Jewish Law

WHO COMPOSED "ANEINU" PRAYER FOR RAIN ?

17.10.17

Question

WHO ACTUALLY COMPOSED "ANEINU" PRAYER FOR RAIN, AS FOUND IN ISRAELI SIDDURIM IN "SH"MA KOLEINU" PARAGRAPH.??-------WHICH YEAR WAS IT INCORPORATED INTO THE AMIDAH.??

Answer

 
To the Questioner, 

It is accepted that the set version of our prayers in the Shmonah Esrei Amidah was originally composed by the "Anshei Knesset Hagedolah" - the Sages of the Great Assembly who lived approximately in the Jewish year 3400 (350 BCE) - first in Babylonia and then in Israel (See Rambam, Hilchot Tefillah 1-5, who quotes the Beit Din of Ezra as the composers, who were part of the Great Assembly).

This would therefore include the prayer of "Aneinu" as well. 

However, it is logical to assume that the begining of the Aneinu prayer, "Aneinu Hashem Aneinu" was patterned after the prayer of Eliyahu Hanavi that is quoted in Melachim Alef 18-37 (see also Talmud Bavli Brachot 9b).

​The end of the blessing is similar to end of the sixth blessing that was added at the time of a public fast during the times of the Mishna (Mishnayot Taanit 2-4), which once again makes it logical to assume that the prayer of Aneinu for our set fast days at the same time as the other prayers by the Sages of the Great Assembly. However, the actual wording of the blessing as we add it today only appears later in the writings of the Rambam (approx. 1200 CE), at end of Hilchot Ahava [the varying world Jewish communities each have slight changes to the prayer according to what became customary in their place].

The additional blessing was certainly part of the Shmonah Esrei Amidah already during the time of the Talmud (approx. 300 CE), as it is cited as "Tefilat Taanit" in Talmud Taanit 13b.

With Blessing,
Rav Nachum
 

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