Prayer Customs of Karaite Jews (New Video – By Eli Shmuel)

Karaite Jewish LearningEli Shemuel is no longer in the U.S., but he keeps on trucking. Last night the Karaite Jews of America released another learning by Eli. This time, Eli is speaking about Karaite Jewish prayer customs.

I previously wrote a little about Karaite prayer customs here. Eli’s new video goes into more detail about removing our shoes, ritual purity, the structure of the Karaite prayer. Check out the beautiful music from the Karaite Jewish choir of Israel as well.


Filed under Eli Shmuel, Full Prostration, Karaite Synagogues, Prayer, Ritual Purity, videos

9 Responses to Prayer Customs of Karaite Jews (New Video – By Eli Shmuel)

  1. אושרה

    Thank you for this teaching. I watched more of the Karaite videos on You Tube. I agree with Karaism rather than following the rabbinic traditions and additions to the Torah commandments, but I am somewhat confused. I heard Nehemia Gordon speak on Karaism, and he said that Karaites use the name Yehovah, not Adonai or HaShem, as the Karaites on the You Tube videos I watched do. He also said they do not wear kippot, as this is a rabbinic custom. Do all Karaites not believe the same things? Is Nehemia of a different sect? Thank you for “A Blue Thread.” Can you please add me to your mailing list?
    תודה רבה

    • Thank you for your questions. They are all very good.

      I am not sure where Nehemia said that Karaites use the name. The last report we have of an active Karaite community using the name is about 1200 years ago. I interviewed Nehemia here.

      Also, head coverings is an interesting question. I can say that the concept of a Kippah has been adopted by the Karaite community. I also do not know where Nehemia said that Karaites don’t wear kippot.

      Nehemia might have said that there is no ban on the name in the Karaite community (which is correct), and he might have said that the modern concept of a kippah is a rabbinical concept (which, as far as I know, is correct).

      But the issue of whether the ancient Israelites covered their heads requires a lot of research. It is possible that the ancient Israelites *did* cover their heads *and* that the kippah as we understand it is a rabbinic concept.

      I note that *if* the ancient Israelites did cover their heads, I do not see anything wrong with using a kippah to do so today – even if the kippah originated in the rabbinic community.

  2. Ilanb

    If a Karaite uses Adonai or Hashem then that is Rabbinical influenced habit.
    The names used by Rabbinic Jews in common speech is Adoshem, kel Shakai, Hashem, Elokim, Borei Olam. Yehowah is enunciated YUD, KEY, VAV, KEY.

    Okay, granting that they wish to avoid using Gods name in vain ergo substitutions. I cannot agree with pronouncing YUD HEY VAV HEY, as adonai, God says to call on his name and its not Adonai, its what God told Moses at the burning bush, Eyeh Asher Eyeh. I will be what I will be, hence the prayer Hu Hay/He was Vehu Hoveh/And he is Vehu Iyeh/And will be.

    The Yud Hey Vav Hey is linke to the name God told Moses to use. If God tells us to call on his name, then dang it lets do it and stop all the fancy nicknames. He gave us permission and a bunch of superstitious Rabbis using the excuse that well, we really dont know how to pronounce it properly is bull, pardon me.
    The Masortim/Masoretic scholars even gave his name trops as to pouncing it
    Its almost like saying Yehudi but for the daled yud at the end יְהוָה

  3. Eric L. Friedland

    Perhaps you could fill some gaps for me. I know that the Karaites and the Rabbanites share the same Torah lectionary and read the pertinent Torah portion every Shabbat. Do we share the same Haftarot too? Are the assigned readings for the Pilgrim Festivals the same as well, or do they diverge? Is there such a thing as the Triennial Cycle in the Karaite community? Are people called up to the Torah at intervals during the reading (עליות, ‘aliyot)? Is there a special functionary who does the reading (בעל קריאה) using one or another of the cantillation modes (טעמי מקרא)? Many thanks for whatever light you can shed on these questions.

    • Hi Eric,

      With apologies for the delayed response. (I became a father a few days after your post.)

      1. We read a Torah portion each week, but our portions are “rigged” differently from yours. For example, Parashat Naso is always the weekend of shavuot. (Shavuot for us is always a sunday.)

      2. Karaites do read a haftarah portion each week. I think ours is the same as the sefardi, which differs from the Ashkenazi.

      3. There are assigned readings for all the moadim (not just the Pilgram Festivals). And they are not the same as yours. For example, we read Parshat Kedoshim for Yom Teruah. We read Yitro for Shavuot (which is the same as yours, I understand).

      4. I don’t think any Karaites are currently on the triennial cycle.

      5. We have aliyot.

      6. Anyone who can read, does. But it is okay in our synagogue to read from vocalized text rather than from the scroll. We do read according to the Ta’amim.

      here is a link to kedoshim:

      Please do not hesitate to chime in with other questions.

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