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פותח שערים | A liturgy for the new moon Ḥanukah solstice by Rabbi David Seidenberg

"Light wave variation of same object seen through different hole sizes" (Popular Science Monthly Volume 28, 1885-1886)

Light wave variation of same object seen through different hole sizes” (Popular Science Monthly Volume 28, 1885-1886)

Here’s a first draft of a brief liturgy for last night, for solstice plus Ḥanukah. Note that this is a kind of eco-liturgy, but it also stands on its own without imposing an ecological overlay. Since it’s still solstice all day, you may want to use this prayer now, or at dusk tonight:


Return again, return again
Return to the land of your soul (2x)
Return to who you are
Return to what you are
Return to where you are
born and reborn again
Return again, return again
Return to the land of your soul

In the depths of darkness, the darkness of the new moon of Ḥanukah, and the darkness of the sun at solstice, we call to You. In the presence of these seeds of light of the sixth night, we turn to You. As You turn the wheel of the sun, as You draw back the darkness of the moon, may You open gates for us, Potei’ach She’arim, so that we may be drawn through these gates into the holy mystery of darkness and the glowing light of wisdom. “Deep is calling unto deep, t’hom el t’hom korei” (Ps 42:8) — may we be listening.

“The One who set darkness to be Her secret place, yashet ḥoshekh sit’ro” (Ps 18:12) — may You teach us to see the darkness dancing between the flames of the candles, and the darkness dancing within the flame, so that we may cherish the Earth, dancing between the sun and the moon, the womb of all Life, and see the radiance in all creatures, in the passing of life into life, deep into deep, fall into winter into spring.

At dusk:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר בִּדְבָרוֹ מַעֲרִיב עֲרָבִים בְּחָכְמָה פּוֹתֵֽחַ שְׁעָרִים וּבִתְבוּנָה מְשַׁנֶּה עִתִּים וּמַחֲלִיף אֶת הַזְּמַנִּים וּמְסַדֵּר אֶת הַכּוֹכָבִים בְּמִשְׁמְרוֹתֵֽיהֶם בָּרָקִֽיעַ כְּרְצוֹנוֹ: בּוֹרֵא יוֹם וָלָֽיְלָה גּוֹלֵל אוֹר מִפְּנֵי חֹֽשֶׁךְ וְחֹֽשֶׁךְ מִפְּנֵי אוֹר: וּמַעֲבִיר יוֹם וּמֵֽבִיא לָֽיְלָה וּמַבְדִּיל בֵּין יוֹם וּבֵין לָֽיְלָה יְיָ צְבָאוֹת שְׁמוֹ: אֵל חַי וְקַיָּם תָּמִיד יִמְלוֹךְ עָלֵֽינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַמַּעֲרִיב עֲרָבִים:‏

Barukh atah Adonai, hama’ariv aravim, blessed be You, the One who brings in the twilight and composes the evenings.

During the day:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם יוֹצֵר אוֹר וּבוֹרֵא חֹֽשֶׁךְ עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם וּבוֹרֵא אֶת־הַכֹּל:‏

Barukh Atah Adonai, yotser or uvorei ḥoshekh, yotser hame’orot, blessed be You, the One who forms light and creates darkness, former of all the heavens lights.


(with thanks to Riqi Kosovske, Tiana Mirapae, Fern Feldman, and Catherine Keller)

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