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A HITHERTO UNKNOWN TERM IN MEDIAEVAL 
HEBREW PROSODY 

In the very rare liturgical rite entitled jnJD njl^sia nDljij nitno 
iT'Jli'NCDNp (Salonica, 1526) there is found a number of Piyyutim, 
where the word ^1DJ is printed on the margin after the first 
stanza (comp. fol. 72 a, 91 b, 95 a, 96 b). This has not attracted 
the attention of scholars, and the meaning of the word has 
remained an enigma. In one of the poems of Moses ibn 
Gikatilla, published in the Journal of Jewish Lore and Philosophy 
(Cincinnati, 1919), pp. 313-17, this word occurs in the abbreviated 
form 'dj, which led me to state that 11DJ was a term placed in 
some poems at the end of the first stanza (comp. ibid., p. 314, 
note 9). But the reason for this usage as well as the meaning 
of the word remained a puzzle. 

Lately, however, I came across four poems, published by 
Dr. Mann in the second volume of his Jews in Egypt and 
Palestine (pp. 260-3), ^" examination of which helped to solve 
this problem. 

These four poems are written in one metre and each stanza 
ends with the same phrase '':''3''n nnsCD pa'^, and besides, the 
first letters of the four poems form the acrostic pnV, all of which 
would go to prove that these four poems were only four stanzas 
or parts of one and the same poem. The only argument against 
this would be the fact that each of these parts has a different set 
of rhymes. At the end of the first part, however, there occurs 
again the abbreviation 'dj. This led me to examine all the 
poems where the word "IIDJ occurs, and it was found that each 
one of them consisted of stanzas of different rhymes, but each 
stanza ended with a verse which had the same rhyme as the first 

391 



392 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Stanza. In the case of the poems published by Mann each stanza 

ended with a couplet having the same rhyme as the first stanza. 

Bearing these facts in mind it suggested itself to me that the 

word ^1DJ was placed at the end of the first stanza to safeguard 

against the error of considering the following stanzas as separate 

poems on account of the difference in the rhymes. "11D3 is, 

therefore, in my opinion, not a Hebrew word but a derivative 

of the Arabic j^ ' to collect ', and is used as a technical term to 

indicate that one rhyme, or one couplet, connects or collects the 

various stanzas into one poem. 

Israel Davidson. 

Jewish Theological Seminary of America.