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Friday, March 2, 2012

ELEH EZKERAH (Martyrology Prayer)

As part of the penitential prayers of the Musaf Service on Yom Kippur, the traditional prayer book includes a martyrology of the death of the ten Rabbis for the Sanctification of G-d's Name. The events referred to, took place during the Hadrianic persecution following the year 135 C.E. With the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, in the year 70, the Jews had lost their Temple and their country, but not their independence. The fate meted out to the ten Rabbis is graphically depicted in the following version attributed to Rabbi Judah. *

It is not common today to hear the entire story in poetic form recited aloud.  While listening, follow along with a Machzor as my father interprets this meaningful prayer.

The prayer Sarfei Maloh, which is in the middle of ELEH EZKERAH has become a favorite amongst today's cantors.

* Background written by Rabbi Morris Silverman

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