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Yeshua in the Prayerbook for Rosh HaShanah

Updated: 12 hours ago

In the Machzor (Prayerbook) for Rosh HaShanah, a curious name appears. At the height of the service, in the section of the TASHRAT (Tekiah, Shevarim, Teruah, i.e. different types of shofar blasts), the shofar blasts during the service of Rosh HaShanah. There is a yehi razton (may it be your will) prayer in between the shofar blasts, that says,

“Yehi razton milefancha shet’kiat tashrat sh’anachnu tokim t’hei m’rukemet hai’reeah al yadei hammunah Tartiel k’shem sheqibalta al yad Eliyahu Z”L, viY’shua Sar HaPanim v’Sar MemTet. V’timeleh aleinu b’rachamim. Baruch atah HaShem, ba’al rachamim.”

“May it be your will (before you) that the sounding of the TASHRAT that we blow be woven into the curtain by the hand of the minister, Tartiel, like the name that was received by the hand of Eliyahu (his memory be for a blessing), and Yeshua the Prince of the Face, and the Prince Metatron. And may you be filled with mercy for us. Blessed are you, Master of mercies.”

Who is “Yeshua, Prince of the Face”? The Orthodox Jewish blog, Emes v’Emunah writes, “There is no angel, Yeshua. Yeshua is Jesus.” Why does Yeshua’s name appear at this point in the Rosh HaShanah service? The name appears in various machzors, in with minor variations to this yehi ratzon prayer. Emes Ve-Emunah notes the following,

“The oldest version I found it in is the standard Machzor Kol Bo, (Hebrew Publishing Co.) that our parents and grandparents used (with the Beis Yisroel Yiddish Teitch, probably dating back to the 1920s or earlier). It is also in the Kol Bo Rav Pnimim (Zigelheim 1951), the Oahr Chudush (1978), The Machzor Rabbah (Eshkol), The Adler English translation (circa 1930s). And it is in the Artscroll, in the Ashkenaz version it is on page 436 which has the Hebrew (Yud Shin Vav Ayin) and English translation: Yeshua!” Emes Ve-Emunah: Jesus in the Machzor of Rosh HaShanah

In K’hal Publishing’s Soloveitchik Machzor, they translate ‘Yeshua’ into English, yet they interestingly explain the ‘Yeshua’ reference as referring to the Yeshua ben Yotzadak the Kohen Gadol (High Priest) from the Tanakh (Zechariah 3, 6),

“…sound be embroidered into the [heavenly] curtain by the appointed angel [טרטיא”ל], just as You accepted prayers through Elijah, who is remembered for good; Yeshua (the Kohen Gadol), minister of the Inner Chamber; and the ministering angel [מט”ט]; and may You be filled with mercy upon us. Blessed are You, Master of Mercies.” Rosh HaShanah Machzor, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik, K’hal Publishing, pg. 449

R' Gershon Henoch Leiner of Radzin has an unusual comment on this passage,

וזהו ג"כ ענין ישוע שר הפנים שנזכר ביה"ר שבין התקיעות ונרמז מפסוק הוחילי לאלהים כי עוד אודנו 'י'ש'ו'ע'ות פני בכל צרתם לו צר ומלאך פניו הושיעם ובזוה"ק וישא עיניו וירא והנה איל אחר וגו' ומלאך פניו הושיעם"סוד ישרים, ראש השנה צ״ה:א

“And this is also the matter of Yeshua, the Prince of Face, who is mentioned in the Yehi Ratzon prayer, between the shofar blasts. It is hinted at in the verse, “Have hope in God, I will praise Him for Saving Presence (Y’SH’U’A’ot Panav) (Psalm 42:6) for, “In all their troubles he was troubled, and the Angel of His Face saved them” (Isaiah 63:9). And in the Holy Scripture, it is written, "He lifted up his eyes and saw, and behold, a Ram," (Genesis 22:13) and so on, and the Angel of His Presence saved them.” Sod Yesharim, Rosh Hashanah 95:1, R’ Gershon Henoch Leiner of Radzin

In the merit of Yeshua the Messiah, may we all be inscribed into the Book of Life!


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