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Bidding Information
Lot #    22268
Auction End Date    12/23/2008 11:31:30 AM (mm/dd/yyyy)
Title Information
Title (English)    Kabbalistic evening prayer book
Title (Hebrew)   
Author    [Ms. - Kabbalah]
City    North Africa
Publication Date    19th cent.
Collection Information
Independent Item    This listing is an independent item not part of any collection
Description Information
   [40] pp., 224:154 mm., ink on heavy stock, square and script letters, many diagrams, loose in contemporary boards, rubbed.
   Kabbalistic evening prayer book with heavenly names and guides for recital written in a beautiful mid-Eastern of North African hand. Keri'at Shema al ha-Mittah; "the reading of the *Shema on retiring," a prayer recited before retiring for the night. The custom to pray before going to sleep reflects man's need for protection in a state of suspended consciousness and vulnerability, especially since sleep is held to be similar to death. It was incorporated into the prayer book of nearly all Jewish communities in an almost identical form. When Arvit became established as a community prayer to be recited in the early evening, the Night Prayer became the individual concluding prayer of the day. The name Keri'at Shema al ha-Mittah refers to the central part of the prayer which is the first paragraph of the Shema. The Talmud states that he who wishes to go to sleep should say the Shema until the words Ve-hayah im shamo'a and recite the prayer Ha-Mappil to G-d "Who causes the bands of sleep to fall upon my eyes" (Ber. 60b). Some codifiers demand the recitation of the first two sections of the Shema (see R. Asher to Ber. 9 no. 23); the majority, however, require the first one only (Maim. Yad, Tefillah, 7:12; Tur and Sh. Ar., OH 239:1), to be preceded by Ha-Mappil (Maim. loc. cit., but see Tur and Sh. Ar., loc. cit.). The order of these two portions of the Night Prayer is widely accepted and is probably derived from the talmudic view that "man ought to recite the Shema and repeat it until sleep overcomes him" (TJ, Ber. 1:1, 2d). The rabbinic concept of sleep being a state of minor death is in consonance with this outlook; just as one is obliged in the last hour of life to recite the Shema and bless the unity of G-d, so one should recite the Shema at night and commend one's spirit to G-d before succumbing to sleep.
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Listing Classification
19th Century:    Checked
Other:    North Africa
Kabbalah:    Checked
Liturgy:    Checked
Language:    Hebrew
Manuscript Type
Other:    Liturgy
Kind of Judaica