[b-hebrew] "Hosanna in the highest" in Hebrew?

Jason Hare jason at hareplay.com
Wed Dec 17 00:30:05 EST 2003


I think we may be a bit on the edge with this post (and its response), but I
just wanted to take a moment to say THANKS to Noam. I was trying to think of
the festival where Hoshana is used because I remember that we say it at some
point, but I couldn't remember where. I will look this up in my siddur when
I think of it next. Thanks for the pointer. (And off-point, I do agree with
your supposition, but that's not appropriate to argue on this list.) ;-)

Best regards,
Yonah Mishael ben Avraham (Jason Hare)
Missouri Southern State University

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Noam Eitan" <noameitan at yahoo.com>
To: <b-hebrew at lists.ibiblio.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2003 7:18 PM
Subject: [b-hebrew] "Hosanna in the highest" in Hebrew?


> The common expression "Hosanna in the highest" seems to translate to
> "Please save in the highest" which doesn't make sense. What's the original
> Hebrew and where does it come from?
> _____________________-
>
> Hosanna (Hoshana) is indeed save-please, or bring us salvation, please, or
Please, G-d, bring us salvation. Na is the particle of entreaty, either
translated as "please", or left untranslated.
>
> It seems strange unless you are familiar with pharisaic literature. I
don't want to step into a problematic territory, but this is not the only
place in the NT where acquaintance with Jewish customs of the time,
documented in later pharisaic literature, raises questions about the
identity and familiarity of the Gospels' writers with Jewish life and of
Hebrew. To wit, in this case:
> On each day of the Sukkot festival, after the recitation of hallel or
after musaf - each congregation according to its custom - a Torah scroll is
removed from the ark and brought to the bimah (where the Torah is read). The
chazan and congregation say the first four Hoshanot responsively. They then
circle the bimah holding the lulav and esrog and recite the longer Hoshana
prayer for the respective day of the Festival, as they appear in the Siddur.
>
> These prayers for redemption are referred to as Hoshanot because each
stanza of the prayer is accompanied by the word hoshana - a combination form
of the words hosha and na (bring us salvation, please).
>
> On the first six days of the Festival, the bimah is circled once. On
Hoshana Rabbah, the last day of the Festival, seven circles are made. This
custom commemorates the service in the Bet ha-Mikdash (The Temple) during
which the kohanim would circle the altar once daily and seven times on
Hoshana Rabbah.
>
> Hoshana Rabbah is the last day for fulfillment of the mitzvos of the four
species and dwelling in the sukkah (although there are many in the Diaspora
who dwell in the sukkah on Shemini Atzeret as well). The day is referred to
as Hoshana Rabbah (literally, the great Hoshana) because more Hoshana
prayers are recited on this day than on the other days.
>
> This day was also known as "the day of the beating of the aravah." The
Mishnah (Sukkah 4:2) records: How was the mitzvah of aravah fulfilled? There
was a place below Jerusalem called Motza. They would go down there and pick
branches of willows and would then come and place them alongside the altar
with the heads (of the willow branches) bent over the altar. They then
sounded the shofar: a tekiah, a teruah, and a tekiah. Each day they would
circle the altar once and say, "Ana Hashem Hoshiah Na (Please, G-d, bring us
salvation), Ana Hashem Hatzlichah Na (Please, G-d, bring us success)'... On
that day (i.e., Hoshana Rabbah) they circled the ahar seven times. When they
had finished they would say, "Beauty is yours, O altar, beauty is yours." As
was done during the week was done on Shabbat (i.e., i f Hoshana Rabbah fell
on a Shabbat) except (that if it was Shabbat) they would gather them (the
aravos) on the eve (of Shabbat) and place them in golden basins so that they
would not be
>  come
>  wilted.
>
> In other words, the NT describes a custom, but the author got the
festivals mixed (Pesach instead of Sukkot). Why do you think they run around
yelling "Hosanna"? The context and meaning are lost in the NT text IMVHO.)
>
>
>
> Noam
>
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