This is the beginning of an Israelite-Samaritan daily prayerbook. This work is still very much in progress. The file includes the title page, the Samaritan equivalent of “birkot hashahar” (the early morning blessings before prayer), and the first couple of pages of actual prayer. It is all in Samaritan script, an offshoot of paleo-Hebrew which developed after the Jews had already switched to today’s square “ashurit” script. . . .
Forgiveness is woven into the pattern of existence. God of second chances, pathways of atonement. Help us awaken to Your listening presence, your understanding. Fill our hearts with Divine compassion! . . .
Sh’sh’sh’ma Yisra’el — Listen, You Godwrestlers! Pause from your wrestling and hush’sh’sh To hear — YHWH/ Yahh Hear in the stillness the still silent voice, The silent breathing that intertwines life; YHWH/ Yahh elohenu Breath of life is our God, What unites all the varied forces creating all worlds into one-ness, Each breath unique, And all unified; YHWH / Yahh echad! Yahh is One. Listen, You Godwrestlers! No one people alone owns this Unify-force; YHWH / Yahh is One. . . .
When works are printed bearing shemot, any one of the ten divine names sacred to Judaism, they are cared for with love. If a page or bound work bearing shemot falls to the ground it’s a Jewish custom to draw up the page or book and kiss it. Just as loved ones are cared for after they’ve fallen and passed away, when the binding fails and leaves fall from siddurim and other seforim they are collected in boxes and bins and brought for burial, where their holy words can decompose back into the earth from which their constituent elements once grew, and were once harvested to become paper and books, and ink, string, glue. While teaching at the Teva Learning Center last Fall 2010, I collected all our shemot that we had intentionally or unintentionally made on our copy machine, or which we had collected from the itinerant teachers who pass through the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center on so many beautiful weekend shabbatonim. While leafing through the pages, I found one and kept it from the darkness of the genizah. . . .
The popular practice of a night time prayer vigil is not well understood. In the siddur, most people pass by it because they don’t know what to do with it. Others are confused because of the lack of consistency in its presentation from one siddur to the next. At the end of the day, this ritual would be regarded as a rite reserved for the pious — for the great tzadikim who made regular use of it. . . .