Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Melech Elyon variant

I meant to post this a while back, but didn't get a chance until now.

My father has a "scholarly" machzor, which
has the original text of Melech Elyon. Basically, instead of what we have, which is a bunch of Melech Elyons with an ending of two Melech Evyons followed by one final Melech Elyon, the original had about twice as many stanzas, and a good many more Melech Evyons. The original alternated between these Melech Elyons and Melech Evyons throughout.

My guess is that they stopped this practice because the guy who got peticha began to develop carpal tunnel syndrome.



thanbo said...

Looking at the other verses in the Goldschmidt machzor (pp. 167-8), I can see why the rest was suppressed. A lot of the other lines could be seen as making fun of the earthly king or czar or kaiser or emperor. Which would explain their being left out. The ones left it may be more obviously about the king of the underworld, as it were.

joshwaxman said...

"in the Goldschmidt machzor"
yup, that's the one...

"I can see why the rest was suppressed..."
i like the theory. it makes a lot of sense. i'll check it out, as well as the bit about king of the underworld.


thanbo said...

I didn't mean "king of the underworld" literally, except insofar as Xtian censors would read it that way. But IIRC there are occasional mentions in the literature of a chief Satan; how much those might be influenced by Xtianity, I don't know.

Yosef Greenberg said...

I hope you weren't serious with that one.

It almost obvious that when theres a piyut denigrating a king (even in relation to God), that it might have gotten censored out along the way.

Don't tell me you didn't think of this originally.

joshwaxman said...

"I hope you weren't serious with that one."

of course not; it was all a build-up to the carpal tunnel joke.

whether it was the result of censorship, i don't know. it would be interesting if it were. but rather than being the most likely to interpret at king of the underworld, what we have are the first and the last of the Melech Evyons, as representatives. i think i've seen the same in other piyutim, with most of the aleph bet acrostic stripped out. this could be done for space and time, or to focus more on the praise of God as king instead of the comparison. i'd have to look at those other acrostics (which iirc exist) in the Goldschmidt machzor to see if censorship could be said to have guided it there. so it is a "nice" possibility, but not necessarily the only one.


Yosef Greenberg said...

` this could be done for space and time, or to focus more on the praise of God as king instead of the comparison



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