Page:Annotated Edition of the Authorised Daily Prayer Book.djvu/34

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Historical and Explanatory Notes.

again, texts may be cited in which promise is made of temporal reward, and it is possible that the Mishnah alludes to these texts. As Maimonides goes on to remark, all these actions belong to the general category of the practice of charity, and he cites the famous passage (Talmud, Sabbath 31a) wherein it is recorded of Hillel that when a heathen asked him to teach him the whole law in a sentence, he replied: " What is hateful to thee (if done to thyself) do unto no man." Of such a principle at once the foundation of social morality and of mutual charity it may be said that the fruit is enjoyed in this world while the stock remains for the world to come.

Page 5. Timely attendance at the house of study (הַשְׁכָּמַת בֵּית הַמִּדְרָשׁ). Attendance at the house of study was a regular part of the daily round for many centuries. Public worship was often celebrated in these houses of study, for the latter served also as synagogues. The term Beth Hamidrash is found earlier than Synagogue (or House of assembly, בֵּית הַכְּנֶסֶת); it occurs in the Hebrew text of Ecclesiasticus (li. 23).

Hospitality to wayfarers (הַכְנָסַת אֹרְחִים), visiting the sick (בִקּוּר חוֹלִים), dowering the bride (הַכְנָסַת כַּלָּה), attending the dead to the grave (לְוָיַת [or לַוָּיַת] הַמֵּת), and making peace between man and his fellow (הֲבָאַת שָׁלוֹם), were duties the performance of which became engrained in the Jewish character. No small share in producing this result may be attributed to the prominence given to the subject in this passage of the morning prayer.

Devotion in prayer (עִיּוּן תְּפִלָּה). The word עִיוּן is derived from עַיֵּן a piel denominative from עַיִן (eye). The verb means to "regard closely," to "pay due attention," and the noun thus signifies devotion. (The same noun is also used, as in Berachoth 55 a, in a lower sense: regard or attention to prayer may imply an ulterior object such as expectation of a favourable answer. See J.Q.R. xx. 276. But here the noun is employed in the higher sense.) A famous Rabbinic saying