Page images
PDF
EPUB

corded ; and that thou mayest remember at thy entering, to talk of them wken thou sittest in thy house ; also at thy going out, that thou mayest look to the posts of thy gates to remember them when thou walkest by the way.

A Mezuzah is a piece of parchment, on which two passages of Scripture (Deut. vi. 4–9, and xi. 13—20) are written. The parchment is rolled together with the ends of the lines inside, apd the roll is put into a cane, or a tube of glass or tin, in which a hole is made that the word Shadai (written on the outside) may be visible. The tube is fastened to the door with a nail at each end. It is fixed on the right hand of him who enters the door.

The Jews abroad never go out of the house, or come into it, without saluting or kissing the Mezuzah as they pass.

Before the. Mezuzah is fastened to the doorpost the following grace is said, “ Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us with thy precepts, and commanded us to fix the Mezuzah.

The parchment is to be examined at proper seasons, and if it be found worn or decayed, it must be buried with some great man. The Jews are accustomed to bury phylacteries and the five books of Moses, when they are worn out, as they do not think it right to destroy any thing on which the name of God is written. It is said that four decayed copies of the five books of Moses, and several packets of old prayer-books,

* “ Modern Judaism Investigated.” By Rev. M. Margoliouth.

were buried with the late Chief Rabbi of the German Jews, Rabbi Solomon Herschell.

When a Jew changes his place of abode, he is not to take with him the Mezuzah, on penalty of the untimely death of his children, unless a Gentile is to follow him in the house which he is about to leave.

The virtues of the phylacteries, the fringes, and the Mezuzah are described, as we have before remarked, as transcendently great. “ Whoever," says the Talmud, “ has the phylacteries bound on the head and arm, and the Tsitsith (fringes) thrown over his garments, and the Mezuzah fixed on his door-posts, is protected from sin; for these are excellent memorials, and the angels rescue him from sin; as it is written, “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.' Psalm xxxiv. 7."*

It is needless again to remind our readers how these simple institutions of God have been perverted. We learn one lesson especially from such perversions; it is, how foolish does man's wisdom become when he departs from, or adds to, the appointments of God.

Let us adhere closely to the simple truths of the revealed will of God. Learn what He says as it regards our own salvation, and as it regards our duty towards others, and especially towards his chosen people Israel.

* Allen's “ Modern Judaism." '

THE CREED OF THE JEWS.

In the prayer-books of the Jews are many prayers which interest both by their beauty and fervour. Many defects they have, and many errors ; but the one great want of them all is the name of Jesus.

They have no Divine Mediator, no atoning priest; cannot rest on the precious promise of Messiah, “ Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full."

We intend to give extracts from the prayers of the Jews from time to time, that our readers may learn from their own books of devotion the 'character of their religious services. We begin with the creed of the Jews. It stands near the commencement of their morning service in the book of daily prayers.

Some of its articles are doubtless intended as a denial of the doctrine of the Trinity, and the temporary character of the ceremonial law. We can as truly assert the Unity of God as do the first articles of the Jewish Creed. We, too, can say of the moral law, that it is unchangeable ; that God will not alter its principles, for he hath declared it to be holy, just, and good. The creed is as follows :

1. Let the living God be magnified and be praised; he exists, and there is no period to his existence.

2. He is unity, and there is no unity like unto his unity ; he is concealed, yea, also, there is no end to his unity.

3. lie hath no bodily likeness, nor is he corporeal ; his holiness is incomputable.

4. He was the antecedent to every thing which was created; he is the first, and there is no beginning to his beginning.

5. Behold, he is the Lord of the universe, to all that is formed; shewing his magnificence ard his kingdom.

6. The inspiration of his prophecy he gave unto his peculiar and glorified people.

7. Yet never hath there arisen in Israel a prophet like unto Moses, who beheld the similitude of his glory.

8. A law of truth hath the Almighty given to his people, by the hand of our prophet, the faithful of his house.

9. The Almighty will never change nor alter his law, for evermore there is none but his.

10. He observeth and knoweth all our secrets: he beholdeth the end of every thing before it is begun.

11. He rewardeth every saint according to his work: he yieldeth to the wicked evil, according to his wickedness.

12. He will send at the end of days our Anointed, to redeem those who hope at that end for his salvation.

13. The Almighty will quicken the dead with the multitude of his

mercy.

Blessed be his name and his praise, for ever and ever.

The following hymn succeeds immediately to the creed. It is in some respects similar to it, but is also expressive of the worshipper's hope and trust in that Lord, whose being and perfection the creed had announced.

.

Universal Lord ! who the sceptre swayed,

Ere creation's first wondrous form was framed ; When by his will Divine, all things were made,

Then,-King, Almighty, was his name proclaimed !
When all shall cease, and this world's system o'er,

Then he tremendously alone will reign ;
Who was, who is, and who will evermore

In most refulgent glory still remain.
Sole God ! uneiļualled and beyond compare :

Without division or associate :
Without commencing date, or final year-

Omnipotence is his, and regal state.
Ile is my God, my living Redeemer,

My sheltering rock in a distressed hour ;
My Refuge, my Standard, and Protector,

My lot's disposer when I seek his power.
Into His hands my spirit I consign,

Whilst wrapt in sleep, and when again I wake :
And with my spirit my body I resign-

The Lord's with me, no fears my soul shall shake.*

THE JEWS IN ROME.

We gave, a short time since, a brief account of the Jews in Rome, That city has been visited with heavy rains, which have caused the overflow of the Tiber, and deluged many parts of the city. The Ghetto, in which the Jews reside, is the lowest part of Rome, and the poor

inhabitants suffered much from terror, and from the destructive power of the waters. Letters from Rome, written by C. Salaman, Esq., and printed

From “ The Form of Daily Prayers, according to the custom of the German and Polish Jews, as read in their Synagogues and used in their families.”—London : Printed and sold by H. Abrahams, 25, Houndsditch. A. M, 5596.

« PreviousContinue »