2 May 1894 Death of Ezekiel Margoliouth, Translator and Cantillator of the Hebrew New Testament #otdimjh

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The Holy Gospel of Matthew

As the Messianic Jewish movement looks for authentic synagogal worship and liturgy, it would do well to consider the revision of the Hebrew New Testament by Ezekiel Margoliouth, who added traditional cantillation marks to the verses. Below is an example which any bar-mitzvah or bat-mitzvah who has done their homework should be able to render with the nusach (melody) of an Ashkenazi mode.

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Matthew 1:1-4 with cantillation marks

Bernstein notes [p351]:

Margoliouth, Ezekiel, was a very remarkable man, a typical Jew, and a typical convert to Christianity. As an Hebraist he was equal to any of his day. He had a profound knowledge of the Talmud, rare even [352] amongst Talmudists. It was, however, in the composition of modern Hebrew that his chief talent lay, and competent scholars often spoke enthusiastically of the elegance of his rabbinic writings.


Like his namesake, Dr. Moses Margoliouth, he was a native of Suwalki in Poland, where he was born in November 1816. His father, Abraham, had been thirty-three years chief rabbi of the town, and his mother could trace twelve rabbis amongst her ancestors. It was natural that Ezekiel should study the Talmud and practise all the precepts of the rabbis with the utmost vigour. After he had become bar mitzvah, he studied with his father, and later on went to Brody, in order to perfect himself in rabbinic lore. There he met enlightened Jews, and often disputed with R. Solomon Kluger.

He began to study the Bible, and philosophical works in Hebrew, like those of Maimonides; his desire for knowledge being fostered under Michael Perl of Tarnopol, the first Jewish reformer in Galicia. Later on he went to the rabbinical seminary at Warsaw, where he first met missionaries of the L.J. Society, through whom he was irresistibly drawn to Christ, His Person, and His teachings. At the age of twenty-seven he confessed faith in Christ as his Saviour, though his wife, whom he had married the previous year, for a long time refused to become a Christian. He then came over to England, where she afterwards joined him, and in 1848, also became a Christian. In the same year he entered the Operative Jewish Converts’ Institution to learn bookbinding.

In 1852 he was appointed a missionary of the L.J.S. in [353] London, and worked as such almost to the end of his life. It was not as a popular preacher that he excelled, though his faith in, and knowledge of, the Word of God always profoundly attracted his audiences. His chief labours were literary, and in these he had no rival. His “Derech Emunah” and “Nethivoth Olam,” in Hebrew, are masterpieces. His greatest work was the revision of the New Testament in Hebrew in 1865. On May 2, 1894, he passed away in a gentle and peaceful death, greatly mourned both for himself and for the loss of his learning and piety. His son is the Rev. Professor David S. Margoliouth, D.Lit., Laudian Professor of Arabic at Oxford University, and examining chaplain to the Bishop of Liverpool.

david samuel margoliouth

Professor David Margoliouth

Prayer: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech Ha-olam, asher natan lanu et-Yeshua Meshicheynu, gam natan lanu avdo Y’hizkiel Margoliouth, chazzan v’metargem, ish hacham v’ohev et-Yeshua. Ten lanu, anachu mevakshim otkcha, ha-hochmat ha-Mashiach, l’saper et-habesorah b’lashon kodesh, ou-v’shirim kod’shim me-ha’kotvei ha’besorah. B’shem Yeshua, Amen.

Blessed art thou, o Lord our God, king of the Universe, who has given us Yeshua out Messiah, and given us his servant Ezekiel Margoliouth, cantor and translation, a man of wisdom and a lover of Yeshua. Give us, we beseech Thee, the wisdom of the Messiah, to speak the Gospel in the holy tongue, and in holy melodies from the writings of the Gospel. In Yeshua’s name, Amen.





About richardsh

Messianic Jewish teacher in UK
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