Posts Tagged ‘Sukkot’

 

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.

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.

Between Egypt and Sinai

Posted on: April 17th, 2021 by Alden No Comments

On Saturday evening we finish counting three weeks of the Omer. With four more weeks to go, we have metaphorically left Egypt behind, but — on the spiritual journey — we are closer to Egypt than Sinai. This is a meditation on being in the place between. This piece appears in my latest book This Precious Life: Encountering the Divine with Poetry and Prayer from CCAR Press.

Between Egypt and Sinai
Between Egypt
And Sinai
There is only the journey.
The long march from what was
To what might be,
From servitude
To service,
From pain
To purpose,
From Pharoah
To G-d’s holy mountain.

Some days,
More than I care to admit,
I am closer to Egypt than Sinai,
Closer to narrowness of mind
And constriction of heart.
Still I see the mountain
And rededicate myself
To the destination.

Between Egypt
And Sinai
There is only one question.
Are we ready
To become a nation of priests,
Guided by Torah,
Serving G-d,
The Jewish people,
And all of humanity
With our hands,
With our souls,
And with our lives.

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

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

Postscript: Here’s a link to my meditations for each day of counting the Omer.

Please check out my CCAR Press Grateful/Joyous/Precious trilogy. 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.”

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

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

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

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.”

Photo Source: The Met 150

Vagabond Prayers: A Covid Ushpizin (of sorts)

Posted on: September 29th, 2020 by Alden No Comments

A Covid-inspired meditation, an Ushpizin (of sorts) for these times when the idea of visitors — and blessings from heaven — may seem distant. Ushpizin is Aramaic for “guests.” It refers to the supernal guests invited to dwell in our sukkot, a ritual that has expanded beyond inviting the traditional ushpizin, the seven patriarchs, prophets, and kings of old. We invite the ushpizot, seven women named by the Talmud as prophets. Some include all of the matriarchs. Others invite inspirational individuals from throughout the ages to visit our sukkot. Here’s a Covid-inspired not-exactly Ushpizin meditation.

Vagabond Prayers
Quiet secrets
Whisper
In the vagabond prayers
Of my heart.
The call of the hills,
The echo in the valley,
Summon these prayers to wander
Unmoved by the glory of heaven,
Unmoved by the promise of eternity.
They ramble, nomadic,
Vagrant blessings of light
Meant only
For earth.

And if you invite them
To dwell briefly
In the tabernacle of your life,
They will linger
For a moment
To whisper
Your name.

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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

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.

Photo by Alden Solovy

Farewell Ushpizot, Ushpizin: Meditation Before Taking Down a Sukkah

Posted on: September 26th, 2018 by Alden No Comments

Each year, we construct beautiful dwellings for Sukkot. We intentionally create temporary, holy spaces. We invite the presence of honored guests, the ushpizin, seven prophets, patriarchs and kings of old. We invite the ushpizot, seven women prophets named in the Talmud. Some include the matriarchs. Some invite men and women from history.

This meditation for taking down a sukkah is meant to slow down the process, briefly, so that we disassemble it with intention, inviting the holiness of the space that we created into our lives.

Farewell Ushpizot, Ushpizin
Farewell, Ushpizot.
Farewell, Ushpizin.
You have brought blessing and wisdom
To our sukkah – this tabernacle of joy –
As our honored guests.
Watch over us as we journey on.
Stay with us in our hearts.

Farewell, Ushpizot:
Sarah and Miriam,
Devorah and Hannah,
Avigail, Huldah and Esther.

Farewell, Ushpizin:
Abraham and Isaac,
Jacob and Joseph,
Moses, Aaron and David.

Farewell to all who have graced this space
With your warmth and friendship.

.למען אחי ורעי, אדברה-נא שלום בך
Lma-an achai vrei-ai, adab’rah na shalom bach.
For the sake of my companions and friends,
I will speak of peace. (Ps. 122:8)

Taking down this sukkah,
We take the holiness into ourselves,
Dreaming of a time
When G-d’s sukkat shalom
G-d’s tabernacle of peace –
Will cover the earth.

Taking down this sukkah,
We pledge to carry holiness,
Love and light,
Peace and thanksgiving,
Into our lives and into the world.

© 2018 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com.

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

Postscript: In using this meditation, adapt the names mentioned to those you invited into your sukkah. The meditation is my response to the unceremonious way that sukkot seem to be disassembled. What happens to the holiness created? Does it disparate? And what about our honored guests? We invite them in, but don’t have the courtesy to say farewell?

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.

Photo Source: 6SqFt

Beauty Dances

Posted on: September 23rd, 2018 by Alden No Comments

sukkotOn Sukkot, joy and beauty arrive. We are called to bring that beauty into the world. This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press. Here’s a link to more prayers and meditations for Sukkot.

Beauty Dances
Beauty dances
With us
Whenever we build
A tabernacle
To God’s holy Name.

Love sings
With us
Whenever we rejoice
In gladness
On God’s festive days.

Peace cries
With us
Whenever we yearn
In prayer
For God’s holy shelter.

Come,
Let us build this place,
This tabernacle where we praise,
With all of our hearts,
God’s pardon and promise.
Let us build this place,
Where we delight,
With thanksgiving and wonder,
In God’s bounty and gifts.

Come,
Let us build this place,
This sukkat shalom,
This shelter of peace,
Where beauty dances
And love sings.
Where peace cries out:
Build, build,
You Children of Israel,
A tent of holiness,
Strong and true.
Build it in your heart,
In your home,
In your life,
In God’s world.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: This prayer first appeared on this site on Sept. 10, 2011. Find it in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

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

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.

Photo Source: The Toronto Centre

Meditation before Taking down a Sukkah

Posted on: October 12th, 2017 by Alden No Comments

Before taking down your Sukkah, take a moment to remember that it represents hope and peace. As you take apart the physical structure, draw the meaning into your heart. This meditation appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Meditation before Taking down a Sukkah
Source of blessings,
I’ve/we’ve served meals,
Hosted guests,
Laughed,
And sung with joy,
Here in this temporary structure,
Creating sacred space with hope and love.
This dwelling represents
My/our hope(s) for comfort and shelter,
For wholeness and healing,
A life/lives full of song and dance,
Joy and laughter,
Kindness and goodwill.
As I/we dismantle the physical structure,
I/we strengthen my/our resolve
To build a world of justice and peace,
Taking these aspirations in my/our heart(s).

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: Click here to read my other prayers for Sukkot. This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

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.

Photo Source: WikiMedia Commons

The Season of Building

Posted on: September 29th, 2012 by tobendlight No Comments

City_Of_Sukkas_In_JerusalemSukkot is known as z’man simchateinu, the time of our rejoicing. One of the major mitzvot of the holiday is to ‘dwell’ in a sukkah. So we build these temporary structures. This prayer for Sukkot focuses on how rejoicing flows naturally from the active choice to build a life of wonder and awe, integrity and honor. It appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

The Season of Building
This is the season of building:
Of building tents of holiness,
Shelters of peace
In our land and in our hearts.

This is the season of rejoicing:
Of rejoicing in God’s bounty and grace,
In the radiance and splendor
In heaven and on earth.

This is the season of thanksgiving:
Of giving thanks for the gifts of the land,
For gifts yet to come
As we delight in the wonders of creation.

This is the season of building:
The season of building tabernacles of joy and gladness,
In our moments and in our days,
In our homes and in our lives.
This is the season that summons jubilation and exultation
As we yearn for the great promise to be fulfilled:
A world of harmony and love
Under one great Sukkah,
A sanctuary of wonder and awe
For all nations and all peoples,
Men and women arrayed in the light of God’s glory,
Until the end of days.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: Here’s a link to more prayers for Sukkot. This is part of a series of prayers tied to various holidays and seasonal themes in the Jewish calendar, including: “The Season of Freedom,” “The Season of Dedication,” The Season of Counting,” “The Season of Healing” and “The Season of Return.”

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.

Photo Source: Wikimedia Commons

Beauty Dances

Posted on: October 9th, 2011 by tobendlight No Comments

sukkotThis is a Sukkot prayer about the beauty that arrives with this festival of joy, and the call to bring that beauty into the world. This piece appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press.

Beauty Dances
Beauty dances
With us
Whenever we build
A tabernacle
To God’s holy Name.

Love sings
With us
Whenever we rejoice
In gladness
On God’s festive days.

Peace cries
With us
Whenever we yearn
In prayer
For God’s holy shelter.

Come,
Let us build this place,
This tabernacle where we praise,
With all of our hearts,
God’s pardon and promise.
Let us build this place,
Where we delight,
With thanksgiving and wonder,
In God’s bounty and gifts.

Come,
Let us build this place,
This sukkat shalom,
This shelter of peace,
Where beauty dances
And love sings.
Where peace cries out:
Build, build,
You Children of Israel,
A tent of holiness,
Strong and true.
Build it in your heart,
In your home,
In your life,
In God’s world.

© 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day

Postscript: This appears in This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day from CCAR Press. Click here for the full list of prayers for the Yamim Noraim.

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.

Photo Source: The Toronto Centre

“Alden has become one of Reform Judaism’s master poet-liturgists…" - Religion News Service, Dec. 23, 2020

“Mesmerizing, spiritual, provocative, and thoughtful, Alden was everything you would want in a guest scholar and teacher.” – Rabbi Denise L. Eger, Congregation Kol Ami, Los Angeles, and Past President, CCAR

"Alden Solovy has become one of the most revered liturgists of the last decade…" - Jewish Post & Opinion, March 29, 2023

“Alden left everyone feeling inspired.” – Cantor Jeri Robins, Shabbat Chair, NewCAJE6