בסיעתא דשמיא

Israelite Samaritan Devotional Prayers for Weekdays and Shabbat, translated by Benyamim Sedaka

Benyamim Sedaka’s English translations of devotional prayers for weekdays and Shabbat . . .

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

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 . . .

Prinzessin Sabbat | Princess Shabbat, by Heinrich Heine, 1851 (trans. Margaret Armour)

“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. . . .

תהלים | System for the Reading of Psalms for 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.) . . .

כוונה להדליק נרות | A Prayer for 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. . . .

If I Let It: A Kavanah for Kabbalat Shabbat

Shabbat happens, If I let it. . . .

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

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. . . .

יגדל אלהים חי | 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. . . .

אשת חיל | Eyshet Ḥayil, adapted by Alex and Peri Sinclair

A woman of valour who can find?
For her price is far above rubies.

The heart of her husband does safely trust in her,
And he has no lack of gain.

She does him good and not evil
All the days of her life.

My beloved is mine, and I am his,
That feeds among the lilies. . . .

קידוש של שבת ט״ו בשבט | 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. . . .

Motzi — a kavanah before eating challah

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.” . . .

נשמת כל חי | Nishmat Kol Ḥai: The Breath of All Life (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. . . .

תפלת מנחה לשבת | Shabbat Minḥah Prayers by Dr. Jakob J. Petuchowski, 1966

This prayer-leaflet was primarily intended for a group of Hebrew Union College students who met every sabbath afternoon for extra-curricular (noncredit) Torah study with Dr. Rabbi Jakob Petuchowki in the mid-1960s. Their service was conducted entirely in Hebrew and in the traditional nusaḥ with some minor but interesting Liberal innovations. Petuchowki writes, “We have omitted only the various repetitions as well as the prayer for the restoration of the sacrificial service. (But we have retained the place of Zion as the symbol of the messianic hope.) In the ‘Alenu prayer, we have preferred a positive formulation of the “Election of Israel” to the traditional negative one.” . . .

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. . . .

HAVDALLAH: Prayers for the Holy Separations

Three short havdallah divrei tefillah that culminate in a havdallah prayer/blessing. . . .

הבדלה | Distinctions (Havdalah) for the end of Shabbat

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. . . .

בסיעתא דארעא