☞   //   Public Readings, Sources, and Cantillation   //   Festival & Fast Day Readings

☞   Festival & Fast Day Readings

መጽሐፈ ኩፋሌ | ספר היובלים | Sefer haYovelim (the book of Jubilees, in Ge’ez) chapters 1-23

We are grateful to Dr. James VanderKam for preparing this critical text of the Book of Jubilees (Sefer Yubalim) in its Ge’ez translation in Ethiopic script. The book of Jubilees is an early Jewish deutero-canonical text originally written in Hebrew and composed during the Second Temple period sometime before the Maccabean struggle (164 BCE). . . .

መጽሐፈ ኩፋሌ | ספר היובלים | Sefer haYovelim (the book of Jubilees, in Ge’ez) chapters 24-50

Continued from the book of Jubilees Chapters 1-23. The book of Jubilees is an early Jewish deuterocanonical text composed in Hebrew during the Second Temple period sometime before the Maccabean struggle (ca. 167 BCE). . . .

מְגִילַּת יְהוּדִית לְאָמְרָהּ בַּחֲנֻכָּה | Megillat Yehudit, the Medieval Scroll of Judith to be said on Ḥanukkah

This is a faithful transcription of the text of the medieval Megillat Yehudith (the Scroll of Judith), not to be confused with the deutero-canonical Book of Judith, authored in Antiquity. We have further set this text side-by-side with the English translation made by Susan Weingarten, and vocalized and cantillated the Hebrew so that it may be chanted. . . .

מִדְרַשׁ מַעֲשֶׂה חֲנֻכָּה א׳ | Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah “alef,” a tale of the people’s resistance to the Seleucid Greek occupation

This digital edition of Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah was transcribed from the print edition published in Otzar Hamidrashim (I. D. Eisenstein, New York: Eisenstein Press, 5675/1915, p.189-190). With much gratitude to Anat Hochberg, this is the first translation of this midrash into English. . . .

פָּרָשַׁת בְּרֵאשִׁית | Parashat Bereshit (Genesis 1:1-6:8), color-coded according to its narrative layers

The text of parashat Bereishit, distinguished according to the stratigraphic layers of its composition according to the Supplementary Hypothesis. . . .

נחמיה ט׳ | Rededication Ceremony (Neḥemiah 9): the second reading for the Sigd festival

The second reading for the Sigd festival, the Rededication Ceremony (Nehemiah 9). . . .

May Wars Cease, a hymn by Rabbi Max Klein (1926)

A hymn for the end of war by Rabbi Max D. Klein. . . .

מגילת קהלת | Megillat Qohelet (Ecclesiastes): Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

This is an English translation of Megillat Qohelet, (Kohelet/Ecclesiastes), transtropilized (a term coined by Fellman to describe texts where the Masoretic cantillation has been applied to the translation). This translation is based on the translations by H.L.Ginsberg, Stone Ed. Tanach, Jerusalem Bible, New King James Bible, and the JPS Tanach (both 1917 & 1999). This English translations is sung to the tropes by Len Fellman according to the melodies of Portnoy & Wolff. . . .

מגילת אנטיוכס עם טעמי מקרא | Megillat Antiokhus, with ta’amei miqra (for cantillation) by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

Perhaps Megillat Antiokhus could be read a la Esther on Purim (the holiday with the most similarities), going to Eicha trope in the upsetting parts. A few notes: on the final mention of Bagris the Wicked I included a karnei-farah in the manner of the karnei-farah in Esther. I also included a merkha kefulah in the concluding section, which (according to David Weisberg’s “The Rare Accents of the Twenty-Eight Books”) represents aggadic midrash material. It also serves as a connection to the Chanukah haftarah, which is famously the only one that has a merkha kefulah. –Isaac Mayer . . .

תיקון לערב יום הכיפורים | Tiqun for Erev Yom Kippur, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

This Tikkun for Erev Yom Kippur is an assortment of texts, beginning with Torah and its targum, continuing with the Writings, then prophetic and psalmodic works, each accompanied by related Mishnaic passages from Tractate Yoma and surrounded by petitionary prayers in the manner of a traditional tikkun. It is meant to be studied in the nightly period after Kol Nidrei, either as a community or alone. . . .

מגילת יונה | Megillat Yonah: Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

A Megillah reading of Yonah with English translation, transtropilized. . . .

Torah Readings for the first day (Genesis 21:1-34) and second day (Genesis 22:1-24) of Rosh Hashanah: Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

Transtropilation of an English translation for the first and second days of Rosh Hashanah, by Len Fellman. . . .

יוֺם פּײַ | On the Rabbinical Approximation of π, by Boaz Tsaban and David Gardner

There is a Rabbinical tradition that the value of pi is hidden within a ktiv-kri (reading-versus-writing disparity) in I Kings 7:23. According to Hebrew scriptural tradition, the word meaning ‘line’ is written as קוה, but read as קו. . . .

די דעקלאראציע פון אומאָפּהענגיקײט (1954) | הצהרת העצמאות של ארצות־הברית (1945)‏ | The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America (1776)

The text of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America and its signatories in English, with a Yiddish translation published in 1954. . . .

מְגִלַּת וָשִׁעְתּוֹן | Megillat Washington: A Scroll for Thanksgiving, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer (1790, 2018)

In many Jewish communities around the world, there have been traditional scrolls read for “local Purims,” celebrating redemptions for a specific community. Here in America, we don’t really have an equivalent to that. But we do have Thanksgiving, a day heavily inspired by Biblical traditions of celebration, and one long associated with all that is good about America. Some Jewish communities have a tradition on Thanksgiving of reading Washington’s letter to the Jews of Newport, where he vows to support freedom of religion, famously writing that the United States “gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance” – thus rephrasing words originally written in a prior letter by Moses Seixas (say-shas), the sexton of the Touro Synagogue in Newport. This text includes the original English of both Moses Seixas’ letter to Washington and Washington’s return, as well as a somewhat simplified version of the story of Washington’s visit to Newport. Inspired largely by the style of the Book of Esther, it could be read on Thanksgiving morning during the service, using Esther melodies (or going on detours as per personal choice). . . .

מְגִילַּת אַנטְיוּכַס | Megillat Antiokhus in Aramaic, critical text by Menaḥem Tsvi Kaddari with English translation by John C. Reeves

The critical text of Megillat Antiokhus in its original Aramaic, prepared by Menaḥem Tsvi Kaddari and translated into English by John C. Reeves. . . .

עשרה בטבת | Asarah b’Tevet and the Tragic Side of Ḥanukkah, by Rabbi Shem Tov Gaguine (1934)

Why is the military victory of the Maccabees not referred to in the Mishna or Gemara but is mentioned only in later writings and in the prayer of Al Ha’Nissim? . . .

מְגִילַּת אַנטְיוּכַס | Megillat Antiokhus for Ḥanukkah in Aramaic, translated in Hebrew, Yiddish, and English

The Megillat Antiochus was composed in Palestinian Aramaic sometime between the 2nd and 5th century CE, likely in the 2nd Century when the memory of the Bar Kochba revolt still simmered.. The scroll appears in a number of variations. The Aramaic text below follows the critical edition prepared by Menaḥem Tzvi Kaddari, and preserves his verse numbering. The English translation by Rabbi Joseph Adler (1936) follows the Hebrew translation in the middle column, the source of which is a medieval manuscript reprinted by Tzvi Filipowsky in 1851. Adler and Kaddari’s verse ordering loosely follows one another indicating variations in manuscripts. Where Aramaic is missing from Kaddari’s text, the Aramaic version from Adler’s work is included in parentheses. Adler also included a Yiddish translation which we hope will be fully transcribed (along with vocalized Hebrew text, a Hungarian translation, and perhaps even a Marathi translation from South India) for Ḥanukkah 5775 , G!d willing. . . .

מגילת ניקנור | Megillat Niqanor (II Maccabees, chapters 13-15), a Reading for the Day of the Elephantarch

It is challenging to think of how to mark Nicanor Day, as it remains at a disadvantage, not only on years when it conflicts with Ta’anit Esther but on all years since it has no mitzvot. This is probably the main reason that, unlike Chanukah and Purim, it was lost to Jewish practice for more than a thousand years. Nevertheless, we do have its megillah, which has been translated into Hebrew and English. Perhaps, if we start reading chapters 13-15 of 2 Maccabees, even just to ourselves, on the 13 of Adar, we can begin to resurrect a holiday that was celebrated and instituted by Judah Maccabee and his followers over two millennia ago, and which they envisioned would continue throughout Jewish History. With the return of Jews to Israel and Jewish sovereignty to Jerusalem, I believe it is about time. . . .

מגילת אנטיוכס | Megillat Antiochus, translated into German by Chajm Guski

Es war in den Tagen des Antiochus, dem König der Griechen, eines großen und starken Königs, fest in seiner Herrschaft, und alle Könige hörten auf ihn. Er eroberte viele Länder und besiegte starke Könige, verwüstete ihre Paläste, verbrannte sie im Feuer und warf ihre Bewohner gefesselt in den Kerker. Seit den Tagen Alexanders stand kein solcher König auf, an der Küste des großen Meeres. Und er erbaute am Ufer des Meeres eine mächtige Stadt, als Königssitz, und nannte die Stadt Antiochia – nach seinem Namen. . . .

מגילת רות | Megillat Ruth with Yiddish translation by Yehoyesh Blumgarten (1910)

For the reading of Megillat Ruth on Shavuot, I have presented here the Masoretic text of Ruth according to the R’ Seth (Avi) Kaddish’s experimental Miqra ‘al pi haMesorah side-by-side with Yehoyesh (Yehoash) Blumgarten’s masterful translation in Yiddish. . . .

מִדְרַשׁ מַעֲשֶׂה חֲנֻכָּה ב׳ | Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah “bet,” a retelling of Megillat Antiokhus as Midrash Aggadah

A retelling of the story found in Megillat Antiokhus as midrash aggadah. . . .

מְגִלַּת אֵיכָה | Megillat Eikhah (Lamentations) for Reading on Tisha b’Av, translation by Rabbi David Seidenberg (neohasid.org)

This translation of Laments, the book of mourning poems read on Tish’a B’Av, uses principles of the Buber-Rosenzweig Bible. It strives to be “concordant”, translating related Hebrew words with related English words and following the order and syntax of the Hebrew where possible. It also focuses on the more physical, earthy meaning of words, in order to draw the reader from modern towards more ancient ways of seeing and feeling. Sometimes alternate translations are given, indicated by a slash. (When reading aloud, simply pick one of the translations. For YHVH, you can read Adonai or Hashem or “the Eternal”.) James Moffat’s 1922 translation was consulted. As a somewhat literal translation, Laments uses “He” and “His” as pronouns for God, even though Torah and common sense command us not to make an exclusively male or female image of God. If you are using Laments liturgically, please feel encouraged to change the pronouns. For brief essays on the theology of Eikhah and more, see the bottom of this page. This work is dedicated to all refugees fleeing war and upheaval, and to our remembering their needs. . . .

מִדְרַשׁ מַעֲשֶׂה חֲנֻכָּה ב׳ | Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah “bet” in Ladino, a retelling of Megillat Antiokhus by Rabbi Isaac Magriso (Me’am Lo’ez: Bamdibar BeHa’alothekha, Constantinople 1764)

This is a largely uncorrected transcription of Rabbi Isaac Magriso’s telling of Megillat Antiokhus in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) from the Me’am Loez: Bamidbar Parshat BeHe’alotekha (Constantinople, 1764). The paragraph breaks are a rough estimation based on my comparison with the English translation of Dr. Tzvi Faier (1934-2009) appearing in The Torah Anthology: Me’am Loez, Book Thirteen – In the Desert (Moznaim 1982). I welcome all Ladino speakers and readers to help correct this transcription and to provide a complete English translation for non-Ladino readers. . . .

A New Declaration of Independence, by Emma Goldman (1909)

A New Declaration of Independence by Emma Goldman. . . .

שִׁיר הַשִּׁירִים | The Song of Songs, English translation by Paltiel Birnbaum (1949)

Paltiel (Philip) Birnbaum’s translation of The Song of Songs (Shir haShirim) in Ha-Siddur Ha-Shalem (The [Complete] Daily Prayer Book), Hebrew Publishing Company, 1949. . . .

סדר לקריאת מגילת העצמאות | Reading of the Israeli Declaration of Independence for Yom Ha’atsma’ut (1948)

Jews have read sacred texts to commemorate miracles of redemption for a long time. Purim has Megilat Esther. Many communities read Megilat Antiochus or Megilat Yehudit for Chanukah. But to many modern Jews, the most miraculous redemption in recent history was the founding of the state of Israel, as we commemorate on Yom haAtzmaut. Like Purim, the story of the founding of Israel was entirely secular on a surface level, with no big showy miracles like a sea splitting or a mountain aflame. Like Chanukah, a Jewish state in the land of Israel won its independence against mighty forces allied in opposition. But we don’t have a megillah to read for Yom haAtzmaut. Or do we? Just as Megillat Esther is said to be a letter written by Mordekhai to raise awareness of the events of Shushan, so too does the Israeli Scroll of Independence, Megilat haAtzmaut, raise awareness of the events of the founding of the State of Israel. In this vein, I decided to create a cantillation system for Megilat haAtzmaut. Ta’amei miqra were chosen attempting to follow Masoretic grammatical rules – since modern Hebrew has a different grammatical structure, the form is somewhat loose. Because of the thematic similarities to Purim, I chose Esther cantillation for the majority of the text. Just as some tragic lines in Esther are read in Eikhah cantillation, some lines regarding the Shoah or bearing grim portents for the wars to follow are to be sung in Eikhah cantillation. And the final phrases of chapters II and III are to be sung in the melody for the end of a book of the Chumash, or the Song of the Sea melody. They can be done in a call-and-response form, with the community reading and the reader repeating. . . .

סדר מגילת אסתר עם פסוקים שנאמרו על אסתר ומרדכי | Seder Megillat Esther (with verses to be said for Esther and Mordekhai)

The Open Siddur Project is pleased to offer the world the first freely licensed Seder Megillat Esther. We would like to thank our contributors: the Jewish Publication Society for sharing an authoritative digital edition of their 1917 English Translation of the TaNaKh (The Holy Scriptures According to the Masoretic Text), Christopher Kimball and the Westminster Leningrad Codex digitzation project for an authoritative digital text of the TaNaKh. We would also like to thank Rabbi Rallis Wiesenthal for his contribution of the Siddur Bnei Ashkenaz, Shmueli Gonzales for his transcriptions of siddurim witnessing the Nusach Ha-Ari, and Aharon Varady, the editor of opensiddur.org and founder of the Open Siddur Project. If you have any free licensed resources representing other nuschaot and minhagim, please share them. . . .

Readings from the Speeches and Letters of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Selections from speeches and letters by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. read in ecumenical services for Martin Luther King Day in the United States. . . .

Haftarah for MLK Shabbat, excerpts from speeches 1956-1968 selected by Rabbi Marcia Prager & Ḥazzan Jack Kessler

These quotations from Dr. King’s speeches were edited by Rabbi Marcia Prager and set to Haftarah Trop by Hazzan Jack Kessler. This adaptation was first published in Kerem (Fall 2014), in Jack Kessler’s article, “English Leyning: Bringing New Meaning to the Torah Service.” . . .

פרקי אבות | Pirqei Avot, with Ta’amei Miqra by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The Pirqei Avot (chapter of fundamental principles) with cantillation and English translation. . . .

תהלים קכ״ב | Psalm of Gathering in Jerusalem (Psalms 122): the fourth reading for the Sigd festival

The fourth reading for the Sigd festival, the Psalm of Gathering in Jerusalem — Psalms 122 Masoretic (121 Tewahedo). . . .

“I have a Dream” by Martin Luther King, Jr.: a Haftarah reading for MLK Shabbat with cantillation added by Rabbi David Evan Markus

In 2017, Rabbi David Evan Markus prepared the end of Dr. King’s famous speech read at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom (August 28, 1963) with trope (t’amim, cantillation). The following year on Facebook he shared a recording of the reading hosted on Soundcloud. Rabbi Markus writes, “This weekend at Temple Beth El of City Island, I offered the end of Dr. King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, which I set to haftarah trope because I hold Dr. King to be a prophet. When my community applauded, I offered President Obama’s response, ‘Don’t clap: vote.’ And do more than vote: organize, donate, volunteer, help, heal, advocate. Only then, in Dr. King’s words quoting Isaiah 40:5, will ‘all flesh see it together.'” . . .

מְגִלַּת אֵיכָה | Megillat Eikhah: Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

A “transtropilation” of an English translation of Lamentations (Eikhah) by Len Fellman. . . .

מדרשים על אדם הראשון וקלנדס על תקופת החורף | Midrashim on the Origin of the Festival of Ḳalends on the Winter Solstice by the Primordial Adam

Our Rabbis taught: When Adam HaRishon (primitive Adam) saw the day getting gradually shorter, he said, ‘Woe is me, perhaps because I have sinned, the world around me is being darkened and returning to its state of chaos and confusion; this then is the kind of death to which I have been sentenced from Heaven!’ So he began keeping an eight days’ fast. But as he observed the winter solstice and noted the day getting increasingly longer, he said, ‘This is the world’s course’, and he set forth to keep an eight days’ festivity. In the following year he appointed both as festivals. Now, he fixed them for the sake of Heaven, but the [unenlightened] appointed them for the sake of star worship. . . .

Haftarah Reading for the first day of Rosh haShanah (1 Samuel 1:1-2:10): Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

This is an English translation of the Haftarah reading for the first day of Rosh Hashanah (I Samuel 1:1-2:10), transtropilized. . . .

Haftarah Reading for the second day of Rosh haShanah (Jeremiah 31:1-19): Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

This is an English translation of the Haftarah reading for the second day of Rosh Hashanah (Jeremiah 31:1-19), transtropilized. . . .

מגילת יונה | Megillat Yonah, translated by J.R.R. Tolkien (1966)

This is the Masoretic text of Megillat Yonah set side-by-side with its translation, made by J.R.R. Tolkien for the Jerusalem Bible (1966). . . .

Torah Reading for Simḥat Torah Morning (Genesis 1:1-2:3): Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

This is an English translation of the Torah reading for Simḥat Torah Morning (Genesis 1:1-2:3), transtropilized. . . .

The Last Tisha b’Av: A Tale of New Temples, by Rabbi Arthur Ocean Waskow and Rabbi Phyllis Ocean Berman (2006)

Long ago there came a Ḥassid, visiting from Vitebsk to see his Rebbe. Struggling up hills, over cobblestones, through narrow alleyways, the Ḥassid came panting, shaking, to the door of a pale and quiet synagogue. So pale, so quiet was this shul that the pastel paintings on the wall and ceiling stood out as though they were in vivid primary colors. As the Ḥassid came into the shul, he saw his Rebbe high on a make-shift ladder, painting a picture on the ceiling above the bimah. . . .

Haftarah Reading for the First Shabbat of Ḥanukkah (Zekharyah 2:14-4:7): Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

The hafatarah reading for the first Shabbat of Ḥanukkah in English translation, transtropilized. . . .

Haftarah Reading for the Second Shabbat of Ḥanukkah (I Kings 7:40-50): Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

The hafatarah reading for the second Shabbat of Ḥanukkah in English translation, transtropilized. . . .

Haftarah Reading for the Second Day of Sukkot (1 Kings 7:51-8:21): Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

The haftarah reading for the second day of Sukkot, in English translation, transtropilized. . . .

מעשה טוביה ליום שני של שבועות | The Story of Toḅiyah for the second day of Shavuot

The story of Toviah (Tobit) in Hebrew translation, in an abridged version arranged for public reading on the second day of Shavuot. . . .

פָּרָשַׁת כִּי תִשָּׂא | Parashat Ki Tissa (Exodus 30:11-34:35), color-coded according to its narrative layers

The text of parashat Ki Tissa, distinguished according to the stratigraphic layers of its composition according to the Supplementary Hypothesis. . . .

סֵפֶר פְּטִירָת מֹשֶׁה | Motä Musē (the Book of the Passing of Mosheh), in Hebrew and English translation

The text of the Betä ʾƎsəraʾel legend of the death of Moses, translated to Hebrew by Jacques Faïtlovitch, and vocalized, cantillated, and translated into English by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer. . . .

שמות י״ט-כ׳ | Revelation at Sinai (Exodus 19-20): the first reading for the Sigd festival

The first reading for the Sigd festival, the Revelation at Sinai (Exodus 19-20). . . .

מגילת אסתר | Megillat Esther: Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

A Megillah reading of Esther with English translation, transtropilized. . . .

Torah Reading for Ḥol HaMo’ed Sukkot (Exodus 33:12-34:26): Chantable English translation with trōp, by Len Fellman

This is an English translation of the Torah reading for Ḥol HaMo’ed Sukkot (Exodus 33:12-34:26), transtropilized (a term coined by Fellman to describe texts where the Masoretic cantillation has been applied to the translation). This translation is based on the translations by H.L.Ginsberg, Stone Ed. Tanach, Jerusalem Bible, New King James Bible, and the JPS Tanach (both 1917 & 1999). . . .

מְגִלַּת שַׂאֲרָגוֹשָׂה | Megillat Saragossa, a Purim Sheni legend translated and cantillated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The Megillat Saragossa, also known as the Megillat Syracusa, in Hebrew and English, to be read on the 17th of Sh’vat. . . .


בסיעתא דארעא