This Veterans Day Prayer was first published by Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff, Chaplain, USN (Retired), on his twitter page. He writes, “Because of COVID this is the first Veterans Day in a long time I am not part of a ceremony — and I know that’s the situation for many fellow vets. So I wrote it yesterday to share today as a virtual prayer for Veterans Day 2020.” On 11 November 2022, Rabbi Resnicoff offered the expanded revision of this prayer as offered above at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC. . . .
According to Mishnah Pesaḥim 10:4, “One expounds (doresh) from ‘A wandering Aramean was my father’ (Deuteronomy 26:5) until he finishes the whole story.” This supplement to Maggid, the verse Deuteronomy 26:9 and its midrash, fulfills the obligation. The verse and its midrash fit into the Passover Haggadah after the ten plagues and the midrash on them, right before the song Dayyenu. . . .
This prayer is not a comprehensive list of every single sin we sinned, every error we erred, every mark we missed. The original Al Ḥeyt is intended to show us the roots of all failures, to dig beneath how we harm, to see where that hurt came from. We follow these trails together, not absolved from our own repairs, but never alone in struggles to uproot, to propagate new ways of being ourselves, new ways of being ourselves, of being together. . . .
This acrostic poetic form of Birkat haMazon was written for the se’udah mafseqet (pre-fast meal) before Yom Kippur, in the manner of the poetic Birkat haMazon variants recorded in the Cairo Geniza. . . .
This is a poetic text for Birkat haMazon, signed with an alphabetical acrostic and the name of the author, to be recited on the first of Elul. It celebrates the variety of God’s creation as exemplified by the natural diversity of species, as well as alluding to the livestock tithes traditionally assigned on the first of Elul. . . .
Many communities have a custom of reciting “simanim” on the night of Rosh haShanah — invocations on a series of foods punning over their Hebrew or Aramaic names. This is an assortment of common simanim, along with English loose translations that preserve the punning aspects of the foods. . . .
The Raḥamana piyyut is a litany beloved in Sephardic and Mizraḥi communities, a standard part of their Seliḥoth services throughout the month of Elul and the days of repentance. Traditionally it cites a list of Biblical men (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Pinhas, David, and Solomon) and asks to be remembered for their merit and their covenants, for the sake of “Va-yaŋabor” — the first word of Exodus 34:6, the introduction to the verses of the Thirteen Attributes recited in Seliḥoth services. This text instead uses Biblical women (Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, Serach, Miriam, Deborah, Ruth, Hannah, and Esther). . . .
The “minor tractate” Soferim is one of our best sources for early liturgical practice. It is the oldest known source for multiple practices still followed today, such as the blessing for the haftarah. Such luminaries as the Vilna Gaon considered it a vital work. But some of its practices are… well, odd. There are customs in Tractate Soferim which are found nowhere else in classical rabbinics — blessings for the recitation of books in Writings other than the scrolls, a three-year cycle of Torah readings, and a custom to divide the scrolls in half when reading them. This service is constructed based on the descriptions and passages of Tractate Soferim, mostly following the Gra’s edition. In some ways it may be very familiar, especially to Ashkenazim, but in others it is a fascinating glimpse into a heretofore lost practice of Judaism. . . .
There are all sorts of customs associated with weddings in Judaism. But one custom that has been practiced for a long time and deserves a comeback is the additions to the Torah reading for Shabbat Kallah. Shabbat Kallah, the Shabbat in the “Sheva Berakhot” week after the wedding, is in many Sephardic communities preferred over Shabbat Ḥatan, the aufruf Shabbat before the wedding. And in all sorts of communities across the Jewish world, there have been customs for specific readings for Shabbat Kallah, treating it as a Special Sabbath in its own right. Traditionally this special maftir and haftarah would recited by the groom (along with an Aramaic translator interpolating for the maftir). The maftir is from the story of Abraham’s servant tasked with finding a wife for Isaac, and the haftarah is from the book of Isaiah and compares a groom and bride to the relationship between God and Israel. . . .
In all modern communities, the standard practice is that on the three Shabbatot before the Ninth of Av and the seven after it the standard haftarah is replaced. Before the Ninth of Av they are replaced with haftarot of rebuke, from Jeremiah and the opening of Isaiah, and after they are replaced with haftarot of consolation from the later parts of Isaiah. Rambam’s Mishneh Torah, though, preserves a very different custom, one where each one of those Torah portions has an associated haftarah, related not to the calendar but to the parashah itself. Here the editor has compiled a list of these haftarah readings, along with brief notes to explain their connection with the parashah. . . .
This formulation of the Birkat Yeladim (Blessing of the Children) maintains a connection with tradition and serves to degender the blessing by calling upon quoted, mixed gender texts which have merit for children of any gender. . . .
Hineni – the leader’s prayer that opens the High Holy Days Mussaf has always been a challenge for me. While a dramatic moment in the service, it always seemed a little *too* grand to represent a prayer of humility. This is a version of it I wrote in an attempt to make myself more comfortable at that moment. –Rabbi Oren Steinitz . . .
An acknowledgement that the land we are conducting our religious ceremonies on is the sacred and traditional land of Indigenous people. It involves a kavvanah and study verses as well as the land acknowledgement. . . .
Based on the Prayer For Freedom from Strife and the Prayer that One Be a Lover and a Pursuer of Peace taken from the Liqutei Tefilot of Reb Nosson of Nemirov. Edited and reworked by Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum. English Translation: Rabbi Martin S. Cohen. . . .
A private prayer for fulfilling your civic duty and voting, whether in a voting booth or by mail. The concluding partial berakhah (without its full preamble, so as to avoid a berakhah levatala) is traditionally stated upon seeing a king of a nation, so in a democratic regime it seems appropriate to adopt for the voters. . . .
The argument that “statues preserve our heritage” is not one the halakhah tolerates, especially when the statues are celebrating the perpetrators of horrible atrocities. Here’s a service for those interested in fulfilling the Biblical commandment of destroying idolatrous statues. #BLM . . .
A private prayer for those dwelling in quarantine and are unable to fulfill any mitzvot that require public action. Can be recited as part of the “Shomea Tefilah” section of the amidah, or independently. . . .