More on the Meldadura

Many Spanish-Sephardic communities know the ritual of Meldadura or Meldado[a]. This ritual took takes place on the "Yahrtzeit" or "Nachalah", the anniversary of a person's death. On that day, a minyan is gathered to hold a limud (learning ceremony). In some congregations, the attendees are paid  for their participation.

Meldadura comes from Meldar, which means, “learning sacred Hebrew texts”.

 The Meldadura tradition was also known in our community, although it is presently not practiced.  A “Mildadoere”, as we call it, may take place in a private home to commemorate a deceased family member.  Before WWII members of the clergy would often be invited to lead these home ceremonies.  In at least one family, that of Haham Rodrigues Pereira, private Meldaduras were still held after the war.  Other Meldaduras were conducted by the Congregation in keeping with legacies of members who had donated funds for the purpose of a perpetual Meldadura on the anniversaries of their death.  Originally, those Meldaduras were held by members of the Bet Midrash of Ets Haim ("miedraas" in local parlance). After the war, a minyan composed of a spiritual leader and laymen continued the practice.  The attendees received a fee according to the stipulation of the legacy.  (In the years after WWII the standard fee was Fl.5 but in some cases it was Fl.6.) In the 1960's it became difficult to gather a minyan. The Meldadura's were then assigned to a few individuals who would conduct them in private, but in due time that stopped too. 

The structure of the readings at a Meldadura is the same as at a limud or "lezing" held to celebrate special events in a person's life, such as berit milah, bar/bat mitzvah, wedding, etc.  However, the choice of biblical and talmudic texts differs.  The Table below describes the order of the readings for Meldaduras held by the Congregation.  In private setting, the reading of the three psalms is different.  (not certain: psalm of the day, sjier hama'alot essa enaj,  and possibly Ja'ancha.  On Shabbat different Tehillim were read, but which is not certain.)

We recovered the names and anniversaries of the sixteen members on the Congregational Meldadura list.  This page is dedicated to the honor of these members.  You, dear visitor, are invited to select one date and read the Meldadura, as described below. If you do, please send us an email. Note that by clicking the hyperlinks you can hear the texts.

Meldadura's in the honor of the deceased:

After the Hascaba, the attendees were paid for their attendance. In the sixties, some 5 Guilders for the regular Meldadura and 6 for the special meldadura’s on Toe Bishvat and 7 Nissan.

Some remarks with respect to the table:

Parasha:  One reads the parasa of the coming Shabbat. If it is double, only the first one is read.  If Shabbat is on a festival, the parasa of the next regular Shabbat is read.  The attendees take turns reading the seven “kapittels”.  The high na’um (“grote wijs”) is not used.  The Ten Commandments are read according to the “ta’am tachton” (the cantillation signs for non-public reading).

Haftara:  One reads the hafatara belonging to the parasa that was read, even if on Shabbat in the Synagogue it is replaced by a special haftara, such as Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, Chanukka, Arba’ Parashiot, etc. 

Tehiliem:  When Congregational Meldaduras were regularly held, three chapters of the book of Thehilliem were read in order, continuing from where the previous reading had stopped.  The letter-sections of Psalm 119 counted as individual Psalms.  For individual Meldaduras, there is a prescribed list of three chapters:  The Psalm of the day, followed by Lamnatseach libne Korach mizmor (from the shiv’ah) and Sjier lama'alot essa 'enaj el hehariem.



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