I have recently come across a strikingly messianic text within an orthodox machzor for Yom Kippur from the first part of the last century.
A friend of mine and fellow Messianic brother, Brian Reed, brought this to my attention a few months ago and I’ve been wanting to write on it since. However, I wanted to have the actual hard-copy of the text in my hands, before posting something I could not empirically document. This weekend, Mr. Reed graciously gave me a copy of the machzor he had purchased online. It’s all there in black and white from 1931. I think you’ll find it as fascinating as I did. This text is contained within the Musaf Amidah:
אָז מִלִּפְנֵי בְרֵאשִׁית. נָוֶה וְיִנּוֹן הֵשִׁית׃ תַּלְפִּיּוֹת מָרוֹם מֵרִאשׁוֹן. תִּכֵּן טֶרֶם כָּל עַם וְלָשׁוֹן׃ שִׁכְנוֹ עָץ שָׁם לְהַשְׁרוֹת. שׁוֹגִים לְהַדְרִיךְ בְּדַרְכֵי יְשָׁרוֹת׃ רֶשַׁע אִם הֶאְדִים. רַחֲצוּ וְהִזַכּוּ הִקְדִּים׃ קֶצֶף אִם קָצַף בַּאֲיוּמָתוֹ. קָדוֹשׁ לֹא יָעִיר כָּל חֲמָתוֹ׃ צֻמַּתְנוּ בְּבִצְעֵנוּ עַד עַתָּה. צוּרֵנוּ עָלֵינוּ לֹא גַעְתָּה׃ פִּנָּה מֶנּוּ מְשִׁיחַ צִדְקֵנוּ. פֻּלַּצְנוּ וְאֵין מִי לְצַדְּקֵנוּ׃ עֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ וְעוֹל פְּשָׁעֵינוּ. עוֹמֵם וְהוּא מְחוֹלָל מִפְּשָׁעֵינוּ׃ סוֹבֵל עַל שֶׁכֶם חַטֹּאתֵינוּ. סְלִיחָה מְצֹאלַעֲוֹנוֹתֵינוּ׃ נִרְפָּא לָנוּ בְּחַבּוּרָתוֹ. נֶצַחבְּרִיָּה חֲדָשָׁה עֵת לִבְרֹאתוֹ׃ מֵחוּג הַעֲלֵהוּ. מִשֵּׂעִיר הַדְלֵהוּ׃ לְהַשְׁמִיעֵנוּ בְּהַר הַלְּבָנוֹן. שֵׁנִית בְּיַד יִנּוֹן׃
Before he created anything, he established his dwelling (the temple). The lofty armoury he established from the beginning, before any people or language. He counselled to suffer his divine presence to rest there, that those who err may be guided into the path of rectitude. Though their wickedness be flagrant, yet hath he caused repentance to precede it, when he said, “Wash ye, cleanse yourselves.” Though he should be exceedingly angry with his people, yet will the holy One not awaken all his wrath. We have hitherto been cut off through our evil deeds, yet hast thou, O our Rock, not brought consummation on us. Our righteous anointed is departed from us: horror hath seized us, and we have none to justify us. He hath borne the yoke of our iniquities, and our transgression, and is wounded because of our transgression. He beareth our sins on his shoulder, that he may find pardon for our iniquities. We shall be healed by his wound, at the time that the Eternal will create him (the Messiah) as a new creature. O bring him up from the circle of the earth. Raise him up from Seir, to assemble us the second time on Mount Lebanon, by the hand of ינון.
מחזור ליום כפּור Prayer Book for the Day of Atonement.
English translation by Rev. Dr. A. Th. Philips. Hebrew Publishing Co.,
New York. 1931, p. 239.
Please note, all emphasis words (italics) and parenthetical comments are in the actual text, and have not been added by myself. Although there are some obvious theological issues (namely that the Messiah who was cut off is seen as remaining cut off), we can see a definitive concept of the Suffering Servant, Mashiach ben Yoseph, within conventional Judaism as an accepted norm.
The real “meat” of this discovery is as follows.
The last word is left untranslated from the Hebrew. It is the word “Yinom”, and is one of the names attributed to Messiah, taken from Psalm 72:17, which states, “May his name endure forever; may it continue [yinom] as long as the sun. All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.” Chaza”l (the sages) read this passage to say something to the effect of, “May his name continue forever as the sun. Yinon is his name! All nations will be blessed through him, and they will call him blessed.”
Translators have a difficult time with this passage, particularly due to the use of this one word. The word yinon appears to be a rare verb meaning to propagate, increase, or produce shoots (which immediately brings to mind the connection of Messiah with the term “netzer“). It is also essentially the word נון, which is the letter nun. Nun “happens” to be the fourteenth letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet, representing David HaMelech (4 + 6 + 4 = דוד). Nun is also the name of the father of Yehoshua, predecessor to Moshe.
Thank you, Mr. Reed for bringing this to my attention.
ps – I have posted a scan of the original text for anyone interested.
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