Professor David Rosenthal, 'Tefillin Blessing in Eretz Israel and in Babylonia', Tarbiz, 79 (5770/71), pp. 63-86, draws attention to a difference in the practices of Eretz Israel and Babylonia concerning the single blessing recited in late antiquity over tefillin. In Eretz Israel the final words were 'al mitzvat tefillin, on the commandment of tefillin', whereas in Babylonia they were 'lehaniaḥ tefillin, to place tefillin', or 'al hanaḥat tefillin, on the placing of tefillin'. This difference, I suggest, is part of a broader variation in the practice of blessings over mitzvot. Three models are found for the concluding words of blessings over mitzvot: one in which there is express mention of the word mitzvah (vetzivanu al mitzvat X, and commanded us the commandment X), and two in which the reference to mitzvah is replaced by the infinitive (vetzivanu laʿasot) or by the action noun (vetzivanu ʿal haʿasiah). Whereas with respect to some mitzvot there is unanimity concerning the form of the blessing, with respect to others there is a difference in practice - sources from Eretz Israel display the first model, sources from Babylonia display the second or third. The difference may have been more far-reaching than is evident in our sources today, for some of the evidence may have been contaminated by the influence of the one tradition on the other, as indeed happened in the case of the blessing over tefillin.
|Translated title of the contribution||Blessings over Mitzvot in Eretz Israel and in Babylonia: Further to David Rosenthal,'Tefillin Blessing in Eretz Israel and in Babylonia|
|Journal||Tarbiz: a quarterly for Jewish studies|
|State||Published - 2010|