Prominent Orthodox scholar Daniel Sperber explores in detail the history of our prayer liturgy, the changes that have occurred as it grew, the debates (halakhic, grammatical, semantic, and otherwise) that have always existed concerning the content and propriety of such changes, and the inevitable failure of those who have sought to permanently fix the liturgy and consolidate the nuschaot (variant traditions). Sperber’s conclusions are perhaps surprisingly liberal in halakhic reasoning, and pluralistic in attitude.
Thoroughly researched, tightly reasoned, and eruditely analyzed, this is the finest book on this subject currently available in English. As a scholarly work, it is densely written, but quite accessible to the educated layperson with some knowledge of Jewish prayer and law. Jewish institutions, synagogues, rabbis, Jewish education professionals, and those interested and involved in prayer and prayer community, will find this book of great interest.