בסיעתא דשמיא

Siddur Class: Sourcesheets from Amit Gvaryahu’s Shiur on Tefillah

We are grateful to Amit Gvaryahu for sharing his sourcesheets for his Siddur class at Yeshivat Hadar’s 90@190 Open Beit Midrash this past summer 5771/2011, and for sharing his translations with a CC-BY-SA 3.0 Unported license. . . .

It’s All Greek To Me–Praying in Languages Other than Hebrew (sourcesheet) by R’ Ethan Tucker

Language is simultaneously a portal and a barrier to prayer. Jews have prayed in Hebrew for millennia, yet our oldest sources also speak of prayer in other languages. Come explore the history of the language of prayer, how our linguistic preferences define what prayer is about, and how we might approach this issue today. . . .

אחרי הסערה | Prayer in the Wake of the Flood by Rabbi Shai Held (2004)

Ruler of Creation, Master of the world: Have mercy on all those who are suffering from the raging waters and the storming waves. Have compassion on Your creatures – Look, O Lord, and see their distress; Listen, God, and hear their cries. Strengthen the hands of those who would bring relief, comfort the mourners, Heal, please, the wounded. Grant us wisdom and discernment to know our obligations, and open our hearts so that we may extend our hands to the devastated. Bless us so that we may walk in Your ways, “compassionate ones, children of compassionate ones.” Grant us the will and the wisdom to prevent further disaster and death; Prevent plague from descending upon Your earth, and fulfill Your words, “Never again shall there be another flood to destroy the earth.” Amen. So may it be your will. . . .

The Limits of Liturgical Change: selections of halakhic discourse with translations by Rav Ethan Tucker (sourcesheet)

A sourcesheet on the halakhic opinions and attitudes towards praying in languages besides Hebrew. . . .

שמחת בת | Simḥat Bat by Rabbi Elie Kaunfer and Lisa Exler

In place of the blood of the slaughtered bulls from the covenantal ceremony in Exodus, we looked for another substance to effect the covenant ceremony. Amalya was born right after Shavuot, on which we have a tradition to eat dairy. In fact, milk itself is associated with the acceptance of Torah, as described in the following Midrash which quotes a verse from Song of Songs (4:11): “Sweetness drops from your lips, O bride; honey and milk are under your tongue and the scent of your robes is like the scent of Lebanon.” . . .


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