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Adjustments for Eretz Israel in Liturgy from the Genizah

At Giluy Milta Balma there is a recent new post about Adjustments for Eretz Israel in Liturgy from the Genizah. These older questions again became relevant with the resettling of large numbers of Jews in the Land of Israel. In the siddur published by the Masorti Movement (Conservative) in Israel, ואני תפילתי, in the introduction the editor addresses this question. One prayer which the siddur altered, was the following line which is recited before the Shema, “והביאנו בשלום מארבע כנפות הארץ ותוליכנו קוממיות לארצנו” (“And bring us in peace from the four corners of the Earth and lead us upright to our Land”). The text was altered to the following, “והבא עלינו ברכה ושלום מארבע כנפות הארץ ותוליכנו קוממיות בארצנו” (“And bring upon us blessing and peace from the four corners of the Earth, and lead us upright in our Land”). This change integrated the liturgical version of many North African and Oriental Jews, with a slight change to reflect that those praying are already in the Land of Israel. Additionally, the text of birkat ha-mazon was changed from “הרחמן…והוא יוליכנו קוממיות לארצנו” to “בארצנו” and tefillat musaf was altered to be “יהי רצון מלפניך…שתעלה נפוצותנו בשמחה לארצנו ותטעם בגבולנו” . This question was also addressed by R. Hayyim David ha-Levi (Mayyim Hayyim, no. 12). The person asking the question quotes Dr. David Tamar who quoted from his father R. Yessachar Tamar’s book עלי תמר. In that book R. Tamar wrote how R. Fishel Solomon used to say in birkat ha-mazon “הרחמן…והוא יוליכנו קוממיות בארצנו”. He once said this in the presence of Rav Kook, R. Chaim Zonenfeld and R. Charlap, three of the most important rabbis of pre-state Israel. R. Zonenfeld objected to the alteration in the blessing, and R. Solomon answered and said that the other version is the version of exile. After some discussion it was related that Maharam Haviv, the author of Get Pashut and R. Hayyim Abulafia of Tiberias also made such an alteration. R. Ha-Levi responds by saying that R. Tamar says that he couldn’t find any of these precedents in any book, but that one could be lenient at least regarding the blessing from birkat ha-mazon, although he offers a grammatical reason why one could use the original version, yet have one’s intention to be the altered version. R. Ha-Levi says that Rav Kook left this blessing unaltered in his siddur, עולת הראי”ה. Also, we are praying not only for ourselves, but for the entire Jewish people, many of whom are still in exile. It also turns out that this same person already sent this same question to R. Ha-Levi (Aseh Lecha Rav, vol. 3, no. 13), and saw the recent publication of Dr. Tamar’s article as reason enough to ask the question again.

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