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Chapter Summary

This Judeo-Arabic prose introduction sheds light on the liturgical setting of the poems contained in the book and on how they were recited in the synagogue. The first strophe of the poem opens with the poet invoking God's power to deliver the exiled people of Israel. The poem is addressed to all the people of Israel, although the poet may well have felt a special need to comfort the exiled Karaite community of Egypt. A biblical quotation ending with דּבִּ רְַתּ precedes the refrain (also ending with דּבִּ רְַתּ) in every strophe. The refrain (pizmōn) of this strophic poem is taken from pārāshā Va-yishlah (Gen 32:4-36:43) and refers to Jacob's gift to Esau on his return from Haran. The poem ends quite organically in the final strophe with a plea to build a Third Temple, Ezekiel 40-47 contains the architectural plans, on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Keywords: Esau; Jacob; Jerusalem; Karaite prayer; Moses ben Abraham Darʿī; pārāshā Va-yishlah; people of Israel; pizmōn



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