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

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What do the words מְנָת כּוֹסִי mean in the hymn “Adon Olam”

In Adon Olam some translate the words מְנָת כּוֹסִי in the antepenultimate stanza as “the portion of my cup”. (Wikipedia translates as “Filling my cup” but I do not see that meaning in מְנָת.) For ...
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286 views

Making a Seudah into a “Seudas Mitzvah”

The Rema in Hilchos Channukah Siman 670 Sif 2 writes that if zemiros and shvachos (songs and praise) are said by a Seudah on Channukah it becomes a "Seudas Mitzvah" (without this it only has in it ...
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4answers
495 views

What does Dovid Melech Yisrael Chai Vkayam mean?

I'm pretty sure Dovid, the king of Israel is dead and buried. If so, what does this song really mean and why do we sing it? Why do we pick Dovid specifically and not some other tzadik, like Moshe?
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1answer
194 views

Saying Misod and Reshut (introduction) for piyutim, then skipping them

I have seen that many yeshivos (and recently, even some shuls) often say just Misod and the Reshus on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and then skip the actual piyutim they are meant to introduce! This ...
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2answers
91 views

Is there a CD containing some of the melodies of Yom Kippur?

I'm looking for a specific piyut we say on Yom Kippur as an audio file, as I'd really like to write music for it. The prayer is in the repetition of the amidah of both Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur ...
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2answers
46 views

If dipping was common, why does Mah Nishtana suggest otherwise?

The Gemara (Shabbat 111a) mentions "טיבול", literally "dipping", which Rashi explains is the meal, which featured lots of dipping. In the Pesach classic, it says "on all other nights we do not dip ...
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55 views

Insertion of Piyutim

In the Minhag Rheinus, we have piyutim which are added by ma'ariv and shacharit on yom tov, as well as on certain Shabbatot. While I am aware of the position of some of them (Yotzer, Ofan, Zulat, ...
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1answer
420 views

Heilige Hooleh?

What is this holy hooleh that 8th Day are singing about?
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4answers
549 views

Are men allowed to listen to women on the radio?

Is a man allowed to listen to a woman on the radio? Would it change if you saw the actual girl (e.g. on TV singing)? Related: What is the source for a woman's voice as ervah?
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1answer
57 views

How do hats contrast with sounds?

The elegy "אש תוקד בקרבי", in the 9 Av liturgy, contrasts our exodus from Egypt after enslavement there with our exile from Jerusalem with the Temple's destruction. It comprises 23 couplets, each ...
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47 views

Are there Peirushim on the Tisha BAv Night kinot available on the internet?

In my preperation for this evening I have found lots of material for tomorrow's kinot, however, I have found next to nothing on this evening's kinot (Zekhor Hashem, Baleil Zeh, Shomron Kol Titein and ...
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70 views

Source for the quotation, “More than Jews have kept the sabbath…”

I have heard and seen in print many times the quotation attributed to Achad Ha'am that "more than Jews have kept the sabbath, the sabbath has kept the Jews" (exemplified in all its unattributed ...
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1answer
72 views

Feldheim's Sefer Piyutim

Feldheim used to publish a book with the piyutim added for shabbatot throughout the year, which I have heard referred to by such disparate names as "the blue book"*, Piyutim le-shabatot ha-shana ...
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1answer
96 views

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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3answers
256 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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328 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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28 views

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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345 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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404 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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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
210 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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66 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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1answer
227 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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107 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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629 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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67 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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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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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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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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1answer
448 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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1answer
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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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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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1answer
327 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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252 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
165 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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2answers
55 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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331 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
92 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
189 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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431 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
127 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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133 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
93 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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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 ...