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The Power of Dew: Eleazar birabbi Qallir, Shivata for Dew

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Chapter Summary

In this piyyut, which embellishes all seven blessings of the Shabbat Amidah, Eleazar Birabbi Qallir composes for his listeners a riot of intertexts, images, and themes. Yannai's shivata offers a welter of diverse yet carefully interconnected units, rich with intertexts that reflect contextual, thematic, and structural needs. The specific liturgical life-setting of this work differs from those of other poems, as its distinctive form indicates: this piyyut was composed for recitation on first day of Passover in a year when that holiday coincided with the Sabbath. In recent years, scholars of piyyut have applied the term "jewellin" to the formal artistry of these poems. The theme-word of "dew" that appears throughout the piyyut weaves all its elements together and suggests that realms of meaning that appear distinct - individual and nation, literal and metaphorical, humble and grand, terrestrial and heavenly, all reflect and participate in the same divinely ordered reality.

Keywords: Eleazar Birabbi Qallir; Passover seder; piyyut; shivata



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