בסיעתא דשמיא

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Steven I. Rein on 12 June 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 12 June 2018. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Aaron Krupnick on 6 June 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 6 June 2018. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Hannah Spiro on 29 May 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 29 May 2018. . . .

תפילת נחם לשלם בירושלם | Tefilat Naḥem for the Peace of Jerusalem on Tisha b’Av, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

On Tisha be’Av, Jewish communities all over the world add a paragraph called Tefilat Naḥem (the prayer of comfort) to the standard daily Amidah (either for the afternoon service or for all services) praying for a return to Jerusalem. The traditional text discusses Jerusalem being defiled, in the hands of the idol worshipers, putting our people to the sword. But post-1967, Jerusalem has been under Israeli control, and this text has, to many people, felt no longer appropriate in the face of a Jerusalem being rebuilt. Many have written their own versions of a new Tefilat Naḥem for a Jerusalem under Israeli control, but I have felt dissatisfied with a lot of these. Some treat Jerusalem as already fully redeemed, which any glance at the news tells you isn’t the case. Others treat the major step in redeeming Jerusalem as building the Temple, but this seems to me to be only one eschatological part of a larger hope for Jerusalem. Jews have often considered the peace of Jerusalem to be a microcosm of the peace of all the earth. Thus for the Shabbat and Yom Tov Hashkivenu we pray for God to “spread the shelter of peace over us, all Israel, and Jerusalem.” The name Jerusalem, ירושלים, has been analyzed as “they will see peace” יראו שלום, since the peace of Jerusalem means all will see peace. But it’s clear that the peace of Jerusalem is not final or eternal, and it remains a city on the edge of a knife. So my version of Tefilat Naḥem prays not for a return, nor for a Temple, but for the peace of Jerusalem. It can be used at the same time as the standard Tefilat Naḥem (as an extension of the Birkat Yerushalayim in the Shmoneh Esreh for Tisha b’Av) or on its own. Thus I used four asterisks (a tetrapuncta) instead of God’s name, for those who would prefer to avoid a b’rakhah levatalah. Those who would prefer to use this blessing in the Amidah itself could replace the tetrapuncta with the name itself. . . .

כוונה להדליק נרות | Between the Fires: A Kavvanah for Lighting Candles of Commitment, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (the Shalom Center)

“Between the Fires: A Prayer for lighting Candles of Commitment” was composed by Rabbi Arthur Waskow, drawing on traditional midrash about the danger of a Flood of Fire, and the passage from Malachi. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Barry Block on 31 January 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 31 January 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Sanford Akselrad on 28 March 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 28 March 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Richard Boruch Rabinowitz on 3 May 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 3 May 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Thomas A. Louchheim on 17 May 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 17 May 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Hershel Lutch on 21 June 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 21 June2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Gary Klein on 27 June 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 27 June2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff on 18 August 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 18 August 2017 . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Arnold E. Resnicoff on 1 September 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 1 September 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner on 24 October 2017

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 24 October 2017. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Mara Nathan on 19 January 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 19 January 2018. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. Senate: Rabbi Seth H. Frisch on 27 February 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. Senate on 27 February 2018. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Shlomo Segal on 25 April 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 25 April 2018. . . .

תפילה לנספים בשטפונות | Prayer for Flood Victims (Masorti Movement in Israel)

Flash floods are dangerous in every season, but are rare in the dry season, after most rain and snow are thought to have fallen. Changes in the global climate due to global warming caused by anthropogenic activities such as the burning of fossil fuels and the conversion of land for raising animals for their meat is a significant contributor to extreme weather experienced around the world. The Masorti Movement of Israel’s prayer for flood victims was first published on their website, here. . . .

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

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

Proposed flag of the Judenstaat (Jewish State) by Theodor Herzl. As he wrote: "White field, seven golden stars."

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. . . .

Prayer after a Mass Shooting at a Public School, by Rabbi David Dine Wirtschafter

Rabbi David Dine Wirtschafter writes, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Marshall County, Kentucky who, now have joined an ever growing list of places to experience a mass shooting at a public school. We grieve for the families of the two teenagers who were killed. May the 18 others who were injured speedily recover from their wounds. These incidents are terrible no matter where they happen but there is something all the more unsettling when they occur so close to home.” . . .

Prayer for the Centennial of the Inauguration of George Washington, by Rabbi Yaakov Yosef Joseph (1889)

The proclamation and prayer of chief rabbi Yaakov Yosef Joseph, on the centennial of President George Washington’s Inauguration . . .

זאָג ניט קײן מאָל | Partisaner Lid (the Partisan Song), by Hirsh Glik (Vilna Ghetto, 1943)

The Yiddish resistance song, “Partisaner Lid” (The Partisan Song) was composed by Hirsh Glick in the Vilna Ghetto in 1943. . . .

מי שברך למיני פשעי שנאה | Mi Sheberakh for Hate Crimes and Bigotry, by Isaac Gantwerk-Mayer

From resurgent neo-fascist movements to religious extremist attacks, hate crimes are on the rise all over the world right now. At times like this many people live in fear – fear of being attacked or maligned, physical, mental or emotional. Hatred is not new to the Jewish people, but traditionally it was considered “just the way it is.” As Americans, we should believe better. The midrash (Devarim Rabbah 5:10) says that hateful speech kills three – the speaker, the listener, and the subject. This Mi Sheberakh was written as a prayer for all those of every people and nation that are affected by hatred and bigotry. . . .

מי שברך לאסונות טבע | Mi Sheberakh for Natural Disasters, by Isaac Gantwerk-Mayer

A Mi Sheberakh prayer for those affected by natural disasters. This prayer uses many standard liturgical phrases in a new context to stress that God, while full of great power, is not a God of destruction but one of peace and life. Quoting the famous vision of Elijah at Ḥorev, this prayer is for those who seek comfort and tranquility from their God. . . .

א תְּפִילָה פיר שָׁלוֹם הַמְדִינָה | A Prayer for the Welfare of the Government during WWII (from A Naye Shas Tkhine Rav Pninim, ca. 1942)

A prayer for the welfare of the government in Yiddish from A Naye Shas Tkhine Rav Pninim (after 1933). . . .

קינה | Kinah/lamentation, by Aryeh Cohen (2004)

The yahrzeit of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzḥak Rabin, assassinated on 4 November 1995, is י״א בְּמַרחֶשְׁוָן (11 Marḥeshvan). . . .

אנא בכח | Ana b’Koaḥ, attributed to Rebbi Neḥunyah ben haQanah (singing translation by Reb Zalman z”l)

To Rebbi Neḥunyah ben haQanah is generally attributed the composition of אנא בכח, the initials of which form a forty-two-lettered divine name, derived from Psalms 67. He is considered to have been a chief transmitter of an esoteric Jewish lineage in antiquity, the Yordei Merqavah (Descenders to the Chariot). The author of the Bahir and of the Sefer ha-Peli’ah has also beenn attributed to him. . . .

תפילת המדינה | Prayer for the State [of Israel], by S.Y. Agnon (1948)

In September 1948, while editing Rabbi Yitshak haLevi Hertzog’s new Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel, S.Y. Agnon (1888-1970) drafted this adaptation. . . .

תפילה לשלום מדינת ישראל | Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel by Rabbi Yitsḥak haLevi Hertzog (1948)

The Prayer for the Welfare of the State of Israel was composed by Rabbi Yitsḥak haLevi Hertzog, edited by S.Y. Agnon, and first published in the newspaper Ha-Tsofeh on 20 September 1948. . . .

תפילה לישראל ופלסטין | Prayer for Israel and Palestine by IfNotNow-Chicago (5778)

On 29 September 2017 IfNotNow Chicago writes, “Tonight begins Yom Kippur. We are asking our community, when you say the prayer for Israel this Kol Nidre, will you say it for all the people that live in Israel and Palestine? Will you stand for freedom and dignity for all Palestinians and Israelis? Our members have re-imagined the Prayer for the State of Israel. We hope you use this New Prayer for Israel and Palestine, and share it with your own community.” . . .

תפילה לעולם החי | Prayer for the Living Earth by Rabbi Katy Z. Allen

I offer here a prayer for the Earth, which you may wish to use in your personal prayer practice or as part of a community to which you belong. It could be included as one of the prayers after reading the Torah. . . .

A Supplication Before the Divine Throne During an Outbreak of Asiatic Cholera in Montreal by R’ Abraham de Sola (1849)

This is a faithful transcription of a prayer appearing at the end of a sermon delivered by Rabbi Abraham de Sola in K.K. Shearith Yisrael (Montreal), “during the prevalence of asiatic cholera,” and subsequently published in the Occident and American Jewish Advocate (7:7, Tishrei 5610/October 1849). The English translation is a “free translation” made by Rabbi Abraham de Sola. . . .

תחינה ליובל מלחמת ששת הימים | A prayer on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War by Rabbi Ofer Sabath Beit Halachmi

“A prayer on the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War” by Rabbi Ofer Sabath Beit Halachmi was first read on 11 Sivan 5777 (June 5th 2017) and published on his Facebook page. English translation: Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Rabbi Andrea Coustan London and Daniel London. . . .

אל שמר המלכה | God Save the Queen (Hebrew translation, ca. 1892)

“God Save the Queen” is an adaptation of “God Save the King,” a work by an unknown author, first circulated by periodicals in mid-18th century England. The author of the Hebrew translation is also unknown and was published in a pamphlet circulated by New Road (Whitechapel) Synagogue in 1892. We are grateful to the Jewish East End of Londonwebsite for providing the source image for the transcription of this work in the Public Domain. . . .

סדר לקריאת מגילת העצמאות | Reading of the Israeli Declaration of Independence for Yom Ha’atsma’ut

Jews have read sacred texts to commemorate miracles of redemption for a long time. Purim has Megilat Esther. Many communities read Megilat Antiochus or Megilat Yehudit for Chanukah. But to many modern Jews, the most miraculous redemption in recent history was the founding of the state of Israel, as we commemorate on Yom haAtzmaut. Like Purim, the story of the founding of Israel was entirely secular on a surface level, with no big showy miracles like a sea splitting or a mountain aflame. Like Chanukah, a Jewish state in the land of Israel won its independence against mighty forces allied in opposition. But we don’t have a megillah to read for Yom haAtzmaut. Or do we? Just as Megillat Esther is said to be a letter written by Mordekhai to raise awareness of the events of Shushan, so too does the Israeli Scroll of Independence, Megilat haAtzmaut, raise awareness of the events of the founding of the State of Israel. In this vein, I decided to create a cantillation system for Megilat haAtzmaut. Ta’amei miqra were chosen attempting to follow Masoretic grammatical rules – since modern Hebrew has a different grammatical structure, the form is somewhat loose. Because of the thematic similarities to Purim, I chose Esther cantillation for the majority of the text. Just as some tragic lines in Esther are read in Eikhah cantillation, some lines regarding the Shoah or bearing grim portents for the wars to follow are to be sung in Eikhah cantillation. And the final phrases of chapters II and III are to be sung in the melody for the end of a book of the Chumash, or the Song of the Sea melody. They can be done in a call-and-response form, with the community reading and the reader repeating. . . .


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