I found this photo printed in a Russian/Hebrew booklet about the Days of Awe. The caption says that this is part of Tefilat HaGeshem, but non specifically says that it is 'ancient' and handwritten.

Is there any symbolic Jewish reference relating the 'monkey' in the drawing, who is (seemingly) using a spoon to eat something from a pan, and Tefillat HaGeshem? I write 'monkey' however, since it doesn't have a tail it most resembles a gibbon (rather than the great apes; although I don't trust that such drawings of natural objects would necessarily provide an accurate representation of the actual animal).

Suggestions that may be worth exploring (after discussion with people):

  • The 'monkey' eating is a symbol of abundance in food (i.e. we are praying for rain to give us such abundance of produce that even the monkey's will eat well!?)
  • Does it relate to an historical place where Jews kept monkeys for entertainment (e.g. Solomon received many gifts (Kings 1, 10:22) including exotic animals)?
  • Tiferet Yisrael on Kilayim (8:5) mentions that the Adnei Hasadeh is an orangutan. I also remember reading that they used to perform tasks that humans did and wore clothes. Note that the monkey in the drawing is wearing a collar and is (perhaps) on a stage
  • Or some deeper mystical symbol for a monkey?

All in all, is there a Jewish connection between monkeys and Tefillat HaGashem? Even if the monkey is drawn because there may have indeed been a Jewish community that had a performing monkey, why choose to include this out of all the symbols that one could choose to represent this specific prayer?

enter image description here

  • I did not read the following thoroughly: chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/137091/jewish/… but perhaps it can be a start point to determine why a monkey was used in the document in question. – JJLL Apr 5 '17 at 0:24
  • I wouldn't say "ancient." – ezra Apr 5 '17 at 3:08
  • I would like to point out that this is not Tefillat Hageshem (Prayer for Rain itself but a passage inserted into the Amidah prior to recital of Tefillat Hageshem. – Epicentre Apr 5 '17 at 4:38
  • 3
    There is a Hebrew text caption by the animal. What does it say? Can you provide a higher resolution image? – Yaacov Deane Apr 5 '17 at 14:59

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