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Like Stars of Light: Eleazar (birabbi Qallir?), Yotzer Shir ha-Shirim

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Chapter Summary

A yotzer Shir ha-Shirim is a piyyut that embellishes the prayers that precede the morning Shema. The fact that Eleazar ha-Qallir authored three of the poems - the Shivata shel Tal, the Groom's Qedushta, and this prototype of yotzer - testifies both to his remarkable creativity, his tremendous productivity, and his role as a poet of pivotal importance in history of Hebrew letters. As Fleischer's initial publication makes clear, despite the disappearance of work from living liturgy, it lived on through its heirs: a translation of old forms of Song of Songs poem into new style that endured for centuries. If creation, revelation, and redemption are dominant liturgical themes of the yotzer as a whole, light and angels, who are light and fire given bodily form are the primary motifs of the Yotzer Or benediction, a prayer that, by Qallir's day, included a repetition of the mystical Qedushah.

Keywords: Eleazar ha-Qallir; Hebrew letters; piyyut; revelation; the Groom's Qedushta; yotzer Shir ha-Shirim



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