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 . . .
This piyut (liturgical poem) arose after a very meaningful performance of mine in the summer of 2000. It was such a powerful experience that I was moved to say a prayer of thanks to G-d for the opportunity to perform my songs for audiences – but found no such prayer in existence. So I wrote this one. It took about a year to complete and I’ve been saying it backstage right before my performances, and sometimes before recording sessions, since then. . . .
God, may my work feel redemptive even when an ocean of need feels like it will pull me down. May I feel the supported when I feel alone in my work. O God, remind me when I fail that I can learn, and that my life is more than my work. O God, remind me when I succeed that I can learn, and that deep success requires the efforts of many. May I remember that going home is a crucial part of the dream. God, help me to remember that I am one of the people I am called by You to serve. May I feel undivided as I transition from sphere to sphere, a whole person within Your world. . . .
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: . . .
May it be Your will, O Lord my God and God of my ancestors, to deliver me this day, and every day, from cranky customers and from cowardly managers; and if I must deal with them, grant me the patience and the wits to make things work. Grant me also an easy temper with my daughter, and let me not lose sight of her preciousness for one instant. And let me devote myself to my duties to my (wife/husband, and always keep her happiness in mind, and show her often that I love her. For all this, I ask You to help me, because I cannot do it alone. . . .