web analytics
August 27, 2014 / 1 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Q & A: On Yotzrot (Part I)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Question: I read The Jewish Press’s Luach of February 17 with much interest. You write, “We daven Shacharis as usual.” I find it difficult to understand why you don’t mention reciting the special yotzrot for Parshat Shekolim. Are yotzrot a relic of history? I’m a senior citizen who remembers saying yotzrot as a child. But now, they seem to have disappeared from Orthodox synagogues.

Milton M. Adler,
Cherry Hill, NJ

Answer: You are very keen in noting my omission and quite correct in your observation. Indeed, yotzrot seem to have disappeared from the synagogue liturgy in many congregations nowadays. Later on we will address why they seem to have fallen by the wayside. Please be aware, though, that in many Ashkenazic synagogues, especially chassidic ones, the practice of reciting yotzrot is very much alive.

The term yotzrot refers to a grouping of special prayers that all fall under the same heading, and are also referred to as piyutim. Rabbi Yosef Grossman discusses this topic at length in his masterful work “Otzar Erchei Ha’Yahadut” ot peh, 377). He writes: “Piyut – these are prayers, poetic refrains, or sanctified songs that entered the liturgy of our special machzorim for festivals and special occasions, for the Days of Awe, as well as those solemn fast days that mark our national tragedies.”

The authors of these prayers were gedolei Yisrael, some of whom hail to the period of the geonim in Babylonia. Many of these authors led their congregation in prayer and were able to captivate and stir the hearts of Jews in a unique fashion. They were especially able to strengthen and uplift the spirit of the nation mired in its lengthy and difficult exile during times of distress and tragedy. These heartfelt compositions ably lifted our people’s souls and raised their spirits, renewing hope.

The compositions were based mainly on the words of our sages as found in the Talmud and Midrashim, and contain words of rebuke, reproof, lamentations, and yearning regarding the destruction of our Temple and the exile of the Divine Presence. For the most part, these all reach their crescendo with words of comfort and hope for the future redemption and salvation.

Many of these piyutim were composed in rhyming verse following the pattern of the Hebrew alphabet. They were gathered, and certain prayers took root. Recital remained voluntary and non-binding. In fact, some of the geonim opposed reciting piyutim. One will not find any of them, for example, in the siddur of Rav Amram Gaon (the very oldest siddur we posses). Nevertheless, the majority of the geonim did not try to separate the people from these beloved piyutim.

Indeed, some of these piyutim are so stirring due to their style and diction that they were ultimately considered worthy in the eyes of the geonim. Therefore, over time, their recital became sanctified, and more were written as well. We actually find many piyutim in the siddur of Rabbenu Sa’adiah Gaon and the Machzor Vitry (and many other works as well).

(To be continued)

Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Q & A: On Yotzrot (Part I)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Strike on Golan Yekev
Israeli Wounded from Syrian Shelling on Golan
Latest Judaism Stories
Parsha-Perspectives-logo

Eisenhower understood that motivated men will fight much harder and longer than unmotivated men.

PTI-082214

Who does not want to get close to Hashem? Yet, how do we do that?

Weiss-082214-Beloved

Hashem recalls everything – nothing is hidden from His eyes.

Taste-of-Lomdus-logo

According to Rabbi Yishmael one was not permitted to eat such an animal prior to entering Eretz Yisrael, while according to Rabbi Akiva one was permitted to eat animals if he would perform nechirah.

Discretion
‘Vendors Of Fruits And Clothing…May Sell In Private’
(Mo’ed Katan 13b)

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

If a man sins and follows his inclinations, he will find comfort in this world – but when he dies, he will go to a place that is all thorns.

Nothing is more effective to diminish envy than gratitude.

The first prayer of Moshe was Vayechal, where Moshe’s petition was that no matter how bad bnei Yisrael were, the Egyptians were worse.

“We’re leining now, and shouldn’t be talking,” Mr. Silver gently quieted his son. “At the Shabbos table we can discuss it at length.”

If we regard pain and suffering as mere coincidence, we will feel no motivation to examine our lives

Culture is not nature. There are causes in nature, but only in culture are there meanings.

Rabbinic law is pivotal but it’s important to understand which laws are rabbinic and which biblical.

We give slave gifts? If he wants to stay, we pierce his ear?!

A bit of (non-Jewish) history can help us understand this week’s Torah portion: In the early 1500s, the Catholic church was being fundamentally challenged by movements which claimed it had monopolized religious power and used to enrich the church and its officials. The most radical of these movements were a particular sect of Anabaptists. Anabaptists […]

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
Via Email

Question: The Gemara in Berachot states that the sages authored our prayers. Does that mean we didn’t pray beforehand?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-yotzrot-part-i/2012/02/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: