Archive for the ‘Praises’ Category

 

Hallel in Peril

Posted on: August 14th, 2023 by Alden No Comments

As we approach Rosh Chodesh Kislev, Monday evening and Tuesday, how can we recite Hallel — joyous psalms of praise — in fear for the State of Israel and in anguish for the hostages? How can we recite the traditional psalms of praise in these difficult times? The answer: “Hallel in a Minor Key” with music by Sue Radner Horowitz. This full alternative Hallel with sheet music is available free as a PDF download here as our gift. Click on the triangle in the bar below to hear Sue sing the music. The text follows, beneath the download link. For a deeper discussion of how we created the liturgy, click here for article on the CCAR’s RavBlog. (Updated 12 November 2023.)

Hallel in a Minor Key
Praise God from the heights of rejoicing.
Praise God from the depths of despair.
Praise God from the places between.

Praise God when plague stalks our days.
Praise God when fear stalks our nights.
Praise God when the darkness descends.

We sing praises in a minor key,
The key of heartbreak,
With tropes of lamentation,
But still praises,
For beauty has not been lost
And hope has not been defeated,
And love still shines,
A beacon of tomorrow.

הַ֥לְלוּיָהּ הַ֭לְלוּ עַבְדֵ֣י יהוה הַֽ֝לְל֗וּ אֶת־שֵׁ֥ם יהוה׃
Hal’luyah hal’lu avdei Adonai, hal’lu et shem Adonai.
Hallelujah. O servants of Adonai give praise; praise the name of Adonai. (Psalm 113:1)

Praise God from joy and blessing.
Praise God from sorrow and pain.
Praise God from the places between.

Praise God when God feels distant.
Praise God when God feels absent.
Praise God when darkness descends.

We sing praises in a minor key,
The key of heartbreak,
With tropes of lamentation,
But still praises,
For beauty has not been lost
And hope has not been defeated,
And love still shines,
A beacon of tomorrow.

הַ֥לְלוּיָהּ הַ֭לְלוּ עַבְדֵ֣י יהוה הַֽ֝לְל֗וּ אֶת־שֵׁ֥ם יהוה׃
Hal’luyah hal’lu avdei Adonai, hal’lu et shem Adonai.
Hallelujah. O servants of Adonai give praise; praise the name of Adonai. (Psalm 113:1)

____________________

Hallel in a Minor Key” lyrics, © 2021 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com, music © 2021 Sue Radner Horowitz.

Postscript: It was a thrill to work with Sue on this project. Check out her music here. Thanks to my publisher, CCAR Press, for creating the PDF and debuting it on RavBlog, as well as the many individuals who were part of this project. Portions of “Hallel in a Minor Key” were first presented during a Ritualwell online event, “Refuah Shleimah: A Healing Ritual Marking a Year of Pandemic,” and portions were shared in a breakout session at the 2021 Annual CCAR Convention held online. Thanks to both CCAR Press and Ritualwell for sharing the full liturgy. Individual thank yous are shown on the PDF.

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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul, This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

The Language of Your Soul

Posted on: May 5th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

A short meditation inspired by Rav Abraham Isaac Ha-Cohen Kook‘s idea of the constant prayer of the soul, that our souls have a deep longing to be in constant prayer and that we can cultivate that yearning.

The Language of Your Soul
The language of your soul,
That fountain of blessings inside you,
Pouring forth in a river of love,
From you to G-d,
And G-d to you,
Sustaining life and creation itself,
Always seeking to sing goodness,
And beauty,
And truth,
Can only be summoned
From the secret chambers
Of your heart.

© 2021 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hallel in a Minor Key

Posted on: March 25th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

This Hallel is for singing praises in times of struggle or sorrow. “Hallel in a Minor Key” is the name of both the liturgy and the opening song, music by Sue Radner Horowitz. The liturgy — a full alternative Hallel, including Hebrew from each of the Hallel Psalms — is available as a PDF download here, including the sheet music. Listen to the song by clicking on the triangle in the bar below. Follow along with the words, beneath the download link. For a deeper discussion of the development of this liturgy, click here to read an article on the CCAR’s RavBlog.

Hallel in a Minor Key
Praise God from the heights of rejoicing.
Praise God from the depths of despair.
Praise God from the places between.

Praise God when plague stalks our days.
Praise God when fear stalks our nights.
Praise God when the darkness descends.

We sing praises in a minor key,
The key of heartbreak,
With tropes of lamentation,
But still praises,
For beauty has not been lost
And hope has not been defeated,
And love still shines,
A beacon of tomorrow.

הַ֥לְלוּיָהּ הַ֭לְלוּ עַבְדֵ֣י יהוה הַֽ֝לְל֗וּ אֶת־שֵׁ֥ם יהוה׃
Hal’luyah hal’lu avdei Adonai, hal’lu et shem Adonai.
Hallelujah. O servants of Adonai give praise; praise the name of Adonai. (Psalm 113:1)

Praise God from joy and blessing.
Praise God from sorrow and pain.
Praise God from the places between.

Praise God when God feels distant.
Praise God when God feels absent.
Praise God when darkness descends.

We sing praises in a minor key,
The key of heartbreak,
With tropes of lamentation,
But still praises,
For beauty has not been lost
And hope has not been defeated,
And love still shines,
A beacon of tomorrow.

הַ֥לְלוּיָהּ הַ֭לְלוּ עַבְדֵ֣י יהוה הַֽ֝לְל֗וּ אֶת־שֵׁ֥ם יהוה׃
Hal’luyah hal’lu avdei Adonai, hal’lu et shem Adonai.
Hallelujah. O servants of Adonai give praise; praise the name of Adonai. (Psalm 113:1)

____________________

Hallel in a Minor Key” lyrics, © 2021 Alden Solovy and www.tobendlight.com, music © 2021 Sue Radner Horowitz.

Postscript: It was a thrill to work with Sue on this project. Check out her music here. Thanks to my publisher, CCAR Press, for creating the PDF and debuting it on RavBlog, as well as the many individuals who were part of this project. Portions of “Hallel in a Minor Key” were first presented during a Ritualwell online event, “Refuah Shleimah: A Healing Ritual Marking a Year of Pandemic,” and portions were shared in a breakout session at the 2021 Annual CCAR Convention held online. Thanks to both CCAR Press and Ritualwell for sharing the full liturgy. Individual thank yous are shown on the PDF.

New here? Subscribe here to get my newest prayers by email.
Share the prayer! Email this to a friend.

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. Here’s a link to my ELItalk, “Falling in Love with Prayer..” For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

Praise, Praise

Posted on: December 13th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

A hallelujah song, with two acrostic paragraphs each spelling the word ‘praise.’ It’s also a salute to the psalms of praise in Jewish liturgy known as Hallel, or praises. The translation of Hallelujah as ‘Celebrate G-d’ comes from Michael Haruni’s Nehalel Siddur. This appears in my new book This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press. It’s appropriate for Passover, Chanukah, Rosh Chodesh, the Festivals, anytime Hallel is said or you feel moved to Praise G-d!

Praise, Praise
Hallelujah,
Celebrate G-d!

Praise with song,
Rejoice with dance,
Attest with word,
Inspire with deed,
Shout with joy,
Exclaim with awe.

Proclaim G-d’s majesty,
Recall G-d’s works,
Adore G-d’s wonders,
In hymns of love,
Sanctifying G-d’s blessings,
Eternal.

© 2021 CCAR Press from This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer

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Please check out my Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy from CCAR Press. The individual books are: This Joyous Soul , This Grateful Heart, and This Precious Life. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter. For a taste of my teaching, see my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer.”

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Source of Bread

Posted on: September 13th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

A meditation on physical and spiritual sustenance, and the power of blessing to summon a connection to the divine.

Source of Bread
What is bread
Without a blessing?
It feeds the body
But not the soul.
Let sustenance lead me
To You.

What is water
Without a blessing?
It quenches the thirst
But not the yearning.
Let sustenance lead me
To You.

Let life flow with bread and water,
With milk and honey,
With bounty and plenty for all.
Let no one go hungry,
Not for food,
Not for You
Source of life,
Not for You
Source of all.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and my two CCAR Press books: This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Queen and King

Posted on: September 4th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

On Friday evening we yearn for the arrival of the Sabbath Queen, recalling the mystics of Safed who walked into the fields singing to greet her. The Queen is in the field, bringing love and comfort.

In Elul, the month before the High Holidays, the King is in the field. So taught Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi, founder of Chabad. The King’s place is in the palace, but in Elul the King comes to the fields to meet us. This is El Melekh Ne’eman, the Faithful Sovereign.

The Sabbath Queen is our metaphor of blessing and peace. The Faithful King is our metaphor of justice and forgiveness. Every Shabbat in Elul—beginning this Friday night—we can imagine the energy of a Faithful God, Creator of Shabbat, Sovereign of justice and mercy, coming through the fields to greet us.

Here’s a meditation for the four Shabbatot of Elul. For a fuller explanation, including pitfalls of these metaphors, see my essay on Ritualwell. The postscript is a calendar note on Rosh Chodesh Elul.

Queen and King
Come in peace,
Beloved of Israel,
Sabbath Queen,
Bringing sweet bread
And fine wine.

Come with grace,
Faithful King,
Sovereign and loyal,
Bringing hope
And mercy.

ידיד נפש Yedid Nefesh
Dearest Soul,
Meet us in the fields of our days.

אבינו מלכנו Avienu Malkeinu,
Our Father our King,
Bless us with renewal.

מקור חיים Makor Hayyim,
Source of Life,
Show us the wells of living waters.

אל מלך נאמן El Melech Ne’eman,
Loyal Sovereign,
Bring your realm of prosperity.

Let the glory of Shabbat dwell with us.
Let the hope of forgiveness enliven us.
Let the taste of rest comfort us.
Let the promise of renewal sustain us.
And we will glimpse the world to come as you bless us.
And we will become strong and humble in your Word.

The Queen is in the field.
The King is in the field.
They have come together,
To bless us,
To see us,
To sustain us
With their sacred power.

Greet them with music,
Greet them with dance,
Loving and keeping the Sabbath,
Doing the work of prayer and repentance,
With Torah and mitzvot,
With humility and passion,
And with songs of praise.

© 2019 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Postscript: A technical note on the calendar. Rosh Chodesh Elul occurs on the last day of the month of Av and the first day of the month of Elul. So, while last Shabbat Rosh Chodesh Elul, it was actually Av 30, and therefore not a Shabbat in Elul. That is why the Elul recitation of Psalm 27 didn’t begin until Sunday.

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Postscript: The King and Queen metaphors are anthropomorphic, partial expressions of the many expressions of the Indivisible One, therefore useful but limited. Special thanks to Rabbi Bob Carroll and Rivkah Moriah for their thoughtful comments. The description of R’ Schneur Zalman’s use of the King metaphor is adapted from Chabad.org. The translation of El Melekh Ne’eman as “Sovereign Loyal God” is from the Nehalal Siddur.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Before Writing a Prayer

Posted on: June 17th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

Here’s a prayer to be said before writing a prayer. The intention of the prayer is to achieve the kavanah, the spiritual mindset, necessary to serve G-d by writing a prayer. Join me this summer for a five-week online workshop, “Ingredients of Prayer: Writing Contemporary Liturgy” hosted by Ritualwell.

Before Writing a Prayer
Ancient One,
Rock of Israel,
With joy and with gratitude,
With humility and love,
I approach the sacred work
Of putting voice to Your people’s prayers.

Only You know the depth of our love,
The sound of our yearning,
The music of longing,
The song of our hope,
And the thunder in our grief.

G-d of Old,
Give me the words that will open
Your People’s hearts to You,
The words that will open
Our hearts to each other,
The words that will open
Our hearts to healing the world.
And give me the words,
Holy One,
That will open Your heart
To us.

© 2012 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com

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Postscript: Please consider joining me for my online workshop, “Ingredients of Prayer: Writing Contemporary Liturgy” Here’s a prayer to be said “After Writing a Prayer.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Amidah

Posted on: June 9th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

This is a meditation on the Amidah, also known by two other names: the Shmoneh Esrei (‘Eighteen’) and HaT’fillah (‘The Prayer’). It summarizes the entire set of prayers, using phrases to capture the essence of each paragraph. Those phrases are based on headings used in two very different siddurim, the Reform Mishkan T’fillah and the Orthodox Nehalel Siddur. This prayer appears in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

Amidah
Open my lips, and I will praise You.

You are our loving G-d, the G-d of our ancestors.
You set the journey of the soul and the cycle of nature.
You are sacred, Your Name is holy,
Endowing us with intelligence,
Calling us back to you, repentant,
Forgiving us,
Redeeming us,
Healing us,
Regenerating resources,
Ingathering our communities,
Reinstating justice,
Subverting antagonists,
Rewarding the righteous,
Rebuilding Jerusalem,
Revitalizing us with redemption.
Hear our prayer.
Restore Your Presence among us.
For our lives and our souls, thank You.
Bless us, and establish everlasting peace throughout the world.

May my words, and my heart’s longings
Fit Your desires for me, Adonai,
My Rock and Redeemer.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

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Postscript: Other prayers from This Joyous Soul posted here include: “Ki Mi’Tzion,” “Who is Like You,” “Peace Will Come” and “This Joyous Soul.”

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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G-d’s Morning

Posted on: January 20th, 2019 by Alden No Comments

A prayer in praise of morning. This piece and the related prayer “Morning Blessings” appear in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings from CCAR Press.

G-d’s Morning
Calm or wind.
Cloud or sun.
Warm or cool.
It’s G-d’s morning.
A gift.
A promise.
A bird gliding on a breeze,
Singing ancient songs,
That need no translation.
A ray of secret light
Stored for this very moment
Since the beginning of time.

Let us rejoice.
Let us sing.
Let us tremble with love,
While the Artist paints
The sky and the hills,
The seas and the plains,
With the colors of majesty.

It’s G-d’s morning.
Sent as a reminder
To love and to hope.
Sent as a reminder
To celebrate
The glory of creation.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

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Postscript: See also “Before Morning” 

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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Who is Like You

Posted on: December 6th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

A meditation on the greatness of God, to be read before singing Mi Chamocha, a line declaring God’s greatness from the Song of the Sea (Exodus 15:11) often chanted in Jewish prayer. This piece appears in my new book, This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings, from CCAR Press.

Who is Like You
Who is like You,
God of mystery and majesty,
Distant and present,
Thundering and quiet,
The beginning and the end,
The atom and the cosmos,
The darkness and the light,
The One and the All,
Pillar and foundation,
Artist of sea and sky,
Author of the miraculous and the mundane,
Source of life,
Blessing and sustaining creation.

Who is like You,
Glorious in holiness,
To whom we praise,
To whom we give thanks,
The God who redeemed us from Egypt,
The God who parted the sea,
The God to whom Miriam and Moses
Led us in song.

© 2019 CCAR Press from This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings

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Postscript: Here’s a link to “Peace Will Come,” which will also appear in This Joyous Soul: A New Voice for Ancient Yearnings.

Please check out my ELItalk video, “Falling in Love with Prayer,” and This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day. For reprint permissions and usage guidelines and reprint permissions, see “Share the Prayer!” To receive my latest prayers via email, please subscribe (on the home page). You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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