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

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

שַׁאֲלִי שְׂרוּפָה בָּאֵשׁ | Sha’ali Serufah ba-Esh (Question, Burnt in the Fire), a Ḳinah for Tisha b’Av, Translated by Gershom Scholem

A translation in German and English of the kinnah “Sha’ali Serufah ba-Esh.” . . .

Prayer for the Evening of the Day of Atonement (נעילה), by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman pleading for atonement in the final service of Yom Kippur at sunset. . . .

[Prayer] for the Day of Atonement, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman pleading for atonement on Yom Kippurim. . . .

[Prayer] for the Eve of the New Year, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman preparing herself on Erev Rosh haShanah. . . .

Prayer for Shmini Atseret (שמיני עצרת), by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman celebrating Shmini Atseret. . . .

Prayer for the First Day of Sukkot, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman celebrating the first yontef of Sukkot. . . .

Prayer for the Feast of Purim, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman celebrating Purim. . . .

[Prayer] for the Last Days of Passover, by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for a woman celebrating the final days of Passover yontef. . . .

Prayer for the Anniversary of the Destruction of the Temple (תשעה באב), by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for Tisha b’Av. . . .

Prayer for the Departed (הזכרת נשמות), by Rabbi Moritz Mayer (1866)

A prayer for one’s parent or parents on Yom Kippur during Yizkor. . . .

Meditations on the Life of Moses, Our Great Legislator, Appointed for the 7th Adar, the Anniversary of his Death, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A meditation on the life and person of Mosheh Rabbeinu for the 7th of Adar. . . .

Prayer on the New Moon, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A paraliturgical prayer for the New Moon on Rosh Ḥodesh. . . .

Prayer on the Sabbath Previous to the New Moon, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A paraliturgical prayer for the New Month offered on Shabbat Mevorkhim. . . .

Prayer for the Feast of Dedication: חנוכה, by Marcus Heinrich Bresslau (1852)

A prayer for festival of Ḥanukkah. . . .

Am Tage vor dem neuen Jahre oder dem Versöhnungsfeste, wenn man die Gräber besucht | [Prayer] for when you visit the graves on Erev Rosh haShanah or Yom Kippur before the Seudah Mafseket, by Fanny Neuda (1855)

A prayer offered on erev Rosh haShanah or Yom Kippur to visit the local Jewish cemetery. . . .

Betrachtung am Neujahrsund Versöhnungstage | Meditation on Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippur, by Fanny Neuda (1855)

A meditation on Rosh haShanah and Yom Kippurim. . . .

Am Zerstörungstage Jerusalems, den 9. des Monats Aw (תשעת באב‎) | [Prayer] on the day of Jerusalem’s destruction, Tish’a b’Av, by Fanny Neuda (1855)

A supplicatory prayer for mourning on Tish’a b’Av. . . .

An einem allgemeinen Fasttage | [Prayer] on a general (non-fixed) fast day, by Fanny Neuda (1855)

A supplicatory prayer on a personal or individual fast day not designated in the Jewish calendar. . . .

יָהּ, אָנָה אֶמְצָאֶךָּ | Yah, Where shall I find you?, a piyyut by Yehudah haLevi (ca. early 12th c.)

A piyyut that expresses the paradox of a divinity that is both “Beyond” and “Present.” . . .

א דוּדעלע (איה אמצאך)‏ | A Dudele (Where shall I seek you?), by Rabbi Levi Yitsḥaq of Berditchev (ca. 18th c.)

A profound song invoking divine presence. . . .

אָב הָרַחֲמִים שׁוֹכֵן מְרוֹמִים | Av haRaḥamim Shokhein Meromim, a prayer for the martyred during the First Crusade & Rhineland massacres

A prayer for those martyred in the First Crusade and Rhineland Massacres, and by extension, all subsequent pogroms up until and including the Holocaust. . . .

אַקְדָמוּת מִילִין | Aḳdamut Milin, a preface to the Targum for the Shavuot Torah Reading, attributed to Meir ben Isaac Nehorai of Orléans (ca. 11th c.)

An Aramaic piyyut composed as an introduction to the reading of the Targum for the Torah reading on Shavuot. . . .

אָמוֹן יוֹם זֶה | Amon Yom Zeh, an introduction to the Azharot of ibn Gabirol by David ben Elazar ibn Paquda (ca. 12th c.)

A poetic introduction to the Azharot of Solomon ibn Gabirol read in the afternoon of Shavuot by Sefaradim. . . .

ברכת המזון לשבועות ‬| Birkat haMazon for Shavuot, according to the Cairo Geniza fragment ‫T-S H6.37 vocalized and translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A Birkat haMazon for Shavuot presenting an alphabetic acrostic from a manuscript preserved in the Cairo Geniza. . . .

הִנֵּה שָׁם אֶמְצָאֶךָּ | Where We Can Find Yah, a prayer-poem by Eugene Kohn (1945) inspired by Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali (Song Offerings, 1912)

“Where We Can Find God,” a prayer-poem inspired by passages appearing in David Frishman’s Hebrew translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali. . . .

מזמור לבן סירא על זכות אבותינו (פרקים מד-נ)‏ | Paean of Ben Sira on the Merit of the Ancestors (ch. 44-50), vocalized and cantillated with the Poetic Masoretic System by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The poem lauding the ancestors from Chapters 44 to 50 of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus) is considered by many scholars to be the original influence for the Yom Kippur Avodah service, and the paean to Shimon the Righteous bears a striking similarity to the beloved piyyut “Mar’eh Khohen.” This passage from Ben Sira, the great paean on the merit of the ancestors, takes the Hebrew text of one of the Cairo Geniza manuscripts — Bodleian MS Heb e62 — and versifies it according to the standard Septuagintal text, along with vocalization and cantillation per the standard Masoretic EMe”T system for poetic books. It could be read on Yom Kippur for the avodah service, or just studied as a fascinating piece of Jewish history. . . .

סדר מימונה | Seder Mimounah, compiled by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A Mimouna packet including havdalah, a Moroccan-rite birkat ha-ilanot, traditional study texts, and yehiretzonot. . . .

Prayer For Israelites Lost in the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, by Rabbi Sholomo Ben Levy

A prayer created to fill a void left by omitting the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade from the litany of persecutions that Jews have suffered over the centuries. This prayer acknowledges Jews of African descent whose ancestors were enslaved and prayers for their return. . . .

הַגָּדַת “וַיְבִאֵנוּ אֶל הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה”‏ | “And Hashem Brought Us to This Place,” a Maggid supplement for Those Living in Erets Yisrael

According to Mishnah Pesaḥim 10:4, “One expounds (doresh) from ‘A wandering Aramean was my father’ (Deuteronomy 26:5) until he finishes the whole story.” This supplement to Maggid, the verse Deuteronomy 26:9 and its midrash, fulfills the obligation. The verse and its midrash fit into the Passover Haggadah after the ten plagues and the midrash on them, right before the song Dayyenu. . . .

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

When the spring (Aviv) season arrives, a blessing is traditionally said when one is in view of at least two flowering fruit trees. In the northern hemisphere, it can be said anytime through the end of the month of Nissan (though it can still be said in Iyar). For those who live in the southern hemisphere, the blessing can be said during the month of Tishrei. . . .

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

May it be Your will Hashem that we remember that just as we do not own this ḥametz, we do not own this earth. May we once again recall that Adam, the human, is made of afar, soil, dirt, and that God’s promise Abraham that his progeny will become “like the dirt of the earth,” in Aramaic, afra d’ar’a, means that we must live to nourish all Life. . . .

Blessing for Rosh Ḥodesh Nisan, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit

A blessing for announcing the new moon of Nisan, for Rosh Ḥodesh Nisan, and for the whole month. . . .

Blessing for Rosh Ḥodesh Adar, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit

A blessing for announcing the new moon of Adar, for Rosh Ḥodesh Adar, and for the whole month. . . .

תְּחִנָה לְשַׁבָּת מְבָרְכִים רֹאשׁ חוֹדֶשׁ אַדָר | Tkhine for Shabbat Mevorkhim Rosh Ḥodesh Adar ב, on regular non-leap years (1877)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of the תְּחִנָה לְשַׁבָּת מְבָרְכִים רֹאשׁ חוֺדֶשׁ אַדָר (“Tkhine for Shabbat Mevorkhim Rosh Ḥodesh Adar [II]”) which appeared in תחנות מקרא קודש (Teḥinot Miqra Qodesh, Widow and Brothers Romm, Vilna 1877). English translation adapted slightly from Techinas: A Voice from the Heart “As Only A Woman Can Pray” by Rivka Zakutinsky (Aura Press, 1992). –A.N. Varady . . .

A Tree Comes of Age, an essay on the awakening of the trees during the month of Sh’vat by Rabbi Dr. Daniel Sperber

Tu Bish’vat is sometimes referred to as the day in which the sap begins to rise in the trees. From where does this teaching arise? . . .

אוֹי לַלֵב שֶׁאֵינָה שְׁבוּרָה | Woe to the Heart that is not Broken, a ḳinnah by Rabbi Dr. Aryeh Cohen (2019)

A ḳinnah composed in response to the agonizing and cruel United States immigration policy implemented under the presidency of Donald Trump. . . .

אֲשׁוֹרֵר שִׁירָה | Ashorer Shirah, a piyyut in honor of the Torah by Ḥakham Raphael Baruch Toledano (ca. 20th c.)

A piyyut in honor of the Torah. . . .

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

This prayer for Tu Bish’vat, derived from the prayer included with the seder for Tu Bish’vat, the Pri Etz Hadar, are based on the Kabbalah of the four worlds and the ancient idea that everything physical is an image of the spiritual. . . .

תהלים ל׳ | Psalms 30 by David (interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

This is an English translation of Psalms 30 by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). The translation was set side-by-side with the original Hebrew by Aharon Varady. . . .

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. . . .

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 Shevat, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit

A blessing for announcing the new moon of Shevat, for Rosh Ḥodesh Shevat, and for the whole month. . . .

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. . . .

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

Psalms 115 in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

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. . . .

Al HaNisim: For the Banners, by Kohenet Ilana Joy Streit

An interpretive version of Al HaNisim for Ḥanukkah that is playful, powerful, and embodied. May it fuel our activism, including the self-care and community-building that is part of activism. . . .

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). . . .

תחינה פון ראש חודש בענטשן | Prayer for Rosh Ḥodesh from the Tkhine of the Three Gates by Sarah bat Tovim (ca. 18th century)

The Prayer for Rosh Ḥodesh from the Teḥinah of the Three Gates by Sarah bat Tovim (18th century). . . .

A Guided Meditation for Pesaḥ, by Rabbi Daniel Raphael Silverstein

A meditation which can be used to prepare for Pesaḥ, or for sharing at the Seder, to deepen the experience of liberation for yourself and others. . . .

תחנה אמהות | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine included in “תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול” (Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul) published in Vilna, 1874, as re-published in The Merit of Our Mothers בזכות אמהות A Bilingual Anthology of Jewish Women’s Prayers, compiled by Rabbi Tracy Guren Klirs, Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1992. shgiyot mi yavin, ministarot nakeni. . . .

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).) . . .

אֵל שְׁמֹר הַמַּלְכָּה | 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. . . .

אֱלִי צִיּוֹן וְעָרֶֽיהָ | Eli Tsiyon v’Ar’eha (Mourn Zion and her cities), a ḳinnah for Tisha b’Av

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. . . .

A Prayer before Candle-lighting, by Chaya Kaplan-Lester

Please God Let me light More than flame tonight. More than wax and wick and sliver stick of wood. More than shallow stream of words recited from a pocket book. . . .

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). . . .

אוֹי מֶה הָיָה לָנוּ | Oy Meh Haya Lanu (Oy What Has Happened to Us), by Barukh ben Shmuel of Mainz (ca. 12th c.)

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. . . .

אַלְלַי לִי | Alelai Li (Woe is me!), by Elazar ben Killir (ca. 7th c.)

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”). . . .

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. . . .

כַּוָּנָה לְהַדְלָקַת נֵרוֹת חֲנֻכָּה | Kavvanah for Ḥanukkiah Lighting by Bonna Devora Haberman, z”l (Mistabra Institute for Jewish Textual Activism, 2002)

This is an intention that I composed for the conclusion of a performance piece, Inner Fire, created and performed by my Mistabra Institute for Jewish Textual Activism at Brandeis University in 2002. It is as relevant today as ever. Please use it for inspiration when you light Ḥanuka candles. . . .

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. . . .

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

The essential idea of the liturgy of Ushpizin is to invoke the energies of the seven lower Sefirot in the proper order, so that Shefa, blessing and sustenance, can be drawn down into the world. This is the essence of Kabbalistic liturgy, and a liturgy of the imahot would only make sense if it were to follow that pattern. That means we have the playfully serious task of finding a stable order for the imahot where no clear order exists. . . .

תפילת גשם בזכות האמהות | Prayer for Rain in the Merit of the Matriarchs by Rabbi Jill Hammer

The time of Sukkot is a time of fullness and generosity, but also a time to pray for the coming season. Shemini Atzeret, the festival when we pray for rain, is an expression of our need for water, which in the Jewish tradition symbolizes life, renewal, and deliverance. Tefillat Geshem, a graceful fixture of the Ashkenazic liturgy, invokes the patriarchs as exemplars of holiness and model recipients of God’s love. This prayer uses water as a metaphor for devotion and faith, asking that God grant us life-sustaining rain. While its authorship is unknown, it is sometimes attributed to Elazar Kallir, the great liturgist who lived sometime during the first millenium. Each year, we are reminded of our people’s connection to the patriarchs and to the rhythms of water, spiritual and physical sources of life, through this medieval piyyut. While we know that rain is a natural process, formal thanksgiving for water as a source of life, energy, and beauty reminds us that our Creator is the source of our physical world and its many wonders. . . .

תְּפִלָּה לַעֲצֵי הַיַּעַר עַל ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Prayer for the Trees of the Forest on Tu biShvat, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A Ti Bishvat prayer for the trees of the land of Israel and the world over, that they not be victims of deforestation. . . .

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

The Talmud (Brakhot 35a-b) teaches that eating food without saying a brakhah (a blessing) beforehand is like stealing. A lot of people know that teaching, and it’s pretty deep. But here’s an even deeper part: the Talmud doesn’t call it “stealing”, but מעילה ׁ(“me’ilah“), which means taking from sacred property that belongs to the Temple. So that means that everything in the world is sacred and this Creation is like a HOLY TEMPLE. . . .

תְּחִנָה לְשַׁבָּת מְבָרְכִים רֹאשׁ חוֹדֶשׁ אַדָר רִאשׁוֹן | Tkhine for Shabbat Mevorkhim Rosh Ḥodesh Adar א on Leap Years (1877)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of the תְּחִנָה לְשַׁבָּת מְבָרְכִים רֹאשׁ חוֺדֶשׁ אַדָר רִאשׁוֹן (“Tkhine for Shabbat Mevorkhim Rosh Ḥodesh Adar I”) which appeared in תחנות מקרא קודש (Teḥinot Miqra Qodesh, Widow and Brothers Romm, Vilna 1877). English translation adapted slightly from Techinas: A Voice from the Heart “As Only A Woman Can Pray” by Rivka Zakutinsky (Aura Press, 1992). –A.N. Varady . . .

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. . . .

הַכָּרָת רִבּוֹנוּת הָאָרֶץ | Indigenous Land Acknowledgement, by Aurora Mendelsohn (2020)

An acknowledgement that the land we are conducting our religious ceremonies on is the sacred and traditional land of Indigenous people. It involves a kavvanah and study verses as well as the land acknowledgement. . . .

צָעֲקָה יוֹכֶבֶד | Tsa’akah Yokheved, a piyyut attributed to Shmuel Shlomo (before 1050 CE)

The 7th of Adar is the traditional date for the yahrzeit of Moshe Rabbeinu and it is also remembered as the day of his birth 120 years earlier. This variation of of the piyyut, Tsa’akah Yokheved, popularly sung on 7 Adar, is first attested in a 1712 Sepharadi mahzor published in Amsterdam, as transcribed above with some minor changes with the contemporary audio recording of the Iraqi nusaḥ made by משה חבושה (Moshe Ḥavusha). (The piyyut appear without niqqud.) An older version (perhaps the original version), attributed in the Maagarim database to Shmuel Shlomo and dated before 1050 CE, is attested in two manuscripts: “London, British Library 699” and “Berlin, Staatsbibliothek, Ham. 288”. Ibn Ezra (1089-1167) quotes a stanza from the version we have presented here (“וכבד אמי אחרי התנחמי”) indicating that this version may be at least as old. . . .


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