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☞   Pilgrimages (Ḥagim/Regalim)

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

סֵדֶר סְפִירַת הָעֹמֶר | the Order of Counting the Omer in the Spring

Each day between the beginning of Passover and Shavuot gets counted, 49 days in all, 7 weeks of seven days. That makes the omer period a miniature version of the Shmitta and Yovel (Jubilee) cycle of 7 cycles of seven years. Just as that cycle is one of resetting society’s clock to align ourselves with freedom and with the needs of the land, this cycle too is a chance to align ourselves with the rhythms of spring and the spiritual freedom represented by the Torah. . . .

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. . . .

חַד גַּדְיָא | Ḥad Gadya in Aramaic and Yiddish (Prague Haggadah, ca. 1526)

Making sense of Ḥad Gadya beyond its explicit meaning has long inspired commentary. For me, Ḥad Gadya expresses in its own beautiful and macabre way a particularly important idea in Judaism that has become obscure if not esoteric. While an animal’s life may today be purchased, ultimately, the forces of exploitation, predation, and destruction that dominate our world will be overturned. Singing Ḥad Gadya is thus particularly apropos for the night of Passover since, in the Jewish calendar, this one night, different from all other nights, is considered the most dangerous night of the year — it is the time in which the forces of darkness in the world are strongest. Why? It is on this night that the divine aspect of Mashḥit, the executioner, is explicitly invoked (albeit, only in the context of the divine acting as midwife and guardian/protector of her people), as explained in the midrash for Exodus 12:12 . . .

תְּחִינָה לִשָּׁבוּעוֺת נאָך ליכט צינדן | Tkhine upon Candlelighting at the Onset of Shavuot

This tekhina (supplication) upon candlelighting for Shavuot in Hebrew and Yiddish appears in the Maḥzor for Shavuot Rav Peninim (Vilna 1911) although we are uncertain whether it first appeared here. We welcome your help in correctly attributing and translating it. . . .

יוֹם זֶה לְכׇל דוֹרוֹת | Yom Zeh l’Khol Dorot, a piyyut for Pesaḥ Sheni by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

A piyyut for an under-recognized holiday, Pesaḥ Sheni, the festival of second chances (as described in Numbers 9:6-13 and Mishnah Pesaḥim 9:1-3. I attempted to write this in the manner of a traditional piyyut. The meter is equivalent to the Shabbat zamir “Ot Hi l’Olmei Ad.” The Hebrew spells out Yod – Tzadi – Ḥet – Kuf, because that’s my name. The translation is original, along with the notes. . . .

An den letzten Tagen des Laubhüttenfestes | [A prayer] on the last days of Sukkot, by Fanny Neuda (1855)

This is Fanny Neuda’s “Prayer for Shemini Atseret,” faithfully transcribed and proofread with the help of German Wikisource contributors from Fanny Neuda’s Stunden Der Andacht (1855), p. 66. . . .

מי ששכנה… היא תשכן עמנו | Mē She’shakhna… Hē Tishkon Imanu – a Seliḥot Plea for Biblical Women by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

There is a famous Seliḥot prayer where each of its lines has this structure: “May He who answered ___________, may he answer us.” The blank refers to assorted Biblical figures who faced great challenges, ranging from Avraham the Patriarch to Ezra the Scribe. The traditional list is also VERY male-focused, with the standard text only listing Esther from all the great Biblical women. This is a shame, and many have tried to remedy this. I have found myself under the opinion that all these remedies have a fault – they attempt to combine the original text with the new text. This means either the original text is shortened, or the full text is far too long. As well, the structure is very male-oriented as well, appealing to God’s male side and only using grammatically male language. . . .

תפילה לפני שחיטה | Prayer before Kosher Slaughter, by Eliyah ben Shlomo Avraham haKohen (Sefer Shevet Musar, 1712)

This is a kavvanah for kosher slaughterers to say prior to the blessing over sheḥitah, first published in the early 18th century, and composed within the school of the ARI z”l. . . .

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. . . .

בִּרְכַּת הָאִילָנוֹת | The Blessing of Flowering Fruit Trees in the Spring Season

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. . . .

אל רם חסין יה | El Ram Ḥasin Yah, a piyyut for Sukkot by Shlomo haPaytan (egal adaptation by Noam Sienna, 2012)

This is one of my favourite Sukkot piyyutim, not least because of the wonderful and easily singable call-and-response melody! The seven verses each highlight one of the seven traditional ushpizin [mythic guests], and a few years ago I wrote an additional seven verses for the seven female ushpizata according to the order of Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org). . . .

תפילת טל | A Prayer for Dew, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Geshem and tal: rain and dew. We pray for each in its season, geshem all winter and tal as summer approaches…not everywhere, necessarily, but in the land of Israel where our prayers have their roots. In a desert climate, water is clearly a gift from God. It’s easy for us to forget that, here with all of this rain and snow. But our liturgy reminds us. Through the winter months, during our daily amidah we’ve prayed “mashiv ha-ruach u-morid ha-gashem” — You cause the winds to blow and the rains to fall! We only pray for rain during the rainy season, because it is frustrating both to us and to God when we pray for impossibilities. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

A Second Passover Seder Plate with Seven Additions, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Additional symbolic foods arranged on a second seder plate. . . .

ואחד גׄדי | Waaḥid Jady :: a Judeo-Arabic Translation of Ḥad Gadya

A Judeo-Arabic translation of the popular Passover song, Ḥad Gadya. . . .

און קאבﬞריטיקו | Un Kavritiko :: a Judezmo (Ladino) Translation of Ḥad Gadya

A Judezmo/Ladino translation of the popular Passover song, Ḥad Gadya. . . .

יַאן יִכְּרוּ | Yan ikru :: a Judeo-Berber Translation of Ḥad Gadya

A Judeo-Berber translation of the popular Passover song, Ḥad Gadya. . . .

אדיר הוא | Awesome One: an Alphabetical English Interpretation by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer of the piyyut Adir Hu

Adir Hu, a classic Pesaḥ song if ever there was one, is a part of Seder tables all over the planet. Its alphabetical list of God’s attributes, combined with its repeated pleas for a return to Jerusalem, make it a classic, to the point where the traditional German farewell greeting for Passover was not “chag sameach” or “gut yontef” but “bau gut” – build well. This interpretation, while not a direct translation by any means, has the same rhythmic pattern and alphabetical structure, giving a sense of the greatness of God. . . .

אַתָּה ה׳, מָגֵן בַּעֲדִי | Attah Adonai Magen Ba’adi, a piyyut by R’ Fradji Shawat (late 16th c.)

A (kosher-for-Passover) prayer for redemption from exile. . . .

בִּסְעוּדָה הַזּוֹ | At this meal!, a piyyut for the Passover seder translated by Rabbi Jonah Rank

A litany of mythical guests and creatures presenting at the Passover seder. . . .

יַכֵּי בּוּזְגָאלַה | Yake Buzghola :: a Judeo-Tajik Translation of Ḥad Gadya, by Rabbi Shimon ben Eliyahu Hakham (1904)

A Judeo-Tajik translation of the popular Passover song, Ḥad Gadya. . . .

אֶחָד מִי יוֹדֵעַ | Eḥad Mi Yode’a :: Who Knows One?, a counting song in Hebrew and Yiddish (Prague Haggadah, 1526)

The text of the popular Passover song “Who Knows One?” in its original Hebrew and Yiddish, with a translation in English. . . .

חַד מָה יוּדָא | Ḥad Mah Yuda :: Who Knows One?, a counting-song in Aramaic translation

The text of the popular Passover song “Who Knows One?” in Hebrew set side-by-side with an Aramaic translation. . . .

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. . . .

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). . . .

שירת הים | Shirat haYam :: the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:1-19)

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. . . .

ואחד ג’די | أغنية لعيد الفصح اليهودي | Waaḥid Jady :: Ḥad Gadya in Arabic translation (Syrian Damascus variation)

An Arabic translation of Ḥad Gadya in its Syrian Jewish Damascus variation. . . .

אֵין אַדִּיר כַּיְיָ (מִפִּי אֵל)‏ | Ayn Adir kAdonai (Mipi El) :: There is none like YHVH

A popular piyyut for Simḥat Torah (4th hakkafah) originally composed as a piyyut for Shavuot and often referred to by its incipit, “Mipi El.” . . .

ליקוטי תפילות חלק א׳ תפילה קמ״ה | Liqutei Tefilot I:145 for Sukkot, by Reb Nosson Steinhartz of Nemirov (early 19th century)

A prayer for Sukkot linking the theme of home building and receiving Torah with a warning not to eat animals and to extend ones compassion to all creatures. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

Scaling the Walls of the Labyrinth: Psalms 67 and Ana b’Khoaḥ

Psalm 67 is a priestly blessing for all the peoples of the earth to be sustained by the earth’s harvest (yevulah), and it is a petition that all humanity recognize the divine nature (Elohim) illuminating the world. Composed of seven verses, the psalm is often visually depicted as a seven branched menorah. There are 49 words in the entire psalm, and in the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l there is one word for each day of the Sefirat haOmer. Similarly, the fifth verse has 49 letters and each letter can be used as a focal point for meditating on the meaning of the day in its week in the journey to Shavuot, the festival of weeks (the culmination of the barley harvest), and the festival of oaths (shevuot) in celebration of receiving the Torah. Many of the themes of Psalm 67 are repeated in the prayer Ana b’Koaḥ, which also has 49 words, and which are also used to focus on the meaning of each day on the cyclical and labyrinthine journey towards Shavuot. . . .

Am Laubhüttenfest beim Kreisgang mit dem Lulaw und Esrog | [Prayer] on Sukkot at the Haqafot with the Lulav and Etrog, by Fanny Neuda (1855)

Herr des Weltalls, reich geschmückt mit deinen Gaben und Segnungen hast du die Natur. Das Thal mit seinem üppigen Grün, der Berg mit seinem Kranz von Wäldern, das Gefilde mit seiner lachenden Frucht ist ein Erzeugnis; deiner Gnade, zum Segen deiner Menschenkinder, zur Nahrung ihres Leibes, zur Stillung ihrer Bedürfnisse, zur Ergötzung ihres Auges, zum Balsam ihrer Wunden; und kein Blättchen ist so klein, kein Grashalm so niedrig in dem weiten Reiche der Natur, daß es nicht wohlthuende heilsame Kräfte für uns enthielte. . . .


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