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The Jewish Prayer Book - A Book of Jewish Thoughts

The Jewish Prayer Book - A Book of Jewish Thoughts 


WHEN we come to view the half-dozen or so great Liturgies of the world purely as religious documents, and to weigh their value as devotional classics, the incomparable superiority of the Jewish convincingly appears. The Jewish Liturgy occupies its pages with the One Eternal Lord; holds ever true, confident, and direct speech with Him; exhausts the resources of language in songs of praise, in utterances of loving gratitude, in rejoicing at His nearness, in natural outpourings of grief for sin; never so much as a dream of intercessors or of hidings from His blessed punishments; and, withal, such a sweet sense of the divine accessibility every moment to each sinful, suffering child of earth. Where shall one find a hymn of universal faith like the Adon Olam, of mystical beauty like the Hymn of Glory50; or services so solemn, touching, and tender as those appointed for Yom Kippur? Compare the misery, gloom, and introspection surrounding other requiem and funeral services, with the chastened, dignified sobriety of the Hebrew prayer for the dying,51 and the healthy, cheerful manliness of the Mourner’s Kaddish.
Again, there is most refreshing silence in regard to life-conditions after death. Neither is there any spiteful condemnation of the followers of other faiths; the Jew is singularly free from narrow intolerance.
Certainly the Jew has cause to thank God, and the fathers before him, for the noblest Liturgy the annals of faith can show.
G. E. BIDDLE, 1907.

Excerpt From A Book of Jewish Thoughts By Dr. J H. Hertz

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