A Kavvanah on Praying, Singing, and Listening to Torah Readings, by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1942)

A prayer on praying, singing, and Torah learning by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan. . . .

Man Is Here for the Sake of Others, by Albert Einstein (1930) as excerpted by Rabbi Morrison David Bial

An excerpt of an 1930 essay by Albert Einstein set as a prayer supplement by Rabbi Morrison David Bial in 1962. . . .

פַּרְשְׁיָתָא דְּפִתְחָא לְמִנְחָה | Passages for Opening Minḥah, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

One of the great things about Pesukei and Kabbalat Shabbat is that it enhances our feeling of holiness, that what we’re about to do is outside the secular world we’ve just left. Minḥah is the shortest service, and usually gone through the fastest. But it is still a spot of holiness in our afternoons, and we should keep that in mind. I hope that this text can help us remember that we can always take a break from our day to access some afternoon holiness. . . .

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. . . .

תהלים ק״ד | Psalms 104, translated by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

An English translation of Psalm 104 set side-by-side with the Masoretic text. . . .

The personal prayer of this shaliaḥ tsibbur, by Yosef Goldman

“The personal prayer of this shaliaḥ tsibbur” with a translation of the piyyut “Oḥilah la’El” was first published on Facebook by Yosef Goldman and shared through the Open Siddur Project via its Facebook discussion group. . . .

הַל״ב מִצְוֺת הַתְלוּיוֹת בַּלֵּב | Thirty-two Mitsvot One Can Do With Consciousness Alone, by Reb Ahrele Roth (trans. Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi & Hillel Goelman)

Reb Ahrele Roth, a”h, wrote a list of 32 mitsvot whose fulfillment is completed in the brain, the heart and the mouth. (The Hebrew alphabetical equivalent of 32 is ל”ב, the letters of which spell the Hebrew word LEV for Heart.) . . .

תהלים ק״ד | Psalms 104, a hymn of creation translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi (2009)

Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l, included his translation of “Barkhi Nafshi” (Psalms 104) for Rosh Ḥodesh in his Siddur Tehillat Hashem Yidaber Pi (2009). To the best of my ability, I have set his translation side-by-side with the verses comprising the Psalm. –Aharon N. Varady . . .

בן סירא מב:כא-מג:לא | ben Sira 42:21-43:31, a hymn of creation translated by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan

Ecclesiasticus (ben Sira) 42:21-43:31 is presented as “God the Lord of Nature” in The Sabbath Prayer Book of Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (The Reconstructionist Foundation 1945), p. 376-372 in the Supplements subsection, “God in Nature.” The text of Ben Sira used here differs in places found in other manuscripts. . . .

תהלים ק״ד | Psalms 104, a hymn of creation translated by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan (1945)

Psalms 104, translated by Mordecai Kaplan and presented as “God as Creator and Renewer of Nature” can be found on p. 360-5 of his The Sabbath Prayer Book (New York: The Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945), the first prayer in a subsection of supplementary prayers called “GOD IN NATURE.” . . .

הֲרֵינִי מְקַבֵּל עָלַי | A kavvanah to love your fellow as yourself, before prayer

The custom of reciting this intention is attributed to Rav Yitzḥak Luria, circa 16th century, on Leviticus 19:18, recorded in Minhagei ha-Arizal–Petura d’Abba, p.3b by R’ Ḥayyim Vital. . . .

תפילה לשוב לעבודה | A Prayer for – finally – getting back to WORK by Chaya Kaplan-Lester

Chaya Kaplan-Lester’s “Prayer for – Finally – Getting Back to WORK” was first published on her Facebook page, here. The Hebrew word Todah תודה, means grateful. The English word ‘ta-da!’ is an onomatopoetic form of a horn (Cf. 1913 Sphinx July 98/1): “Coming front in utter disgust, he [sc. a conjuror] tells them [sc. the orchestra] that that won’t do, that he wants something like ‘tadaa!’ from all of them. They seem to understand, so he goes off again. On his reappearance, however, he is met with a loud tumult, as all the orchestra shout out in unison the word ‘tadaa!’” (Oxford English Dictionary). . . .

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. . . .

תהלים ל׳ | Psalms 30 by David (interpretive translation by Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, z”l)

Loading Source (Hebrew) Translation (English) מִזְמ֡וֹר שִׁיר־חֲנֻכַּ֖ת הַבַּ֣יִת לְדָוִֽד׃ A Psalm for A Housewarming, Composed by David ב אֲרוֹמִמְךָ֣ יְ֭הוָה כִּ֣י דִלִּיתָ֑נִי וְלֹא־שִׂמַּ֖חְתָּ אֹיְבַ֣י לִֽי׃ ג יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהָ֑י שִׁוַּ֥עְתִּי אֵ֝לֶ֗יךָ וַתִּרְפָּאֵֽנִי׃ ד יְֽהוָ֗ה הֶֽעֱלִ֣יתָ מִן־שְׁא֣וֹל נַפְשִׁ֑י חִ֝יִּיתַ֗נִי מיורדי־[מִיָּֽרְדִי־] בֽוֹר׃ 2 I acclaim You, my God. You set me free So that my foes Could not gloat at my troubles. . . .

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. . . .

מה טובו | Mah Tovu: Prayer upon Entering the Synagogue (Romanian trans. Avraham Shlomo Gold, ca. 1903)

To the best of my ability, this is a faithful transcription of the prayer upon entering the synagogue from סדר תפילות לכל השנה Ordinea Rugăciunilor pentru toate zilele anului (nusaḥ Sefaradi, minhag Romania) translated into Romanian by Rabbi Abraham Shlomo Gold (Institutul de editura Ralian si Ignat Samitca, Craiova, 1903). A video of this siddur can be seen on youtube here. We would like to know more about Rabbi Gold; if you have any information, please contact us. . . .

שיר של מרים הנביאה | The Song of Miriam, a petiḥah by Rabbi Ruth H. Sohn (1981)

“The Song of Miriam” by Rabbi Ruth Sohn was first published as “I Shall Sing to the Lord a New Song,” in Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim, Reconstructionist Prayerbook, 1989, 1995 Second Edition. Reconstructionist Press, pp. 768-769. (This poem was also published in several haggadot and other books and set to music by several composers in the U.S. and Israel.) Rabbi Sohn wrote the poem in 1981 as a rabbinical student after immersing herself in the Torah verses and the traditional midrashim about Miriam, and after writing a longer modern midrash about Miriam. Part of this modern midrash was published as “Journeys,” in All the Women Followed Her, ed. Rebecca Schwartz (Rikudei Miriam Press, 2001). . . .

פֶּרֶק שִׁירָה | Pereq Shirah (Chapter of Song), a hymn 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. . . .

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. . . .

פָּתַח אֵלִיָּֽהוּ | Pataḥ Eliyahu (Tiqqunei Zohar 17a), translated by Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi

Elijah began saying: Lord of the worlds You Who are One and not just a number You are the highest of the highest most hidden of the undisclosed no thought scheme grasps You at all. . . .

תחינה לתחילת יומן חדש | Prayer on Beginning a New Journal, by Aharon N. Varady

May my thoughts seek truth and integrity, the humility that is commensurate with my ignorance, the compassion that arises from the depths of awareness, as depths speak to depths… . . .

A Prayer For Kavvanah, by Amanda Rush

Hashem, as I open my Siddur, let me pray with proper kavanah. Let me pray with sincerity, paying careful attention to every word I utter. Hashem, let me concentrate with my whole being on the meaning of each and every word, sentence and prayer. Keep my mind from wandering to other subjects, and keep me from neglecting to put my heart and soul in to each and every prayer, praise and blessing. May my prayer come before You, O Hashem, at a time of grace, and may it be accepted favorably by You. Amen. . . .

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. . . .

שִׁוִּיתִי | Shiviti: perceiving the world as an expression of divine Oneness

Given that the Torah forbids impressing our imaginations with illustrations of the divine, some other method is necessary to perceive divine Oneness. One method is found in the verse in Psalms 16:8, “I have set YHVH before me at all times.” . . .

סדר עבודת הלב שחרית | Seder Avodat Lev Shaḥarit: Service of the Heart, by the farmers of the Adamah Fellowship

The prayer/songsheet used for the Avodat Lev dawn prayer service of the farmers in the Adamah Fellowship on the campus of the Isabella Freedman Retreat Center in Falls Village, Connecticut. . . .

תפילת יחיד | Tefillat yaḥid: a prayer for when praying by oneself, by David Zvi Kalman

God and God of my forefathers and foremothers, as I stand here in an innermost room and pray, so too should you in an innermost room heed my questions, my praises and my requests, both from the utterances of my mouth and the utterances of my heart. Even if I am silent, you will know that my tefilla is directed towards you, who is One and whose name is One, alone in all the worlds. My heart is awake and my voice knocks. Open for me, my Lord, my Perfect One, the gates of Tefilla. . . .

Kavvanah on Standing Before God-Who-Sees-Me, by Virginia Spatz (1999)

A prayer-teaching for grounding one’s intention at the onset of the Amidah. . . .


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