Wormicide, a poem by Rabbi Alter Abelson (1931)

The poem “Wormicide” (1931) by Rabbi Alter Abelson. . . .

פסוקים לשנת תשע”ט | Biblical Phrases for 5779, by Daniel Matt

As many of you know, there is a custom to indicate the Hebrew year with a verse (or part of a verse) that is equal to that year in gematria. Such words or phrases are called chronograms. The practice of indicating the year by a biblical phrase was often followed in traditional sefarim, on tombstones, and more recently has appeared in written correspondence and email. It’s a nice way to give added meaning to the current year. Here are some biblical phrases that equal תשע”ט 779. . . .

An Intention for the New Year (5779), by Rabbi Menachem Creditor

“An Intention for the New Year (5779)” was first published by Rabbi Menachem Creditor online at his blog and shared with the Open Siddur Project through our Facebook discussion group. . . .

תְּפִילַּת הַנּוֹטֵעַ | Prayer for Tree Planting, by Rabbi Eliyahu Yosef She’ar Yashuv Cohen

This is the prayer for planting trees by the late chief rabbi of Haifa, Eliyahu Yosef She’ar Yashuv Cohen zt”l (1927-2016). . . .

תְּפִילַּת הַנּוֹטֵעַ | Prayer for a Tree Planting, by Zeev Kainan (2018)

This prayer for planting was composed by Zeev Kainan for Tu biShvat (2018) for the Masorti Movement for Conservative Judaism in Israel. . . .

תְּפִילַּת הַנּוֹטֵעַ | Prayer for a Tree Planting, by Rav Ben-Tsiyon Meir Ḥai Uziel (before 1942)

This is the תפילת הנוטע (Prayer for Planting [trees]) by Rabbi Ben-Zion Meir Ḥai Uziel. . . .

כַּוָּנָה לִפְנֵי עֲבוֹדָה בְּאַדְמַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ | Kavvanah before working with the holy soil, by Rabbi Shalom Ḥayyim Sharabi (ca. 1911)

A kavvanah for focusing one’s intention before working with the soil of Erets Yisrael. . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah in presentation format, by rabbis Rachel Barenblat and David Evan Markus (Bayit: Your Jewish Home 5778)

The Bayit’s Tu BiShvat Seder Haggadah in PowerPoint presentation format was designed to be projected on a screen to save paper; accompanied by instructions for how to celebrate Tu BiShvat. . . .

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. . . .

וידוי לראש השנה לבהמות | Meat and Feathers: We Confess for Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul, by Trisha Arlin

Trisha Arlin first published this prayer for a communal confession on Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot on her liturgy site, here. Elements of this vidui (confession) are derived from the Kavvanah before Blowing the Shofar on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul for Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot (New Year’s Day for Domesticated Animals). . . .

ראש השנה לבהמות | Kavvanah before Shofar Blowing on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul for Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot (New Year’s Day for Domesticated Animals)

The text of this ritual shofar blowing for Rosh Chodesh Elul and Rosh Hashanah Labehemot developed as part of annual ceremony taking place at the dairy barn on the campus of the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center beginning in 2009 under the auspices of Elat Chayyim and the Adamah Jewish Farming Fellowship. The ceremony was co-developed by Rabbi Jill Hammer and Sarah Chandler in 2009, with elements added by Aharon Varady beginning in 2012. . . .

תחנה אמהות | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Blowing of the Shofar by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Blowing of the Shofar” 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. . . .

תחנה אמהות מן ראש חדש תשרי | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Tishrei [Rosh Hashanah] by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Tishrei [Rosh Hashanah]” 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. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | The Prayer for the Safety of Kings, Princes and Commonwealths, presented by Menasseh ben Israel to Oliver Cromwell (1655)

From “How Faithful The Nation of the Iewes are.” in To His Highnesse The Lord Protector Of The Common-Wealth Of England, Scotland, And Ireland, The Humble Addresses Of Menasseh Ben Israel (1655), p.11-13 (p.91-93 in L. Wolf’s edition). The Hebrew liturgy shown was transcribed from the “Prayer for the Dutch royal family and the city council of Amsterdam” (1950) and has been edited to fit this earlier version of the text. What is clear in comparing this version with the version that became prominent in England and elsewhere, is the removal of the angelo-astrological phrase on the rise of the planetary star corresponding to the particular Sar in heaven and lord on earth. What changed between 1655 and the 18th century? Increased anxiety over exoteric references in the kabbalah following the messianic movement of Shabbetai Tsvi, and also, the Enlightenment. We’ll be keen to find other examples of Hanoten Teshua from before and after 1655, that might add additional light on how this prayer may have changed. Related to the liturgical phrase on the rise of the planetary star, Menasseh ben Israel includes a reference in his argument to Cromwell for the proper regard that should be granted the Jews by the other nations. The reference is to Zohar Pekudei (Zohar II 267b:8-10) and we believe this may be the first time anyone has ever located the actual text being referred to here. . . .

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. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | 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? . . .

אַ ייִדיש ליד, צער בעלי־חיים | Tsaar Baalei Ḥayyim [It is forbidden to cause] suffering to a living creature, a song in Yiddish

“Tsaar Balei Ḥayyim” ([It is forbidden to cause] suffering to a living creature), source unknown. Many thanks to Tiferet Zimmern-Kahan for recording the niggun for the song and to Naftali Ejdelman and The Jewish Daily Forward for providing the lyrics. . . .

A Blessing for the Bugs on Rosh Ḥodesh Elul and Rosh Hashana LaBehemot, 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. . . .

פֶּרֶק שִׁירָה | Pereq 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. . . .

הגדה לסדר אל”ף באלול, ראש השנה לבעלי־החיים (זנגביל, התשע”ג)‏ | Haggadah for the Alef B’Elul Seder, the New Year for Domesticated Animals (Ginger House, the Jewish Vegetarian Society in Jerusalem, 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).‏ . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tu BiShvat Seder to Heal the Wounded Earth, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow (The Shalom Center)

This Tu BiShvat haggadah focuses on healing the wounded Earth today, with passages on major policy questions facing the human race in the midst of a great climate crisis and massive extinctions of species. In each of the Four Worlds in this Haggadah (Earth, Water, Air, Fire) there are traditional, mystical, and poetical passages, and in each there are also contemporary passages on aspects of public policy (Earth: food and forest; Water: fracking; Air: climate; Fire: alternative and renewable energy sources.) These policy-oriented passages help make this a distinctive Haggadah. After these passages, this Haggadah encourages Seder participants to take time for discussion. They may also decide to omit some passages and/or add others. The desire for such a Haggadah grew from discussions of the Green Hevra, a network of Jewish environmental organizations. Thanks to Judith Belasco, Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Sybil Sanchez, Rabbi David Seidenberg, Richard Schwartz, Rabbi David Shneyer, and Yoni Stadlin for comments on an earlier draft of this Haggadah. . . .

אלף באלול | The Council of All Beings on the New Year’s Day festival for Animals, Rosh Hashanah LaBehemot (ראש השנה לבהימות)

Domesticated animals (beheimot) are halakhically distinguished from ḥayot, wild animals in having been bred to rely upon human beings for their welfare. As the livelihood and continued existence of wild animals increasingly depends on the energy, food, and land use decisions of human beings, the responsibility for their care is coming into the purview of our religious responsibilities as Jews under the mitzvah of tsa’ar baalei ḥayyim — mindfullness of the suffering of all living creatures in our decisions and behavior. Rosh Hashanah LeBeheimot is the festival where we are reminded of this important mitzvah at the onset of the month in which we imagine ourselves to be the flock of a god upon whose welfare we rely. The Council of All Beings is an activity that can help us understand and reflect upon the needs of the flock of creatures that already rely upon us for their welfare. . . .

ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Rebirthing the Tree(s) of Life: Four Teachings for the Four Worlds of Tu BiShvat/Yah BiShvat by Arthur Waskow

The four teachings above are connected with the Four Worlds that the kabbalists saw as the architecture of the universe. When the Kabbalistic community of Tz’fat created the Seder for Tu BiShvat/ Yah BiShvat, they unfolded these Four Worlds in four cups of wine and four sorts of fruit and nuts (one sort so ethereal it was invisible and untouchable). This year, the full moon of Shvat will fall on Shabbat Shira itself, January 24-25. . . .

Prayer for the Earth, Air, Water, Fire of our Planet in Memory of Barry Commoner, by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

May the words we are with Your help sharing today, Speak deeply –- with Your help — to our nation and the world. Help us all to know that the sharing of our breath with all of life Is the very proof, the very truth, that we are One. . . .

התרת נדרים | Hatarat Nedarim: The Release of Vows by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Almost everyone who is Jewish knows that Kol Nidre is about releasing vows and has participated in the ceremony. Few know the parallel ritual done in small groups before Rosh Hashanah. Traditionally, right before Rosh Hashanah one performs this simple ritual with three friends, each in turn becoming the petitioner, while the other three act as the beit din, the judges in a court. The ritual is a wonderful way to enter the holidays as well as to prepare oneself for what will happen on Yom Kippur. . . .

הנני ☞ Hineni: Here I Am, a bookmark for your Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur maḥzor by Lieba B. Ruth

Lauren Deutsch designed a High Holy Days greeting card that is a yad (pointer) for all readers to use in their siddurim during services. It also functions as a place holder when one wishes to take a rest from following along. . . .

סדר אכילת הסמנים | Seder Akhilat haSimanim: The “Symbolic Foods of Life” Seder for Rosh Hashanah by R’ R. Karpov, Ph.D.

Ḥazal, — some of our Jewish Sages, May Their Memory Be For A Blessing — suggest that ‘simanah milsah‘ — a symbol has significance. Some of the teachers of Jewish tradition encourage us on Rosh HaShanah to partake of a variety of foods suggestive of prosperity and happiness. This usage is alluded to in the directive of the prophet Nechemiah to the assembly: ‘Go your way, eat the fat and drink the sweet …” (Nechemiah 8:10). Our kavvanoth — sacred intentions — are that these Symbolic Foods Of Life are to help us effect a good coming year. . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | A Tu Bishvat Seder Meditation on the World of Yetsirah, by Ben Murane

The Tu Bishvat seder is a metaphor. But usually we use metaphor in our daily lives to accomplish, persuade, inspire or explain. There is something we’re bending metaphor to accomplish. This meditation is an exercise in free-thinking. Here, just play with metaphor for the sake of expressing and exploring your emotional state, history, anticipations and apprehensions. Each of the quotations from the Torah or rabbinical writings below represents an emotion. After we say the blessing over the olives, read the quotations, pick one (or more) that resonate, and play with the metaphor to reach a deeper understanding of yourself and others. . . .

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

From [the Holy One’s] form/to’ar the constellations are shimmering, and God’s form projects the exalted ones. And Her crown blazes [with] the mighty, and His garment flows with the precious. And all the trees will rejoice in the word, and the plants will exult in His rejoicing, and His words shall drop as perfumes, flowing forth flames of fire, giving joy to those who search them, and quiet to those who fulfill them. . . .

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

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]: . . .

חשבון הפנים | An accounting of punny foods for the Rosh Hashanah feast

As חז”ל [Ḥazal] taught us, on ראש השנה [Rosh Hashanah] we elevate puns from the lowest form of humor to the highest religious experience. The foods suggested by our Sages had names in Aramaic or Hebrew that symbolized hopes for the new year — here is a list of foods with English names for those of us for whom English is our vernacular: . . .

סדר הסמנים | The Seder of Auspicious Foods for the Feast of Rosh Hashanah according to the Persian custom

Thank you to Nili Simhai and Yosh Schulman for sharing the Farsi (Persian) Nusaḥ of this punful minhag — the order of reciting kavvanot (intentions) for the New Year. Profound thanks are also due to Rabbi Simcha Daniel Burstyn of Kibbutz Lotan for his translation. Please help the Open Siddur Project by helping to translate and transcribe all of the Hebrew and Farsi in this seder. Sol’e nu Mobarak! سال نو مبارک — L’shanah Tova! . . .

אלף באלול | Explanation and ritual for the New Year’s Day for Domesticated Animals (ראש השנה לבהמות)

Once upon a time when the Temple still stood, the Rosh Hashanah La’behemot celebrated one means by which we elevated and esteemed the special creatures that helped us to live and to work. Just as rabbinic Judaism found new ways to realize our Temple offerings with tefillot — prayers — so too the Rosh Hashanah La’behemot challenges us to realize the holiness of the animals in our care in a time without tithes. The New Years Day for Animals is a challenge to remind and rediscover what our responsibilities are to the animals who depend on us for their welfare. Are we treating them correctly and in accord with the mitzvah of tza’ar baalei chayim — sensitivity to the suffering of living creatures? Have we studied and understood the depth of ḥesed — lovingkindness — expressed in the breadth of our ancestors teachings concerning the welfare of animals in Torah? Rosh Hashanah La’behemot is the day to reflect on our immediate or mediated relationships with domesticated animals, recognize our personal responsibilities to them, individually and as part of a distinct and holy people, and repair our relationships to the best of our ability. . . .

תְּפִלָּה לָעֵצִים עַל ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Prayer for the Trees of Erets Yisrael on Tu Bishvat, by Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel (2011)

In the wake of the continued uprooting of fruit trees and human settlements in the Land of Israel, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights shared the following petitionary prayer. . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening, a Tu Bishvat Seder Haggadah by Barak Gale and Ami Goodman with excerpts from the P’ri Ets Hadar (1991 abridged)

Tu biShvat, the 15th of the month of Shevat, was designated by the Talmud as the New Year for the Trees. It was tax time for HaShem, a time of tithing for the poor. This tithing has its origin in the following Torah verse: “Every year, you shall set aside a tenth part of the yield, so that you may learn to revere your God forever.” The Kabbalists of 17th century Safed developed the model of tikkun olam that we embrace today — healing the world by gathering the scattered holy sparks. To encourage the Divine flow — shefa — and to effect Tikkun Olam, the Kabbalists of Safed (16th century) created a Tu biShvat seder loosely modeled after the Passover seder. In recent decades we have learned how the well being of trees is intimately connected to the well being of all creation. This relationship is clearly stated in the following Midrash: “If not for the trees, human life could not exist.” (Midrsh Sifre to Deut. 20:19) Today the stakes of environmental stewardship have become very high. Tu biShvat calls upon us to cry out against the enormity of destruction and degradation being inflicted upon God’s world. This degradation includes global warming, massive deforestation, the extinction of species, poisonous deposits of toxic chemicals and nuclear wastes, and exponential population growth. We are also deeply concerned that the poor suffer disproportionately from environmental degradation. Rabbi Abraham Heschel wrote: “[Human beings have] indeed become primarily tool-making animal[s], and the world is now a gigantic tool box for the satisfaction of [their] needs…” . . .

סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Trees are Davvening: A Tu biShvat Haggadah Celebrating our Kinship with the Trees and the Earth, by Barak Gale and Ami Goodman (1991, unabridged)

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THE TREES ARE DAVENING: A Tu biShvat Haggadah Celebrating Our Kinship with the Trees and the Earth Developed by: Dr. Barak Gale, Congregation Sha’ar Zahav, San Francisco Dr. Ami Goodman, Congregation Beth Sholom, San Francisco

Hebrew English אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי.‏           וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי.‏       . . .

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. . . .

פְּרִי עֵץ הַדַּעַת עַל צַלַּחַת סֵדֶר ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge on the Tu biShvat Seder Plate, by Rabbi Dr. Dalia Marx

Through eating those fruits that our sages of blessed memory identified as the fruit of the tree of knowledge, we recall the best of creation, in its beauty and completeness. We remember that every human being, by virtue of being a human being, is the pinnacle of creation. Our task as caretakers is to preserve the world, to work it, and to repair it. Our task is to make the State of Israel more just, so that she will be a blessing to all of her inhabitants and those who love her. . . .

קִדּוּשׁ שֶׁל שִׁחְרוּר עַל שַׁבָּת ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Shabbat Kiddush of Liberation for Shabbat Tu biShvat, by Mark X. Jacobs (1993)

We call to sukkat shalom, the shelter of peace, all of our various selves To rest from the contortion of social life and the demands of others. We liberate ourselves and each other from roles and titles labels and closets positions and pretendings internalized oppressions and oppressive projections hierarchies and competition. . . .

פְּרִי עֵץ הֲדַר | The Pri Ets Hadar: Fruit of the Majestic Tree, the original seder for Tu biShvat (School of Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria, circa 17th century)

From the Pri Etz Hadar, the first ever published seder for Tu Bishvat, circa 17th century: “speech has the power to arouse the sefirot and to cause them to shine more wondrously with a very great light that sheds abundance, favor, blessing, and benefit throughout all the worlds. Consequently, before eating each fruit, it is proper to meditate on the mystery of its divine root, as found in the Zohar and, in some cases, in the tikkunim, in order to arouse their roots above.” . . .

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

God of all spirit, all directions, all winds You have placed in our hands power unlike any since the world began to overturn the orders of creation. . . .


בסיעתא דארעא