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Untaneh Tokef

Ynet has an article (Hebrew) titled “From Mainz to Beit ha-Shitta.” The article talks about one of the central prayers of the Yamim Noraim, Untaneh Tokef (see here for the poem in Hebrew). The authorship of this liturgical piece was attributed to Rabbi Amnon of Mainz (11th c.) for many years and recently it has become clear that it is much older and can be dated to the period of the great Hebrew poets Yannai and Elazar ha-Kalir in the sixth and seventh centuries. See here, here, here, and here (this last link includes a translation of the narrative describing how R. Amnon composed the piyyut) for discussions about the authorship and history of Untaneh Tokef. The Beit ha-Shitta from the article in Ynet refers to Kibbutz Beit ha-Shitta which lost eleven sons during the Yom Kippur War. Below is a description of the connection between Untaneh Tokef and Kibbutz Beit ha-Shitta from this article.

The late Yair Rosenblum composed a haunting new melody for the piyyut, combining vocal and instrumental motifs from the Ashkenazi and Eastern cantorial traditions, adding just the right measure of tension, turning it into a lovely and brilliant musical creation that gives rise among its listeners to the sense of trembling, mystery and exaltation of a genuine prayer of the heart. The renewed version of “Unetaneh Tokef” as sung by a member of Kibbutz Beit Hashitah, which lost many of its sons in the Yom Kippur War, raised the piyyut to the level of a truly popular prayer, in the true meaning of the term. In recent years, as the holidays of the Hebrew month of Tishrei draw near, Yair Rosenblum’s “Unetaneh Tokef” is played on the radio and now occupies a respectable place among Israel’s unique and select national songs, and has also found its way into the liturgy of traditional synagogues.

Here is Yair Rosenblum’s version of Untaneh Tokef, also see this post at the blog Teruah. May everyone have a meaningful fast.

One Response to “Untaneh Tokef”

  1. 1
    david:

    ניתוח ספרותי מעולה (בעברית)של הפיוט
    http://pshita.cet.ac.il/GlobalBoard.aspx?Asp=403&FID=74973&Index=008f

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