Omer Learning 2019: Day 44 | Siddur Q & A: We add the phrase ‘yoshvei tev…

Today is 44 days, which is 6 weeks and 2 days of the Omer

Instructions for counting the omer are found on our Omer Overview Page. You can find the specific blessing for today at chabad.org.

We’re dedicating new Siddurim on the first day of Shavuot. In honor of this wonderful occasion, we’re using the counting of the Omer to learn about the siddur.

Enjoy today’s siddur related question and answer, which was provided by Rabbi Bass.

We add the phrase ‘yoshvei tevell’ to the end of our kaddishes. Why?

We add the words “ve’al kol yoshvei Tevel” to the Kaddish and to a few other blessings in our services. The words mean “and for all the inhabitants of the earth.” We usually add this phrase to prayers that ask for peace. In the 1980’s, many Jewish communities around the world started adding that phrase with the understanding that while peace for Israel is a wonderful thing, peace is not achieved unilaterally. Based on the prophetic vision of a peaceful world, as reflected in the prophetic books, many communities started adding this phrase, expressing in our prayers the desire for peace for the whole world. This phrase is now added in print to our new Siddur Lev Shalem!

Adding the sentiment of universal peace is not new to our siddurim. For example, in the prayer Sim Shalom found on morning Amidah, the word “ba’olam”, which means “in the world”, seems to us to have always been there. However, this word was added in the Seder Teffilot Israel, of 1946 – then, the new Conservative Movement prayer book. According to the editorial committee,

“In Sim Shalom, the concluding blessing of the Amidah, it was felt that the universal note should be made more explicit. Basing itself upon a reading in the Siddur of Rabbenu Saadya Gaon sim shalom ba’olam, the Commission therefore has amplified the passage to read: sim shalom tovah ubrakhah ba’olam hen vahesed v’rahamim alenu v’al kol yisrael amekha.”

Adding words of peace and love in our prayers is a practice that has long roots in our tradition. We have an understanding that peace is a goal, a complex one, to be achieved. By adding this phrase, it becomes truly our prayer that the world will be peaceful and redeemed soon, in our times.