David Seidenberg

David Seidenberg

Rabbi David Seidenberg, the founder of NeoHasid.org, teaches text and music, Jewish thought and spirituality, in their own right and in relation to ecology and the environment. David is the author of the acclaimed book Kabbalah and Ecology: God's Image in the More-Than-Human World (Cambridge U. Press, 2015). To read selections and find out about ordering the book, go to kabbalahandecology.com. David has smikhah (ordination) from the Jewish Theological Seminary and from Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, and he has taught at over 100 synagogues, communities, retreats and conferences across North America (and a few in Europe and Israel), and is published widely on ecology and Judaism. David's teaching empowers learners to become creators of Judaism through deep study and communion with texts and tradition. Areas of specialty include Kabbalah and Chasidut, Talmud, davenning, evolution and cosmology, sustainability, Maimonides, Buber, and more.

http://neohasid.org

Inauguration Day Prayer for the Government of the United States, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org 2021)

Contributed on: ז׳ בשבט ה׳תשפ״א (2021-01-19) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

A prayer for the government of the United States of America on the day of the 59th Presidential Inauguration. . . .


תְּפִילַּת ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Prayer for Tu biShvat from the Seder Pri Ets Hadar, adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ב׳ בשבט ה׳תשע״א (2011-01-06) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

This prayer for Tu biShvat, derived from the prayer included with the seder for Tu biShvat, the Pri Ets Hadar, are based on the Ḳabbalah of the four worlds and the ancient idea that everything physical is an image of the spiritual. . . .


Topical Additions to the Seder Akhilat haSimanim from Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org) for 2020

Contributed on: י״ד בתשרי ה׳תשפ״א (2020-10-02) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

If you are doing a Rosh Hashanah seder of simanim (signs, augurs, portents) using food puns, here are some additions related to today (with apologies for any Hebrew mistakes I’ve made). . . .


Kavvanot for before and after Tashlikh, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: כ״ח באלול ה׳תש״פ (2020-09-16) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

Two kavvanot, one for before and one for after casting away in a Tashlikh ritual. . . .


על אלה אנו בוכים | Al eleh anu bokhim (For these we weep), a lamentation for humanity’s destruction of habitat and species, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ט׳ באב ה׳תש״פ (2020-07-29) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

A ḳinnah for humanity’s willful, negligent, and callous destruction of habitat and species known and unknown. . . .


תפילת הדרך | Tefilat haDerekh, a prayer for peace (trans. Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ד׳ באייר ה׳תשע״ח (2018-04-18) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org | Unknown Author(s) |

In this Tefilat haDerekh (the prayer for travel), I’ve made a synthesis of Ashkenazi and Sefardi nusaḥ. Even though the translation is pretty close to literal in most places, it comes across as an extraordinary and activist prayer for peace. So I think of this prayer not just as a prayer for the beginning a physical journey, but for any spiritual journey, and especially for any campaign or action for justice and peace that a person or group might undertake. When applied to activism, the “enmity and ambush and theft and predation” we ask to be rescued from could also be interpreted as hatred, deceit, jealousy, and aggression, i.e., the kinds of feelings that cause people to work against each other, even within an organization, instead of working together. I first used this version of the prayer at the beginning of a tour of Israel and Palestine focused on the human rights and non-violent resistance, when the group passed through the first checkpoint of the trip. . . .


תפילה להצבעה | A Prayer for Voting with a Pledge to Help Repair the World, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ז׳ בכסלו ה׳תשע״א (2010-11-14) by 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, we need to pray for strength for the next president, and for the whole country, to face what will be challenging times. . . .


בִּרְכַּת הָאִילָנוֹת | The Blessing of Flowering Fruit Trees in the Spring Season, compiled by Aharon Varady

Contributed on: ב׳ בניסן ה׳תשע״א (2011-04-05) by Aharon N. Varady (translation) | Jacob Chatinover (translation) | Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (transcription & naqdanut) | David Seidenberg | Unknown Author(s) |

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. . . .


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

Contributed on: י״ג בניסן ה׳תשע״ג (2013-03-24) by 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: ט״ו בתשרי ה׳תשע״ג (2012-09-30) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org | Noam Sienna |

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. . . .


הָרַחֲמָן עַל שְׁנַת הַשְׁמִיטָה | Haraḥaman for the Shmitah Year, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: כ״ט באלול ה׳תשע״ד (2014-09-24) by 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 Haraḥaman for Shabbat, since Shmitah is the grand shabbat, and right after the paragraph beginning with Bamarom (a/k/a, Mimarom). . . .


סֵדֶר קִדּוּשׁ לְבָנָה ☽ Kiddush Levanah: Sanctification of the Moon (Rabbi David Seidenberg, neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ד׳ בסיון ה׳תשע״ד (2014-06-02) by 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. . . .


בָּאנוּ חׇשֵׁךְ לְקַדֵּשׁ | Banu Ḥoshekh l’Ḳadesh (We come to sanctify the dark), by rabbis David Seidenberg and Jill Hammer

Contributed on: א׳ בטבת ה׳תשע״ט (2018-12-09) by David Seidenberg | Rabbi Jill Hammer, Ph.D. | neohasid.org |

Alternative lyrics to the popular Ḥanukkah song, Banu Ḥoshekh L’Garesh by Sara Levi-Tanai (1960). . . .


הגדה לסדר פסח | Haggadah of the Inner Seder, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: י״ב בניסן ה׳תשע״ה (2015-04-01) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

The Haggadah of the Inner Seder focuses on revealing the inner structure of the seder. This haggadah gives signposts and cues as to where the important shifts in meaning are happening. It also makes clear the seder’s structure and adds in some commentaries that will make sense of not just what things mean but how they work. It also includes some of the customs I am fond of. It does not include a lot of material meant to update the seder or to bring in contemporary issues (though it does have a few commentaries related to peace between Israelis and Palestinians). The Haggadah is 18 pages long. . . .


תפילה לשלום המדינה | Prayer for the Peace of the State of Israel, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: כ״א בניסן ה׳תשע״ח (2018-04-05) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

The familiar prayer for the State of Israel, which is more literally titled “a Prayer for Peace for the State” tefilah lish’lom hamedinah, was written in 1948 by Rabbi Yitsḥak haLevi Hertzog (edited by S.Y. Agnon) in what had up until then been Palestine, in a time of war. The state was under direct attack by the Arab armies, and there was little distinction between peace, survival, and victory. As we approach Israel’s 70th birthday, it is time to make such distinctions. Israel and the Jewish people live in a much more complex reality today, where the triumph of one political party or set of goals can radically change the outlook for peace, and the possibility of justice. In our time, praying for peace for the state of Israel mist include praying for the rectification of its relationships with neighboring countries and with the Palestinian people, some of whom are Israeli citizens, and most of whom are in some way under Israel’s control. This prayer assumes that the best reality for the Jewish state is also the best reality for all of her citizens and for everyone who lives “in the land,” no matter where they are in relation to the Green Line or Areas A, B and C. . . .


Oración por nuestra tierra | תְּפִילָת הָאָרֶץ | A Prayer for Our Earth, an ecumenical prayer by Pope Francis, translated and adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: כ״ז באלול ה׳תשע״ה (2015-09-11) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | David Seidenberg | neohasid.org | Jorge Mario Bergoglio |

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. . . .


Seven Hoshanot for Creation, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: י״ד בתשרי ה׳תש״פ (2019-10-13) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

A litany of hoshanot for use in a ritual prayer circle march on the festival of Sukkot. . . .


A Hoshana for Our Planet, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: י״ד בתשרי ה׳תש״פ (2019-10-13) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

A litany of hoshanot for use in a ritual prayer circle march on the festival of Sukkot. . . .


מְגִלַּת אֵיכָה | Megillat Eikhah (Lamentations) for Reading on Tishah b’Av, translation by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ד׳ באב ה׳תשע״ו (2016-08-07) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org | the Masoretic Text | Barukh ben Neriyah | Yirmiyah ben Ḥilkiyah haKohen |

This translation of Laments, the book of mourning poems read on Tishah 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. . . .


קדיש יתום | Mourner’s Ḳaddish for a Minyan of Ten People (including Jews and non-Jews), by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: כ״ט באלול ה׳תשע״ח (2018-09-09) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

A “secular” kaddish after my mother died so that I could say kaddish under circumstances where I could gather ten people but not ten Jews. . . .


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

Contributed on: כ״ט במרחשון ה׳תשע״ג (2012-11-14) by 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: כ״ט באב ה׳תשע״ז (2017-08-20) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

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. . . .


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

Contributed on: ט״ו בשבט ה׳תשע״ב (2012-02-07) by 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)

Contributed on: א׳ בתשרי ה׳תשע״ב (2011-09-28) by David Seidenberg | 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]: . . .


תפילה בין השריפות | Prayer between the Fires (between the 32nd and 42nd days of the Omer, neohasid.org)

Contributed on: כ״ה בניסן ה׳תשע״ח (2018-04-09) by David Seidenberg | Arthur Waskow | neohasid.org | the Shalom Center |

This is a prayer to be read between the 17th and the 27th of Iyyar (בין י״ז ו-כ״ז באייר), between the 32nd (ל״ב) and 42nd (מ״ב) days of the Omer. . . .


Kavvanah between Lag BaOmer and Yom Qeshet (the 42nd day of the Omer), by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: כ״ה בניסן ה׳תשע״ח (2018-04-09) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

This is a prayer to be read between the 18th and the 27th of Iyyar (בין י״ח ו-כ״ז באייר), between the 33rd (ל״ג) and 42nd (מ״ב) days of the Omer. . . .


עלינו | An Alternative Opening for Aleinu, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ל׳ במרחשון ה׳תשע״ד (2013-11-03) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

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


תפילה בין השריפות | Abridged Prayer Between the Fires for Lag Ba’Omer (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: י״ז באייר ה׳תשע״ח (2018-05-02) by David Seidenberg | Arthur Waskow | neohasid.org | the Shalom Center |

“Between the Fires” by Rabbi David Seidenberg, originally published at neohasid.org, is derived from the prayer of Rabbi Arthur Waskow (the Shalom Center), “Between the Fires: A Prayer for lighting Candles of Commitment” which draws on traditional midrash about the danger of a Flood of Fire, and the passage from Malachi. Another version of this prayer by Rabbi David Seidenberg, “A Prayer between the Fires (between the 32nd and 42nd days of the Omer)” is available, here. . . .


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

Contributed on: כ״ה בניסן ה׳תש״ע (2010-04-08) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

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. . . .


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

Contributed on: כ״ה באייר ה׳תשע״ב (2012-05-16) by David Seidenberg | Aharon N. Varady | neohasid.org |

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? . . .


תפילה לראש חודש טבת ותקופת החורף על חנוכּה | Prayer for the new moon of Tevet on Ḥanukkah occurring on the winter solstice, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ל׳ בכסלו ה׳תשע״ה (2014-12-22) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

Here’s a first draft of a brief liturgy for last night, for solstice plus Ḥanukkah. Note that this is a kind of eco-liturgy, but it also stands on its own without imposing an ecological overlay. Since it’s still solstice all day, you may want to use this prayer now, or at dusk tonight. . . .


Additions to Piyyutim on the High Holidays for the Shemitah Year, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ד׳ בטבת ה׳תש״פ (2019-12-31) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

Two suggestions for ḥazanim (cantors) and shliḥei tzibur on the High Holidays. . . .


על חטא | For the Sin of Destroying God’s Creation by Rabbi Danny Nevins, adapted by Rabbi David Seidenberg (2007)

Contributed on: י׳ בתשרי ה׳תשע״ב (2011-10-07) by David Seidenberg |

Eternal God, You created earth and heavens with mercy, and blew the breath of life into animals and human beings. We were created amidst a world of wholeness, a world called “very good,” pure and beautiful, but now your many works are being erased by us from the book of life. . . .


Addition to the Rosh Hashanah Seder for the Shmitah Year, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: ד׳ בטבת ה׳תש״פ (2019-12-31) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

Many people eat special foods as part of a mini-seder at the beginning of the Rosh Hashanah meal and invoke blessings for the year as they eat them. This year, you can add figs to your Rosh Hashanah seder (apples and honey, or apples, dates, beets, etc.) and recite with this kavvanah (intention). . . .


סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט לִקּוּיֵי הַיָּרֵחַ | A Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah for the Total Lunar Eclipse, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org, 5779/2019)

Contributed on: י״א בשבט ה׳תשע״ט (2019-01-16) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

A Tu Bishvat Seder Haggadah prepared for a time when the Jewish New Year’s Day festival for trees coincides with a total lunar eclipse, as occurred in Tevet 5779 (January 2019). . . .


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

Contributed on: ח׳ בכסלו ה׳תשע״א (2010-11-15) by 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. . . .


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

Contributed on: א׳ באדר א׳ ה׳תשע״ו (2016-02-10) by Aharon N. Varady (transcription) | 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. . . .


תפילה ליום הודו על חנוכּה | Prayer for when Thanksgiving Day falls during Ḥanukkah, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

Contributed on: כ״ב בכסלו ה׳תשע״ד (2013-11-25) by David Seidenberg | neohasid.org |

A prayer for “Thanksgivukkah,” on the rare year that the two festivals intersect. . . .