“Abide in Me, and I in You: the Soul’s Answer,” a prayer-poem by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1855/1865)

A hymn by the abolitionist Harriet Beecher Stowe, included in the hymnal of Congregation Adath Jeshurun in Philadelphia in 1926. . . .

שִׁוִּיתִי | Shiviti: perceiving the world as an expression of divine Oneness

Given that the Torah forbids impressing our imaginations with illustrations of the divine, some other method is necessary to perceive divine Oneness. One method is found in the verse in Psalms 16:8, “I have set YHVH before me at all times.” . . .

A Kavvanah for Waking Up, by Andrew Shaw

An original liturgical poem inspired by the Modah|Modeh Ani prayer. . . .

מודה אני | Returning the body to the soul: an adaptation of Modeh Ani by Moshe ibn Makhir

Modeh Ani first appeared as an addendum in Seder ha-Yom (1599) by Moshe ibn Makhir of Safed. A slightly different formula offers a deep insight into who and what has returned to one’s self upon waking. . . .

מודה אני | Modah/Modeh Ani, by Moshe ibn Makhir (translation by Andrew Shaw)

Thankful am I in your Presence, Spirit who lives and endures, for You’ve returned to me my soul with compassion. Abundant is your faith! . . .

צַפְרִירִים | Tsafririm (“Morning Spirits”), a poem by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1900)

The poem “Tsafririm” (1900) by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik with an English translation by Ben Aronin. . . .

עִם שָׁמֶשׁ | At Sunrise, a poem by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1903)

The poem, “Im Shamesh” (At Sunrise) by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik in June 1903. . . .

פֶּרֶק שִׁירָה | Pereq Shirah (Chapter of Song), a litany of verses pronounced in the voice of the creatures and works 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. . . .

אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l

This English translation of the prayer “Asher Yatsar” by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification by Aharon Varady according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l. . . .

אשר יצר | Asher Yatsar prayer for recognizing the Divine Image in all our bodies by R’ Emily Aviva Kapor

Asher Yatzar (the “bathroom blessing”, traditionally said every morning and after every time one goes to relieve oneself) has always rung hollow to me, at best, and at worst has been a prayer not celebrating beauty but highlighting pain. The original version praises bodies whose nekavim nekavim ḥalulim ḥalulim (“all manner of ducts and tubes”) are properly opened and closed—yes, in a digestive/excretory sense, but it is quite easy to read a reproductive sense into it as well. What do you do if the “ducts and tubes” in your body are not properly opened and closed, what if one is open that should be closed, or vice versa? . . .

נשמה שנתת בי | Neshamah Shenatata Bi (the breath you have given me), interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

This English translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l of “Neshama Shenatata Bi,” was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Linear associations of this translation according to the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

ברכות השחר | Blessings at your Dawn of Wakefulness, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of the Birkhot haShaḥar in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). . . .

מה טובו | Mah Tovu: Prayer upon Entering the Synagogue (Romanian trans. Avraham Shlomo Gold, ca. 1903)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of the prayer upon entering the synagogue from סדר תפילות לכל השנה Ordinea Rugăciunilor pentru toate zilele anului (nusaḥ Sefaradi, minhag Romania) translated into Romanian by Rabbi Abraham Shlomo Gold (Institutul de editura Ralian si Ignat Samitca, Craiova, 1903). A video of this siddur can be seen on youtube here. We would like to know more about Rabbi Gold; if you have any information, please contact us. . . .

מה טבו | A Paraliturgical Mah Tovu in French by R’ Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery (1848), translated to English by Hester Rothschild (1855)

This is a faithful transcription of a teḥinah (supplicatory prayer) composed in parallel to the prayer for entering a synagogue, Mah Tovu, following in the paraliturgical tradition of Yiddish tkhines, albeit written in French. (This particular paraliturgical prayer may be original or it may be based on an earlier work in German or Yiddish. Please contact us or comment below if you can identify it.) The prayer was written by Rabbi Arnaud Aron and Jonas Ennery for their opus, אמרי לב Prières d’un Coeur Israelite published in 1848 by the Société Consistoriale de Bons Livres. In 1855, an abridged English translation of Prières d’un Coeur Israelite was authorized by Nathan Marcus Adler, chief rabbi of the British Empire and published as Prayers and Mediatations, translated by Hester Rothschild. Aron and Ennery were directly inspired by tkhines literature. . . .

יִגְדַּל אֱלֹהִים חַי | Yigdal by Daniel ben Judah (German translation by Chajm Guski)

Gelobt sei der lebendige Gott! Ihn grenzt nicht Raum, ihn grenzt nicht Zeit. Er ist der Einzige, dem nichts gleicht in seiner hehren Einzigkeit. Er ist nicht Form, ist nicht Gestalt, „der Heilige“, sich gleichend bloß. Der Urbeginn, vor allem Sein: Anfang, der selber anfangslos. So waltet er als Herr der Welt, von dessen Macht das All erzählt. Mit dessen Geist erfüllte er G-ttkünder, die er auserwählt. Nie stand, wie Mosche, einer auf, der je so klar sein Bild erschaut. Die wahre Torah gab uns Gott durch ihn, der seinem Haus vertraut. Und nie verwirft Gott sein Gesetz, nie gibt er es für ein anderes hin. Er schaut in unser Herz und weiß das Ende schon beim Anbeginn. Von ihm wird nach Verdienst und Schuld uns Lohn und Strafe einst zuteil. Die Zeit des G-ttesreiches kommt und bringt den Harrenden das Heil. Die Toten weckt er auf zur Zeit. Gelobt sei Gott in Ewigkeit. . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh, attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (translation by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

You who love my soul Compassion’s gentle source, Take my disposition and shape it to Your will. Like a darting deer I will flee to You. Before Your glorious Presence Humbly I do bow. Let Your sweet love Delight me with its thrill Because no other dainty Will my hunger still. . . .

ידיד נפש | Yedid Nefesh attributed to Elazar ben Moshe Azikri ca. 16th c. (Arabic translation by Hillel Farḥi, ca. 1913)

Yedid Nefesh is a piyyut composed by Elazar ben Moshe Azikri (1533-1600) commonly found in the morning baqashot of Sepharadi siddurim and as a petiḥah for Kabbalat Shabbat in many siddurim. This is a faithful transcription of Yedid Nefesh translated into Arabic from סדור פרחי سدور فرحي Siddur Farḥi (nusaḥ Sefaradi, minhag Egypt 1913, 1917) by Hillel Farḥi (1868-1940). (A copy of Siddur Farhi can be ordered from the Farḥi Foundation here.) Transcription of the Arabic was made by Wikisource contributor Avigdor24, here. Please help to proofread and improve this transcription. Join us in the digital transcription of Siddur Farḥi on Hebrew Wikisource. . . .

הֲרֵינִי מְקַבֵּל עָלַי | A kavvanah to love your fellow as yourself, before prayer

The custom of reciting this intention is attributed to Rav Yitzḥak Luria, circa 16th century, on Leviticus 19:18, recorded in Minhagei ha-Arizal–Petura d’Abba, p.3b by R’ Ḥayyim Vital. . . .

ברכות התורה | Blessing for Torah Study, interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l

This English translation of the blessing for Torah study by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi z”l, was first published in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). Versification according to the Nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l by Aharon Varady. . . .

Meditation on the Akeidah in the Birkot haShaḥar, by Shim’on Menachem

I had an opening, with the help and support of some holy chevrei, to take on Binding of Isaac and accompanying meditations that occupy a conspicuous space during the morning blessings. This is what came out. . . .

רבון העולמים | Ribon HaOlamim from the Seder Tefilot of the RaMBaM in M.S. Constantinople 1509 (trans. Aharon Varady)

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אָנָּא בְּכֹחַ | Ana b’Khoaḥ, with Spanish translation by Rabbi Isaac ben Shem Tov Cavallero (1552)

An early printing of the 42 divine name letter acrostic piyyut, Ana b’Khoaḥ. . . .

אָנָּא בְּכֹחַ | Ana b’Khoaḥ, with a singing translation in English by Reb Zalman z”l

The most well-known 42 letter divine name acrostic piyyut. . . .

תְּחִנָה קַבָּלַת עוֺל מַלְכוּת שָׁמַיִם | Tkhine [for Women] Receiving the Yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven (1916)

The author of this tkhine intended for women to begin their morning devotional reading of prayers by first accepting patriarchal dominion. Women compensate for their inherent weakness and gain their honor only through the established gender roles assigned to them. The placement of this tkhine at the beginning of the Shas Tkhine Rav Peninim, a popular collection of women’s tkhines published in 1916 (during the ascent of women’s suffrage in the U.S.), suggests that it was written as a prescriptive polemic to influence pious Jewish women to reject advancing feminist ideas. . . .


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