Nusach ( nusaħ, modern pronunciation nusakh or núsakh),Nosaḥ (Hebrew: ) in the Yemenite tradition. plural nuschaot or nusachim, is a concept in Judaism that has two distinct meanings. One is the style of a prayer service (or " rite") ( Nosach Teiman, Nusach Ashkenaz, Nusach Sefard or Nusach Ari); another is the melody of the service depending on when the service is being conducted.
MeaningsNusach primarily means "text" or "version", the correct wording of a religious text or liturgy. Thus, the nusach tefillah is the text of the prayers, either generally or in a particular community. In common use, nusach has come to signify the entire liturgical tradition of the community, including the musical rendition. It is one example of minhag, which includes traditions on Jewish customs of all types.
Nusach AshkenazNusach Ashkenaz is the style of service conducted by Ashkenazi Jews, originating from central and eastern Europe. It is the shortest lengthwise (except for the "Baladi" Yemenite Nusach). It may be subdivided into the German, or western, branch ("Minhag Ashkenaz"), used in western and central Europe, and the Polish/Lithuanian branch ("Minhag Polin"), used in eastern Europe, the United States and among Ashkenazim, particularly those who identify as " Lithuanian", in Israel. The form used in the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth, known as "Minhag Anglia", is technically a subform of "Minhag Polin" but has many similarities to the German rite. See Singer's Siddur.
Nusach SefardNusach Sefard is the style of service used by some Jews of central and eastern European origins, especially Hasidim, who adopted some Sephardic customs emulating the practice of the Ari's circle of kabbalists, most of whom lived in the Land of Israel. Textually speaking it is based on the Sephardic rite, but in melody and feel it is overwhelmingly Ashkenazi.
Nusach AriNusach Ari is a variant of Nusach Sefard, used by Chabad Hasidim.
Sephardi and Mizrachi nuschaotThere is not one generally recognized uniform nusach for Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews. Instead, Sephardim and Mizrahim follow several slightly different but closely related nuschaot. The nearest approach to a standard text is found in the siddurim printed in Livorno from the 1840s until the early 20th century. These (and later versions printed in Vienna) were widely used throughout the Sephardic and Mizrahi world. Another popular variant was the text known as Nusach ha-Hida, named after Chaim Yosef David Azulai. Both these versions were particularly influential in Greece, Iran, Turkey and North Africa. However, most communities also had unwritten customs which they would observe, rather than following the printed siddurim exactly: it is easy, from the printed materials, to get the impression that usage in the Ottoman Empire around 1900 was more uniform than it really was. Other variants include:
- the customs of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews, based on an older form of the Castilian rite, with some influence from the customs both of Italian Jews and of Northern Morocco. This version is distinguished by the near-absence of Kabbalistic elements.
- Nusah Adot Hamizrah, originating among Iraqi Jews but now popular in many other communities. These are based on the opinions of Yosef Hayyim and have a strong Kabbalistic flavour.
- Minhag Aram Soba, as used by Syrian Musta'arabi Jews in earlier centuries (the current Syrian rite is closely based on the Livorno prints).
- the Moroccan rite, also related to the text of the Livorno prints but with a strong local flavour. This subdivides into the customs of the Spanish-speaking northern strip and the Arabic-speaking interior of the country.
- formerly, there were variants from different parts of Spain and Portugal, perpetuated in particular synagogues in Thessaloniki and elsewhere, e.g. the Lisbon and Catalan rites, and some North African rites appear to reflect Catalan as well as Castilian influence.
Nosach TemanA "Temani" nosach was the standard among the Jews of Yemen. This is divided into the Baladi (purely Yemenite) and Shami (adopted from Sephardic siddurim)Note that Rabbi Shalom ben Aharon Ha-Kohen Iraqi would go to a different synagogue each Shabbath with printed Sefardic siddurim, requesting that they pray in the Sephardic rite and forcing it upon them if necessary (Rabbi Yosef Kapach, Passover Aggadta Hebrew, p. 11). versions. Both rites are recited using the unique Yemenite pronunciation of Hebrew, which Yemenite Jews, and some scholars, regard as the most authentic, and most closely related to the Hebrew of Ancient Israel. The Baladi rite is very close to that codified by Maimonides in his Mishneh Torah. One form of it is used by the Dor Daim, who attempt to safeguard the older Baladi tradition of Yemenite Jewish observance. This version used by dardaim was originally used by all Yemenite Jews near the time of Maimonides.
Nussach Eretz Yisrael
- In the period of the Geonim, Jewry in Israel followed the custom of Nussach Eretz Yisrael which is based upon the Talmud Yerushalmi (Jerusalem Talmud) while the Jewish diaspora followed the customs of the Geonim of Persia ( Bavel, "Babylon").Ha-Chilukim Bein Anshei Ha-Mizrach Uvne Eretz Yisrael, edition Margaliot, Jerusalem, 1928, "The differences between the people in the east and the people of Eretz Yisrael", from the early Geonic period; Nusach Eretz Yisrael.
- The modern Nusach Eretz Yisrael, is a recent attempt at reconstructing the nusach of Eretz Yisrael in the Talmudic/ Geonic period by Machon Shilo's Rabbi David Bar-Hayim. This reconstruction is based on the Jerusalem Talmud and documents discovered in the Cairo Genizah and other sources, and is published in the form of a siddur ("prayer book") by Yair Shaki. Rabbi Bar-Hayim's Jerusalem followers use this nusach in a public prayer service held in Machon Shilo's synagogue. Nusach Eretz Yisrael, "Halakhic Judaism", and the piskei halakha ("issued rulings, according to the Jewish law") of beth din ''Machon Shilo ("Shilo Institute") Jerusalem, Israel, are also based on Minhagei Eretz Yisrael and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
Other nuschaotIn addition, there are other nuschaot.
- Nussach HaGR"A was a very brief version of Nussach Ashkenaz written by the Vilna Gaon (otherwise known as Elijah of Vilna or the GRA) he believed that many things in prayer were added later and took them out in addition to editing some grammatical errors (according to him) and small changes in other parts as well.
- There are the Minhag Italiani and Minhag Benè Romì used by some Italian Jews.
- Closely related to these was the " Romaniote" rite Siddur Tefillot ha-Shanah le-minhag kehillot Romania, Venice 1523. from Greece where have lived an ancient, pre-Diaspora Jewish community. The surviving Romaniote synagogues are in Ioannina, Chalkis, Athens, Tel Aviv and New York, these now use a Sephardic rite but with romaniote variations, romaniote piyyutim, combined with own melodies and customs and their special form of Byzantine-Jewish Cantillation.Ross, M. S., Europäisches Zentrum für Jüdische Musik, CD-Projekt: „Synagogale Musik der romaniotischen Juden Griechenlands“ -ongoing/2016- There were formerly Romaniote synagogues in Istanbul and Jerusalem. (The customs of Corfu are a blend between Romaniote, Apulian and Sephardic rites.)Connerty, Mary C. Judeo-Greek: The Language, The Culture. Jay Street Publishing, 2003.
- There was once a French nusach, closely related to the Ashkenazi, which is now used only in certain towns in Northern Italy (see Appam).
- Distinct PersianShelomo Tal, Nosaḥ ha-Tefillah shel Yehude Paras. and Provençal Seder ha-Tamid, Avignon 1776. nuschaot also existed before being gradually replaced by the Edot Hamizrach and Spanish and Portuguese nuschaot respectively.
- Beis Aharon V'Yisrael is the nusach used by Karlin-Stolin Hasidim.