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ליקוטי תפילות ב:יא | Prayer for the ability to pray alone with the vegetation of the field (Liqutei Tefillot Ⅱ:11a), by Reb Noson of Nemyriv adapted from the teachings of Rebbe Naḥman (ca. 1820s)


Source (Hebrew)Translation (English)
‏”לְכָה דּוֹדִי
נֵצֵא הַשָּׂדֶה
נָלִינָה בַּכְּפָרִים,‏
נַשְׁכִּימָה לַכְּרָמִים,‏
נִרְאֶה אִם פָּרְחָה הַגֶּפֶן,‏
פִּתַּח הַסְּמָדַר,‏
הֵנֵצוּ הָרִמּוֹנִים,‏
שָׁם אֶתֵּן אֶת דּוֹדַי לָךְ“ ‏(שיר השירים ז׃יב-יג)‏
“Come, my beloved,
let us go forth into the field;
let us lodge in the villages.
Let us get up early to the vineyards;
let us see whether the vine has budded,
whether the vine-blossom be opened,
and the pomegranates be in flower;
there will I give you my love.” (Song of Songs 7:12-13)
רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁל עוֹלָם
זַכֵּנִי לְהַרְבּוֹת בְּהִתְבּוֹדְדוּת תָּמִיד,‏
וְאֶזְכֶּה לִהְיוֹת רָגִיל לָצֵאת בְּכׇל יוֹם לַשָּׂדֶה
בֵּין אִילָנוֹת וַעֲשָׂבִים וְכֹל שִׂיחַ הַשָּׂדֶה,‏
וְשָׁם אֶזְכֶּה לְהִתְבּוֹדֵד
וּלְהַרְבּוֹת בְּשִׂיחָה זוֹ תְפִילָּה
בֵּינִי לְבֵין קוֹנִי,‏
לָשׂוּחַ שָׁם כׇּל אֲשֶׁר עִם לְבָבִי.
Master of the Universe,
help me always with the ability to be alone (hitbodedut);
may it be my custom to go out into the field every day
among the trees and grass — among all growing things of the field
and there may I be alone,
and enter into verbose conversation — prayer —
between you and me, my beholder,
to converse over everything on my conscience.
וְכֹל שִׂיחַ הַשָּׂדֶה
וְכׇל הָעֲשָׂבִים וְהָאִילָנוֹת וְכׇל הַצְּמָחִים,‏
כֻּלָּם יִתְעוֹרְרוּ לִקְרָאתִי,‏
וְיַעֲלוּ וְיִתְּנוּ כֹחָם וְחַיּוּתָם
לְתוֹךְ דִּבְרֵי שִׂיחָתִי וּתְפִלָּתִי,‏
עַד שֶׁתִּהְיֶה תְפִלָּתִי וְשִׂיחָתִי נִשְׁלֶמֶת בְּתַכְלִית הַשְּׁלֵמוּת
עַל יְדֵי כׇּל שִׂיחַ הַשָּׂדֶה,‏
שֶׁיֻּכְלְלוּ כֻלָּם,‏
עִם כׇּל כְּחוֹתָם וְחַיּוּתָם וְרוּחֲנִיוּתָם
עַד שָׁרְשָׁם הָעֶלְיוֹן,‏
כֻּלָּם יֻכְלְלוּ בְּתוֹךְ תְּפִלָּתִי.
May all the vegetation of the field —
all of the grasses, trees, and plants —
be aroused at my coming to greet me,
and may they rise up and invest their strength and vitality
within the words of my conversation and prayer
so that my prayer and speech are made whole
through the aid of all of the field’s flora,
so that all of them
with all of their might, vitality, and spirit,
may reach up to their highest root
and so be incorporated into my prayer.
וְעַל יְדֵי זֶה
אֶזְכֶּה לִפְתֹּחַ אֶת לִבִּי
לְהַרְבּוֹת בִּתְפִילָּה וְתַחֲנוּנִים וּבְשִׂיחָה קְדוֹשָׁה
לְפָנֶיךָ מָלֵא רַחֲמִים רַבִּים,‏
וּלְפָנֶיךָ אֶשְׁפֹּךְ כׇּל שִׂיחִי,‏
עַד שֶׁאֶזְכֶּה לִשְׁפֹּךְ לִבִּי כַמַּיִם
נוֹכַח פָּנֶיךָ יְהוָה,‏
וְאֶשָּׂא אֵלֶיךָ כַּפַּי,
עַל נַפְשִׁי וְנֶפֶשׁ עוֹלָלַי וְטַפַּי.‏
As a result,
may I then pour out the words of my open conscience
in much prayer, pleading, and holy conversation
before you who are filled with enormous compassion.
May I pour forth all of my conversation before you
until at last the thoughts of my heart pour out like water
before your countenance, YHVH,
and lift up my hands to You on behalf of my soul
and the souls of my children and infants.

This is Reb Nosson of Nemyriv’s prayer for hitbodedut, a praxis of making oneself alone in order to speak, privately and uninterrupted, from the depths of ones heart. As recommended here, the praxis is recommended to take place outside in a field (or a forested field) — a place in which the vitality of the simply aspirating flora around the practitioner might be woven together, support, and elevate the speech of the practitioner, who may either feel overwhelmed with the complexity of their thoughts and feelings, or else may simply not know where else to begin except through connecting their own life with that of the yearning for life in surrounding vegetation. As the prayers of Reb Nosson are inspired by the teachings of his rebbe, Naḥman of Bratslav, one can also consult those as found in Likutei Moharan, Introduction 15, in Likutey Moharan, Part II:11, and in Likutei Moharan, Part II 25:1. (Also find Likutei Moharan, Part II 1:11.) The second half of Liqutei Tefilot Ⅱ:11 is not presented here, and seems to me like an example of a prayer arising out of hitbodedut.

The English translation presented here is adapted from the slightly abridged translation provided in Gates of Prayer (ed. Chaim Stern, CCAR 1975) and The Fiftieth Gate vol. 6 (ed. Yaacov David Shulman, Breslov Research Institute 2016). I have added citations and arranged the translation in a linear format, phrase by phrase, with some occasional small stylistic edits to the translation. –Aharon Varady


Shabbat Meditation (Gates of Prayer, ed. Chaim Stern 1975), p. 376-377






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