בסיעתא דשמיא

ברכות התורה | Blessing for Torah Study, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

This English translation of the blessing for Torah study by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification according to the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

ברכות ותפילות לרגל עדות העטרה של החמה | Blessings and a Prayer for Witnessing a Solar Eclipse by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org, 2017)

Blessings and prayers for the eclipse, at: neohasid.org/eclipse including texts and links to other Internet resources. May we all find blessing in the wonder. . . .

ריבונו של עולם הריני מוחל | Prayer of Forgiveness by Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria z”l, from the Bedtime Shema (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria’s prayer “Hareni Moḥel” (I hereby forgive) in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the prayer. The prayer by the ARI z”l was first published in Ḥayim Vital’s Pri Ets Ḥayyim, Shaar Kriyat Shema al Hamitah, Pereq 2 (פרי עץ חיים, שער קריאת שמע שעל המיטה, פרק ב), and based on the statement of Reish Lakish in the Bavli Pesachim 66b and the practice of Mar Zutra attested in the Bavli Megillah 28a . . .

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. . . .

סדור לבנת הספיר לקבלת שבת | Siddur Livnat HaSapir l’Kabbalat Shabbat, a Friday Night Siddur by Aharon Varady

Siddur Livnat HaSapir l’Kabbalat Shabbat is a complete prayerbook (siddur) for welcoming the Shabbat on nearly all Friday evenings. This is the personal prayerbook of Aharon Varady, containing his idiosyncratic preferences in liturgical custom and aesthetic presentation. . . .

B’Sefer Ḥayyim: A Maḥzor for the Days of Awe

This is a complete* Jewish Renewal/Reconstructionist Machzor for Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, primarily influenced by the davennin of Reb Zalman and the Aquarian Minyan. All text in English is gender-neutral. All Hebrew prayers are accompanied by transliteration. Material for Shabbat is at the back of the book. Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur prayers are . . .

מגילת איכה | Megillat Eikhah (Lamentations) for Tisha b’Av (translation by Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

This translation of Laments, the book of mourning poems read on Tish’a B’Av, uses principles of the Buber-Rosenzweig Bible. It strives to be “concordant”, translating related Hebrew words with related English words and following the order and syntax of the Hebrew where possible. It also focuses on the more physical, earthy meaning of words, in order to draw the reader from modern towards more ancient ways of seeing and feeling. Sometimes alternate translations are given, indicated by a slash. (When reading aloud, simply pick one of the translations. For YHVH, you can read Adonai or Hashem or “the Eternal”.) James Moffat’s 1922 translation was consulted. As a somewhat literal translation, Laments uses “He” and “His” as pronouns for God, even though Torah and common sense command us not to make an exclusively male or female image of God. If you are using Laments liturgically, please feel encouraged to change the pronouns. For brief essays on the theology of Eikhah and more, see the bottom of this page. This work is dedicated to all refugees fleeing war and upheaval, and to our remembering their needs. . . .

ברכות | Bringing blessing to all life on Earth, a d’var tefilah on making blessings over foods by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

The Talmud (Brakhot 35a-b) teaches that eating food without saying a brakhah (a blessing) beforehand is like stealing. A lot of people know that teaching, and it’s pretty deep. But here’s an even deeper part: the Talmud doesn’t call it “stealing”, but מעילה ׁ(“me’ilah“), which means taking from sacred property that belongs to the Temple. So that means that everything in the world is sacred and this Creation is like a HOLY TEMPLE. . . .

A Prayer for Our Earth, an ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis (trans. Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

An ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis from his encyclical, Laudato Si (praise be to you) from May 24th, 2015. Here’s my draft of a Hebrew translation of Pope Francis’ prayer for our earth. It turns out no one had translated it yet. The translation includes sparks from the High Holiday liturgy. I thought we should have it available for Rosh Hashanah, even though I’m sure the translation could use more work and more feedback. . . .

A Prayer before Torah Study by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

My Lord Creator of all, Master of all worlds, Supreme, compassionate and forgiving, Thank You for Your Torah, Thank You for allowing me to learn from it And to move toward serving You. Thank You for revealing some of the Mysteries of Your Way. . . .

ברכת המזון | Thanks for the Food, an interpretive translation of the Birkat Hamazon by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

The style by which Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l translated Jewish liturgy in English was neither literal nor idiomatic, but highly interpretive and interspersed with his own ḥiddushim (innovations). Showing Reb Zalman’s translation side-by-side with the Jewish liturgy helps to illuminate his understanding of the liturgy — it’s deeper meaning as well as how it might be communicated to a contemporary audience. In the version I have prepared below, I have set the interpretive translation of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l side-by-side with the liturgical Hebrew that may have inspired it. In several places, Reb Zalman’s formulation departs from the traditional Ashkenazi nusaḥ. Where there is no Hebrew, we can more easily observe where Reb Zalman has expanded upon the blessing. Still, my work was not exhaustive and I appreciate any corrections to the nusaḥ (liturgical custom) of the Hebrew that may have inspired Reb Zalman’s interpretation in English. . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

You who love my soul Compassion’s gentle source, Take my disposition and shape it to Your will. Like a darting deer I will flee to You. Before Your glorious Presence Humbly I do bow. Let Your sweet love Delight me with its thrill Because no other dainty Will my hunger still. . . .

סידור ולא נבוש | Jewish Prayer as Shame Resilience Practice: Siddur v’Lo Nevosh for Shaḥarit by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman

For those of us who speak a religious language, we can understand our journey of building shame resilience as one of the many ways we can uplift, exalt, praise, and honor not just our own lives but the Life of life itself. Whenever we feel unworthy of love and belonging, we can remember that the very self which we are struggling to believe is lovable is none other a manifestation of God’s own Self. Our belief that we are worthy to live and belong is one way we can practice our trust in God. And if the God language doesn’t do it for us, we can get in touch with our own wonder at being alive, call it whatever name or conjure whatever image works for us, and remember that our journey to live a wholehearted life honors that wonder. Ultimately we can affirm that any step toward a wholehearted life lifts up holiness in this world. . . .

הרחמן | Haraḥaman, Prayer to the merciful One for the Shmita Year, R”H seder additions, and other liturgical tweaks by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This Haraḥaman (prayer to the merciful or compassionate One) for the Shmitah or sabbatical year can be added to Birkat Hamazon (blessing after meals) during the whole Shmitah year, in order to remember and open our hearts to the sanctity of the land. Say it right before the Harachaman for Shabbat, since Shmitah is the grand shabbat, and right after the paragraph beginning with Bamarom (a/k/a, Mimarom). . . .

סדר קידוש לבנה ☽ Kiddush Levanah: Sanctification of the Moon (Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

In Kabbalistic tradition, the new moon is sanctified seven days after its appearance, under a clear sky, standing facing east. It may be said as early as three days after the new moon, and as late as a day before the full moon (the moon should still be visibly waxing). It is the custom in the month of Av to wait to sanctify the moon until after Tisha b’Av, and in Tishrei to wait until after Yom Kippur. In a minyan, the Aleinu prayer and kaddish are traditionally added at the end. . . .

Prayer for Thanksgivukah by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

May the next Thanksgivukkah be a time of health and abundance for all of you who will receive the world from our hands. May we together find away to make sure that there is health and wealth and beauty not just for our family, not just for the Jewish people and humanity, but for all living creatures who share this planet with us. May the One bless us with the power and wisdom to birth a society that shows love to the world around us, that lives with love towards all beings. . . .

עלינו | Aleinu, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This version of the Aleinu recognizes that all nations play a role in God’s plan for humanity. . . .

אלף באלול | The Council of All Beings on the New Year’s Day festival for Animals, Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot (ראש השנה לבהימות)

Domesticated animals (beheimot) are halakhically distinguished from ḥayot, wild animals in having been bred to rely upon human beings for their welfare. As the livelihood and continued existence of wild animals increasingly depends on the energy, food, and land use decisions of human beings, the responsibility for their care is coming into the purview of our religious responsibilities as Jews under the mitzvah of tsa’ar baalei ḥayyim — mindfullness of the suffering of all living creatures in our decisions and behavior. Rosh Hashanah LeBeheimot is the festival where we are reminded of this important mitzvah at the onset of the month in which we imagine ourselves to be the flock of a god upon whose welfare we rely. The Council of All Beings is an activity that can help us understand and reflect upon the needs of the flock of creatures that already rely upon us for their welfare. . . .

An Illustrated Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur with Drawings by Daniel Nebenzahl

There are many illustrated siddurim for children. This Illustrated Kabbalat Shabbat Siddur is an illustrated siddur (in Hebrew) for grownups. The purpose of this siddur is to inspire us during prayer, to help us create and maintain Kavana. I chose to create this siddur for Kabbalat Shabbat, since usually at Kabbalat Shabbat we are more relaxed and open. The siddur has all that is needed (Nusaḥ Sefarad) for the Friday night prayers (Minḥah, Kabbalat Shabbat, and Arvit). The drawings accompany Kabbalat Shabbat. . . .

ביעור חמץ | Kavanah for Returning Our Ḥametz to the Earth by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

May it be Your will Hashem that we remember that just as we do not own this ḥametz, we do not own this earth. May we once again recall that Adam, the human, is made of afar, soil, dirt, and that God’s promise Abraham that his progeny will become “like the dirt of the earth,” in Aramaic, afra d’ar’a, means that we must live to nourish all Life. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Seder Rosh Hashanah La’Ilan: A four worlds seder for Tu Bishvat by Rabbi R. Karpov

Ḥaza”l suggest that at this season in particular, we honor the spirits of our friends and teachers, the trees. On Rosh HaShanah La’Ilan, the New Year of The Tree, we connect with the spirits of those trees. According to Rabbi Tzvi Elimelekh of Dinov (B’nei Yissakhar):

On this day the saraf, the sap containing the Holy Sparks in those trees, begins its upward flow. That saraf contains a spiritual dimension, a ‘fire’ or ‘burning energy’, the sacred sparks that the fruits of the Holy Land contain in abundance. On this day, HaShem our Creator begins to place the first sacred sparks into the tree, from where the fruits of the coming year will emerge. Those sparks can ignite the reponsive soul with a burning desire to rise even higher and closer to HaShem.

. . .

כעבור סופה | After the Storm: A Prayer to Choose Life by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

The prayers for hurricane victims that are circulating through the Open Siddur Project and elsewhere are poignant and heartfelt, but they don’t speak an important piece of the truth that we need to hear. What about our collective responsibility for climate disruption that undoubtedly increases the harm caused by this and every major storm? And what about the Deuteronomic promise that God brings us recompense for our actions davka through the weather? Here’s an attempt at a prayer that incorporates a deeper understanding of our responsibility. For the final version of this prayer, I started with an anonymous Hebrew translation of my original English prayer, then I tweaked it and wove in scriptural references, and retranslated it back into English. . . .

סדר אושפיזין / אושפיזתא | Seder Ushpizin and Ushpizata: Inviting the Avot and Imahot into your Sukkah by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

The essential idea of the liturgy of Ushpizin is to invoke the energies of the seven lower Sefirot in the proper order, so that Shefa, blessing and sustenance, can be drawn down into the world. This is the essence of Kabbalistic liturgy, and a liturgy of the imahot would only make sense if it were to follow that pattern. That means we have the playfully serious task of finding a stable order for the imahot where no clear order exists. . . .

התרת נדרים | Hatarat Nedarim: The Release of Vows by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Almost everyone who is Jewish knows that Kol Nidre is about releasing vows and has participated in the ceremony. Few know the parallel ritual done in small groups before Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, right before Rosh Hashanah one performs this simple ritual with three friends, each in turn becoming the petitioner, while the other three act as the beit din, the judges in a court. The ritual is a wonderful way to enter the holidays as well as to prepare oneself for what will happen on Yom Kippur. . . .

סדר אכילת הסמנים | Seder Akhilat haSimanim: The “Symbolic Foods of Life” Seder for Rosh Hashanah by R’ R. Karpov, Ph.D.

Ḥazal, — some of our Jewish Sages, May Their Memory Be For A Blessing — suggest that ‘simanah milsah‘ — a symbol has significance. Some of the teachers of Jewish tradition encourage us on Rosh HaShanah to partake of a variety of foods suggestive of prosperity and happiness. This usage is alluded to in the directive of the prophet Nechemiah to the assembly: ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet …” (Nechemiah 8:10). Our kavvanoth — sacred intentions — are that these Symbolic Foods Of Life are to help us effect a good coming year. . . .

יום קשת מ״ב בעומר | The 42nd Day of the Omer is Rainbow Day

The time we are in now is a time to ask: are we so determined to undo God’s rainbow covenant? Will we truly burn the sea, chemically and literally, with the oil we unleash from inside the Earth? Will we flood the sea with death as the land was flooded according to the Noah story of so long ago? As the cleanup continues and the effects will continue for decades, what new floods will we unleash in the coming years? . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | On Sweet Fruit and Deep Mysteries: Kabbalistic and Midrashic Texts to Sweeten your Tu Bishvat Seder from Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

From [the Holy One’s] form/to’ar the constellations are shimmering, and God’s form projects the exalted ones. And Her crown blazes [with] the mighty, and His garment flows with the precious. And all the trees will rejoice in the word, and the plants will exult in His rejoicing, and His words shall drop as perfumes, flowing forth flames of fire, giving joy to those who search them, and quiet to those who fulfill them. . . .

המלך הקדוש | From Uman to the Olam: Clapping upon the Coronation of the Holy Majesty during the Days of Awe (neohasid.org)

In Uman, Ukraine (and in [the Breslov [community] in general) during the repetition of Rosh Hashanah Musaf, when when the ḥazan gets to the special brokha in the Amidah for Yamim Nora’im [the Days of Awe]: . . .

ברכת האילנות | The Blessing of Flowering Fruit Trees in the Spring Season

When the spring (Aviv) season arrives, a blessing is traditionally said when one is in view of at least two flowering fruit trees. In the northern hemisphere, it can be said anytime through the end of the month of Nissan (though it can still be said in Iyar). For those who live in the southern hemisphere, the blessing can be said during the month of Tishrei. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Prayer for the Tu Bishvat Seder from Pri Etz Hadar adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This prayer for Tu Bish’vat, derived from the prayer included with the seder for Tu Bish’vat, the Pri Etz Hadar, are based on the Kabbalah of the four worlds and the ancient idea that everything physical is an image of the spiritual. . . .

A Prayer for the Earth by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

God of all spirit, all directions, all winds You have placed in our hands power unlike any since the world began to overturn the orders of creation. . . .

A Prayer for Voting by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This prayer is broadly speaking a prayer that we learn to work together to create a better future, and it incorporates a pledge to do one thing for healing the world, for tikkun olam, that will make this future a reality. It’s not a prayer about winning or getting other people to see things our way, like some of the others I’ve seen. Whomever we support (I am supporting Obama), we need to pray for strength for the next president, and for the whole country, to face what will be challenging times. . . .

ברכת החמה | Blessing for the Sun by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org, 2009)

We come here ready to fulfill the Creator’s commandment to give blessing for the Sun’s creation and in this year we recognize that the abundance of blessing which Earth receives from the Sun depends on the health of the Skies, which is in human hands for the first time in any generation in all the years of blessing the Sun, from the beginning of the world. . . .

Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

If you are not used to reading Hebrew with comprehension and with the ability to dilate the Hebrew from the literal meaning, or if you cannot read Hebrew and need a resource for daily davvenen, I offer you this set of texts, which I, too, use frequently for myself. I translated the Psalms and the liturgy in the way in which I experience them in my feeling consciousness. This does not offer the ‘pshat’, the literal meaning of the words, but the devotional interpretation that can make it a prayer of the heart. . . .


בסיעתא דארעא