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humble demeanour, they cover themselves with a white embroidered linen
cloth, of an oblong figure, called the TALED, and then proDivine service.
nounce the benediction contained in Numbers, chapter X. “Blessed be thou,” &c. Some Jews only cover their heads with the Taled, but others bring it close about their necks, that no object may divert their thoughts, and that their attention to the prayers may in no ways be interrupted.
In the next place they put on the armlets and fore-head-pieces, called TePhilim, or Phylacteries ; -meaning that which is worn during the time of prayer.
The Tephilim are made as follows :- they take two slips of parchment, and write on them with great accuracy, and with ink made for that particular purpose, these four passages, in 'square letters, from Exodus, chapter xiii. 1-3, 5-6, 8-10, 11-13.
These two slips of parchment are rolled up together, and wrapped in a piece of black calf's-skin :after which the latter is fixed upon a thick square piece of the same skin, leaving a slip thereof fastened to it, of about a finger's breadth, and nearly a cubit and a half long. One of these Tephilim is placed on the bending of the left arm ; and after they have made a small knot in the slip, they wind it round the arm in a spiral line, till the end thereof reaches the end of the middle finger : as for the head TEPHILA, they write the four passages before mentioned, upon four distinct pieces of vellum, which, when stitched together, make a square: upon this they write the letter Scin, and over it they put a square piece of hard calf's-skin, as thick as the other, from which proceed two slips of the same length and brea as the former. They put this square piece upon the middle of their forehead. The slips going round their heads, form a knot, behind, in the shape of the letter Daleth, and then hang down before upon the breast. The forehead-pieces are usually put on in the morning only, with the Taled. Some, indeed, wear them at their noon prayers too; but there are very few who wear even the Taled at those prayers, excepting the Reader.
David Levi says, that “all Jews, every morning, during the reading of the SHEMA, and whilst saying the nineteen prayers, must have on the Phylacteries ; because it is a sign of their acknowledging the Almighty to be the Creator of all things, and that he has power to do as he pleases. On the Sabbath and other festivals, we do not put on the Phylacteries, because the due observation of these days is a sufficient sign of itself, as expressed in Exodus, chapter xxxi. verse 12.”
God is said to enter the synagogue as soon as the door is opened, and when ten are assembled together, and each of them thirteen years and a day old, at least, (for otherwise those prayers cannot be sung after a solemn manner,) then he is said to be in the midst of them, and the Chazan, or Reader, goes up to the table, or altar, or stands before the Ark, and begins to sing prayers aloud, in which the rest of the congregation join, but in a softer and less audible voice,
The form and mode of prayer is not uniform amongst the Jewish nations. The Germans sing in a louder tone than the rest. The Eastern and Spanish Jews sing much after the same manner as the Turks; and the Italians soft and slow. Their prayers are longer or shorter, according as the days are, or are not, festival. In this particular, too, the several nations differ greatly.
The Jews, in their prayers, rely on two things, viz., on the mercy and goodness of God, and on the innocence and piety of their forefathers. For which reason, they mention Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and some others, both patriarchs and prophets. “Do thou, O God,” say they, “ vouchsafe to hear us, and grant us such and such a favour, through the merits of all those just and holy men who have sprung up in every generation among the Israelites.”
In regard to their posture during divine service, they are to stand without leaning as much as possibly they can : their heads are to be covered, and their bodies girt with a belt, to separate the heart from the lower parts, which are impure. Their hands and faces are to be carefully washed before they presume to enter into the synagogue. They must not touch anything whilst they are at their prayers which is foul and nasty, and their minds must be prepared, at least an hour, for their prayers, before they repeat them.
The person who prays must turn towards Jerusalem, join his feet straight, lay his hands on his heart, and fix his eyes on the ground. He must avoid gaping, spitting, blowing his nose, with the utmost precaution.
They may pray aloud, when at home, for the edification and improvement of their servants and family; but at the synagogue it is sufficient to say their
prayers as softly as they please, if they do but move their lips ; for it is requisite that the congregation should be well satisfied that they
When they depart from the synagogue, they must never turn their backs upon the Hechal, which contains the sacred books of the law. They must go out slowly, in conformity to those words in Job, the 14th chapter, and 16th verse, “ Thou hast counted my steps."
They must refrain likewise from casting their eyes upon any beautiful objects that may raise their inordinate affections. Whenever they pass the gate of the synagogue, they are obliged to put up an ejaculatory prayer.
Even when upon a journey, let a Jew be ever so far from the place where he set out, he must say a prayer with his face turned that way, and repeat some passages out of the Scriptures which relate to travellers.
The rabbins have divided the five books of Moses into forty-eight or fiftytwo lessons, called PARASCIOD, or divisions ; and one of them is read every
week in their synagogues : so that in the compass of a year,
whether it consists of twelve or thirteen months, they read the whole book through. On Mondays and Thursdays, after having said their penitential prayers, they take the SEFAR TORA, or book of the laro, out of the Ark before mentioned, and whilst that verse of the 34th Psalm,
O praise the Lord with me,” &c. and some others are repeating, they place it on the desk; where being opened and unrolled, they desire three persons to read the beginning of the PARASCIA, which means section or chapter, in the same place with them. And the whole congregation repeat some words of it, which are preceded and followed with a blessing. After this, the Reader gives them his benediction, and they all promise either to bestow something on the poor, or to contribute towards the necessities of the synagogue. Then the Sefar Tora is held up wide open, and the
Reader, showing the writing thereof, says to the congregation, according to Deuteronomy, chapter iv. verse 44, “ This is the law which Moses set before,” &c. The Levantine Jews perform this ceremony first of all. After this declaration, the book is rolled up and covered, and then shut up in the ark. Besides this, no day must pass without reading some portion of the law at home.
This manner of reading the five books of Moses in the synagogue, and inviting a greater or smaller number of the congregation to read it with them, was ordered by Esdras, and is observed on all fasts and festivals.
As some men, out of a zeal for religion, are fond of being employed in certain ceremonies, such as taking the book out of the ark, and laying it up again, &c., &c., that indulgence is generally granted to such as are most generous and free of their money. Whatever is so collected, is distributed either amongst the poor, or employed towards furnishing the necessaries of the synagogue.
An epitome of the tenets, ordinances, and traditions of all the rabbins up to the time of Rabbi Juda, about 120 years after the destruction of Jeru
salem, called the Mishna, was divided into six parts; the The Ghemara first treats of agriculture ; the second of festivals ; the third or Talmud.
of marriages, and everything relating to women; the fourth of law-suits, and of the disputes which arise from loss or interest, and of all manner of civil affairs ; the fifth, of sacrifices ; and the sixth, of things clean and unclean. This being very concise, occasioned various disputes ; a circumstance which prompted two rabbins of Babylon, to the compilation
all the interpretations, controversies, and additions which had been written upon the Mishna, together with other supplementary matter. Thus they placed the Mishna as the text, and the rest as an exposition ; the whole forming the book called the Talmud Babeli, the Talmud of Babylon, or Ghemara, which signifies the book of perfection.
SEC. II. — CUSTOMS AND LAWS OF THE ANCIENT JEWS.
Soon after the Jews, or the children of Israel, were delivered from Egyptian slavery, Moses, their leader, delivered them a body of laws,
which he declared to them he received from God, whom he Customs and laws of the an. had conversed with, face to face, on Mount Sinai. These cient Jews.
laws consisted of precepts which related both to the worship of God, and their duty to each other : but such was their attachment to their former customs and religion, that while Moses was absent in procuring the divine law, the people made a golden calf which they danced round, and worshipped as the true God. This was done in imitation of what they had seen in Egypt.
The most distinguishing of all the Jewish ceremonies, before their reception of the Mosaic laid, was that of circumcision. This, from the time
of Abraham, was always performed on the eighth day after Circumcision.
the birth of the child, in order to distinguish them from the surrounding tribes, who made it a fixed rule to circumcise their children in the thirteenth year.
By tho Mosaic law, the seventh day of the week was to be kept sacred; but this was no more than the revival of an ancient institution, as appears
from Genesis, c. 2. Sacrifices were enjoined, and a disSabbath.
tinction was made between clean and unclean animals. This distinction seems to have been rather political than religious ; for had swine's flesh been eaten in the wilderness, or even in the land of Canaan, it might have been prejudicial to their health. Another reason has been assigned for this prohibition ; namely, to make a distinction between them and all other nations in the universe.
At the celebration of their grand solemnities and sacrifices, persons were to bring the victim to the priest, who laid his hand upon its head, and
then read over to the congregation aloud all the sins which Sacrifices.
the parties confessed. The victim was then slain, and when all the blood was extracted from the body, the fat was burned to ashes, and the other parts remained the property of the priests. During the time the children of Israel remained in the wilderness they had no temple, because they had no fixed place of residence; but, to supply that deficiency, Moses and Aaron made an Ark or Tabernacle, which was carried by the Levites from place to place.
Of all the ceremonies imposed on the Jews, none serves more to point out the notion of an atonement for sin, than that of the “ Scape-Goat." This ceremony was performed once in every year, and in the following
The goat was taken to the Tabernacle, and, in the hearing of all the people, the priest read a list of the sins which had been confessed. The people acknowledged their guilt. Then taking the scroll, the priest fixed it upon the goat, which was immediately conducted to the wilderness, and never more heard of. This being over, the messengers returned, and then the people received absolution. The law delivered by Moses to the Jews contained not only directions for the manner in which sacrifices were to be offered, and, indeed, the whole service, first of the tabernacle and then of the temple,-but, likewise, a system of moral precepts. The distinctions of persons, according to the different ranks in life, were pointed out. Women were not permitted to wear the same habit as the men. Young persons were commanded to stand up in a reverent manner before the aged, and to treat them with every mark of respect. The same justice was to be done to strangers as to free-born subjects. No stranger was to be chosen king over them; for, as they were surrounded by heathen nations, a stranger, having the civil power in his hands, might have led them into idolatry. They were commanded not to abhor, nor treat with contempt, the Edomites ; because they were the descendants of Esau, the elder brother of Jacob : nor were they to treat the Egyptians with cruelty.
Slavery was permitted by the law of Moses, but slaves or bondmen were not to be treated with cruelty ; and the reason assigned was, that the children of Israel had themselves been slaves in the land of Egypt. Every widow and orphan were to be considered as objects of compassion ; and those who treated them with cruelty were to be considered as objects of the Divine displeasure. Nay, it was further threatened in this law, that those who oppressed the widow and the fatherless should die an ignominious death; that their widows should be exposed to want, and their children subjected to hardships.
The duty of charity was strongly inculcated by the Mosaic economy ; for whatever was left of the fruits of the earth in the field, they were not to go back to gather ; it was for the poor and needy; the slaves were to enjoy it, and so were the widows and fatherless. The tribe ‘of Levi, to whom the priesthood was confined by law, were not to have any local inheritance, but they were to dwell in the presence of their brethren, and one-tenth part of the fruits of the earth was to be set aside for their subsistence. These Levites, however, were commanded to relieve the widow and the fatherless.
In every city, town, or village, some of the most respectable of the inhabitants, or elders of the people, were to be appointed judges ; and in the administration of justice they were strictly commanded to act impartially.
No respect was to be paid to the characters or rank of perJudges.
sons; and a dreadful curse was pronounced against such as should take bribes. These judges sat in the gates of the cities; which practice still prevails in many of the Eastern nations. The origin of this custom is of great antiquity; but the end and design of it has never been properly accounted for, which is the more surprising, because the custom itself is very emblematical and expressive.
There was, however, an appeal from these inferior courts, whether relating to matters of a civil or a criminal nature : and this appeal was very solemn. The party who thought himself injured, entered his appeal before the
supreme judge or the king, who called to his assistance the whole body of priests and Levites; and the majority of votes determined the affair. If either of the contending parties refused to abide by the final decision, he was condemned to suffer death; for not to acknowledge such a solemn judgment, was to deny the authority of God himself, who had delegated his authority to the judges, priests, and Levites.
The person who spoke disrespectfully of a judge, was considered as a blasphemer ; and if he was found guilty by the evidence of two or three witnesses, then he was to be put to death ; for to revile a judge was to revile God, he being considered as his representative on earth.
The Jewish slavery was two-fold, and arose from a variety of circumstances. When men were reduced to poverty, it was in the power of their
creditors to sell them : but they were not to be treated as Slavery.
strangers; they were to be treated in the same manner as we do hired servants; and when the year of jubilee took place, they, and their wives, with their children, were to be set at liberty, and they were to return to the possessions of their ancestors. These persons who were purchased, or in other words, taken into a state of servitude, were not to be sold by their masters, nor were they to be treated with any sort of severity. When a servant was discharged, his master was to give him as much corn, wine, oil, and other necessaries, as he and his wife and children could carry home to their houses.
In the patriarchal age, the power of masters over their servants was unlimited, for they had a right to put them to death whenever they pleased; but after the children of Israel had returned from Egypt, this power was confined within proper bounds. Such as engaged for a limited time were to have leave to go out at the expiration of it; and if a man was married when he entered into servitude, his wife and children were to be set at