Page:Annotated Edition of the Authorised Daily Prayer Book.djvu/30

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
Historical and Explanatory Notes.

again, the German translators (and some of the English) prefer to render the tetragrammaton (the four-lettered name of God יהוה) by Eternal instead of Lord. The tetragrammaton is clearly connected with the verb הָיָה (or הָוָה) to be. Some explain it in a causative sense (hiphil) "the One who brings into existence," the "Life-giver," "Creator"; others take it intransitively (kal) and render "The One who is," the "Eternal." The latter has been the favourite Jewish rendering since Moses Mendelssohn. In our P.B. Lord is the translation of adonai (אֲדֹנָי), which has been the verbal reading of the tetragrammaton since very ancient times.

Page 4. The washing of the hands (עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם). From the Talmud (Berachoth 60 b).

Who hast formed man in wisdom (אֲשֶׁר יָצַר). This formula is cited in the Talmud in the name of Abaye, chief of the school at Pumbeditha in Babylon circa 300 C.E. (Berachoth 60 b). Two variants of the conclusion were united (on the authority of R. Papa) into the form used in our P.B. This benediction refers to the complexity of the human body.

The words of the Law (לַעֲסוֺק בְּדִבְרֵי תוֺרָה). The study of the Law was regarded as the foremost duty, see note on P.B. p. 5. The formula, cited in the name of Samuel (d. about 250), occurs in the Talmud (Berachoth 11 b). In the same source (Berachoth 11 a) various formulæ are given for the benediction on studying the Torah. These are collated on the page of the P.B. before us.

Make pleasant the words of the Law (וְהַעֲרֶב). (Loc. cit.) in name of R. Joḥanan bar Nappaḥa (d. 279).

Who hast chosen us from all nations (אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר). Blessing for the gift of the Law. This formula is cited (loc. cit.) in the name of R. Hamnuna (4th century).

On a further benediction concerning the Law see notes on P.B. pages 68, 149.

In this benediction we have a notable reference to the choice of Israel. Israel is the Chosen People, called to a special service, commissioned to receive and propagate the Law, to testify to God's truth by its own example and by its