|Learn to sing Sim Shalom --- The Last Blessing of the Amidah|
All transliterations, commentary, and audio recordings are copyright © 1997, 1998, 2002, 2009 by
Jordan Lee Wagner. All rights reserved.
Here are some of the most popular melodies for Sim Shalom:
Sim Shalom (Grant Peace)
[i] In many contexts, shalom can be taken as a reference to the utopian future, the completed creation...
... In the ancient Temple,[ii] the final element of the service was the Priestly Blessing over the assembled people.[iii] This is called "Birchat Kohanim" in Hebrew. The climactic final thought in the Temple was for "peace." In essence, the people were "dismissed" with the words of Numbers 6:24-26.
In the morning Amidah, the last prayer is Sim Shalom, which is an elaboration and expansion of the original Priestly Blessing.[iv] Sim Shalom recasts it into the formal structure of a fixed benediction, thereby rendering it appropriate for an individual or reader in the absence of an active priesthood...
The last benediction has two forms, "Sim Shalom" (Grant Peace) and "Shalom Rav" (Great Peace). Sim Shalom is used in Shacharit and Musaf. Shalom Rav is used for Mincha and Ma-ariv. This is another example of rabbinic compromise. (Some Sephardic communities have never adopted Shalom Rav).
Since many Jews only go to synagogue on Friday night (Ma-ariv, when the Amidah is not repeated aloud) and Saturday morning (Shacharit and Musaf), they only hear Sim Shalom. The exceptions are Reform Jews, who have a very lovely modern melody[iv] for Shalom Rav that is often sung aloud on Friday nights.
[i] This paragraph has been taken from a private letter, but is believed to have originated in a published source that I have been unable to identify. I'd welcome any information that would enable proper attribution in the future.
[ii] c.f., Sifre Numbers XXXIX:I to XLIII:II.
[iii] c.f., Numbers 6:23 & 27; Mishnah Tamid 5:1 & 7:2.
[iv] c.f., Sifre Deuteronomy Piska 62.
[v] On Sabbaths in Israel, and on festivals and High Holy Days in the United States, the priests (i.e., the descendants of Aaron) still perform this recitation. (These individuals will be described in more detail below, in the description of the Torah-Reading Section of the service.) Normally, the reader chants it.
[vi] c.f., Leviticus 9:22
[vii] c.f., Betzah 21.
[vii] The tune was written by Jeff Klepper.
--- adapted from "The Synagogue Survival Kit" by Jordan Lee Wagner, publ. by Rowman & Littlefield. 1997.
|Last Updated on Monday, 14 December 2009 20:04|