According to Rabbinic tradition, the 21st of Nissan is the day in the Jewish calendar on which Pharaoh’s army was drowned in the Sea of Reeds, and the redeemed children of Yisrael sang the Song of the Sea, the (Shirat Hayam, Exodus 15:1-19). The song, as included in the the morning prayers, comprises one of the most ancient text in Jewish liturgy. The 21st of Nissan corresponds to the 7th day of Passover, and the recitation of the Shirat HaYam is part of the daily Torah Reading. Rabbi Hillel Ḥayim Yisraeli-Lavery shares a performance of a melody he learned for the Shirat Hayam from צוף דבש Tzuf Devash, a Moroccan synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. If there is something about this tune that strikes one as particularly celebratory, it might be because the relationship between G!d and the Jewish people is traditionally described as a marriage consummated with the Covenant at Mt. Sinai. The passage of Bnei Yisrael through the Sea of Reeds towards Mt. Sinai thus begins a bridal march commencing in the theophany at Mt. Sinai, 42 days later. . . . → Read More: שירת הים | The Song of the Sea, sung with a Moroccan Nusaḥ by R’ Hillel Ḥayim Yisraeli-Lavery
“Sefirot HaOmer” by Aharon Varady, following the color correspondences of Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi. Each of the seven weeks and days of the Omer is represented by one of the seven lower Sephirot: Ḥesed, Gevurah, Tiferet, Netzaḥ, Hod, Yesod, and Malkhut, the creative emanations all the worlds were created and continually sustained, as taught in . . . → Read More: סדר ספירת העומר | the Order of Counting the Omer in the Spring
A tale is told of Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Joshua, Rabbi Elazar son of Azariah, Rabbi Akiva, and Rabbi Tarfon, who held a seder [lit: reclined] in Bnai Brak. They discussed the exodus from Egypt all that night, until their students came and said to them, “Rabbis, the time has come to recite the morning shema.” . . . → Read More: Haggadah for Pesaḥ, an English translation
We are grateful to Gabriel Wasserman for sharing these texts comprising Parts 1 through 3 of his Haggadah for the Pesaḥ Seder. . . . → Read More: The Pesaḥ Seder
The time we are in now is a time to ask: are we so determined to undo God’s rainbow covenant? Will we truly burn the sea, chemically and literally, with the oil we unleash from inside the Earth? Will we flood the sea with death as the land was flooded according to the Noah story of so long ago? As the cleanup continues and the effects will continue for decades, what new floods will we unleash in the coming years? . . . → Read More: יום קשת מ״ב בעומר | The 42nd Day of the Omer is Rainbow Day
Psalm 67 is a priestly blessing for all the peoples of the earth to be sustained by the earth’s harvest (yevulah), and it is a petition that all humanity recognize the divine nature (Elohim) illuminating the world. Composed of seven verses, the psalm is often visually depicted as a seven branched menorah. There are 49 words in the entire psalm, and in the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l there is one word for each day of the Sefirat haOmer. Similarly, the fifth verse has 49 letters and each letter can be used as a focal point for meditating on the meaning of the day in its week in the journey to Shavuot, the festival of weeks (the culmination of the barley harvest), and the festival of oaths (shevuot) in celebration of receiving the Torah. Many of the themes of Psalm 67 are repeated in the prayer Ana b’Koaḥ, which also has 49 words, and which are also used to focus on the meaning of each day on the cyclical and labyrinthine journey towards Shavuot. . . . → Read More: Scaling the Walls of the Labyrinth: Psalms 67 and Ana b’Koaḥ
We lift Miriam’s cup, Dancing prophet celebrating the world that is now. And we tell God we are grateful For the water from the earth that was Miriam’s gift, Welcome necessity, On God’s behalf. Miriam announces joy! And teaches us to save ourselves. Miriam, the bringer of mercy, There’s no prayer for her in the haggadah– So make one up! . . . → Read More: Two Cups: Elijah and Miriam
Jacob b. Jehuda of London, the author of that valuable contribution to the literary side of Anglo-Jewish history, the Talmudical compendium Etz Chaim, so providentially rescued and preserved for us, never dreamt, when he noted down, in the year 1287, the Ritual and Agada of the Seder Nights according to English usage, that he was . . . → Read More: The Ritual of the Seder and the Agada of the English Jews Before the Expulsion.
A haggadah shared by Michael Plotke that he made for his family many years ago based on the haggadah of the late Rebbe of ḤaBaD, R’ Menachem Mendel Schneerson. . . . → Read More: The Plotke Family Haggadah
The following seven lessons by Rabbi Hillel Ḥayim Yisraeli-Lavery to help the student prepare for their reading of Megillat Esther. The nusaḥ taught is Israeli style Ashkenaz-Lithuanian.
The complete reading of Megillat Esther Related liturgy and liturgy-related work:Ta’amei Hamiqra (cantillation) for Megillat EstherThe Ritual of the Seder and the Agada of the English Jews Before . . . → Read More: Learn the Kriyat Megillat Esther
We are hereby ready to fulfill our obligation of K’vod Habriot, respect for the dignity of every human being. We pray that our fellow citizens shall not be the source of suffering in others. We commit ourselves to raise our voices in support of universal human rights, to know the heart of the stranger, and to feel compassion for those whose humanity is denied. May our compassion lead us to fight for justice. Blessed is the Source of Life, who redeemed our ancestors from Egypt and brought us together this night of Passover to tell the story of freedom. May God bring us security and peace, enabling us to celebrate together year after year. Praised are you, Source of Righteousness, who redeems the world and loves justice and freedom. . . . → Read More: Pesaḥ Seder Supplements on Economic Justice, Slavery, and other issues of Tzedek
When the spring (Aviv) season arrives, a blessing is traditionally said when one is in view of at least two flowering fruit trees. In the northern hemisphere, it can be said anytime through the end of the month of Nissan (though it can still be said in Iyar). For those who live in the southern hemisphere, the blessing can be said during the month of Tishrei. . . . → Read More: ברכת האילנות | The Blessing of Flowering Fruit Trees in the Spring Season
Geshem and tal: rain and dew. We pray for each in its season, geshem all winter and tal as summer approaches…not everywhere, necessarily, but in the land of Israel where our prayers have their roots. In a desert climate, water is clearly a gift from God. It’s easy for us to forget that, here with all of this rain and snow. But our liturgy reminds us. Through the winter months, during our daily amidah we’ve prayed “mashiv ha-ruach u-morid ha-gashem” — You cause the winds to blow and the rains to fall! We only pray for rain during the rainy season, because it is frustrating both to us and to God when we pray for impossibilities. . . . → Read More: On the Prayer for Dew (a d’var tefillah by Rachel Barenblat)