☞   //   Prayers, Poems, and Piyyutim   //   ☽ Prayers for the Moon, Month, and Festival Calendar

☞   ☽ Prayers for the Moon, Month, and Festival Calendar

אֶבֶן הָרֹאשָׁה | Even haRoshah (“The corner stone”), a seliḥah for the Fast of Tevet attributed to Avraham bar Menaḥem (13th c.)

“Even haRoshah” (the corner stone) is a seliḥah recited on the Fast of Tevet in the Ashkenazi nusaḥ minhag Polin. . . .

אֲבוֹתַי כִּי בָטְחוּ | Avotai ki vatkhu (“When our forefathers trusted”), a pizmon for the Fast of Tevet ascribed to Ephraim ben Avraham ben Yitsḥaq of Regensburg (12th c.)

A pizmon recited on the Fast of Tevet in the tradition of nusaḥ Ashkenaz. . . .

אֶזְכְּרָה מָצוֹק | Ezkerah Matsōk (“I remember the distress”), a seliḥah for the Fast of Tevet attributed to Joseph ben Samuel Bonfils (11th c.)

“Ezkera Matsok” (I remember the distress) is a seliḥah in alphabetic acrostic recited on the Fast of Tevet in the Ashkenazi nusaḥ minhag Polin. . . .

תהלים קי״ג | Psalms 113, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalms 113 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

Ḥanukkah Visualization on Infinite Light, by Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein

A Ḥanukkah meditation on the hidden, infinite light of creation, the Or HaGanuz, with some of the midrashic and Ḥasidic sources it is based upon. . . .

Kavvanot and Blessings over Kindling the Ḥanukkah lights (HUC-JIR Klau Library MSS 281, Italy 1793)

Kabbalistic kavvanot and blessing formulations for the eight nights of Ḥanukkah. . . .

תהלים קי״ד | Psalms 114, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalms 114 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

סֵדֶר קִדּוּשׁ לְבָנָה ☽ Kiddush Levanah: Sanctification of the Moon (Rabbi 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. . . .

A Prayer for Yom Kippur, by Andy Izenson

A prayer for teshuvah. . . .

Blessing for Rosh Ḥodesh Kislev, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit

A poem-blessing for the Hebrew month of Kislev, suitable for Birkat HaḤodesh, Rosh Ḥodesh Kislev, and the whole month. . . .

Prayer of the Guest Chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives: Rabbi Hannah Spiro on 24 September 2018

The Opening Prayer given in the U.S. House of Representatives on 24 September 2018. . . .

תהלים קט״ו | Psalms 115, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalms 115 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

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. . . .

Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Wäṣoru Tabotomu (They Carried Out Their Ark), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Wäṣoru Tabotomu (They Carried Out Their Ark) is the first prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is a prayer said upon the removal of the Orit from the synagogue ark. . . .

Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Wäy’ärgu Debre (And They Climbed the Mount), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Wäy’ärgu Debre (And They Climbed the Mount) is the second prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is the first prayer said upon arriving on the mountain, based on the ritual described in Neḥemyah 9. . . .

Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Yitbärēk Egzi’äbḥer (Blessed be YHVH), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Yitbärēk Egzi’äbḥer (Blessed be YHVH) is the third prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is a morning blessing. . . .

Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Hälē Hälē yebärkewo (Praise, Praise, Bless the One), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Hälē Hälē yebärkewo (Praise, Praise, Bless the One) is the fourth prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. . . .

Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Ne’u Nesēgēdē (Come, Let Us Bow), in Ge’ez with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Ne’u Nesēgēdē (Come, Let Us Bow) is the fifth prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. . . .

Prayers for the Morning of Sigd: Menabērtē Bēytē Dawid (Thrones of David’s House), in Ge’ez/Agaw with vocalized Hebrew and English translation

Menabērtē Bēytē Dawid (Thrones of David’s House) is the sixth prayer in this order of prayers for the morning of Sigd. It is an ancient text inspired by and quoting Psalm 122, partially in Geʿez and partially in Agaw. . . .

Blessing for Rosh Ḥodesh Ḥeshvan, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit

A prayer for the month of Marḥeshvan (a/k/a Ḥeshvan) on Rosh Ḥodesh Marḥeshvan in the autumn season. . . .

Seven Hoshanot for Creation, by Rabbi 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)

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

Hoshanot Liturgy for the Climate Crisis, adapted by R’ Ezra Weinberg from the words of Greta Thunberg

The words of Greta Thunberg adapted for a prayer for intervention in the antroppgenic climate crisis, for a Honshana ritual for Sukkot. . . .

וִדּוּי | Vidui (confession), translated by Naomi Socher-Lerner

The Yom Kippur vidui — confession — translated by Naomi Socher-Lerner. . . .

קדוש לסעודה מפסקת לפני יום הכפורים | Ḳiddush for the Seudah Mafseket before Yom Kippur, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A kiddush for the se’udah (feast) preceding Yom Kippur and its fast. . . .

אחות קטנה במאה ה -21 | A 21st century “Aḥot Ḳetanah” (Little Sister), by Rabbi Dr. Raysh Weiss

A 21st century recasting of the iconic 13th century Spanish mystical Rosh haShanah piyyut. . . .

סליחות לצום גדליה | Seliḥot for Tsom Gedalyah, translated by David Asher

The seliḥot for the day after Rosh haShanah, which is Tsom Gedalyah – the fast of Gedaliah. . . .

כֹּל נְדָרִים | Kol N’darim, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The Italian Jewish community is one of the oldest continuous Jewish communities on the planet, dating back to the Roman empire at the latest.The Italian Jewish nusaḥ preserves several archaic practices that Ashkenazi and Sephardi rites no longer follow, many of which were found in gaonic siddurim and preserved only among the Italians. One fascinating custom of the Italian Jews is the recitation of what Ashkenazim and Sephardim call “Kol Nidrei” not in Aramaic, but in Hebrew, under the name “Kol N’darim.” This custom, also found among the Romaniotes of Greece, is elsewhere only found in the siddur of Rav Amram Gaon. The text included here is transcribed, niqqud and all, directly from a 1469 Italian-rite siddur found in the British Library. The scribe uses several non-standard vocalizations, which have been marked in editors’ notes. . . .

A Mini-Seliḥot, by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

One small request to accompany the seliḥot service. . . .

בְּכִסְלֵו – מאבן בֹחן | On Kislev, from the poem “Even Boḥan” by Rabbi Ḳalonymus ben Ḳalonymus ben Meir (1322)

Before potatoes entered the diet of Ashkenazi Jews, latkes were cheese pancakes, or cassola, as described in “Even Boḥan” (Touchstone), a satyrical poem by Rabbi Kalonymus ben Kalonymus ben Meir (b.1286-died after 1328). . . .

סדר לפסח: הארבה כוסות ואת הארבה חופשות | The Four Cups of Wine and the Four Freedoms, by Aurora Mendelsohn

Traditionally each cup in the Passover Seder is liked to a promise made by God in these verses, Exodus 6:6-7. The four cups can also be associated with the Four Freedoms first articulated by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt on January 6, 1941, which were an inspiration for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and were explicitly incorporated into its preamble. . . .

סדר לפסח: חרוסת | Ḥaroset, the Seder’s Innermost Secret: Earth & Eros in the Celebration of Pesaḥ, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

There it sits on the Seder plate: ḥaroset, a delicious paste of chopped nuts, chopped fruits, spices, and wine. So the question would seem obvious: “Why is there ḥaroset on the Seder plate?” That’s the most secret Question at the Seder – so secret nobody even asks it. And it’s got the most secret answer: none. . . .

תהלים קט״ז | Psalms 116, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalms 116 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

הגדה לסדר אלף באלול, ראש השנה לבעלי־החיים (זנגביל)‏ | Haggadah for the Alef b’Elul Seder, the New Year’s Day for Animals (Ginger House 2013)

ראש השנה לבעלי־החיים – על מה ולמה?‏ מקורו של ראש השנה לבעלי־חיים הוא באותה משנה שבה המקור לט”ו בשבט: “ארבעה ראשי שנים הם: באחד בניסן ראש השנה למלכים ולרגלים. באחד באלול ראש השנה למעשר בהמה; רבי אלעזר ורבי שמעון אומרין, באחד בתשרי. באחד בתשרי ראש השנה לשנים לשמיטים וליובלות, ולנטיעה ולירקות. באחד בשבט ראש השנה לאילן, כדברי בית שמאי; בית הלל אומרין בחמישה עשר בו”. (משנה ראש השנה א, א).‏ . . .

Addition to the Rosh Hashanah Seder for the Shmitah Year, by Rabbi 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). . . .

הַוִּדּוּי הַמַּשְׁלִים | HaVidui Ha-Mashlim :: Complementary Confession, by Rabbi Binyamin Holtzman

Ahavnu – We have loved, Bakhinu – we have cried, Gamalnu – we have given back, Dibarnu yofi – we have spoken great things! He’emanu – We have believed, v’Hish’tadalnu – and we tried to give our best effort, Zakharnu – we have remembered, Chibaknu – we have embraced, Ta’amnu Sefer – we have chanted Your book! . . .

אודך כי אנפת בי | Odekha Ki Anafta Bi, a Yotser (Hymn) for Ḥanukkah by Yosef bar Shlomo of Carcassone (ca. 11th cent.)

Odecha ki anafta bi (I give thanks to you although you were angry with me) was composed by Joseph ben Solomon of Carcassonne, who is dated to the first half of the eleventh century. This elegant and abstruse poem tells an epic tale of the Jews’ resistance to the decrees of Antiochus IV and includes accounts of both the Hasmonean bride and Judith. It bears a considerable resemblance to texts 4 and 12 of the Hanukkah midrashim[ref]See Grintz, Sefer Yehudit, pp. 205, 207–08[/ref] and this is evidence for the circulation of the joint Hasmonean daughter-Judith tales in the eleventh century, even if the surviving manuscripts of these stories are from a later date.” (Deborah Levine Gera, “The Jewish Textual Traditions” in The Sword of Judith: Judith Studies Across the Disciplines (2010).) . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | Eli Tsiyon v’Ar’eha (Mourn Zion and her cities) translated by Joel Goldstein

Mourn Zion and her cities, like a woman in her birth pains, And like a maiden wrapped in sack-cloth for the husband of her youth Mourn the palace that was abandoned in the sheep’s negligence of its flock, and for the coming of the revulsion of God within the Temple’s rooms. For the exile of the servants of God, who sing her songs, and for their blood that was spilled like the waters of her rivers. . . .

סדר לפסח: אליהו הנביא | A reflection on despair and suicide awareness to be read upon opening the door for Elijah at the Passover seder

Although God often speaks to humanity in the rumble of earthquakes, the roaring of wind and the thunder of storms, God spoke to Elijah, instead, in a still small voice. And, it was the nurturing power of the still small voice that slowly gave Elijah the courage and strength to be able to peek out of his deep abyss. On this night when we welcome Elijah to join our celebration, we acknowledge those who are so pained that they cannot fully celebrate, for joy eludes them. Although we may witness their physical wound with our eyes, we must also find ways to become attuned to their spiritual hurt and their emotional despair. The blood from the wound in their heart may not be visible and the cry in the depth of their throat may not be audible unless we train ourselves to attend to them. But, they are there. Our challenge is see and hear the pain of those whose depression affects their lives. Our response does not have to be bold in order to make a difference. A still small voice can transform a frown into a smile. A caring whisper that says, “I care” can raise a stooped head. A tender embrace can provide salve to a soul racked with pain. . . .

תהלים קי״ז | Psalms 117, translated and cantillated for Hallel by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalms 117 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

אֵשׁ תּוּקַד בְּקִרְבִּי | Aish Tuqad b’Qirbi: A Fire Shall Burn Within Me, translated by Gabriel Seed

Aish Tukad is a kinah for Tisha B’av, usually recited towards the conclusion of the set of dirges for the morning service (in Goldshmidt’s numbering, it is number 32 of our 46 Kinot). According to Goldshmidt’s introduction, the structure of this Piyyut is based on a Midrash in Eicha Zuta 19, where Moses’ praises for God and Israel are seen as parallel to Jeremiah’s laments, thus creating the concept of a comparison between the joy of the Exodus and the pain of the Temple’s destruction. . . .

וְאָהִימָה מִיָּמִים יָמִימָה | v’Ahimah Miyamim Yamimah: I Will Wail for All Time (translated by Hillary and Daniel Chorny)

V’ahimah Miyamim Yamimah” is a kinah that recounts the tragic tale of the children of Rabbi Yishmael as told in the Babylonian Talmud (Gittin 58a). The handsome brother and fair sister were separated and sold into slavery during the conquest of Jerusalem. Their respective masters, not knowing the two were siblings, paired them with the intent of creating beautiful offspring. In their shared cell, the two wept all night until morning, when they recognized one another. They cried on each other’s necks until their souls departed from their bodies. The narrator of our story laments their terrible fate, ending each verse with a haunting refrain: “And so I will wail for all time.” . . .

אז בהלוך ירמיהו | Az Bahalokh Yirmiyahu: Then As Jeremiah Went, by Elazar ben Killir circa 7th century CE (translated by Gabriel Seed)

Az Bahalokh Yirmiyahu is a kinah, “based on Eikhah Rabati Petikhta 24, in which Jeremiah says to God: “I am like a father who prepared to take his only son to be married, and the son tragically died under the wedding canopy. Do you not feel any pain for me or for my son?” God responds: “Go and rouse Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Moses from their graves, for they know how to cry…” (Daniel Goldschmidt, Seder Kinot le-Tisha b’Av, Jerusalem, 1972, 98). . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | Oy Meh Haya Lanu: Oy What Has Happened to Us, by Baruch ben Samuel d.1221 (translated by Rachel Salston)

Oy Meh Haya Lanu” is a kinah traditionally recited on the night of Tisha b’Av directly after the reading of Eikha. According to the Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot, it is number 1 of 50. The title is the refrain of the poem, a reflective lament. This kinah is based on the fifth and final chapter of Eikha, taking the opening phrase of each line of the megillah as the first line of each couplet and poetically expanding the description for the second. This translation is an attempt to convey the vulgarity and horror of the paytan’s depiction of the destroyed Jerusalem in vernacular English. The kinah ends just as the megillah ends, with the four verses of pleas for redemption. . . .

קינות לתשעה באב | Alelai Li: Woe is me! by Elazar ben Killir, circa 7th century CE (translated by Rachel Salston)

Alelai Li” is a kinah recited on the morning of Tisha bAv. It was written by HaKalir around the 7th century. According to the Koren Mesorat HaRav Kinot, it is number 17 of 50. The title is the refrain of the poem and is an onomatopoeic whimper (try saying it aloud, focusing on the alliteration). It is difficult to translate the opening word “im” which means “if” or “should”. This is an allusion to Job 10:15, “If I have done evil, then woe unto me.” I have decided to translate the kinah not in the conditional tense (which would render “If these horrible things happened, then woe is me!”) but as a lament upon memory; however, the former would be a more accurate (if not more awkward in English) translation. Adding to the awkwardness of the poem’s language is the feminine conditional verb that each line has after the word “im”. I have maintained this strange verb tense and placement in my translation by using the English progressive tense. The kinah ends with a collection in lines in a different meter suggesting that the Holy One (and the paytan himself) is angered that the Jewish people announce their sufferings but not their transgressions. . . .

A Memory’s fire burns within me still, by Andrew Meit adapted from the Qinah, “Aish Tuqad b’Qirbi”

“A Memory’s fire burns within me still” was adapted by Andrew Meit from Gabriel Seed’s translation of the kinah, Aish Tukad b’kirbi (“A Fire Shall Burn Within Me”). . . .

הושׁענות | Hoshanot by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, translation by Gabbai Seth Fishman

A supplemental Hoshanot liturgy for Sukkot confessing a selection of humanity’s crimes against creation. . . .

הושענא לתיקון ולנחמה | Hoshana for Healing and Consolation, by Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx

A supplemental hoshana (prayer for salvation) for healing and consolation for the sake of true love, needed blessings, rainfall in a timely fashion, paths and their repair, mountains and their crossing, goals and objectives, lasting memories, good dreams, cosmic goodness, etc. . . .

A Blessing for the Bugs on the Jewish New Year’s Day for Animals, Rosh Hashana La-Behemah, by Trisha Arlin

I have come to see That we are not the only creatures who are B’tzelem Elohim, We are all in God’s image. So today, on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul, On the New Year of the Domesticated Beasts, Let’s give thanks to the bugs Like the four questioning children Wise and snarky and simple and oblivious, Like the four worlds of the kabbala The earth, the sky, the heart and the spirit We give thanks and acknowledge The bugs we have domesticated The bugs who serve us in their wild state The bugs that hurt us or gross us out And the bugs who live only for themselves, without any reference to us. . . .

כוונה בהדלקת נר חנוכּה | Kavvanah for the Mitsvah of Kindling the Ḥanukkah Lights by Rebbe Tsvi Elimelekh Spira of Dinov (trans. Morah Yehudis Fishman)

For the purpose of the unification of the Holy One and His divine (feminine) Presence, with trepidation and love and love and trepidation, to unify the name Yud-Kay with Vav-Kay (the four letters of the Tetragrammaton) with a complete unity in the name of all Israel, behold I intend in the lighting of the Hanukkah candle to fulfill the command of my Creator as our wise men of blessed memory have commanded us to repair her root in a supernal abode. . . .


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