בסיעתא דשמיא

מודה אני | Modah/Modeh Ani (translation by Andrew Shaw)

Thankful am I in your Presence, Spirit who lives and endures, for You’ve returned to me my soul with compassion. Abundant is your faith! . . .

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. . . .

ספר תפילות לשבת | Sabbath Prayer Book by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1945)

Arranged and translated by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan, the Sabbath Prayer Book is the first Reconstructionist prayerbook we know of to have entered the Public Domain. (The prayerbook entered the Public Domain due to lack of copyright renewal by the copyright owner listed in the copyright notice, the Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, as evidenced in the Stanford Copyright Renewal database.) . . .

תחינה פון ראש חודש בענטשן | Tkhine for the Rosh Ḥodesh Blessing (from the Tkhine of Sarah, Rivkah, Rokhl, and Leah)

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). . . .

ברוך שאמר | Barukh She’amar, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

This English translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l of “Barukh Sh’amar,” was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Linear associations of this translation according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

על הכל יתגדל ויתקדש | A Kaddish During the Removal of the Torah from the Ark in the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l (translation by R’ Oren Steinitz)

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. . . .

יהי כבוד | Yehi Kh’vod, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of “Yehi Kh’vod” in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with the verses comprising the piyyut. . . .

(אשרי (תהלים קמ״ה | Ashrei (Psalms 145 by David), with an English Translation in Alphabetic Acrostic by Rabbi Sam Seicol

A modern translation of the Ashrei in alphabetic parallel to the Hebrew. . . .

After Shaḥarit: Abiding Advice for Daily Living by Eliyahu Carmi (1767) translated by Abe Katz

In Avignon, France, in 1767, Eliyahu Karmi (Elijah Crémieux) compiled a siddur preserving the nusaḥ of the Comtat Venaissin titled the סדר התמיד (Seder HaTamid). Just after the section for תפלת שחרית (the morning prayers), Karmi provides the following advice for how to organize one’s workday: . . .

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. . . .

Meditation on the Akeidah in Birkot haShaḥar by Shim’on Menachem

My God and the God of my ancestors,
My limbs, my heart, the tips of my fingers buzz with creation.
This body is Your instrument
Ready to move
On the knife’s edge of action. . . .

יגדל אלהים חי | Yigdal by Daniel ben Judah (German translation by Chajm Guski)

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. . . .

Adventures in Ancient Jewish Liturgy: The Ten Commandments and the Sh’ma in the Nash Papyrus

Once upon a time, according to the Mishnah, it was the nusaḥ (liturgical tradition) of the Cohanim in the Bet Hamikdash[ref]Priests of the Temple in Jerusalem[/ref] for the Ten Commandments to be read prior to the Sh’ma. . . .

שמע | An illustrated meditation on the unification of imagination and awareness through empathy

When works are printed bearing shemot, any one of the ten divine names sacred to Judaism, they are cared for with love. If a page or bound work bearing shemot falls to the ground it’s a Jewish custom to draw up the page or book and kiss it. Just as loved ones are cared for after they’ve fallen and passed away, when the binding fails and leaves fall from siddurim and other seforim they are collected in boxes and bins and brought for burial, where their holy words can decompose back into the earth from which their constituent elements once grew, and were once harvested to become paper and books, and ink, string, glue. While teaching at the Teva Learning Center last Fall 2010, I collected all our shemot that we had intentionally or unintentionally made on our copy machine, or which we had collected from the itinerant teachers who pass through the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center on so many beautiful weekend shabbatonim. While leafing through the pages, I found one and kept it from the darkness of the genizah. . . .

Seder Avodat Lev: early morning prayers of the farmers of the Adamah Fellowship

DOWNLOAD: PDF | ODT | TXT

Download Avodat-Lev-2016.pdf (PDF, 127KB)

Avodat HaLev Shaḥarit: Service of the Heart

This work is available for you to adopt, adapt, and redistribute. All translations are shared copyleft with a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0 International license, https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/. All Hebrew liturgy is derived from the Public Domain. Thank you . . .

שִׁוִּיתִי | Shiviti: perceiving the world as an expression of divine Oneness

Given that the Torah forbids impressing our imaginations with illustrations of the divine, some other method is necessary to perceive divine Oneness. One method is found in the verse in Psalms 16:8, “I have set YHVH before me at all times.”

שִׁוִּיתִי יְהוָה לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד׃ Shiviti YHVH l’negdi tamid I have set YHVH before me at all times.

. . .

שמע | Sh’ma: an Interpretation for the 21st Century by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (2003)

Sh’sh’sh’ma Yisra’el — Listen, You Godwrestlers! Pause from your wrestling and hush’sh’sh To hear — YHWH/ Yahh Hear in the stillness the still silent voice, The silent breathing that intertwines life; YHWH/ Yahh elohenu Breath of life is our God, What unites all the varied forces creating all worlds into one-ness, Each breath unique, And all unified; YHWH / Yahh echad! Yahh is One. Listen, You Godwrestlers! No one people alone owns this Unify-force; YHWH / Yahh is One. . . .

A Prayer For Kavanah by Amanda Rush

Hashem, as I open my Siddur, let me pray with proper kavanah. Let me pray with sincerity, paying careful attention to every word I utter. Hashem, let me concentrate with my whole being on the meaning of each and every word, sentence and prayer. Keep my mind from wandering to other subjects, and keep me from neglecting to put my heart and soul in to each and every prayer, praise and blessing. May my prayer come before You, O Hashem, at a time of grace, and may it be accepted favorably by You. Amen. . . .

A Kavanah for Waking Up by Andrew Shaw

An original liturgical poem inspired by the Modah|Modeh Ani prayer. . . .

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. . . .


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