Section: Moadim   Category: Shavuos
Shavuos: Akdamos - A Song Al Kiddush Hashem

"Akdamos" is a "piyut," which was composed by Rabbi Meir B"R Yitzchak, the "Chazan" of the City of Vermaiza, during the time of Rashi.   On their way to the Middle East, the crusaders (1096) terrorized and wreaked destruction upon the Jewish communities. They tried to force their religion upon the Jews. Mock "debates" with the Rabbis forced participation were held. Juries of church officials were rigged against them and nothing they said had any effect upon their own fate.

The author of Akdamos, Rabbi Meir, was the unwilling participant in such a "debate." The Poem describes his words, disguised in Aramaic, as he "debated" the truths of Judaism to a hostile audience. Rabbi Meir died shortly after the "debate".

The practice is to say Akdamos with its unique melody, at the beginning of the Torah reading on Shavuos. Akdamos has ninety lines; the first forty-four begin with a double Aleph-Bais. The first letters of the next forty-six lines make up an acrostic with the authors name and a prayer for a blessing.

Each line of the poem ends in the letters "Tav," the last letter of the Aleph Bais and "Aleph," the first letter of the Aleph-Bais, to show that when one reaches the last letter, the "end" of the Torah, one immediately turns and restarts the Torah from its "beginning.

Special Thanks To Meyer Apeldorf for proving this information.