This prayer is based on the personal prayer said on holidays before Torah reading. The grammar has been adapted as plural rather than singular, so that the couple says the prayer together before their ritual of Kiddushin (betrothal). . . . → Read More: תפילה לפני קידושין | Prayer before Kiddushin for couples by Sarah Groner
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
Here’s a kavannah for tonight’s search for ḥametz or for burning ḥametz tomorrow (with added words), from neohasid.org. It would be great if you could share it with your networks. Ḥag sameaḥ! . . . → Read More: Kavanah for Returning Our Ḥametz to the Earth
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
This is an intention that I composed for the conclusion of a performance piece, Inner Fire, created and performed by my Mistabra Institute for Jewish Textual Activism at Brandeis University in 2002. It is as relevant today as ever. Please use it for inspiration when you light Ḥanuka candles. . . . → Read More: Kavvanah for Ḥanukah Candle-Lighting
Every Jewish holy day, even Shabbat and the highest ones, we call forth all the 22 Hebrew Letters to join us in celebration. For those of us who study Kabbalah from within the realm of the Alef-Bet, Ḥanukah is unique in that we are given a magical tool with which to activate these signs and wonders. . . . → Read More: A Blessing for Dreidel Spinning
לְשֵׁם יִחוּד קֻדְשָׁא בְּרִיךְ הוּא וּשְׁכִינְתֵּהּ, בִּדְחִילוּ וּרְחִימוּ וּרְחִימוּ וּדְחִילוּ, לְיַחֵד שֵׁם י״ה בְּו״ה בְּיִחוּדָא שְׁלִים בְּשֵׁם כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל. הִנְנִי מְכַוֵּן בְּהַדְלָקַת נֵר חֲנוּכָּה לְקַיֵם מִצְוַת בּוֹרְאִי כַּאֲשֶׁר צִוּוּנִי חֲכָמֵינוּ ז”ל לְתַקֵן אֶת שׁוֹרְשָׁה בְּמָקוֹם עֶלְיוֹן:
וּבְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁתְּהֵא חֲשׁוּבָה וּמְקֻבֶּלֶת וּמְרֻצָּה לְפָנֶיךָ מִצְוַת הַדְלָקַת נֵר . . . → Read More: Kavvanah for the Mitzvah of Kindling the Ḥanukah Lights by Rebbe Tzvi Elimelech Spira of Dinov
Herr des Weltalls, reich geschmückt mit deinen Gaben und Segnungen hast du die Natur. Das Thal mit seinem üppigen Grün, der Berg mit seinem Kranz von Wäldern, das Gefilde mit seiner lachenden Frucht ist ein Erzeugnis; deiner Gnade, zum Segen deiner Menschenkinder, zur Nahrung ihres Leibes, zur Stillung ihrer Bedürfnisse, zur Ergötzung ihres Auges, zum Balsam ihrer Wunden; und kein Blättchen ist so klein, kein Grashalm so niedrig in dem weiten Reiche der Natur, daß es nicht wohlthuende heilsame Kräfte für uns enthielte. . . . → Read More: Am Laubhüttenfest beim Kreisgang mit dem Lulaw und Esrosg by Fanny Neuda (1855)
The essential idea of the liturgy of Ushpizin is to invoke the energies of the seven lower Sefirot in the proper order, so that Shefa, blessing and sustenance, can be drawn down into the world. This is the essence of Kabbalistic liturgy, and a liturgy of the imahot would only make sense if it were to follow that pattern. That means we have the playfully serious task of finding a stable order for the imahot where no clear order exists. . . . → Read More: אושפיזין | Ushpizin and Ushpizata: Inviting the Avot and Imahot into your Sukkah
As part of our ongoing project creating a new digital edition of Fanny Neuda’s collection of tkhines in German, Stunden Der Andacht (1855), we are setting her prayers (for the first time ever) side by side with that of her work’s first English translation, Hours of Devotion (1866) by Rabbi Moritz Mayer. Abermals ist ein Fest für uns eingetreten, ein Fest, ganz verschieden von dem, das wir erst jüngst begangen. Jenes feierten wir durch Thränen und Bußübungen, durch Kasteiung und Entbehrung, dieses feiern wir in Freuden mit Jubel und Lobgesängen, wie da geschrieben steht: „Und ihr sollt Euch freuen vor dem Ewigen, eurem Herrn, sieben Tage lang.“ . . . → Read More: An den ersten Tagen des Laubhüttenfestes: A prayer for the first days of Sukkot by Fanny Neuda (1855)
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.
Please God Let me light More than flame tonight. More than wax and wick and sliver stick of wood. More than shallow stream of words recited from a pocket book. . . . → Read More: A Prayer for Candle-lighting by Chaya Kaplan-Lester
Nomi Lerman and I were co-teacher’s this past season at Kolot Ḥayeinu’s religious school in Park Slope Brooklyn this past season, and as a Ḥanukah present we made a Ḥanukah Madrikh for our Kittah Gimmel class. I’m certain there are Jewish educators all over the world preparing curricular resources for Ḥanukah right about now and hope that by sharing this they can take it and improve on it, or else we’ll save them some energy so they’ll be able to do even more mitzvot. . . . → Read More: Nomi and Aharon’s Ḥanukah Madrikh!
Aware of the willow [aravah], we awaken our “mouths,” our ability to communicate by voice, hand or type; we acknowledge the precious gift of communications from others, the 99% and the 1%, about their circumstances, their needs, offerings and hopes. Aware of the palm branch [lulav], we awaken our “spines,” our central strength; we acknowledge fellow citizens who take a stand, whether we agree with their stand or not, toward a vision of common good. Aware of the myrtle [hadas], we awaken our “eyes,” our ability to receive through whichever channels are available to us; we acknowledge our responsibility to remain open to others’ thoughts and experiences while also exercising discernment. Aware of the citron [etrog], we awaken our “hearts,” our source of connection; we acknowledge our inter-dependence and the importance of standing, expressing ourselves and learning from others. . . . → Read More: Occupy the Lulav by Virginia Avniel Spatz
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
We are grateful to Rabbi Joshua Boettinger and Rabbis for Human Rights–North America (RHR-NA) for sharing the following petitionary prayer, A Misheberakh for Victims of Slavery. Originally published by RHR-NA on their website in 2009, the prayer attends to the desperate need to eradicate all forms of slavery that persist today, especially in advance of the holiday celebrating our Z’man Cheruteinu, the season of our freedom, every Spring, every Pesaḥ. . . . → Read More: A Misheberakh for Victims of Slavery by Rabbi Joshua Boettiger
How good are you playing this amazing, venerable role-playing game called Judaism? Playing your whole life? Grand. So is it fun? Is it worthwhile? Would you recommend it to your friends? No. All right… so why not? Oh. Yeah. Oh… true. Ok, yeah, those are all good reasons. But what if I told you there was a way to play it better. Not everyone will catch on at first, but it should satisfy the most conservative players AND the most innovative. The geeks will love it and it will lower the bar for entry to even the most simple of players. Ok, it does sound too good to be true. But hey, what’s the point of playing the game if you’re not willing to suspend the physics of the familiar and try on a new set of rules. Embrace the illusion. Try on a new reality. Help create a new one, together. I just want players to use their imagination, feel appreciated instead of alienated, and just improve the game for everyone. So what is it? I’ll tell you. . . . → Read More: The afikoman hiding in plain sight
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
We are pleased to announce that the first copyleft licensed haggadot are coming online. First, our friends at Haggadot.com began sharing contributed content with the Creative Commons By Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC-BY) license. Today, Jewish Boston announced that their new haggadah, “The Wandering is Over Haggadah,” is free for download and free as in freedom — it’s being shared with a CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported license — so it’s adoptable, adaptable, and derivative works are freely redistributable so long as they correctly credit and attribute the original author and work, and are also licensed CC-BY-SA. . . . → Read More: The Wandering is Over Haggadah by Jewish Boston
In 1960, Sara Levi-Tanaiׁ (1910-2005) published the now popular Ḥanukah song and melody Banu Ḥosekh l’Garesh in a songbook, Zman Ḥeyn (p.49) by the Publishing House of the Composers’ League in cooperation with the Center for Culture and Education (הופיע בספר/חוברת “זמר חן”, בית הוצאה של איגוד הקומפוזיטורים בשיתוף עם המרכז לתרבות ולחינוך). The work . . . → Read More: When will Banu Ḥoshekh L’Garesh enter the Public Domain?
תלמוד ירושלמי מסכת עבודה זרה פרק א ה”א – דף לט טור ג
רב אמר קלנדס אדם הראשון התקינו. כיון דחמא לילייא אריך אמר אי לי שמא שכתוב בו הוא ישופך ראש ואתה תשופנו עקב שמא יבוא לנשכיני ואומר אך חושך ישופיני.
כיון דחמא איממא ארך אמר קלנדס קלון דיאו. ואיתא כמאן דאמ’ בתשרי . . . → Read More: Ḥanukah Sources in Rabbinic Midrash
Just in time for Ḥanukah, Chajm Guski shares a חנוכה מדריך (Ḥanukah Madrikh), Handbook for Ḥanukah, with a Deutsch translation and transliteration of the blessings on lighting the Ḥanukiah, the kavanah, HaNerot HaLalu, and the piyyut, Maoz Tzur. . . . → Read More: A Ḥanukah Madrikh by Chajm Guski
It started as a project to compile a siddur that I could daven from. Living in Chicago, most of the siddurim which are available are Artscroll, Birnbaum, etc. Just to try and find a Rodelheim, or Baer’s Avodat Yisroel is nearly impossible. That was about twelve years ago. . . . → Read More: סידור שפת ישראל | Siddur Sefas Yisroel, a nusaḥ Ashkenaz siddur dedicated to the memory of the Bad Homburg Jewish community
When Rav Yiztḥak Luria, zt”l, also known as the Holy Ari, davvened in Eretz Yisroel he brought about a series of liturgical innovations witnessed in later siddurim. His particular nusaḥ bridged minhag Ashkenaz and minhag Sefarad (the customs of the Rheinland Jews and the customs of the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula) with the teachings of his school of Kabbalists. When two centuries later, the Ḥassidic movement blossomed in Eastern Europe, it found purchase in Lithuania among a mystical school centered around Rav Schneur Zalman of Lyady, the Alter Rebbe and founder of the ḤaBaD movement within Ḥassidism. The Alter Rebbe compiled his own siddur, the Siddur Torah Ohr, “according to the tradition of the Ari.” . . . → Read More: סידור תורה אור | Siddur Torah Ohr: the Nusaḥ Ha-Ari according to Rav Schneur Zalman of Lyadi
Before the Koren-Sacks Siddur (2009), there was the Authorised Daily Prayer Book first published in 1890 and used by Jews throughout the British Empire, while there was a British Empire. It was originally published under the authorization of Great Britain’s first Chief Rabbi, Rabbi Nathan Marcus Adler with a Hebrew liturgy based on Isaac Seligman Baer’s Seder Avodat Yisroel (1868). The translation by Rabbi Simeon Singer (1846-1906) was the most extensive English translation of the Siddur ever published, and for this reason most editions are simply referred colloquially as The Singer Siddur. The Standard Prayer Book, published by Bloch in 1915, was an American reprint of The Authorized Daily Prayer Book. . . . → Read More: The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Empire (trans. Rabbi Simeon Singer, 1890)
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)