בסיעתא דשמיא

תהלים ל׳ בלשון אנגלית | Psalms 30 by David (interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English) מִזְמ֡וֹר שִׁיר־חֲנֻכַּ֖ת הַבַּ֣יִת לְדָוִֽד׃ A Psalm for A Housewarming, Composed by David ב אֲרוֹמִמְךָ֣ יְ֭הוָה כִּ֣י דִלִּיתָ֑נִי וְלֹא־שִׂמַּ֖חְתָּ אֹיְבַ֣י לִֽי׃ ג יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהָ֑י שִׁוַּ֥עְתִּי אֵ֝לֶ֗יךָ וַתִּרְפָּאֵֽנִי׃ ד יְֽהוָ֗ה הֶֽעֱלִ֣יתָ מִן־שְׁא֣וֹל נַפְשִׁ֑י חִ֝יִּיתַ֗נִי מיורדי־[מִיָּֽרְדִי־] בֽוֹר׃ 2 I acclaim You, my God. You set me free So that my foes Could not gloat at my troubles. . . .

תהלים ח׳ בלשון לאדינו | Psalms 8 by David in Ladino (Estampado por Ǧ. Griffit, ca. 1852/3)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of Psalms 8 from תהילים או לוס סאלמוס ; טריסלאד’אד’וס דיל לשון הקדש אין לה לינגואה ספרדית (Tehillim, or the Psalms, translated from the Holy language [Hebrew] into the Sephardic language, Estampado por Ǧ. Griffit 1852/3) from a digital copy made available by the collection of Sephardic Studies at the University of Washington. Please join me in making a complete transcription of this Ladino translation of Psalms. –Aharon N. Varady . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (Arabic translation by Hillel Farḥi, ca. 1913)

Yedid Nefesh is a piyyut composed by Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600) commonly found in the morning baqashot of Sepharadi siddurim and as a petiḥah for Kabbalat Shabbat in many siddurim. This is a faithful transcription of Yedid Nefesh translated into Arabic from סדור פרחי سدور فرحي Siddur Farḥi (nusaḥ Sefaradi, minhag Egypt 1913, 1917) by Hillel Farḥi (1868-1940). (A copy of Siddur Farhi can be ordered from the Farḥi Foundation here.) Transcription of the Arabic was made by Wikisource contributor Avigdor24, here. Please help to proofread and improve this transcription. Join us in the digital transcription of Siddur Farḥi on Hebrew Wikisource. . . .

קדיש יתום כשאין מנין | A Mourner’s Kaddish for When There is No Minyan according to Reb Zalman z”l

This Kaddish was first published online at Jewish Renewal Chassidus by Gabbai Seth Fishman. Rabbi Oren Steinitz translated the kaddish on the 3rd yahrzeit after Reb Zalman’s passing. . . .

תפילה יהודית לחודש הרמדאן | صلاة يهودية لشهر رمضان | A Jewish Prayer for the Month of Ramadan by Rav Ḥanan Schlesinger

Source (Hebrew) Translation (Arabic) אבינו שבשמים, בורא עולם, אשר יצר כל אדם בצלמו

ابانا في السماء, خالق الكون, الذي خلق كل انسان في صورته,

רחם על מאמיניך המוסלמים אשר הולכים בדרכו של נביאם מוחמד ואשר מקדישים את חודש הרמדאן הזה לשמך בצום, בתפילה, בתיקון המידות ובקריאה בספרם הקדוש הקוראן.

اللهم ارحم المسلمين الذين . . .

תחינה פון ראש חודש בענטשן | Tkhine for the Rosh Ḥodesh Blessing (from Siddur Korban Minḥah, ca. 1844)

The Teḥina for the blessing of the new moon is said each Shabbat Mevorkhim, addition to the specific Teḥinah for that month. The prayer is recited when the Aron HaKodesh is opened, signifying the opening of the Heavenly gates of mercy (an especially propitious time to pray for health, livelihood, and all good). . . .

תחינה לשבת מברכים ראש חודש סיון | Tknine for Shabbat Mevorkhim Rosh Ḥodesh Sivan (from Shas Tkhine Ḥadasha, 1922)

This is a faithful transcription of the תחינה לשבת מברכים ראש חודש סייון (“Tkhine for Shabbat Mevorkhim Rosh Ḥodesh Sivan”) which first appeared in ש״ס תחנה חדשה (Shas Tkhine Ḥadasha), , a collection of tkhines published by Ben-Zion Alfes in Vilna, 1922. Translation adapted from Rivka Zakutinsky. . . .

יום זה לכל דורות | Yom Zeh l’Khol Dorot – A Piyyut for Pesaḥ Sheni

A piyyut for an under-recognized holiday, Pesaḥ Sheni, the festival of second chances (as described in Numbers 9:6-13 and Mishnah Pesaḥim 9:1-3. I attempted to write this in the manner of a traditional piyyut. The meter is equivalent to the Shabbat zamir “Ot Hi l’Olmei Ad.” The Hebrew spells out Yod – Tzadi – Ḥet – Kuf, because that’s my name. The translation is original, along with the notes. . . .

סדר לקריאת מגילת העצמאות | Reading of the Israeli Declaration of Independence for Yom Ha’atsma’ut

Jews have read sacred texts to commemorate miracles of redemption for a long time. Purim has Megilat Esther. Many communities read Megilat Antiochus or Megilat Yehudit for Chanukah. But to many modern Jews, the most miraculous redemption in recent history was the founding of the state of Israel, as we commemorate on Yom haAtzmaut. Like Purim, the story of the founding of Israel was entirely secular on a surface level, with no big showy miracles like a sea splitting or a mountain aflame. Like Chanukah, a Jewish state in the land of Israel won its independence against mighty forces allied in opposition. But we don’t have a megillah to read for Yom haAtzmaut. Or do we? Just as Megillat Esther is said to be a letter written by Mordekhai to raise awareness of the events of Shushan, so too does the Israeli Scroll of Independence, Megilat haAtzmaut, raise awareness of the events of the founding of the State of Israel. In this vein, I decided to create a cantillation system for Megilat haAtzmaut. Ta’amei miqra were chosen attempting to follow Masoretic grammatical rules – since modern Hebrew has a different grammatical structure, the form is somewhat loose. Because of the thematic similarities to Purim, I chose Esther cantillation for the majority of the text. Just as some tragic lines in Esther are read in Eikhah cantillation, some lines regarding the Shoah or bearing grim portents for the wars to follow are to be sung in Eikhah cantillation. And the final phrases of chapters II and III are to be sung in the melody for the end of a book of the Chumash, or the Song of the Sea melody. They can be done in a call-and-response form, with the community reading and the reader repeating. . . .

סדור לבנת הספיר לקבלת שבת | Siddur Livnat HaSapir l’Kabbalat Shabbat, a Friday Night Siddur by Aharon Varady

Siddur Livnat HaSapir l’Kabbalat Shabbat is a complete prayerbook (siddur) for welcoming the Shabbat on nearly all Friday evenings. This is the personal prayerbook of Aharon Varady, containing his idiosyncratic preferences in liturgical custom and aesthetic presentation. . . .

שיר של מרים | The Song of Miriam, a petiḥah by Rabbi Ruth H. Sohn (1981)

“The Song of Miriam” by Rabbi Ruth Sohn was first published as “I Shall Sing to the Lord a New Song,” in Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim, Reconstructionist Prayerbook, 1989, 1995 Second Edition. Reconstructionist Press, pp. 768-769. (This poem was also published in several haggadot and other books and set to music by several composers in the U.S. and Israel.) Rabbi Sohn wrote the poem in 1981 as a rabbinical student after immersing herself in the Torah verses and the traditional midrashim about Miriam, and after writing a longer modern midrash about Miriam. Part of this modern midrash was published as “Journeys,” in All the Women Followed Her, ed. Rebecca Schwartz (Rikudei Miriam Press, 2001). . . .

רבון כל העולמים | Master of the Cosmos, a teḥinah for entering Shabbat by Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria (circa 16th c.)

Ribon Kol Ha-Olamim is a teḥinah (supplication) for entering the Shabbat that can be found in many siddurim following after the custom of the school of Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria. In his Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem, Paltiel (Philip) Birnbaum includes it, commenting as follows: “Ribon kol Ha’Olamim is attributed to Rabbi Joseph of Rashkow, Posen, who lived towards the end of the eighteenth century. The adjectives in the first paragraph are in alphabetic order.” This can’t be correct however as a copy of Ribon Kol Ha-Olamim can be seen in the siddur Tikunei Shabbat from 1614 (see below for source images). Google Books attributes Tikunei Shabbat to Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria (1534-1572), which is the attribution we have followed, although as a posthumously published work we wonder whether it might be more properly attributed to “the School of Rabbi Isaac Luria.” Please comment below if you know of another attribution. The English translation is that of Paltiel (Philip) Birnbaum, with some minor changes that I have made to divine names and appelations.– Aharon Varady . . .

שבת המלכה | The Shabbat Queen by Hayyim Nahman Bialik (1903), translation by Israel Meir Lask

This translation of Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik’s Shabbat Ha-Malkah by Israel Meir Lask can be found on pages 280-281 in the Sabbath Prayer Book (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) where it appears as “Greeting to Queen Sabbath.” The poem is based on the shabbat song, Shalom Aleikhem and first published in the poetry collection, Hazamir, in 1903. [I have made a faithful transcription of the Hebrew and its English translation as it appears in this siddur. –Aharon N. Varady] . . .

שיר השירים | The Song of Songs, English translation by Paltiel Birnbaum (Hebrew Publishing Company, 1949)

Paltiel (Philip) Birnbaum’s translation of The Song of Songs (Shir haShirim) in Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem (The [Complete] Daily Prayer Book), Hebrew Publishing Company, 1949. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for Donald Trump by Rabbi Marvin Hier (2017)

Rabbi Marvin Hier offered this prayer of blessing for “President” Donald Trump and the United States of America on January 20, 2017 at the inauguration day ceremony. . . .

Prayer at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom by Rabbi Uri Miller, August 28, 1963

Prayer delivered by Rabbi Uri Miller, President of the Synagogue Council of America, at the March on Washington, August 28, 1963 . . .

סידור זכרון יהודה לייב | Siddur Zichron Yehudah Leib, a Friday Night Siddur dedicated in honor of Leonard Nimoy, z”l (2017)

The goal of this project was to produce a complete prayerbooklet for the Friday night Kabbalat Shabbat and Ma’ariv service that was as compact as possible yet user-friendly. This booklet is designed to be printed on 9 double-sided sheets of paper, folded and saddle stapled. It was commissioned for a minyan held annually at the Arisia science fiction convention in Boston, MA, and dedicated in honor of Leonard Nimoy, z”l (1931–2015). Since Arisia takes place in mid-January, we omitted all special insertions for holidays and other times of year. A companion booklet which includes insertions for year-round use is in the works. . . .

MLK Day | Readings from the Speeches and Letters of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Selections from speeches and letters by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. read in ecumenical services for Martin Luther King Day in the United States. . . .

Megillat Antiokhus in Ladino by Rabbi Isaac Magriso (Me’am Lo’ez: Bamdibar BeHa’alothekha, Constantinople 1764)

This is a largely uncorrected transcription of Rabbi Isaac Magriso’s telling of Megillat Antiokhus in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) from the Me’am Loez: Bamidbar Parshat BeHe’alotekha (Constantinople, 1764). The paragraph breaks are a rough estimation based on my comparison with the English translation of Dr. Tzvi Faier (1934-2009) appearing in The Torah Anthology: Me’am Loez, Book Thirteen – In the Desert (Moznaim 1982). I welcome all Ladino speakers and readers to help correct this transcription and to provide a complete English translation for non-Ladino readers. . . .

תפילה למצביעי המדינה | Prayer for the Electorate by David Zvi Kalman (2016)

A prayer for the electorate to be recited together with the Prayer for Government on the Shabbat before an election (federal, state, or local). David Zvi Kalman’s “Prayer for the Electorate” was initially published on Ritualwell here and linked from an explanation of the prayer posted here. Vocalization of the unpointed text by Josh Soref. (Thank you!) . . .

A Prayer on Voting by T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

On Tuesday, we go to the polls in a momentous election that for many of us has generated a combination of anxiety, excitement, fear, and confusion. We offer you this prayer, which you can recite this Shabbat, before you vote, or while you are waiting for returns. . . .

Israelite Samaritan Devotional Prayers for Weekdays and Shabbat, translated by Benyamim Sedaka

Benyamim Sedaka’s English translations of devotional prayers for weekdays and Shabbat . . .

Israelite Samaritan Kiddush for the Shabbat Evening Meal, translated by Benyamim Sedaka

Benyamim Sedaka’s English translations of the Israelite-Samaritan “Blessing on the Food” (Kiddush) and Abraham ben Marchiv Tsedaka Hassafari’s opening to the Friday night Shabbat meal . . .

Israelite Samaritan Prayers for the Shabbat Torah Reading, translated by Benyamim Sedaka

Benyamim’s Sedaka’s English translations of the Israelite-Samaritan “Prayer to be Read by the Eldest Reader of the Sabbath Portion” and Abraham ben Marchiv Tsedaka Hassafari’s poem to be read after reading the last portion of the Torah reading . . .

ודוי | Vidui meditation by Danny Cohen

Vidui means acknowledgment. It is not about self-flagellation or blame, but about honesty, coming into contact with our lives, our patterns and experiences, and ultimately about teshuva and learning. In contacting the pain and suffering which our modes of being have given rise to, our regret can help us to willfully divest ourselves of them and awaken the yearning for those modes of being which are life-affirming, supportive of wholeness, connection, integrity, and flourishing. With each one we tap on our heart, touching the pain and closed-heartedness we have caused, and simultaneously knocking on the door that it may open again. . . .

ודוי | Vidui by Rabbi Avi Weiss

Melissa Scholten-Gutierrez writes, “Rav Avi spoke to us a few times as he was working through [composing] this [vidui] and I am truly moved by it. Let us not only remember and confess our wrong doings, but also what we did right this year.” . . .

ימים נוראים | My Ten Days of Repentance Writing Exercise

David Wolkin writes, “I’ve been pushing this writing exercise for a while now, but I taught a class with it in my home on Sunday and it proved to be powerful and connecting for all of us in the room. If you’re reflecting/repenting this season, you might benefit from this.” . . .

מי שענה | Mi She’anah – A Seliḥa for Yom Kippur (egal adaptation by Lisa Exler and R’ Julia Andelman)

An egalitarian adaptation of the seliḥa for Yom Kippur. . . .

B’Sefer Ḥayyim: A Maḥzor for the Days of Awe

This is a complete* Jewish Renewal/Reconstructionist Machzor for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, primarily influenced by the davennin of Reb Zalman and the Aquarian Minyan. All text in English is gender-neutral. All Hebrew prayers are accompanied by transliteration. Material for Shabbat is at the back of the book. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur prayers . . .

יום הפועלים | A Worker’s Prayer

dedicated to Noam Ezra ben haRav Moshe z”l

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלִּפְֿנֵי אָבִֽֿינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַֽיִם,‏ בּוֹרְאֵֽנוּ, יוֹצְרֵֽנוּ, יוֹצֵר בְּרֵאשִׁיתֿ, הָאֻמָּן הָעֶלְיוֹן,‏ כְּאָמְרָם ”אֵין צוּר כֵּאלֹהֵֽינוּ“ – ‏ ”אֵין צַיָּר כֵּאלֹהֵֽינוּ“,‏ שֶׁיְּחָנֵּ֫נוּ בְכָֿל הַחָכְֿמוֹתֿ —‏ חָכְֿמוֹתֿ הַלֵּבֿ, וְחָכְֿמוֹתֿ הַנֶּֽפֶֿשׁ,‏ וְחָכְֿמוֹתֿ הַיָּדַֿיִם;‏ וְיַנְחֵֽנוּ בִדְֿרָכָֿיו לַעֲשׂוֹתֿ אֶתֿ מְלַאכְֿתֵּנוּ בְּיֹֽשֶׁר, וּבְֿחֶֽסֶדֿ, וּבֶֿאֱמוּנָה;‏ וִיבָֿרֵךְֿ אֶתֿ מַעֲשֵֽׂינוּ וְאֶתֿ מַעֲשֵׂי מַעֲשֵֽׂינוּ,‏ לְקַדֵּשׁ אֶת שְׁמוֹ . . .

ראש השנה לבהמות | Kavvanah and Shofar Blowing for Rosh Ḥodesh Elul and Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot (New Year’s Day for Domesticated Animals)

The text of this ritual shofar blowing for Rosh Chodesh Elul and Rosh Hashanah Labehemot developed as part of annual ceremony taking place at the dairy barn on the campus of the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center beginning in 2009 under the auspices of Elat Chayyim and the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship. The ceremony was co-developed by Rabbi Jill Hammer and Sarah Chandler in 2009, with elements added by Aharon Varady beginning in 2012. . . .

בורא עד אנה | Borei Ad Anah, “Creator! How long” (after 1492 C.E.)

Bore ‘Ad Anah” is a kinah recited in a number of Sephardic communities on Tisha B’av (or in some cases on Shabbat Hazon, the Shabbat preceding Tisha B’av), particularly in the Spanish-Portuguese and North African traditions. The author is unknown, but his name is likely Binyamin based on the acrostic made up of the first letters of the verses. In the kinah, the Children of Israel are compared to a wandering dove caught in a trap by predators, crying out its father, God. The kinah was likely written as a poignant response to the Spanish Inquisition, appropriate to Tisha B’av since the expulsion of the Jews from Spain occurred on the 9th of Av in the year 1492. The version presented here was likely censored, as many manuscripts have the fifth verse presented in the following manner directly calling out their Catholic oppressors,” יועצים עליה עצות היא אנושה זרים העובדים אלילים שלושה אם ובן ורוח כי אין להם בושה גדול ממכאובי.” “They counsel against her and she languishes, the strangers who worship three idols, father, son and spirit, for they have no shame and great is my suffering.” . . .

מגילת איכה | Megillat Eikhah (Lamentations) for Tisha b’Av (translation by Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

This translation of Laments, the book of mourning poems read on Tish’a B’Av, uses principles of the Buber-Rosenzweig Bible. It strives to be “concordant”, translating related Hebrew words with related English words and following the order and syntax of the Hebrew where possible. It also focuses on the more physical, earthy meaning of words, in order to draw the reader from modern towards more ancient ways of seeing and feeling. Sometimes alternate translations are given, indicated by a slash. (When reading aloud, simply pick one of the translations. For YHVH, you can read Adonai or Hashem or “the Eternal”.) James Moffat’s 1922 translation was consulted. As a somewhat literal translation, Laments uses “He” and “His” as pronouns for God, even though Torah and common sense command us not to make an exclusively male or female image of God. If you are using Laments liturgically, please feel encouraged to change the pronouns. For brief essays on the theology of Eikhah and more, see the bottom of this page. This work is dedicated to all refugees fleeing war and upheaval, and to our remembering their needs. . . .

חנוכה | Yotser (Hymn) for the Shabbat of Ḥanukah by Yosef bar Shlomo of Carcassone (ca. 11th cent.)

Yosef ben Shlomo of Carcassonne composed two yotsrot (hymns) for the Shabbat of Hanukkah, one reflecting the events read in the Megillat Antiokhus, the other specific to Megillat Yehudith. This yotser is the latter of the two and was crucial in dating the composition of Megillat Yehudit to the 11th century. (The only manuscript witness of the megillah dates from 1402.) A.M. Dubarle made a translation of the yotser in French in Judith: formes et sens des diverses traditions II: textes (Rome, 1966), but we are endeavoring to translate it for the first time into English. Our transcription relies on Dubarle’s but is corrected it against the digital edition held in the Ma’agarim database. . . .

מגילת יהודית | Megillat Yehudit (before 1402 CE)

Below we have made a faithful transcription of the text of the medieval Megillat Yehudith (the Scroll of Judith), not to be confused with the deutero-canonical Book of Judith, authored in Antiquity. We have further set this text side-by-side with the English translation made by Susan Weingarten, originally published as “Food, Sex, and Redemption in Megillat Yehudit: Appendix to Chapter 6,” in Sword of Judith. ed., Kevin R. Brine, Elena Ciletti, Henrike Lähnemann (Open Book Publishers, 2010) p.110-125. Our transcription sources are the same as Dr. Weingarten’s: A.M. Habermann’s transcribed text in “Megillat yehudit le-omrah be-hanukkah,” Mahanayim 52 (1961), pp. 42–47, and the “Midrash No.8” found in A.M. Dubarle’s Judith: formes et sens des diverses traditions II: textes (Rome, 1966), pp. 140–53. Dubarle provided section numbers by which the extant variations of the midrashim for Judith might be compared. As Dr. Weingarten notes, Dubarle only transcribed the second portion of the only extant manuscript. We have provided his section numbers in curly brackets. “Missing” numbers refer to portions of the story appearing outside the Megillah in the other variations transcribed by Dubarle. (Please refer to Dubarle’s work for these.) We are grateful to Dr. Weingarten and to Open Book Publishers for sharing their work under an Open Content license. Please read Dr. Weingarten’s complete chapter in Sword of Judith for additional context. . . .

תחנה פון ליכט בענטשין | Tkhine for Lighting Candles [for Shabbes]

This is a faithful transcription of the תחנה פון ליכט בענטשין (“Tkhine for Lighting Candles [for Shabbes]”) as it appeared in the Vilna, 1869 edition. I have transcribed it without any changes from The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. If you can scan an image of the page from the 1869 edition this was originally copied from, please share your scan with us. . . .

כְּגַוְנָא | the Secret of Oneness and the Mystery of Shabbat from the Zohar on Parshat Terumah

In siddurim following the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l, the Barekhu call to prayer is immediately preceded by a passage from the Zohar, Parshat Terumah, explaining the profound significance of the Maariv service. . . .

גאָט פון אַבְרָהָם | Tkhine before Havdalah and Bakashe for the End of Shabbat (Got fin Avrum)

Master of all realms! You hear from all worlds. You look with love and grace upon all of your creations for whose sake you created Your world. Seize and fulfill the pure request from Your servant who comes before You after a full week, having shown her heart is full and her mood somber. The beloved Shabbes koidesh is already going away, and with our Shabbes, our rest has also disappeared. A new week comes up to meet us, against us, Master of the universe. We are people who know, just like You know, the heavy and difficult life of Your people Yisruel: their bitter mood, how difficulty and bitterly each Jew acquires his meager piece of bread through worry and heartache, the fear and hardship with which each Jew scrapes together his seemingly hopeless living. . . .

Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Torah Reading on Rosh Hashanah (Genesis 21:1–34)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Torah Reading on Rosh Hashanah” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine included in “תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול” (Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul) published in Vilna, 1874, as re-published in The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. . . .

Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Blowing of the Shofar

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Blowing of the Shofar” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine included in “תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול” (Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul) published in Vilna, 1874, as re-published in The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. . . .

Tkhine of the Matriarchs for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine included in “תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול” (Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul) published in Vilna, 1874, as re-published in The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. . . .

Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Tishrei [Rosh Hashanah]

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Tishrei [Rosh Hashanah]” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine included in “תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול” (Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul) published in Vilna, 1874, as re-published in The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. . . .

חנוכה | Odekha Ki Anafta Bi, a Yotser (Hymn) for Ḥanukah by Yosef bar Shlomo of Carcassone (ca. 11th cent.)

Odecha ki anafta bi (I give thanks to you although you were angry with me) was composed by Joseph ben Solomon of Carcassonne, who is dated to the first half of the eleventh century. This elegant and abstruse poem tells an epic tale of the Jews’ resistance to the decrees of Antiochus IV and includes accounts of both the Hasmonean bride and Judith. It bears a considerable resemblance to texts 4 and 12 of the Hanukkah midrashim[ref]See Grintz, Sefer Yehudit, pp. 205, 207–08[/ref] and this is evidence for the circulation of the joint Hasmonean daughter-Judith tales in the eleventh century, even if the surviving manuscripts of these stories are from a later date.” (Deborah Levine Gera, “The Jewish Textual Traditions” in The Sword of Judith: Judith Studies Across the Disciplines (2010).) . . .

תְּחִינָה לִשָּׁבוּעוֺת נאָך ליכט צינדן | Teḥinah upon Candlelighting at the Onset of Shavuot

This tekhina (supplication) upon candlelighting for Shavuot in Hebrew and Yiddish appears in the Maḥzor for Shavuot Rav Peninim (Vilna 1911) although we are uncertain whether it first appeared here. We welcome your help in correctly attributing and translating it. . . .

רות | Megillat Ruth with Yiddish translation by Yehoyesh Blumgarten

For the reading of Megillat Ruth on Shavuot, I have presented here the Masoretic text of Ruth according to the R’ Seth (Avi) Kaddish’s experimental Miqra ‘al pi haMesorah side-by-side with Yehoyesh (Yehoash) Blumgarten’s masterful translation in Yiddish. . . .

על הניסים ליום העצמאות | Al Hanissim for Yom Ha’atsmaut by Amos Ḥakham z”l

על הניסים ועל הפורקן ועל הגבורות ועל המלחמות ועל התשועות ועל הנפלאות שעשית לעמך בימים ההם בזמן הזה. בימים אשר שארית פליטת ישראל עם שרידי חרב הצר והאויב מצא מנוח בארץ אשר נשבעת לאבותינו לתת לנו ונוספו על בני ישראל היושבים שם מלפנים, יחד כולם ביקשו לפרוק מעליהם עול מלכות זדון השולטת בארץ ולייסד . . .

‏אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים תְפִילָה לַנִּסְפִּים בַּשּׁוֹאָה | El Malé Raḥamim Prayer for the Victims of the Shoah by Rabbi Yehoyada Amir

God, full of compassion, who dwells in the heights, provide a fitting rest upon the wings of the Shekhina, within the ascents of the holy and the pure, who shine like the starry heaven for our six million sisters and brothers who lost their lives in the Shoah: that were killed and slaughtered, suffocated and buried alive, burned and tortured — the young and the elderly, women and men, leaders and simpletons, those faithful in Torah along with rebels and dreamers. Beloved and pleasant in life, and not separated from that love even after death. . . .

יום ניקנור | A Reading for Yom Nikanor, the Day of the Elephantarch: II Maccabees Chapter 13-15

It is challenging to think of how to mark Nicanor Day, as it remains at a disadvantage, not only on years when it conflicts with Ta’anit Esther but on all years since it has no mitzvot. This is probably the main reason that, unlike Chanukah and Purim, it was lost to Jewish practice for more than a thousand years. Nevertheless, we do have its megillah, which has been translated into Hebrew and English. Perhaps, if we start reading chapters 13-15 of 2 Maccabees, even just to ourselves, on the 13 of Adar, we can begin to resurrect a holiday that was celebrated and instituted by Judah Maccabee and his followers over two millennia ago, and which they envisioned would continue throughout Jewish History. With the return of Jews to Israel and Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem, I believe it is about time. . . .

ז׳ אדר | Ḥonenu Yah Ḥonenu (Forgive Us Yah in the Merit of Moshe Rabbenu)

The 7th of Adar is the traditional date for the yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu and it is also remembered as the day of his birth 120 years earlier. This variation of of the piyyut, Hanenu Yah Hanenu (Forgive Us Yah, Forgive Us), sung on 7 Adar, is attributed to Rabbi Yosef Ḥayyim of Baghdad (the Ben Ish Ḥai, 1832-1909). The earliest published version we could find appears in בקשות: ונוסף עוד פתיחות ופיוטים הנוהגים לומר בזמה הזה (1912) containing piyyutim by Israel ben Moses Najara (1555-1625), a Jewish liturgical poet, preacher, Biblical commentator, kabbalist, and rabbi of Gaza. The contemporary audio recording of the Iraqi nusaḥ presented here was made by משה חבושה (Moshe Ḥavusha). . . .

ז׳ אדר | Tsa’akah Yokheved, a piyyut attributed to Shmuel Shlomo (before 1050 CE)

The 7th of Adar is the traditional date for the yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu and it is also remembered as the day of his birth 120 years earlier. This variation of of the piyyut, Tsa’akah Yokheved, popularly sung on 7 Adar, is first attested in a 1712 Sepharadi mahzor published in Amsterdam, as transcribed above with some minor changes with the contemporary audio recording of the Iraqi nusaḥ made by משה חבושה (Moshe Ḥavusha). (The piyyut appear without niqqud.) An older version (perhaps the original version), attributed in the Maagarim database to Shmuel Shlomo and dated before 1050 CE, is attested in two manuscripts: “London, British Library 699” and “Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Ham. 288”. Ibn Ezra (1089-1167) quotes a stanza from the version we have presented here (“וכבד אמי אחרי התנחמי”) indicating that this version may be at least as old. . . .

שִׁיר לְשִׂמְחָה | Shir l’Simḥa (an ode To Joy, 1795), a Jewish interpretation of Friedrich Schiller’s An die Freude (1785)

In 1785 Friedrich Schiller wrote his ‘An die Freude\ an ode ‘To Joy’, describing his ideal of an equal society united in joy and friendship. Numerous copies and adaptations attest to its popularity at the time. The slightly altered 1803 edition was set to music not only by Ludwig van Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony but also by other composers such as Franz Schubert and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Hs. Ros. PL B-57 contains a Hebrew translation of the first edition of the ode (apparently rendered before the 1803 alteration), revealing that the spirit of the age even managed to reach the Jewish community in the Netherlands. Whereas the imagery of Schiller’s original is drawn from Greek mythology, the author of the שִׁיר לְשִׂמְחָה relies on the Bible as a source. In fact, he not only utilises Biblical imagery, but successfully avoids any allusion to Hellenistic ideas whatsoever. . . .

שִׁיר לְשִׂמְחָה | Brider — Y.L. Peretz’s Yiddish Parody of Friedrich Schiller’s Ode to Joy

Y.L. Peretz rejected cultural universalism, seeing the world as composed of different nations, each with its own character. Liptzin comments that “Every people is seen by him as a chosen people…”; he saw his role as a Jewish writer to express “Jewish ideals…grounded in Jewish tradition and Jewish history.” This is Peretz lampoon of the popularity of Friedrich Schiller’s idealistic paean made famous as the lyrics to the climax of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | The Prayer for the Safety of Kings, Princes and Commonwealths, as presented in English translation by Menasseh ben Israel to Oliver Cromwell (1655)

From “How Faithful The Nation of the Iewes are.” in To His Highnesse The Lord Protector Of The Common-Wealth Of England, Scotland, And Ireland, The Humble Addresses Of Menasseh Ben Israel (1655), p.11-13 (p.91-93 in L. Wolf’s edition). The Hebrew liturgy shown was transcribed from the “Prayer for the Dutch royal family and the city council of Amsterdam” (1950) and has been edited to fit this earlier version of the text. What is clear in comparing this version with the version that became prominent in England and elsewhere, is the removal of the angelo-astrological phrase on the rise of the planetary star corresponding to the particular Sar in heaven and lord on earth. What changed between 1655 and the 18th century? Increased anxiety over exoteric references in the kabbalah following the messianic movement of Shabbetai Tsvi, and also, the Enlightenment. We’ll be keen to find other examples of Hanoten Teshua from before and after 1655, that might add additional light on how this prayer may have changed. Related to the liturgical phrase on the rise of the planetary star, Menasseh ben Israel includes a reference in his argument to Cromwell for the proper regard that should be granted the Jews by the other nations. The reference is to Zohar Pekudei (Zohar II 267b:8-10) and we believe this may be the first time anyone has ever located the actual text being referred to here. . . .

A Jewish Prayer for Peace between England and her Colonies on a public day of fasting and prayer, May 17, 1776

Fred MacDowell: “Then, as now, war was looked upon by many as a great evil, especially between brothers, and many American Colonists only wanted the oppressive measures of King George III to be lifted, bloodshed ended, and peace restored. The nascent American Congress called for a day of “Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” along these lines for May 17, 1776. It was for this occasion that this prayer was recited in Congregation Shearith Israel in New York. As you can see, a complete service was arranged for this occasion, meant to invoke the solemnity and seriousness of the occasion; after morning prayer, Taḥanun was to be sung to the tune of a Yom Kippur pizmon; a dozen Psalms recited, and then the Ḥazan would recite this prayer written for the occasion, and of course all were to be fasting. The prayer hopes for a change of heart for King George III and his advisors, that they would rescind their wrath and harsh decrees against “North America,” that the bloodshed should end, and peace and reconciliation should obtain between the Americans and Great Britain once more, in fulfillment of the Messianic verse that Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Of course this was not meant to be, and six weeks later the American Congress declared independence from Great Britain, and there was no walking back from the hostilities which had already occurred.” . . .

תפילה לשלום המלכות | Prayer for the Welfare of George Washington, George Clinton, and the 13 States of America by Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen (1784)

Prayers recited on special occasions and thus not part of the fixed liturgy offered America’s foremost Jewish congregation far greater latitude for originality in prayer. At such services, particularly when the prayers were delivered in English and written with the knowledge that non-Jews would hear them, leaders of Shearith Israel often dispensed with the traditional prayer for the government and substituted revealing new compositions appropriate to the concerns of the day. A prayer composed in 1784 (in this case in Hebrew) by the otherwise unknown Rabbi (Cantor?) Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen, for example, thanked God who “in His goodness prospered our warfare.” Mentioning by name both Governor George Clinton and General George Washington, the rabbi prayed for peace and offered a restorationist Jewish twist on the popular idea of America as “redeemer nation”: “As Thou hast granted to these thirteen states of America everlasting freedom,” he declared, “so mayst Thou bring us forth once again from bondage into freedom and mayst Thou sound the great horn for our freedom.” . . .

ברכות | Bringing blessing to all life on Earth, a d’var tefilah on making blessings over foods by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

The Talmud (Brakhot 35a-b) teaches that eating food without saying a brakhah (a blessing) beforehand is like stealing. A lot of people know that teaching, and it’s pretty deep. But here’s an even deeper part: the Talmud doesn’t call it “stealing”, but מעילה ׁ(“me’ilah“), which means taking from sacred property that belongs to the Temple. So that means that everything in the world is sacred and this Creation is like a HOLY TEMPLE. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tree Comes of Age by Rabbi Dr. Daniel Sperber

Tu Bish’vat is sometimes referred to as the day in which the sap begins to rise in the trees. From where does this teaching arise? . . .

ברכת הגשם | A Geshem Prayer Invoking the Matriarchs by Rabbi Jill Hammer

The time of Sukkot is a time of fullness and generosity, but also a time to pray for the coming season. Shemini Atzeret, the festival when we pray for rain, is an expression of our need for water, which in the Jewish tradition symbolizes life, renewal, and deliverance. Tefillat Geshem, a graceful fixture of the Ashkenazic liturgy, invokes the patriarchs as exemplars of holiness and model recipients of God’s love. This prayer uses water as a metaphor for devotion and faith, asking that God grant us life-sustaining rain. While its authorship is unknown, it is sometimes attributed to Elazar Kallir, the great liturgist who lived sometime during the first millenium. Each year, we are reminded of our people’s connection to the patriarchs and to the rhythms of water, spiritual and physical sources of life, through this medieval piyyut. While we know that rain is a natural process, formal thanksgiving for water as a source of life, energy, and beauty reminds us that our Creator is the source of our physical world and its many wonders. . . .

חנוכה | Ḥanukkah Sameaḥ Mandala by Ḥatul Yehudi (Cat Jew)

A mandala for Ḥanukkah by Brazilian Yemenite Jewish artist, GatoJudeau . . .

צער בעלי־חיים | Tsar Balei Ḥayyim [It is forbidden to cause] suffering to a living creature, a song in Yiddish

“Tsaar Balei Ḥayyim” ([It is forbidden to cause] suffering to a living creature), source unknown. Many thanks to Tiferet Zimmern-Kahan for recording the niggun for the song and to Naftali Ejdelman and The Jewish Daily Forward for providing the lyrics. . . .

חנוכה | Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah

This digital edition of Midrash Ma’seh Ḥanukah was transcribed from the print edition published in Otzar Hamidrashim (I. D. Eisenstein, New York: Eisenstein Press, 5675/1915, p.189-190). We are sharing this transcription in the hopes that excellent translations will be prepared from it and shared under an Open Content license. . . .

חנוכה | Maoz Tzur (Rock of Ages), singing translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

A singing translation of the popular piyyut (devotional poem), “Maoz Tzur,” by Reb Zalman for Ḥanukah. . . .

יובלים | A critical text of Sefer Yubalim (Book of Jubilees) in Ge’ez

We are grateful to Dr. James VanderKam for preparing this critical text of the Book of Jubilees (Sefer Yubalim) in its Ge’ez translation in Ethiopic script. The book of Jubilees is an early Jewish deutero-canonical text originally written in Hebrew and composed during the Second Temple period sometime before Maccabean struggle (164 BCE). . . .

A Blessing for the Bugs on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul and Rosh Hashana La’Behema by Trisha Arlin

I have come to see That we are not the only creatures who are B’tzelem Elohim, We are all in God’s image. So today, on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul, On the New Year of the Domesticated Beasts, Let’s give thanks to the bugs Like the four questioning children Wise and snarky and simple and oblivious, Like the four worlds of the kabbala The earth, the sky, the heart and the spirit We give thanks and acknowledge The bugs we have domesticated The bugs who serve us in their wild state The bugs that hurt us or gross us out And the bugs who live only for themselves, without any reference to us. . . .

הושׁענות | Hoshana for Healing and Consolation by Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx (trans. Aharon Varady)

A supplemental hoshana (prayer for salvation) for healing and consolation for the sake of true love, needed blessings, rainfall in a timely fashion, paths and their repair, mountains and their crossing, goals and objectives, lasting memories, good dreams, cosmic goodness, etc. . . .

הושׁענות | Hoshanot by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, translation by Gabbai Seth Fishman

A supplemental Hoshanot liturgy for Sukkot confessing a selection of humanity’s crimes against creation. . . .

שבת | The Seder Tefillah for Shabbat and Yom Tov of Kehillat Kol Haneshama, Jerusalem

The evening service for entering Shabbat and Yom Tov as is the custom of Kehillat Kol Haneshama in south Jerusalem, Israel. . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | A Memory’s fire burns within me still, adapted from “Esh Tukad b’kirbi” by Andrew Meit

“A Memory’s fire burns within me still” was adapted by Andrew Meit from Gabriel Seed’s translation of the kinah, Aish Tukad b’kirbi (“A Fire Shall Burn Within Me”). . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | Alelai Li: Woe is me! by Elazar ben Killir, circa 7th century CE (translated by Rachel Salston)

Alelai Li” is a kinah recited on the morning of Tisha bAv. It was written by HaKalir around the 7th century. According to the Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot, it is number 17 of 50. The title is the refrain of the poem and is an onomatopoeic whimper (try saying it aloud, focusing on the alliteration). It is difficult to translate the opening word “im” which means “if” or “should”. This is an allusion to Job 10:15, “If I have done evil, then woe unto me.” I have decided to translate the kinah not in the conditional tense (which would render “If these horrible things happened, then woe is me!”) but as a lament upon memory; however, the former would be a more accurate (if not more awkward in English) translation. Adding to the awkwardness of the poem’s language is the feminine conditional verb that each line has after the word “im”. I have maintained this strange verb tense and placement in my translation by using the English progressive tense. The kinah ends with a collection in lines in a different meter suggesting that the Holy One (and the paytan himself) is angered that the Jewish people announce their sufferings but not their transgressions. . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | Oy Meh Haya Lanu: Oy What Has Happened to Us, by Baruch ben Samuel d.1221 (translated by Rachel Salston)

Oy Meh Haya Lanu” is a kinah traditionally recited on the night of Tisha b’Av directly after the reading of Eikha. According to the Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot, it is number 1 of 50. The title is the refrain of the poem, a reflective lament. This kinah is based on the fifth and final chapter of Eikha, taking the opening phrase of each line of the megillah as the first line of each couplet and poetically expanding the description for the second. This translation is an attempt to convey the vulgarity and horror of the paytan’s depiction of the destroyed Jerusalem in vernacular English. The kinah ends just as the megillah ends, with the four verses of pleas for redemption. . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | Az Bahalokh Yirmiyahu: Then As Jeremiah Went, by Elazar ben Killir circa 7th century CE (translated by Gabriel Seed)

Az Bahalokh Yirmiyahu is a kinah, “based on Eikhah Rabati Petikhta 24, in which Jeremiah says to God: “I am like a father who prepared to take his only son to be married, and the son tragically died under the wedding canopy. Do you not feel any pain for me or for my son?” God responds: “Go and rouse Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses from their graves, for they know how to cry…” (Daniel Goldschmidt, Seder Kinot le-Tisha b’Av, Jerusalem, 1972, 98). . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | v’Ahimah Miyamim Yamimah: I Will Wail for All Time (translated by Hillary and Daniel Chorny)

V’ahimah Miyamim Yamimah” is a kinah that recounts the tragic tale of the children of Rabbi Yishmael as told in the Babylonian Talmud (Gittin 58a). The handsome brother and fair sister were separated and sold into slavery during the conquest of Jerusalem. Their respective masters, not knowing the two were siblings, paired them with the intent of creating beautiful offspring. In their shared cell, the two wept all night until morning, when they recognized one another. They cried on each other’s necks until their souls departed from their bodies. The narrator of our story laments their terrible fate, ending each verse with a haunting refrain: “And so I will wail for all time.” . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | Esh Tukad b’Kirbi: A Fire Shall Burn Within Me, translated by Gabriel Seed

Aish Tukad is a kinah for Tisha B’av, usually recited towards the conclusion of the set of dirges for the morning service (in Goldshmidt’s numbering, it is number 32 of our 46 Kinot). According to Goldshmidt’s introduction, the structure of this Piyyut is based on a Midrash in Eicha Zuta 19, where Moses’ praises for God and Israel are seen as parallel to Jeremiah’s laments, thus creating the concept of a comparison between the joy of the Exodus and the pain of the Temple’s destruction. . . .

Reconstruction of a liturgy for the Shabbat Amidah in Greek from Jewish prayers preserved in the Constitutiones Apostolorum (circa 380 CE) by Dr. David Fiensy

This is a reconstruction of a sabbath liturgy for the Tefillah of the Amidah, at least in some variant of its public recitation, in Greek and preserved in an early Christian work, the Constitutiones Apostolorum (Apostolic Constitutions), a Christian work compiled around 380 CE in Syria. Several prayers derived from Jewish sources appear in the Apostolic Constitutions and they can be found grouped together and labeled “Greek” or “Hellenistic Syanagogal Works” in collections of apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. Because explicitly Christian references appeared to be added onto a pre-existing text with familiar Jewish or “Old Testament” themes and references, scholars in the late 19th century were already suggesting that as many as 16 of the prayers in the Apostolic Constitutions books 7 and 8 were derived from Jewish prayers. A more modern appraisal was made by Dr. Fiensy and published in Prayers Alleged to Be Jewish (Scholars Press 1985). Based on a careful analysis of the prayers, he concludes that the only prayers which can be identified as Jewish with certainty are those found in sections 33-38 of book 7. . . .

The Samaritan Prayerbook for Weekday Evenings & Mornings

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. . . .

A Prayer for Israel by Rabbi Nahum Waldman z”l for T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

This prayer for Israel was written by Rabbi Naḥum Waldman (1931-2004) for T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. T’ruah works to ensure that Israel remains a safe and secure home for Jews and a place that lives up to the ideal stated in the State of Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence that Israel “will foster the development of the country for all of its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin (1969)

This prayer by Rabbi Edgar F. Magnin was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1969. . . .

פרק שירה | Perek Shirah (Chapter of Song), a hymn of creation

Talmudic and midrashic sources contain hymns of the creation usually based on homiletic expansions of metaphorical descriptions and personifications of the created world in the Bible. The explicitly homiletic background of some of the hymns in Perek Shira indicates a possible connection between the other hymns and Tannaitic and Amoraic homiletics, and suggests a hymnal index to well-known, but mostly unpreserved, homiletics. The origin of this work, the period of its composition and its significance may be deduced from literary parallels. A Tannaitic source in the tractate Hagiga of the Jerusalem (Hag. 2:1,77a—b) and Babylonian Talmud (Hag. 14b), in hymns of nature associated with apocalyptic visions and with the teaching of ma’aseh merkaba serves as a key to Perek Shira’s close spiritual relationship with this literature. Parallels to it can be found in apocalyptic literature, in mystic layers in Talmudic literature, in Jewish mystical prayers surviving in fourth-century Greek Christian composition, in Heikhalot literature, and in Merkaba mysticism. The affinity of Perek Shira with Heikhalot literature, which abounds in hymns, can be noted in the explicitly mystic introduction to the seven crowings of the cock — the only non-hymnal text in the collection — and the striking resemblance between the language of the additions and that of Shi’ur Koma and other examples of this literature. In Seder Rabba de-Bereshit, a Heikhalot tract, in conjunction with the description of ma’aseh bereshit, there is a clear parallel to Perek Shira’s praise of creation and to the structure of its hymns. The concept reflected in this source is based on a belief in the existence of angelic archetypes of created beings who mediate between God and His creation, and express their role through singing hymns. As the first interpretations of Perek Shira also bear witness to its mystic character and angelologic significance, it would appear to be a mystical chapter of Heikhalot literature, dating from late Tannaitic — early Amoraic period, or early Middle Ages. . . .

A Kavanah for Erev Shabbat HaAviv by Rabbi Yaakov Reef

In the year 5775 (2015), the vernal equinox coincided with Rosh Ḥodesh Nissan, the Hebrew month known also as Aviv (Spring), as well as the onset of Shabbat, and a total solar eclipse. Here is a short meditation to receive the shabbat in embrace of the new season. . . .

תפילות לבחירות | Prayers for the Elections by Noa Mazor and Rabbi Oded Mazor

ההכרזה על יום הבחירות בנויה על נוסח ברכת החודש, ומיועדת להיאמר בשחרית של שבת לפני הבחירות. קהילות שאינן נוהגות להתפלל בשחרית מוזמנות להשתמש בתפילה בתפילת קבלת שבת של אותה השבת. נכתב על ידי הרב עודד מזור.‏ . . .

פורים | Purim: Esther’s Global Leadership Proposal by Dr. Bonna Devora Haberman

What are the inner workings of such an intricately crafted story that it devolves into so much gratuitous violence at the end? Haman’s racism follows imminently upon the heels of the king’s sexism. Indeed, the root of Haman’s wrath against Mordekhai and the Jews parallels the king’s fury against Vashti and the women. Both Vashti and Mordekhai refused to submit to degradation before authority. Disdain for and subordination of women are pre-conditions for the progression toward violent evils that threaten to prevail under the jester-king. One of the fundaments of feminism is that until we fix the basic gender dyad, there will be no resolution of other derivative inequalities, prejudices, and abuses—at personal, ethnic, national, and global levels. Core relationships between woman and man must embody mutual respect, dignity, and equality in our humanity. . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | Eli Tsiyon v’Ar’eha (Mourn Zion and her cities) translated by Joel Goldstein

Mourn Zion and her cities, like a woman in her birth pains, And like a maiden wrapped in sack-cloth for the husband of her youth Mourn the palace that was abandoned in the sheep’s negligence of its flock, and for the coming of the revulsion of God within the Temple’s rooms. For the exile of the servants of God, who sing her songs, and for their blood that was spilled like the waters of her rivers. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Lyndon B. Johnson by Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel (1965)

This prayer by Rabbi Hyman Judah Schachtel, Congregation Beth Israel (Houston, Texas), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1965. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Ronald Reagan by Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk (1985)

This prayer by Rabbi Alfred Gottschalk at the second inauguration of President Ronald Reagan was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 21, 1985. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Richard M. Nixon by Rabbi Seymour Siegel (1973)

This prayer by Rabbi Seymour Siegel at the second inauguration of President Richard M. Nixon was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1973. . . .

Inauguration Day Benediction for President John F. Kennedy by Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck (1961)

This benediction for President John F. Kennedy by Rabbi Dr. Nelson Glueck, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record on January 20, 1961. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Dr. Louis Finkelstein (1957)

This prayer at the second inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Dr. Louis Finkelstein, chancellor, the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1957. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Dwight D. Eisenhower by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver (1953)

This prayer by Rabbi Abba Hillel Silver, of Cleveland, Ohio, was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1953. . . .

Inauguration Day Prayer for President Harry S. Truman by Rabbi Samuel Thurman (1949)

This prayer by Rabbi Samuel Thurman, of the United Hebrew Temple (St. Louis, Missouri), was recorded in the United States’ Congressional Record for January 20, 1949. . . .

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

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. . . .

עשרה בטבת | Asarah b’Tevet and the Tragic Side of Ḥanukah by Rabbi Shem Tov Gaguine (1934)

Why is the military victory of the Maccabees not referred to in the Mishna or Gemara but is mentioned only in later writings and in the prayer of Al Ha’Nissim? . . .

מגילת אנטיוכוס | Megillat Antiochus translated into German by Chajm Guski

Es war in den Tagen des Antiochus, dem König der Griechen, eines großen und starken Königs, fest in seiner Herrschaft, und alle Könige hörten auf ihn. Er eroberte viele Länder und besiegte starke Könige, verwüstete ihre Paläste, verbrannte sie im Feuer und warf ihre Bewohner gefesselt in den Kerker. Seit den Tagen Alexanders stand kein solcher König auf, an der Küste des großen Meeres. Und er erbaute am Ufer des Meeres eine mächtige Stadt, als Königssitz, und nannte die Stadt Antiochia – nach seinem Namen. . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

You who love my soul Compassion’s gentle source, Take my disposition and shape it to Your will. Like a darting deer I will flee to You. Before Your glorious Presence Humbly I do bow. Let Your sweet love Delight me with its thrill Because no other dainty Will my hunger still. . . .

אשת חיל | Eyshet Ḥayil (Proverbs 31:10-31) For an Accomplished Woman, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s interpretive translation of Proverbs 31:10-31, popularly read before the first festive meal for shabbat on Friday night. . . .

The Rainbow Haftarah by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

I call you to make from fire not an all-consuming blaze But the light in which all beings see each other fully. All different, All bearing One Spark. I call you to light a flame to see more clearly That the earth and all who live as part of it Are not for burning: A flame to see The rainbow in the many-colored faces of all life. . . .

הַוִּדּוּי הַמַּשְׁלִים | HaVidui Ha-Mashlim, Complementary Confession by R’ Binyamin Holtzman

Ahavnu – We have loved, Bakhinu – we have cried, Gamalnu – we have given back, Dibarnu yofi – we have spoken great things! He’emanu – We have believed, v’Hish’tadalnu – and we tried to give our best effort, Zakharnu – we have remembered, Chibaknu – we have embraced, Ta’amnu Sefer – we have chanted Your book! . . .

עננו | Aneinu, Answer us, a seliḥa by Emmy Cohen

After struggling with the requests in Aneinu, read during Selichot, I composed a list of requests and questions for this upcoming Shmita year. . . .

הגדה לסדר אל”ף באלול, ראש השנה לבעלי־החיים (זנגביל, התשע”ג)‏

ראש השנה לבעלי־החיים – על מה ולמה?‏ מקורו של ראש השנה לבעלי־חיים הוא באותה משנה שבה המקור לט”ו בשבט: “ארבעה ראשי שנים הם: באחד בניסן ראש השנה למלכים ולרגלים. באחד באלול ראש השנה למעשר בהמה; רבי אלעזר ורבי שמעון אומרין, באחד בתשרי. באחד בתשרי ראש השנה לשנים לשמיטים וליובלות, ולנטיעה ולירקות. באחד בשבט ראש השנה לאילן, כדברי בית שמאי; בית הלל אומרין בחמישה עשר בו”. (משנה ראש השנה א, א).‏ . . .

The Last Tisha b’Av: A Tale of New Temples by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman

Long ago there came a Ḥassid, visiting from Vitebsk to see his Rebbe. Struggling up hills, over cobblestones, through narrow alleyways, the Ḥassid came panting, shaking, to the door of a pale and quiet synagogue. So pale, so quiet was this shul that the pastel paintings on the wall and ceiling stood out as though they were in vivid primary colors. As the Ḥassid came into the shul, he saw his Rebbe high on a make-shift ladder, painting a picture on the ceiling above the bimah. . . .

Kavanot when Washing One’s Body Before Shabbes by Eyal Raviv

This is pre-Shabbos reflection that can be done in a shower or bath. Shabbat is a time when I am less focused on my selfish desires and instead my thoughts drift to my place in the larger community and world. I find myself doing some version of this before Shabbos most weeks and am welcome for the time to reflect on truly what it is to cease from lay work and consider the work that needs to be done to make the world a better place. . . .

A Prayer for Compassion by Trisha Arlin

We pray for those of us Who are so angry That we have lost compassion for the suffering Of anyone who is not a member of our group. And we pray for those of us Who cannot see the suffering Behind the loss of that compassion. We pray for the strength To resist the urge to inhumanity That we feel in times of fear and mourning. We pray for the courage To resist the calls to inhumanity That others may make upon us in times of crisis. . . .

تعالوا نضيئ شمعات السلام | בואו נאיר נרות שלום | Let us Light Candles for Peace by Sheikha Ibtisam Maḥameed and Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum

Two mothers, one plea: Now, more than ever, during these days of so much crying, on the day that is sacred to both our religions, Friday, Sabbath Eve Let us light a candle in every home – for peace: A candle to illuminate our future, face to face, A candle across borders, beyond fear. From our family homes and houses of worship Let us light each other up Let these candles be a lighthouse to our spirit Until we all arrive at the sanctuary of peace. . . .

תשעה באב | Eikha for the Earth: Sorrow, Hope, and Action from the Shalom Center

Tisha b’Av, the ninth day of the month of Av, has historically been a day to mourn the Destruction of the First and Second Temples, centers of Israelite practice before the rise of Rabbinic Judaism (First Temple 975 BCE – 586 BCE; Second Temple 515 BCE – 70 CE) and the exiles that followed those destructions. Over the course of Jewish history this day of mourning and fasting has also come to commemorate many other tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history. This year we are beginning a new tradition. We are suggesting that in addition to, or instead of (depending on the norms of your community and personal practice) the traditional observance of Tisha b’Av, the time has come to use this powerful day to mourn the ongoing destruction of the “temple” that is our Earth, a tragedy for all peoples, creatures and living things, but one that is not complete and thus, with sufficient will and action, is in part, reversible. . . .

A Jewish Prayer for Nakba Day by Sarah M.

Our God, and God of our ancestors, who answered Abraham when his son was bound on the altar, who remembered Sarah’s prayers in her tent for a child, and who found Hagar in the wilderness on the road to Shur, and who heard the cries of her child in the wilderness of Beer Shava, may He remember our Palestinian brothers and sisters who were killed, who were expelled, who fled, who were not allowed to return home, and those who are still at risk of losing their homes. . . .

שבת | Kabbalat Shabbat and Maariv, trans. by R’ Sam Seicol, adapted by Aharon Varady

We are grateful to the Vilna Shul in Boston and their Ḥavurah on the Hill program for preparing “Siddur on the Hill,” (2011) a beautiful siddur for Shabbat Friday night services and sharing it with free-culture compatible, open content licensing. The siddur includes original translations in English from Rabbi Sam Seicol, interpretive writings by Rabbi Rami Shapiro, and illustrations by Georgi Vogel Rosen, as well as contributions from numerous others. Thank you for sharing your siddur, open source! . . .

יוֺם פַּיִי | On the Rabbinical Approximation of Pi by Boaz Tsaban and David Gardner

There is a Rabbinical tradition that the value of pi is hidden within a ktiv-kri (reading-versus-writing disparity) in I Kings 7:23. According to Hebrew scriptural tradition, the word meaning ‘line’ is written as קוה, but read as קו. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tu BiShvat Seder to Heal the Wounded Earth by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (The Shalom Center)

This Tu BiShvat haggadah focuses on healing the wounded Earth today, with passages on major policy questions facing the human race in the midst of a great climate crisis and massive extinctions of species. In each of the Four Worlds in this Haggadah (Earth, Water, Air, Fire) there are traditional, mystical, and poetical passages, and in each there are also contemporary passages on aspects of public policy (Earth: food and forest; Water: fracking; Air: climate; Fire: alternative and renewable energy sources.) These policy-oriented passages help make this a distinctive Haggadah. After these passages, this Haggadah encourages Seder participants to take time for discussion. They may also decide to omit some passages and/or add others. The desire for such a Haggadah grew from discussions of the Green Hevra, a network of Jewish environmental organizations. Thanks to Judith Belasco, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Sybil Sanchez, Rabbi David Seidenberg, Richard Schwartz, Rabbi David Shneyer, and Yoni Stadlin for comments on an earlier draft of this Haggadah. . . .

עשרה בטבת | The Tenth of Tevet on a Friday, Can one fast half a day? by Rabbi Ethan Tucker (Mechon Hadar, Center for Jewish Law and Values)

This Friday (13th December) is Asarah B’Tevet (10th of Tevet), one of the minor fast days in the Jewish calendar. Mechon Hadar’s Rabbi Ethan Tucker provides an overview of the various halakhic issues that are raised by a fasting on a Friday due to the upcoming Shabbat – how do we balance the tragedy of the fall of Jerusalem in 6th century BCE, which our fasting commemorates, with the joy of Shabbat? . . .

מגילת אנטיוכס | Megillat Antiokhus for Ḥanukkah in Aramaic, translated in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English

The Megillat Antiochus was composed in Palestinian Aramaic sometime between the 2nd and 5th century CE, likely in the 2nd Century when the memory of the Bar Kochba revolt still simmered.. The scroll appears in a number of variations. The Aramaic text below follows the critical edition prepared by Menaḥem Tzvi Kaddari, and preserves his verse numbering. The English translation by Rabbi Joseph Adler (1936) follows the Hebrew translation in the middle column, the source of which is a medieval manuscript reprinted by Tzvi Filipowsky in 1851. Adler and Kaddari’s verse ordering loosely follows one another indicating variations in manuscripts. Where Aramaic is missing from Kaddari’s text, the Aramaic version from Adler’s work is included in parentheses. Adler also included a Yiddish translation which we hope will be fully transcribed (along with vocalized Hebrew text, a Hungarian translation, and perhaps even a Marathi translation from South India) for Ḥanukah 5775 , G!d willing. . . .

Prayer for Thanksgivukah by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

May the next Thanksgivukkah be a time of health and abundance for all of you who will receive the world from our hands. May we together find away to make sure that there is health and wealth and beauty not just for our family, not just for the Jewish people and humanity, but for all living creatures who share this planet with us. May the One bless us with the power and wisdom to birth a society that shows love to the world around us, that lives with love towards all beings. . . .

אלף באלול | The Council of All Beings on the New Year’s Day festival for Animals, Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot (ראש השנה לבהימות)

Domesticated animals (beheimot) are halakhically distinguished from ḥayot, wild animals in having been bred to rely upon human beings for their welfare. As the livelihood and continued existence of wild animals increasingly depends on the energy, food, and land use decisions of human beings, the responsibility for their care is coming into the purview of our religious responsibilities as Jews under the mitzvah of tsa’ar baalei ḥayyim — mindfullness of the suffering of all living creatures in our decisions and behavior. Rosh Hashanah LeBeheimot is the festival where we are reminded of this important mitzvah at the onset of the month in which we imagine ourselves to be the flock of a god upon whose welfare we rely. The Council of All Beings is an activity that can help us understand and reflect upon the needs of the flock of creatures that already rely upon us for their welfare. . . .

תשעה באב | Prayer for Tisha b’Av by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

During the time before there was a State of Israel, those ideals in our hearts which we tried to practice and which we wanted others to practice, seemed not achievable where we were because, we felt we had no influence over our world where we were. And so, the longing for our homeland was tied into the longing for our dreams and our vision. Now that the state of Israel is with us, our dreams and our visions still remain distant from our lives and therefore when we say the Tisha B’av prayers we need to remind ourselves of the distance between that which we would have in this world and that which we do have. . . .

Birkat Hamazon for Tisha b’Av, Tu b’Av, and Shabbat Naḥamu by Gabriel Wasserman

Supplemental prayers for the Birkat Hamazon on Tisha b’Av, Tu b’Av, and Shabbat Naḥamu by Gabriel Wasserman . . .

A Love Song for Shabbat, a Humanist supplement to the Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur by Dr. Tzemaḥ Yoreh

I am a humanist. I am a feminist. I am an environmentalist. I am a libertarian. I am a pacifist. I believe in democracy. I am an agnostic. Traditional Jewish prayer is not any of these “ists” or “ics”; it reflects the worldview of the rabbis 1500 years ago, who may have been quite sagacious but did not share many of my values. The minor and major edits, deletions, and additions to which liberal Jews of this day and age have treated their prayers have inserted some of these sentiments, but for the most part the macro structure of prayers has been preserved, making it difficult for people to engage with the prayer in a straightforward way. The composers of liberal prayer books understand this, and thus we find the phenomenon of alternative or additional English readings and/or very creative translations that bear little relationship to the original prayer. There is another way forward, though. We can compose new prayers and poetry in the original Hebrew that reflect our values and revitalize our canon. This is the way I chose. . . .

An Illustrated Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur with Drawings by Daniel Nebenzahl

There are many illustrated siddurim for children. This Illustrated Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur is an illustrated siddur (in Hebrew) for grownups. The purpose of this siddur is to inspire us during prayer, to help us create and maintain Kavana. I chose to create this siddur for Kabbalat Shabbat, since usually at Kabbalat Shabbat we are more relaxed and open. The siddur has all that is needed (Nusaḥ Sefarad) for the Friday night prayers (Minḥah, Kabbalat Shabbat, and Arvit). The drawings accompany Kabbalat Shabbat. . . .

הבדלה | Distinctions (Havdalah) for the end of Shabbat

Wax drips from the braided candle.
Cinnamon tingles the nose
to keep us from fainting
as the extra soul departs.
Stop now. Notice this hinge
between Shabbat
and what’s next. . . .

Saturday Afternoon Request by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Help me to silence
my mind’s aggravation alarm,
to quiet the voice which says
the to-do list matters,
to temporarily eschew
continuous partial attention. . . .

נשמת כל חי | Nishmat Kol Ḥai: The Breath of All Life (for Shabbat morning) by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

…if we could discard differences: human,
animal, fire, stone, seed, snow

even that cry of togetherness
would not be enough to thank You. . . .

על הניסים בימי הודיה לאומיים | Al Hanissim supplement for the Birkat Hamazon and Amidah on all Secular/National Days of Gratitude by Aharon Varady

Opportunities to express gratitude on secular, nationalist days of thanksgiving demand acknowledgement of an almost unfathomably deep history of trauma — not only the suffering and striving of my immigrant ancestors, but the sacrifice of all those who endured suffering dealt by their struggle to survive, and often failure to survive, the oppressions dealt by colonization, conquest, hegemony, natural disaster. Only the Earth (from which we, earthlings were born, Bnei Adam from Adamah) has witnessed the constancy of the violent deprivations we inflict upon each other. The privilege I’ve inherited from these sacrifices has come at a cost, and it must be honestly acknowledged, especially on secular/national days of thanksgiving, independence, and freedom. I insert this prayer after Al Hanissim in the Amidah and in the Birkat Hamazon on national days of independence and thanksgiving. . . .

תפילה לפני קידושין | Prayer before Kiddushin for couples by Sarah Groner

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). . . .

יום העצמאות | Al HaNissim on the State of Israel’s Independence Day by Josh Weinberg

We THANK YOU for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds and saving acts, brought about by You, and for the wars which You waged for US in this time. On the 5th day of the month of Iyar 5708, at the moment of declaration of the establishment of the State of Israel, the People of Israel gained sovereignty on its land and control over its destiny. The miracle of the establishment of a Jewish State is the first flowering of our redemption. The State arrives through a strong historical and traditional connection as the Jews through each generation strived to return and stand firm on their ancient homeland. In the recent generations they have returned to their land en masse as pioneers, clandestine immigrants, and defenders, they made the deserts bloom, revived their ancient Hebrew language, built towns and cities, and established a growing community in control over its own culture and economy. Born is a nation that seeks peace, defends itself, and brings the blessing of progress to all of its citizens. This is the day which the Lord has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it! As it is written: “For I will take you from among the nations, and gather you out of all the countries, and will bring you into your own land.” (Ezekiel 36:24). And to your people Israel who you provided salvation and relief to this day, You helped us to overcome nations and marched us over peoples, and delivered our inheritance which is now the State of Israel. In its accordance this State will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions. “Peace be within your walls, and prosperity within your palaces” (Psalms 122:7). . . .

שירת הים | The Song of the Sea, sung with a Moroccan Nusaḥ by R’ Hillel Ḥayim Yisraeli-Lavery

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. . . .

סדר ספירת העומר | the Order of Counting the Omer in the Spring

Each day between the beginning of Passover and Shavuot gets counted, 49 days in all, 7 weeks of seven days. That makes the omer period a miniature version of the Shmitta and Yovel (Jubilee) cycle of 7 cycles of seven years. Just as that cycle is one of resetting society’s clock to align ourselves with freedom and with the needs of the land, this cycle too is a chance to align ourselves with the rhythms of spring and the spiritual freedom represented by the Torah. . . .

ביעור חמץ | Kavanah for Returning Our Ḥametz to the Earth by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

May it be Your will Hashem that we remember that just as we do not own this ḥametz, we do not own this earth. May we once again recall that Adam, the human, is made of afar, soil, dirt, and that God’s promise Abraham that his progeny will become “like the dirt of the earth,” in Aramaic, afra d’ar’a, means that we must live to nourish all Life. . . .

תפילה (ישראלית) לפני הכניסה לקלפי (למאמין וללא מאמין)‏ | Prayer before entering the voting booth in Israel (for believers and non-believers)

May it be the will [before the Lord our God and the God of our ancestors] that this ticket which I am placing in my ballot will join thousands of other tickets that will promise reasoned leadership that will strengthen democratic values, aspire towards peace with our neighbors, separate religion and state, be concerned with the weak and protect the laborers, fight corruption and exercise leadership through personal role modeling. May it be the will [before the Lord our God and the God of our ancestors] that the nation sitting in Zion will merit years of freedom, quiet, productivity, education and good health and that our children may never fear at all. . . .

Prayer for Entering the Knesset by Dr. Chaim Hames-Ezra (2013)

May it be Your will, Lord our God, God of our fathers and mothers, that I leave this house as I entered it – at peace with myself and with others. May my actions benefit all residents of the State of Israel. May I work to improve the society that sent me to this chamber and cause a just peace to dwell among us and with our neighbors. May I always remember that I am a messenger of the public and that I must take care to keep my integrity and innocence intact. May I, and we, succeed in all our endeavors. . . .

If I Let It: A Kavanah for Kabbalat Shabbat

Shabbat happens, If I let it. . . .

Knowing But Not Revealing: A Purim Tax Deduction Loophole

Because we cannot live on two planes, we are granted the opportunity to disguise our external features. We develop the capacity to know each others hearts and find even greater satisfaction in the exchange. Yet, too often, we act as if someone else — who looks remarkably like oneself — is going to provide the support for nonprofit organizations we deem are necessary for a decent life. We assume / hope / pray that someone “else” is doing our part. It’s their turn to make a critical contribution, even a small one, that gives relief, replaces a worn-out part, opens the door wide enough to make a difference. . . .

Prayer for Alexandru Ioan I Cuza, Domnitor of Romania by Rabbi Meir Leibush (1862)

The life of Rabbi Meir Leibush ben Yeḥiel Michel (MALBIM, 1809-1879) as a wandering rabbi and brilliant intellect reflects the changing expectations of Jews and Jewish religious authorities during the period of emancipation in 19th century Eastern Europe. In his capacity as the chief rabbi of Bucharest, Romania, MALBIM composed a prayer for Prince Alexander Ioan I Cuza (1820-1873), Domnitor. The prince had united the Danube principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1862 to form the Kingdom of Romania. During his reign, he managed to bring about a series of important land reforms benefiting the peasantry of Romania, and he did try to improve the situation for Jews under his rule. The emancipation of the Jews of Romania, announced with the Proclamation of Islaz during the Wallachian Revolution of 1848, had never actually gone into effect. In 1865, the prince announced a project which would lead to the “gradual emancipation of the people of Mosaic faith” but this effort was never realized due to Alexandru Ioan’s forced abdication and replacement by a Prussian King in 1866. . . .

Rosh Ḥodesh Shevat by Trisha Arlin

This is the month when we tell the story Of the escape from the narrow place. This is the month of Shabbat Shirah, When we sing the song of liberation. We give thanks for freedom. This is the month when we talk of wine and nuts and fruit, The New Year of the Trees. This is the month of Tu Bishvat When we eat the gifts of our planet. We give thanks to the earth. . . .

תפילה לבוחר טרם הבחירות | A Prayer for Voters Before the Elections by Rabbi Esteban Gottfried

רִבּוֹן כָּל הַמַעֳשִים, אַתָּה חוֹנֵן לְאָדָם דֲּעַת וּמְלַמֵּד לֶאֶנוֹש בִּינָה. חָנֵּנוּ מֵאִתְּךָ חָכְמָה, בִּינָה וְהַשְכֵּל בּעֶת מִילוּי זְכוּתֶנו וְחוֹבַתֵנוּ הַאֶזְרַחִית לִבְחוֹר אֶת מַנְהִיגֵינו.‏ . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Seder Rosh Hashanah La’Ilan: A four worlds seder for Tu Bishvat by Rabbi R. Karpov

Ḥaza”l suggest that at this season in particular, we honor the spirits of our friends and teachers, the trees. On Rosh HaShanah La’Ilan, the New Year of The Tree, we connect with the spirits of those trees. According to Rabbi Tzvi Elimelekh of Dinov (B’nei Yissakhar):

On this day the saraf, the sap containing the Holy Sparks in those trees, begins its upward flow. That saraf contains a spiritual dimension, a ‘fire’ or ‘burning energy’, the sacred sparks that the fruits of the Holy Land contain in abundance. On this day, HaShem our Creator begins to place the first sacred sparks into the tree, from where the fruits of the coming year will emerge. Those sparks can ignite the reponsive soul with a burning desire to rise even higher and closer to HaShem.

. . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Rebirthing the Tree(s) of Life: Four Teachings for the Four Worlds of Tu BiShvat/Yah BiShvat by Arthur Waskow

The four teachings above are connected with the Four Worlds that the kabbalists saw as the architecture of the universe. When the Kabbalistic community of Tz’fat created the Seder for Tu BiShvat/ Yah BiShvat, they unfolded these Four Worlds in four cups of wine and four sorts of fruit and nuts (one sort so ethereal it was invisible and untouchable). This year, the full moon of Shvat will fall on Shabbat Shira itself, January 24-25. . . .

חנוכה | Kavvanah for Ḥanukah Candle-Lighting by Bonna Devora Haberman

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. . . .

חנוכה | A Blessing for Dreidel Spinning by Lieba B. Deutsch

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. . . .

חנוכה | Kavvanah for the Mitzvah of Kindling the Ḥanukah Lights by Rebbe Tzvi Elimelech Spira of Dinov (trans. Morah Yehudis Fishman)

For the purpose of the unification of the Holy One and His divine (feminine) Presence, with trepidation and love and love and trepidation, to unify the name Yud-Kay with Vav-Kay (the four letters of the Tetragrammaton) with a complete unity in the name of all Israel, behold I intend in the lighting of the Hanukkah candle to fulfill the command of my Creator as our wise men of blessed memory have commanded us to repair her root in a supernal abode. . . .

על הניסים | Prayers for Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving Day in the United States

With this in mind, I want to invite all Jews in North America that celebrate the secular/national holiday of Thanksgiving to consider what might be a thoughtful prayer on this day. For the few hundred years that our people have been here, as refugees fleeing the Spanish Inquisition and as immigrants simply seeking better fortunes in a safer land, this Land has been a sanctuary. At the same time, even through the storied travails of our immediate ancestors, we cannot ignore the suffering endured by the indigenous peoples of this land who, first by devastating plague, and later through intentional acts of dispossession were murdered, massacred, forcibly displaced, and assimilated (forbidden to speak their language, separated from their families, made ignorant of their traditions) — experiences that must resonate with our own historical experience in the Diaspora. It seems immoral and obscene to me to be thankful without also being mindful of this complexity — how the fruits we enjoy in this Land have a rotten and dramatic history that we, now as residents of this continent, must at least consider in our prayers of thanksgiving. . . .

Prayer for the Earth, Air, Water, Fire of our Planet in Memory of Barry Commoner by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

May the words we are with Your help sharing today, Speak deeply –- with Your help — to our nation and the world. Help us all to know that the sharing of our breath with all of life Is the very proof, the very truth, that we are One. . . .

Am Laubhüttenfest beim Kreisgang mit dem Lulaw und Esrog by Fanny Neuda (1855)

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. . . .

סוכות | Ushpizin and Ushpizata: Inviting the Avot and Imahot into your Sukkah by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

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. . . .

An den ersten Tagen des Laubhüttenfestes: A prayer for the first days of Sukkot by Fanny Neuda (1855)

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.“ . . .

התרת נדרים | Hatarat Nedarim: The Release of Vows by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Almost everyone who is Jewish knows that Kol Nidre is about releasing vows and has participated in the ceremony. Few know the parallel ritual done in small groups before Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, right before Rosh Hashanah one performs this simple ritual with three friends, each in turn becoming the petitioner, while the other three act as the beit din, the judges in a court. The ritual is a wonderful way to enter the holidays as well as to prepare oneself for what will happen on Yom Kippur. . . .

הנני ☞ Hineni: find your place during the Days of Awe with this bookmark by Lieba B. Ruth

Lauren Deutsch designed a High Holy Days greeting card that is a yad (pointer) for all readers to use in their siddurim during services. It also functions as a place holder when one wishes to take a rest from following along. . . .

Seder Achilat Hasimonim: The “Symbolic Foods of Life” Seder for Rosh Hashanah

Ḥazal, — some of our Jewish Sages, May Their Memory Be For A Blessing — suggest that ‘simanah milsah‘ — a symbol has significance. Some of the teachers of Jewish tradition encourage us on Rosh HaShanah to partake of a variety of foods suggestive of prosperity and happiness. This usage is alluded to in the directive of the prophet Nechemiah to the assembly: ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet …” (Nechemiah 8:10). Our kavvanoth — sacred intentions — are that these Symbolic Foods Of Life are to help us effect a good coming year. . . .

מי שברך | Prayer for the Welfare of Israel Defense Forces Soldiers by Rabbi Shlomo Goren (amended by Dr. Alex Sinclair)

May the Lord give our soldiers wisdom, understanding, and insight, so that they do not destroy the righteous with the wicked, as it is written in Your Torah: “Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating them the same. Far be it from you – should the Judge of all the Earth not do justice?” (Genesis 18:25) . . .

יום קשת מ״ב בעומר | The 42nd Day of the Omer is Rainbow Day

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? . . .

Scaling the Walls of the Labyrinth: Psalms 67 and Ana b’Koaḥ

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. . . .

Prayer for the State of Israel by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

Sovereign of the Universe, accept in lovingkindness and with favor our prayers for the State of Israel, her government and all who dwell within her boundries and under her authority. Reopen our eyes and our hearts to the wonder of Israel and strengthen our faith in Your power to work redemption in every human soul. Grant us also the fortitude to keep ever before us those ideals to which Israel dedicated herself in her Declaration of Independence, so that we may be true partners with the people of Israel in working toward her as yet not fully fulfilled vision. . . .

יום העצמאות | Yom ha’Atsmaut: Theological and Liturgical Reflections on Al Hanissim by Yehonatan Chipman

Every year on Yom ha-Atzmaut I feel a certain sense of frustration about its liturgy, and the failure of Religious Zionism to shape the holiday into one that would make a clear and definite religious statement. The “festive” prayer for Yom ha-Atzmaut is a hotchpotch of Yom Kippur, Kabbalat Shabbat, Shabbat Mevarkhim, and Pesaḥ. One gets a sense that there is an avoidance of hard issues. Even such a simple thing as saying Hallel with a blessing is not yet self-evident, but a subject of constant debate. Every year, there seem to be more leading rabbis, who adopt crypto-Ḥaredi stances, issuing pronunciamentos as to why one must not enter into the doubt of saying a brakha levatala, an unnecessary blessing, in this case. (As I was typing these words, I was interrupted by a phone call from a friend with this very question!) Bimhila mikvodam (no affront to the honor due them intended), but what on earth do they think the Talmud is talking about when it says that “On every occasion that Israel are in distress and then delivered, they are to recite the Hallel” (Pesaḥim 116a), if not the likes of Yom ha-Atzmaut? . . .

פורים | Learn the Kriyat Megillat Esther with Rabbi Hillel Yisraeli-Lavery

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. . . .

Prayer for the Government in honor of George Washington, First President of the United States of America by K.K. Beit Shalome (1789)

The following prayer for the government was composed by Congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia in 1789. Please note the acrostic portion of the prayer in which the initial letters of the succeeding lines form the name: Washington. . . .

Memorial Prayer for Abraham Lincoln by Isaac Goldstein the Levite (1865)

Exalted are you Lincoln. Who is like you! You were highly respected among Kings and Princes. All that you accomplished you did with a humble spirit. You are singular and cannot be compared to anyone else. Who among the great are like Lincoln? Who can be praised like you? . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tu Bishvat Seder Meditation on the World of Yetsira by Ben Murane

The Tu Bishvat seder is a metaphor. But usually we use metaphor in our daily lives to accomplish, persuade, inspire or explain. There is something we’re bending metaphor to accomplish. This meditation is an exercise in free-thinking. Here, just play with metaphor for the sake of expressing and exploring your emotional state, history, anticipations and apprehensions. Each of the quotations from the Torah or rabbinical writings below represents an emotion. After we say the blessing over the olives, read the quotations, pick one (or more) that resonate, and play with the metaphor to reach a deeper understanding of yourself and others. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | On Sweet Fruit and Deep Mysteries: Kabbalistic and Midrashic Texts to Sweeten your Tu Bishvat Seder from Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

From [the Holy One’s] form/to’ar the constellations are shimmering, and God’s form projects the exalted ones. And Her crown blazes [with] the mighty, and His garment flows with the precious. And all the trees will rejoice in the word, and the plants will exult in His rejoicing, and His words shall drop as perfumes, flowing forth flames of fire, giving joy to those who search them, and quiet to those who fulfill them. . . .

Mikveh Meditation for Erev Shabbat by Rabbi Haviva Ner-David and Shira Gura

The following is a meditation I wrote (with the help of my friend Shira Gura, who teaches meditation and Yoga) to be used on Friday before Shabbat at the mikveh. It is based on midrashim related to Shabbat (for example, the notion that we receive an additional soul on Shabbat), as well as meanings behind mikveh in general (for example, the connection between the waters of Creation and the mikveh waters), and on some kavanot (sacred intentions) that came out of the Kabbalah and Ḥassidut movements. There is a strong tradition to write kavanot to use before immersing in the mikveh, since, as Maimonides writes in his Mishneh Torah 11:15, “If a person immerses but without buttressing him or herself [with sacred intention], it is as though he or she has not immersed at all.” . . .

אשת חיל | An adaptation of Eyshet Ḥayil by Alex and Peri Sinclair

A woman of valour who can find?
For her price is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband does safely trust in her,
And he has no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

My beloved is mine, and I am his,
That feeds among the lilies. . . .

A Prayer for Candle-lighting by Chaya Kaplan-Lester

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. . . .

חנוכה | Nomi and Aharon’s Ḥanukah Madrikh!

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. . . .

Occupy the Lulav by Virginia Avniel Spatz

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. . . .

על חטא | Al Ḥayt by Stew Albert and Judy Gumbo

We have sinned By yielding to confusion and falling into passivity By indulging in fear By giving in to anger By not standing up for ourselves By thinking about Jewish values only on holy days By tolerating global warming, global disease and global poverty By being cynical about repairing the world By not defending Israel By not defending Palestine For all our sins, may the force that makes forgiveness possible, forgive us, pardon us and grant us atonement . . .

A Rosh Hashana Amidah by Trisha Arlin

PLACE YOURSELF in front of the fear. You will be judged, you will die. Place yourself in the center of the universe You earned that spot simply by existing. Place yourself under obligation to God However you understand or don’t understand God. Place yourself in the path of holiness and joy and truth. Bless Ruach HaOlam, the breath of mindfulness. . . .

ברצלב | From Uman to the Olam: Clapping for the Holy Majesty during the Days of Awe (neohasid.org)

In Uman, Ukraine (and in [the Breslov [community] in general) during the repetition of Rosh Hashanah Musaf, when when the ḥazan gets to the special brokha in the Amidah for Yamim Nora’im [the Days of Awe]: . . .

שלום | Peas on Earth (from the Teva educators Fall 2010)

“Peas on Earth (everybody now) / Peas on Earth — you’ve got to / Grab a fork and lettuce work / For Peas on Earth.” Lyrics and video of several of the 2010 Teva educators singing “Peas on Earth” in costume. . . .

פנים: An accounting of punny foods for the Rosh Hashanah feasts

As חז”ל [Ḥazal] taught us, on ראש השנה [Rosh Hashanah] we elevate puns from the lowest form of humor to the highest religious experience. The foods suggested by our Sages had names in Aramaic or Hebrew that symbolized hopes for the new year — here is a list of foods with English names for those of us for whom English is our vernacular: . . .

The Seder of Kavanot for the Feast of Rosh Hashanah according to a Farsi Nusaḥ

Thank you to Nili Simhai and Yosh Schulman for sharing the Farsi (Persian) Nusaḥ of this punful minhag — the order of reciting kavvanot (intentions) for the New Year. Profound thanks are also due to Rabbi Simcha Daniel Burstyn of Kibbutz Lotan for his translation. Please help the Open Siddur Project by helping to translate and transcribe all of the Hebrew and Farsi in this seder. Sol’e nu Mobarak! سال نو مبارک — L’shanah Tova! . . .

יום כיפור | Haftarah for Yom Kippur, a slightly midrashic translation by Arthur O. Waskow

As we move not just toward a new “year” (shanah) but toward a moment when repetition (sheni) becomes transformation (shinui), I hope we will remember the roots of Jewish renewal in the upheavals of the 1960s as well as the upheavals of the 1760s, the roots of Judaism in the great “political” speeches of the Prophets, and the teachings of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, who said that in a great civil rights march his legs were praying, and who argued again and again that “spirituality” and “politics” cannot be severed. As Heschel also said, “Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive.” . . .

A D’var Tefillah on Zombies, Elul, and Psalms 27 by Rabbi Jessica Minnen

As the month of Elul wanes, we are preparing. We prepare for the new moon, we prepare for Rosh Hashanah, and we prepare for the zombie invasion. I have it on good authority, as do you, that the onslaught is imminent. The alarm blares every morning — a shofar blast and a warning… . . .

A Ten-Step, Four-Worlds, One-Earth Tashlikh by Avi Dolgin

Avi Dolgin shares his mindful practice for maintaining “tashlikh consciousness” in the days leading up to Rosh Hashanah. . . .

אלף באלול | Explanation and ritual for the New Year’s Day for Domesticated Animals (ראש השנה לבהמות)

Once upon a time when the Temple still stood, the Rosh Hashanah La’behemot celebrated one means by which we elevated and esteemed the special creatures that helped us to live and to work. Just as rabbinic Judaism found new ways to realize our Temple offerings with tefillot — prayers — so too the Rosh Hashanah La’behemot challenges us to realize the holiness of the animals in our care in a time without tithes. The New Years Day for Animals is a challenge to remind and rediscover what our responsibilities are to the animals who depend on us for their welfare. Are we treating them correctly and in accord with the mitzvah of tza’ar baalei chayim — sensitivity to the suffering of living creatures? Have we studied and understood the depth of ḥesed — lovingkindness — expressed in the breadth of our ancestors teachings concerning the welfare of animals in Torah? Rosh Hashanah La’behemot is the day to reflect on our immediate or mediated relationships with domesticated animals, recognize our personal responsibilities to them, individually and as part of a distinct and holy people, and repair our relationships to the best of our ability. . . .

Motzi — a kavanah before eating challah

Trisha Arlin shares “Motzi”, a kavanah (intention) for the blessing, Hamotzi Lehem Min Ha’aretz, over challah. Describing the kavanah she writes that it’s, “based on Rabbi Ellen Lippmann’s tradition on having us create a chain of touch around room that leads to and from the challah, which she then explains as both exemplifying the connection created when people eat together and the chain of work that went to creating the challah itself.” . . .

פסח | A Kavanah for Human Rights for the Passover Seder from T’ruah

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. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Mi Sheberakh for Victims of Slavery by Rabbi Joshua Boettiger

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. . . .

ברכת האילנות | The Blessing of Flowering Fruit Trees in the Spring Season

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. . . .

פורים | Seder Megillat Esther for Purim

The Open Siddur Project is pleased to offer the world the first freely licensed Seder Megillat Esther. We would like to thank our contributors: the Jewish Publication Society for sharing an authoritative digital edition of their 1917 English Translation of the TaNaKh (The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text), Christopher Kimball and the Westminster Leningrad Codex digitzation project for an authoritative digital text of the TaNaKh. We would also like to thank Rabbi Rallis Wiesenthal for his contribution of the Siddur Bnei Ashkenaz, Shmueli Gonzales for his transcriptions of siddurim witnessing the Nusach Ha-Ari, and Aharon Varady, the editor of opensiddur.org and founder of the Open Siddur Project. If you have any free licensed resources representing other nuschaot and minhagim, please share them. . . .

פורים | Ta’amei Hamiqra (cantillation) for Megillat Esther

For aspiring ba’al koreh (readers) of Megillat Esther studying its various styles of cantillation (Hebrew, ta’amei hamiqra or in Yiddish, trope), a fair number of recordings are popping up online, but only one so far is being shared with a free/libre, copyleft license thanks to Gabriel Seed, lead developer of zemirotdatabase.org. The audio file is free to redistribute and remix under the CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported license. We’re honored to share Gabriel’s recording of a zarqa table for Megillat Esther read in the Nusaḥ Ashkenaz style. Megillat Esther – Ta’amei Hamiqra: MP3 | OGG . . .

אַ פּאָלףּ קדיש | A Kaddish by Reb Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction, 1994)

Tired of people who can’t tell their kiddish (blessings for the Sabbath) from their kaddish (prayer for the dead)? Well, it sets Samuel L. Jackson off too! But he found a way of making a bracha (blessing) and mourning the dead at the same time. Now I can’t vouch for the origins of his nusaḥ (custom) but it sounds very effective! Most people haven’t noticed, the only real part from the Bible is that last section, the first part is actually his own spiel: . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tu Bishvat Prayer for Trees from T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights

In the wake of the continued uprooting of fruit trees and human settlements in the Land of Israel, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights shared the following petitionary prayer. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening (abridged), a Tu Bishvat Haggadah by Dr. Barak Gale and Dr. Ami Goodman

Tu biShvat, the 15th of the month of Shevat, was designated by the Talmud as the New Year for the Trees. It was tax time for HaShem, a time of tithing for the poor. This tithing has its origin in the following Torah verse: “Every year, you shall set aside a tenth part of the yield, so that you may learn to revere your God forever.” The Kabbalists of 17th century Safed developed the model of tikkun olam that we embrace today — healing the world by gathering the scattered holy sparks. To encourage the Divine flow — shefa — and to effect Tikkun Olam, the Kabbalists of Safed (16th century) created a Tu biShvat seder loosely modeled after the Passover seder. In recent decades we have learned how the well being of trees is intimately connected to the well being of all creation. This relationship is clearly stated in the following Midrash: “If not for the trees, human life could not exist.” (Midrsh Sifre to Deut. 20:19) Today the stakes of environmental stewardship have become very high. Tu biShvat calls upon us to cry out against the enormity of destruction and degradation being inflicted upon God’s world. This degradation includes global warming, massive deforestation, the extinction of species, poisonous deposits of toxic chemicals and nuclear wastes, and exponential population growth. We are also deeply concerned that the poor suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation. Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote: “[Human beings have] indeed become primarily tool-making animal[s], and the world is now a gigantic tool box for the satisfaction of [their] needs…” . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Prayer for the Tu Bishvat Seder from Pri Etz Hadar adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This prayer for Tu Bish’vat, derived from the prayer included with the seder for Tu Bish’vat, the Pri Etz Hadar, are based on the Kabbalah of the four worlds and the ancient idea that everything physical is an image of the spiritual. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge on the Tu biSh’vat Seder Plate by Rabbi Dalia Marx

Through eating those fruits that our sages of blessed memory identified as the fruit of the tree of knowledge, we recall the best of creation, in its beauty and completeness. We remember that every human being, by virtue of being a human being, is the pinnacle of creation. Our task as caretakers is to preserve the world, to work it, and to repair it. Our task is to make the State of Israel more just, so that she will be a blessing to all of her inhabitants and those who love her. . . .

HAVDALLAH: Prayers for the Holy Separations

Three short havdallah divrei tefillah that culminate in a havdallah prayer/blessing. . . .

A Thanksgiving Day Prayer for the Residents of El-Arakib by Rabbi Arik Ascherman

How is it that El-Arakib sits alone and desolate, like a widow a seventh time? “The Daughter of Zion has lost her glory.” (Lamentations 1:6) For, while we had dreamed that our state would “Ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or gender,” (Israeli Declaration of Independence) our prayers have not yet been fulfilled. . . .

קידוש של שבת ט״ו בשבט | Shabbat Kiddush of Liberation for Shabbat Tu Bish’vat by Mark X. Jacobs (1993)

We call to sukkat shalom, the shelter of peace, all of our various selves To rest from the contortion of social life and the demands of others. We liberate ourselves and each other from roles and titles labels and closets positions and pretendings internalized oppressions and oppressive projections hierarchies and competition. . . .

חנוכה | Is Sara Levi-Tanai’s Banu Ḥoshekh l’Garesh in the Public Domain?

Some might seem surprised that this work isn’t in the Public Domain simply by virtue of the song’s popularity. Translations of Banu Ḥoshekh L’garesh are not uncommon despite the apparent lack of translation rights provided to translators. This all underlines how copyright is regularly ignored in the living practice of creative cultures. And yet, copyright law and the protections it affords are ignored at the peril of a copyrighted work’s remixers, publishers, translators, and other creatives. Both the song and an anonymous English translation are here being provided as an example for this article on copyright under Fair Use. Each individual contribution to our collective intellectual commons may be small, but together, our contributions will make a tremendous resource for a renewed vibrant living and creative culture. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Pri Etz Hadar: Fruit of the Majestic Tree, the original seder for Tu biSh’vat (School of Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria, circa 17th century)

From the Pri Etz Hadar, the first ever published seder for Tu Bishvat, circa 17th century: “speech has the power to arouse the sefirot and to cause them to shine more wondrously with a very great light that sheds abundance, favor, blessing, and benefit throughout all the worlds. Consequently, before eating each fruit, it is proper to meditate on the mystery of its divine root, as found in the Zohar and, in some cases, in the tikkunim, in order to arouse their roots above.” . . .

חנוכה | Ḥanukah Sources in Rabbinic Midrash

Our Rabbis taught: When Adam HaRishon (primitive Adam) saw the day getting gradually shorter, he said, ‘Woe is me, perhaps because I have sinned, the world around me is being darkened and returning to its state of chaos and confusion; this then is the kind of death to which I have been sentenced from Heaven!’ So he began keeping an eight days’ fast. But as he observed the winter solstice and noted the day getting increasingly longer, he said, ‘This is the world’s course’, and he set forth to keep an eight days’ festivity. In the following year he appointed both as festivals. Now, he fixed them for the sake of Heaven, but the [unenlightened] appointed them for the sake of star worship. . . .

חנוכה | A Ḥanukah Madrikh by Chajm Guski

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. . . .

A Prayer for the Earth by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

God of all spirit, all directions, all winds You have placed in our hands power unlike any since the world began to overturn the orders of creation. . . .

A Prayer for Voting by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This prayer is broadly speaking a prayer that we learn to work together to create a better future, and it incorporates a pledge to do one thing for healing the world, for tikkun olam, that will make this future a reality. It’s not a prayer about winning or getting other people to see things our way, like some of the others I’ve seen. Whomever we support (I am supporting Obama), we need to pray for strength for the next president, and for the whole country, to face what will be challenging times. . . .

יִגְדַּל | Yigdal by Daniel ben Judah (a new German translation)

Gelobt sei der lebendige Gott! Ihn grenzt nicht Raum, ihn grenzt nicht Zeit. Er ist der Einzige, dem nichts gleicht in seiner hehren Einzigkeit. Er ist nicht Form, ist nicht Gestalt, „der Heilige“, sich gleichend bloß. Der Urbeginn, vor allem Sein: Anfang, der selber anfangslos. So waltet er als Herr der Welt, von dessen Macht das All erzählt. Mit dessen Geist erfüllte er G-ttkünder, die er auserwählt. Nie stand, wie Mosche, einer auf, der je so klar sein Bild erschaut. Die wahre Torah gab uns Gott durch ihn, der seinem Haus vertraut. Und nie verwirft Gott sein Gesetz, nie gibt er es für ein anderes hin. Er schaut in unser Herz und weiß das Ende schon beim Anbeginn. Von ihm wird nach Verdienst und Schuld uns Lohn und Strafe einst zuteil. Die Zeit des G-ttesreiches kommt und bringt den Harrenden das Heil. Die Toten weckt er auf zur Zeit. Gelobt sei Gott in Ewigkeit. . . .

תפילת טל | Prayer for Dew by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

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. . . .

נוסח אשכנז | Shaḥarit (Shabbat) Nusaḥ Ashkenaz, from Seder Avodat Yisrael (Isaac Seligman Baer, 1868)

This is a transcription made by Gabriel Wasserman of Seder Avodat Yisrael, a critical text of the Ashkenaz nusaḥ by Isaac Seligman Baer published in 1868. Gabriel prepared this text for a maḥzor for Ḥanukah. At his request we have included all the liturgy aside from the piyyutim for Ḥanukah. This transcription does not include the meteg, a punctuation mark used in Hebrew for denoting stress. . . .

תפלת מנחה לשבת | Shabbat Minḥah Prayers (Jakob J. Petuchowski, 1966)

This prayer-leaflet was primarily intended for a group of Hebrew Union College students who met every sabbath afternoon for extra-curricular (noncredit) Torah study with Dr. Rabbi Jakob Petuchowki in the mid-1960s. Their service was conducted entirely in Hebrew and in the traditional nusaḥ with some minor but interesting Liberal innovations. Petuchowki writes, “We have omitted only the various repetitions as well as the prayer for the restoration of the sacrificial service. (But we have retained the place of Zion as the symbol of the messianic hope.) In the ‘Alenu prayer, we have preferred a positive formulation of the “Election of Israel” to the traditional negative one.” . . .


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