A Closing Prayer by the Ḥazzan, by Gershom Seixas (K.K. Shearith Israel, 1789)

A ḥatimah (closing) prayer delivered by Ḥazzan Gershom Seixas at a special Thanksgiving Day service by K.K. Shearith Israel in 1789. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | Prayer for the Government of the United States of America, presented by Gershom Seixas on Thanksgiving Day 1789

The prayer for the government presented by Gershom Seixas at K.K. Shearith Israel on Thanksgiving Day 1789. . . .

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

A prayer upon preparing ḥallot for Shabbat. . . .

מְגִלַּת וָשִׁעְתּוֹן | Megillat Washington: A Scroll for Thanksgiving, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

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). . . .

ליקוטי תפילות חלק א תפילה לז | Likutei Tefilot I:37, by Reb Nosson Steinhartz of Nemirov (early 19th century)

Reb Nosson’s Likutei Tefillot I:37 contains teḥinot derived from Rebbe Naḥman’s Likutei Moharan I:§37. . . .

תחנה אן צום גדליהו | Prayer for the Fast of Gedalyahu (1841)

A teḥinah written in Judeo-German for the Fast of Gedalyah on the day after Rosh Hashanah. . . .

תפילה קודם התפילה מרבי אלימלך מליזשענסק | Rabbi Elimelekh of Lizhensk’s prayer to be able to pray (interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of “Rabbi Elimelekh of Lizhensk’s prayer to be able to pray” 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 prayer. Reb Zalman may have made his translation to a slightly different edition of this prayer as indicated in several places. If you can determine which edition of Rabbi Elimelekh’s prayer was translated by Reb Zalman, please contact us or share your knowledge in the comments. . . .

תְּחִנָה פון רֹאשׁ חוֹדֶשׁ בענטשן | Tkhine for the Rosh Ḥodesh Blessing, by Sarah Rivka Raḥel Leah Horowitz (ca. 18th c.)

The Teḥina for the blessing of the new moon is said each Shabbat Mevorkhim, addition to the specific Teḥinah for that month. The prayer is recited when the Aron HaKodesh is opened, signifying the opening of the Heavenly gates of mercy (an especially propitious time to pray for health, livelihood, and all good). . . .

מגילת אנטיוכס | Megillat Antiokhus in Ladino 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. . . .

תחנה אמהות | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Torah Reading on Rosh Hashanah (Genesis 21:1–34) by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Torah Reading on Rosh Hashanah” 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. . . .

תחנה אמהות | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Blowing of the Shofar by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the Blowing of the Shofar” 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. . . .

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

תחנה אמהות מן ראש חדש תשרי | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Tishrei [Rosh Hashanah] by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th century)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Tishrei [Rosh Hashanah]” 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. . . .

תחנה אמהות מן ראש חודש אלול | Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul, by Seril Rappaport (ca. 18th c.)

“Tkhine of the Matriarchs for the New Moon of Elul” by Rebbetsin Seril Rappaport is a faithful transcription of her tkhine 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. . . .

תחנה שערי דמעות | Tkhine of the Gate of Tears

The “Tkhine of the Gate of Tears” by an unknown author presented here derives from the Vilna, 1848 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 edition this was copied from, please share it with us. . . .

שִׁיר לְשִׂמְחָה | Shir l’Simḥa, Friedrich Schiller’s An die Freude (ode to Joy) in Hebrew, 1795

In 1785 Friedrich Schiller wrote his ‘An die Freude an ode ‘To Joy’, describing his ideal of an equal society united in joy and friendship. Numerous copies and adaptations attest to its popularity at the time. The slightly altered 1803 edition was set to music not only by Ludwig van Beethoven in his Ninth Symphony but also by other composers such as Franz Schubert and Pyotr Tchaikovsky. Hs. Ros. PL B-57 contains a Hebrew translation of the first edition of the ode (apparently rendered before the 1803 alteration), revealing that the spirit of the age even managed to reach the Jewish community in the Netherlands. Whereas the imagery of Schiller’s original is drawn from Greek mythology, the author of the שִׁיר לְשִׂמְחָה relies on the Bible as a source. In fact, he not only utilises Biblical imagery, but successfully avoids any allusion to Hellenistic ideas whatsoever. . . .

הַנּוֺתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה | A Prayer for the royal family of King George III (1810)

May he that dispenseth salvation unto kings, and dominion unto princes; whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom; who delivered his servant David from the destructive sword; who maketh a way in the sea, and a path through the mighty waters, bless, preserve, guard, and assist our most gracious sovereign Lord, King GEORGE the third, our most gracious Queen CHARLOTTE, their royal highness GEORGE Prince of Wales, the Princess DOWAGER of Wales, and all the ROYAL FAMILY; may the supreme king of kings through his infinite mercy preserve them, and grant them life and deliver them from all manner of danger; may the supreme king of kings aggrandize and highly exalt our sovereign Lord the king, and grant him long and prosperously to reign; may the supreme king of kings inspire him and his council and the state of the kingdom with benevolence towards us, and all Israel our brethren; in his days and in our days, may Jehudah be saved, and Israel dwell in safety, and may the redeemer come unto Zion, which God of his infinite mercies grant; and let us say, Amen. . . .

A Jewish Prayer for Peace between England and her Colonies on a public day of fasting and prayer, May 17, 1776

Fred MacDowell: “Then, as now, war was looked upon by many as a great evil, especially between brothers, and many American Colonists only wanted the oppressive measures of King George III to be lifted, bloodshed ended, and peace restored. The nascent American Congress called for a day of “Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer” along these lines for May 17, 1776. It was for this occasion that this prayer was recited in Congregation Shearith Israel in New York. As you can see, a complete service was arranged for this occasion, meant to invoke the solemnity and seriousness of the occasion; after morning prayer, Taḥanun was to be sung to the tune of a Yom Kippur pizmon; a dozen Psalms recited, and then the Ḥazan would recite this prayer written for the occasion, and of course all were to be fasting. The prayer hopes for a change of heart for King George III and his advisors, that they would rescind their wrath and harsh decrees against “North America,” that the bloodshed should end, and peace and reconciliation should obtain between the Americans and Great Britain once more, in fulfillment of the Messianic verse that Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. Of course this was not meant to be, and six weeks later the American Congress declared independence from Great Britain, and there was no walking back from the hostilities which had already occurred.” . . .

תפילה לשלום המלכות | Prayer for the Welfare of George Washington, George Clinton, and the 13 States of America by Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen (1784)

Prayers recited on special occasions and thus not part of the fixed liturgy offered America’s foremost Jewish congregation far greater latitude for originality in prayer. At such services, particularly when the prayers were delivered in English and written with the knowledge that non-Jews would hear them, leaders of Shearith Israel often dispensed with the traditional prayer for the government and substituted revealing new compositions appropriate to the concerns of the day. A prayer composed in 1784 (in this case in Hebrew) by the otherwise unknown Rabbi (Cantor?) Hendla Jochanan van Oettingen, for example, thanked God who “in His goodness prospered our warfare.” Mentioning by name both Governor George Clinton and General George Washington, the rabbi prayed for peace and offered a restorationist Jewish twist on the popular idea of America as “redeemer nation”: “As Thou hast granted to these thirteen states of America everlasting freedom,” he declared, “so mayst Thou bring us forth once again from bondage into freedom and mayst Thou sound the great horn for our freedom.” . . .

כוונה בהדלקת נר חנוכּה | Kavvanah for the Mitsvah of Kindling the Ḥanukkah Lights by Rebbe Tsvi Elimelekh Spira of Dinov (trans. Morah Yehudis Fishman)

For the purpose of the unification of the Holy One and His divine (feminine) Presence, with trepidation and love and love and trepidation, to unify the name Yud-Kay with Vav-Kay (the four letters of the Tetragrammaton) with a complete unity in the name of all Israel, behold I intend in the lighting of the Hanukkah candle to fulfill the command of my Creator as our wise men of blessed memory have commanded us to repair her root in a supernal abode. . . .

After Shaḥarit: Abiding Advice for Daily Living, by Eliyahu Carmi (1767)

In Avignon, France, in 1767, Eliyahu Karmi (Elijah Crémieux) compiled a siddur preserving the nusaḥ of the Comtat Venaissin titled the סדר התמיד (Seder HaTamid). Just after the section for תפלת שחרית (the morning prayers), Karmi provides the following advice for how to organize one’s workday: . . .

Prayer for the Government in honor of George Washington, First President of the United States of America by K.K. Beit Shalome (1789)

The following prayer for the government was composed by Congregation Beth Shalome in Richmond, Virginia in 1789. Please note the acrostic portion of the prayer in which the initial letters of the succeeding lines form the name: Washington. . . .

ליקוטי תפילות ב:יא אות רכד | Prayer for the Ability to Pray Alone by Reb Natan of Nemirov from the teachings of Rebbe Naḥman (from Likutei Tefillot 2:11, №224)

Master of the Universe, grant me the ability to be alone; may it be my custom to go outdoors each day among the trees and grass — among all growing things and there may I be alone, and enter into התבודדות(hitbodedut) prayer, to talk with the One to whom I belong. . . .

סידור תורה אור | Siddur Torah Ohr: the Nusaḥ Ha-ARI according to Rav Schneur Zalman of Lyadi

When Rav Yiztḥak Luria, zt”l, also known as the Holy Ari, davvened in Eretz Yisroel he brought about a series of liturgical innovations witnessed in later siddurim. His particular nusaḥ bridged minhag Ashkenaz and minhag Sefarad (the customs of the Rheinland Jews and the customs of the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula) with the teachings of his school of Kabbalists. When two centuries later, the Ḥassidic movement blossomed in Eastern Europe, it found purchase in Lithuania among a mystical school centered around Rav Schneur Zalman of Lyady, the Alter Rebbe and founder of the ḤaBaD movement within Ḥassidism. The Alter Rebbe compiled his own siddur, the Siddur Torah Ohr, “according to the tradition of the Ari.” . . .


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