tagged: Biblical Women

 

רַחֲמָנָא | Raḥamana di N’shaya — Aramaic Seliḥoth Piyyut for Biblical Women, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

The Raḥamana piyyut is a litany beloved in Sephardic and Mizraḥi communities, a standard part of their Seliḥoth services throughout the month of Elul and the days of repentance. Traditionally it cites a list of Biblical men (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Aaron, Pinhas, David, and Solomon) and asks to be remembered for their merit and their covenants, for the sake of “Va-yaŋabor” — the first word of Exodus 34:6, the introduction to the verses of the Thirteen Attributes recited in Seliḥoth services. This text instead uses Biblical women (Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel, Serach, Miriam, Deborah, Ruth, Hannah, and Esther). . . .

מי ששכנה… היא תשכן עמנו | Mē She’shakhna… Hē Tishkon Imanu – a Seliḥot Plea for Biblical Women by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

There is a famous Seliḥot prayer where each of its lines has this structure: “May He who answered ___________, may he answer us.” The blank refers to assorted Biblical figures who faced great challenges, ranging from Avraham the Patriarch to Ezra the Scribe. The traditional list is also VERY male-focused, with the standard text only listing Esther from all the great Biblical women. This is a shame, and many have tried to remedy this. I have found myself under the opinion that all these remedies have a fault – they attempt to combine the original text with the new text. This means either the original text is shortened, or the full text is far too long. As well, the structure is very male-oriented as well, appealing to God’s male side and only using grammatically male language. . . .