, such as an emperor, can be called a cosmocrator, only the God of Jacob is actually so. Similarly, the blessing formulary affirms that the God of Israel is the real cosmocrator of the world. It is worth noting, thus, that the attestations of the term ``cosmocrator'' for God as well as for the emperor in rabbinic literature are, like the statements regarding the content of the blessing formulary, post-Caracalla amoraic statements. It would be most helpful were we able to correlate the sovereignty motif in rabbinic liturgy with that of the Church Fathers. Lamentably, it is close to impossible. For example, Rabbi Akiva's contemporary, Clement of Rome, around the turn of the first century, addresses God as despota epouranie basileu ton aionon (heavenly Master, King of the ages),182 but this is just standard Second Temple parlance. It is claimed that the self-defined Samaritan,183 Justin Martyr ­ of the mid-second century, when Rabbi Akiva's students flourished ­ wrote a work on the monarchy of God, but the only evidence for it comes from a century later.184 A generation or so later, during the time of Rabbi Joshua ben Korh. a, Theophilus (c. 180 CE), Bishop of Antioch, comments upon the names of God, saying: ``He is called God because He founded all things . . . but He is Lord (kyrios) because He rules the universe.''185 He further argued that the unique sovereignty of
181 PT Ber. 9.1.13b ј PT Av. Zar. 3.1.42c. 182 1 Clement 61.2. 183 Justin, Dialogue 120.6. 184 See Eusebius, HE 4.18.4. The extant work on the subject collates references from classical writers on the sole rulership of God. 185 Theophilus, Ad Autolycum 1.4; see also Barnabas 21.5.
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God (monarchia theou) could not be demonstrated were the world uncreated.186 Theophilus' use of the monarchy of God, however, is atypical. Moreover, he is hardly representative of Christianity vis-a`-vis Judaism in view of his affinity with the Judaism or the Jewish Christianity of his day.187 At the end of the third century, Arnobius may have referred to God as rex mundi (``King of the universe''), but the reading might just as well be rerum dominus (``Lord of things'').188 Instructively, the Christian text that does address God as King, as ``the King of the gods'' (7.33.2), ``King of the ages'' (or, world) (7.34.1), and as ``King and Lord'' (8.12.7; see 8.37.1) is the Constitutiones Apostolorum, which is based on a Jewish text. Apparently, God's sovereignty was not a significant motif of Roman Christianity in the second and third centuries. That imperial developments left so few traces on formulations of second- and third-century Christianity challenges any assumption that it left more traces on rabbinic formulations.189 In sum, the correlation among Jewish, Christian, and Roman data for the imperial cult is weak. None of the data are concentrated in any generation. A century or two is too long a period to explain a politically motivated liturgical innovation. If any specific cult of the emperor (and there were many earlier) had triggered rabbinic counter-claims, there should be a concentration of such claims during the reign of a single emperor. Since the subject of this discussion is the progressive sovereignization of the liturgy, a process lasting over a century and not associated with any single individual or generation, it is unlikely that it was caused by a single political factor. Apparently, the centrality of divine sovereignty in rabbinic liturgy is more the fruit of internal theological developments than the result of external political events. As noted, the image of God as sovereign becomes increasingly prominent in the Second Temple period, where about a half a dozen Second Temple blessing formulas address God as King. Such references do point to a growing tendency of the liturgy to image God as King. This tendency flourishes in later rabbinic, targumic, and Hekhalot literature.
186 Ad Autolycum 2.4­8. 187 On the problem of crossovers from Christianity to Judaism, see R. Kimelman, ``Identifying Jews and Christians in Roman Syria-Palestine,'' in E. M. Meyers (ed.), Galilee Through the Centuries: Confluence of Cultures (Winona Lake, 1999), 301­31. Interestingly, Theophilus, the first Christian theologian (notwithstanding Justin, 1 Apol. 10 and 59) to argue explicitly for creatio ex nihilo, or, in his words, ex ouk onton (Ad Autolycum 2.4), makes the argument in the context of a polemic with Greek thought, just as does Rabban Gamaliel (Gen. R. 1.1). 188 See Arnobius, The Case Against the Pagans 2.39 (ed. McCracken, 151, 328 n. 246). 189 Similarly, Philo's confrontation with the imperial cult failed to elicit a liturgical response on divine sovereignty.
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Under rabbinic auspices, biblical covenant imagery was translated into monarchical imagery. I have argued elsewhere that the original covenantal ceremony of the Shema liturgy consisted of the three biblical sections that constitute the Shema lectionary and the Decalogue, preceded by a blessing on Torah and succeeded by the Emet ve-yatsiv, none of which makes mention of divine monarchy. Under rabbinic auspices, Emet ve-yatsiv absorbed the kingship motif, the Decalogue was removed, and the remaining part was flanked by two blessings which incorporate the events of creation and redemption along with their heavenly and historical coronation ceremonies. The result was the transformation of an ancient pact form into a comprehensive rite for the realization of divine sovereignty. Accordingly, the biblical understanding of covenant was updated terminologically and conceptually to the rabbinic understanding of the acceptance of divine sovereignty.190 This shift from a focus on covenant to one on sovereignty is reflected in the terminological distinction between Qumran and Rabbinic Judaism. The Qumran Rule of the Community alludes to the Shema by saying: ``With the coming of the day and night I shall enter the covenant of God'' (1QS10.10), whereas the rabbinic Mishnah designates the recitation of the Shema as an acceptance of divine sovereignty.191 Thus an expression for a convert entering the covenant is, ``he surrendered himself to the Holy, blessed-be-He, and [or, that is] accepted divine sovereignty.''192 Understanding the Shema as an expression of divine sovereignty paved the way for the incorporation of the kingship motif into the blessing formulary. Such a development was undoubtedly enhanced by living in an empire that sought the convergence of political and theological imagery and terminology. But that is quite different from understanding the expression ``King of the world'' as a protest against Roman emperor worship. It is more precise to say that, by the late third century, paganism, Christianity, and Judaism were claiming that their God was the world ruler. Centuries earlier, The Epistle of Aristeas quoted a Hellenistic Egyptian to the effect that
They (the Jews) worship the same God ­ The Lord and Creator of all the universe, as all other men, as we ourselves, O king, though we call him by different names, such as Zeus or Dis. This name was very appropriately bestowed upon Him by our first ancestors, in order to signify that He through whom all things are endowed with life and come into being is necessarily the ruler and lord of all. (15­16)
190 See Kimelman, ``The Shema` Liturgy,'' 80­90. 191 M. Ber. 2.2. 192 Tanh., Lekh Lekha 6 (ed. Buber, 63). Note that this is attributed to a mid-third-century Palestinian amora, Resh Laqish, for the acceptance of divine kingship is not mentioned with regard to conversion in tannaitic or Second Temple literature.
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At the end of the first century CE, this statement is cited by Josephus in Antiquities 12.22. Josephus, in his own voice, cited the idea that ``the wisest of the Greeks learnt to adopt these conceptions of God from principles with which Moses supplied them'' (Contra Ap. 2.168). Not much later, the pagan Dio Chrysostom designated Zeus as the ``God who governs the universe'' and who is ``the common father and savior and guardian of mankind.'' According to him, Zeus ``alone of the gods is entitled Father (Pater) and King (Basileus)'' . . . ``He is addressed as King because of his dominion and power; as Father . . . on account of his solicitude for us and his kindness.''193 A century earlier, Philo stated: ``He exists whom all Greeks and barbarians unanimously acknowledge; the supreme father of the gods and men and the Maker of the whole universe (De Spec. Leg. 2.165). Philo often referred to God as Father or King. In On the Creation alone, he calls God ``Father of the universe'' (72, see 74), ``Father and Ruler of all'' (135), ``Maker and Father'' (7, 10, 21, 77 [like Plato, Timaeus 28c]), and ``Father and King'' (144). The famous statement of Plato ­ ``All things center in the King of all, and are for his sake, and he is the cause of all that is good''194 ­ was cited approvingly by Christian and pagan alike in the latter half of the second century.195 In the same period, the philosopher Numenius of Apamea writes that ``the first God abstains from every work and is the king.''196 Maximus of Tyre writes, in about 180, of a truth universally accepted by Greeks and barbarians alike, namely, ``There is only one God, King and Father of all.''197 This general religious reality also stands behind Tertullian's question, posed at the end of the second century: ``Do you not grant, from general acceptance, that there is some being higher and more powerful, like an emperor of the world, of infinite power and majesty?''198 Jews were quite aware of the philosophical proclivity to expatiate about God in terms of divine sovereignty. Trypho, a reputed Jewish refugee from the Bar Kochba war in Palestine and student of philosophy, when asked by Justin whether he expects to derive the kind of enlightenment from philosophy that one gets from Moses and the prophets, answered, ``Do not the philosophers talk all the time about God and do not their inquiries always concern divine monarchy and providence?''199
193 The Twelfth, or Olympic, Discourse, 55, 74­5. For similar sentiments see his contemporary, Plutarch, Moralia, 601B. 194 Plato, Second Epistle 312E. 195 By Clement of Alexandria (The Exhortation to the Greeks 6 [60], Stromateis 5.103.1); by Celsus (Origen, Contra Cels. 6.18), and by Numenius (Eusebius, Prep. Ev. 11.18.3). 196 Fragment 12 (Numenius, Fragments, 54). 197 Ed. H. Hobein, 17:5; see 39.5. He also refers to ``the God who is the father and creator of all.'' See the similar view of his contemporary, Celsus, as cited by Origen, Contra Cels. 8, 68. 198 Tertullian, Apol. 24.3. 199 Justin, Dialogue with Trypho 1.
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THE LATE ROMAN PERIOD
In the early third century, a Christian Philosopher, Marcus Minucius Felix, concedes that ``those who would have Jupiter to be sovereign are misled in name but are in agreement about his unique power.''200 After summarizing various philosophical conceptions of God, he concludes: ``These opinions are pretty well identical with ours: we recognize God, and we also call Him Father of all.'' About a quarter of a century later, the pagan philosopher, Porphyry, describes the God of the Jews as ``one truly God, the creator and the king prior to all things.''201 In a third-century funerary inscription from Thessaly, the deity is designated ``the King, the greatest God, creator of everything.''202 In the same century, the Orphic Hymns refer to God as ``begetter of all and great King,'' or as ``great king of eternal earth.''203 There is even a hymn which, as the rabbinic blessing formulary, addresses the Deity as both ruler of one group and King of all ­ ``O blessed ruler of Phrygia and supreme king of all.''204 In the next century, Emperor Julian also notes that ``the creator is the common Father and King (Basilea) of all things.''205 He also says, ``These Jews . . . revere a God who is truly most powerful and most good and governs this world of sense, and, as I well know, is worshiped by us also under other names.''206 He himself, however, in The Hymn to King Helios, calls Helios ton panton basilea (king of the whole world),207 a title that harks back to the king ruling over all that the Septuagint (Esther 4) calls God. The affirmation of God as king of the world in the blessing formulary corresponds to this growing consensual monarchial theology of the Late Antique Roman Empire. The point of the blessing, that ``it is our God who
200 Octavius of Marcus Minucius Felix 18.11.82. Zeus is also called ``king (basileus) of all the gods'' (H. Musurillo, The Acts of the Christian Martyrs [Oxford, 1972], 163), as Jupiter is called regem omnium deorum (Varro, apud Augustinus, De Civ. 4.31). 201 On the Philosophy to be Derived from Oracles, cited by Augustine, De Civ. 19.23. 202 IG 9.2.1201, as cited by Henrichs, ``Despoina Kybele,'' 277 n. 64. This source is cited by H. W. Pleket, ``Religious History as the History of Mentality: The `Believer' as Servant of the Deity in the Greek World,'' in H. S. Versnel (ed.), Faith, Hope and Worship: Aspects of Religious Mentality in the Ancient World (Leiden, 1981), 152­92, 173, who also lists other references wherein the Deity is referred to as Basileus and even as Basileus ho Theos (ibid., 174 n. 100). 203 A. Athanassakis, The Orphic Hymns: Text, Translation and Notes (Missoula, 1977), #20 l. 5, p. 33; #39 l. 1, p. 55. 204 Ibid., #48 l. 5, p. 65. 205 Against the Galilaeans 115D ( Julian, The Works of the Emperor Julian, ed. W. Wright, 3 vols. [Cambridge, MA, 1923], I I I 345). 206 Letter to the High-Priest Theodorus, 20.454a (The Works of the Emperor Julian, I I I 61). 207 132c (The Works of the Emperor Julian, I 358).
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RABBINIC PRAYER IN LATE ANTIQUITY
609
is king of the world,''208 also counters the contention that ``the God of the
Hebrews was not the begetter of the whole universe with Lordship over the whole but rather . . . that he is confined within limits.''209 In any case,
the blessing highlighted divine sovereignty in a period in which the chief deity was presented more and more in terms of rulership of the world.210
In this theological universe, the particularistic covenantal theology of the
Bible and Qumran yielded to the universalistic coronation theology of the Rabbis.211 What covenant was to biblical theology, the acceptance of divine
sovereignty became for rabbinic theology.
208 This explains the requirement of saying ``our God king of the world'' and not just ``king
of the world''; see Y. Perla, Sefer Ha-Mitzvot Le-Rabbenu Sa`adyah, 3 vols. ( Jerusalem,
1973), I 89. Accordingly, the midrash underscores that it is ``The Holy One, Blessed be
He, Who is King of the World'' (1 Sam. R. 1.50; Yal Shim, Deut. 1.938 [ed. Heyman and
Shiloni], Deut. 572, 1.82 and parallels. The Shema verse was also understood as ``It is our
God who is God of the world/humanity'' (Sifre Deut. 31.54 1. 5) as Exod. 15.10 was
understood as ``It is the Lord who will reign for ever and ever''; see J. Goldin, The Song at
the Sea (New Haven, 1971), 47 n. 58. In a similar vein, note that the only time the Bible
combines ``King'' with ``the Lord of the Hosts'' (Zech. 14.17) is when God is designated
as that to Whom all the nations, upon coming to Jerusalem, were expected to bow. 209 Against the Galilaeans, 100C; see 148C (The Works of the Emperor Julian, I I I 345, 359).
In contrast, the Midrash says: ``God said: `The owner of a ship is not called naukleros
(shipowner) unless he has a ship, so I am not called God unless I created Myself a world' ''
210
(Seridei Tanh.uma Yelamdenu, ed. E. Urbach, Kovets Al Yad 6[16].1 (1966), 12). There was also a corresponding use of the Greek kalos to praise or acclaim the Deity in
pagan, Christian, and Jewish prayers, a practice borrowed from the acclamations of the
emperors ­ ``kalos ho basileus.'' 211 The rabbinic goal of universalizing coronation theology is already intimated in Zech.
14.9: ``And the Lord will become King over all the earth; on that day the Lord will be
one and His name one.'' Of the ten kingship verses that are appended to the Al Kain
paragraph of the Rosh Hashannah Aleynu prayer (see Seder Rav Amram Gaon 142), this
verse was retained in the later daily version. There it culminates the hope that all
humanity will accept divine sovereignty. No comment is made about their inclusion
into Israel. In contrast, to universalize biblical covenantal theology, non-Jews have to be
ingathered as in Isa. 56.6­8. On the biblical understanding of covenant (brit), see
J. Tigay, Deuteronomy, The JPS Torah Commentary (Philadelphia, 1996), xiv­xv, 63.
Josephus also avoids using covenantal language, but instead of recasting it in terms of
divine sovereignty ­ a model which was yet to be formulated ­ he employs a patron­
client relationship; see P. Spilsbury, ``God and Israel in Josephus: A Patron­Client
Relationship,'' in S. Mason (ed.), Understanding Josephus: Seven Perspectives (Sheffield,
1998), 172­91. Tannaitic Midrash continues to use brit to refer to the Sinaitic covenant,
whereas the Mishnah and Tosefta use it to refer to circumcision unless they are citing a
verse dealing with the Sinaitic covenant; see Lawrence Schiffman, ``The Rabbinic
Understanding of Covenant,'' Review and Expositor 84 (1987), 289­98. In the
Mishnah, the terminology of covenant is displaced by that of kingship. Indeed,
the subject of divine kingship virtually opens the Mishnah (at M. Ber. 2.2). Thus the
contentions that the covenant is unimportant for the mishnaic system or that the system
takes covenant legal theory for granted are misleading.
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THE LATE ROMAN PERIOD
VIII CONCLUSION Worship of God in the rabbinic period differs from that of the biblical period in its shift from the Temple to the synagogue, and in the change of focus from sacrifice-centered or occasional prayer ­ standardized or improvisatory ­ to fixed communal liturgy. The gap between the two modalities of worship was partially bridged by the twin phenomena of the templization of the synagogue and the sacrificization of prayer. Nonetheless, the fear of the Temple's being superseded limited the first, whereas conceiving of prayer as a more heartfelt act of standing before the divine presence than as a cultic substitute restrained the second. Rabbinic prayer also promoted the idea that the primary way of relating to God was through the acceptance of divine sovereignty, and thus the primary metaphor for the God of Israel is ``King of the world.'' This sovereignization of the liturgy was consonant with the emerging theological thinking of the late Roman Empire.
BIBLIOGRAPHY See also the bibliographical note in CHJ I I I 353­7. Ehrlich, U., The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer ( Jerusalem, 1999) (Hebrew). ET, The Non-Verbal Language of Jewish Prayer: A New Approach to Jewish Liturgy (TuЁ bingen, 2004). Elbogen, I., Jewish Liturgy: A Comprehensive History, ed. R. Scheindlin (Philadelphia, 1993), translated from Ha-Tefillah Be-Yisrael Be-Hitpath. ut Ha-Historit, ed. J. Heinemann et al. (Tel-Aviv, 1972). Falk, D. K., Daily, Sabbath, and Festival Prayers in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Leiden, 1998). Fine, S., This Holy Place: On the Sanctity of the Synagogue during the Greco-Roman Period (Notre Dame, 1997). Kiley, M. (ed.), Prayer from Alexander to Constantine: A Critical Anthology (London, 1997). Kimelman, R., ``Birkat Ha-Minim and the Lack of Evidence for an Anti-Christian Jewish Prayer in Late Antiquity,'' in E. P. Sanders (ed.), Jewish and Christian Self-definition, I I (Philadelphia, 1981), 226­44, 391­403. ``Blessing Formulae and Divine Sovereignty in Rabbinic Liturgy,'' in R. Langer and S. Fine (eds.), Liturgy in the Life of the Synagogue: Studies in the History of Jewish Prayer (Winona Lake, IN, 2005), 1­39. ``The Literary Structure of the Amidah and the Rhetoric of Redemption,'' in W. G. Dever and E. J. Wright (eds.), Echoes of Many Texts: Essays Honoring Lou H. Silberman on His Eightieth Birthday (Atlanta, 1997), 171­218. The Rhetoric of Jewish Prayer: A Historical and Literary Commentary on the Prayerbook (forthcoming). ``The Shema' Liturgy: From Covenant Ceremony to Coronation,'' in J. Tabory (ed.), Kenishta: Studies in Synagogue Life (Ramat-Gan, 2001), 9­105. Langer, R., To Worship God Properly: Tensions Between Liturgical Custom and Halakhah in Judaism (Cincinnati, 1998). Levine, L. I., The Ancient Synagogue: The First Thousand Years (New Haven, 2000).
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Lieberman, S., Tosefta Ki-Fshutah, 9 vols. (New York, 1955­88). Nitzan, B., Qumran Prayer and Religious Poetry (Leiden, 1994). Olsson, B., and Zetterholm, M. (eds.), The Ancient Synagogue from Its Origins until 200 C E : Papers Presented at the International Conference at Lund University, Sweden, October 14­17, 2001 (Stockholm, 2004). Tabory, J. (ed.), From Qumran to Cairo: Studies in the History of Prayer ( Jerusalem, 1999).
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