בסיעתא דשמיא

שׁמושׁ תהלים‬ | Shimush Tehillim (the Theurgical Use of Psalms) attributed to Hai ben Sherira Gaon

The Shimmush Tehillim is a medieval work providing prescriptive theurgical associations for Psalms and verses from Psalms. It has been historically attributed to Rav Hai Gaon (939-1038 CE) but any definitive statement of authorship is lacking. The suggestion that portions of the Shimush Tehillim were authored during the late Geonic period in Iraq isn’t implausible. We also know that Hai Gaon was knowledgeable of Hekhalot writings that should at least be considered part of the same thought world as the Shimmush Tehillim. Writings found in the Shimush Tehillim have been found in manuscripts dating from the 12th century. This digital transcription of Shimush Tehillim derives from Elias Klein Békéscsaba’s 1936 compilation. This edition should not be considered a critical text, as earlier editions certainly exist. Not all of the Psalms are identified as having a particular theurgical use. . . .

פיוט למוזיקאי קודם שיופיע | A Performing Musician’s Piyut by Alan Jay Sufrin

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. . . .

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. . . .

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.” . . .

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. . . .

מגילת אנטיוכס | 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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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). . . .

Prayer for the United States Government by Rabbi Shmuly Yanklowitz (2017)

Because of my commitment to the integrity of prayer, starting this week, I can no longer recite or say amen to the Shabbat prayer for the success of the U.S. President. So I have drafted a new prayer that I will plan to recite each Shabbat morning. If you also feel it’s important to pray for the U.S. government but also feel you cannot pray for the success of this President, feel free to use this or adapt it as you please. I felt that it was not enough to simply avoid the U.S. President in the prayer for the government but to remind myself of the billions of vulnerable people who are at risk under his rule, and challenge myself each Shabbat to build up the strength for another week of spiritual resistance. . . .

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.‏ . . .

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. . . .

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.‏ . . .

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). . . .

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 . . .

תפילה לישראל | A Prayer for Israel by Rabbi Nahum Waldman z”l for T’ruah (2004)

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.” . . .

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. . . .

תפילה לשלום העיר תל אביב יפו | Prayer for the Welfare of Tel Aviv and Jaffa by Rabbi Esteban Gottfried

רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים, מוֹדִים אֲנַחְנוּ לְךָ עַל שֶׁהִפְלֵאתָ חַסְדֵךָ לָנוּ בְּהַקָמַת עִיר גְּדוֹלָה וּמְפֹאָרָה וְרַבַּת־עַם בְּאַרְצֵנוּ בְּשֵׁם תֵּל אָבִיב־יָפוֹ. אַתָּה הִשְׁפַּעְתָּ לִפְנֵי לְמַעְלָה מִמֵאָה שָׁנָה רוּחַ עֵצָה וּתְבוּנָה עַל קְבוּצַת בּונִים מִבְּנֵי צִיוֹן הַיְקָרִים, לִתְקֹעַ יָתֵד עַל שְׂפַת הַיָּם לְעִיר עִבְרִית וְחֲנַנְתַּם עֹז וְעָצְמָה לְבַצֵּעַ שְׁאִיפָתָם זוֹ בְּאֹמֶץ וּגְבוּרָה וּבִמְסִירוּת נֶפֶש, וְקַבְעוּ בָהּ סְדָרִים מְתֻקָּנִים, וְהֶעֱמִידוּ מוֹסָדוֹת נַעֲלִים לַתַרְבּוּת עִבְרִית, לְתּוֹרָה וּלִתְפִילָה, לְבָתֵי חִנּוּךְ וְלִמוּד, לְמִסְחַר וּלְחֲרשֶׁת הַמַּעֲשֶׂה וּלִפְעֻלּוֹת־חֶסֶד. וְהִנֵה הָעִיר גָּדְלַה וַתִיף, וְרַבִּים מֵאָחֵינוּ וְאַחֲיוֹתֵינוּ נָהֲרוּ אֵלֶיהָ וְנִהְיְתָה לְמֶרְכָּז הַחַיִּים בָּאָרֶץ. תָּמִיד הוֹמִיָּה מֵאֲנָשִׁים וּמְלֵאָה חַיִּים וּתְנוּעָה, קוֹל תִּקְוָה נִשְׁמַע בִּשְׁעָרֵיהָ וְהַלְמוּת עֲמֵלִים בְּחוֹמוֹתֵיהָ וּמַרְכֹּלֶת רָבָּה בִּשְׁוָקֵיהָ.‏ . . .

ברכות והודאות | Brakhot v’Hoda’ot (Blessings and Thanksgivings): A Birkon for the Bar Mitsvah of Yeshayahu Yisraeli

Brakhot v’Hoda’ot (Blessings and Thanksgivings): A Birkon by R’ Hillel Ḥayyim Yisraeli-Lavery. Kiddush, Havdalah and the Birkat Hamazon according to the custom of R’ Saadia Gaon, RaMBaM, and the Vilna Gaon. Zemirot, Piyyutim, and Shirim. Ma’ariv for Weekdays and for after Shabbat. A souvenir for the Bar Mitzvah of Yeshayahu Yisraeli, 19 Sivan 5776 (Shabbat Parshat Shelakh Lekha). Published in the Holy City of Yerushalayim. . . .

Intention for community garlic planting (at the end of a harvest season)

Garlic is typically the last crop planted on a farm, it is planted in the fall and harvested the following summer. So you are leaving a legacy for next years farmers (which might be you). We begin by separating the garlic bulbs from the cloves, similar to separating people from their community. Then, once the individual (garlic cloves) are planted, they form new communities in the ground. Similar to the process that we are all going through. Leaving our community here on the farm and going out into the world to create new communities. . . .

תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine 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. . . .

תחנה אן צום גדליהו | Tkhine for the Fast of Gedalyahu (1841)

Source (Yiddish) Contribute a translation אן צום גדליהו. On the Fast of Gedalyahu. מיט אינניגער בעטרו֞בניס געדענקען װיר הײטע אן דיא צײט װאָ אונזרע פֿאָרפֿאהרען דורך נבוכדנאצר קאָ֞ניג פֿאָן בבל אונטעריאָכט, אונד מײזטענטהײלס אױז איהרעם לאנדע פֿערטריעבען װאָרדען זינד. אללגערעכטער אונד גו֞טיגער גאָטט, דוא האיט אונז דײן װאָרט דורך דיא פראָפהעטען אױפֿבעװאהרט, דאמיט װיר . . .

א תחנה פאר א מוטער װאס פירט איהר קינד דעם ערשׁטען מאל אין חדר | Tkhine for a Parent Who Leads their Child for the First Time to Religious School (1910)

“Tkine for a Mother Who Leads Her Child to Kheyder” by an unknown author is a faithful transcription of the tkhine published in Rokhl m’vakoh al boneho (Raḥel Weeps for her Children), Vilna, 1910. 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. Please offer a translation of this tkhine in the comments. . . .

תְּחִנָּה מִגְדַּל הַשֵּׁן | Tkhine for a Baby’s First Tooth

This is a faithful transcription of the תְּחִנָּה מִגְדַּל הַשֵּׁן (“Tkhine for a Baby’s First Tooth”) which first appeared in ש״ס תחנה חדשה (Shas Tkhine Ḥaḥadasha), a collection of tkhines published by Ben-Zion Alfes in Vilna, 1922. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

ט״ו באב | Zemer for Tu b’Av by Avraham ben Ḥalfon

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English) זמר לט”ו באב מאת ר’ אברהם ב”ר חלפון please contribute a translation הִתְבַּשֵּׂ֫רוּ בְנֵי עֶלְיוֹן / כִּי נִחַם יי צִיּוֹן אַזְכִּיר חֲסָדֶ֫יךָ מַלְכִּי / לְנֶ֫גֶד כָּל נִבְרָאֶ֫יךָ וּדְבַר גְּבוּרוֹת יְחַו חִכִּי / אֲשֶׁר פְּעַלְתָּם לִירֵאֶ֫יךָ בַּחֲמִשָּׁה־עָשָׂר בְּאָב, כִּי / נִמְלְצוּ לְחִכִּי פְלָאֶ֫יךָ וְאֶכְתְּבֵ֫ימוֹ עַל גִּלָּיוֹן / וְאָשִׁיר בָּם עֲלֵי הִגָּיוֹן

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