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The Baladi-rite Prayer is the oldest known prayer-rite used by Yemenite Jews, transcribed in a tikl?l ("siddur", plural tik?lil) in Yemenite Jewish parlance.
It contains the prayers used by Israel for the entire year, as well as the format prescribed for the various blessings (benedictions) recited. Until the 16th century, all of Yemen's Jewry made use of this one rite. Older Baladi-rite prayer books were traditionally compiled in the Babylonian supralinear punctuation, although today, all have transformed and strictly make use of the Tiberian vocalization. The text, however, follows the traditional Yemenite punctuation of Hebrew words.
The Baladi-rite prayer book or Tikl?l remained in manuscript form until 1894, when the first printed edition (editio princeps) was published in Jerusalem by the Yemenite Jewish community, which included the Etz ?ayim commentary written by Rabbi Yihya Saleh. Today, it is used primarily by the Baladi-rite congregations of Yemenite Jews in Israel and the Diaspora. Baladi is an Arabic word denoting "of local use" (i.e. Yemeni), as distinguished from the prayer-rite widely used in the north (i.e. Syria and the Land of Israel), which is called in Arabic ?Sh?m? "Levantine, Eastern".
The Baladi-rite prayer differs in many aspects from the Sephardic rite prayer, or what was known locally as the Sh?m?-rite prayer book, which by the 18th and 19th centuries was already widely used in Yemen, although only lately introduced into Yemen by Jewish travelers. Their predilection for books composed in the Land of Israel made them neglect their own hand-written manuscripts, though they were of a more exquisite and ancient origin.
The nineteenth century Jewish historiographer, Hayyim Hibshush, has given some insights into the conflict that arose in the Jewish community of Sana'a on account of the newer Sephardic prayer book being introduced there. Yi?ya, the son of one of the community's most respectable leaders, Shalom ben Aharon HaKohen al-Iraqi (known as al-'Us - "the artisan"), whose father served under two Zaydi Imams between the years 1733-1761 as the surveyor general of public buildings, had tried to make the Sephardic prayer book the standard prayer-rite of all Jews in Yemen in the 18th century. This caused a schism in the Jewish community of Sana'a, with the more zealous choosing to remain faithful to their fathers' custom (i.e. the Baladi-rite) and to continue its perpetuation, since it was seen as embodying the original customs practised by Yemenite Jews. Out of a total of twenty-two synagogues in Sana'a, only three synagogues in the city chose to remain with the original Baladi-rite prayer, while the others adopted the Spanish-rite prayer with its innovations introduced by Isaac Luria. By the time of the Jewish community's demise, owing to mass immigration in the mid-20th century, most synagogues in Sana'a had already returned to praying in the Baladi-rite, albeit, in the vast majority of towns and villages across Yemen they clung to their adopted Sephardic-rite as found in the printed books of Venice, Thessaloniki, Amsterdam and, especially, the Tefillath Ha?odesh and Zekhor le-Avraham prayer books printed in Livorno.
According to Rabbi Yi?yah Qafi? (1850-1931), a Chief Rabbi of Yemen, the original Yemenite version of the Amidah is the format that was prescribed by the Great Assembly (Hebrew: ? ? ), who enacted the prayer in the fourth century BCE, with the one exception of the Benediction said against sectarians, which was enacted many years later.Yihya Saleh (1713-1805) wrote an extensive commentary on the Baladi-rite Prayer Book in which he mostly upholds the old practices described therein (e.g. the practice of saying only one Mussaf-prayer during Rosh Hashanah, etc.), although he also compromises by introducing elements in the Yemenite prayer book taken from the books of the Kabbalists and the Shulchan Aruch, which had already become popular in Yemen. He is often seen praising the old Yemenite customs and encouraging their upkeep:
I have also with me a responsum concerning the matter of changing our prayer custom which is in the Tik?lil (Baladi-rite Prayer Books) in favor of the version found in the Spanish-rite Prayer Books, from the Rabbi, [even] our teacher, Rabbi Pin?as Ha-Kohen Iraqi, ... and he has been most vociferous in his language against those who would change [their custom], with reproofs and [harsh] decrees in a language that isn't very cajoling. May his soul be laid up in paradise.
Cover page of Tikl?l Bashiri, copied in Yemen in 1938
While the ancient format of the Amidah may have seen little changes since its enactment by the latter prophets, the history of the Yemenite Baladi-rite prayer book--as can be said about every Siddur--is a history of recensions and later interpolations, with the addition of elements taken from the Siddur of Rabbi Saadia Gaon and of Rabbi Amram Gaon, the printed Sephardic siddurs, as well as elements taken from liturgies found originally in the Land of Israel. Most of these changes began to make their way into the current Baladi-rite prayer book over a two-hundred year period, from the time of Rabbi Yi?ya Bashiri (d. 1661) who published his Tikl?l Bashiri in 1618 (a copy of which was made and published under the name Tikl?l Qadmonim) to the time of Rabbi Yihya Saleh (d. 1805), the latter of whom incorporating in the Baladi-rite version elements taken from Kabbalah, as prescribed by Isaac Luria (Ari), as well as certain liturgical poems taken from the Sephardic prayer books. In the title page of one Yemenite Siddur completed in 1663 by the notable scribe and kabbalist, Rabbi Isaac b. Abraham Wannah, the copyist makes note of the fact that, aside from the regular customs of the people of Yemen, some of the entries in his Siddur have been culled "from the customs of the people of Spain who have it as their practice to add in the prayers the Tik?n Ha-geshem and the Tik?n Ha-?al (special emendations made for rain and for dew so that they may not be withheld), as well as the Tik?nei Shabbat Malkah as is practised by the people of the Land of Israel," i.e., the Psalms readings beginning with , etc., and the liturgy ?, followed by , and ? . Originally, the practice was to begin the Sabbath prayer on the night of the Sabbath by reciting only "mizmor shir le'yom ha-shabbath" (Ps. 92). The first recorded mentioning of Tik?n Ha-?al (said before the Mussaf-prayer on the first day of Passover) in any extant Yemenite prayer book appeared only in 1583. Included in the Tik?nei Shabbat book were the special readings for the nights of Shavu'ot and Hoshanna Rabba.
The texts of old Yemenite Siddurs copied by Rabbi Yihye Bashiri are an invaluable source for comparing the variae lectiones (Textual variations) of liturgy before the redaction of the Babylonian Talmud. For example, in all older Yemenite Siddurs copied by Bashiri is found the version ? (He who redeems Israel) in the second blessing after Qiryat Shema in the evening prayer and on the night of Passover, that is, in the present-progressive tense instead of in the past tense (), although the requirement made by Rava in the Talmud (Pesa?im 117b) calls for saying it in the past tense. Scholars point out that the Yemenite practice was the original custom in Yemen before Rava's interdict, the memorial of which also being brought down in the Jerusalem Talmud.
Siddur written in Yemen showing Sephardic influence
Changes to the original Yemenite text
Among the later changes made to the text of the Baladi-rite prayer book is the wording Kether Yitenu (Hebrew: ? ?), etc., said during the ?eddushah (i.e. the third benediction in the prayer itself) at the time of the Mussaf prayer, as is the custom of Spain (Sepharad) with only minor variations. In spite of its wide acceptance in Yemen, among both Baladi and Sh?m? congregations, Rabbi Yi?yah Qafi? (d. 1932) did not accept this innovation, but rather ordained in his place of study to continue to say Naqdishakh (Hebrew: ) in all of the prayers, just as had been their accepted tradition from the Great Assembly. The Yemenite adaptation of saying Kether during the Mussaf--although not mentioned in the Order of Prayers prescribed by Maimonides--is largely due to the influence of Amram Gaon's Siddur, which mentions the custom of the two Academies in Babylonia during the days of Natronai ben Hilai to say it during the third benediction of the 'Standing Prayer.' The practice of saying Kether during the Mussaf is also mentioned in the Zohar ("Parashat Pin?as").
Notable changes occurring in the Baladi-rite prayer book during the geonic period are the additions of Adon ha-?olamim (? ?), which mark the opening words in the Baladi-rite Siddur before the Morning benediction, and the praise which appears further on and known as Barukh sh?amar (? ?), which appears immediately following a short praise composed by Judah Halevi, Ha-mehulal le'olam (Heb. ) and which is said before the recital of the selected Psalms (zemirot). These, among other innovations, have long since been an integral part of the Baladi-rite Siddur.
In subsequent generations, other additions have been added thereto, such as the Yotzer verses that are said on the Sabbath day (i.e. those verses which mention the creation, hence: yotzer = "who createth"); and the last blessing made in the recital of ?iryat Sh?ma (i.e. the second blessing thereafter) on the Sabbath evening, since in the original prayer text there was no difference between Sabbaths and weekdays; Likewise, the modern practice is to chant the prosaic Song of the Sea (? ) before one recites Yishtaba?, although in the original Baladi-rite prayer the song came after Yishtaba?, seeing that it is not one of the songs of David. In today's Baladi-ride Siddur, an interpolation of eighteen verses known as Rafa'eini Adonai we'erafei (Heb. ' ) has been inserted between the prosaic Song of the Sea and Yishtaba?, just as it appears in the Tikl?l Mashta, compiled by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi in 1655, although the same verses do not appear in the Tikl?l Bashiri compiled in 1618. Another custom which has found its way into the Yemenite prayer book is the practice of rescinding all vows and oaths on the eve of Rosh Hashanah (Kol Nidre).
Moreover, in the older handwritten Baladi-rite prayer books, in the first blessing following the ?iryat Sh?ma, or what is called in Hebrew: = emeth waya?iv, the original Yemenite custom was to say only eight waws in the opening lines of the blessing, just as the blessing appears in Maimonides' Seder Ha-Tefillah (Order of Prayer), and not as it is now commonly practised to insert seven additional waws in the blessing for a total of fifteen. These changes, like the others, are directly related to the dissemination of Sephardic Siddurs in Yemen, and influenced, especially, by the writings of Rabbi David Abudirham.
No doubt the greatest changes to the Baladi-rite prayer book have come in wake of kabbalistic practices espoused by Isaac Luria, which have since been incorporated in the Yemenite Siddur. The proclamation "Adonai melekh, Adonai malakh, Adonai yimlokh le'olam wa'ed" said by some each day before Barukh sh?'amar is from the teachings of Isaac Luria. The saying of Aleinu le'shebea? (Heb. ? "It is for us to praise the Lord of all things", etc.) at the conclusion of the prayer, although originally said only during the Mussaf-prayer on Rosh Hashanah, is also an enactment made by Isaac Luria, Rabbi Moshe ben Machir and Meir ben Ezekiel ibn Gabbai.
The Shulchan Aruch has also left an indelible mark upon the Baladi-rite prayer in certain areas. Yi?yah Sala? (1713-1805) mentions that the old-timers in Yemen were not accustomed to reciting Mizmor le'Todah (i.e. Psalm 100) in the Pesukei dezimra of the Morning Prayer (Shahrith), although it too soon became the norm in the Baladi-rite congregations, based on a teaching in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim § 51:9) and Rabbi Joseph Karo's specification that it be cited in the Morning Prayer. Yi?yah Sala? agreed to insert it in his Baladi-rite prayer book, saying that it was deemed just and right to recite it, seeing that "there is in it a plethora of praise unto Him, the Blessed One."
Yi?yah Sala? also initiated the custom of saying ?idqathekha, etc., in his own synagogue immediately following the Amidah of the Afternoon Prayer (Mincha) on Sabbath days, in accordance with an injunction in the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim § 292:2), and which practice soon spread amongst other Baladi-rite congregations.
The Shulchan Aruch, with Yi?yah Sale?'s endorsement of certain Halachic rulings, was also the cause for other Baladi-rite customs being cancelled altogether, such as the old Yemenite Jewish custom of saying a final blessing after eating the "karpas" (in Yemenite tradition, "parsley") on the night of Passover; and of saying a final blessing over the second cup of wine drunk on the night of Passover; and of making a distinction between the number of matzot that are to be taken up during the blessing when Passover falls on a Sabbath day, as opposed to when it falls on a regular day of the week; and the custom to drink a fifth cup of wine during the Passover Seder. Yi?yah Sale? also changed the original Baladi-rite practice of gesticulating the lulav (the palm frond and its subsidiaries, viz. the myrtle and willow branches in one's right hand, and the citron fruit in one's left), enacting that instead of the traditional manner of moving them forward, bringing them back, raising them up, and lowering them down, while in each movement he rattles the tip of the lulav three times, they would henceforth add another two cardinal directions, namely, to one's right and to one's left, as described in the Shulchan Arukh (Orach Chaim § 651:9). Not all changes in the siddur, however, were the result of Yi?yah Sale?'s own decision to force change in his community, but rather Yi?yah Sale? chose to incorporate some of the Spanish rites and liturgies in the Baladi-rite prayer book since these same practices had already become popular in Yemen. One such practice was to begin the night of each Yom Tov (festival day) with the mizmor related to that particular holiday, although, originally, it was not a custom to do so, but only to begin the first night of each of the three Festival days by saying three mizmorim taken from Psalms 1, 2 and 150. The practice found its way into the Yemenite rite from the Spanish prayer books, whereas now the Yemenite custom incorporates both traditions.
To what extent Maimonides' writings actually influenced the development of the Yemenite prayer ritual is disputed by scholars. Some suggest that since the Baladi-rite prayer is almost identical to the prayer format brought down by Maimonides (1138-1204) in his Mishneh Torah that it is merely a copy of Maimonides' arrangement in prayer. This view, however, is rejected by Rabbi Yosef Qafih (1917-2000) and by Rabbi Avraham Al-Naddaf (1866-1940). According to Rabbi Yosef Qafih, the elders of Yemen preserved a tradition that the textual variant used by Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah was copied down from the texts presented to him by the Jews of Yemen, knowing that they had preserved the ancient format of the prayers, with as few innovations as possible. Elsewhere, in the Preface to the Yemenite Baladi-rite prayer book, Siya? Yerushalayim, Rabbi Qafih writes that Maimonides searched for the most accurate prayer rite and found the Yemenite version to be the most accurate. According to Rabbi Avraham al-Naddaf, when the prayers established by Ezra and his court (the Men of the Great Assembly) reached Yemen, the Jews of Yemen accepted them and forsook those prayers that they had formerly been accustomed to from the time of the Temple. In subsequent generations, both, in the Land of Israel and in Babylonia, the rabbinic scholars of Israel made additional innovations by adding certain texts and liturgies to the prayer format established by Ezra, which too were accepted by the Jews of Yemen (such as Nishmath kol ?ai, and the prosaic Song of the Sea, established by Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai). Later, penitential verse written by Rabbi Saadia Gaon, by Rabbi Yehudah Halevi and by Rabbi Avraham ibn Ezra came to be incorporated in their prayer books. Eventually, when Maimonides came along and arranged the prayers in his Code of Jewish law, the Jews of Yemen saw that his words were in agreement with what they had in their own prayer books, wherefore, they received him as a rabbi over them, although Maimonides had only written the format that he received from the Men of the Great Assembly, and that it happens to be the original version practised formerly by the Jews of Spain.
Rabbi Avraham al-Naddaf's view is corroborated by an ancient Jewish source contemporaneous with Maimonides' Mishneh Torah before his momentous work reached Yemen, in which Jewish scholars in Yemen had debated on how to arrange the second blessing after the Shema during the Evening Prayer. The source was copied down by Yihya Saleh from the glosses of the Baladi-rite Prayer Book (Tikl?l) written by Rabbi Yihye Bashiri (d. 1661), and who, in turn, copied it from the work of a Yemenite Jewish scholar, entitled Epistle: Garden of Flowers (' ?), in which he wrote the following:
Now what you have mentioned to us about the great geon, [even] our teacher and our Rabbi, Moses [Maimonides] (may his God keep him), how that by his magnanimity [he enjoins us] to say, Borukh shomer 'amo yisroel (Blessed be He who guards His people Israel ? ? ), it is most correct what has been transmitted unto him. Who is it that knows to do such a thing, save that man whom the spirit of the holy God is within him? For the Rabbis have spoken of only two blessings coming after it (i.e. after ?iryath Shema), but not three! Now, as for us, concerning our composition of the order of prayers, and its arrangement and its custom which was written in the language of our Sages and used by some of the students, we have asked this question during our debates on the aforesaid composition, and we were indecisive about it due to its ambiguity, but we arranged the verses after Hashkiveinu (Hebrew: ) in such a way that they do not conclude after them with a blessing employing God's name, and forthwith will we stand up in prayer. After your letter reached us, teaching us about its proper application, we returned to its proper application! We succeeded in our composition to write the verses in such a way as to be identical with that which was written by him! Even so, his words seem to be even more exact than our own, proof of which is shown by what is written in Tractate Berakhoth: Mar says he reads [the verses of] ?iryath Shema and prays. This supports what was said by Rabbi Yohanan, 'Who is he that is a son of the world to come? He who juxtaposes the word, Geulah, in the Evening Prayer with the actual Amidah itself!' Moreover, they have said: Although one must say Hashkiveinu (Cause us to lie down in peace, etc.) between Geulah and the standing prayer itself, this does not constitute a break in continuity. For since the Rabbis enacted the saying of Hashkiveinu (Cause us to lie down in peace, etc.) in that part of the benediction which comes directly after Geulah, it is as if the benediction of Geulah was protracted! Now had it been like our words, he should have rather said: Although the Rabbis enacted Hashkiveinu and certain verses which come after it, [etc]. But since he did not say this, except only Haskiveinu, learn from it that at the end he concludes [with a blessing employing God's name]! Now this blessing is as one continuous thing, and not two things.
Based on this testimony it is evident that the Talmud, along with Maimonides' order of the prayer as transcribed in his Mishneh Torah, have been used together to establish the final textual form of the Baladi-rite prayer commonly used in Yemen. Prior to Maimonides, the general trend in Yemen was also to follow the halakhic rulings of the geonim, including their format used in the blessings. Rabbi Sad ibn Daoud al-?Adeni, in a commentary which he wrote on Maimonides' Mishneh Torah (ca. 1420 - 1482), writes of the final blessing said over wine: "What is found in the writings of most of the geonim is to conclude the blessing after drinking the fruit of the vine by saying, ['Blessed art Thou, O Lord], for the vine and the fruit of the vine,' and thus is it found written in the majority of the prayer books in the cities throughout Yemen." However, today, in all the Baladi-rite prayer books, the custom after drinking wine is to conclude the blessing with the format that is brought down in Maimonides, "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, for the land and for its fruits", showing that Maimonides' impact over the development of the Yemenite Siddur has been vital.
The Baladi-rite prayer in its current textual form, at least in its uniqueness as a text that stands in a distinct category of its own and that does not fully conform with any other version, belongs without question to the Babylonian or eastern branch of the prayer ritual variants, a branch whose first clear formulation came through Rabbi Saadia Gaon and his Siddur. By simple comparison with other prayer-rites of other Jewish communities, the Yemenite version shows distinct signs of antiquity, in which, generally speaking, it is possible to say that it is the version least adulterated of all prayer versions practised in Israel today, including the original Ashkenazi version. In spite of a general trend to accommodate other well-known Jewish traditions (e.g. Sephardic, etc.), the Baladi-rite prayer book has still retained much of its traditional distinguishing features. Among them:
In the Baladi-rite tradition, there is no "confession of sins" (Hebrew: ) arranged in alphabetical order, nor is there any confession said immediately prior to saying ta?an?nim (supplications) during nefilat panim following the Standing Prayer. Rather, the custom is to lie upon the floor on one's left side, cover one's head in his talith and to say the supplication, Lefanekha ani korea, etc., followed by Avinu malkeinu, avinu attah, etc., excepting Mondays and Thursdays on which days the petitioner will also add other suppliant verses such as, ana a-donai eloheinu, etc., and wehu ra?um yikhaper 'awon, etc., as are found in the Sephardic prayer books.
The custom of the Jews of Ashkenaz is to read the verses of ?iryat Shema ("Shema Yisrael") each man to himself and silently. In contrast, with the Sephardic Jews, the ?azan reads aloud the verses of ?iryat Shema, without the participation of his congregation. With the Yemenites, on the other hand, the entire congregation reads it aloud and in perfect unison.
The version of the Kaddish used in the Baladi-rite is also unique, containing elements not found in the Siddur used by other communities, and is believed to date back in antiquity. (Open window for text)
Full text of the Kaddish (Sephardic & Yemenite versions)
May the great Name be magnified and sanctified in the world which He has created according to His will, and may He establish His kingdom, and cause His salvation to flourish, and may He draw nigh His anointed one, even during your lifetime and in your days, and during the lifetime of the whole house of Israel, swiftly, yea, soon, and say ye, Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever; [even] unto all eternity may the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, be blest, and honoured, and glorified and extolled and uplifted and magnified and exalted and praised, above all blessings and songs and praises and consolations which are said in the world, and say ye, Amen.
May the great Name be magnified and sanctified in the world which He has created according to His will, and may He establish His kingdom, and cause His salvation to flourish, and may He draw nigh His anointed one and save His people, even during your lifetime and in your days, and in the lifetime of the whole house of Israel, swiftly, yea, soon, and say ye, Amen. May His great Name be blessed forever; [even] unto all eternity may the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, be blest, honoured, glorified, extolled, exalted, magnified, praised and uplifted, above and beyond all blessings and songs and praises and consolations which are said in the world, and say ye, Amen.
In the earlier Baladi-rite prayer books one could not find at the conclusion of the morning, afternoon, and evening prayers the text now widely known as ?Aleinu le-shabea? (Hebrew: ?), but only in the Mussaf-prayer said on Rosh Hashanah. Unique to Jewish prayer rituals, today, the custom among adherents to the Baladi-rite is to say Aleinu le'shebea? only during the Morning (sha?rith) and Evening (arvith) prayers, but not in the Afternoon prayer (min?ah).
The older prayer books also contained formularies of documents (Marriage contracts, bills of divorce, court waiver of rights to payment, legal attestations, calendric tables for reckoning the intercalation of the years, etc.) which are lacking in the modern prayer books. Most also contained Halakhic compendia, such as the modi operandi for Havdallah ceremonies at the conclusion of Sabbath days and festival days, and for establishing symbolic joint ownership of a shared courtyard ( 'erub), and for separating the dough portion (?allah), as well as for the redemption of one's firstborn son (pidyon haben) and for the ceremony of circumcision. So, too, the Old Baladi-rite prayer books contained a brief overview of the laws governing the making of tassels (tzitzit) worn on garments, and the writing of door-post scripts (mezuzah), inter alia. Most also contained a copious collection of liturgical poems and penitential verse (selichot).
The single individual who prays alone and who is unable to join a quorum of at least ten adult men (minyan) follows nearly the same standard format as those who pray among the congregants. However, unlike the congregation, he that prays alone alters the Kaddish by saying in its place what is known as B?r?kh sh?meh de?uddsha b?rikh h? le'eil? le'eil?, etc., both, before and after the Standing Prayer. (Open window for text)
Full-text of B?r?kh sh?meh (with English translation)
Blessed is the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, above and beyond all blessing, song and praise, or consolation, spoken in the universe. May my prayer and my supplication be acceptable, along with the prayer and supplication of the entire house of Israel before our Father who is in heaven. May there be abundant peace from heaven, and help and salvation and respite and favour and grace and mercies upon us and upon the entire congregation of the whole house of Israel, for life and for peace, and say ye, Amen. He that makes peace in His high places, He by his mercies and acts of loving kindness shall make peace upon us and upon all Israel, and He shall comfort us in Zion, and shall build by His mercies Jerusalem, even in our lifetime and in our days, soon to come. Amen and amen.
The single individual who prays alone does not say the Keddusha (e.g. Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh), but rather says, "Keddushath Adonai Tzevo'oth" (Hebrew: ' ), in lieu of the words Qadosh, Qadosh, Qadosh, insofar that the Talmud (Berakhoth 21b) requires a quorum of at least ten adult males to say the Keddusha.
According to 16th-17th century Yemenite prayer books, many Yemenites, but not all, recited but only the first chapter of Avoth after the Shabbath Minchah prayer, doing so throughout the entire year. Beginning with the 17th century, external influence --just as with the Shami prayer text--brought about completely changed customs, with the prevalent custom today being to read the entire tractate throughout the Sabbaths between Passover and Shavuoth, a chapter each Shabbath as non-Yemenite Jews customarily do. Rabbi Yosef Shalom Kora? was quoted as pointing out that in the synagogues of Rabbi Yi?ye Qafih and Rabbi Yi?ye al-Abyadh, rather than apportioning the learning for the Sabbaths between Pesa? and Atzeret, they would learn the entire tractate with Maimonides' commentary during the two days of Shavuoth.
First night of Shavuoth
The custom among Yemenites in recent years was to read the Tikkun in the synagogues on the night of Shevu'ot, although in the old Yemenite siddurim they did not mention anything unique about the night of Shavuoth compared to other holidays; the practice relating to the Tikkun came to Yemen only from approximately the second half of the eighteenth-century. Furthermore, while in most of the synagogues in Yemen they would learn the "Tikk?n" printed in Machzorim and Sefardic Siddurim, in some they would learn the Sefer Hamitzvot compiled by Maimonides, while by Rabbi Yihya Qafih it was learnt in its original Arabic. Even among the Baladi-rite congregations in Sana'a who embraced Kabbalah, they received with some reservation the custom of the kabbalists to recite the "Tikk?n" all throughout the night, and would only recite the "Tikk?n" until about midnight, and then retire to their beds.
Other features peculiar to the Baladi-rite
In Baladi-rite synagogues, the corresponding verses of the weekly Torah reading (parashah) are read aloud from the Targum Onkelos, the Aramaic translation assigned for each verse. This is read on Sabbath mornings, and on holidays, when the Torah-scroll is taken out of the Heikhal and read in public.
On the night of Passover, the Baladi-rite Siddur requires making four separate blessings over the four cups of wine prior to drinking them, as prescribed by the Geonim and the Jerusalem Talmud.
The Yemenite custom is to make a blessing over the hand washing prior to dipping a morsel (karpas) into a liquid, especially during the night of Passover.
The blessing over the Hanukkah candles is with the preposition "of" (Heb. ), as in ' ? .
The Baladi-rite custom requires making the blessing, "to dwell in the Sukkah," each time one enters his makeshift booth during the seven days of Sukkoth, even though he had not intended to eat a meal there, in accordance with teachings brought down by Rabbi Isaac ibn Ghiyyat (1038-1089) and by Maimonides.
The Grace said after meals (Heb. ? ) shows an old format, lacking the additions added in subsequent generations by other communities. (Open window for text)
Full text of Grace after meals (Birkath Hamazon)
Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sustaineth the whole world with goodness, with loving-kindness and with mercy, and whose great goodness hath never been wanting unto us, nor will it ever be wanting, [even] unto eternity. For He it is who sustaineth, and feedeth and doth provide sustenance to all, as has been said: 'Opening up thy hand, and satisfying every living thing with favour, and providing food to all His creatures that He did create.' Blessed art thou O Lord who sustaineth all.
? ' ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . ? ' .
We thank thee, O Lord our God, and we bless thee, our King, for thou hast caused our fathers to inherit a pleasant land, one which is good and broad, [and hast given us] a covenant and a Law, [and especially] for thy taking us out of the land of Egypt, and thy having redeemed us from the house of bondage; but [also] for thy Law which thou hast taught us, and for the ordinances of thy will which thou hast made known unto us. All of which things, O Lord our God, we give thanks unto you, and bless thy name, as it has been said: 'When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the Lord thy God for the good land which he hath given thee.' Blessed art thou O Lord, for the land and for the food.
? ' ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . ? ' ? ' ? . ? ' ? .
Have mercy, O Lord our God, upon us and upon Israel thy people, and upon Jerusalem thy city, and upon Zion the habitation of thy glory, and upon that great and holy edifice on which thy name is called, while the kingdom of the house of David thy anointed bring again to its place, [even] in our days. Build, moreover, Jerusalem thy city like as which thou hast spoken. Blessed art thou O Lord, who builds up Jerusalem with His tender mercies. Amen.
' ? ? ? ? ? . ? ? ? ?. ? ' ? . .
Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, [He that is] God, our Father, our King, our Mighty One, our Creator, our Holiness, [even] the Holy One of Jacob, the good and benevolent King. For on each day, He it is that bestows upon us grace and loving-kindness and mercy, and all good things. The Merciful One, may He be praised for everlasting generations; The Merciful One, may He be glorified throughout eternity; The Merciful One, may He provide us a living with honour; The Merciful One, may He cause us to merit the days of the Messiah, and the re-building of the Temple, as well as life in the world to come; He that magnifieth the deliverance of His [appointed] king, and sheweth kindness to His anointed, and to his seed for evermore. Young lions have been impoverished and have suffered hunger, but those who inquire after the Lord have not wanted any good thing. Give thanks unto the Lord, for He is good; for his kindness endureth forever.
The "Counting of the Omer" (sefirath ha-?omer) between Passover and Shavu'oth is said in Aramaic, rather than in Hebrew. The emissary of the congregation (Shaliach Tzibbur) commences by making one blessing over the counting and fulfills thereby the duty of the entire congregation, although each man makes the counting for himself.
The textual variant of the third benediction (?eddushah) said in the Mussaf Prayer on Sabbath days shows signs of an early tradition, believed to antedate the version used by other communities (both, Ashkenaz and Sepharad), insofar that the original version was said without mentioning Shema Yisrael Adonai Eloheinu Adonai E?ad. (Open window for text)
?eddushah of Mussaf (Sephardic & Yemenite versions)
A multitude of angels above shall give a crown unto you, O Lord our God, along with your people Israel, who are but bands below. All of them together shall ascribe sanctity unto you three times, as that matter spoken of by your prophet: 'And each shall call out to the other and say, Holy! Holy! Holy is the Lord of hosts! The whole earth is full of His glory!' [Seeing that] His glory fills the universe, His servants then inquire, 'Where is the place of His glory so as to permit our showing adoration of Him?' In front of them, [others, in response], give praise and say, 'Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His [ubiquitous] place!' From His [ubiquitous] place He will turn in mercy and bestow grace unto the people who, reciting the Shema evening and morning, twice daily, proclaim in love the unity of His name, saying: Hear, O Israel. The Lord is our God; the Lord is One. He is our God; He is our Father; He is our King; He is our Deliverer. He shall deliver us and redeem us again, and shall, out of his tender mercies, cause us to hear in the presence of all the living, saying: 'Behold! I have redeemed thee, in the end as at the beginning, so as to be unto you a God. I am the Lord your God.' While in your holy word it is written, saying: 'The Lord shall reign forever, even your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. Hallelujah!' Holy art Thou and holy is thy name, and holy beings shall daily render you praise, forever! (For Thou art a great and holy Sovereign God). Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the holy God.
A multitude of angels above shall give a crown unto you, O Lord our God, along with your people Israel, who are but bands below. All of them together shall ascribe sanctity unto you three times, and so is it written by your prophet: 'And each shall call out to the other and say, Holy! Holy! Holy is the Lord of hosts! The whole earth is full of His glory!'(The precentor repeats by saying: [Seeing that] His glory and His majesty fill the universe entirely, His servants then inquire of each other, 'Where is the place of His glory? '). They give praise and say: 'Blessed is the glory of the Lord from His [ubiquitous] place!'(The precentor repeats by saying: From your [ubiquitous] place, our King, may you appear and be lifted up, and may you reign over us, seeing that we wait for Thee. When shall you reign in Zion, even quickly in our lifetime and in our days?). Amen. May you dwell in the midst of Jerusalem Thy city, being both magnified and sanctified, throughout all generations and throughout all eternity! And may our eyes see the kingdom of Thy strength, as that matter stated in the lyrics which show forth Thy holiness, by David Thy servant, the anointed one who stands for Thy justice. The Lord shall reign forever, even your God, O Zion, throughout all generations. Hallelujah!(The precentor repeats by saying: We shall tell of Thy greatness, and shall ascribe sanctity to Thy holiness. Thy praise, O Lord our God, shall not cease from our mouth, for Thou art a great and holy Sovereign God!). Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the holy God.
The practice in Yemenite congregations is for the Shaliach Tzibbur (emissary of the congregation; precentor) to say the Berakhot (benedictions) before and after the Shema, while everyone else in the synagogue remains quiet as they listen to him and answer Amen. He is the mouthpiece of the Tzibbur. Those who choose to recite the words along with him, do so silently. Only the Shema itself is recited in unison.
The Evening Prayer (?Arvith) on weekdays is unique in that, in the second blessing said after ?iryat Shema, there is an extension enacted by the Geonim, now abandoned by most other communities. (Open window for text)
The Second Blessing after ?iryat Shema
Cause us, O Lord our God, to lie down in peace, and cause us, O our King, to rise again unto life and peace. Spread over us the tabernacle of thy peace, while directing us aright through thine own good counsel. Protect us and preserve us, and deliver us from every kind of evil, as also from the fear of the night. May you break Satan, from before us and after us, and guard our going out and our coming in, for Thou art our Keeper and our Deliverer. May you hide us under the shadow of thy wings, as it is said, 'Behold! He shall not slumber, nor sleep, the Keeper of Israel.'
? ' . ? ? ? ? . ? ?. ? ? . ? . ? ? ? ? ? ?
(Geonic Addition) Blessed is He who keeps his people, Israel, forever. Blessed be the Lord forever! Amen and amen! May the Lord reign forever! Amen and amen! Now all the people had seen [it] and had fallen down upon their faces, and they said, 'The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!' Save us, O Lord our God, and gather us from the nations in order to praise thy holy Name, even to garner praise in thy fame, for the Lord shall not forsake His people for His great namesake, for the Lord was pleased to make you His people. Deliverers shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau, and the kingdom shall then be the Lord's. And the Lord shall be a King over all the earth; on that day, the Lord shall be One, and His Name One. Our God who art in heaven, perpetuate thy Name and thy kingdom upon us always. In thine hand is the soul of those who are living, as also the soul of those who are dead; in whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the spirit of every human flesh. In thine hand will I commit my spirit; Thou hast redeemed me, O Lord, the God of truth! Now we are thy people, and the sheep of thy pasture. We shall thank thee forever, throughout all generations, and shall tell of thy fame. O Lord, deliver my soul from a mendacious lip, even from a deceitful tongue. Israel shall be saved in the Lord [with] an everlasting salvation. You shall not be ashamed, neither shall you be dismayed, forever more. May the Lord our God be with us, just as He was with our fathers. May He never leave us, nor forsake us, [but] incline our heart unto Him, so that [we] might walk in all His ways, and keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments which He has commanded our fathers. Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord, Halleujah! Blessed be the Lord in the day; blessed be the Lord in the night. Blessed be the Lord in the morning; blessed be the Lord in the evening. Blessed be the Lord in our lying down; blessed be the Lord in our rising up. We shall always praise thee, forever, and speak of thy faithfulness. Blessed art thou, O Lord, He who reigns in His glory, who lives and exists always, may He reign forever and ever. Amen.
The third blessing of the Amidah retains the same form throughout the Ten Days of Repentance, even on weekdays, with the addition of ?.
In Yemenite public service (both, Baladi and Sh?m?), the pesukei dezimra of the Morning Prayer is chanted in unison by the whole sitting congregation, unlike other communities where only one person, usually the Shaliach Tzibbur (precentor), recites it aloud. The same rule applies to the recital of the Qiryath Shema.
In Yemenite public service (both, Baladi and Sh?m?), only one person says the Kaddish at any given time, but never two or more simultaneously. Moreover, in every Kaddish the words ? ? are incorporated. The yod in the word is vocalized with a ?iraq, and the lamad with a ?olam.
The custom of the Baladi-rite is to answer "Amen" at the conclusion of the benediction known as Yotzer in the Morning Prayer, as also to answer "Amen" during the Evening Prayer at the conclusion of the benediction, Ma'ariv 'Aravim.
The Cohenim do not have a custom to wash their hands prior to their standing up to bless the congregation.
On days when they read from two scrolls of the Torah in the synagogue, the Baladi-rite custom is not to take out the two scrolls at one time, but they would take out one scroll, read from it, and after the conclusion of the reading the scroll is returned to the Heikhal and the second scroll taken out and read. The Haftarah is read only after the scrolls have been returned to the Heikhal.
The Baladi-rite custom, on any given Monday or Thursday, as well as on Rosh ?odesh (New Moon), is to return the Scroll of the Law (Torah) to the ark after reading it in the synagogue, before the congregation recites Ashrei yosh?vei veth?kha, 'odh yehallelukha seloh, etc. (? ? ). This rule, however, does not apply to Sabbath days and Festival days.
The Yemenite custom (both, Baladi and Sh?m?) when reciting the Hallel is that the congregation attentively listens to the Shaliach Tzibbur reading without repeating the words of the Hallel, but only cites the word "Hallelujah," in a repetitious manner, after each verse. "Hallelujah" is repeated 123 times, like the number of years attained by Aaron the High Priest. The congregation will, however, repeat after the Shaliach Tzibbur only a few selected verses from the Hallel, considered as lead verses.
The Tikkun Chatzot (Midnight Rectification) does not appear in the Baladi-rite liturgies.
Selections from siddur
The 'Standing Prayer' known as the Eighteen Benedictions, or Amidah, as prescribed in the Yemenite Baladi-rite tradition, and which is recited three times a day during weekdays, is here shown (with an English translation): (Open window for text)
Full text of the Baladi-rite Amidah (the Standing Prayer)
Lord, open Thou my lips and my mouth shall declare Thy praise.
Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God and God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob, mighty, revered and exalted God. Thou bestowest favour and possessest all things. Mindful of our fathers' kindness towards Thee, Thou wilt redeem their children's children. O merciful King, our Redeemer and Shield, Thou art blessed, O Lord, Shield of Abraham.
?' ? , ? ? ?, ? ?, ? ? , ? . ? ?. ?'
Thou, O Lord, art mighty forever. Thou givest life to the dead, and art great in affording salvation. [In summer add: Thou causest the dew to fall. / In winter add: Thou makest the wind to blow, and causest the rain to fall.] Thou sustainest the living with loving-kindness, and in great mercy bringeth back to life those who were dead. Thou healest the sick, upholdest those who fall, settest free those that are in bondage, and keepest faith with those that sleep in the dust. Who is like unto Thee, Thou who art most Omnipotent? Or, who can be compared to Thee, Thou who decreest death and life? Yet, faithful art Thou to resurrect the dead. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who givest life to the dead.
?, , .
[?] ? /  ?
? ?, ? ? ? ? ? . ? ? ? . ? . ?'
Holy art Thou, and Thy name is holy, and unto Thee holy beings will forever render praise daily. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the holy God.
? ? ? . ?' ?
Thou endowest man with knowledge and teachest mortal man understanding. O grant us knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who bestowest knowledge upon man. (On the night when the Sabbath departs, this benediction is said instead): Thou endowest man with knowledge and teachest mortal man understanding, and Thou hast distinguished between the holy and the profane, and between light and darkness, and between Israel and the nations; between the seventh day and the six working days. Just as Thou hast distinguished between the holy and the profane, so, too, redeem us and save us from all kinds of destructive forces, and from all kinds of tribulations that stir-up to come forth into the world, keeping us from all such things, and grant us knowledge, understanding and wisdom. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who bestowest knowledge upon man.
? ?. ?. ?' (): ? ? ?. ? ? ? . ? , ? . ?'
Bring us back, O our Father, to Thy divine Law (Torah), and draw us near, O our King, to Thy divine service, and bring us unto complete repentance before Thee. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who desirest repentance.
? ? . ?' ?
Forgive us, O our Father, for we have sinned. Pardon us, O our King, for we have transgressed. Verily Thou art a merciful and forgiving God. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who art gracious and abundant in forgiveness.
? , ? . ? ? . ?' ?
Consider our case, and plead our cause, and hasten to redeem us, for Thou art a strong God, King and Redeemer. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, Redeemer of Israel.
? ? ? ? . ?' ?
Heal us, O Lord our God, and we shall be healed. Deliver us and we shall be saved. Grant, moreover, complete healing for all our ailments, for Thou art a God who is a merciful Healer. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who healest the sick among Thy people Israel.
?' ? . ?, ? ? . ?'
(In the winter, say:) Bless us, O Lord our God, in all the works of our hands. And do Thou bless this year, by giving dew and rain upon the face of the [dry] earth. Fill the entire world with Thy goodness, and satisfy the face of the inhabitable earth with the richness of Thy giving hands. Moreover, O Lord our God, watch and deliver this year, with all its produce, from all kinds of destruction, and from all kinds of afflictions. Let her substance remain, and let there be hope, and satisfaction, and peace, just as in the good years. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who dost bless the years.
() ? ?' ? ? ? ?. ?' ? ? ? ? ? ?. ?' ?
(In the summer, say:) Bless us, O Lord our God, in all the works of our hands. And do Thou bless this year with the gentle dews of favour, and of blessing, and of benevolence, just as in the good years. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who dost bless the years.
(?) ? ?' ? ? ?. ?' ?
Sound the great ram's horn as proclamation for our freedom. Raise the banner to assemble our exiles from the four corners of the earth, so that they might go up to their own land. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who gatherest the dispersed of Thy people Israel.
? ? ? ? ? ?. ?'
Restore our judges as of yore, and our counselors as aforetime. Remove from us grief and sighing. Reign Thou over us, O Lord, Thou alone in mercy, in justice and by vindicating us in judgment. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, Thou King who lovest righteousness and judgment.
? . ? . . ?' ? ?
Let not the apostates have any hope. Even all the sectarians, and those who are informants, let them perish at a moment. But as for the kingdom that doeth wickedly, do Thou uproot and break quickly, even in our days. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who breakest the power of the enemy, and subdueth those who would act wantonly.
? ? ? , ? ?. ?' ? ?
May Thy tender mercies, O Lord our God, be stirred towards the righteous and the pious, and towards the proselytes who have come for the sake of justice, as also towards the remnant of Thy people, the house of Israel. Do Thou give a good reward to all those who trust in Thy name, in truth. May our portion also be placed with them. May we never be ashamed, for in Thy name have we trusted, and in Thy salvation we have relied upon. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who art the staff and trust of the righteous.
? ? ? ? ?' ?. ? . ? . ? ? ?. ? ?' ?
Dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, Thy city, just as Thou hast spoken. Build it so that it remains as an enduring habitation, even speedily, and in our own days! Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who buildest Jerusalem.
? ? ? ? ? ?. ?' ?
Cause the branch of David to soon flourish, and may his horn be exalted by Thy salvation. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who causest the horn of salvation to flourish.
? . ?' ?
Hear our voice, O Lord our God. Have compassion and mercy upon us, and accept our prayers out of loving-mercy and favour. Turn us not away empty-handed from Thy presence. (Make personal requests here) For Thou hearest the prayer of every mouth. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who hearest prayer.
?' ?. ? ? . , . ? ? ?. ?'
Look with favour, O Lord, our God, upon Thy people Israel, and upon their prayer. Restore the divine worship to the inner sanctum of Thine house, as also the sacrificial offerings of Israel thy people. With loving favour, quickly accept their prayer, and may the divine worship of Israel Thy people always find favour with Thee. (On Rosh Hodesh, add: Our God and our God of our fathers, may our remembrance and the remembrance of our forefathers come before Thee, as well as the remembrance of Thy city, Jerusalem, as also the remembrance of the Messiah the son of David, Thy servant. So, too, the remembrance of all Thy people, the house of Israel, may it come before Thee, by granting them deliverance and well-being, and may it abound to our blessing, and to our favour and loving kindness, and mercy, even on this New lunar month; On it, have mercy upon us, and deliver us. On it, be mindful of us, O Lord our God, in what concerns our good. On it, remember us for a life of blessing. On it, deliver us unto life, even in what concerns Thy promise of salvation and mercy. Take pity upon us and favour us, and show us mercy. And, on it, deliver us from all trouble and anguish, while causing us to be exceedingly happy on it, for Thou art a God and King that is merciful and compassionate.) Thus, favouring us, our eyes shall see when Thou returnest unto Thy dwelling-place, even unto Zion, with mercies as at former times. Blessed art thou, O Lord, who bringest again His Divine Presence to Zion.
We thankfully acknowledge Thee, that Thou art the Lord our God, even the Rock whence cometh our existence; the Shield of our salvation. Thou art He who remainest from generation to generation, unto whom we give thanks, and tell of Thy praises. This, we do, on account of our lives that are committed into Thy hand, even our souls that are given into Thy charge; on account of Thy miracles and Thy wonders that are perpetual, whether at evening, morning or noontime. Thou art He who is good, for Thy mercies have never ceased. Thou art He who is merciful, for Thy loving-kindness will never fail. All of the living shall praise Thy great name, since goodness is ascribed unto the good God. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, whose name is always good, and to whom it is comely to give thanks.
Grant peace, goodness and a blessing; favour and grace, and mercies, upon us and upon Thy people Israel. And bless us all together with the radiant light of Thy face. For Thou hast given us the radiant light of Thy face, O Lord our God, even the divine Law (Torah), and life, and love, and grace, and righteousness and peace. And, even so, it is good in Thy sight to bless Thy people Israel at all times with peace. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who blessest Thy people Israel with peace. Amen.
? ? ? ?. ? . ? ? ?' ? ? ? ? ? . ? . ?' .
May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable before Thee, O Lord, my Rock and Redeemer. (He maketh peace in his high places. He, through his mercies and grace, will bring peace upon us and upon all of Israel, and shall comfort us in Zion, and will build by his mercies Jerusalem, even in our days quickly. Amen and Amen).
, ?' . (? ? , ? ? ? ? ? , ? ?.)
Nishmath Kol Hai is recited on the Sabbath day, and dates back to the 5th century CE:
The breath of every living thing shall bless Thy name, O Lord our God! And the spirit of all flesh shall ever glorify and extol Thy memory, O our King! For generation after generation, from everlasting unto everlasting, Thou art God! But for Thee, there is no G-d; neither do we have any King, Redeemer or Deliverer in all times of trouble and distress but Thee! He that redeems and rescues; He that gives sustenance and shows mercy, even the G-d of all living creatures, the Lord of all generations that were ever born! Thou art He that is extolled by their praises! He that rules His world with loving kindness and His creatures with manifold tender mercies; Now the Lord God is the truth, He does not slumber, neither does He sleep. Thou art He that arouses those that sleep, and awakenest those that slumber; He that upholds those that fall, who heals the sick, who loosens those that are bound; it is to Thee that we give thanks.
Were our mouths filled with song as the sea, our tongues with joyful praise as the multitude of its waves, and our lips with adoration as the spacious firmament; were our eyes radiant as the sun and the moon, and our hands spread forth like the eagles of the sky, and our feet swift as hinds, we would still be unable to thank Thee, O Lord our God, or to bless Thy name, our King, [as becometh Thee], be it for one measure of the thousands upon thousands, and the abundant myriads upon myriads of times which Thou hast done good unto us and unto our fathers in ages past!
From Egypt Thou didst redeem us, O Lord our G-d! From the house of bondage Thou didst ransom us! During famine Thou didst feed us, and in time of plenty Thou didst sustain us! From the sword Thou didst save us, and from pestilence Thou hast caused us to escape, and from many sore ailments Thou hast lifted us up, O our King! Hitherto, Thy tender mercies have helped us, O Lord our God, while Thy loving-kindness hast not forsaken us!
Therefore, the limbs which Thou hast fashioned in us, and the spirit and soul which Thou hast breathed into our nasals, and the tongue which Thou hast set in our mouth, lo, they, by joyous singing, shall thank Thee and shall bless Thy name, O Lord our God, over the abundance of Thy miraculous wonders! For every mouth shall to Thee give thanks, and every tongue shall to Thee give praise, and every eye unto Thee shall look, while every knee unto Thee shall bend, and all that standeth shall bow down before Thee. All hearts shall then revere Thee, and [man's] inmost being and reins shall sing to Thy name, as it is written: 'All my bones shall say: O Lord, who is like unto Thee, which deliverest the poor from him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and the needy from him that spoileth him?' (Ps. 35:10). And it is written: 'Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.' (Ps. 33:1).
By the mouth of the upright, be Thou exalted! By the words of the righteous, be Thou blest! By the tongue of all pious men, be Thou sanctified! And in the midst of the holy, be Thou praised! While in the assemblies of the multitudes of Thy people, even the whole house of Israel, may Thy name be glorified, O Lord our God. For such is the duty of all creatures towards Thee, O Lord our God, to give thanks, to laud, to praise, to glorify, to exalt, to magnify and to honour, even beyond all the words of song and praise uttered by David, the son of Jesse, Thine anointed!
Published siddur editions
Siddur Tefillath Kol Pe, ed. Yosef Hasid and Shelomo Siani, Jerusalem 1960
Siya? Yerushalayim, Baladi prayer book in 4 vols, ed. Yosef Qafih, Kiryat-Ono 1995-2010
Tikl?l Ha-Mefoar (Maharitz) Nosa? Baladi, Meyusad Al Pi Ha-Tiklal Im Etz ?ayim Ha-Shalem Arukh Ke-Minhag Yahaduth Teiman: Bene Berak: Or Neriyah ben Mosheh Ozeri: 2001 or 2002
Baladi as original Yemenite custom
Although the word "Baladi" is used to denote the traditional Yemenite Jewish prayer, the word is also used to designate the old Yemenite Jewish custom in many non-related issues treating on Jewish legal law (Halacha) and ritual practices, and which laws are mostly aligned with the teachings of Maimonides' Code of Jewish Law, as opposed to the Shulchan Arukh of Rabbi Joseph Karo.
One of such practices is to constrict the blood locked within meats before cooking by throwing cut pieces of the meat (after salting and rinsing) into a pot of boiling water, and leaving them there for as long as it takes for the meat to whiten on its outer layer. This practice prevents the blood from oozing out, and is only a rabbinical precautionary measure (Cf. Hullin 111a). If soup was to be made from meat which was thrown into a pot of boiling water, it was not necessary to take out the meat. Rather, the froth and scum which surfaces were scooped away, and this sufficed. It was also a Jewish practice in Yemen that when salting the cut meat, the pieces are prepared no larger than half a ro?al (about the size of half an orange) so as to permit the effectiveness of the salt on that meat.
The Baladi custom is to make tzitzit (tassels) with only seven "joints" (Hebrew: ), without counting the first square-knot that is tied to the tassel where it is attached to the cloth. These seven "joints" each consist of only three windings and are not separated by knots. They are placed on the upper 1/3 length of the tassel, symbolic of the seven firmaments in heaven, while in the other 2/3 length of the tassel the strings are left to hang loose. Their Rabbis have interpreted the Talmud (Menahoth 39a) with a view that the "joints" and the "knots" are one and the same thing.
Another custom of the Baladi-rite community (which is also true of the Sh?m?-rite community) is for a child to read aloud the Aramaic translation (Targum Onkelos) in the synagogues on Sabbath days, during the weekly biblical lection, as well as on holidays. The custom is for the Aramaic translation to be read one verse at a time, following each verse that is read aloud from the scroll of the Law (Torah), a practice long since abandoned by other communities.
The Baladi-rite custom of tying the knot (Hebrew: ) on the head phylactery (Tefillin) follows the custom mentioned in Halakhot Gedolot (Hil. Shimushei Tefillin): "One doubles the two heads (i.e. ends) of the straps [in the form of two separate loops] and feeds one through the other, and the head (i.e. end) of the one in the end (loop) of the other, so that there is formed thereby the shape of a daleth." Practically speaking, its shape is only an imaginary daleth, made also in accordance with the old manner prescribed by the Jews of Ashkenaz (an illustration of its tying method shown here).
The Baladi-rite custom is to wear one's large talith on the night of the Sabbath, as well as on the night of any given Festival day.
TEMA - Journal of Judeo-Yemenite Studies (ed. Yosef Tobi), vol. 7. Association for Society and Culture, Netanya 2001. Article: Nosa? ha-tefillah shel yehudei teyman, pp. 29 - 64 (Hebrew)
Amar, Zohar (2017). Differing Halachic Customs between "Baladi" Yemenite and Other Jewish Communities ( ? ? ) (in Hebrew). Neve Tzuf. OCLC992702131.
Sefer Rekhev Elohim, Chapter 8, concerning the influence of Spanish-rite Prayer books on the Yemenite siddur; pp. 48-57 (Hebrew)
^Gavra, Moshe (1988), pp. 258-354; Shows photocopies of different Yemenite Prayer books, the earliest from the year 1345 (now preserved at the Jewish Theological Seminary of New York, MS. no. 3015), and the latest from 1656, all of which bear Babylonian supralinear punctuation.
If your soul be grieved [at the calamity that hath befallen us], please consider the events that have happened to the scholarly Rabbi, our teacher and Master, Yi?ya the son of the honorable Rabbi Yehudah al-?a'adi, the President of the beit din for the [Jewish] communities in Yemen, who fought a just battle against those who make themselves pious, forsaking their own customs and their Yemenite fathers' customs, which have been the customary practice according to the handwritten Prayer Books that are called by us al-tik?lil, and who grasp anew customs, found in the printed Machzors, in matters of the prayers and other customs... And also, [other] men, Talmidei Chachamim, had joined together with the President of the court, the honorable Rabbi Yi?ya al-?a'adi, [in his fight] to abolish these new customs [which they had taken] upon themselves, but to no avail, for in their time there was a certain wise man great in Torah, stature (Hebrew: ), and [knowledgeable in the writings of the] poskim, and above all was infatuated over the books of the kabbalists, [namely] the honorable Rabbi Yi?ya son of the esteemed Minister Shalom HaKohen al-Iraqi. He was the one who stood in the breach to annul the customs of the ancients and to hold onto the new customs, until a great quarrel had been aroused [thereby, whereupon] he went [around] to synagogues to force them to leave the ancient Prayer Books in their possession and to accept the [printed Sephardic] machzors. Now, because of the greatness of his position and the position of his father, the Minister, nineteen synagogues accepted it upon themselves, except for three synagogues [who] prepared themselves within the synagogues to resist him with staves and were unwilling to listen to him unto this day.
^It must be noted that the above is told through the lens of Hibshush who writes of Yi?ya, the son of Shalom (al-'Us). However, Rabbi Yosef Qafih, the editor of Hibshush's Qorot Yisra'el be-Teman cited above, tells not of the son Yi?ya, but of Shalom ben Aharon HaKohen Iraqi (Qafih's edition of the Yemenite Haggadah [ , 5719], p. 10-11) as did the court of Sana'a in their 5671 (1911) response to Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook (Masa' le-Teiman (Hebrew: ; Tel Aviv, 5712), p. 197: " ? ?' ? ? ? ? . ? ? ? ? ? ?"? "? ? ? "?. ? ? ? . ? ? ? ."). Cf. Qorah, A. (1987), pp. 16-18 (Hebrew pagination), who writes (p. 17): "In the days of the Minister, Shalom (al-'Ousta), a few of the wise men of that generation saw [fit] that it was best that the entire congregation would pray like the custom found in the land of Israel [namely] in the prayer-rite of the Sephardic Prayer Books, and their counsel was that those unto whom the Baladi-rite Prayer Book (Tikl?l) was still fluent in their mouths, that the Nasi would provide them with Sephardic Prayer Books so that all would be accustomed to praying with one prayer-rite, and the Nasi consented to this [advice]. Then were those Rabbis stirred who held fast to praying as the Tikl?l [i.e., Baladi-rite], and at their head was Rabbi Yehuda ben Shelomo al-Sa'adi [d. 1740] and the Judge Rabbi Pinhas ben Shelomo Ha-Kohen al-Iraqi of blessed memory, and they wrote proclamations in the form of rabbinic decisions [saying] that it is forbidden to change the customs of [their] fathers that were established according to the words of the Geonim of old and the 'Composition' of Maimonides that came after them."
^Tobi, Yosef (2001), pp. 31-32; Gavra, Moshe (2010), p. 337
^Gaimani, Aharon (2014), pp. 83-92. It is worthy of mentioning that the Great Assembly comprised such men as Daniel, Nehemiah and Ezra, concerning whom the Jerusalem Talmud (Berakhot 17a) says, "One-hundred and twenty or so elders and among them eighty or so prophets enacted this prayer." Cf. Babylonian Talmud, Berakhot 28b. Aside from the first three benedictions and the last three benedictions, none of the middle benedictions were at first arranged in any special order, until the first or second century CE, when they were finally given the set order that we have today (Rabbeinu Hananel, ibid.)
^The Yemenite custom of praying only one Mussaf-prayer during the Jewish New Year, rather than making first a silent prayer followed by a repetition of the prayer made aloud by the Shaliach Tzibbur, is described by Rabbi Yihya Saleh in his Tikl?l Etz ?ayim, facsimile edition, published by Karwani Yaakov of Rosh Ha-Ayin, Vol. II, on the morning of Rosh Hashanah, s.v. ? ?, and which Yemenite practice is similar to a teaching brought down in the Jerusalem Talmud (Berakhot 36a - 36b). Yi?yah Sala? makes use of harsh expletives while writing about the preservation of the original Yemenite Jewish practice: "'Moreover, it can be stated that the benedictions [made in our prayers] on New Year's day and on the Day of Atonement are different, for [on these days] the emissary of the congregation who leads them in prayer fulfills everyone's obligation.' Wherefore, it was thought by Rabbi Yonah that even if someone had turned his heart to other things while in the midst of [saying] a benediction, the emissary of the congregation [still] fulfills his obligation. Yet in the other blessings he does not [fulfill his obligation]. So has it been stated under this man's name. For our purpose, I have copied down all of his words where a lesson was to be learned by such words of an exemplary nature as far as several halachic practices were concerned. And in the Tikl?l that our teacher wrote, even the Rabbi, Yi?ya al-Bashiri of blessed memory, it is written in the Arabian tongue, of which this is its content: 'Let it be known that, throughout the entire course of the year, men ought to pray silently. After which, the emissary of the congregation prays with a loud voice in order to fulfill the obligation of those who do not know [the prayer themselves]. However, during the Mussaf prayer on the New Year's Day the custom is not to begin by praying silently, but rather the emissary of the congregation begins praying aloud and he fulfills the obligation of, both, those who know the benedictions in their entirety and those who do not know them. The reason for this being that the benedictions are long [during these days of the year] and not everyone is familiar with them as is the emissary of the congregation. Yet during the other days of the year, the emissary of the congregation does not fulfill the obligation [of any], except only of that person who knows not [the benedictions].' You have, herewith, been shown [the matter] so that you might know just how many great multitudes of men confirm our customs, even the custom of our ancient most forebears [as it has been passed down unto us] nearly since the days of the destruction, as it is generally held and accepted by us, [which is to say], the traditions of our forefathers. So who is it that after considering these mighty kings (who all agree with common consent, and all walk with perfect persuasion of the affirmative [saying] that there must be only one [Mussaf] prayer), will yet incline his thoughts, as it were, to contradict their practice? Certainly he ought to be apprehensive and wary lest they [come and] crush his skull.... Hear my son the instruction of thy father, and do not thou forsake the law of thy mother. Be attentive to this and note it." END QUOTE
^Sassoon, D.S. (1932), Introduction, p. xxxvi. Bibliophile, David Solomon Sassoon (1880-1942), who collected some sixteen Prayer books of the Yemenite rite, ranging from the early sixteenth century (1531) to the twentieth century, writes of the Yemenite Siddur: "The study of these MSS. leads to the assumption that the liturgy of the Yemenite Jews went through many changes during the ages, and that in Yemen itself the liturgy varied according to different localities. There are traces of an earlier rite, used before Western influences penetrated into the Peninsula..."
^One of the more popular liturgies found in the Siddur of RSG is the piyyut known as Terumah Hivdilanu, which is recited on the night of Passover, during the reading of the Hagaddah. Another custom taken from the Siddur of RSG is the recital of Kol Nidrei on the night of Yom Kippur, just as Rabbi Yihya Saleh states in his Tiklal 'Etz ?ayim Hashalem. See: Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 4, p. 196a.
^Bashiri, Y. (1964). A microfilm of one of many Siddurs written by Rabbi Yi?ya Bashiri can be seen at the Hebrew University National Library in Jerusalem, Manuscript Dept., Catalogue # 26787 (Hebrew); also in the archives of the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, Microfilm # 1219 (Hebrew)
^The Tik?n Ha-geshem consists of several verses in rhyme, beginning with ? , followed by these in rapid succession ?, and , and , and ?, and finally ?.
^The Tik?n Ha-?al consists of four liturgical poems in rhymed verse? , and , and and finally ?.
^Golb, N. (1972), p. 18. Although the prayer book in the Spertus College of Judaica collection is dated 1663, the same innovations were added in the Title-page of a Siddur written by Rabbi Yitzhak Wannah in 1645. By Tik?nei Shabbat Malkah is meant the recital of six Psalms (Pss. 95-99; 29) established by Rabbi Moshe Cordevero, and the piyyut "Lekha Dodi" written by Rabbi Shlomo Alkabetz in Safed, as well as the piyyut "Bar-Yochai." See: Wannah, Yitzhak (1992), pp. 43, 74; Gaimani, Aharon (2005), p. 52
^Sefer Ha-Zohar (with Ha-Sulam commentary), vol. 8 (P. Pin?as), section # 569), London 1975, p. 219.
^Qorah, A. (1987), p. 96. Notwithstanding, the actual existence of this famous praise dates back to a much earlier time and which, according to Dhahiri, Z. (1991), vol. 2, p. 28 [14b]), "fell down from heaven inscribed on a slip of parchment", and which praise contained in it the word "Baruch" ten times, representative of the "ten enunciations" (Heb. ma'amarot) with which God created the universe. See also Saleh, Y. (1993), vol. 1, p. 113. Rabbi David Abudirham, in his seminal work Sefer Abudirham, writes in the name of Rav Amram Gaon that the word "Baruch" should be said fifteen times, signifying the fifteen words in the Birkath Cohenim (Sefer Abudirham, Warsaw 1877, p. 37 [19a]).
^On Yehudah Halevi's authorship of , see: Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 58b. In the words of Yi?yah Sale? (ibid.), Etz Hayim commentary: ' ?' ? ?"? ("`He that is praised`, etc. This praise is from Rabbi Judah Halevi, of blessed memory.")
^The Yemenite custom is now to say the benediction known as Yotzer Shabbath. Yi?yah Sala? adopted the view that it ought to be said while relying upon Yemenite Rabbi Shelomo Taizi, who states: "The reason it was omitted in our prayer books, and even in the books of Maimonides, of blessed memory, is because it was forgotten on account of the many hardships and wanderings [suffered by the people]." The Yotzer Shabbath comprises that liturgy known as the "greater Alpha-Beta", viz., El Adon 'al kol hama'asim (The Lord is Master over all His works); Borukh u'mevorakh befi kol haneshamah (Blessed is He and acclaimed by every living thing), etc.," and is a teaching from the Zohar.
^Yi?yah Sale? makes mention of Sefer Abudirham in his commentary Etz ?ayim, when mentioning emeth waya?iv and how that Rabbi David Abudirham, in his treatise on the Tefillah (Sefer Abudirham, Warsaw 1877, p. 50; in PDF p. 47), requires saying fifteen waws, symbolizing the fifteen ascensions in the Book of Psalms, commencing with Shir hama'aloth (Pss. 120-134). See: Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 95b.
^The reference here is to the three verses taken from three different places in the book of Psalms, all making mention of the word ?edeq, or "justice," in recognition of God's justice who caused three pious men of Israel to pass away from the world during the Afternoon oblation - viz., Moses our Master, Joseph and King David. A debate, however, quickly arose whether or not it was permitted to make ?id?q ha-din (i.e. the act of justifying God's judgment) on certain days, since normally it is not permitted to engage in mourning on a Sabbath day or Festival day. See: Saleh, Y. (1979), vol. 3, responsum # 150.
^Thus is the practice described in the Talmud and in the writings of the geonim, in Maimonides' Code of Jewish law, and in Rabbi Yihya Bashiri's Baladi-rite Siddur
^In Yemen, the synagogues faced north in the direction of Jerusalem and the congregants also stood facing north. When gesticulating the lolav, they stretched it forward toward the north, facing Jerusalem. Today, in the land of Israel, if one were standing in prayer in Tel-Aviv, he would face Jerusalem which lies toward the east.
^Rabbi Amram Qorah wrote of Yi?yah Sale?, saying: "He toiled much to render the precise text used in prayer according to the text of ancient Baladi-rite prayer books (Tik?lil), and he purged them from the versions that the later copyists of the Baladi-rite prayer books had amended thereto. Indeed, those additions which were added in the Baladi-rite prayer books based on the Spanish-rite and which they had [already] begun to observe as their own practice, he did not remove them; instead, he explained them and they were incorporated in the Baladi-rite prayer book." See: Qorah, A. (1987), pp. 21-22, note 19.
^Qafih, Y. (1989), vol. 2, pp. 828-830: [Translation]: "As for the format of the prayer-rite that is used by them, a tradition bequeathed to us by our forefathers from early generations avers that the prayer format fixed by Maimonides in his book, Mishne Torah, he received from the Jews of Yemen, when he realized that it was unadulterated by the emendations of the Geonim and their improvements, and that it contained not the enhancements of the sages of Spain, nor the so-called "corrections" made by the cantors of Ashkenaz; as Rabbi Yi?ya Saleh (Maharitz) has written, saying that we have a tradition that all our customs regarding the prayers are very ancient, effectively dating back to the time of the [First] Temple's destruction. Even though we cannot cite proof to this effect, it can still be deduced elsewhere, by virtue of the fact that Maimonides, when he mentions incidentally the format of the prayer, writes what is different from the prayer format that he fixed in his magnum opus, at the end of Sefer Ahavah. A few examples are brought down in what follows: (1) In his commentary on the Mishnah, Tractate Berakhot, chapter 5, he wrote that in the benediction said for the annual seasons, during the winter months, one is to say, "Bless [this year] unto us" (), but in the prayer format in his larger work he did not differentiate between the summer months and the winter months, writing instead that one is always to say, "Bless us" (); (2) In Maimonides' commentary on the Mishnah, Tractate Berakhot 6:5, he writes for the version of the final blessing, known as Boré Nefashot ("The Creator of many souls"), that one is to conclude by saying, "...upon all that was created of Him who sustains the universe" ( ? ? ?= ?ai ha-?olamim), but in his larger composition and in his Guide for the Perplexed (Part 1, chapter 69), he makes use of the version, "the life of the universe" ( ?= ?ei ha-?olamim), and thus is it written in all the prayer books of Yemen; (3) In the benediction known as Me'ayn shalosh (brief form of grace after eating cakes, etc.), there he makes use of a different version, concluding with the words, "...and for Zion, your honorable dwelling place, and for the pure land; and build Jerusalem your city, even quickly in our days, and let us eat of her fruits." However, in his larger composition, Hil. Berakhot 3:13, he did not write this version, but rather brought down the version that is found in the prayer books of Yemen; (4) Similarly, he reverts himself in the matter of the Hallel, and how the congregation is to answer the one who recites the Hallel; (5) In Maimonides' Responsa, he writes that the concluding lines for the eleventh benediction in the Amidah is, "O Lord, who loves righteousness and judgment," while during the Ten Days of Repentance one is to say, "O Lord, Thou King, who loves righteousness and judgment." However, in his larger composition, under the format of the prayer, he writes that for the entire year one says, "O Lord, Thou King, who loves righteousness and judgment," but during the Ten Days of Repentance he is to conclude the blessing with, "The King of the judgment"; (6) Moreover, in his Responsa, in the benediction said after a circumcision, the version used by him is, "...has commanded, just as you have commanded those who are holy," etc. However, in his larger composition, the version of all the old texts is as the version used in Yemen, "...has commanded, by a testament of holy men," etc.; (7) Also in the composition itself, in Hil. Tefillah 2:14, he wrote that on the Ninth of Av fast day (Tish'a be-Av) they add the version known as Ra?em in the place of the prayer that begins, "Dwell in the midst of Jerusalem" (), for this used to be his custom, based on the Siddur of Rabbi Saadia Gaon. However, in the prayer format brought down in his larger composition, he wrote the version as it appears in Yemen, saying that Ra?em is said instead of the benediction, "Dwell in the midst of Jerusalem," that is, rather than being incorporated within it; (8) In his "Mishne Torah" (Hil. Matanot ?Aniyim 10:3), he wrote: "...as it says, 'You shall hear the cry of the poor'," (a verse that does not exist in the Hebrew Bible) and which statement is no more than an instance of his habitual usage of these words, taken from the text of Nishmat kol ?ai ("The Breath of All Living Things"), as found in the Spanish prayer books. However, in the format of the prayer brought down in the same composition, such words do not appear, but only the version that is used in Yemen. Neither are these words found in the prayer format that was published by D. Goldschmidt. (9) Moreover, in his prayer format, he wrote: "The people have it as their practice in each of the Mussaf-prayers, whenever they say, 'Just as you have written concerning us in your Torah, through Moses your servant,' to mention the sacrifices of the day, just as they are written in the Torah, and they read aloud the same verses. If, however, they did not mention [them], since they said, 'Just as you have written concerning us in your Torah,' etc., they are no longer required [to say them]." It follows that, as a first resort, they are required to say these verses, as the practice adhered to by Rabbeinu Tam (see: Tosefot in Rosh Hashanah 35a, s.v. ), and only as a last resort, if they had not mentioned them, they are no longer required to do so. However, in the same prayer format itself, in all handwritten manuscripts of the book "Mishne Torah" (also known as, Yad ha-?aza?ah), as also in the Oxford MS on which text Dr. Daniel Goldschmidt published Maimonides' prayer format, the verses of the Mussafin (i.e. additional offerings made on Sabbaths and Festival days) are missing altogether. Does this not clearly prove that even after he wrote down the prayer format, just as he had been accustomed to saying, "the people have it as their practice," that he retracted the statement, correcting it to read as the version he received from Yemen, and deleting those verses? So it would seem, and nothing more."
^The sense is to the beginning of that blessing which says: Emeth emunah kol zoth qiyam 'aleinu, etc., and concludes with, Borukh attoh adonai ?o'al yisroel. After which they say Hashkiveinu, etc.
^Since the suppliant are normally required to go from the benediction known as Geulah directly into the standing prayer (as in the Morning Prayer), the practice differs in the Evening Prayer with the addition of "Hashikiveinu."
^Al-?Adeni, Sad ben David (2010), s.v. Berakhot 8:14, p. 87. Cf. Sefer Halakhoth Pesuqoth le'Rav Yehudai Gaon z"l, Jerusalem 1999, p. 476, which final form of the blessing is exactly like the old Yemenite tradition.
^Moreover, on Mondays they say' , etc., while on Thursdays they say' , etc. Even so, the practice of saying these verses was only lately introduced in Yemen around the 18th century, seeing that in all the old Baladi-rite prayer books there is no recollection of the said suppliant verses on Mondays and Thursdays, nor of Avinu malkeinu on the other days of the week. See: Gavra, Moshe (2010), vol. 1, pp. 336-343.
^Ratzaby, Yehuda (2018), p. 60. In the Midrash Rabba (Canticles Rabba) on the verse (Song of Songs 8:13), "She who sits in the gardens, [your] friends listen to your voice; let me hear it," which has been expounded there to mean: "When Israel enters the synagogues and they recite ?iryat Shema, with sincerity of purpose and perfect unison, with concentration and agreeable sound, the Holy One, blessed be He, says to them: She who sits in the gardens, when you read [as] friends, my retinue and I listen to your voice; let me hear it. But when Israel recites ?iryat Shema with discord, the one preceding ahead and the other lagging behind, and they do not recite ?iryat Shema with sincerity of purpose, the Holy Spirit calls out and says, "Go off, my beloved!"
^R. Yosef Karo wrote in his Shulhan Arukh, Orach Chaim 61:24, that ?iryat Shema must be recited during the prayer by making use of its cantillations (i.e. the diacritical points written next to the vowels and above the letters), just as they are found written in the Torah. However, in Yemen, the practice was somewhat different; viz., to recite the ?iryat Shema during the prayer in an impromptu-like manner (without taking notice of its cantillations), yet, the entire congregation would read the words aloud in complete rhythmic unison, and singular melody.
^"" in the Yemenite text adopted by Maimonides and included in the back of Sefer Ahavah, Qafih's edition, p. 720.
^In the ? however, appears instead of (Yemenite text adopted by Maimonides and included in the back of Sefer Ahavah, Qafih's edition, p. 720. See also ? ? ? ( ), ?'"?, page 33.)
^"" in the Yemenite text adopted by Maimonides and included in the back of Sefer Ahavah, Qafih's edition, p. .
^Today, the Baladi-rite custom in the Kaddish is to add the conjunction "and" in all of these words: "...may the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He, be blest, and honoured, and glorified, and extolled, and exalted, and magnified, and praised and uplifted, etc." Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, pp. 83a-b, mentions the custom of saying the conjunction "and" seven times, and which practice has been attributed unto the Spanish kabbalist, Joseph ben Abraham Gikatilla, although it was not an original Yemenite Jewish custom to do so.
^Yitz?ak Halevi, Shalom (1993), p. 289. According to Rabbi Shalom Yitzhak Halevi, quoting from Tikl?l Khalaf, the reason Aleinu le'shebea? is not said during the Afternoon prayer (min?ah) is because they never enacted the saying of Aleinu le'shebea? except to counter the worshipers of the sun in the morning, and the worshipers of the moon in the evening. He cites from the words inscribed in the margin of his 1894 edition of Tikl?l Etz ?ayim, p. 88a. This opinion is also brought down by Rabbi Yitzhak Wanna in his Baladi-rite prayer book. Even so, according to Maharitz, in his commentary Etz ?ayim, the omission of Aleinu le'shebea? during the Afternoon prayer was a teaching espoused by the Rabbi and kabbalist, Meïr ibn Gabbai, author of Tola'at Ya'akov (written in 1507), who wrote: "We do not say Aleinu le'shebea? except in the morning and in the evening, but not during the Afternoon prayer." See: Saleh, Y. (1894), vol. 1, p. 88a; Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 168a.
^According to Dr. Aharon Gaimani of Bar-Ilan University, Yihya (Zechariah) al-Dhahiri (d. 1608) was the first of Yemenite Sages to introduce the practice of saying Aleinu le'shabea? at the conclusion of the prayer, which practice was adopted also among Baladi-rite congregations. Dr. Gaimani, citing Dhahiri, Z. (1991), who brings down elements of the Sephardic prayer rite in his theosophical commentary on the Pentateuch, ?eidah la'derekh (Victuals for the Road), vol. 2, on Leviticus, chapter 7 - Parashat ?av, p. 32 (16b): "He then concludes after everything [by saying] Aleinu le'shabea?. The reason being that in the world there are idolaters, who according to their custom bow down to their idols each day, while we [on the other hand] are required to praise and to bow down in our manner of service, seeing that we are not like unto them, may God forbid, since they bow down to vanity and emptiness and pray to that which is no profit, etc." (See: Gaimani's lecture notes, entitled: ? ?' '?, given at the Ben-Zvi Institute on 18 June 2014).
^This tradition is mentioned by Rabbi Yi?ya Bashiri, in his Tikl?l Qadmonim, a Hebrew translation of which is brought down in Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 3, s.v. Leshon tikl?l haqadmon, pp. 238b-239a; in other editions, vol. 3, p. 310. It is also mentioned by Saleh, Y. (1993), vol. 1, p. 153 (Hil. Birkot ha-sha?ar, Halachah 79); p. 206 (Hil. Tefillah, Halachah 11).
^Qafih, Y. (2010), vol. 1, p. 31; Tikl?l Torath Avoth (ed. Nathanel Alsheikh), vol. 1, Benei Barak 1996, p. 30, et al. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim § 59:3) cites the matter as being disputed, and sides with the view that a single individual praying alone can say the Keddusha. Even so, the Yemenite Jewish practice is to rely upon a very old practice mentioned in several writings of the Geonim, namely: The teaching brought down in Halachoth Gedoloth, (Halachoth Tzitzith), by Shimon Kiara which says, "They asked [the question] before R. Na?shon, the Exilarch of the academy at Matha Ma?aseya, 'How shall a man pray when he is alone?' He answered them, 'Let him say 'yotzer or' in its regular manner, until he reaches we-kh?lam p?thim eth piham biqsha u'vaharoh u'm?shabe?im u'm?vorekhim u'maqdishim l?'el sh?m? ho-el ha-?ol ha-?ibb?r wa-han?ro. Afterwards, let him say the Psalms [which we are accustomed to say, namely], weyomeru, [etc.] and we-tushbehoth yashmi'ou [etc.], at which he concludes his prayer. But why is it that he skips over [the part of] holiness (Keddusha)? Because he is praying alone, and it is not permitted that a lone prayer says the holiness (Keddusha)." Although the version used by the Yemenites in their prayer books (Tiklal) is different from the version used by the Gaon, they nevertheless adhered to his stringency. Other Geonim, who have taken the like position, are:
a) R. Tzemach Gaon (Brought down in the words of the Tur, Orach Chaim § 132).
b) R. Saadia Gaon (Brought down in the complete Seder of Rav Amram, page 97)
c) R. Amram Gaon (ibid.)
d) Netronai Gaon.
RAMBAM (Maimonides) ruled in accordance with the stringent ruling of the Geonim in his Mishne Torah (Hil. Tefillah 7: 17), and which ruling is understood by some to mean that Rambam recanted his statement in his Questions & Responsa, responsum # 81.
^Arussi, Ratzon (1986), p. 305, who cites Rabbi Shalom Yitz?aq Halevi and Rabbi Shalom Qora?.
^The reason for the abandonment of this practice by other Jewish groups is because of R. Yosef Karo's words in his Shulhan Arukh. There, he wrote in Orach Chaim 145:3 that, today, they do not practice reading the Aramaic translation aloud on those days when the Torah is taken out and read in the synagogues, since they do not understand the meaning of its words.
^Tikl?l Etz ?ayim, s.v. Passover. Compare Tosafot on Pesahim 115a-b, s.v. ? ? , where it states at the very end of the Tosafist's response that "in all of the Siddurim it was written that a person is required to bless [over hand washing made when dipping a morsel into a liquid]," although the Tosafist dissented with that view. Today, the only Siddur which requires blessing over the hand washing when dipping a morsel into a liquid (such as at Pesach - Passover) is the Yemenite Baladi-rite Siddur. All other Siddurim have since changed their custom in accordance with the view of the Tosafist.
^The Sephardic tradition differs, in that it omits the word "of." See: Tikl?l Etz ?ayim.
^Rabbeinu Ya'akov, the son of Rabbeinu Asher (the Rosh), says in his Tur (Orach Chaim § 189:1) that the fourth blessing known as "the good and the benevolent" had been expanded in later generations to include the words: "He hath been good unto us, He doeth good unto us, (and) He will do good unto us." This addition is missing in the old Yemenite version of the Grace said after meals. However, the same addition has been prescribed also by Tosafoth (Berakhoth 46b), s.v. , and by Rabbeinu Yonah, who all require saying these words in accordance with a homily brought down by Rabbi David Abudirham. Even so, Rabbi Ya'akov in his Tur (ibid.) admits that it is only a later practice, and was not originally part of the fourth blessing - the good and the benevolent.
^The Babylonian Talmud (Berakhoth 48b) teaches us that from the mere standpoint of the Law, it is only necessary to say "Thank-you, God, for this meal," and one has fulfilled thereby his obligations. However, when God gave manna to the Israelites in the wilderness, Moses enacted that Israel make use of a set formula when blessing God after eating it, which enactment constitutes the first part of the blessing that we now make use of today in our Grace. When the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, Joshua enacted that we say an additional blessing after that which Moses gave us, in recognition of the good land. By the time that King David and Solomon came along, they enacted a third blessing, in recognition of the building of Jerusalem and its Temple, adding this blessing immediately after that which was given by Joshua. These three blessings constitute what is known as the Grace after meals (Heb. birkath hamazon). Afterwards, in circa 132 CE, the Sages of Jamnia (Yavne) added a fourth and final blessing to these original three, requiring us to say "the good and benevolent King," in remembrance of God's mercies to the slain at Beter (Beth Tor), who were killed during the days of Hadrian, during the Jewish insurrection against Roman occupation. The slain had long been without burial, by order of the Roman Emperor, but eventually were afforded a burial - when a new emperor came to power in Rome - but only after their corpses had been left strewn in the fields to form hedges for Hadrian's vineyard. It is said that during this time, their bodies never gave-off a putrefying smell or stench, a thing seen as a reflection of God's goodness towards the fallen and the slain (See: Babylonian Talmud, Taanith 31a).
^Here, on the eight days of Hanukkah, one must add the following praise: "For the miracles, and for the valiant acts, and for the wars, and for the Divine help, and for the redemption, and for the deliverance, which thou hast wrought for us and with our forefathers during those days at this time; [even] during the days of Mattithiah, the son of Yo?anan the High Priest, the ?asmonai and his sons, when the wicked kingdom of Greece stood up against thy people, the house of Israel, to make them desist from thy Divine laws, and to draw them away from the precepts determined by thee. However, thou, in thy great mercies, stood up for them in their time of trouble, and judged their case, and contended their contention, and took revenge upon their vengeance, delivering valiant men into the hand of the weak, and a multitude of people into the hand of the few, and those who were defiled into the hand of those who were pure, and the wicked into the hand of the righteous, and transgressors into the hand of those who keep thy Divine laws, and hast made for thyself a great name in thy worlds, and for thy people hast thou wrought a wonder and miracles. Just as thou hast done for them miracles and mighty acts, so do thou even for us miracles and mighty acts during this time and season." (Heb. ? ? ? ? ? ? . ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . ? ? ? ? ? ? ?)
^Gavra, Moshe (2010), vol. 2, pp. 232-233. An early 9th century Babylonian scholar, Pirkoi ben Baboi, in a document originally preserved in the Old Cairo Geniza at Fus?a? (now in the Cambridge Univ. Library, Taylor-Schecter Collection, T-S NS 275.27, published in Ginzei Schechter by Louis Ginzberg, book 2, Jewish Theological Seminary of America:Hermon 1969, pp. 544-573) makes note of the fact that during the persecutions under the Roman-Byzantine emperors, there was a decree which prohibited Jews from reciting the Shema (Hear, O Israel) verses, but in order to circumvent this prohibition, Jews had inserted the addition of Shema (Hear, O Israel) in the Mussaf Prayer on Sabbath days. However, when the persecutions ceased, the recital of the Shema in the Mussaf remained the norm for most communities, whereas Pirkoi ben Baboi implores the Jews of North Africa to return to their original practice, calling their continuance in such practices as being no more than "customs of abjuration." In the view of Rabbi Yihya al-Qafih (Mil?amoth Hashem, 1931), as well as Maharitz (see infra.), who allege that the original Yemenite Jewish custom in the third benediction on Sabbath days was not to say Kether yitenu lekha, etc., but only to make use of the third benediction said on weekdays (e.g. ), it would seem that the newer Baladi-rite custom to say Kether yitenu lekha, etc., follows the old custom in the Land of Israel (as described in the Zohar, Parashat Pin?as) before the changes took effect in consequence of those persecutions. Even so, the Zohar makes it clear that saying, "Kether yitenu lekha," etc. was only a later enactment. Cf. Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, Mussaf shel-shabbath, s.v. , p. 218a; p. 289b in other editions (Hebrew)
^Their enactment was to say the addition, beginning with the words, ? ? . ? ' ?. ' ?, etc., in the second blessing after ?iryat Shema, and which addition was intended to prolong the time of prayer in the synagogues for late-comers, so that they could still arrive in time to pray with the congregation when they reached the Standing Prayer, without being compelled to remain there alone when the congregants had all departed from the synagogue and walked to their homes at night. Synagogues were then built in fields at a distance outside of the city and there was a concern for their safety when returning home alone at night. For a greater summary of the Geonic enactment, which was once also practised by the Spanish Jewish community before they eventually broke away from its practice, see: Meiri (2006), vol. 1 (Berakhot, s.v. ), p. 9; Tikl?l Etz ?ayim
^In some older Baladi-rite Prayer Books, the version here is as follows: "Protect us and preserve us, and deliver us from every thing, as also from the fear of the day and from the fear of the night, etc." See: Bashiri, Y. (1964), p. 13a, note 5; Gavra, Moshe (2010), vol. 1, pp. 443-444
^In the last chapter of Song of Solomon, where it says, "she who sitteth in the gardens, [thy] friends hearken to thy voice," it says that this verse refers to those who read the Qiryath Shema in perfect unison. (This practice has been so misconstrued by others, that to-day, many well-meaning worshippers have come to whisper the famous recital.)
^ abSaleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, p. 39a (in some editions, p. 30a); Adani, Samuel ben Joseph (1997), Introduction.
^Saleh, Y. (1971), vol. 1, pp. 39a-b (in some editions, p. 30b); Na?alath Yosef, Introduction, Shemuel b. Yosef Adeni, Jerusalem 1997 (Hebrew). Compare Shulhan Arukh (Orach Chaim 128:6) and Rabbi Yaakov Castro's commentary, Arakh Le?em (ibid.). According to R. Yaakov Castro, there was no custom in Egypt for the Cohenim to wash their hands immediately prior to blessing the congregation. The reason for the disparity in Jewish custom in this case is owing to the ambiguity of the teaching, which simply states that a Cohen (priest of Aaron's lineage) is not permitted to stand and bless the people with unwashed hands. The Yemenites hold this to mean the washing of hands in the morning, while others hold this to mean the washing of hands immediately prior to blessing the people.
^Sassoon, D.S. (1924), p. 12 (s.v. The Order of Returning the Book of the Law in accordance with the People of Yemen); It is worthy of noting that the Yemenite usage here is identical to the ancient practice described in the Jerusalem Talmud, Sotah 7:6; 33b ("Rabbi Yose commanded Bar Ulla the overseer of the Synagogue of the Babylonians [saying that] whenever only one Torah scroll [is read] let him return it behind the curtain. Whenever there are two [Torah scrolls], carry one away, and bring the other"), where it can be inferred that the Palestinian Jews in the 'Babylonian Synagogue' returned the sacred scrolls before reading the Haftarah, and secondly that they did not take out two Torah scrolls simultaneously. The same customs were in vogue among the Yemenite Jews.
^In those places where rain falls in the summer months, such as in Yemen, Ethiopia, North America, etc., they follow the usual order of the blessings in the Baladi-rite standing prayer, but they also add this blessing (request for rain) where it is said in the middle of the blessing known as (Hear our voice, O Lord our God. Have compassion and mercy upon us, etc.), beginning with the mid-festival days of Passover and ending with Sukkot (Maharitz, Tikl?l ?E? ?ayyim (1st edition), vol. 1, p. 140b).
^The Yemenite tradition differs from the Sephardic tradition, insofar that the Sephardic Jews will say during the winter months, "Bless [this year] unto us" (), but the Yemenites will say, both in the winter months and in the summer months, "Bless us" (), without distinction.
^Based on origin of Nishmat Kol Hai, as described in the Baladi-rite siddur Rabbi Yi?ye Bashiri at the Jewish National and University Library (JNUL) in Jerusalem, Manuscript Dept., Catalogue # 26787 (Hebrew), towards end of reel; also in the archives of the Ben-Zvi Institute in Jerusalem, Microfilm # 1219 (Hebrew). According to this account, the Nishmath Kol Hai was composed by a Babylonian Jew named Shimon and who was contemporary with Nestorius.
^Alfasi, I. (1960), citing Rabbi Saadia Gaon. Half of a ro?al, was a weight used in Arab countries during the Middle-Ages, equivalent to about 216 grams, or about the size in bulk of half an orange. This practice follows the Yemenite custom, which differs from a late Commentary on the Shulchan Arukh by the name of TAZ (Turei Zahav), Yoreh De'ah 69:5:16, who writes that the pieces can be "very thick" when salting. The Yemenite practice follows Rabbi Saadiah Gaon, dating back to the year 930 of our Common Era, and who says the meat should not be larger than half a ro?al when salting.
^So writes Rabbi Yihye Bashiri, in his Baladi-rite Siddur written in 1654, of which a microfilm copy is available at the Hebrew University library in Jerusalem (Givat Ram Campus), Manuscript Department, film no. F-38354 (Hebrew and Judeo-Arabic): "Any garment which consists of wool, or linen, or silk, or cotton, there is a biblical command that obligates him to attach thereto tassels with hitches (bindings) made-up of four strings, each of the strings being doubled to form eight threads. The four strings are inserted in the aperture made at the edge of the garment, less than 3 fingerbreadths in the corner of the garment, and then doubled so as to make eight threads, while one of them is longer [than the others] with which he binds the eight strings together. The hitches (bindings) are made each one of three windings, whereas the knot is what is called a hitch (binding). Thus is it required to be done on each of the four corners, to fulfill one's duty in the Law...". Cf. Qafih, Y. (1985), Hil. Tzizith 1:6-8.
^cf. Mishnah (Megillah 4:4; BTMegillah 3a). In the book She'iltoth by Rav Ahai Gaon (P. Nitzavim § 161), he writes: "And when he reads [from the Torah], a translator must respond [to each verse], and they are to adjust the tone of their voices together [so that they are the same]. But if the translator cannot raise his voice, let the reader [from the Torah] lower his own voice."
^Sefer Halakhot Gedolot (ed. Ezriel Hildesheimer) vol. 1, Jerusalem 1971, p. 492 (Aramaic); Ginzei Qedem (ed. Benjamin Menashe Levin), vol. 3, chapter 14 (Hil. Tefillin of Rabbi Hai Gaon), Haifa 1925, pp. 73-74 (Hebrew).
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