Volume XII

Author: אדם בן-נון
Published online: 06.13.21
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"For the lead player, on stringed instruments, a psalm, a song”; Rabbi Yosef Kaphach's reply on the book of Psalms in the Musical Tradition of Yemenite Jews

Adam Ben-Nun

When Meir Geshuri inquired Rabbi Yosef Kaphach about the practice of biblical tropes and psalmodies in the Yemenite Jewish musical tradition, the latter replied (on July 23, 1953) in a long letter where he uncovered the history of biblical tropes in Yemen, the ancient tradition of Torah reading preceding the tropes, reading practices of the Prophets, Psalms and other books, in addition to various Halachic issues and the history of instruments in the Yemenite Jewish musical tradition.  Kaphach concluded his letter calling to further the study of this music. The article studies Kaphach’s reply while consulting adjacent primary and secondary sources that shed new light on his historical and Halachic accounts.