"Melodies at the Right Hand of Eternity"

Автор: Zozoulia Reuven (Beit Shemesh, Israel)

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Published in Jerusalem in 1902, "Ne'iymot B'yemin Netzah" is the collective title of a trilogy of prayers and petitions that were common among the Krymchak Jews. The first book in the trilogy is a collection of hymns for the Sabbath and Saturday night, after the conclusion of the Sabbath. The second book is a collection of penitential prayers for the High Holy Days of Rosh Hashanah and Kipur. The Third and final book is a collection of various songs for joyous occasions, including minor holidays. The Hebrew text in all three books is accompanied by a rare translation into the Krymchak language, printed in traditional "square" Hebrew letters.

The trilogy's title literally means "Melodies at the Right Hand of Eternity" which is also a "pasuk," or line from the preface to the evening prayers according to the liturgy that was used by the Krymchaks. The translation was prepared by Rabbi Nissim Halevi Tchatchir ("Tchatchir" is the transliteration of his surname according to the unique Krymchak pronunciation of Hebrew; in classical Hebrew the name would be pronounced "Tzah'tzir," with a hard "h"). Like most great rabbis, he was also known by an abbreviation of his name, which in his case was comprised by the first letter of his first name and the first two letters of his last name, which together form the word "netzah" in Hebrew, which means "eternity." The title of the collection, therefore, is also a reference to its editor.

The introduction to the trilogy was written by his father-in-law, the renowned Rabbi Hayim Hizkiyahu Medini. A dynamic, revered and almost legendary figure among the Krymchaks, he had served in Karasu-Bazar as their Chief Rabbi from 1866 to 1899. During that time he established a number of schools and a yeshivah, or rabbinical academy, which contributed greatly to raising the educational level of the community. Born in Jerusalem, Rabbi Medini, who was known as the "Sedei Hemed," returned to the Holy Land at the turn of the century to expedite the publication of these books, so that "every single person among the Krymchak community" would be able to place a copy of these texts "in his own home" to read and study. In his final years he served as "Haham Bashi," or Chief Rabbi, of Hebron, Judaism's second holiest city, and died there in 1904. Now, a century later, by posting the content of these books on-line, his dream of making these texts available to everyone who cherishes the Krymchak heritage has finally been realized.

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