The Soferet, Jen Taylor Friedman, has a delightfully contorted post about all of the liturgical maneuvering over the centuries that has led to a minute change in the Amidah and Kaddish during the Ten Days of Repentance. The full post, which is fascinating to me, is here. But I’ll try to summarize a bit.
Apparently, it was the tradition in the old, largely lost, Palestinian rite to conclude the blessing for peace in the Amidah with the line “Baruch atah Adonai, oseh hashalom,” blessing God as maker of the peace. The standard line, at least since the period of Geonim, has been “Baruch atah Adonai, oseh shalom,” blessing God as maker of peace–no definite article.
Over time, these two lines flew in and out of the Ashkenazi nusach for the Ten Days about eleventy-seven times, as far as I can tell. At some point, it came out of the Amidah, and the definite article reappeared in Kaddish, as some kind of compromise. And now it’s in both the Kadish and the Amidah, quite unnecessarily, it would seem.
The real point of this post is two-fold:
1. I discovered while flipping about in a couple of siddurim and machzorim, trying to keep up with the liturgical acrobatics in Jen’s post, that I need a good, modern, Hebrew-English Sephardi siddur. I’m open to suggestions. The one I’m leaning toward getting soon is Siddur Zehut Yosef, by Hazzan Isaac Azose, one of the leaders of Seattle’s large Sephardic community. It’s got some Ladino in it and it’s the record of a specific congregation’s minhag, both of which are pluses in my sefer. Thoughts, anyone?
2. Someone needs to collect all of what we know today about the ancient Palestinian liturgical rite into one reference siddur.