A blessing by Reb Zalman for Peace, Health, Joy, Prosperity, and Kindness which he wrote in spray paint on a municipal water tank behind his house in Colorado. . . .
The “Tkhine of the Gate of Tears” by an unknown author presented here derives from the Vilna, 1848 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 edition this was copied from, please share it with us. . . .
This tkhine offers a formula for providing relief to a very ill person, and as such, should only be used as a supplement to recommendations provided by an expert physician or nurse. The source of the tkhine is Tkhine of a Highly Respected Woman, Budapest, 1896; and transcribed from The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. . . .
This prayer was originally published April 13th, 2013 on Dafna Meir’s blog, Derekh Nashim (Women’s Ways), here, writing “את התפילה זכיתי לחבר תוך כדי למידה למבחן תרופות במחלקה הנוירוכירורגית בסורוקה, בה אני עובדת.” (The prayer I composed for a friend while studying for a test at the Neurosurgery department at Soroka Hospital, which I work.) English translation by Moshe F. via Israellycool. More about Dafna Meir, here and here. . . .
The Birkat Habayit is perhaps the most popular blessing in the Jewish world, appearing as a hanging amulet inside the entrance of many houses of Jews of all streams. I have added niqud to the blessing and I am very grateful to Gabriel Wasserman for his corrections to my vocalization. . . .
Listen to a recording of Psalm 23 chanted to an Indian-inspired melody. . . .
Asher Yatzar (the “bathroom blessing”, traditionally said every morning and after every time one goes to relieve oneself) has always rung hollow to me, at best, and at worst has been a prayer not celebrating beauty but highlighting pain. The original version praises bodies whose nekavim nekavim ḥalulim ḥalulim (“all manner of ducts and tubes”) are properly opened and closed—yes, in a digestive/excretory sense, but it is quite easy to read a reproductive sense into it as well. What do you do if the “ducts and tubes” in your body are not properly opened and closed, what if one is open that should be closed, or vice versa? . . .
A prayer to be recited upon donating blood. In Israel, there are major blood drives around the times of Rosh Hashana and Pesaḥ, so the prayer borrows themes from both of those holidays. It emphasizes both the tzedaka aspect of blood donation and the ancient symbolic resonances of blood sacrifice. . . .
If one has a dream which makes him sad he should go and have it interpreted in the presence of three. He should have it interpreted! Has not Rav Ḥisda said: A dream which is not interpreted is like a letter which is not read? — Say rather then, he should have a good turn given to it in the presence of three. . . .
[In Parshat Vayigash] we read of the members of Jacob’s family who went down to Egypt. There were 53 grandsons listed, but only a single granddaughter – Seraḥ, the daughter of Asher. The commentators wonder, what was so exceptional about this girl that her name was recorded? The Midrash spills forth with stories portraying an image of a unique and endearing Biblical heroine. Seraḥ stands as a trusted, beloved sage of the people. She possessed an uncommon gift of healing through poetry and music. Somewhat as Orpheus is to Greek myth, so is Seraḥ to the Biblical myth – the archetypal poet and bard. . . .
Traditional Judaism offers a confessional prayer, or vidui, to be recited during a time of serious illness or near death. If the patient is unable to recite the prayer, others may do so on his or her behalf. This modern adaptation [of vidui] places less emphasis on atonement for sins, and more on the bonds connecting the patient to his or her loved ones. It can be recited by a friend, family member, or chaplain on behalf of a person who is very ill, especially when life and death are hanging in the balance. . . .
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