September 12, 2018 8:07 am at 8:07 am #1589554
How many years back do the nusach that are used by baalei tefilah for Rosh Hashanah and Yom kippur, go? I’ve davened in yeshivas, modern orthodox, chasidish and “Baal batish” and the nusach is pretty similar across the board. I’m not talking about tunes used for piyutim, but the way psukei dzimra, brachos of krias shma, and chazoras hashats are read by the baalei tefilah sound pretty much the same, across the Ashkenaz spectrum.September 12, 2018 8:18 am at 8:18 am #1589607
I have heard it dates back to the beis hamikdash and that is why they are not to be changed.September 12, 2018 8:47 am at 8:47 am #1589626
One can trace the specifics of various nusachs from older siddurim and machzorim. While they are continually changing as people move around a new shul ends up blending the nusach of various members, it appears that if you time travelled back a millenium you would not find it horribly different, and that probably holds true even if you went back to the period immediately after the destruction of the Second Beit ha-Mikdash. Things get added (e.g. Lecha Dodi) and things get rearranged (e.g. the Hasidic nusach which borrowed some things from the Sefardim via the Ari’zel), but you would get used to it. If you don’t get flustered switiching between yeshivish/Litvish, Hasidic and German (or even various non-Ashkenazi nusachs), you wouldn’t get flustered by the nusachs you would have encountered during the early middle ages.
Melodies probably evolve faster, since they are not written down, but that also means there is no way to trace their development.September 12, 2018 2:14 pm at 2:14 pm #1590172
iacsrmma. most of the tefilos didn’t exist in their current format during the Bais Hamikdosh, as davening as we know it today didn’t exist. There were no siddurim, and the main tefilah was Shmone Esreh( which was repeated out loud because most of the didn’t know it by heart and could be yotzei by answering amen to the brachos.September 12, 2018 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #1590193
AJ: I misread the OP’s question not to be that of the actual words (which we sometimes refer to as nusach) but the melodies used (which is also referred to as nusach). It was early this morning as I was quickly reading before going to work.September 12, 2018 3:07 pm at 3:07 pm #1590206
I’m wondering specifically the way the chazzan says the words. Psukei dzimra and birches krias sham has its tune, the tune for chazoras hashatz, etc.September 12, 2018 3:07 pm at 3:07 pm #1590203
I think the original question refers to the overall melodic theme of the davening for the yomim noraim where the same melody line with the minor chords creating an ominous feeling and growing crescendos leading up to the end of the paragraph. I sometime think of musical score that is programmed to a great movie and think that hundreds of years ago (or much longer if these melodies go back to the avodah during the z’ma beis hamikdash ) that the nigunim were deliberately meant to reinforce the emotional feelings we experience while davening alternating between fear, awe, supplication and solace.September 12, 2018 3:07 pm at 3:07 pm #1590211
akuperma, the OP was asking not about the text of the tefillos, but about the “nusach”, i.e. the melodies. This Ashkenazi chazonic tradition is known (obviously hyperbolically) as “misinai”; more likely it goes back to a few centuries before the Maharil, since it was already traditional then. In other words, probably 12th century at the latest. Considering that the known history of Jews in Ashkenaz doesn’t go much further back than the 10th century, this is old.September 12, 2018 3:13 pm at 3:13 pm #1590232
The Ashkenazim brought their nusach/melodies with them from Eretz Yisroel.September 12, 2018 4:31 pm at 4:31 pm #1590245
The Maharil haKodesh says that these are MiSinai tunes. They’re so kadosh that it’s as if they go back to Har Sinai. One should not change these tunes. The most important are the tunes for the barchu for Maariv and Shachris, the tune for the Half Kaddish of Musaf, Avos, Kedusha, Neilah nusach, and the Avodah shel Yom Kippur. The chatimah of each bracha is also MiSinai.
The well known tunes for Areshet Sefateinu, Yimloch, Zochreinu, Kevakaras, etc. are written by great chazzanim of the past 100 or so years (Kwartin, Goldfarb, Zivlin, Rosenblatt, etc.)
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