GUIDE TO SERVICES cont'd
By Rev. Dr. Louis C. Gerstein
There are four sections in the Sabbath service: The Zemiroth, Shahrith, Torah and Haftarah reading, and Musaf.
From the very start of the synagogue service which begins on page 1 of our Prayer Book the melodic tone of the service is set. On a Sabbath day which commemorates the consecration of one of our earlier synagogue buildings such as the Mill Street building of 1730 of a new month, or on any of the Festival Days, as well as the High Holy Days, the "Tehillath," praise of the Lord, which is the opening verse that introduces the service is chanted to the special melody of the day.
This section of the service contains chosen selections from the Bible, the Five Books of Moses, the Prophets, the Hagiographa, as well as the Mishnah and the Talmud.
Beginning with the "Hodu," Thanks to the Lord (page 37), are the reader leads in the congregational singing of the Psalms. Some are sung antiphonally, others in unison.
Opening of the Ark During "Zemiroth"
For Special Occasions
On a Consecration Day, a dya on which a synagogue building in the congregation's history was first opened for worship, as well as on other special occasions, the ark is opened before the "Baruh Sheamar" (page 39), by one of the worshippers present. On such a day, the scrolls within the Ark are usually bedecked with cloaks of different colors.
Az Yashir (Song of Moses)
The Song of Moses which is chanted by the entire congregation is one of the oldest melodies within our ritual. It is said by some musicologists to be among the most ancient chants used in any synagogue service.
On the seventh day of Passover and on "Shabbat Shirah," the Sabbath of Song, Az Yashir (Song of Moses) is chanted during the Torah reading. It is first recited by the reader as it would normally be read from the Torah scroll and the closing few sentences are sung by the congregation to the chant used on a Sabbath, festival or holy day.
Nishmath (The Soul of Living)
This section is sung by choir and congregation. Thereafter the service continues in much the same fashion of antiphonal response which characterized the earlier part of the service.
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