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Why is the Kol Nidrei Yom Kippur prayer said in Aramaic?

by Rabbi Yossi Marcus

  

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The prayer was instituted while the Jews were living in Babylonia, where the common language was Aramaic. It was important that everyone understand the prayer, since it is the annulment of vows (which would be meaningless if you did not know what you were saying).1

Footnotes

  • 1. Levush 619:1
TAGS: kol nidrei

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COMMENTS

Language of Kol Nidrei

Posted by: Anonymous on Jan 06, 2005

Dear Rabbi Marcus,

Recently I was reading about Nusach Italki, the rite of Italian Jews that are neither Ashkenazi nor Sephardi. One of the interesting points about that nusach is that Kol Nidrei, or rather Kol Nedarim is in fact recited in Hebrew.

Their rite is practiced in several synagogues accross Italy, including Rome's main syangogue, as well as the Italian syangogue in Jerusalem.

understanding

Posted by: Anonymous, Calgary, AB, Canada on Sep 28, 2005

"It was important that everyone understand the prayer"...

Is it not still important? It would seem that if the reason for keeping the prayer in Aramaic was so people would understand, every country should change to say that prayer in their native tongue or at least in Hebrew.

Editor's Comment

Tradition, tradition... Yes, it is very important for one to understand the prayers, and fortunately today, when virtually everyone is literate, there is no excuse for one not to study the prayer text, or at the very least to have a prayer book which is translated in to the vernacular.

RELATED CATEGORIES

Holidays » Yom Kippur » The Prayers