Terjemahan Didache (Sefer Limudah)

PASAL 1 ADA DUA JALAN DAN PERINTAH PERTAMA


Lim 1:1 Ada Dua Jalan, SATU JALAN KEHIDUPAN dan SATU JALAN KEMATIAN; namun tentu ada perbedaan besar diantara kedua jalan ini.
Lim 1:2 JALAN KEHIDUPAN, Kemudian, Jalan Kehidupan itu, yakni: pertama, hendaklah kamu mengasihi Alaha yang menciptakanmu; kedua, kasihilah sesamamu seperti dirimu sendiri; dan kamu jangan pernah melakukan kepada orang lain, apa yang kamu sendiri tidak mau orang lain perbuat bagi dirimu sendiri.
Lim 1:3 Dan inilah perintah-perintah dalam pengajaran yakni: Berkatilah semua mereka yang mengutuki kamu, dan doakanlah musuh-musuhmu, dan berpuasalah bagi mereka semua yang menganiaya kamu. Sebab apanya yang baik jika kamu hanya mengasihi mereka yang mengasihi kamu? Bukankah orang-orang kafir (bangsa-bangsa lain) juga berbuat hal yang sama? Sebaliknya, kamu harus mengasihi mereka yang membenci kamu; dan janganlah ada seorangpun musuh padamu.
Lim 1:4 Berhentilah dari kedagingan dan keinginan duniawi. Jika ada orang memukul pipi kananmu, berikan juga pipi kirimu, dan kamu akan menjadi sempurna/damai. Jika ada orang memaksa engkau pergi satu mil, pergilah bersama dia. Jika ada orang mengambil jaketmu, berikanlah juga padanya jubahmu. Jika ada orang yang mengambil darimu apa yang menjadi milikmu, jangan engkau minta kembali, karena kamu tak mampu berbuat hal itu.
Lim 1:5 Berilah pada tiap orang yang meminta darimu, dan jangan minta kembali, sebab Bapa menghendaki karunia-karunia itu diberikan kepada semua orang secara cuma-cuma. Terberkatilah ia yang memberikan menurut perintah, sebab ia tak bersalah. Tapi celakalah ia yang menerima, sebab jika orang butuh dan menerima, ia akan menjadi tak bersalah. Tapi ia yang menerima ketika tidak membutuhkan, ia akan bertanggungjawab oleh karena mengapa ia menerima dan untuk tujuan apa. Dan ketika ia ada dalam keadaan susah ia harus diadili mengenai perkara-perkara yang ia telah perbuat. Dan ia jangan dilepaskan dari tempat itu hingga ia membayar lunas.
Lim 1:6 Saya sudah mengatakannya, “Biarlah sedekahmu berkeringat di tanganmu hingga kamu tahu kepada siapa kamu sedang memberi.”

PASAL 2 PERINTAH HIDUP SALEH DALAM DUNIA
Lim 2:1 Dan perintah kedua dari pengajaran ini yakni: Jangan membunuh, jangan melakukan perzinahan, jangan merusak anak laki-laki, jangan melakukan perbuatan cabul, jangan mencuri, jangan mempraktikkan guna-guna, jangan mempraktikkan sihir, jangan membunuh bayi dengan cara aborsi ataupun membunuhnya saat dilahirkan.
Lim 2:2 Janganlah bercabang lidah, karena itu membawa kepada kematian. Perkataanmu janganlah berbohong atau kosong, namun dipenuhi oleh tindakan yang nyata. Janganlah tamak atau rakus, atau menjadi seorang yang munafik, atau pembuat kejahatan, atau angkuh. Janganlah menuruti nasihat jahat untuk menentang sesamamu. Kamu janganlah membenci siapapun, namun tegurlah jika salah, mereka yang harus didoakan, dan mereka yang kamu sayangi melebihi dirimu sendiri.

PASAL 3 LARANGAN LAIN YANG HARUS DIHINDARI
Lim 3:1 Anakku, jauhilah dari segala perkara yang jahat, dan dari segala sesuatu yang semacamnya. Janganlah cemburu, atau suka bertengkar, jangalah mudah marah, sebab amarah menuntun kepada pembunuhan.
Lim 3:2 Anakku, janganlah dipenuhi hawa nafsu, karena itu akan menuntun kepada perzinahan; ataupun berbicara kotor, ataupun mata keranjang; karena dari perkara ini perzinahan terjadi.
Lim 3:3 Anakku, jangan menjadi seorang ahli nujum, karena ini menggiring kepada penyembahan berhala. Jangan menjadi pengguna mantra (guna-guna), ataupun seorang peramal nasib, maupun seorang pengguna tumbal-tumbal, janganlah engkau bersandar pada perkara-perkara ini, karena dari semua ini terjadilah penyembahan berhala.)
Lim 3:4 Anakku, janganlah menjadi seorang pendusta, karena dusta menggiring kepada pencurian. Janganlah menjadi pecinta uang, maupun orang yang tamak, karena itu semua bermuara pada pencurian.
Lim 3:5 Anakku, jangan menjadi seorang yang suka bersungut-sungut, sebab hal itu menggiring kepada penghujatan. Janganlah keras kepala, ataupun berpikiran jahat, sebab dari itu semua akan membuahkan penghujatan.
Lim 3:6 Tapi jadilah lembut hati, sebab lembut hati akan mewarisi bumi.
Lim 3:7 Bersabarlah dalam kesukaran, dan milikilah welas asih, dan berterus-teranglah, dan suka damai, dan baik hati, selalulah hormat pada pengajaran yang engkau dengar.
Lim 3:8 Janganlah meninggikan dirimu sendiri, dan jangan pula menjadi terlalu percaya diri. Janganlah bergabung dengan mereka yang congkak, namun dekatilah mereka yang adil, rendah hati karena kita sifat-sifat itu bisa menular pada kita.
Lim 3:9 Terimalah apapun yang terjadi sebagai kebaikan, jika tidak datang dari Alaha semua tidak terjadi.

PASAL 4 BERBAGAI PANTANGAN
Lim 4:1 Anakku, ingatlah baik malam dan siang ia yang berkata-kata padamu tentang sabda Alaha. Haruslah engkau menghormati dia sebagaimana engkau menghormati Maran, sebab di mana pengajaran agung tersebut diucapkan, maka di situ ada Maran.
Lim 4:2 Dan carilah hari demi hari wajah Kadosa (orang-orang kudus, Ibr: HaQadoshim), sehingga engkau bisa bersandar pada perkataan mereka.
Lim 4:3 Jangan menghendaki perpecahan, bawalah mereka yang bertikai pada perdamaian. Adililah dengan sepantasnya, dan jangan menaruh hormat pada orang yang menyetujui pelanggaran.
Lim 4:4 Janganlah kamu ragu-ragu apakah itu akan terjadi atau tidak.
Lim 4:5 Janganlah mengulurkan tangan untuk meminta, sebaiknya memberilah.
Lim 4:6 Jika kamu memiliki sesuatu, melalui tanganmu memberilah sebagai ganti dosa-dosamu.
Lim 4:7 Jangan ragu untuk memberi, ataupun bersungut-sungut dalam pemberianmu, karena ketahuilah ada Dia yang akan membalasnya dengan adil bagi upahmu.
Lim 4:8 Jangan abaikan seseorang yang membutuhkan pertolongan, tapi berbagilah segala sesuatunya dengan saudaramu, dan jangan berkata bahwa itu semua adalah milikmu semata. Sebab jika kamu ambil bagian pada apa yang abadi, betapa lebih lagi dalam hal apa yang fana?
Lim 4:9 Jangan jauhkan perhatianmu (lepas tanggung jawab) terhadap anak laki-laki atau dari anak perempuanmu, tapi dari sejak muda ajarilah mereka takut akan Alaha.
Lim 4:10 Jangan memerintah hambamu laki-laki atau perempuan dengan kasar yang berpengharapan sama dalam Alaha, sehingga berakibat mereka tidak takut Alaha. Karena Ia datang tidak memanggil seseorang dengan melihat penampilan luarnya, namun memanggil mereka yang telah Roh Kudus persiapkan.
Lim 4:11 Dan para hamba, rendahkanlah dirimu terhadap para tuanmu seperti kepada Alaha, dengan rendah hati dan rasa gentar.
Lim 4:12 Jauhilah segala kemunafikan dan segala sesuatu yang tidak menyenangkan hati Maran.
Lim 4:13 Janganlah mengabaikan perintah-perintah Maran, tapi pertahankanlah apa yang kamu telah terima, jangan pula menambahi atau pun mengabaikannya.
Lim 4:14 Dalam jemaat akuilah pelanggaran-pelanggaranmu, dan janganlah melakukan ibadahmu dengan hati nurani yang jahat. Inilah jalan hidup.

PASAL 5 JALAN KEMATIAN
Lim 5:1 Dan inilah tentang Jalan Kematian. Pertama sekali dari semuanya ini adalah jahat dan terkutukan: Pembunuhan, perzinahan, hawa nafsu, percabulan, pencurian, penyembahan berhala, ilmu gaib, ilmu sihir, pemerkosaan, saksi palsu, kemunafikan, bercabang pikiran, penipuan, kesombongan, kedengkian, mementingkan keinginan diri sendiri, tamak, bicara kotor, kecemburuan, gegabah (terlalu percaya diri), congkak, besar mulut;
Lim 5:2 penganiaya orang baik, pembenci kebenaran, pencinta kebohongan, masa bodoh terhadap kebenaran, tidak taat pada apa yang baik atau pada penghakiman yang adil, melihat bukan untuk hal yang baik tapi untuk yang jahat; jauh dari sikap lemah lembut dan sabar, mencintai perkara sia-sia, pembalas dendam, tak punya rasa belas kasih kepada orang miskin, maupun tidak kasihan pada yang menderita, tak mengenal Dia yang menciptakan mereka, para pembunuh anak-anak, para perusak hasil karya Alaha, tak perduli terhadap mereka yang dalam keadaan membutuhkan, menindas mereka yang dalam kesusahan, suka menjilat orang kaya, tak adil mengadili orang miskin, menyuarakan orang-orang berdosa. Dari semua perkara ini, anak-anakku, jauhilah semuanya itu.

PASAL 6 GURU PALSU DAN PERSEMBAHAN KEPADA BERHALA
Lim 6:1 Waspadalah jangan ada satu orang pun menyeret kamu melenceng dari jalan Torah (pengajaran) ini, karena orang itu sedang mengajarkan kepadamu menjauh dari Alaha.
Lim 6:2 Jikalau kamu mampu mengusung seluruh kuk Maran, kamu akan menjadi sempurna; tapi jikalau kamu tak mampu, perbuatlah apa yang kamu mampu.
Lim 6:3 Mengenai makanan (terjemahan lain: ‘daging’), lakukanlah apa yang kamu bisa lakukan. Namun berhentilah dari mempersembahkan korban bagi berhala-berhala, waspadalah dengan sangat, sebab hal itu sama seperti melayani ilah-ilah yang mati).

PASAL 7 MIKVEH (BAPTISAN AIR)
Lim 7:1 Dan tentang baptisan (Mikveh), baptislah demikian: setelah mengajarkannya semua ini, baptislah dalam Nama Sang Bapa dan Sang Anak dan Sang Roh Kudus, dalam air hidup.
Lim 7:2 Dan jikalau tidak ada air hidup, baptislah dalam air lain. Dan jika tidak bisa dalam air dingin, maka dalam air hangat pun boleh.
Lim 7:3 Dan jika tidak ada, kucurkanlah air tiga kali pada kepala, dalam Nama sang Bapa dan sang Anak dan sang Roh Kudus.
Lim 7:4 Dan sebelum baptisan, hendaklah ia yang membaptis, dan ia yang dibaptis, berpuasa terlebih dahulu, dan orang-orang lainnya juga boleh turut serta berpuasa. Dan kamu harus memerintahkan yang dibaptis agar berpuasa satu atau dua hari sebelumnya.

Pasal 8 PUASA DAN DOA (BAPA KAMI)
Lim 8:1 Janganlah puasamu bersamaan dengan para munafik, karena mereka berpuasa pada hari kedua (Senin) dan hari kelima (Kamis). Namun, berpuasalah pada hari keempat (Rabu) dan hari persiapan (Jumat).
Lim 8:2-3 Jangan juga berdoa seperti orang munafik, tapi lakukanlah sebagaimana Maran perintahkan dalam Injil-Nya, maka berdoalah: “Bapa kami dalam sorga, dikuduskanlah NamaMu. Datanglah KerajaanMu, jadilah kehendakMu sebagaimana di sorga begitu jugalah di atas bumi. Berikanlah kami hari ini roti setiap hari kami. Dan ampunilah kesalahan-kesalahan kami, seperti kami pun mengampuni mereka yang bersalah pada kami. Dan jangan biarkan kami masuk kedalam pencobaan, tapi lepaskanlah kami dari yang jahat: sebab Engkaulah yang empunya kuasa, dan kemuliaan, selama-lamannya.” Kemudian berdoalah tiga kali sehari.

Pasal 9 PERJAMUAN SUCI (QURBANA QADISHA )
Lim 9:1 Mengenai Perjamuan Suci, daraskanlah ucapan syukur cara ini. Pertama, mengenai cawan ini: “Kami mengucap syukur padamu, Bapa kami, karena Pohon Anggur kudus, Daud pelayan-Mu (terjemahan lain: anak-Mu), yang Engkau perkenalkan kepada kami melalui Yeshua pelayan-Mu (terjemahan lain: anak-Mu): kepada-Mu kemuliaan selama-lamanya.”
Dan mengenai roti yang terpecah-pecah:
“Kami mengucap syukur kepadaMu, Bapa kami, bagi hidup dan pengetahuan yang Engkau perkenalkan kepada kami melalui Yeshua hamba-Mu (terjemahan lain: anak-Mu): kepada-Mulah kemuliaan selama-lamanya. Seperti roti terpecah-pecah ini suatu kali terserak-serak di atas gunung-gunung, dan menjadi disatukan kembali menjadi satu, begitulah kiranya jemaat-Mu dikumpulkan kembali dari ujung-ujung bumi kedalam Kerajaan-Mu; karena Engkaulah yang empunya kemuliaan, dan kuasa, melalui Yeshua Mshikha[1], selama-lamanya.”
Lim 9:2 Dan jangan ijinkan satu orangpun makan atau minum Ucapan Syukurmu sebelum dia dibaptis dalam sang Nama Maran. Sebab perihal ini Maran telah mengatakan hal ini, “Jangan berikan perkara yang kudus kepada anjing-anjing”.

PASAL 10 DOA SETELAH PERJAMUAN
Lim 10:1 Dan setelah memakan dan minum Perjamuan Suci, maka kita mengucap syukur:
“Kami berterima kasih kepadaMu, ya Bapa Kudus, demi Nama KudusMu, yang Engkau tempatkan berdiam dalam hati kami, dan karena pengetahuan dan iman serta kekekalan yang Engkau berikan kepada kami melalui Yeshua pelayan-Mu (terjemahan lain: ‘Anak-Mu’): bagiMulah kemuliaan selama-lamanya. Engkaulah, Maran Maha Kuasa, menciptakan segala sesuatu karena demi NamaMu, dan yang memberikan makanan dan minuman bagi manusia untuk bersukacita sehingga mereka bisa bersyukur kepadaMu, tapi bagi kami Engkau memberikan makanan dan minuman rohaniah, dan hidup kekal melalui AnakMu. Di atas semuanya itu, kami bersyukur padaMu karena Engkau menyelamatkan kami: bagiMulah kemuliaan selama-lamanya. Ingatlah, ya Maran, jemaat-Mu bebaskanlah ia dari segala yang jahat, dan sempurnakanlah ia dalam kasihMu, dan kumpulkanlah ia bersama dari empat penjuru mata angin, mereka yang Engkau telah sucikan bagi KerajaanMu yang Engkau telah siapkan bagi mereka: sebab Engkaulah yang empunya Kerajaan dan kemuliaan selama-lamanya. Semoga welas asih datang, dan biarlah dunia ini berlalu. Hosanna bagi Alaha (Anak) Daud. Jika ada orang kudus, biarlah ia datang; jika ada orang najis, biarlah ia bertobat. Maranatha. Amin.”
Lim 10: 2 Namun izinkanlah nabi-nabi untuk menerima ucapan syukur (Qurbana) sejauh mereka inginkan.

PASAL 11 TENTANG RABBI, RASUL, DAN NABI
Lim 11:1 Oleh karena itu, siapapun, yang akan datang dan mengajar kamu semua tentang semua perkara yang disebutkan ini, terimalah dia.
Lim 11:2 Tapi jika guru tersebut menyimpang dan mengajarkan pengajaran lain untuk merusakmu, janganlah dengarkan ia. Tapi jika ia datang untuk menambahkan bagi kesalehanmu dan pengetahuan akan sang Maran, terimalah ia seperti menerima Maran.
Lim 11:3 Tapi mengenai para rasul dan para nabi, menurut pengajaran Injil. Biarlah setiap rasul yang datang kepadamu diterima seperti menerima Maran. Namun hendaknya dia tidak akan tinggal lebih dari satu hari atau dua hari, jika ada perkara penting dibutuhkan, tapi jika ia tinggal tiga hari, ia adalah nabi palsu.
Lim 11:4 Dan biarlah rasul saat berangkat tidak membawa apapun tapi roti cukup hingga tiba pada tempat persinggahannya, jika ia meminta uang, ia adalah nabi palsu.
Lim 11:5 Dan setiap nabi yang berbicara dalam roh [bernubuat] janganlah dihakimi; sebab setiap dosa akan diampuni, tapi dosa ini tidak akan diampuni.
Lim 11:6 Tapi tidak setiap orang yang berbicara dalam roh adalah seorang nabi, hanya mereka yang memegang ajaran Maran [perilaku dan sikap]; melalui watak mereka, oleh karena itu, mereka akan dikenali, nabi palsu dan nabi benar.
Lim 11:7 Dan setiap nabi yang meminta dalam roh bahwa suatu meja perjamuan haruslah dipersiapkan, bukan untuk dimakan sendiri; namun, jika ia lakukan begitu, ia adalah nabi palsu.
Lim 11:8 Dan setiap nabi yang mengajarkan kebenaran, namun dia tidak melakukan sesuai apa yang diajarkannya maka ia nabi palsu.
Lim 11:9 Dan setiap nabi yang diakui dan benar, dan para pelayan dalam wahyu semestawi dari jemaat, tapi ia yang tidak mengajari orang lain, perkara-perkara yang ia lakukan sendiri, janganlah kamu menghakiminya. Sebab ada pada Alaha penghakiman, sebab demikianlah nabi-nabi zaman dahulu alami.
Lim 11:10 Namun barangsiapa saja yang berkata dalam roh, ‘Berilah saya uang,’ atau perkara-perkara yang sejenisnya, jangan dengarkan ia. Tapi jika ia mengatakan kepadamu untuk memberi kepada orang lain yang membutuhkan, Janganlah menghakiminya.

PASAL 12 MUSAFIR YANG DATANG DALAM NAMA MARAN
Lim 12: 1 Biarlah setiap orang yang datang dalam nama Maran diterima, tapi setelah itu kamu harus menguji dia dan kenalilah tabiatnya, sebab engkau memiliki pengetahuan tentang perkara yang baik dan yang jahat.
Lim 12:2 Jika yang datang kepadamu seorang musafir, bantulah ia semampu engkau bisa lakukan; tapi ia tidak boleh tinggal bersamamu lebih dari pada dua atau tiga hari, jika memang tidak diperlukan.
Lim 12:3 Tapi jika ia hendak tinggal bersamamu, jadilah ia seorang pengrajin/tukang, biarlah ia bekerja dan mendapatkan makan.
Lim 12:4 Tapi jika ia tahu tak memiliki keahlian, sesuai kepada kebijakanmu sendiri, pikirkanlah pekerjaan untuknya sebagai sesama umat Kristen (Mesianis) agar kehidupannya berguna.
Lim 12: 5 Namun jika ia tak mau melakukan suatu pekerjaan, ia adalah pencari keuntungan pribadi. Orang semacam ini hendaklah engkau jauhi.

PASAL 13 DUKUNGAN PADA NABI
Lim 13: 1 Tapi tiap nabi yang benar yang ingin tinggal diantaramu adalah layak mendapatkan penghasilan. Demikian juga, guru adalah sebagai seorang pekerja, pantas mendapatkan makanannya.
Lim 13:2 Oleh karena itu, kamu harus, mengambil buah sulung dari setiap hasil perasan anggur dan lantai-pengirikan, anak sapi dan domba, dan memberikannya kepada nabi-nabi, sebab merekalah imam-imam besarmu. Dan jika kamu tak punya seorang nabi, berikanlah persembahan itu kepada orang miskin. Jika kamu membuat adonan roti, ambillah dan berikanlah buah sulung menurut perintah. Ambil juga uang (perak), kain, dan setiap milikmu, ambillah buah sulung dan juga engkau bisa mengira-ngira seberapa mau memberikan, dan berilah itu menurut perintah.

PASAL 14 PERSEKUTUAN JEMAAT PADA HARI MARAN
Lim 14:1 Dan pada Hari Maran, berkumpullah bersama, lalu pecah-pecahlah roti dan memberikan ucapan syukur, setelah pengakuan pelanggaran-pelanggaranmu, sehingga persembahanmu menjadi suci. Tapi jangan ada orang yang berselisih dengan saudaranya bergabung denganmu hingga mereka berdamai, sehingga persembahanmu tidak menjadi najis.
Lim 14:2 Sebab inilah yang diucapkan oleh Maryah: “Di setiap tempat dan waktu persembahkanlah pada-Ku persembahan kudus, sebab Aku adalah Raja mulia, kata Maran, dan Namaku adalah ajaib diantara bangsa-bangsa.”

PASAL 15 USKUP DAN DIAKON DAN TEGURAN
Lim 15:1 Oleh karena itu, pilihlah, bagi kalian sendiri para uskup dan para diakon yang layak di hadapan Maran, para pria yang lembut hatinya dan tidak tamak, dan benar dan diakui, sebab mereka melaksanakan bagimu pelayanan para nabi dan guru. Oleh karena itu, jangan rendahkan mereka, sebab mereka adalah yang terhormat diantaramu, bersama dengan para guru dan nabi.
Lim 15:2 Nasihatilah satu sama lain, jangan dalam kemarahan tapi dalam damai, sebagaimana tercatat dalam Injil. Dan kepada mereka yang berkelakuan tercela terhadap orang lain, janganlah berbicara atau mendengarkannya sampai dia bertobat.
Lim 15:3 Dan doa-doamu dan sedekahmu dan semua perbuatan-perbuatanmu lakukanlah, sebagaimana engkau diperintahkan dalam Injil Maran kita.

PASAL 16 SIKAP MENANTIKAN KEDATANGAN MARAN YESHUA KEDUA KALI
Lim 16:1 Berjaga-jagalah dalam hidupmu. Jagalah pelita-pelitamu supaya jangan padam, dan kencangkanlah ikat pinggangmu, tapi bersiap sedialah, sebab engkau tidak tahu waktunya kapan Maran kita datang.
Lim 16:2 Dan hendaklah sering berkumpul bersama, carilah apa saja yang bisa bermanfaat bagi jiwamu; karena sepanjang umur hidupmu imanmu tidak akan berguna jika engkau tidak sempurna sepenuhnya dalam masa akhir hidupmu.
Lim 16:3 Sebab pada akhir zaman nabi-nabi palsu dan para penipu [penggoda] akan bertambah berlipat kali banyaknya, dan domba-domba akan digiring berpaling kepada serigala-serigala, dan kasih akan berubah menjadi kebencian.
Lim 16:4 Dan oleh karena itu kedurjanaan akan bertambah-tambah, mereka akan membenci, dan menganiaya, dan menghianati satu sama lain dan kemudian penipu dunia akan muncul sebagai sang Anak Alaha, dan akan melakukan saudara-saudara dan berbagai keajaiban, dan bumi akan terseret kedalam tangannya, dan ia akan melakukan perbuatan yang bertentangan dengan sabda-sabda Alaha, yang tak pernah terjadi sejak awal dunia.
Lim 16:5 Kemudian ras manusia akan masuk ke dalam ujian api pencobaan. Dan banyak orang akan tersandung jatuh dan akan binasa, tapi mereka yang tetap bertahan dalam iman mereka akan diselamatkan pada saat masa yang menyengsarakan itu.
Lim 16:6 Dan kemudian akan muncul tanda-tanda kebenaran. Pertama, kilat sambar-menyambar di langit; kemudian terdengar suara sofar; dan ketiga, kebangkitan orang mati.
Lim 16:7 Pada akhirnya, sebagaimana hal itu telah dikatakan, “Maran akan datang dan semua orang-orang kudus-Nya bersama Dia.” Kemudian dunia akan melihat Maran datang di awan-awan di langit.

[1] Mshikha (Kristus) artinya Yang diurapi.

A Pre-Christian “Son of God” Among the Dead Sea Scrolls

A Pre-Christian “Son of God” Among the Dead Sea Scrolls
By John J. Collins
Picture
Ancient Biblical Manuscript Center/Courtesy Israel Antiquities Authority
The ‘Son of God’ text, one of the Dead Sea Scroll fragments found in Qumran Cave 4, consists of two columns of nine lines each in the Aramaic language. We lack the beginnings of the lines in the first column, which has been damaged on the right (Aramaic, like Hebrew, is read from right to left). The second column ends in mid-sentence, so the document originally must have possessed at least a third column.This text, dated to the late first century B.C.E., has extraordinary parallels to the annunciation scene in the Gospel of Luke (Luke 1:31–35), including use of the titles “Son of God” and “Son of the Most High,” the earliest known references to these terms in a messianic context. These parallels strongly suggest a relationship between this Qumran text and the later Gospel text, if not a direct dependence, then a dependence on a common tradition.

The Dead Sea Scroll Son of God text from Qumran Cave 4 has attracted attention both in scholarly publications and in the press because it contains remarkable parallels to the annunciation scene in the Gospel of Luke. The Aramaic text has been known for 20 years, since J. T. Milik presented it orally in a lecture at Harvard in December 1972. Milik, however, failed to publish it. Part of the text, based on Milik’s lecture, was published by Joseph Fitzmyer, S.J., in 1974.1Fitzmyer also set out the parallels between this text and Luke in his monumental commentary on that Gospel in 1981.2 The fact that Fitzmyer, a Jesuit priest, risked the disapproval of his colleagues by his unauthorized publication of the text is significant. It shows that any suggestion that this text has been withheld for religious reasons is utter nonsense. The text was discussed in the March/April 1990 Biblical Archaeology Review in “An Unpublished Dead Sea Scroll Text Parallels Luke’s Infancy Narrative,” sidebar to “Dead Sea Scroll Variation on ‘Show and Tell’—It’s Called ‘Tell, But No Show,’” BAR 16:02. Not until 1992, however, was it published in full, by Emile puech, who had succeeded Milik as the officially designated editor.3
Puech, however, failed to resolve the most intriguing question in this document: the interpretation of the figure who is called “Son of God.” Puech allowed that two interpretations are possible: (1) The Son of God may be viewed negatively in the text, in which case he is a Syrian king; or (2) he may be viewed positively, in which case he is a Jewish messiah.
I believe that Puech’s hesitation is unnecessary. The Son of God may be identified with confidence as a messianic figure.4 The text then raises some intriguing questions about the relationship between Jewish and Christian ideas of the Messiah.
The text is known technically as 4Q246, which simply indicates that it is from Qumran Cave 4 and was given the arbitrary number 246 among those documents. As can be seen in the photo (above), the fragment includes two columns, but the first one (on the right) has been torn vertically, roughly in half, so that the first part of each line is missing. (Remember that Aramaic, like Hebrew, is read from right to left.) Column 2 ends with an incomplete sentence, so there was at least a third column. Each of the preserved columns contains nine lines. The complete text, in the original Aramaic and in English translation, is printed in the sidebar to this article.
The text contains some remarkable parallels to a prediction about Jesus at the beginning of Luke’s Gospel. When the angel Gabriel appears to the Virgin Mary, to announce the conception of Jesus, he tells her:
“And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. … [T]he child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:31–35).
Three phrases in this quotation from Luke’s Gospel are translation equivalents of phrases in the Dead Sea Scroll fragment: “will be great” (column 1, line 7), “he will be called Son of the Most High” (column 2, line 1) and “he will be called Son of God” (column 2, line 1).
Luke also speaks of an unending reign; the Dead Sea Scroll fragment speaks of an “everlasting kingdom” (column 2, line 5).
If the Gospel of Luke showed such exact parallels to an Old Testament text, all would agree that this was a case of literary dependence. It is hard to deny that there must be some relationship between this Gospel text and the long-lost text from Qumran, even if it is only dependence on a common tradition. (The manuscript is dated to the late first century B.C.E. by Puech on the basis of the writing style [paleography]. Even if we allow a generous margin of error, it is clearly older than the Gospels.)
In the Gospel of Luke, the one who is called Son of God is explicitly identified as the heir to the Davidic throne: “the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David” (Luke 1:32). Puech allows that the phrase “Son of God” may have the same reference in the Qumran text, that is, that this Son of God is a descendant of David. But he also allows for another interpretation. If you look at column 2 in the photograph, you will see that there is a blank space (vacat, in scholarly jargon) in the middle of the column, before the phrase “until the people of God arises.” Several scholars have taken this break as an indication of the turning point of the text. Everything before the break, then, would pertain to the rule of the nations, and would be viewed negatively from a Jewish point of view. So Milik, in his lecture at Harvard, argued that the one who would be called “Son of God” was a Syrian king, Alexander Balas, son of the notorious Antiochus IV Epiphanes who had persecuted the Jews in the time of the Maccabees (167–164 B.C.E.). Balas is called theopator (god-begot- ten) and Deo patre natus (born of a divine father) on coins. Puech, in his publication of our Dead Sea Scroll text, also allowed as one possibility that the reference might be to a Syrian king, although he preferred the better-known Epiphanes.
It was not uncommon in antiquity for pagan kings to be regarded as gods or sons of gods. In a Jewish context, however, “Son of God” is a highly honorific title. If this reference was to a Syrian king, we would expect to find some indication in this Jewish text that the title was inappropriate. If the Son of God was viewed negatively, we would expect the text to tell of his eventual downfall. In fact, however, there is no indication in the extant text that the Son of God was regarded with disapproval.5
True, the blank space in the second column of the Son of God text marks the transition to the final stage of the drama, the rise of the people of God. It does not follow, however, that everything before this is negative. This text belongs to the category of apocalyptic literature, broadly defined; that is, literature that reports visions about the end of days. It is very closely related to the Book of Daniel, which is itself a classic apocalyptic text. It is typical of apocalyptic literature that it does not tell its story in simple sequential order, but often goes over the same ground again and again to make its point. For example, Daniel 7 recounts a famous vision in which “one like a son of man” comes on the clouds of heaven (verse 13) and is given a kingdom. An interpretation follows, which says that “the holy ones of the Most High” receive the kingdom (verse 18). Finally, there is an elaboration of this interpretation, according to which the kingdom is given to “the people of the holy ones of the Most High” (verse 27). The giving of the kingdom, then, is narrated three times, but these are not three separate events.
The “one like a son of man” in Daniel 7 represents the “people of the holy ones,” and receives the kingdom on their behalf. The Son of God text should be read in a similar way. The figure who is called the Son of God is the representative, or agent, of the people of God. That is why he is not mentioned again after the rise of the people of God in column 2. His career and the rise of the people of God are simply two aspects of the same event.
Fitzmyer made a number of important points about the interpretation of this text when he published part of it in 1974. He saw the text as apocalyptic rather than historical, which is to say that it refers to some climactic event of the future and not to the present or past. This is shown by phrases drawn from Daniel 7:14: “his kingdom is an ever-lasting kingdom,” “his dominion is [an] everlasting dominion.” Fitzmyer also saw that the figure must be “someone on the Jewish side” and suggested that he is “possibly an heir to the throne of David.”6 He adamantly refused, however, to use the word “messiah” with reference to this figure, since that word does not appear in the text.
It may be well at this point to pause for a moment to comment on the word “messiah.” As is well known, the Hebrew word for messiah, mashiach, means simply “anointed.” Kings were anointed in ancient Israel, and so were some other figures, notably high priests. Originally, the word had no special reference to the future. When the Psalmist wrote in Psalm 2:2 that the kings of the earth take counsel “against the Lord and his anointed,” he was speaking of the king of the day, not of someone who was expected in the future. In later times, however, when there was no longer a Davidic king in Jerusalem and when the Jewish people looked increasingly to the future, the word “messiah” took on a new meaning. It now referred to the one who would restore the kingdom of Israel, and who was often conceived in a highly idealized way. The Dead Sea Scrolls do not restrict the word “messiah” to the one who would restore the Davidic kingship; they also speak of a priestly “messiah of Aaron” and use the word “messiahs” with reference to prophets. But they also attest the use of “messiah” with reference to the “branch of David.” Eventually the word “messiah” came to mean primarily the Davidic messiah in both Jewish and Christian traditions: Passages in the Psalms and in the Prophets that spoke of a messiah or of a Davidic king were commonly interpreted as referring to this figure who would come in the future. At the turn of the era, an heir to the Davidic throne, in an apocalyptic context, cannot be distinguished from the Davidic messiah, and we are fully justified in speaking of a messiah here, even though the word does not appear in the text.
The Hebrew Bible provides a clear basis for referring to the Davidic messiah as Son of God. Psalm 2, which uses the word “messiah,” or “anointed,” with reference to the king, goes on to say “I will tell of the decree of the Lord: he said to me, ‘You are my son, today I have begotten you’” (Psalm 2:7). In Psalm 89:27, God says of the king “I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth.” In 2 Samuel 7:14, the Lord promises that he will establish the kingdom of David’s offspring: “I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me.” This latter passage is cited in the document known as 4Q174, or the Florilegium, from Qumran (this document consists of biblical citations followed by explanations; the citation commented on is from 2 Samuel 7:11–14):
“‘The Lord declares to you that He will build you a house. I will raise up your seed after you. I will establish the throne of his kingdom (for ever). I (will be) his father and he shall be my son.’ He is the branch of David who shall arise with the Interpreter of the Law (to rule) in Zion (at the end) of time.”
This passage from the Florilegium is a good illustration of how Scripture was read at Qumran. A text that originally referred to Solomon and the historical Davidic line now refers to the end of days. The son in question is now the branch of David who will appear in the future, or, in common parlance, the Davidic messiah.
In view of this background, it is not surprising that the Davidic messiah should be called “Son of God” or “Son of the Most High.” Indeed the Davidic association of these phrases is explicit in the verses previously quoted from the Gospel of Luke: “He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.” Our scroll text from Qumran (4Q246) is probably the oldest extant text that explicitly uses the title “Son of God” with reference to a future messianic king.
If we grant then that the Son of God here is the Davidic messiah, what significance does this have for our understanding of Jewish and Christian messianism?
The title “Son of God” is of considerable importance in the New Testament and early Christianity. Traditionally, scholarship has been divided between those who see the attribution or divine titles to Jesus as a result of Hellenistic influence and those who understand them against a Semitic, Jewish background. Fitzmyer, a prominent champion of Jewish backgrounds, has nonetheless claimed that “There is nothing in the Old Testament or Palestinian Jewish tradition that we know of to show that ‘Son of God’ had a messianic nuance.”7 Even from the brief sketch we have presented here, it should be clear that this claim cannot be maintained. There was a clear basis for giving “Son of God” a messianic nuance in 2 Samuel 7 and Psalm 2, given the propensity of Jews of this period to interpret Scripture as prophecy of the future. The Florilegium text from Qumran provides concrete evidence that Jewish interpreters of Scripture had made the connection between the Son of God and the messiah before the rise of Christianity. The newly published Son of God text from Qumran is a major corroboration of this connection.
The Jewish background has implications for the meaning of the expression “Son of God.” In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke (but not in Mark, the oldest Gospel), Jesus is the son of God in the literal sense, insofar as he is born of a virgin who was impregnated by the power of Holy Spirit. In Israelite and Jewish tradition, however, a king was the son of God by adoption, with no suggestion that he did not have a human father. In the Hellenistic world, rulers were sometimes said to have been begotten by divine beings. There was such a legend about Alexander the Great. In a Jewish context, however, “Son of God” was a title that expressed a spiritual rather than a biological relationship to God. (The phrase could also be used for people other than the king, for example, the people of Israel as a whole in Hosea 11:1 or the righteous man in the apocryphal Wisdom of Solomon 2:13.) It is likely that Jesus, too, was first called “Son of God” because he was accepted as messiah, and that the stories about his birth were formulated later.8
Jesus, in the Gospels, is often designated by Jewish messianic titles. (Christ simply means “messiah.”) Nonetheless, the way he is portrayed does not fit easily with Jewish messianic expectations. The Son of God in the text from Qumran is rather typical of these messianic expectations: He will establish an everlasting kingdom and make war cease from the earth; God will cast the nations down before him; he will be a warrior who relies on the power of God. Jesus of Nazareth was no warrior, and some of his followers may have been disappointed in this respect. His death by crucifixion was not part of the common Jewish script for a successful messiah. Nonetheless, his followers persisted in their belief that he was indeed the Messiah.
One of the ways in which they justified this belief was by reinterpreting the vision of Daniel about the “one like a son of man” who would come on the clouds of heaven. As we have seen, the Son of God text from Qumran is closely related to Daniel’s vision. It is possible that the Son of God was identified with Daniel’s “one like a son of man,” but we cannot be sure because of the gaps in column 1 of the text. The Gospel writers, however, placed more emphasis on the heavenly setting of Daniel’s vision. The “one like the son of man” would not achieve his victory on earth, but on the clouds of heaven. Jesus did not judge the nations in his earthly life, but he would come back from heaven after his death to do so (see Mark 13; Matthew 24; Luke 21). The Book of Revelation, written at the end of the first century, envisages Jesus as a rider on a white horse who would strike the nations with the sword of his mouth (Revelation 19:11–16: “From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron” [19:15]). The early Christians recognized that Jesus had not fulfilled the common Jewish expectations of the messiah. Some of them, at least, held that he would conform more closely to those expectations at the Second Coming.
The relevance of the Son of God text, and of the Dead Sea Scrolls in general, to early Christianity is complex. The scrolls illuminate in many ways the conceptual world in which Christianity developed and the language on which the Gospel writers drew. Yet there were also factors that led the Christian movement to diverge from its Jewish matrix. Not least among these factors was the acceptance of a messiah who did not conform to the expectations of many Jews of the time.
Endnotes:

1. Joseph A Fitzmyer, “The Contribution of Qumran Aramaic to the Study of the New Testament,” New Testament Studies 20 (1973–1974), pp. 382–407, reprinted in his A Wandering Aramean. Collected Aramaic Essays (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1979), pp. 85–113.

2. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke I–IX, Anchor Bible 28 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1981), pp. 205–206, 347–348.

3. Emile Puech, “Fragment d’une Apocalypse en Araméen (4Q246 = pseudo-Dand) et le ‘Royanume de Dieu,’” Revue biblique 99 (1992), pp. 98–131.

4. The messianic interpretation was first proposed by Frank Moore Cross. I am grateful to Professor Cross for sharing with me the notes that he compiled after Milik’s lecture in 1972.

5. David Flusser (“The Hubris of the Antichrist in a Fragment from Qumran,” Immanuel 10 [1980], pp. 31–37) argued that the Son of God figure was the Antichrist or anti-Messiah. But the Antichrist, conceived as a mirror-image of Christ, is a Christian idea and unattested in pre-Christian Judaism.

6. Fitzmyer, A Wandering Aramean, pp. 92–93.

7. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke I-IX, p. 206. Fitzmyer adds that “the title ‘Son of God’ was as much at home in Palestinian Judaism as in the contemporary Hellenistic world.”

8. For an excellent, full treatment of this complicated issue, see Raymond Brown, The Birth of the Messiah (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977).

Reference for this article

Collins, John J. “A Pre-Christian “Son of God” Among the Dead Sea Scrolls.” Bible Review, Jun 1993, 34-38, 57. http://members.bib-arch.org/publication.asp?PubID=BSBR&Volume=9&Issue=3&ArticleID=12 (accessed 11/21/2014)

Qaddish

Kaddish
The Kaddish or Qaddish (Aramaic: קדיש ,qaddiš “holy”; alternative spelling: Ḳaddish) is a hymn of praises to God found in Jewish prayer services. The central theme of the Kaddish is the magnification and sanctification of God’s name. In the liturgy, different
versions of the Kaddish are used functionally as separators between sections of the service.
The term “Kaddish” is often used to refer specifically to “The Mourner’s Kaddish”, said as part of the mourning rituals in Judaism in
all prayer services, as well as at funerals (other than at the gravesite, see Qaddish aḥar Haqqəvurah “Qaddish after Burial”) and
memorials, and for 11 months after the death of a close relative. When mention is made of “saying Kaddish”, this unambiguously refers to the rituals of mourning. Mourners say Kaddish to show that despite the loss they still praise God.
The opening words of this prayer are inspired by Ezekiel 38:23 (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt1238.htm#23), a vision of God
becoming great in the eyes of all the nations. The central line of the Kaddish in Jewish tradition is the congregation’s response: הא ֵיְ
ְל ָע ַלם ּו ְל ָע ְל ֵמי ָע ְל ַמ ּיָא
ְרךַב ָמ ְבא ָּר ַה ּמ ֵש) ׁ ְYǝhē šmēh rabbā mǝvārakh lǝʿālam u-lʿalmē ʿālmayyā, “May His great name be blessed for
ever, and to all eternity”), a public declaration of God’s greatness and eternality.
[1] This response is an Aramaic translation of the
Hebrew “ועד לעולם מלכותו כבוד שם ברוך) “Blessed be His name, whose glorious kingdom is forever), which is to be found in
the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan (עלמין לעלמי יקריה שום בריך ,Genesis 49:2 and Deuteronomy 6:4), and is similar to the wording of
Daniel 2:20 (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt3402.htm#20).
The Mourners, Rabbis, and Complete Kaddish end with a supplication for peace (“Oseh Shalom…”), which is in Hebrew, and is
somewhat similar to the Tanakh Job 25:2 (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2725.htm#2).
Along with the Shema Yisrael and Amidah, the Kaddish is one of the most important and central elements in the Jewish liturgy.
Kaddish cannot be recited alone. Along with some prayers, it can only be recited with a minyan of ten Jews.
History and background
Variant forms

Text of the Kaddish
Text of the burial kaddish
Recent additions to Oseh Shalom
Notes
Customs
Minyan requirement
Mourner’s Kaddish
Use of the Kaddish in the arts
In literature and publications
In music
Online
Onscreen, in film
Onscreen, in television
Onstage, in dance, theater, and musicals
See also
References
Contents
2/16/2019 Kaddish – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish 2/12
External links
“The Kaddish is in origin a closing doxology to an Aggadic discourse.”
[2] Most of it is written in Aramaic, which, at the time of its
the original composition was the lingua franca of the Jewish people. It is not composed in the vernacular Aramaic, however, but rather in
a “literary, jargon Aramaic” that was used in the academies, and is identical to the dialect of the Targum.
[2]
Professor Yoel Elitzur, however, argues that the Kaddish was originally written in Hebrew, and later translated to Aramaic to be better
understood by the masses. He notes that quotations from the Kaddish in the Talmud and Sifrei are in Hebrew and that even today
some of the words are Hebrew rather than Aramaic.
[3]
The oldest version of the Kaddish is found in the Siddur of Rab Amram Gaon, c. 900. Shira Schoenberg observes that “The first
mention of mourners saying Kaddish at the end of the service is in 13th-century halakhic writing by Isaac ben Moses of Vienna, the
Or Zarua (“Light is Sown”). The Kaddish at the end of the service became designated as Kaddish Yatom or Mourner’s Kaddish
(literally, “Orphan’s Kaddish”).
[1]
The various versions of the Kaddish are:
Ḥaṣi Qaddish (קדיש חצי (or Qaddish Lʿela (לעלא קדיש – (Literally “Half Kaddish”, sometimes called the “Reader’s
Kaddish”
Qaddish Yatom (יתום קדיש (or Qaddish Yehe Shlama Rabba (רבא שלמא יהא קדיש – (Literally “Orphan’s
Kaddish”, although commonly referred to as Qaddish Avelim (אבלים קדיש ,(the “Mourner’s Kaddish”
Qaddish Shalem (שלם קדיש (or Qaddish Titkabbal (תתקבל קדיש – (Literally “Complete Kaddish” or “Whole
Kaddish”
Qaddish de Rabbanan (דרבנן קדיש (or Qaddish ʿal Yisraʾel (ישראל על קדיש – (Literally “Kaddish of the Rabbis”
Qaddish aḥar Haqqvura (הקבורה אחר קדיש – (Literally “Kaddish after a Burial”, also called Kaddish d’Ithadata
(דאתחדתא קדיש (named after one of the first distinguishing words in this variant.
Qaddish aḥar Hashlamat Masechet (מסכת השלמת אחר קדיש – (Literally, “Kaddish after the completion of a
tractate,” i.e. at a siyum (in Sefardi practice, same as Qaddish de Rabbanan), also called Qaddish haGadol (קדיש
הגדול” (the Great Qaddish”, as it is the longest Kaddish.
All versions of the Kaddish begin with the Hatzi Kaddish (there are some extra passages in the Kaddish after a burial or a siyum). The
longer versions contain additional paragraphs and are often named after distinctive words in those paragraphs.
The Half Kaddish is used to punctuate divisions within the service: for example, before Barechu, between the Shema Yisrael and the
Amidah and following readings from the Torah. The Kaddish d’Rabbanan is used after any part of the service that includes extracts from the Mishnah or the Talmud, as its original purpose was to close a study session. Kaddish Titkabbal originally marked the end of the service, though in later times extra passages and hymns were added to follow it.
The Jewish Encyclopedia’s article on Kaddish mentions an additional type of Kaddish, called Qaddish Yahid “Individual’s Kaddish”.
[1]
This is included in the Siddur of Amram Gaon, but is a meditation taking the place of Kaddish rather than a Kaddish in the normal sense.
The following includes the half, complete, mourner’s and rabbi’s kaddish. The variant lines of the kaddish after a burial or a siyum are
given below.
History and background
Variant forms
The text of the Kaddish
2/16/2019 Kaddish – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish 3/12

English translation Transliteration Aramaic / Hebrew

1
May His great name
be exalted and
sanctified
.
Yitgaddal veyitqaddash
shmeh rabba
ִי ְתַּגַּדל ְו ִי ְת ַקַּדׁש ׁ ְש ֵמ ּה
ַר ָּבא
2
in the world which He created
ְּב ָע ְל ָמא ִ ּדי ְבָרא ִכְרע ּו ֵת ּה uteh’khir vra di Beʻalma! will His to according
3 May He establish His kingdom veyamlikh malkhuteh ה ּת ֵו ּלכ ְמַ
ְוַי ְמ ִליךְ
4
and may His salvation blossom and
His anointed be near.

[veyatzmaḥ purqaneh
viqarev (qetz) meshiḥeh]

ְוַי ְצ ַמח ֻּפְר ָק ֵנ ּה
ִוי ָקֵרב(קיץ) ְמׁ ִשי ֵח ּה
5
during your lifetime and during your
ְּב ַח ּיֵיכוֹן ּו ְביוֹ ֵמיכוֹן uvyomekhon beḥayekhon days
6
and during the lifetimes of all the
House of Israel,
ּו ְב ַח ּיֵי ְד ָכל [ ֵּבית] yisrael] bet [dekhol uvḥaye
ִי ְ ׂשָר ֵאל
7
speedily and very soon! And say,
Amen.
a
beʻagala uvizman qariv
veʼimru amen
ַּב ֲעָג ָלא ּו ִבְז ַמן ָקִריב.
ְו ִא ְמר ּו ָא ֵמן
The next two lines are recited by the congregation and then the leader:
8 May His great name be blessed yehe shmeh rabba
mevarakh
ְי ֵהא ׁ ְש ֵמ ּה ַר ָּבא ְמ ָבַרךְ
ְל ָע ַלם ּו ְל ָע ְל ֵמי ָע ְל ַמ ּיָא ʻalmaya ulʻalme leʻalam! eternity all to and, ever for 9
10 Blessed and praised, glorified and
exalted,
Yitbarakh veyishtabbaḥ
veyitpaar veyitromam
ְו ִיׁ ְש ַּת ַּבח ְו ִי ְת ָּפ ַאר
ִי ְת ָּבַרךְ
ְו ִי ְתרוֹ ַמם
11
extolled and honoured, adored and
lauded
veyitnasse veyithaddar
veyitʻalleh veyithallal
ְו ִי ְת ַנ ֵּׂשא ְו ִי ְת ַהָּדר
ְו ִי ְת ַע ֶּלה ְו ִי ְת ַה ָּלל
12 be the name of the Holy One,
blessed be He,a
shmeh dequdsha berikh
hu.
ׁ ְש ֵמ ּה ְד ֻקְדׁ ָשא ְּבִריךְ
ה ּוא.
13 above and beyond all the blessings, leʻella (lʻella mikkol) min
kol birkhata
ְל ֵע ָּלא ( ְל ֵע ָּלא ִמ ָּכל) ִמן
ָּכל ִּבְר ָכ ָתא
14 hymns, praises and consolations veshirata tushbeḥata
veneḥemata
ְוׁ ִשיָר ָתא ֻּתׁ ְש ְּב ָח ָתא
ְוֶנֱח ָמ ָתא
15 that are uttered in the world! And
say, Amen.a
daamiran beʻalma veʼimru
amen
ַּד ֲא ִמיָרן ְּב ָע ְל ָמא. ְו ִא ְמר ּו
ָא ֵמן
The half kaddish ends here.
Here the “complete kaddish” includes:
16 eMay the prayers and supplications Titqabbal tzelotehon
uvaʻutehon
ִּת ְת ַק ַּבל ְצלוֹ ְתהוֹן
ּו ָבע ּו ְתהוֹן
17 of all Israel d’khol bet yisrael אל ֵרָש ְ ׂי ִבית ֵּכל ָדְ
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18 be accepted by their Father who is in
Heaven; And say, Amen.a
qodam avuhon di
bishmayya, vʼimru amen
ֳקָדם ֲאב ּוהוֹן ִ ּדי ִבׁ ְש ַמ ּיָא
ְו ִא ְמר ּו ָא ֵמן
Here the “kaddish of the rabbis” (including the kaddish after a siyum) includes:
19 To Israel, to the Rabbis and their
disciples
ʻal yisrael veʻal rabbanan
veʻal talmidehon
ַעל ִי ְ ׂשָר ֵאל ְו ַעל ַר ָּב ָנן ְו ַעל
ַּת ְל ִמיֵדיהוֹן
20 to the disciples of their disciples, v’ʻal kol talmidey
talmidehon
ְו ַעל ָּכל ַּת ְל ִמיֵדי
ַת ְל ִמיֵדיהוֹן.
21 and to all those who engage in the
study of the Torah
veʻal kol man deʻos’qin
b’orayta
ְו ַעל ָּכל ָמאן ְ ּד ָע ְס ִקין
ְּבאוַֹר ְי ָתא.
22 in this [holy]z
place or in any other
place,
di b’atra [qadisha] haden
vedi bekhol atar v’atar
ִ ּדי ְב ַא ְתָרא [ ַקִדי ָשא]
ָהֵדין ְוִדי ְּב ָכל ֲא ַתר
ַו ֲא ַתר.
23 may there come abundant peace,
y’he lehon ul’khon sh’lama
rabba
ְי ֵהא ְלהוֹן ּו ְלכוֹן ׁ ְש ָל ָמא
ַר ָּבא
24 grace, lovingkindness and
compassion, long life
hinna v’ḥisda v’raḥamey
v’ḥayye arikhe
ִח ָּנא ְו ִח ְסָּדא ְוַר ֲח ֵמי ְו ַח ּיֵי
ֲאִרי ֵכי
ּו ְמזוֵֹני ְרִוי ֵחי ּופְּוְר ָק ָנא ufurqana viḥe’r zone’um salvation and sustenance ample 25
26 from the Father who is in heaven
(and earth);
min qodam avuhon di
vishmayya [v’ʼarʻa]e
ִמן ֳקָדם ֲאב ּוה ּון
ְד ִבׁ ְש ַמ ּיָא [ְו ַאְר ָעא]
27 and say, Amen.a v’ʼimru amen מן ֵא ָו ּמר ְא ִוְ
All variants but the half kaddish conclude:
28
fMay there be abundant peace from
heaven,
Yehe shelama rabba min
shemayya
ְי ֵהא ׁ ְש ָל ָמה ַר ָּבא ִמן
ׁ ְש ַמ ּיָא,
29 [and] [good] life [ve]hayyim [tovim] [ביםֹ ִטו [יםִי ּח] ַו[ְ
30 satisfaction, help, comfort, refuge, vesava vishuʻa veneḥama
veshezava
ְו ָשֹ ָבע ִויׁש ּו ָעה ְוֶנ ָח ָמה
ְוׁ ֵשיָז ָבה
31 healing, redemption, forgiveness,
atonement,
urfuʼa ugʼulla usliha
v’khappara
ְוּר ְ פוּאָה וּגֻאָלּ ְ ה וּס ִלי ָחה
ְו ַכ ָפָּרה,
ְוֵרַוח ְו ַה ָּצ ָלה vehatzala verevaḥ salvationd and relief 32
33 for us and for all his people [upon us
and upon all] Israel; and say, Amen.a
lanu ulkhol ʻammo [ʻalainu
v’al kol] yisrael v’ʼimru
amen
ָלנ ּו ּו ְל ָכל ַע ּמוֹ [ ׇע ֵלינ ּו
ְו ַעל ׇּכל] ִי ְשָֹר ֵאל ְו ִא ְמר ּו
ָא ֵמן.
34
fMay He who makes peace in His
עוֹ ֶשֹה ׁ ָשלוֹם ִּב ְמרוֹ ָמיו, bimromav shalom ʻoseh places high
35 grant [in his mercy]g
ה ּוא [ ְּבַר ֲח ָמיו] ַי ֲע ֶשֹה yaʻase] berakhamav [hu us upon peace
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ׁ ָשלוֹם ָע ֵלינ ּו, ʻalenu shalom
36 and upon all [his nation]h
Israel; and
say, Amen.a
v’ʻal kol [ammo] yisra’el,
v’ʼimru amen
ְו ַעל ָּכל [ ַע ּמוֹ] ִי ְשָֹר ֵאל
ְו ִא ְמר ּו ָא ֵמן.
In the burial kaddish, and that after a siyum according to Ashkenazim,
i
, lines 2-3 are replaced by:

English translation Transcription Aramaic

37 In the world which will be renewed B’ʻal’ma d’hu ʻatid l’ithaddata תיד ִע ָוא ּדה ְמא ָל ְע ָבְּ
ְל ִא ְת ַחָּד ָתא
38 and where He will give life to the
ּו ְל ַא ֲחָי ָאה ֵמ ַתָיא metaya ulʼaḥaya dead
ּו ְל ַא ָּס ָקא ָי ְתהוֹן ְל ַח ּיֵי ָע ְל ָמא ma’ʻal ḥayye’l yathon ulʼassaqa life eternal to them raise and 39
ּו ְל ִמ ְב ֵנא ַקְר ָּתא ִדיר ּוׁ ְש ֵלם lem’dirush qarta mivne’ul Jerusalem of city the rebuild and 40
41 and complete His temple there uleshakhlala hekhlehh
ּו ְלׁ ַש ְכ ָל ָלא ֵהי ְכ ֵל ּה ְּבַגַּו ּה gavvah’b
42 and uproot foreign worship from the
earth
ulmeʻqar pulḥana nukhraʼa
m’arʻa
ּו ְל ֶמ ְע ַקר ֻּפ ְל ָח ָנא נֻ ְכָר ָאה
ְמ ַאְר ָעא
43 and restore Heavenly worship to its
position
v’laʼatava pulḥana dishmayya
l’ʼatreh
ּו ַל ֲא ָת ָבא ֻּפ ְל ָח ָנא ִדׁ ְש ַמ ּיָא
ְל ַא ְתֵר ּה
44 and may the Holy One, blessed is
He, v’yamlikh qudsha b’rikh hu וא ּה
ֻקְדׁ ָשא ְּבִריךְ
ְוַי ְמ ִליךְ
ְּב ַמ ְלכ ּו ֵת ּה ִוי ָקֵר ּה viqareh malkhuteh’b … splendour sovereign His in reign 45
In some recent prayerbooks, for example, the American Reform Machzor,
[4]
line 36 is replaced with:
36 all Israel, and all who dwell on
earth; and let us say: Amen.
v’al kol isra’el, v’al kol
yoshve tevel; v’imru: Amen.
ְו ַעל ָּכל ִי ְשָֹר ֵאל ְו ַעל ָּכל
יוֺׁ ְש ֵבי ֵת ֵבל ְו ִא ְמר ּו ָא ֵמן
This effort to extend the reach of Oseh Shalom to non-Jews is said to have been started by the British Liberal Jewish movement in
1967, with the introduction of v’al kol bnai Adam (“and upon all children of Adam”);
[5]
these words continue to be used by some in
the UK.
[6]
NOTE: The phrase אדם בן) ben adam) pl. אדם בני) bnai adam) literally means “son of adam” or “son of man” but in Hebrew usage the
phrase is taken to mean “human.” The British usage above, then would be to invoke peace on all humankind, rather than on sons of
children or descendants of Adam.
Bracketed text varies according to personal or communal traditions.
(a) The congregation responds with “amen” (מן ֵאָ (after lines 1, 4, 7, 12, 15, 18, 27, 33, 36. In the Ashkenazi tradition,
the response to line 12 is “Blessed be he” (הוּא ריִבּ ְb’rikh hu).
Text of the burial kaddish
Recent additions to Oseh Shalom
Note
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(b) On line 1, some say Yitgaddeyl veyitqaddeysh rather than Yitgaddal veyitqaddash, because the roots of these two
words are Hebrew and not Aramaic (the Aramaic equivalent would be Yitrabay veyitkadash), some authorities (but
not others) felt that both words should be rendered in pure Hebrew pronunciation.
[7]
(c) Line 13: in the Ashkenazi tradition the repeated “le’ela” is used only during the Ten Days of Repentance. In the
Sephardi tradition it is never used. In the Yemenite tradition it is the invariable wording. The phrase “le’ela le’ela” is the
Targum’s translation of the Hebrew “ma’la ma’la” (Deuteronomy 28:43).
(d) Lines 4 and 30–32 are not present in the Ashkenazi tradition. “Revaḥ vehatzala” is said aloud by the
congregation.
(e) Line 26: some Sephardi Jews say malka [or maram or mareh] di-shmaya ve-ar’a (the King [or Master] of Heaven
and Earth) instead of avuhon de-vi-shmaya (their Father in Heaven); De Sola Pool uses mara; the London Spanish
and Portuguese Jews use the same text as the Ashkenazim.
[8]
(f) During the “complete kaddish” some include the following congregational responses, which are not regarded as
part of the text:
Before line 16, “accept our prayer with mercy and favour”
Before line 28, “May the name of God be blessed, from now and forever” (Psalms 113:2 (http://www.mechon-mam
re.org/p/pt/pt26b3.htm#2))
Before line 34, “My help is from God, creator of heaven and earth” (Psalms 121:2 (http://www.mechon-mamre.org/
p/pt/pt26c1.htm#2))
(g) Line 35: “b’rahamav” is used by Sephardim in all versions of kaddish; by Ashkenazim only in “Kaddish
deRabbanan”.
(h) Line 36: “ammo” is used by most Sephardim, but not by some of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews or
Ashkenazim.
(i) Lines 37 to 45: these lines are also recited by Yemenite Jews as part of every Kaddish DeRabbanan.
(z) In line 22, the bracketed word is added in the Land of Israel.
In line 1, as noted in (a), the congregation responds “Amen”, even though this commonly is not printed in most
prayerbooks. This longstanding and widespread tradition actually introduces a break in the verse which may lead to
misinterpretation as the phrase “according to His will” would then appear to apply only to “which he created” instead
of to “Magnified and sanctified”.
[9]
It is common that the entire congregation recites lines 8 and 9 with the leader, and it is also common that the
congregation will include in its collective recitation the first word of the next line (line 10), Yitbarakh. This is commonly
thought to be done to prevent any interruption before the next line (which begins with Yitbarakh) is recited by the
leader. But this inclusion of Yitbarakh has not always been the case. Maimonides and the Tur did not include it in the
congregation’s recitation; Amram Gaon, the Vilna Gaon, and the Shulchan Aruch include it.
[10]
The Kaddish, as used in the services on special days is chanted. There are different melodies in different Jewish traditions and within
each tradition the melody can change according to the version, the day it is said and even the position in the service; many mourners
recite it slowly and contemplatively.
Virtual Cantor’s Kaddish Shalem for Shabbat Mussaf (http://www.virtualcantor.com/162%20musaf%20kaddish%20sha
lem.mp3)
Virtual Cantor’s Hatzi Kaddish for Yom Kippur (http://www.virtualcantor.com/483%20RMus%20chatzi%20kaddish.mp
3)
In Sephardi synagogues the whole congregation sits for Kaddish, except:
during the Kaddish immediately before the Amidah, where everyone stands;
during the Mourner’s Kaddish, where those reciting it stand and everyone else sits.
In Ashkenazi synagogues, the custom varies. Very commonly, in both Orthodox and Reform congregations, everyone stands; but in
some (especially many Conservative and Hasidic) synagogues, most of the congregants sit. Sometimes, a distinction is made between
the different forms of Kaddish, or each congregant stands or sits according to his or her own custom. The Mourner’s Kaddish is often
treated differently from the other variations of Kaddish in the service, as is the Half Kaddish before the maftir.
Customs
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Those standing to recite the Kaddish bow, by widespread tradition, at various places. Generally: At the first word of the prayer, at each
Amen, at Yitbarakh, at Brikh hu, and for the last verse (Oseh shalom). For Oseh shalom it is customary take three steps back (if
possible) then bow to one’s left, then to one’s right, and finally bow forward, as if taking leave of the presence of a king, in the same
way as when the same words are used as the concluding line of the Amidah.
[11]
Masekhet Soferim, an eighth-century compilation of Jewish laws regarding the preparation of holy books and public reading, states
(Chapter 10:7) that Kaddish may be recited only in the presence of a minyan (at least 10 men).
[12] While the traditional view is that “if
kaddish is said in private, then by definition, it is not kaddish,”
[13] some alternatives have been suggested, including the Kaddish
L’yachid (“Kaddish for an individual”),
[14] attributed to ninth-century Gaon Amram bar Sheshna,
[15] and the use of kavanah prayer,
asking heavenly beings to join with the individual “to make a minyan of both Earth and heaven”.
[16]
“Mourner’s Kaddish”
[17]
is said at all prayer services and certain other occasions. It is written in Aramaic.
[18]
It takes the form of
Kaddish Yehe Shelama Rabba, and is traditionally recited several times, most prominently at or towards the end of the service, after
the Aleinu and/or closing Psalms and/or (on the Sabbath) Ani’im Zemirot. Following the death of a parent, child, spouse, or sibling it
is customary to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish in the presence of a congregation daily for thirty days, or eleven months in the case of a
parent,
[19] and then at every anniversary of the death.
[20] The “mourner” who says the Kaddish will be any person present at a service
who has the obligation to recite Kaddish in accordance with these rules.
Customs for reciting the Mourner’s Kaddish vary markedly among various communities. In Sephardi synagogues, the custom is that
all the mourners stand and chant the Kaddish together. In Ashkenazi synagogues, the earlier custom was that one mourner be chosen to
lead the prayer on behalf of the rest, though most congregations have now adopted the Sephardi custom. In many Reform synagogues,
the entire congregation recites the Mourner’s Kaddish together. This is sometimes said to be for those victims of the Holocaust who
have no one left to recite the Mourner’s Kaddish on their behalf. In some congregations (especially Reform and Conservative ones),
the Rabbi will read a list of the deceased who have a Yahrzeit on that day (or who have died within the past month), and then ask the
congregants to name any people they are mourning for. Some synagogues try to multiply the number of times that the Mourner’s
Kaddish is recited, for example, reciting a separate Mourner’s Kaddish after both Aleinu and then each closing Psalm. Other
synagogues limit themselves to one Mourner’s Kaddish at the end of the service.
Saying the Mourner’s Kaddish was mostly prohibited for Orthodox Jewish women, but is now becoming more common.
[21]
In 2013
the Israeli Orthodox rabbinical organization Beit Hillel issued a halachic ruling which allows women, for the first time, to say the
Kaddish in memory of their deceased parents.
[22]
It is important to note that the Mourner’s Kaddish does not mention death at all, but instead praises God. Though the Kaddish is often
popularly referred to as the “Jewish Prayer for the Dead,” that designation more accurately belongs to the prayer called “El Malei
Rachamim”, which specifically prays for the soul of the deceased.
The Kaddish has been a particularly common theme and reference point in the arts, including the following:
(Alphabetical by author)
Minyan requirement
Mourner’s Kaddish
Use of the Kaddish in the arts
In literature and publications
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In Shai Afsai’s “The Kaddish (http://401j.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/the-kaddish-a-short-story/),” a poignant short
story that could happen in almost any town with a small Jewish community, a group of elderly men trying to form a
minyan in order to recite the Kaddish confront the differences between Judaism’s denominations.
[23]
Kaddish is a poem, divided into 21 sections and of almost 700 pages length, by German poet Paulus Böhmer. The
first ten sections appeared in 2002, the remaining eleven in 2007. It celebrates the world, through mourning its
demise.
Kaddish in Dublin (1990) crime novel by John Brady where an Irish Jew is involved with a plot to subvert the Irish
government.
In Nathan Englander’s novel set during the Dirty Wars in Argentina, The Ministry of Special Cases, the protagonist is
an Argentinian Jew named Kaddish.
In Torch Song Trilogy (1982), written by Harvey Fierstein, the main character Arnold Beckoff says the Mourner’s
Kaddish for his murdered lover, Alan, much to the horror of his homophobic mother.
In Frederick Forsyth’s novel The Odessa File, a Jew who commits suicide in 1960s Germany requests in his
diary/suicide note that someone say Kaddish for him in Israel. At the end of the novel, a Mossad agent involved in the
plot, who comes into possession of the diary, fulfils the dead man’s wish.
Kaddish is one of the most celebrated poems by the beat poet Allen Ginsberg. It appeared in Kaddish and Other
Poems, a collection he published in 1961. The poem was dedicated to his mother, Naomi Ginsberg (1894–1956).
Kaddish (book), a novel by Yehiel De-Nur
Kaddish for an Unborn Child is a novel by the Hungarian Nobel Laureate Imre Kertész.
“Who Will Say Kaddish?: A Search for Jewish Identity in Contemporary Poland,” text by Larry N Mayer with
photographs by Gary Gelb (Syracuse University Press, 2002)
In the September 20, 1998 Nickolodeon’s Rugrats comic strip, the character Grandpa Boris recites the Mourner’s
Kaddish in the synagogue. This particular strip led to controversy with the Anti-Defamation League.
[24]
The Mystery of Kaddish. Rav “DovBer Pinson”. Explains and explores the Kabbalistic and deeper meaning of the
Kaddish.
In Philip Roth’s novel The Human Stain, the narrator states that the Mourner’s Kaddish signifies that “a Jew is dead.
Another Jew is dead. As though death were not a consequence of life but a consequence of having been a Jew.”
Zadie Smith’s novel, The Autograph Man, revolves around Alex-Li Tandem, a dealer in autograph memorabilia whose
father’s Yahrzeit is approaching. The epilogue of the novel features a scene in which Alex-Li recites Kaddish with a
minyan.
Several references to the Mourner’s Kaddish are made in Night by Elie Wiesel. Though the prayer is never directly
said, references to it are common, including to times when it is customarily recited, but omitted.
Leon Wieseltier’s Kaddish (1998) is a book length hybrid of memoirs (of the author’s year of mourning after the death
of his father), history, historiography and philosophical reflection, all centered on the mourner’s Kaddish.
(Alphabetical by creator)
Kaddish is the name of Symphony No. 3 by Leonard Bernstein, a dramatic work for orchestra, mixed chorus, boys’
choir, speaker and soprano solo dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy who was assassinated on November
22, 1963, just weeks before the first performance of this symphony. The symphony is centered on the Kaddish text.
The Kaddish is spoken in Part V of the Avodath Hakodesh (Sacred Service) by the composer Ernest Bloch (1933).
Kaddish is a work for cello and orchestra by David Diamond.
Kaddish is the title for a work by W. Francis McBeth for a concert band, based on the chant of the prayer. McBeth
composed this work as a memorial for his teacher J. Clifton Williams.
[25]
Kaddish is a track by Gina X Performance
“Kaddish” is the 34th movement in La Pasión según San Marcos by composer Osvaldo Golijov.
The French composer Maurice Ravel composed a (piano and violin) song using part of the Kaddish. It was
commissioned in 1914 by Alvina Alvi as part of a set of two songs: “Deux mélodies hébraïques” and was first
performed in June 1914 by Alvi with Ravel at the piano.
Kaddish Shalem is a musical work by Salamone Rossi (1570–c. 1628), composed for five voices in homophonic style,
the very first polyphonic setting of this text, in his “Hashirim Asher L’Shomo”, The Song of Solomon.
Inspired by Kaddish is a fifteen-movement musical composition by Lawrence Siegel. One of the movements is the
prayer itself; the remaining fourteen are stories of the experiences of a number of Holocaust survivors Lawrence
interviewed. It was debuted by the Keene State College Chamber Singers in 2008.
[26]
In music
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Mieczysław Weinberg’s Symphony No. 21 is subtitled “Kaddish”. The symphony, composed in 1991, is dedicated to
Holocaust victims from the Warsaw Ghetto.
[27]
Concept album Kaddish (1993) created by Richard Wolfson with Andy Saunders using the band name Towering
Inferno.
Canadian poet/songwriter/artist Leonard Cohen uses words from the Kaddish in his 2016 final album entitled “You
Want it Darker”, specifically in the title song, during the chorus.*
Mira Z. Amiras and Erin L. Vang have taken the Kaddish as a starting point for a yearlong collaboration titled,
“Kaddish in Two-Part Harmony”, consisting of a jointly written blog and daily podcast recording of Lev Kogan’s
“Kaddish” for solo horn.
[28]
(Chronological)
In the 1973 film Les aventures de Rabbi Jacob (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacob), it is chanted at the end of the
Bar-Mitzvah service.
In the film The Passover Plot (1976), a revived Jesus dies finally and is mourned with a Kaddish recitation by a
disciple.
In the 1980 film The Jazz Singer starring Neil Diamond, character Cantor Rabinovitch (Laurence Olivier) says the
Kaddish while disowning his son. The Kaddish helps bring forth the power needed to evoke the emotion of loss.
In Rocky III (1982), Rocky Balboa recites the Mourner’s Kaddish for Mickey.
In the film Yentl (1983), at Yentl’s father’s burial, the rabbi asks who will say Kaddish (Kaddish is traditionally said by a
son). Yentl replies that she will and, to the horror of those assembled, grabs the siddur and starts saying Kaddish.
In Torch Song Trilogy (1988), Arnold (portrayed by playwright Harvey Fierstein) says the Mourner’s Kaddish for his
murdered lover, Alan, and Arnold’s mother (portrayed by Anne Bancroft) strongly protests.
Film Saying the Kaddish (1999) by Dan Frazer
The Kaddish is recited in the film Schindler’s List (1993), in the last scene at the factory.
(Alphabetical by program title)
In the television series Drawn Together, Toot Braunstein recites the Mourner’s Kaddish in the episode “A Very Special
Drawn Together Afterschool Special”, after saying that her son was (metaphorically) dead.
In the television show Everwood, Ephram Brown recites the Mourner’s Kaddish at his mother’s unveiling.
In the second-season finale of Homeland, The Choice, CIA agent Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin) recites the
Mourner’s Kaddish while standing over the corpses of victims of a terrorist attack.
“Kaddish” is the title of Homicide: Life on the Street episode 5.17, in which detective John Munch (Richard Belzer),
who is Jewish, investigates the rape and murder of his childhood sweetheart.
Kaddish For Uncle Manny”,
[29] episode 4.22 of Northern Exposure (first aired 5-3-93) relates to Joel’s (Rob Morrow)
seeking out of ten Jews in remote Alaska to join him for Kaddish in memory of his recently departed Uncle Manny in
New York City. Joel eventually decides, though, that saying Kaddish for his uncle is best accomplished in the
presence of his new Cicely family, who although Gentile, are most near and dear to him.
The second season of the series Quantico, FBI Special Agent Nimah Amin, herself a Muslim, recites the Mourner’s
Kaddish at Simon Asher’s unveiling.
The fictional character Dan Turpin was killed by Darkseid in Superman: The Animated Series, and a Rabbi said
Kaddish at his funeral. An onscreen, post-episode message dedicated the episode to Jack Kirby, a Jewish comic
book artist, who influenced much of the comic book community.
In the series Touched by an Angel, episode 3.5 (season 3, episode 5), Henry Moskowitz, a proud archaeologist on a
dig at a Navajo excavation site, receives a surprise visit from zayda (grandfather). Sam hopes to reconcile with his
grandson and Jewish family faith by asking him to say kaddish.
[30]
“Kaddish” is the title of The X-Files episode 4.15 (season 4, episode 15), in which a Golem is avenging a murder.
Online
Onscreen, in film
Onscreen, in television
2/16/2019 Kaddish – Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish 10/12
In Tony Kushner’s play Angels in America (and the subsequent TV miniseries), the characters of Louis Ironson and
Ethel Rosenberg say the Kaddish over Roy Cohn’s dead body. Louis, a non-practicing Jew, mistakenly identifies the
Kaddish as being written in Hebrew.
Kaddish is a female dance solo choreographed by Anna Sokolow to music by Maurice Ravel.
The Mourner’s Kaddish can be heard being recited by Collins and Roger during the song “La Vie Boheme” in the
musical Rent.
Bereavement in Judaism
Notes

  1. “Jewishvirtuallibrary.org” (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/kaddish.html). Jewishvirtuallibrary.org.
    Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  2. Pool, D. de S., The Kaddish, Sivan Press, Ltd, Jerusalem, 1909, (3rd printing, 1964). (see David de Sola Pool)
  3. https://www.ynet.co.il/articles/0,7340,L-5301143,00.html
  4. Mishkan HaNefesh. New York: Central Conference of American Rabbis. 2015. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-88123-208-0.
  5. Villa, Diana (July 2006). “Addition at the end of Kaddish” (https://web.archive.org/web/20101218180416/http://schecht
    er.edu/AskTheRabbi.aspx?ID=317). The Schechter Institutes. Archived from the original (http://www.schechter.edu/As
    kTheRabbi.aspx?ID=317) on 18 December 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  6. Winer, Mark. “Torah from around the world #73” (https://web.archive.org/web/20120419155800/http://wupj.org/Publica
    tions/Newsletter.asp?ContentID=443). World Union for Progressive Judaism. Archived from the original (http://www.w
    upj.org/Publications/Newsletter.asp?ContentID=443) on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 20 December 2015.
  7. Scherman, Nosson, The Kaddish Prayer: A new translation with a commentary anthologized from Talmudic, Midrashic
    and Rabbinic Sources (Brooklyn, Mesorah Publ’ns, 3rd ed. 1991) page 28; Nulman, Macy, The Encyclopedia of
    Jewish Prayer (Aronson, NJ, 1993) s.v. Kaddish, pages 185–186; see also the pointed Hebrew translations of the
    Kaddish in the Siddur Rinat Yisroel (Jerusalem, 1977) Ashkenaz ed. page 40, and in Rosenstein, Siddur Shirah
    Hadasha (Eshkol, Jerusalem, no date, reprinted circa 1945 – but original edition was 1914) page 38; Silverman,
    Morris, Comments on the Text of the Siddur, Journal of Jewish Music & Liturgy, vol. 2, nr. 1 (1977–78) page 21.
  8. Silverman, Morris, Comments on the Text of the Siddur, Journal of Jewish Music & Liturgy, vol. 2, nr. 1 (1977–78)
    page 21.
  9. Mishcon, A., Disputed Phrasings in the Siddur, Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 7 n.s., nr. 4 (April 1917) page 545.
  10. Mishcon, A., Disputed Phrasings in the Siddur, Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. 7 n.s., nr. 4 (April 1917) pages 545–546;
    Nulman, Macy, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer (Aronson, NJ, 1993) s.v. Kaddish, page 186.
  11. H.D. Assaf, Kaddish: Its origins, meanings and laws (Maimonides Research Inst., Haifa, 1966) 2003 English ed.
    pages 228–233; M. Nulman, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer (Aronson, NJ, 1993) page 186.
  12. Blumenthal, David. “Kaddish” (http://www.js.emory.edu/BLUMENTHAL/Kaddish.html). Emory University. Retrieved
    22 December 2015.
  13. “Kaddish Without A Minyan” (http://www.ohr.edu/ask_db/ask_main.php/210/Q1/). Ohr Somayach: Ask the Rabbi.
    Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  14. Amram Gaon. “Kaddish L’yachid” (https://rebpam.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Kaddish-L-yachid-from-the-Siddur
    -of-Amram-Gaon.pdf) (PDF) (in Hebrew). Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  15. Frydman, Pamela. “Mourner’s Prayer without a minyan” (https://rebpam.com/prayers/kaddish-lyachid/). Rabbi Pamela
    Frydman. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
    Onstage, in dance, theater and musicals
    See also
    References
    2/16/2019 Kaddish – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish 11/12
    Bibliography
    Cyrus Adler, et al. “Kaddish” (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=7&letter=K). Jewish Encyclopedia,
  16. pp. 401–403.
    Yesodot Tefillah, Rabbi Eliezer Levi, published by Abraham Zioni Publishing House, Israel 1977. P173
    Kaddish is a female dance solo choreographed by Anna Sokolow to Maurice Ravel.
    de Sola Pool, Kaddish (1909) 1
    Jewish Virtual Library – Jewish Prayers: The Mourner’s Kaddish (https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/)
    Neirot Foundation: The Importance of Kaddish (http://www.neirot.com/jewish-perspective-values/the-importance-of-ka
    ddish/)
    myKaddish.com (http://www.mykaddish.com/)
    The Kaddish Foundation: A non-profit who recite the Kaddish every day for eleven months following the death of a
    Jewish relative, loved-one or friend. (http://www.kaddishfoundation.com/)
    The Kaddish (http://birkat-hamazon.com/Kaddish)
    Retrieved from “https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Kaddish&oldid=875210245”
  17. Dosick, Wayne (September 5, 2003). “For the Solitary Mourner: A Prayer of Godly Praise” (http://forward.com/articles/
    8079/for-the-solitary-mourner-a-prayer-of-godly-praise/). The Forward. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  18. “Text of the Mourner’s Kaddish in Hebrew, with English transliteration and translation” (http://www.jewfaq.org/prayer/k
    addish.htm). Jewfaq.org. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  19. “Why is the Kaddish in Aramaic?” (http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/1737300/jewish/Why-is-the-KaddishRecited-in-Aramaic.htm) chabad.org
  20. The rule is daily recitation for a full 12 months from the date of burial for a sibling, child, spouse, or other relation, but
    since one does not consider one’s own parent to be an ordinary sinner the recitation for a parent is one month less –
    eleven months.
  21. Yahrzeit Customs (http://kaddish-prayer.com/yahrzeit/) kaddish-prayer.com
  22. Orthodox Women Embrace The Kaddish (http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/11/22/more-orthodox-wom
    en-saying-the-kaddish.html) thedailybeast.com
  23. Ruchama Weiss; Levi Brackman. “Halachic ruling: Women may say Kaddish” (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,73
    40,L-4396702,00.html). Ynetnews. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
  24. Shai Afsai, “The Kaddish (http://401j.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/the-kaddish-a-short-story/),” Jerusalem Post, Aug.
    27, 2010.
  25. Goldberg, Denny (January–February 1999). “The ADL vs. Superman” (http://www.tikkun.org/article.php?story=jan199
    9_goldberg). Tikkun Magazine. Berkeley, CA: Tikkun. 14 (1): 5. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  26. “Concordband.org” (http://concordband.org/winter07.html). Concordband.org. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  27. “Kaddishproject.org” (https://web.archive.org/web/20120114142127/http://www.kaddishproject.org/pdf/KaddishENews
    2.pdf) (PDF). Archived from the original (http://www.kaddishproject.org/pdf/KaddishENews2.pdf) (PDF) on 2012-01-
  28. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  29. Norris, Geoffrey. “Weinberg Symphony No 21 (review)” (http://www.gramophone.co.uk/review/weinberg-symphony-no
    -21). Gramophone Magazine. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  30. “Beitmalkhut.org” (http://beitmalkhut.org). Beitmalkhut.org. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  31. TV.com (2006-05-14). “TV.com” (http://www.tv.com/northern-exposure/kaddish-for-uncle-manny/episode/189347/sum
    mary.html). TV.com. Retrieved 2011-12-20.
  32. “Written in Dust” (http://www.tv.com/shows/touched-by-an-angel/written-in-dust-3414/) tv.com
    External links
    2/16/2019 Kaddish – Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish 12/12
    This page was last edited on 24 December 2018, at 16:21 (UTC).
    Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. By using this
    site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia

Parashat Ki Tisa / פרשת כי תשא

UNIVERSAL TORAH: KI TISA

By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: KI TISA Exodus 30:11-34:35
Haftara: I Kings 18.1-39 (Sephardi ritual: I Kings 18.20-39).

PROVIDING THE MEDICINE BEFORE THE ILLNESS

The lengthy first section of our parshah of KI TISA (the entire first Aliyah in the synagogue Torah reading, up to Ex. 31:18) starts with a number of commandments concluding the account of the Sanctuary, its vessels and the daily services of its ministering priests. Then, with a reiteration and amplification of the Fourth Commandment, the Sabbath, its seriousness (violation is punishable by death) and its holiness as an eternal sign between G-d and Israel, Moses’ Forty Days on Mt. Sinai after the giving of the Ten Commandments come to an end. G-d gives him Two Tablets of Testimony, but as he readies to go down the mountain back to the people, G-d tells him that the worst had just happened: the people had already violated the Covenant by making a molten idol.

Even before the sin occurred, the commandments with which KI TISA opens provide precisely the remedy for the coming illness, which was rooted within the dark depths of selfish material lust and craving. The Sanctuary as a whole is a remedy for material craving and the lust for wealth. This is particularly true in the case of the mitzvah with which the parshah opens, the HALF SHEKEL which each Israelite was required to contribute to the Sanctuary and for the purchase of the daily sacrifices so as to put food on the “table” of G-d’s House, the Altar. The HALF SHEKEL is symbolic of charity and the will to GIVE, as opposed to the selfish desire to acquire and consume. The HALF SHEKEL is the remedy for the appetite for material wealth in itself.

When G-d spoke to Moses, He “showed him a kind of coin of fire, the weight of a half shekel” and He said to him: “THIS shall all who pass through the count give — a half shekel” (Ex. 30:13 and Rashi there). This fiery HALF SHEKEL COIN, which made every single citizen an equal partner in the Sanctuary and its upkeep, was the remedy for material lust and the appetite for wealth. Everyone was to join and be a partner in an enterprise that elevates material wealth — the finest vessels of gold, silver and copper, the finest fabrics, choicest animals, flour, oil, wine and spices — by incorporating them in the worship of the One G-d. This is where the display of wealth is truly fitting, a place where each may take a just pride in having a share. Having a joint share with everyone else in the national treasure, the Temple, keeping one’s eyes focussed on its splendid golden vessels and their implicit messages — these are the medicine for the selfish lust for wealth for its own sake.

Differences in wealth and assets were of no significance in this annual half shekel tax that made each citizen an equal partner in the Temple enterprise. The rich could not give more nor the poor less. Souls cannot be quantified and counted — each soul has its own unique significance that would be violated by trying to quantify it or assign it a number. What counts is that each person adds his or her own SELF and WILL, and is willing to play his or her part by paying the “head tax” and “casting a vote”. Numbers and wealth do not count in the eyes of G-d. What counts is each person’s WILL to make a contribution — to have an equal share with everyone else, without pride and without shame, in being part of the whole, feeding the Altar and bringing the fire of G-d’s presence into the world.

An integral part of this remedy for the sin of worshipping material wealth and splendor is the keeping of the Sabbath, with which the account of the Sanctuary and its vessels concludes. Observance of the Sabbath is more important even than the work of building the Sanctuary, which must also cease for one day every week. The race to work, build, make and create wealth must stop for one day out of every seven in order to remember that it is not work and material wealth that guarantee security but only G-d’s enduring Covenant. What is of prime importance is not our wealth but our soul. One day a week must be for the soul. “And on the seventh day, He rested, VAYNAFASH — and became ENSOULED” (Ex. 31:17).

* * *

THE LOSS OF INNOCENCE

To get a faint grasp of how, forty days after hearing G-d speak from heaven at Sinai, the people could worship a golden calf, it is necessary to understand that the ERUV RAV — the “mixed multitude” who went up with the Children of Israel out of Egypt — were by no means a mere rabble of fellow-travelers who jumped on the wagon together with a band of runaway slaves. The Exodus was far more than a slave breakout. It was a religious revolution, in which the entire idolatry-based worldview of Egypt together with its hierarchy of king, priests ,and wizards was publicly overthrown and defeated. According to the Zohar (beginning of KI TISA), the shattering of the existing culture and its assumptions caused some of Pharaoh’s leading magicians (the great scientists and philosophers of the time) to join Moses (who was “very great in the eyes of Pharaoh’s servants”, Ex. 11:3), on this new venture out into the wilderness in search of the One G-d. The Midrashim note that some of these magicians even brought their idols with them when they crossed the Red Sea.

Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, commenting on the two golden calves made later on by Jeraboam, first king of the Northern Kingdom, asks how it is conceivable that he could have deceived a great multitude with such nonsense as worshiping cows. “Certainly this matter contained very deep and profound reasoning. And if a single page of the philosophical writings on which it was based had survived, it would distance many people from G-d and it would be impossible to come close to Him at all. And for this reason, it is a great benefit to the world that the works justifying this idolatry have been lost.” (Likutey Moharan II:32). [Likewise, it is told in Sanhedrin 102b that the soul of King Menashe appeared to Rav Ashi, who asked him, “Since you were all so wise, why did you worship idols?” The king replied, “If you had been there, you would have picked up your robes and come running after us.” See also Taanis 25b, where the angel of the rains is compared to EGLA, a “calf”. The root EGLA is also related to IGUL, a circle or cycle, hinting at how the image of the golden calf was bound up with representing fundamental cosmic cycles.]

“They have turned aside quickly from the path that I commanded them, they have made for themselves a molten EGEL and they are prostrating to it and sacrificing to it and they said, These are your gods, O Israel, that brought you up from the land of Egypt.” (Ex. 32:8).

Whatever this EGEL was intended to represent, it was a deviation from the pathway of absolute monotheism taught at Sinai, which prescribed any kind of graven image. Unlike the path of Sinai, which was intended to lead to the holiness befitting a nation of priests, the festivities around the EGEL ended up in “play” (Ex. 32:6) — the three cardinal sins of idolatry, sexual immorality, and murder (see Rashi ad loc.). The molten image, with its sophisticated associated “theology”, was at root a wizardly rationalization for material lust.

How it came about that Aaron, Moses’ older brother, played a part, albeit unwillingly, in the manufacture of this calf is one of the profound mysteries of the Torah. The two previous parashah’s dealt with the elevation of wealth through the incorporation of gold, silver and other symbols of wealth into the Temple service. In TETZAVEH we saw that at the very center of the Temple service is the High Priest, with his beautiful garments (expressing “splendor”, HOD, kabbalistically the characteristic quality of Aaron). Yet suddenly we find that Aaron himself took the gold offered by those who wanted to make the calf, symbol of the ultimate degradation of wealth! This implies that there is a “fatal flaw” in HOD — that splendor, even in the service of true religion, may lead to corruption.

[And thus it was that in the time of the Second Temple, the priesthood became corrupt. The “fatal flaw” in Hod corresponds to the sciatic nerve that “jumped” when the angel who struggled with Jacob touched his thigh.]

While Moses was “blotted out”, as it were, from the previous parshah of TETZAVEH (as discussed in last week’s commentary), he is the central figure in our present parshah of KI TISA. In the previous parshah we saw that the role of the Priest, as epitomized in Aaron, is to secure atonement. But how can atonement come when the priest himself is in need of atonement — when the splendor of religious service itself has become corrupted because of the inherent “flaw” in this-worldly glory?

KI TISA teaches that ultimately, atonement can come only through from the Sage, as epitomized in Moses (whose characteristic quality is NETZACH, “Victory” — as when he “argues” with G-d when pleading for forgiveness, see Likutey Moharan I:4). Moses alone “found favor” in G-d’s eyes, eliciting the revelation of the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy (Ex. 34:6): Both before the sin and after the sin, G-d does not change. He is always the same: “loving and gracious, patient, and abundant in mercy and truth.” True atonement comes from practicing these same virtues: “And you shall go in His ways” (Deut. 28:9).

Repentance is not very glorious — it is hard to admit that one did wrong, to have to accept the consequences, atone and struggle to change while living with shame and contrition. In order to escape the ignominy of sin, practitioners of religion are sometimes tempted to present an outer face of sanctimony and irreproachability to others and even to themselves, thereby blinding themselves to their own flaws.

This is not the path of religion and repentance taught by the Torah, which gives naked exposure to people’s real flaws and shortcomings, including even the errors of an Aaron, a Moses or a David, none of whom were spared from criticism.

The Talmud states: “It was not really consistent with what David truly was that he should have sinned with Batsheva, and it was not really consistent with what the Children of Israel were that they sinned with the golden calf. Then why were they made to sin? It was a decree of the King in order to give penitents an excuse” (Avodah Zarah 4b and Rashi there). They were made to sin in order to teach others the ways of repentance (“I will teach sinners your ways”, Psalms 51:15). If they could sin, and still bear the pain and repent, then so can others.

While the sanctimonious nations of the world never cease berating and criticizing the Jews and Israel for their supposed sins, the actual followers of the Torah continue with the inglorious work of Teshuvah, scrutinizing themselves for flaws and striving to correct them instead of denying and papering over them. “And He, being compassionate, will atone for sin”.

* * *

MESHENICHNAS ADAR, MARBIN BESIMCHAH!!! “When Adar arrives, we maximize SIMCHAH!!!”

Shabbat Shalom!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

Parashat Tetzaveh / פרשת תצוה

Torah Portion: Exodus 27:20 – 30:10

1st Aliyah: Exodus 27:20-28:12 (14 verses)
2nd Aliyah: Exodus 28:13-30 (18 verses)
3rd Aliyah: Exodus 28:31-43 (13 verses)
4th Aliyah: Exodus 29:1-18 (18 verses)
5th Aliyah: Exodus 29:19-37 (19 verses)
6th Aliyah: Exodus 29:38-46 (9 verses)
7th Aliyah: Exodus 30:1-10 (10 verses)
Maftir: Exodus 30:8-10 (3 verses)

Special Maftir
Shabbat Zachor: Deuteronomy 25:17-19 (3 verses)

Reading from the Nevi’im (Prophets):
Ezekiel 43:10 – 43:27

When Parashat Tetzaveh coincides with a special Shabbat, a different Haftarah is traditionally read:

Shabbat Zachor: I Samuel 15:2 – 15:34

HEREDITARY PRIESTHOOD

In an era when public officials in virtually all “advanced” countries is theoretically open to all citizens, the role of a hereditary priesthood, which is at the very center of the Torah’s system of penitence — the Sanctuary and Temple rituals — calls for some explanation.

Much of Genesis is taken up with disputes about who is to serve in the role of the “priest”. Cain struggled with Abel. Ishmael fought against Isaac. Esau fought against Jacob. Reuven was the first-born, but Levi took the initiative, Judah, fourth in line, became the leader, while it was the righteous Joseph (against whom all the brothers struggled) who received a firstborn’s double portion of two-tribes. And then Ephraim took priority over firstborn Menashe.

In Exodus: Levy’s second son, Kehat, took priority over Levy’s firstborn, Gershon. Amram was indeed Kehat’s firstborn, yet while the priesthood went to Amram’s older son, Aaron, the latter was secondary in prophecy to his younger brother, Moses. The firstborn of the Children of Israel had a brief taste of the priesthood at the time of the Giving of the Torah, 50 days after having been saved from the plague that killed all the Egyptian firstborn. However the Israelite firstborn were displaced from their “birth-right” — hereditary priesthood forever — owing to the sin of the Golden Calf.

This raises the question of the nature of the priesthood in Judaism, which is relevant to our parashah of TETZAVEH, all of which is devoted to the daily duties of the priests, their garments, and their induction service.

It is true that the tribe of Levi (who did not participate in the sin of the Golden Calf), and the Kohanim are in many respects separate hereditary castes. Nevertheless, it remains the case that the ideal social structure of the Israelites as envisaged in the Torah is remarkably free of the social hierarchies and inequalities that characterize even the most “democratic” societies.

In particular, Israelite society is envisaged as one that should be free of any kind of extensive hierarchical network of full-time religious functionaries who act as intermediaries between the people and G-d, and whose service before their passive congregants takes the place of the individual’s personal relationship with G-d.

This is true, notwithstanding the fact that only the Kohanim (male descendants of Aaron), and members of the tribe of Levy could actually serve in the Temple, and only the Kohanim could perform certain vital ritual functions (such as purification from leprosy). Nevertheless, the Temple itself had a relatively small number of permanent priestly officials who were responsible for the maintenance of the House. The actual sacrificial services in the House were conducted by different priests every day. Each of the 24 contingents of priests into which the Kohanim were divided served for two weeks out of the year and on festivals, spending the rest of their time teaching Torah among the people in the localities where they lived. The only outstanding exception to this rule, besides the small core of permanent Temple staff, was the High Priest, who spent all his time in Jerusalem, most of it in the Temple itself.

It is certainly correct that the Kohanim were a hereditary priestly caste, who received TERUMAH, the first gift from everyone’s crops, as well as portions of meat, wool, and various other gifts. This is what they lived off. The purpose of providing the members of this caste with their material needs was to enable them to devote themselves to a higher-than-average level of devotion (as expressed in eating of Terumah and sacrificial portions in ritual purity) and to the study of the Torah. It was the Kohanim who were expected to be able to play the role of the Torah judges (see Deuteronomy 19:17) in cases of disputes. They were also to play the central role in the “diagnosis” and “purification” of leprosy and other maladies (Leviticus Ch. 13ff.)

Nevertheless, it remains true that despite their exclusive role in the Temple sacrificial services and in the purification from leprosy, the Kohanim were not religious intermediaries who in some sense REPLACED the personal connection of the individual with G-d.

The Children of Israel were envisaged as a nation of free, independent small land-owners, each farming his own and sitting under his vine and fig-tree. Only in dire circumstances would one be sold as a slave to another (as instituted in MISHPATIM). Even one who fell into slavery would eventually go free at the end of seven years or in the Jubilee year. In the seventh year, all debts were to be canceled. Those who had sold their land would get it back in the Jubilee year. The vision was not of a country where most of the wealth is permanently concentrated in the hands of a small elite.

Just as all of the Children of Israel heard the First Commandment, so they were all commanded to serve the One G-d, each through his own prayers and acts of service. The Torah commands that all of the Children of Israel must be holy (Leviticus 19:2). Everyone must strive to go in G-d’s ways. Becoming a Nazirite is considered an excess — the Nazirite must bring a sin-offering! There are no monks in Judaism.

Outside of the Temple itself, Israelite life was intended to be free of an elite of religious functionaries. Although the Kohen and Levy are honored by being called first and second to the public Torah reading, the actual synagogue, and its services are run by its members, the majority of the Israelites. The service can only take place if a quorum of 10 Israelites is present. There is no need for an official rabbi as long as somebody present — any Israelite — knows how to lead the service and read from the Torah. The “functionaries” in Israelite society are the “captains of tens”, “captains of fifties”, “captains of hundreds” and “captains of thousands”. These must be “men of valor, G-d-fearing, men of truth, hating gain” (Ex. 18:21) — but they do not have to be Kohanim. In the Torah vision of the Israelite state, membership of the Sanhedrin, the Supreme Court of the state, is not to depend on heredity or wealth but only on Torah wisdom and personal sanctity.

What then is the role of the hereditary Kohanim, whose Temple service, garments and induction are the subjects of our parashah of TETZAVEH?

The key concept necessary to understand the role of the Kohen, particularly that of the Kohen Gadol (High Priest), is the concept of KAPARAH — atonement. This and related concepts recur several times in our parashah. The purpose of the precious stones that were attached to the High Priest’s shoulders and bore the names of the tribes of Israel was that they should be “remembered” by G-d with favor. The wearing of the TZITZ, the head-plate inscribed “Holy to HaShem”, was to secure atonement for impurity. The closing verse of our parashah speaks of how the High Priest must annually sprinkle the golden Incense Altar with the blood of the Day of Atonement sin-offering in order to bring about KAPARAH — atonement.

The institution of the priesthood was not intended to replace individual attachment to G-d on the part of each person through his own devotions. While the Kohanim are charged with maintaining the Holy Temple as the central focus of Israelite and indeed world religious life (for “My House is the House of Prayer for all the Nations), their role in the devotional life of the individual is of significance primarily when the individual, independent “citizen” TURNS ASIDE from the path and falls into sin. He is then unable to help himself. If he is liable to bring a sacrifice, he needs a Kohen to offer it for him. If he has what he thinks is a leprous patch on his skin (a sign of a personal deficiency), he needs a Kohen to make the determination and a Kohen to purify him.

The Kohen can play his role as the functionary in the Temple services and bringer of ATONEMENT only through standing aside from the rest of the people and demanding more of himself. The Kohanim were distinguished by their unique genetic inheritance as direct male descendants of Aaron, and they protected this inheritance by adhering to higher levels of personal sanctity (such as that a Kohen may not marry a divorcee, etc.).

The rich, colorful ritual garments of the High Priest embody this concept of separateness, sanctity, and atonement. So too, the induction of the priests during their Seven Days of Initiation was characterized by separation, sanctity and the atonement accomplished through the offering of the ox sin offering (atoning for the sin of the Golden Calf) and the eating of peace offerings.

Atonement depends upon the priestly garments and the priests’ consumption of sacrificial portions. The original sin of Adam — of which the sin of the Golden Calf was a “repetition” — came about through eating. After Adam and Eve sinned, G-d gave them CLOTHES in order to cover over their nakedness and begin the process of atonement. The priests continue this process of atonement through wearing their unique garments while eating their portion of the sinner’s sacrifice.

The hereditary inheritance of the priesthood — Temple SERVICE — by the sons of Aaron is justified by the fact that Aaron joined himself to the Torah inheritance through his choice of a wife to mother his sons. For “Aaron took Elisheva the daughter of Aminadav, sister of Nachshon as his wife, and she bore him Nadav and Avihu, Elazar and Itamar” (Ex. 6:23). Elisheva’s father, Aminadav, was the Prince of Judah, the tribe to whom Jacob entrusted with the guardianship of the Torah, while her brother Nachshon was the first to jump into the Red Sea. Torah knowledge is indispensable for the proper functioning of the priesthood. Without Torah, the priest is helpless — an ignoramus priest needs a Torah scholar to teach him how to make the correct determination in cases of leprosy.

Through the merit of our Torah study, may we see the Holy Temple rebuilt quickly in our times!!!

Shabbat Shalom!!!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum