The personal prayer of this shaliaḥ tsibbur, by Yosef Goldman

Hebrew English

The personal prayer of this shaliaḥ tsibbur–
mortal communal representative and prayer weaver:

Holy One, Beloved One.
As I sit here trembling,
vulnerable, scared,
preparing to open my mouth, my heart,
my soul in the heart of our vessel of this sacred community,
and feeling wholly unworthy of the task,
I pray you grant me the softness of heart
and expansiveness of breath,
that words and sounds
that come from within me,
from within us
weave together
so that we become the prayers
we never even knew we needed to be.

Even when my joints and muscles hurt.
Even when my heart and soul hurt.
Even when my abdomen swells
so that I can hardly inhale.
Even when I can barely rise
to stand before your Awesome presence.
I promise
that I will step into Your presence,
into the heart of community.

It’s in You
that I will find
the ever-renewing strength
to open us up
to express all that’s inside.

אוֹחִילָה לָאֵל

Oḥilah la’El


אוֹחִילָה לָאֵל
אֲחַלֶּה פָנָיו
אֶשְׁאֲלָה מִמֶּנּוּ מַעֲנֵה לָשׁוֹן
אֲשֶׁר בִּקְהַל עָם אָשִׁיר עֻזּוֹ
אַבִּיעָה רְנָנוֹת בְּעַד מִפְעָלָיו
לְאָדָם מַעַרְכֵי לֵב וּמֵה׳ מַעֲנֵה לָשׁוֹן
I pray to You, Dear One,
That I may come into Your presence.
Grant me proper speech,
that I may sing of Your strength
amidst a gathering of our community
and utter praises describing your deeds.

A shaliaḥ tsibbur is the one who serves as the representative of a minyan and the assembled congregation in their prayers in any given service of communal Jewish prayer. “The personal prayer of this shaliaḥ tsibbur” with a translation of the piyyut “Oḥilah la’El” was first published on Facebook by Rabbi Yosef Goldman and shared through The Open Siddur Project Discussion Group. Included in his prayer is the medieval piyyut, “Oḥilah la’El,” by an unknown author.

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