[Avodah] Realities of Times Past (Was: Latecomers to shul on Friday night)

Arie Folger afolger at aishdas.org
Tue Jul 7 01:31:54 PDT 2020

Fellow Ovedim have (IIRC at the behest of RAM who asked the question) been
wondering why Tefillat Me'eyn Sheva' is said on Friday evenings.

RJK particularly cited RAM:
> "The reasoning and realities are difficult to understand," he notes, "
> and so," he asks: "There's something that I'm missing about the
> realities of how those minyanim were organized, the speed they
> davened at, and/or the dangers lurking about. Can anyone explain
> the story better?"

There may be a clue in an article by Jacob Mann. Jacob Mann was, as far as
I can reconstruct, a Pzsworsker Chassid who loved Judaism and learning, but
upon landing the USA possibly tragically aligned himself with the wrong
crowd. But this is just a reconstruction. For all I know, him publishing a
bunch of articles in the Reform"Hebrew Union College Annual" may have been
because it was in his eyes the most widespread scholarly publication, one
that would afford him the most exposure. Interestingly, he insisted on
transliterating Hebrew into Ashkenazi pronunciation, and HUCA agreed. At
any rate, he was a pretty interesting historian of liturgy and may have
been on to certain things correctly.

In an article entitled Changes in the Divine Service of the Synagogue due
to Persecution, he brings evidence for several periods of anti Jewish
persecutions in which certain prayers or practices were prohibited, giving
rise to creative solutions. Though he does not deal with Me'eyn Sheva' (as
far as I remember), the setting seems to work well. Perhaps Me'eyn Sheva
came from a time when Jews had to pray outside the settlements, because
they were praying in hiding, and thus had to watch out for each other's
Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Yours sincerely,

Arie Folger,
Visit my blog at http://rabbifolger.net/
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