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☞   Shavuot

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

אַ ײִדיש 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. . . .

תחנה אמהות | Prayer for Yizkor on Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Yamim Tovim, from the Tkhine of the Matriarchs 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. . . .

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.” . . .

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. . . .


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