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The Custom Among Syrian Jews Regarding the Text of “Ve’la’minim” and Other Portions of the Amida

Although all observant Jews use the same basic text of the Amida, some minor variations exist among the different communities, as reflected in the different Siddurim that are used. The work Derech Eretz documents the customs that were followed in the Jewish community of Aleppo (Halab), and it is worth reviewing this material to ascertain the proper custom to follow.

In the Beracha of "Ve’la’minim Ve’la’malshinim," the Jews of Aleppo would add the word "Ve’la’mosrim," and this word indeed appears in the Kol Yaakob edition of the Siddur (in some editions it appears in parentheses). The custom in Aleppo was to conclude this Beracha with the text, "Shober Oyebim U’machnia Zedim," which is also the text followed by Hacham Ovadia Yosef. This is contrast to the custom of the Ben Ish Hai (Rav Yosef Haim of Baghdad, 1833-1909), which was to conclude, "Shober Oyebim U’machnia Minim."

In the next Beracha, "Al Ha’sadikim," the community in Halab would say, "Ve’al She’erit Amecha Bet Yisrael Ve’al Ziknehem." This text, too, appears in the Kol Yaakob edition of the Siddur. In the Beracha of "Et Semah David," it was customary in Halab to recite, "Li’yshuatecha Kivinu Ve’sipinu." In the Kol Yaakob edition of the Siddur, the word "Ve’sipinu" appears in parentheses, but it seems that this word was included in this text according to the custom of Aleppo Jewry.

In the Beracha of "Sim Shalom," Aleppo Jews recited the text, "Hen Va’hesed Sedaka Ve’rahamim," as it appears in the Kol Yaakob edition.

The custom in Halab was to begin reciting "Barech Alenu," the prayer for rain, in place of "Barechenu," starting from December 4th, just as we do here in the United States. (In some years, the recitation is begun on December 5th.) This is in contrast to the community in Damascus, which would begin reciting "Barech Alenu" in the beginning of Marheshvan as is done in Eretz Yisrael. Interestingly, the Jews of Halab would use as a "Siman" ("reminder") of their custom the word "Baghdad," which stood for, "Birkat Geshamim Dalet December" ("The prayer for rain – fourth of December").

 


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