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תפילה קודם למוד הקבלה | Prayer Before Studying Kabbalah, by Yitsḥak Luria (translated by Aharon Varady)

Hebrew (source) English (translation)

רִבּוֹן הָעוֹלָמִים וַאֲדוֹנֵי הָאֲדוֹנִים,
אַב הָרָחֲמִים וְהָסְּלִיחוֹת,
מוֹדִים אֲנַחְנוּ לְפָנֶיךָ
ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ,
בְּקִידָּה וּבְהִשְׁתַּחֲוָיָה,
שֶׁקֵּרַבְתָּנוּ לְתוֹרָתֶךָ וְלַעֲבוֹדָתֶךָ עֲבוֹדַת הַקֹדֶשׁ,
וְנָתַתָּ לָנוּ חֵלֶק בְּסוֹדוֹת תּוֹרָתֶךָ הַקְּדוֹשָׁה.‏
Master of the worlds and Lord of Lords,
Father of Compassion and Forgiveness,
we give thanks before you
YHVH our elo’ah, and elo’ah of our ancestors,
kneeling and bowing,
for drawing us close to your Torah and to your service [in] the holy mission,
and for granting us a portion in the hidden insights of your holy Torah.

מָה אֲנוּ וּמָה חַיֵּינוּ
אֲשֶר עָשִׂיתָ עִמָּנוּ חֶסֶד גָּדוֹל כָּזֶה?‏
What are we and what is our life
that you should have made for us this immense ḥesed?

עַל כֵּן אֲנַחְנוּ מַפִּילִים תַּחֲנוּנֵינוּ לְפָנֶיךָ,
שֶׁתִּמְחוֹל וְתִסְלַח לְכָל חַטֹּאתֵינוּ וְעֲווֹנוֹתֵינוּ,
וְאַל יִהְיוּ עֲווֹנוֹתֵינוּ מַבְדִּילִים בֵּינֵנוּ לְבֵינֶךָ.‏
Therefore we cast our supplications before you,
requesting that you forgive and pardon all our sins and transgressions,
and that our sins shall not alienate us from you.

וּבְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְפָנֶיךָ
ה׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ וְאֱלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ,
שֶׁתְּכוֹנֵן אֶת לְבָבֵינוּ לְיִרְאָתֶךָ וּלְאַהֲבָתֶךָ,
וְתַקְשִׁיב אַזְנֶיךָ לִדְבָרֵינוּ אֵלֶה,
וְתִפְתַּח לְבָבֵנוּ הֶעָרֵל בּסוֹדוֹת תּוֹרָתֶךָ,
וְיִהְיֶה לִמּוּדֵינוּ זֶה נַחַת רוּחַ לִפְנֵי כִסֵּא כְבוֹדֶךָ כְּרֵיחַ נִיחוֹחַ,
וְתַאֲצִיל עֲלֵינוּ אוֹר מְקוֹר נִשְׁמָתֵנוּ בְּכָל בְּחִינָתֵנוּ,
וְשֶׁיִּתְנוֹצְצוּ נִיצוֹצוֹת עֲבָדֶיךָ הַקְּדוֹשִׁים
אֲשֶׁר עַל יָדָם גִּלִּיתָ דְבָרֶיךָ אֵלֶה בָּעוֹלָם.‏
Therefore may it be your will,
YHVH our elo’ah, and elo’ah of our ancestors,
that you attune our minds[1] Until the modern period, the heart was understood as the locus of the intellect, and thus translated here as mind, not literally as heart.  to your fearsomeness and your lovingness,
and let your ears hear our speech,
and open our closed[2] Here I interpret, he’aral, literally “uncircumcised,” as closed, i.e., unprepared, immature.  minds with the secrets of your Torah,
and let our study be pleasing before your Resplendent Cathedra as the redolence of honeyed incense,
and emanate upon us light from the source of our souls to [illuminate] all facets of our inner being,
and let the nitsotsot (primordial sparks) [contained within] your holy servants,
through whom you have revealed your words in this Age, shine forth!

וּזְכוּת אֲבוֹתָם
וּזְכוּת תּוֹרָתָם וּתְמִימוּתָם וּקְדוּשָתָם
יַעֲמוֹד לָנוּ לְבַל נִכָּשֵׁל בִּדְבָרִים אֵלוּ,‏
May their merit,
and the merit of their ancestors,
and the merit of their Torah, of their perfection, and of their sanctity
support us so that we should not stumble in our study.

וּבִזְכוּתָם תָּאִיר עֵינֵינוּ בַּמֶּה שֶׁאָנוּ לוֹמְדִים,
כְּמַאֲמַר נְעִים זְמִירוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל:
”גַּל־עֵינַ֥י וְאַבִּ֑יטָה נִ֝פְלָא֗וֹת מִתּוֹרָתֶֽךָ“ (תהלים קיט׃יח)
”כִּֽי־יְ֭הוָה יִתֵּ֣ן חָכְמָ֑ה מִ֝פִּ֗יו דַּ֣עַת וּתְבוּנָֽה׃“ (משלי ב׃ו)
And may their merit illuminate our eyes in what we are studying,
in the words of the enchanting singer of Yisra’el:
“Open my eyes and I will perceive the wonders of your Torah”[3] Psalms 119:18 ,
“for YHVH grants wisdom; out of G‽D’s mouth emanates knowledge and discernment.”[4] Proverbs 2:6 

”יִֽהְי֥וּ לְרָצ֨וֹן׀ אִמְרֵי־פִ֡י וְהֶגְי֣וֹן לִבִּ֣י לְפָנֶ֑יךָ יְ֝הוָ֗ה צוּרִ֥י וְגֹאֲלִֽי׃“ (תהלים יט׃טו)
“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart find favor before you, YHVH, my fortress and my redeemer.”[5] Psalms 19:15 

Thanks to Judy Barret for offering pointed text as reference for this transcription. Translated for my 40th birthday in love and honor of my mother and father.

In the Zohar discussion group on Facebook, Judy Barret writes, “There is a custom of prefacing each study session of the Zohar with this prayer.” This prayer commonly appears at the beginning of many works of Kaballah. (See for example, below).


Rav Yitzḥak Luria - prayer before learning kaballah


1 Until the modern period, the heart was understood as the locus of the intellect, and thus translated here as mind, not literally as heart.
2 Here I interpret, he’aral, literally “uncircumcised,” as closed, i.e., unprepared, immature.
3 Psalms 119:18
4 Proverbs 2:6
5 Psalms 19:15

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