Sustenance from God and/or the Earth

וְתֵן טַל וּמָטָר לִבְרָכָה (ברכה) עַל פְּנֵי הָאֲדָמָה וְשבְּעֵנוּ מִטּוּבָהּ/מִטּוּבך… ברוך אתה ה’ מברך השנים/V’ten tal u’matar livrakha al p’nei ha’adam, v’sab’enu mituva (or mituvekha). … Barukh Atah Adonay, mevarekh hashanim. Grant dew and rain as a blessing upon the earth (during winter and spring – or just “grant blessing,” during summer and fall) and… Read more »

Scabs from Heaven

רפאנו ה’ ונרפא… וְהַֽעֲלֵה אֲרוּכָה וּמַרְפֵּא לְכָל־תַּֽחֲלוּאֵֽינוּ וּלְכָל־מַכְאוֹבֵֽינוּ וּלְכָל־מַכּוֹתֵֽינוּ /Refaenu Adonay ve’nay’rafeh…. Ve’ha’aleh arukha u’marpeh lekhol tah’lueinu u’le’khol makhoveinu u’le’khol makotenu. “Heal us and we will be healed … let arise a healing scab to all our suffering, pains and wounds.” The eighth blessing in the Amidah is for healing, or refuah. The Talmud [Megillah… Read more »

Me? We.

ראה נא בעניינו … רפאנו ה’ ונרפא /Re’eh na v’onyenu … refaenu Adonay ve’nay’rafeh. “Look upon our plight … heal us and we will be healed.” To appreciate the subtle artistry of our prayer book, start with the Bible. In almost every line, the classical siddur quotes, alludes to, or rephrases a Bible passage. Sometimes… Read more »

Small Redemptions

גואל ישראל/Go’el Israel. “Blessed are You … Who redeems the people of Israel.” The word ge’ulah, or redemption carries heavy symbolic weight in Judaism. When you call God “redeemer,” you’re drawn back in time to the ancient paradigm of redemption, the exodus from Egyptian slavery, and thrust forward to a messianic future, in which the… Read more »

Wake Up, Heart

חנון המרבה לסלוח/Hanun hamarbeh lisloah. “Blessed are You … Who forgives graciously and abundantly.” The Amidah’s next petition, after seeking the power of penitence, is for God’s forgiveness. The connection to the previous blessing is obvious: repentance begins a process that culminates in pardon. First teshuvah, then sliha. The Talmud [Megillah 17b] indicates this natural… Read more »