בסיעתא דשמיא

ברכת המזון השלם עם טעמי מקרא | Full Birkat haMazon with Ta’amei haMiqra (cantillation), by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (Nusaḥ Ashkenaz)

The full Birkat haMazon (or Grace after Meals) according to Nusach Ashkenaz with optional additions for egalitarian rites, fully marked with ta’amei miqra (also known as cantillation marks or trope). Ta’amei miqra originally marked grammar and divisions in any Hebrew sentences, and older Hebrew manuscripts such as those from the Cairo Geniza often show ta’amei miqra on all sorts of texts, not just the Biblical texts we associate them with today. This text includes the full tradition for Birkat haMazon, including texts for weekdays, Shabbatot, and festivals, as well as additions for a wedding meal, a circumcision meal, and a meal in a mourner’s house. . . .

תפילה קודם קריאת פרשת אחרי מות | Prayer to be Recited Before the Reading of Parashat Aḥarei Mōt, by Rabbi Steven Greenberg

A prayer to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identifying folk before reading Parshat Aḥarei Mot (Leviticus 16:1–18:30) in the synagogue. . . .

מי שברך על קבלת שם עברי | Mi Sheberakh on Receiving a Hebrew Name as an Adult

The names of our ancestors reflect the diverse tapestry of experiences and cultures they encountered including the names of those who joined our families from neighboring people and regional societies. In giving and receiving Hebrew names, we honor the names of all our ancestors whose “names may be remembered for a blessing” (zekher livrakha). Of the ancestors mentioned in the mi sheberakh (“May the one who blessed our forefathers and foremothers…”), I wanted to make certain to include Mordekhai and Esther, names of figures distinguished in their being both native to their Diasporan roots (Marduk and Ishtar), as well as elevated by the heroic, brave action of their namesakes. If there are figures from the Tanakh that are important to you, that are a kesher (connection) between you and the identity contained within our stories, then please feel free to include them in your mi sheberakh. –Aharon Nissn ben Adrienne & David (ﬡַﬣֲﬧֹן ניסן בֶּן עײﬢﬧען וְﬢַוִﬢ) . . .

העמידה לימות החל עם טעמי המקרא‎ | Weekday Amidah and Kaddish with Ta’amei haMiqra (cantillation), by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (Nusaḥ Ashkenaz)

The full Weekday Amidah (or Eighteen Blessings), according to Nusach Ashkenaz with optional additions for egalitarian rites or for within Israel, fully marked with ta’amei miqra (also known as cantillation marks or trope). Ta’amei miqra originally marked grammar and divisions in any Hebrew sentences, and older Hebrew manuscripts such as those from the Cairo Geniza often show ta’amei miqra on all sorts of texts, not just the Biblical texts we associate them with today. This text has the Eighteen Blessings (which number nineteen) of the weekday Amidah, and is suitable to use as a text for any standard weekday service. Note: this does not include any of the pre- or post-Amidah texts, such as Ashrei, Kriyat Shema, Tachanun, or Aleinu. It also doesn’t include additions for festivals, fast days, or the Days of Repentance. Those may be coming in the future, though! . . .

תהלים | Reading of Psalms for the Weekly Portion, by Isaac Gantwerk-Mayer

This is a system that seeks to create a Haftarah-like system for the reading of Psalms, linking their meaning to the meaning of the reading or the Shabbat of that day. Like the Haftarah system, there are special psalms for the Shabbatot leading up to and following the Ninth of Av, as well as specific psalms for Rosh Chodesh and the special Shabbatot. Unlike the Haftarah system, if two portions are read together or a special Shabbat occurs on a day when another reading is done, both psalms are read (since psalms are generally shorter and easier to read than prophetic texts.) . . .

Méditation Pour Le Jeudi | Meditation for Thursday (the Fifth Day), by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Isaac Leeser (1863)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the Prayer for Thursday, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. . . .

ראש חדש | Au Renouvellememt Du Mois | At the New Moon, by Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Isaac Leeser (1863)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the Prayer for the New Moon, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. . . .

הֲרֵינִי מְקַבֵּל עָלַי | A kavvanah to love your fellow as yourself, before prayer

The custom of reciting this intention is attributed to Rav Yitzḥak Luria, circa 16th century, on Leviticus 19:18, recorded in Minhagei ha-Arizal–Petura d’Abba, p.3b by R’ Ḥayyim Vital. . . .

ברכות על קריאת התורה | Blessing over the Torah Reading, at Mishkan Shalom, Philadelphia

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Reb Arthur Waskow, and others helped to formulate this grammatically feminine Hebrew blessing for an oleh in their blessing over the Torah reading, in the early years of Congregation Mishkan Shalom in Philadelphia (1988-1983). . . .

יהי כבוד | Yehi Kh’vod, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of “Yehi Kh’vod” in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with the verses comprising the piyyut. . . .

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). . . .

ברוך שאמר | Barukh She’amar, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

This English translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l of “Barukh Sh’amar,” was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Linear associations of this translation according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

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. . . .

נשמה שנתת בי | Neshamah Shenatata Bi (the breath you have given me), interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

This English translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l of “Neshama Shenatata Bi,” was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Linear associations of this translation according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

ברכות התורה | Blessing for Torah Study, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

This English translation of the blessing for Torah study by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification according to the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

This English translation of the prayer “Asher Yatsar” by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification by Aharon Varady according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l. . . .

תהלים כ״ז בלשון אנגלית | Psalms 27 (interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

This English translation of Psalms 27 by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification by Aharon Varady. . . .

רבון העולמים | Ribon HaOlamim from the Seder Tefilot of the RaMBaM in M.S. Constantinople 1509 (trans. Aharon Varady)

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English) לְעוֹלָם יְהֵא אָדָם יְרֵא שָׁמַֽיִם בַּסֵּתֶר וּמוֹדֶה עַל הָאֱמֶת, וְדוֹבֵר אֱמֶת בִּלְבָבוֹ, וְיַשְׁכֵּם וְיאֹמַר: Always may a person revere Heaven in solitude,[1]lit. seclusion jQuery(“#footnote_plugin_tooltip_1”).tooltip({ tip: “#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_1”, tipClass: “footnote_tooltip”, effect: “fade”, fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: “top right”, relative: true, offset: [5, 5] }); to contemplate Truth and articulate truth in . . .

(אשרי (תהלים קמ״ה | Ashrei (Psalms 145 by David), with an English Translation in Alphabetic Acrostic by Rabbi Sam Seicol

A modern translation of the Ashrei in alphabetic parallel to the Hebrew. . . .

The Angels’ Vigil by Rosa Emma Salaman (1848)

The poem, “The Angels’ Vigil” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was written in April 12, 1848 and first published in the Occident and American Jewish Advocate 6:3, Sivan 5608, June 1848, p. 127-128. . . .

A Description of my Dreams by Rosa Emma Salaman (1848)

The poem, “A Description of my Dreams” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was written in September 1849 and first published in the Occident and American Jewish Advocate Vol. 6:4, Tamuz 5608, July 1848, p.175-177. . . .

Divine Love, by Rosa Emma Salaman (1848)

The poem, “Divine Love” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was first published in the Occident 6:7, Tishrei 5609, October 1849, p. 197-198. . . .

Night by Rosa Emma Salaman (1846)

The poem, “Night” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was first published in the Occident 3:11, Shebat 5606, February 1846. . . .

Twilight by Rosa Emma Salaman (1849)

The poem, “Twilight” by Rosa Emma Salaman, was first published in the Occident 7:5, Ab 5609/August 1849, p.245. . . .

[Gebet] Am Freitag by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda (1855)

This is the prayer for Friday, a paraliturgical teḥinah opposite the Shir shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Friday, included by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda in her collection of teḥinot in vernacular German. Fanny Neuda likely either composed or translated this teḥinah into German (from Yiddish) while performing in the capacity of firzogerin (precentress) of the weibershul (women’s gallery) in her husband’s synagogue in Loštice, Bohemia. . . .

Méditation Pour le Mercedi by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Isaac Leeser (1863)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the Shir Shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Wednesday, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was included by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery in their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Meditations, translated by Hester Rothschild. In 1863, Isaac Leeser published his own translation. This is the first time that Leeser’s translation and its source have been set next to each other. . . .

A Prayer for Daily Guidance, by Rosa Emma Salaman (1851)

Rosa Emma Salaman’s “Prayer for Daily Guidance” was written December 20, 1851 and published in the Occident 10:2, Iyar 5612/May 1852, p. 85. 226. . . .

Méditation Pour le Mardi by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Isaac Leeser (1863)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the Shir Shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Tuesday, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was included by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery in their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Meditations, translated by Hester Rothschild. In 1863, Isaac Leeser published his own translation. This is the first time that Leeser’s translation and its source have been set next to each other. . . .

[Gebet] Am Donnerstag by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda (1855)

This is the prayer for Thursday, a paraliturgical teḥinah opposite the Shir shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Thursday, included by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda in her collection of teḥinot in vernacular German. Fanny Neuda likely either composed or translated this teḥinah into German (from Yiddish) while performing in the capacity of firzogerin (precentress) of the weibershul (women’s gallery) in her husband’s synagogue in Loštice, Bohemia. . . .

[Gebet] Am Mittwoch by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda (1855)

This is the prayer for Wednesday, a paraliturgical teḥinah opposite the Shir shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Wednesday, included by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda in her collection of teḥinot in vernacular German. Fanny Neuda likely either composed or translated this teḥinah into German (from Yiddish) while performing in the capacity of firzogerin (precentress) of the weibershul (women’s gallery) in her husband’s synagogue in Loštice, Bohemia. . . .

[Gebet] Am Dienstag by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda (1855)

This is the prayer for Tuesday, a paraliturgical teḥinah opposite the Shir shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Tuesday, included by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda in her collection of teḥinot in vernacular German. Fanny Neuda likely either composed or translated this teḥinah into German (from Yiddish) while performing in the capacity of firzogerin (precentress) of the weibershul (women’s gallery) in her husband’s synagogue in Loštice, Bohemia. . . .

תהלים פ״ב בלשון אנגלית | The Psalm for Tuesday, Psalms 82 (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of the Psalm of the Day for Monday (Psalms 82) in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the Psalm. –Aharon N. Varady . . .

תהלים מ״ח בלשון אנגלית | The Psalm for Monday, Psalms 48 (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of the Psalm of the Day for Monday (Psalms 48) in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the Psalm. –Aharon N. Varady . . .

[Gebet] Am Montag by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda (1855)

This is the prayer for Monday, a paraliturgical teḥinah opposite the Shir shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Sunday, included by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda in her collection of teḥinot in vernacular German. Fanny Neuda likely either composed or translated this teḥinah into German while performing in the capacity of firzogerin (precentress) of the weibershul (women’s gallery) in her husband’s synagogue in Loštice, Bohemia. . . .

Méditation Pour le Lundi by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Isaac Leeser (1863)

This is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the prayer for Monday, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was included by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery in their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Meditations, translated by Hester Rothschild. In 1863, Isaac Leeser published his own translation. This is the first time that Leeser’s translation and its source have been set next to each other. . . .

Méditation Pour le Dimanche by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Isaac Leeser (1863)

This is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the prayer for Sunday, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was included by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery in their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Meditations, translated by Hester Rothschild. In 1863, Isaac Leeser published his own translation. This is the first time that Leeser’s translation and its source have been set next to each other. Commenting on Rothschild’s translation, Leeser wrote: . . .

Méditation Pour le Lundi by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Hester Rothschild (1855)

This is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the prayer for Monday, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was included by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery in their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Mediatations, translated by Hester Rothschild. This is the first time the translation and its source have been set next to each other. This transcription was made possible with the help of French Wikisource contributors. If you can read French, you can help to complete our transcription by proofreading it on Wikisource. . . .

Méditation Pour le Dimanche by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Hester Rothschild (1855)

This is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the prayer for Sunday, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was included by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery in their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Mediatations, translated by Hester Rothschild. This is the first time the translation and its source have been set next to each other. This transcription was made possible with the help of French Wikisource contributors. If you can read French, you can help to complete our transcription by proofreading it on Wikisource. . . .

[Gebet] Am Sonntag by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda (1855)

This is the prayer for Sunday, a paraliturgical teḥinah opposite the Shir shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Sunday, included by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda in her collection of teḥinot in vernacular German. Fanny Neuda likely either composed or translated this teḥinah into German while performing in the capacity of firzogerin (precentress) of the weibershul (women’s gallery) in her husband’s synagogue in Loštice, Bohemia. . . .

תהלים כ״ד בלשון אנגלית | The Psalm for Sunday, Psalms 24 (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of the Psalm of the Day for Sunday (Psalms 24) in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the Psalm. –Aharon N. Varady . . .

תהלים צ״ג בלשון אנגלית | The Psalm for Friday, Psalms 93 (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of the Psalm of the Day for Friday (Psalms 93) in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the Psalm. . . .

תהלים פ״א בלשון אנגלית | The Psalm for Thursday, Psalms 81 (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of the Psalm of the Day for Thursday (Psalms 81) in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the Psalm. . . .

תהלים צ״ד בלשון אנגלית | The Psalm for Wednesday, Psalms 94 (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

This psalm was the Wednesday song of the Levites in the Holy Temple. . . .

ריבונו של עולם הריני מוחל | Prayer of Forgiveness by Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria z”l, from the Bedtime Shema (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria’s prayer “Hareni Moḥel” (I hereby forgive) in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the prayer. The prayer by the ARI z”l was first published in Ḥayim Vital’s Pri Ets Ḥayyim, Shaar Kriyat Shema al Hamitah, Pereq 2 (פרי עץ חיים, שער קריאת שמע שעל המיטה, פרק ב), and based on the statement of Reish Lakish in the Bavli Pesachim 66b and the practice of Mar Zutra attested in the Bavli Megillah 28a . . .

תפילה קודם התפילה מרבי אלימלך מליזשענסק | Rabbi Elimelekh of Lizhensk’s prayer to be able to pray (interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of “Rabbi Elimelekh of Lizhensk’s prayer to be able to pray” in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the prayer. Reb Zalman may have made his translation to a slightly different edition of this prayer as indicated in several places. If you can determine which edition of Rabbi Elimelekh’s prayer was translated by Reb Zalman, please contact us or share your knowledge in the comments. . . .

Thirteen Intentions of Faith Taught at the Beit HaMidrash of Elat Chayyim by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

This list of thirteen supplications for emunah (faith) in particular beliefs was included by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). . . .

מה טבו | A Paraliturgical Mah Tovu in French by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Hester Rothschild (1855)

This is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the prayer for entering a synagogue, Mah Tovu, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was written by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery for their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Mediatations, translated by Hester Rothschild. Aron and Ennery were directly inspired by tkhines literature. . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (Arabic translation by Hillel Farḥi, ca. 1913)

Yedid Nefesh is a piyyut composed by Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600) commonly found in the morning baqashot of Sepharadi siddurim and as a petiḥah for Kabbalat Shabbat in many siddurim. This is a faithful transcription of Yedid Nefesh translated into Arabic from סדור פרחי سدور فرحي Siddur Farḥi (nusaḥ Sefaradi, minhag Egypt 1913, 1917) by Hillel Farḥi (1868-1940). (A copy of Siddur Farhi can be ordered from the Farḥi Foundation here.) Transcription of the Arabic was made by Wikisource contributor Avigdor24, here. Please help to proofread and improve this transcription. Join us in the digital transcription of Siddur Farḥi on Hebrew Wikisource. . . .

מה טובו | Mah Tovu: Prayer upon Entering the Synagogue (Romanian trans. Avraham Shlomo Gold, ca. 1903)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of the prayer upon entering the synagogue from סדר תפילות לכל השנה Ordinea Rugăciunilor pentru toate zilele anului (nusaḥ Sefaradi, minhag Romania) translated into Romanian by Rabbi Abraham Shlomo Gold (Institutul de editura Ralian si Ignat Samitca, Craiova, 1903). A video of this siddur can be seen on youtube here. We would like to know more about Rabbi Gold; if you have any information, please contact us. . . .

על הכל יתגדל ויתקדש | A Kaddish During the Removal of the Torah from the Ark in the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l (translation by R’ Oren Steinitz)

This Kaddish was first published online at Jewish Renewal Chassidus by Gabbai Seth Fishman. Rabbi Oren Steinitz translated the kaddish on the 3rd yahrzeit after Reb Zalman’s passing. . . .

שיר של מרים הנביאה | The Song of Miriam, a petiḥah by Rabbi Ruth H. Sohn (1981)

“The Song of Miriam” by Rabbi Ruth Sohn was first published as “I Shall Sing to the Lord a New Song,” in Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim, Reconstructionist Prayerbook, 1989, 1995 Second Edition. Reconstructionist Press, pp. 768-769. (This poem was also published in several haggadot and other books and set to music by several composers in the U.S. and Israel.) Rabbi Sohn wrote the poem in 1981 as a rabbinical student after immersing herself in the Torah verses and the traditional midrashim about Miriam, and after writing a longer modern midrash about Miriam. Part of this modern midrash was published as “Journeys,” in All the Women Followed Her, ed. Rebecca Schwartz (Rikudei Miriam Press, 2001). . . .

תפילה למצביעי המדינה | Prayer for the Electorate, by David Zvi Kalman (2016)

A prayer for the electorate to be recited together with the Prayer for Government on the Shabbat before an election (federal, state, or local). David Zvi Kalman’s “Prayer for the Electorate” was initially published on Ritualwell here and linked from an explanation of the prayer posted here. Vocalization of the unpointed text by Josh Soref. (Thank you!) . . .

Alternative Supplicatory Blessings for the Weekday Amidah by Rav Yehuda Lev Ashlag (trans. Adam Zagoria-Moffet)

חננו דעה בינה והשכל, ברוך אתה ה’ שחננת לנו דע קודשך. Grace us with knowledge, understanding, and insight. Blessed are You, HASHEM, for You have graced us with the knowledge of Your holiness. חננו סליחה וכפרה על כל עונותינו ומרידתינו ושפלותינו, ברוך אתה ה’ שסלחת לעונותינו. Grace us with forgiveness and absolution for all . . .

ברכות והודאות | Brakhot v’Hoda’ot (Blessings and Thanksgivings): A Birkon for the Bar Mitsvah of Yeshayahu Yisraeli

Brakhot v’Hoda’ot (Blessings and Thanksgivings): A Birkon by R’ Hillel Ḥayyim Yisraeli-Lavery. Kiddush, Havdalah and the Birkat Hamazon according to the custom of R’ Saadia Gaon, RaMBaM, and the Vilna Gaon. Zemirot, Piyyutim, and Shirim. Ma’ariv for Weekdays and for after Shabbat. A souvenir for the Bar Mitzvah of Yeshayahu Yisraeli, 19 Sivan 5776 (Shabbat Parshat Shelakh Lekha). Published in the Holy City of Yerushalayim. . . .

ספר יצירה | Sefer Yetsirah, a derivation of A. Peter Hayman’s experimental “earliest recoverable text,” by Aharon Varady for practitioners

The text of the Sefer Yetsirah presented here follows the “experimental exercise” produced by A. Peter Hayman in his Sefer Yeṣira: Edition Translation and Text-Critical Commentary, “Appendix III: The Earliest Recoverable Text of Sefer Yesira” (Mohr Siebeck, 2004). For details on his construction and his review of the available recensions of Sefer Yetsirah, please refer to Hayman’s complete commentary. Numbers in parentheses indicate sections. I have added spaces between sections indicate traditional chapter breaks. Square brackets indicate some doubt as to whether the included wording was present in the earlier form of the text (p.124). . . .

ברכת המזון | Ḥaveri Nevarekh: Blessing the Spirit of All-which-Lives after Eating and Feeling Satiated, a Birkon by Aharon Varady (v.1.01)

Unlike most plant and bacterial life, we human beings cannot process our own food from the sun, soil, water, and air. And so, as with the other kingdoms of life on Earth, we are dependent on vegetation to live, either directly by consuming plants, or indirectly by predating on other creatures that consume vegetation. Being nourished and seeking nourishment is so basic to us, that our practical desperation for survival undergirds most of our ethics relating to non-human life. But Judaism demands that our human propensity towards predation be circumscribed. Indeed, it is my understanding that the ultimate goal of Torah is to circumscribe and temper our our predatory appetites, and to limit and discipline our predatory behavior. In this way, our predatory instinct may be redeemed as a force for goodness in the world, and we might become a living example to others in how to live in peace and with kindness towards the other lifeforms we share this planet with. In 2010, while working with Nili Simhai and the other Jewish environmental educators at the Teva Learning Center, I began working on a Birkon containing a translation of the birkat hamazon that emphasized the deep ecological wisdom contained within the Rabbinic Jewish tradition. I continued working on it over the next several years adding two additional sections of source texts to illuminate the concept of ḥesronan (lit. absence or lacking) and the mitzvah of lo tashḥit (bal tashḥit). I invite you to include these works into your birkon along with other work that I’ve helped to share through the Open Siddur — especially Perek Shirah and other prayers that express delight in the created world and our role in it, l’ovdah u’lshomrah — to cultivate and preserve this living and magnificent Earth. . . .

עמידה | An Amidah for associating blessings with memory by Rabbi Dr. Oren Steinitz

As powerful a practice as a standing meditation may be, reciting the familiar words of the Amidah with intention can prove to be a major challenge. The words may become rote, and the davvener may wonder if the ancient formulas are even meaningful to them. In this adaptation of the Amidah, Oren Steinitz treats each B’rakhah as a prompt to remind ourselves what we are praying for and shares his own thoughts as an example. Rabbi Steinitz originally wrote the “Memory Amidah” in 2013, during the Davennen Leadership Training Institute cohort 7, and revised it for sharing here through the Open Siddur Project in 2016. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | A Prayer for the Prosperitie of his Royal Majestie (King Charles II) delivered by Rabbi Jacob Jehudah Leon (1675)

Rabbi Jacob Judah Leon’s Prayer for King Charles II, from his 1675 booklet, was the first Jewish prayer in English for an English king (Mocatta Library, University College London). . . .

Bendigamos al Altísimo, a Spanish hymn for the meal, performed by Rabbi Shuviel Ma’aravi and Joshua Polak

Bendigamos is a hymn sung after meals according to the custom of Spanish and Portuguese Jews. It has also been traditionally sung by the Jews of Turkish descent. It is similar in meaning to the Birkat Hamazon that is said by all Jews. Bendigamos is said in addition to Birkat Hamazon, either immediately before or immediately after it. The text is in modern Spanish, not Ladino. The prayer was translated by David de Sola Pool. Below is the actual text as well as the translation by de Sola Pool. The melody is one of the best known and loved Spanish and Portuguese melodies, used also for the Song of the Sea (in the Shabbat morning service) and sometimes in “Hallel” (on the first day of the Hebrew month and on festivals). . . .

תפילה למדינת ישראל | Prayer for the State of Israel by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen (2002)

My heart, my heart goes out to you Zion Tears, jubilation, celebration, grieving Did we not dream a dream that came to be? And here it is—both song and lament. . . .

Reconstruction of a liturgy for the Shabbat Amidah in Greek from Jewish prayers preserved in the Constitutiones Apostolorum (circa 380 CE), by Dr. David Fiensy

This is a reconstruction of a sabbath liturgy for the Tefillah of the Amidah, at least in some variant of its public recitation, in Greek and preserved in an early Christian work, the Constitutiones Apostolorum (Apostolic Constitutions), a Christian work compiled around 380 CE in Syria. Several prayers derived from Jewish sources appear in the Apostolic Constitutions and they can be found grouped together and labeled “Greek” or “Hellenistic Syanagogal Works” in collections of apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. Because explicitly Christian references appeared to be added onto a pre-existing text with familiar Jewish or “Old Testament” themes and references, scholars in the late 19th century were already suggesting that as many as 16 of the prayers in the Apostolic Constitutions books 7 and 8 were derived from Jewish prayers. A more modern appraisal was made by Dr. Fiensy and published in Prayers Alleged to Be Jewish (Scholars Press 1985). Based on a careful analysis of the prayers, he concludes that the only prayers which can be identified as Jewish with certainty are those found in sections 33-38 of book 7. . . .

תהלים קכו׳ | Psalms 126, a poetic translation by Shim’on Menachem

This Psalm is straightforwardly post-exilic (for which see Sefer haWiki) but switches in its narrative perspective between before and after the return from Babylon, between gratitude and longing for return, helped by the profoundly non-linear mechanics of verbal tense and aspect in biblical Hebrew. The Psalmist chooses words associated with joy (s’ḥoq, rinah) that are tinged with other, more complicated emotions. Here’s what came out. . . .

Siddur Nusaḥ Ereṣ Yisrael – Minḥa, Birkat HaMazon, Tefillat HaDerekh

This is a compact siddur for weekday Minḥa according to Nusaḥ Ereṣ Yisrael, as derived from rulings of the Jerusalem Talmud, fragments found in the Cairo Geniza and other historical documents. This siddur also includes Birkat HaMazon (Grace After Meals) and Tefillat HaDerekh (Travelers’ Prayer). Modern additions to the ancient prayers include special verses for Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Liberation Day) and Yom HaAṣmaut (Israeli Independence Day), additions which keep the nusaḥ at once uniquely ancient, yet thoroughly connected to our modern reality here in the Land Of Israel. . . .

פרק שירה | Perek Shirah (Chapter of Song), a hymn of creation

Talmudic and midrashic sources contain hymns of the creation usually based on homiletic expansions of metaphorical descriptions and personifications of the created world in the Bible. The explicitly homiletic background of some of the hymns in Perek Shira indicates a possible connection between the other hymns and Tannaitic and Amoraic homiletics, and suggests a hymnal index to well-known, but mostly unpreserved, homiletics. The origin of this work, the period of its composition and its significance may be deduced from literary parallels. A Tannaitic source in the tractate Hagiga of the Jerusalem (Hag. 2:1,77a—b) and Babylonian Talmud (Hag. 14b), in hymns of nature associated with apocalyptic visions and with the teaching of ma’aseh merkaba serves as a key to Perek Shira’s close spiritual relationship with this literature. Parallels to it can be found in apocalyptic literature, in mystic layers in Talmudic literature, in Jewish mystical prayers surviving in fourth-century Greek Christian composition, in Heikhalot literature, and in Merkaba mysticism. The affinity of Perek Shira with Heikhalot literature, which abounds in hymns, can be noted in the explicitly mystic introduction to the seven crowings of the cock — the only non-hymnal text in the collection — and the striking resemblance between the language of the additions and that of Shi’ur Koma and other examples of this literature. In Seder Rabba de-Bereshit, a Heikhalot tract, in conjunction with the description of ma’aseh bereshit, there is a clear parallel to Perek Shira’s praise of creation and to the structure of its hymns. The concept reflected in this source is based on a belief in the existence of angelic archetypes of created beings who mediate between God and His creation, and express their role through singing hymns. As the first interpretations of Perek Shira also bear witness to its mystic character and angelologic significance, it would appear to be a mystical chapter of Heikhalot literature, dating from late Tannaitic — early Amoraic period, or early Middle Ages. . . .

שמע | Kabbalistic Commentary on the Shema from Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz’s Siddur Shaar haShamayim

Rabbi Isaiah Horowitz (1565-1630), known as the Shlah from the name of his chief work (Shnei Luḥot HaBrit – The Two Tablets of the Covenant), was a rabbi in Central and Eastern Europe and later Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Jerusalem. This text is an excerpt from his kabbalistic prayer book, Siddur Shaar haShamayim (Gate of Heaven), which deals with the Shma prayer. . . .

תחנון | Taḥanun, translated by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

My God! my soul is Yours my body is Your servant, take pity on what You have created; my soul is Yours and my body is Yours, God help us for Your sake. We come to You because we want to honor Your reputation. Help us in our moral struggle for the sake of Your reputation; because You are kind and compassionate. Forgive us, for there is so much we need to be forgiven for. . . .

אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar prayer for recognizing the Divine Image in all our bodies by R’ Emily Aviva Kapor

Asher Yatzar (the “bathroom blessing”, traditionally said every morning and after every time one goes to relieve oneself) has always rung hollow to me, at best, and at worst has been a prayer not celebrating beauty but highlighting pain. The original version praises bodies whose nekavim nekavim ḥalulim ḥalulim (“all manner of ducts and tubes”) are properly opened and closed—yes, in a digestive/excretory sense, but it is quite easy to read a reproductive sense into it as well. What do you do if the “ducts and tubes” in your body are not properly opened and closed, what if one is open that should be closed, or vice versa? . . .

ברכת המזון | Thanks for the Food, an interpretive translation of the Birkat Hamazon by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

The style by which Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l translated Jewish liturgy in English was neither literal nor idiomatic, but highly interpretive and interspersed with his own ḥiddushim (innovations). Showing Reb Zalman’s translation side-by-side with the Jewish liturgy helps to illuminate his understanding of the liturgy — it’s deeper meaning as well as how it might be communicated to a contemporary audience. In the version I have prepared below, I have set the interpretive translation of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l side-by-side with the liturgical Hebrew that may have inspired it. In several places, Reb Zalman’s formulation departs from the traditional Ashkenazi nusaḥ. Where there is no Hebrew, we can more easily observe where Reb Zalman has expanded upon the blessing. Still, my work was not exhaustive and I appreciate any corrections to the nusaḥ (liturgical custom) of the Hebrew that may have inspired Reb Zalman’s interpretation in English. . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

You who love my soul Compassion’s gentle source, Take my disposition and shape it to Your will. Like a darting deer I will flee to You. Before Your glorious Presence Humbly I do bow. Let Your sweet love Delight me with its thrill Because no other dainty Will my hunger still. . . .

פתח אליהו | Pataḥ Eliyahu – Elijah Began Saying (That We Might Pray Well) translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi from the Tikkunei Zohar

Elijah began saying: Lord of the worlds You Who are One and not just a number You are the highest of the highest most hidden of the undisclosed no thought scheme grasps You at all. . . .

סידור ולא נבוש | Jewish Prayer as Shame Resilience Practice: Siddur v’Lo Nevosh for Shaḥarit by Rabbi Shoshana Friedman

For those of us who speak a religious language, we can understand our journey of building shame resilience as one of the many ways we can uplift, exalt, praise, and honor not just our own lives but the Life of life itself. Whenever we feel unworthy of love and belonging, we can remember that the very self which we are struggling to believe is lovable is none other a manifestation of God’s own Self. Our belief that we are worthy to live and belong is one way we can practice our trust in God. And if the God language doesn’t do it for us, we can get in touch with our own wonder at being alive, call it whatever name or conjure whatever image works for us, and remember that our journey to live a wholehearted life honors that wonder. Ultimately we can affirm that any step toward a wholehearted life lifts up holiness in this world. . . .

הרחמן | Haraḥaman, Prayer to the merciful One for the Shmita Year, R”H seder additions, and other liturgical tweaks by Rabbi 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 Harachaman for Shabbat, since Shmitah is the grand shabbat, and right after the paragraph beginning with Bamarom (a/k/a, Mimarom). . . .

הרחמן הוא ישבור עול כיבוש | Prayer to the Compassionate One for the Peace of Two States for Two Peoples (for Inclusion in the Birkat Hamazon) by Ira Tick

A prayer for the peaceful resolution of Israel’s conflicts with her neighbors and a mutually agreeable end to her dominion over the Palestinians, in Hebrew and in English, appropriate for inserting in the Birkat HaMazon especially on Shabbat and Festivals, or for reciting at any time. . . .

Psalms 142 and Mi Sheberakh for those in captivity or whose whereabouts are unknown

May the one who blessed our ancestors, Avraham, Yitzḥak, and Yaakov, Yoseph, Moshe, and Aharon, David and Shlomo, Ruth, Sarah, Rivka, Miriam, Devorah, Tamar, and Raḥel, bless and safeguard and preserve the captives… . . .

עלינו | An Alternative Aleinu by Leon Gunther

Leon Gunther presents a proposal for a revision of the controversial line of the traditional Aleinu prayer, shehem mishtaḥavim l’hevel varik (“For they worship ephemera and emptiness, and pray to a god who cannot save,” a combination of Isaiah 30:7 and Isaiah 45:20). more on the history of this famously censored passage can be gleaned in this summary article on Wikipedia. . . .

Meditation on the Akeidah in Birkot haShaḥar by Shim’on Menachem

My God and the God of my ancestors,
My limbs, my heart, the tips of my fingers buzz with creation.
This body is Your instrument
Ready to move
On the knife’s edge of action. . . .

ברכת המזון | By the Sweat of their Brow, a Humanist Birkon by Dr. Tzemaḥ Yoreh

Many of our best times are spent eating. Jewish liturgy, however, is very stingy on blessings before eating (focusing much of its energy on blessings after eating). The blessings before food are generic, and except for very specific foods and drinks (such as wine, bread, and matzah), all foods lump into three or four categories (fruit, vegetables, grains, and everything else). As a foodie, I’d like to celebrate each and every distinct taste through the prism of Jewish experience, and thus have tried to compose as many short poems as possible in their honor. . . .

עלינו | Aleinu, by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

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

עלינו | Aleinu, interpretive translation by Joshua Gutoff

Ours is to praise the Master of all; to recognize the greatness of the One who fashioned our beginning. Not as a nation-state, nor as a tribe; but by giving us a particular task, a particular fate: to bow, to bend, to acknowledge the Authority over all authority, the Blessed Holy One, who stretched out the expanse and gathered the substance, filling the farthest emptiness and humbling the heights. This alone is our God, the one true ruler. . . .

קדיש יתום | Mourner’s Kaddish, interpretive translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

May that Great Name, that sacred energy, be shaped and make effective and be acknowledged and be given the right honor and be seen as beautiful and elevating and bring jubilation. Way beyond our input of worshipful song and praise, which we express in this world, As we confirm our agreement and hope by saying AMEN. . . .

מעריב ערבים | Who Brings the Evenings

Forgiveness is woven into the pattern of existence. God of second chances, pathways of atonement. Help us awaken to Your listening presence, your understanding. Fill our hearts with Divine compassion! . . .

תפילת הזכרת הורים כשאין מניין לאמירת קדיש | “Gebet Statt Kaddisch” Memorial Prayer For When There is No Minyan (trans. Jonah Rank)

Please Lord, Sovereign of Compassion, God, Arbiter of the spirits of all flesh, Parent of Orphans and Judge of widows: God, from the source of Your holiness! May my prayer and the Torah of life that I have learned come before you on account of the soul . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Prayer for United States Military War Veterans by Hinda Tzivia Eisen

May He who blessed our ancestors, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, bless [names of veterans present, and] all those who have fought in the military on behalf of our country, the United States of America, in every time and era, in every place. Bless all of our soldiers that they should be successful, for good, in all of their endeavors; strengthen them and invigorate them. May it be Your will, YHVH our God and God of our ancestors, that our land should be a blessing to all the inhabitants of the world. Immerse us in friendship and freedom, and foster among us true peace, that we might bring about the words written by the hand of Your prophet: “Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore.” And let us say: Amen. . . .

סנדלפון | Sandalphon by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1858)

Have you read in the Talmud of old,
In the Legends the Rabbins have told
    Of the limitless realms of the air,–
Have you read it,–the marvellous story
Of Sandalphon, the Angel of Glory,
    Sandalphon, the Angel of Prayer? . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Blessing for students leaving school or returning from their summer break by Rabbi Esteban Gottfried (trans. Miri Landau)

Prayers for students leaving school or returning from their summer break. . . .

קדיש יתום | Mourner’s Kaddish, an interpretive translation by Alan Wagman

This is an English language interpretation of Kaddish, intended to capture the spirit of translations/interpretations that I have seen in various sources and also to capture the sound and rhythm of the Aramaic text, including syllables which, when read simultaneously with the Aramaic, rhyme with the Aramaic. . . .

שירת הים | The Song of the Sea, sung with a Moroccan Nusaḥ performed by R’ Hillel Ḥayim Yisraeli-Lavery

According to Rabbinic tradition, the 21st of Nissan is the day in the Jewish calendar on which Pharaoh’s army was drowned in the Sea of Reeds, and the redeemed children of Yisrael sang the Song of the Sea, the (Shirat Hayam, Exodus 15:1-19). The song, as included in the the morning prayers, comprises one of the most ancient text in Jewish liturgy. The 21st of Nissan corresponds to the 7th day of Passover, and the recitation of the Shirat HaYam is part of the daily Torah Reading. Rabbi Hillel Ḥayim Yisraeli-Lavery shares a performance of a melody he learned for the Shirat Hayam from צוף דבש Tzuf Devash, a Moroccan synagogue in the Old City of Jerusalem. If there is something about this tune that strikes one as particularly celebratory, it might be because the relationship between G!d and the Jewish people is traditionally described as a marriage consummated with the Covenant at Mt. Sinai. The passage of Bnei Yisrael through the Sea of Reeds towards Mt. Sinai thus begins a bridal march commencing in the theophany at Mt. Sinai, 42 days later. . . .

מודה אני | Returning the body to the soul: an adaptation of Modeh Ani by Moshe ibn Makhir

Last year around this time, I was sitting with Ya’qub ibn Yusuf in his bookstore, Olam Qatan (54 Emek Refaim in South Jerusalem), asking if he might share some useful practice that I might share through the Open Siddur Project. He offered this thought which he had heard from someone else:

I have difficulty with the idea of thanking G!d for “returning my soul to me” sheheḥezarta bi nishmati while I’m still endeavoring to remain in touch with my dreams. So I much prefer what someone else suggested, that instead of saying nishmati (my soul), to say instead han’shamati (the embodiment of my soul). I thank G!d for returning me to my body — my soul was never missing.

. . .

Adventures in Ancient Jewish Liturgy: the Birkat Kohanim

The earliest artifacts recording Jewish liturgy (or for that matter any Hebrew formulation found in the Torah) are two small silver amulets, discovered in 1979 by Israeli archaeologist Gabriel Barkay. He discovered the amulets in a burial chamber while excavating in Ketef Hinnom, a section of the Hinnom Valley south of Jerusalem’s Old City. The inscriptions on these amulets conclude with parts of the Birkat Kohanim (Priestly Blessing), the three-part blessing in which the Kohanim are instructed to bless the people of Israel in Numbers 6:22-27. The script in the amulets dates them approximately to the reign of King Yoshiyahu (late 7th or early 6th century BCE) predating the Nash papyrus, and the earliest of the Dead Sea Scrolls by four centuries. . . .

ברכות השחר | Morning blessings for waking up and starting the day, adapted by Andrew Shaw

In these still, quiet moments I am not asleep, and not yet awake. In the threshold of day and night, with the mixture of darkness and light, my body is once again coming to life. I am reborn, each day, from the womb of your compassion. May all of my actions be worthy of the faith you’ve placed in me. With words of thanks I’ll greet the dawn. . . .

ברכת השנים | On December 4th (or 5th) and the Birkat Hashanim

Rain is important in every society, but particularly so in places like Eretz Yisrael, where rain only falls during a defined portion of the year. It is critical, then, that the “rainy season” in fact be rainy, since no rain can be expected for the remainder of the year. Accordingly, prayers, liturgies, and fast days relating to rain (or the lack thereof) played, and continue to play, a prominent role in Jewish tradition. Our tefillot today contain two major references to rain: “hazkarat geshamim” (better known as “mashiv haruaḥ umorid hagashem“) and “she’eilat geshamim“, found in the weekday Amidah in the 9th berakhah, “birkat hashanim“. There, an alternating liturgy was established: during the dry months, we say “v’tein berakhah“, whereas during the rainy season, we say “v’tein tal umatar livrakhah“, an explicit request for the rain to fall. Consensus emerged around the opinion of Rabban Gamliel in Mishnah Ta’anit 1:3 that “she’eilat geshamim” should begin on the 7th of Marḥeshvan (15 days after Shmini Atzeret, the 22nd of Tishrei). This would give pilgrims from as far away as the Euphrates (a 15-day journey) sufficient time to return home in dry weather. This is current practice in Eretz Yisrael to this day. . . .

והיה אם שמע | v’haya im shemo’a: a Prayer in a Time of Planetary Danger by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

A midrashic translation/ interpretation of the second paragraph of the Sh’ma. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | A Hadran Mi Sheberakh Upon Completing the Writing of a Sefer Torah, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

Misheberach Avoteinu Avraham Yiztchak veYa’akov, ve’Imoteinu Sarah Rivkah, Rachel, veLeah – May the One who blessed our ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, bless this scribe who has, through the commitment of her heart, devotion of her soul, and skill of her hands, invited us to return to Torah, turn with Torah, and turn Torah over and over again. Please, God, sweeten the words of Torah in our mouths and in the mouths of all people. May we all, old and young, touch the Sacred and be preserved and strengthened. We thank You, Adonai, for the privilege of experiencing the overflowing well of Torah, and for the sweetness of those who give it life. May this Soferet, our friend and teacher, be blessed to do her work in this world experiencing abundant safety, security, and love. May she only know the grace she bestows on her People Israel, her community who needs her gift so very deeply. May we all learn and love Torah, even more than we already did. Amen. . . .

After Shaḥarit: Abiding Advice for Daily Living by Eliyahu Carmi (1767) translated by Abe Katz

In Avignon, France, in 1767, Eliyahu Karmi (Elijah Crémieux) compiled a siddur preserving the nusaḥ of the Comtat Venaissin titled the סדר התמיד (Seder HaTamid). Just after the section for תפלת שחרית (the morning prayers), Karmi provides the following advice for how to organize one’s workday: . . .

מי שברך לחיילי צה”ל | Mi Sheberakh Prayer for the Welfare of Israel Defense Forces Soldiers, amended by Dr. Alex Sinclair (2012)

May the Lord give our soldiers wisdom, understanding, and insight, so that they do not destroy the righteous with the wicked, as it is written in Your Torah: “Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating them the same. Far be it from you – should the Judge of all the Earth not do justice?” (Genesis 18:25) . . .

עמידה | My Weekday Amidah by Effron Esseiva

This is Effron Esseiva’s morning Amidah (standing prayer) for weekdays. Effron writes, “It’s called Shmonei Esrei (18) because it used to have eighteen brakhot (blessings). However, it has an additional brakha to bring it to nineteen. This is my interpretation of the Teissa Esrei (19) with abridged kavvanot (intentions).” . . .

A Kavanah for Waking Up by Andrew Shaw

An original liturgical poem inspired by the Modah|Modeh Ani prayer. . . .

מודה אני | Modah/Modeh Ani (translation by Andrew Shaw)

Thankful am I in your Presence, Spirit who lives and endures, for You’ve returned to me my soul with compassion. Abundant is your faith! . . .

A Prayer For Kavanah by Amanda Rush

Hashem, as I open my Siddur, let me pray with proper kavanah. Let me pray with sincerity, paying careful attention to every word I utter. Hashem, let me concentrate with my whole being on the meaning of each and every word, sentence and prayer. Keep my mind from wandering to other subjects, and keep me from neglecting to put my heart and soul in to each and every prayer, praise and blessing. May my prayer come before You, O Hashem, at a time of grace, and may it be accepted favorably by You. Amen. . . .

המלך הקדוש | From Uman to the Olam: Clapping upon the Coronation of the Holy Majesty during the Days of Awe (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]: . . .

שמע | Sh’ma: an Interpretation for the 21st Century by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (2003)

Sh’sh’sh’ma Yisra’el — Listen, You Godwrestlers! Pause from your wrestling and hush’sh’sh To hear — YHWH/ Yahh Hear in the stillness the still silent voice, The silent breathing that intertwines life; YHWH/ Yahh elohenu Breath of life is our God, What unites all the varied forces creating all worlds into one-ness, Each breath unique, And all unified; YHWH / Yahh echad! Yahh is One. Listen, You Godwrestlers! No one people alone owns this Unify-force; YHWH / Yahh is One. . . .

שִׁוִּיתִי | Shiviti: perceiving the world as an expression of divine Oneness

Given that the Torah forbids impressing our imaginations with illustrations of the divine, some other method is necessary to perceive divine Oneness. One method is found in the verse in Psalms 16:8, “I have set YHVH before me at all times.”

שִׁוִּיתִי יְהוָה לְנֶגְדִּי תָמִיד׃ Shiviti YHVH l’negdi tamid I have set YHVH before me at all times.

. . .

סדר עבודת הלב שחרית | Seder Avodat Lev Shaḥarit: Service of the Heart by the farmers of the Adamah Fellowship

DOWNLOAD: PDF | ODT | TXT

(For an earlier version of the Seder Avodat Lev pre-2016: PDF, ODT, TXT.)

Source (Hebrew) Transliteration Translation (English) מוֹדָה/מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ רוּחַ חַי וְקַיָּם׃ Modeh/Modah Ani lefanekha ruaḥ ḥai v’kayam I am grateful before You living and enduring spirit.[1]Variation on Shulḥan Arukh ch. 1 by Moshe Ibn Makhir from . . .

How to craft a small siddur or benscher by Aharon Varady

Beginning late last year, I began a project to translate the Birkat Hamazon using Rabbi Simeon Singer’s English translation and the Nusaḥ ha-Ari as the basis for publishing birkonim (or in Yiddish, benchers). The original work was sponsored by the Teva Learning Center and its executive director, Nili Simhai, to be used in birkhonim specifically designed for use during weekdays during Teva’s Fall season. . . .

Blessing Group Torah Study with Brakhot, Kaddish, and Kavvanah by Arthur Waskow

What the Rabbis taught about teaching and learning was that all Torah study should begin and end with blessings, just as eating does. Often, in liberal Jewish circles today, these blessings are not done. But without them, it is easier for Torah study to feel like a mere academic discussion, devoid of spirit. And where the blessings are said but only by rote, it is easier for Torah study to feel merely antiquarian and automatic. In Jewish-renewal style, how can we bring new kavvanah — spiritual meaning, intention, focus, intensity — to these blessings — and therefore to the process of Torah study itself? . . .

קדיש יתום בזמן מלחמה | Mourner’s Kaddish in Time of War and Violence by Arthur Waskow

Jews use the Kaddish to mourn the dead, though it has in it only one word — “nechamata,” consolations – which hints at mourning. And this word itself is used in a puzzling way, once we look at it with care. As we will see below, it may be especially appropriate in time of war. The interpretive English translation below may also be appropriate for prayers of mourning and hope in wartime by other spiritual and religious communities. In this version, changes in the traditional last line of the Hebrew text specifically include not only peace for the people Israel (as in the traditional version) but also for the children of Abraham and Hagar through Ishmael (Arabs and Muslims) and for all the life-forms who dwell upon this planet. . . .

מִי שֶׁבֵּרַךְ | Mi Sheberakh for Victims of Slavery, by Rabbi Joshua Boettiger (2009)

We are grateful to Rabbi Joshua Boettinger and Rabbis for Human Rights–North America (RHR-NA) for sharing the following petitionary prayer, A Misheberakh for Victims of Slavery. Originally published by RHR-NA on their website in 2009, the prayer attends to the desperate need to eradicate all forms of slavery that persist today, especially in advance of the holiday celebrating our Z’man Cheruteinu, the season of our freedom, every Spring, every Pesaḥ. . . .

שמע | An illustrated meditation on the unification of imagination and awareness through empathy

When works are printed bearing shemot, any one of the ten divine names sacred to Judaism, they are cared for with love. If a page or bound work bearing shemot falls to the ground it’s a Jewish custom to draw up the page or book and kiss it. Just as loved ones are cared for after they’ve fallen and passed away, when the binding fails and leaves fall from siddurim and other seforim they are collected in boxes and bins and brought for burial, where their holy words can decompose back into the earth from which their constituent elements once grew, and were once harvested to become paper and books, and ink, string, glue. While teaching at the Teva Learning Center last Fall 2010, I collected all our shemot that we had intentionally or unintentionally made on our copy machine, or which we had collected from the itinerant teachers who pass through the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center on so many beautiful weekend shabbatonim. While leafing through the pages, I found one and kept it from the darkness of the genizah. . . .

אַ פּאָלףּ קדיש | A Kaddish by Reb Jules Winnfield (Pulp Fiction, 1994)

Tired of people who can’t tell their kiddish (blessings for the Sabbath) from their kaddish (prayer for the dead)? Well, it sets Samuel L. Jackson off too! But he found a way of making a bracha (blessing) and mourning the dead at the same time. Now I can’t vouch for the origins of his nusaḥ (custom) but it sounds very effective! Most people haven’t noticed, the only real part from the Bible is that last section, the first part is actually his own spiel: . . .

Adventures in Ancient Jewish Liturgy: The Ten Commandments and the Sh’ma in the Nash Papyrus

Once upon a time, according to the Mishnah, it was the nusaḥ (liturgical tradition) of the Cohanim in the Bet Hamikdash[ref]Priests of the Temple in Jerusalem[/ref] for the Ten Commandments to be read prior to the Sh’ma. . . .

חצות | Tikkun Ḥatzot: Getting Right at Midnight — An Introduction to the Midnight Rite by Shmuel Gonzales

The popular practice of a night time prayer vigil is not well understood. In the siddur, most people pass by it because they don’t know what to do with it. Others are confused because of the lack of consistency in its presentation from one siddur to the next. At the end of the day, this ritual would be regarded as a rite reserved for the pious — for the great tzadikim who made regular use of it. . . .

יגדל אלהים חי | Yigdal by Daniel ben Judah (German translation by Chajm Guski)

Gelobt sei der lebendige Gott! Ihn grenzt nicht Raum, ihn grenzt nicht Zeit. Er ist der Einzige, dem nichts gleicht in seiner hehren Einzigkeit. Er ist nicht Form, ist nicht Gestalt, „der Heilige“, sich gleichend bloß. Der Urbeginn, vor allem Sein: Anfang, der selber anfangslos. So waltet er als Herr der Welt, von dessen Macht das All erzählt. Mit dessen Geist erfüllte er G-ttkünder, die er auserwählt. Nie stand, wie Mosche, einer auf, der je so klar sein Bild erschaut. Die wahre Torah gab uns Gott durch ihn, der seinem Haus vertraut. Und nie verwirft Gott sein Gesetz, nie gibt er es für ein anderes hin. Er schaut in unser Herz und weiß das Ende schon beim Anbeginn. Von ihm wird nach Verdienst und Schuld uns Lohn und Strafe einst zuteil. Die Zeit des G-ttesreiches kommt und bringt den Harrenden das Heil. Die Toten weckt er auf zur Zeit. Gelobt sei Gott in Ewigkeit. . . .

On Standing Before God-Who-Sees-Me by Virginia Spatz

The Amidah’s choreography is designed to call to mind an appearance before a sovereign so as to invoke the proper “stance.” Consider, though, the variety of God-communications depicted just in the book of Genesis: God talks to Adam and Eve, to Cain, Noah, and Abimelech. God even talks to the serpent. God heeds Ishmael “where he is”, and Hagar names “YHVH who spoke to her..’God-who-sees-me’.” So, in stepping up to greet God, it is sometimes fruitful to picture, instead of a royal audience, an opportunity to meet God in the cool of the garden, or to approach, at a desert spring, “God-who-sees-me.” . . .

קדיש | A Kaddish by Rabbi Daniel Brenner

Make the God-name big. Big and holy. Do it in this world, This creation sprung from consciousness, And bring some order to this. Do it fast, soon, in our lives, in the days ahead, in the life of the people we call home. Everybody join with me: May the name be blessed forever and ever! . . .

שחרית לשבת (אשכנז)‏ | Shaḥarit (Shabbat) Nusaḥ Ashkenaz, from Seder Avodat Yisrael (Isaac Seligman Baer, 1868)

This is a transcription made by Gabriel Wasserman of Seder Avodat Yisrael, a critical text of the Ashkenaz nusaḥ by Isaac Seligman Baer published in 1868. Gabriel prepared this text for a maḥzor for Ḥanukkah. At his request we have included all the liturgy aside from the piyyutim for Ḥanukkah. This transcription does not include the meteg, a punctuation mark used in Hebrew for denoting stress. . . .

תפלת מנחה לשבת | Shabbat Minḥah Prayers by Dr. Jakob J. Petuchowski, 1966

This prayer-leaflet was primarily intended for a group of Hebrew Union College students who met every sabbath afternoon for extra-curricular (noncredit) Torah study with Dr. Rabbi Jakob Petuchowki in the mid-1960s. Their service was conducted entirely in Hebrew and in the traditional nusaḥ with some minor but interesting Liberal innovations. Petuchowki writes, “We have omitted only the various repetitions as well as the prayer for the restoration of the sacrificial service. (But we have retained the place of Zion as the symbol of the messianic hope.) In the ‘Alenu prayer, we have preferred a positive formulation of the “Election of Israel” to the traditional negative one.” . . .


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