Major Trends in the Formation and Crystallization of the Qedusha

Meir Bar-Ilan

This paper will investigate the origin of the Qedusha by evaluating many types of Qedusha most of which are not known in rabbinic prayer.

First the present state of research in this field is discussed, and an attempt is made to identify some of the unique issues in this prayer. Later five types of this prayer in the normative service are briefly examined. From then on, many variations of the Qedusha are analyzed in chronological order. In each of the following literatures a Qedusha is presented and some of its differences from the rabbinic Qedusha are pointed out. These literatures are as follows: Pseudepigrapha (I, II Enoch, Testament of Abraham); Christian literature (esp. Apocalypse of St. John, Constitutiones Apostolerum, Dionysii Areopagitae), Sefer harazim, Hekhalot literature, rabbinic literature and Karaitic literature. All of these yield a new aspect for understanding the development of the Qedusha, its process of growth and crystallization.

This analysis leads to the solution of a difficult problem: the meaning of the verses that are said towards the end of Emet we-Yasib. It is argued that those verses are no other than a variation of a (hidden) Qedusha.

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last updated: December 23, 1996