☞   //   Prayers, Poems, and Piyyutim   //   ☼ Prayers for the weekday, shabbat, and season   //   Shabbat

☞   Shabbat

נִשְׁמַת כָּל חַי (ספרד)‏ | Nishmat Kol Ḥai, arranged by Aharon Varady

The text of the prayer Nishmat Kol Ḥai in Hebrew with English translation. . . .

אֲדוֹן עוֹלָם (ספרד)‏ | Adon Olam, rhyming translation by Rosa Emma Salaman (1855)

A rhyming English translation of Adon Olam by Rosa Emma Salaman. . . .

תהלים צ״ג | The Psalm for Friday, Psalms 93 (translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of the Psalm of the Day for Friday (Psalms 93) in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with a transcription of the vocalized text of the Psalm. . . .

If I Let It: A Kavvanah for Kabbalat Shabbat, by Trisha Arlin

Shabbat happens, If I let it. . . .

תהלים קי״ב | Ashrei Ish (Psalms 112)

Psalms 112 in Hebrew with English translation, arranged by Aharon Varady. . . .

Prayer on Kneading and Baking Ḥallot for Shabbat, by Perle Derbaremdiger Peretz (fl. 18th c.)

A prayer upon preparing ḥallot for Shabbat. . . .

Sambatyon, a poem for Shabbat by Rabbi Alter Abelson (1931)

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

[Gebet] Am Freitag, by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda (1855)

This is the prayer for Friday, a paraliturgical teḥinah opposite the Shir shel Yom (Psalm of the Day) for Friday, included by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda in her collection of teḥinot in vernacular German. Fanny Neuda likely either composed or translated this teḥinah into German (from Yiddish) while performing in the capacity of firzogerin (precentress) of the weibershul (women’s gallery) in her husband’s synagogue in Loštice, Bohemia. . . .

Mikveh Meditation for Erev Shabbat by Rabbi Haviva Ner-David and Shira Gura

The following is a meditation I wrote (with the help of my friend Shira Gura, who teaches meditation and Yoga) to be used on Friday before Shabbat at the mikveh. It is based on midrashim related to Shabbat (for example, the notion that we receive an additional soul on Shabbat), as well as meanings behind mikveh in general (for example, the connection between the waters of Creation and the mikveh waters), and on some kavanot (sacred intentions) that came out of the Kabbalah and Ḥassidut movements. There is a strong tradition to write kavanot to use before immersing in the mikveh, since, as Maimonides writes in his Mishneh Torah 11:15, “If a person immerses but without buttressing him or herself [with sacred intention], it is as though he or she has not immersed at all.” . . .

אשת חיל | Eyshet Ḥayil (Proverbs 31:10-31) For an Accomplished Woman, translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi’s interpretive translation of Proverbs 31:10-31, popularly read before the first festive meal for shabbat on Friday night. . . .

Friday Eve, a poem by Rabbi Alter Abelson (1931)

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

תהלים | Schedule for the Reading of Psalms corresponding to the Weekly Torah Portion, by Isaac Gantwerk-Mayer

This is a system that seeks to create a Haftarah-like system for the reading of Psalms, linking their meaning to the meaning of the reading or the Shabbat of that day. Like the Haftarah system, there are special psalms for the Shabbatot leading up to and following the Ninth of Av, as well as specific psalms for Rosh Chodesh and the special Shabbatot. Unlike the Haftarah system, if two portions are read together or a special Shabbat occurs on a day when another reading is done, both psalms are read (since psalms are generally shorter and easier to read than prophetic texts.) . . .

אֵשֶׁת חַיִל | Eyshet Ḥayil, adapted by Alex and Peri Sinclair

Peri and Alex Sinclair’s adaptation of the traditional Eishet Ḥayil, replacing a number of verses with ones selected from Shir haShirim (the Song of Songs/Canticles), Genesis, and elsewhere in Mishlei (Proverbs). . . .

?אַיֵּךְ | Ayekh (Where are you?), by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1904)

The poem, Ayekh (Where are you?), by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik. . . .

גאָט פון אַבְרָהָם | Tkhine before Havdalah and Bakashe for the End of Shabbat (Got fin Avrum)

Master of all realms! You hear from all worlds. You look with love and grace upon all of your creations for whose sake you created Your world. Seize and fulfill the pure request from Your servant who comes before You after a full week, having shown her heart is full and her mood somber. The beloved Shabbes koidesh is already going away, and with our Shabbes, our rest has also disappeared. A new week comes up to meet us, against us, Master of the universe. We are people who know, just like You know, the heavy and difficult life of Your people Yisruel: their bitter mood, how difficulty and bitterly each Jew acquires his meager piece of bread through worry and heartache, the fear and hardship with which each Jew scrapes together his seemingly hopeless living. . . .

שבת המלכה | The Shabbat Queen, by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1903)

This translation of Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik’s Shabbat Ha-Malkah by Israel Meir Lask can be found on pages 280-281 in the Sabbath Prayer Book (Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945) where it appears as “Greeting to Queen Sabbath.” The poem is based on the shabbat song, Shalom Aleikhem and first published in the poetry collection, Hazamir, in 1903. [I have made a faithful transcription of the Hebrew and its English translation as it appears in this siddur. –Aharon N. Varady] . . .

נשמת כל חי | Nishmat Kol Ḥai: The Breath of All Life, a paraliturgical poem for Shabbat morning by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

…if we could discard differences: human,
animal, fire, stone, seed, snow

even that cry of togetherness
would not be enough to thank You. . . .

Prinzessin Sabbat | Princess Shabbat, by Heinrich Heine (1851)

“Prinzessin Sabbat” by Heinrich Heine, in Romanzero III: Hebraeische Melodien, (“Princess Shabbat,” in Romanzero III, Hebrew Melodies.), 1851 was translated into English by Margaret Armour (1860-1943), The Works of Heinrich Heine vol. 12: Romancero: Book III, Last Poems (1891). We have replaced “schalet” (unchanged in Armour’s translation) with cholent. . . .

הַכְנִיסִינִי תַּחַת כְּנָפֵךְ | Take Me Under Your Wing, by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik (1905)

The prayer-poem, “Take Me Under Your Wing” (1905) by Ḥayyim Naḥman Bialik. . . .

Kavanot when Washing One’s Body Before Shabbes by Eyal Raviv

This is pre-Shabbos reflection that can be done in a shower or bath. Shabbat is a time when I am less focused on my selfish desires and instead my thoughts drift to my place in the larger community and world. I find myself doing some version of this before Shabbos most weeks and am welcome for the time to reflect on truly what it is to cease from lay work and consider the work that needs to be done to make the world a better place. . . .

רבון כל העולמים | Master of the Cosmos, a tehinah for entering Shabbat by Rabbi Yitsḥaq Luria (circa 16th c.)

Ribon Kol Ha-Olamim is a teḥinah (supplication) for entering the Shabbat that can be found in many siddurim following after the custom of the school of Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria. In his Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem, Paltiel (Philip) Birnbaum includes it, commenting as follows: “Ribon kol Ha’Olamim is attributed to Rabbi Joseph of Rashkow, Posen, who lived towards the end of the eighteenth century. The adjectives in the first paragraph are in alphabetic order.” This can’t be correct however as a copy of Ribon Kol Ha-Olamim can be seen in the siddur Tikunei Shabbat from 1614 (see below for source images). Google Books attributes Tikunei Shabbat to Rabbi Yitsḥak Luria (1534-1572), which is the attribution we have followed, although as a posthumously published work we wonder whether it might be more properly attributed to “the School of Rabbi Isaac Luria.” Please comment below if you know of another attribution. The English translation is that of Paltiel (Philip) Birnbaum, with some minor changes that I have made to divine names and appelations.– Aharon Varady . . .

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. . . .

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. . . .

Reconstruction of a Greek text of the Shabbat Amidah preserved in the Constitutiones Apostolorum (circa 380 CE), by Dr. David Fiensy

This is a reconstruction of a sabbath liturgy for the Tefillah of the Amidah, at least in some variant of its public recitation, in Greek and preserved in an early Christian work, the Constitutiones Apostolorum (Apostolic Constitutions), a Christian work compiled around 380 CE in Syria. Several prayers derived from Jewish sources appear in the Apostolic Constitutions and they can be found grouped together and labeled “Greek” or “Hellenistic Syanagogal Works” in collections of apocrypha and pseudepigrapha. Because explicitly Christian references appeared to be added onto a pre-existing text with familiar Jewish or “Old Testament” themes and references, scholars in the late 19th century were already suggesting that as many as 16 of the prayers in the Apostolic Constitutions books 7 and 8 were derived from Jewish prayers. A more modern appraisal was made by Dr. Fiensy and published in Prayers Alleged to Be Jewish (Scholars Press 1985). Based on a careful analysis of the prayers, he concludes that the only prayers which can be identified as Jewish with certainty are those found in sections 33-38 of book 7. . . .

Blessing over Separation, by Shelby Handler

The Blessing over Separations was first read by Shelby Handler on Rosh Ḥodesh Kislev at the 2017 ADVA Reunion, a reunion of the community of Adamah Farm fellows and Teva Learning Center educators at Isabella Freedman Retreat Center. . . .

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. . . .

לכה דודי (נוסח אחר)‏ | A different version of Lekha Dodi found in R’ Moshe ibn Makhir’s Seder haYom (1599)

A different version of the poem Lekha Dodi according to the book Seder haYom by R. Moshe ibn Makhir of righteous blessed memory, vocalized and translated into English by Isaac Mayer. . . .

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. . . .

תהלים צ״ב | Psalms 92, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

An English translation of Psalms 92 set side-by-side with the Masoretic text. . . .

Needed Prophets for Our Day, a prayer-poem by Mordecai Kaplan (1942) adapted from “The Divinity School Address” by Ralph Waldo Emerson

This prayer by Rabbi Mordecai M. Kaplan, first penned in his diary for 23 August 1942, was first published in The Radical American Judaism of Mordecai M. Kaplan, by Mel Scult (1990). Although the prayer was not included in Kaplan’s Sabbath Prayer Book (New York: The Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945), it was added to the loose-leaf prayerbook he kept at the Society for the Advancement of Judaism synagogue. . . .

תהלים קל״ו | Psalms 136, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Psalms 136, translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .

Israelite Samaritan Prayers for the Shabbat Torah Reading, translated by Benyamim Sedaka

Benyamim’s Sedaka’s English translations of the Israelite-Samaritan “Prayer to be Read by the Eldest Reader of the Sabbath Portion” and Abraham ben Marchiv Tsedaka Hassafari’s poem to be read after reading the last portion of the Torah reading . . .

תחנה פון ליכט בענטשין | Tkhine for Lighting Candles [for Shabbes]

This is a faithful transcription of the תחנה פון ליכט בענטשין (“Tkhine for Lighting Candles [for Shabbes]”) as it appeared in the Vilna, 1869 edition. I have transcribed it without any changes from 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. If you can scan an image of the page from the 1869 edition this was originally copied from, please share your scan with us. . . .

[Gebet] Am Sabbath, by Fanny Schmiedl Neuda (1855)

A paraliturgical prayer for Shabbat, offered by Fanny Neuda from her collection of teḥinot in vernacular German. . . .

תפילה לחודש כסלו עד סוף חנוכה | Prayer for the month of Kislev through the end of Ḥanukkah, by Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman (from Isaiah 60)

Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman introduced the tradition of reading these verses from Isaiah during the month of Kislev through the end of Ḥanukkah in his Siddur Ha’Avodah Shebalev of Kehillat Kol HaNeshamah (R’ Levi Weiman-Kelman, R’ Ma’ayan Turner, and Shaul Vardi, 2007). The translation provided here was adapted from the one made by Shaul Vardi in Siddur Ha’Avodah Shebalev. –Aharon Varady. . . .

אשׂא למרחוק | Essa Lameraḥoq by Aharon ben Yosef of Constantinople (13th c.), translated by Gabriel Wasserman

Loading Source (Hebrew) Translation (English) אֶשָּׂא לְמֵרָחוֹק דֵּעִי אֲתַנֶּה | צִדְקוֹת אֵלִי וּמוֹשִׁיעִי בְּשֵׁשֶׁת יָמִים כִּלָּה כֹּל | מַלְכִּי וְרֹעִי   קהל: וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים | אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי. (בראשית ב:ג) I will speak my mind regarding [matters] long ago, I will declare the righteous deeds of my God and my rescuer: In six days He . . .

Motzi — a kavvanah before eating ḥallah, by Trisha Arlin

Trisha Arlin shares “Motzi”, a kavanah (intention) for the blessing, Hamotzi Lehem Min Ha’aretz, over challah. Describing the kavanah she writes that it’s, “based on Rabbi Ellen Lippmann’s tradition on having us create a chain of touch around room that leads to and from the challah, which she then explains as both exemplifying the connection created when people eat together and the chain of work that went to creating the challah itself.” . . .

تعالوا نضيئ شمعات السلام | בואו נאיר נרות שלום | Let us Light Candles for Peace, by Sheikha Ibtisam Maḥameed and Rabbi Tamar Elad-Appelbaum

Two mothers, one plea: Now, more than ever, during these days of so much crying, on the day that is sacred to both our religions, Friday, Sabbath Eve Let us light a candle in every home – for peace: A candle to illuminate our future, face to face, A candle across borders, beyond fear. From our family homes and houses of worship Let us light each other up Let these candles be a lighthouse to our spirit Until we all arrive at the sanctuary of peace. . . .

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. . . .

אֵל מִסְתַּתֵּר | El Mistater :: The God who is hidden, by Avraham Maimin (circa 1550)

The mystical piyyut of Avraham Maimin, a student of Moshe Cordovero, translated by Len Fellman. . . .

יָצַר הָאֵל | Yatsar ha’El, a Shabbat song by Ya’aqov ha-Qara’i

A song for celebrating the Shabbat. . . .

זָכוֹר אֶת־יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת לְקַדְּשׁוֹ | Remember the Shabbat day to keep it holy, a reading from the Zohar for the third se’udah of Shabbat

A reading from the Zohar providing context for the third meal of Shabbat (the Saturday afternoon meal, se’udah shlishit/shaleshudes). . . .

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.” . . .

הבדלה | Distinctions (Havdalah) for the end of Shabbat, by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Wax drips from the braided candle.
Cinnamon tingles the nose
to keep us from fainting
as the extra soul departs.
Stop now. Notice this hinge
between Shabbat
and what’s next. . . .

Saturday Afternoon Request by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

Help me to silence
my mind’s aggravation alarm,
to quiet the voice which says
the to-do list matters,
to temporarily eschew
continuous partial attention. . . .

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. . . .

כְּגַוְנָא | K’gavna, a reading from the Zohar (Terumah §163-166) on the Secret of Oneness and the Mystery of Shabbat

In siddurim following the nusaḥ ha-ARI z”l, the Barekhu call to prayer is immediately preceded by a passage from the Zohar, Parshat Terumah, explaining the profound significance of the Maariv service. . . .

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. . . .

Israelite Samaritan Kiddush for the Shabbat Evening Meal, translated by Benyamim Sedaka

Benyamim Sedaka’s English translations of the Israelite-Samaritan “Blessing on the Food” (Kiddush) and Abraham ben Marchiv Tsedaka Hassafari’s opening to the Friday night Shabbat meal . . .

אֲדוֹן עוֹלָם (ספרד)‏ | Adon Olam, rhyming translation by Rabbi David de Sola Pool (1937)

A rhyming translation in English to the popular piyyut, Adon Olam. . . .


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