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From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel) Date: Tue, 20 May 1997 21:47:18 -0400 Subject: Petition vs Grandeur in Prayer It seems that Jordan Wagner and I are finally in agreement about the Ravs statement about Jewish vs Christian music[V26n59]. I just wanted to supplement this agreement with some sources As Jordan notes the Ravs comments that Jewish [Shmoneh Esray] music is petionary is >>You've really said something about the trends in the text rather than in the music>> What I would like to point out is that this is more than a "trend"--it is a law: The Rambam, citing Gemarah's states in Prayer 9: 7 >>..and similarly a person who prays should not have alot of praise (=granduer) (e.g. he shouldn't say): The Almighty, the Great, The Warrior, The Awesome, The Strong, The Controller, The Brazen... because it is not humanly possible to completely state all his praise>> In fact the Talmud says that if Moses had not used the 4 attributes in Dt 10:17 then we could not use them. Although I have not heard explicitly about the Christian laws of prayer it seems to me that Christians in their texts, choirs(vs solo chazans) and music set as their goal the praise of G-d. Let me put it another way (and I think this will further clarify the agreement that started to evolve between Jordan and myself): The Rav isn't claiming that Christian music/prayer/texts/choirs cannot >>move you to tears>>(Jordan's own words) but rather he is claiming that Christians have set as one of their prayer goals the magnification and praise of G-d and that this particular goal (possibly among other goals) in wrong according to Jewish thinking. Thus I think it would be clearer if I further change my position and state that the Ravs comments were not necessarily about TRENDS in the prayer / music but rather about GOALS in the prayer / music. The main goal of Jewish Prayer is not for us to Praise G-d but to be aware of our helplessness before Him. Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d.;ASA; rhendel @ mcs drexel edu