Holy songs and poetry are often found in Tanach. Another meaning is that of ordinary Jewish songs.

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What is the earliest source of rhymes in Jewish texts?

Many (most?) piyyutim have some sort of rhyme to them. Unlike alphabetic acrostics, for example, rhyming does not appear in Tanach. What is the earliest source of rhymes in Jewish texts? (If R' ...
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223 views

Nusach of Tefilas Geshem

In Tefilas Geshem we say "Al HaSela Hach Vayeitzu Mayim" translated by Artscroll as: Remember the one [Moses] drawn forth in a bulrush basket from the water. They said, 'He drew water and ...
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4answers
325 views

Kol Mekadesh - sung Friday Night - המאחרים לצאת מן השבת וממהרים לבא

In Kol Mekadesh that is sung Friday night it says המאחרים לצאת מן השבת וממהרים לבא which seems out of order. Do we not first rush into Shabbos and then delay its departure? Then why do we sing it in ...
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Song from Rebbi Meir Shapira

I have a script of a song from Rebbi Meir Shapira of Lublin which starts with מיט דער כתר התורה Are any of our readers familiar with the words or the tune which is supposed to accompany them?
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Pairs in Balaam's blessings

In all of Balaam's blessings, nearly every phrase is repeated in similar wording. For example: Arise, Balak, and hear - listen closely to me, son of Zippor. God is not a man that He should ...
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338 views

Chad Gadya: The price of a kid goat

Was the fair market value of a kid goat really two zuzim? This piyyut is of course allegorical, but, if the value given is highly inaccurate, is the discrepancy in value symbolic beyond the symbolism ...
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390 views

Why do we sing Chad Gadya and Echad Mi Yodea at the seder?

Some of the songs at the end of the seder have an obvious connection to what has come before. Adir Hu is about praising God, which we've been doing all night; Eliyahu HaNavi makes sense because ...
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68 views

What book would be a good reference for prayer melodies?

When davening at different synagogues, I notice that some use different melodies for songs (eg: El Adon, Hallel, L'kha Dodi) as well as different nusach (in the sense of melodies for brachot used for ...
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1answer
175 views

Songs Under the Chuppah

The is a widespread wedding custom to sing a short benediction, מי אדיר‎, when the groom arrives under the canopy, and to sing מי בן שיח‎, for the bride as she arrives and walks around the ...
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63 views

Yiddish Song on Purim

My family sings a song on Purim that I am trying to track down. It is mostly Yiddish, with a little bit of Hebrew. The song starts with פֿאַרוואָס זאָגט די תורה האָב נישט קיין מורא and ends with ...
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174 views

What's a Grammen?

A few years ago I participated in a Purim Se'udah at which rounds of humorous poetry were written and then recited in a sing-song chant. It was fun, and the tune rang familiar to me, but it was ...
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106 views

Where can I find the Chasam Sofer's poems?

According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, the Chasam Sofer wrote several poems. Where can I find them? I've been unable to do so.
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586 views

Mizmor l'David (Psalms 23) at Shalosh Suedos

There is a common minhag (custom) to sing Mizmor l'David at Seudah Shlishis, the third Sabbath meal. It is common to sing this song three times in a row and I was asked this Shabbos by a friend why ...
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61 views

Is Aleinu considered a piyyut or a prayer?

I have always thought that Aleinu was a piyyut (liturgical poem), not a "prayer" since it does not have a bracha in it. I was surprised to find that the Wikipedia page for piyyut does not list it, ...
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6answers
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Why do we honor Charvona, specifically?

The song we sing after reading the Megilla on Purim, "Shoshanat Yaakov," concludes with "and may Charvona also be remembered favorably." According to the Megilla (Esther 7:9), all Charvona did was, ...
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When is OK to repeat words or lines in prayer?

I have read several questions and answers on here regarding repeating words in prayer, but they do not answer why some common repetitions are allowable. Some examples: 1) During the Torah service, ...
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165 views

Piyutim in the Scroll

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 139:4) discusses the potential issue that a listener might think that the blessings for an aliya are actually written in the Torah scroll. Different suggestions are offered for ...
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Is it a good thing to sing “ יָמִים עַל יְמֵי מֶלֶךְ תּוֹסִיף שְׁנוֹתָיו כְּמוֹ דֹר וָדֹר” in honour of the senior Rabbinic speaker?

It has become customary to sing יָמִים עַל יְמֵי מֶלֶךְ תּוֹסִיף שְׁנוֹתָיו כְּמוֹ דֹר וָדֹר in honour of the senior Rabbinic speaker at a function. An explanation is given here. The Pashut ...
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549 views

fish before meat - why?

To the best of my knowledge eating fish after meat has the same Halacha as eating meat after fish. You are supposed to eat a cracker and take a drink to seperate between them. Why is it most common ...
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Shochen Ad- Isaac & Rivka

How come (for nusach Ashkenaz) Shochen Ad spells out Isaac & Rivka on Yom Kippur, but only Isaac is spelled on regular shabbos? For Sephardim and nusach Sephard, it always spells out both names. ...
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326 views

Shirat HaYam Trop: Which Phrases?

Which phrases in Shirat HaYam are read with the special 'shirah' trop? (Inspired by this question.)
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What's wrong with using “Adoshem” for the name of G-d when singing?

If seen it written that many chazzanim use "Adoshem" when singing (if not in the davening) as it has the same number of syllables as what they would be saying, namely Ado-noi, but that this is ...
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548 views

Pronouncing Hashem's name in a song

Some people are very careful to say Hashem or Elokim when singing a song with one of G-d's names in it so as not to use His name in vain (related question), but I have also been told this is ...
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300 views

Ana B'Koach authorship and the 42 letter name of Hashem

In my Artscroll siddur it tells me that the hymn Ana B'Koach was written by the tanna, Rebbi Nechunia ben HaKana and that the first letter of each word can be used to form the 42 letter name of ...
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Ibn Ezra vs. Hachamim in Regards to Piyyutim

In Kohelet 5:1 (Al Tibahel), Ibn Ezra has a lengthy, harsh critique of R. Eliezer HaKalir and other Paytanim for their poetry's components (in short: flowery language, the use of ...
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182 views

The almost-alphabetic acrostic Al Chet

The Al Chet that we say four times on Yom Kippur - the long list of sins that we list and ask to be forgiven for - is a double-acrostic (in nusach Ashkenaz). Each letter is represented twice in a row ...
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1answer
151 views

Layout of Shiras HaYam: Half-Brick Over Brick

Is there a reason/meaning behind the "half-brick over brick" layout of Shiras Hayam as written in a Sefer Torah? I am familiar with the gemara in Megilla (16b) that states the layout is to be that ...
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53 views

Collection of poems by Yehuda HaLevi

Where can I find a printed book with a collection of poems by Yehuda HaLevi? Ideally this book should (in order of importance): Be available to an American consumer Include the original Hebrew ...
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299 views

G'dalya Gumber provenance

There's a popular song about G'dalya Gumber (spelling?), who is "seventeen feet tall" and who "ain't gonna work on Saturday", not even for "double, double, triple pay". Who wrote and who published ...
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Nun in Ashrei- Psalm 145

The prayer Ashrei, which we recite three times a day, is an acrostic consisting of all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet except for nun (נ). Why is the nun omitted?
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1answer
88 views

Shouldn't the order of dayenu be reversed?

The order of the verses in Dayenu, one of the songs sung during the Pesach Seder has always troubled me. It seems to me that they should be in reverse order. For example, the first verse says ...
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1answer
171 views

A woman's singing voice when there are other singing voices

There is a famous Teshuva of the Sridei Aish, Rabbi Yaakov Yechiel Weinberg, that permits one to hear kol isha (a women's singing voice) when there are other people singing. Where is this Teshuva ...
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417 views

What is the source for a woman's voice as ervah?

What is the source that a woman's (singing) voice is considered ervah?
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111 views

How a couple lines in Alenu fit the pattern

It has been pointed out to me that the two halves of the "Alenu" prayer follow a pretty strict pattern. Each contains eight parallel couplets, followed by a Biblical quote. I broke it all down myself, ...
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2answers
126 views

Yerushalayim City of Gold

What is the origin of the concept of Yerushalayim being a "City of Gold"? It is the name and theme of a famous Israeli song from the 1960s, and I always assumed it was either from that song, or that ...
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1answer
129 views

Adir Hu - mi yodeya?

A popular song sung at the seder is Adir Hu. The song contains many phrases of the pattern: [Adjective] is He. that are grouped together alphabetically with a refrain asking for the speedy ...
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1answer
91 views

A quote of Shlomo ibn Gabirol

A co-worker posted this as her "Quote of the Day" in an e-mail message. It's attributed to Shlomo ibn Gabirol: The first step in the acquisition of wisdom is silence, the second listening, the ...
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50 views

Why does אין כאלקינו differ on שבת?

נֻסח 'ספרד'‏ says "אין כאלקינו" every day. On weekdays, it includes several paragraphs describing the makeup of the קטרת, followed by several פסוקים. On שבת, the description of the קטרת is cut ...
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1answer
74 views

Kodesh Hee Shabbath HaMalkah

In a well known Shabbath song, there is a line that goes, "Kodesh Hee Lachem Shabbath HaMalkah." Roughly, this translates to, "Holy is she to you, the Sabbath Queen." Oddly, however, the modifier ...
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109 views

Who authored the 13 Ani Maamin's?

The Rambam in his Hakdama to his Pirush on Perek Chelek in Mesechtas Sanhedrin mentions the points of belief a Jew must have. To the best of my knowledge these are the basis of the well-known ...
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2answers
112 views

Shiras HaYam - why specifically by this miracle?

Out of all the nissim (miracles) that HaShem did for Klal Yisrael (the Mann, Makkos, Bar Miriam, etc) why was it specifically by this miracle that Klal Yisrael sang Shira?
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If no-one went to synagogue on Friday night, do the people at home sing “Sholom Aleichem”?

The Ashkenazi custom is to sing “Sholom Aleichem” when returning home on Friday night from the synagogue. The reason is related to the ministering angels who accompany a person home on Friday night ...
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282 views

When to close the ark after putting away the Torah

On shabbat morning when putting away the Torah, many chazzanim like to draw out different tunes for the verses recited then. Should the one honored with putting the Torah back wait until after the ...
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122 views

Should a man remove his head covering during the national anthem?

The custom in the United States is to remove head coverings (and place them over the heart) during the recitation of the national anthem. Is there any Jewish reason for a man to, or not to, follow ...
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1answer
145 views

Who is “the blaspheming foe” of Maoz Tzur?

In the song Maoz Tzur it says לְעֵת תָּכִין מַטְבֵּחַ מִצָּר הַמְנַבֵּחַ - which the OU translates as - When You will have prepared the slaughter for the blaspheming foe. Who is this ...
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756 views

Origin of Mareh Kohen tune

Where did the popular tune for the Yom Kippur piyyut, מראה כהן, come from? Who wrote it? When did it originate? Where is it from? Does the tune have a name other than "that marei kohen tune"? ...
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391 views

Tzur MiShelo - Should you sing it before Bentching?

The song "Tzur MiShelo", generally printed in Bentchers, Siddurim, Zimronim, etc., as a Friday night song, follows the pattern of Bentching (grace after meals), praising G-d and praying for ...
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202 views

Why did Israeli sportsmen keep their hats on during their national anthem?

Last year I was at the international softball tournament and I noticed that players from Israel took off their baseball caps during the other teams anthems (as is common courtesy), but kept them ...
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268 views

Yom tov kiddush tune

There's a popular tune used for kidush on the nights of the shalosh r'galim. (It's available on YouTube (but ignore the "shehechiyanu" part of that recording).) What's its origin? Does it have the ...
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206 views

Lulei Sorascha (song)

What are the words and the source of the Shlomo Carlebach song, "Lulei Sorascha (Without Your Torah)"? I feel that I must have encountered this verse in Tehillim (which I believe is where it comes ...