Festivals, Prayers & Services
SABBATH MORNING SERVICE
The complete set of 5 Shabbat services has now been published in book form on Amazon in full colour. The book is in A4 format, has 200 pages, and includes 20 colour photos and drawings. This includes descriptions and drawings of a ‘virtual synagogue’, to give you something to imagine in your mind’s eye each Shabbat.
A black & white edition is also available:
If you have any comments on the prayers, or you think there is something that could be improved, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Pre-service Music (right click on link to open YouTube video in a new window, then return to this page to continue service):
Yedid Nefesh (“Beloved of the Soul”)
(sung by Binyamin Buzaglo in Moroccan Ladino Style,
accompanied by the Israeli Andalusian Orchestra)
A. WELCOME ADDRESS
Good morning everyone, and Shabbat Shalom – a Sabbath of Peace – to all of you. Welcome once again to our “virtual” congregation. Thank you for joining us, and I hope you all had a good six days. Let’s now refresh ourselves on this holy Sabbath of rest, and prepare ourselves for the week ahead.
Let us sit quietly, still our hearts, and read meaningfully, gaining strength and refreshment from our prayers together in spirit. Let us exalt our souls with reverence and sincerity to YHVH our God, our living God and Saviour.
1. CALL TO WORSHIP
(Listen to a call to worship hymn, Melekh Malkey Melakhim “My God, King of Kings“)
My friends, beloved sons and daughters of God, let us come together this Sabbath morning, to ascribe worth to the highest ideals of God’s kingdom; let us come to ascribe worth to righteousness, lovingkindness, mercy, and compassion; and let us remember YHVH our God, who is the source of the highest good.
O God, in Your care and kindness towards us, may Your Presence rest upon all of us who have come together in spirit, that our senses may be heightened, and that we may gain benefit from our prayer together.
Take us O God, to the sacred places of our hearts, where nothing from the outside world can intrude; where in the essence of our being, we can find a point of rest, for special thoughts and special times.
Therefore I offer You this hour of prayer, that we might join together to welcome the Presence of our God.
R/ Then may the storms of our hearts be calmed, and may all words spoken in reverence give nourishment to our souls.
2. CALL ON GOD TO HEAR OUR PRAYERS
Come, O God, and hear the innermost language of our hearts; that what we have inherited from you, as sons and daughters of Your being, may be magnified in one great outpouring of prayer. Turn Your generous and kindly hearing towards us, and incline Your Presence towards our human souls.
Guide our longings, and nurture our questionings, that faith and understanding may be their flourishing fruit. Enlighten us with knowledge, and assure us in truth. Let all our thoughts and intentions, passions and hopes, be here sanctified this hour by Your holy Presence, for the sake of Your Holy Name.
R/ Hear our prayer, O YHVH, and let our thoughts come before You.
3. KEEPING THE SABBATH
Thus spoke YHVH through the Prophets:
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath,
And from doing as you please on My holy day
If you call the Sabbath a delight, and YHVH’s holy day honourable,
And if you honour it by not going your own way,
And not doing as you please or speaking evil words,
Then you will find your joy in YHVH,
And I will cause you to ride on the heights of the Land
And to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
4. THE SHEMA (long version)
shema yisrael, YHVH elohéinu, YHVH echad.
ve-ahávta et YHVH elohékha,
Hear O Israel, YHVH is our God, YHVH alone.
And you shall love YHVH your God with all your heart and mind, with all your soul and with all your might.
Take to heart these instructions with which I charge you today. Impress them upon your children. Recite them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them like a sign on your hand, and let them be like a frontlet between your eyes; inscribe them on the doorposts of your house[s of prayer] and on your [city] gates. When YHVH your God brings you into the land He swore to your ancestors, to give you – a land with large, flourishing cities you did not build, houses filled with all kinds of good things you did not provide, wells you did not dig, and vineyards and olive groves you did not plant – then when you eat and are satisfied, be careful that you do not forget YHVH, who brought you out of Egypt, from a state of slavery. (Deut 6:4-12)
And it shall be, that if you really do obey my precepts which I am commanding you today – to love YHVH your God, and to serve God with all your heart and with all your soul, that I will grant rain for your land in its season – the autumn rain and the spring rain – so that you may gather in your cereal crop, your new wine and your fresh oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied. Be careful, or you will be enticed to turn away and worship other gods and bow down to them.
(Deut. 11:13 – 16)
Throughout the generations to come you are to make tassels on the corners of your garments, with a blue cord on each tassel. You will have these tassels to look at, so that you will remember all the commandments of YHVH, that you may obey them and not demean yourselves by going after the desires of your own hearts and eyes. Then you will remember to obey all my commandments and will be holy to your God. I am YHVH your God, who brought you out of Egypt to be your God. I am YHVH your God.
5. THE ABBUN D’BISHMAYYA (to hear this prayer, click here)
Let us pray for this day in our Heavenly Father’s care:
keyn af be’ar`a
hab lan yoma deyn umachra
ushbaq lan chobayn
heykhma de’af shebaqnan lechayyabayn
we’al ta`eylan lenisayuna
ela atseylan min bisha
Our Father – who is in Heaven
Sanctified be Your Name!
May Your Kingdom be fulfilled!
May Your will be realised –
Just as it is in Heaven,
So also upon the Earth.
Our bread – which is from the earth,
Give us day by day.
And forgive us our sins,
Just as we should forgive our debtors.
And do not bring us to trial,
Rather deliver us from evil. Amein.
6. PRAYERS OF HUMILITY BEFORE GOD
(listen to Ki Gadol Elohay, ‘How great is my God’, sung by Joshua Aaron)
mi khamókha ba’elim, YHVH?
mi khamókha ne’edar ba-qódesh,
Who is there like You among the pagan gods, O YHVH?
Who is there like You, majestic in holiness,
awesome in splendour,
You are YHVH our God, ruler of all creation, whose word makes evening fall. Your wisdom opens heaven’s gates, and Your understanding makes the ages pass and the seasons alternate. Your will orders the stars in their places as they travel across the skies. You are the revered Creator of day and night, rolling light away from darkness, and darkness away from light. You cause day to pass, and night to fall, and set day and night apart. Your awesome Name, most great and holy and powerful, is YHVH, God of the heavenly hosts.
Not in complexities, but in the simpleness of life, O YHVH, let us find You. Melt our hearts with the true flame of Your love, and let misguided passions within us vanish, as smoke in a gentle breeze.
The great and the least are yours, O God, they are yours. Forever they are intertwined, though they seek to extricate themselves from each other. And when we are tempted to seek truth in hidden mysteries and unfathomed depths, never allow us to forget the simple truth which walks with us, shoulder to shoulder, each day that we live; that in the eyes of our brothers and sisters who are less fortunate than ourselves, we might see a truth we are often too blind ourselves to see.
7. PRAYERS OF PENITENCE AND FORGIVENESS
Holy YHVH, call us with Your still small voice to a quiet place, to sit alone where no one can hear us. Grant us courage to be honest with ourselves, to examine our souls without pretence or guile.
For there have been occasions of selfishness and pride, and we have harboured hateful thoughts towards our enemies;
There have been occasions of greed and arrogance, and we have sought after things which are other than Yourself.
Let not these transgressions become a source of hindrance or harm, but give us firmer resolve to live our lives towards the highest ideal, which is Your kingdom, and the greatest good, which is Yourself.
Let us sit for a moment in silence, and consider the wrongs we have done this past week; and let us humbly ask God to forgive us of them, that we may be healed and be made whole.
(Sit for a few moments in contemplation and self-examination. Then say):
R/ Heavenly Father, merciful God, for these and for all past offences which I cannot recall, I am truly sorry and repent with all my heart. Have compassion on the imperfection of my soul; forgive me in Your merciful love, cleanse me of my iniquities by the fire of Your glory, and remember my sin no more.
Give us all the strength and courage to go forward from this day with firmer resolve to do only what is pleasing in Your sight, and to work all the more eagerly for the fulfilment of Your glorious kingdom.
Blessed be YHVH, who forgive the penitent heart. Amein
8. FIRST PRAYER OF BLESSING AND PRAISE
It is YHVH who heals the broken-hearted –
God who bandages all their wounds.
YHVH raises the lowly,
But humbles the wicked in their place.
Our God is great and mighty –
God’s wisdom can never be measured.
God fixes the number of the stars;
God calls each one by name.
God covers the skies with clouds,
God provides the earth with rain,
Making hills sprout with tender grass.
God provides the beasts with their food,
And young ravens that call upon God.
God delights not in the warrior’s strength,
But in the dignity of the meek.
(based on Psalm 146)
9. SECOND PRAYER OF BLESSING AND PRAISE
We bless You and praise You, O YHVH,
for You have not abandoned the orphan,
or despised the poor.
For Your might is boundless,
and Your splendour beyond measure.
Yet You have wrought marvels among the humble,
among those eager for justice,
Causing all the meek
to rise up and greet You.
You change the tempest to a breeze,
and have delivered the souls of the oppressed.
(from the Dead Sea Scrolls)
10. PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
We thank You, O YHVH,
for You have fastened Your radiant sight upon us:
You have saved us from the zeal
of the deceitful and the hypocrite;
You have shown us a path of light,
and a way of mercy;
And You have protected our souls from derision,
and our hearts from cursing words.
We know that in Your mercy, You will redeem us,
and cleanse us of our transgressions.
For already You have pulled us up from the depths;
You have rescued us from the pit.
We thank You, O YHVH,
for You have lit up our faces with the light of Your Covenant,
and illumined our being with Your promise.
We thank You, O YHVH,
for You have unstopped our ears from being deaf to Your words,
and our hearts from being blind to Your decrees.
And You have loosened our tongues to speak Your teaching,
and have made us to dwell in the house of Your Presence
(based on several passages from the Dead Sea Scrolls)
11. PRAYER TO YHVH, OUR SAVIOUR AND REDEEMER
We know that You, O YHVH, are our Saviour,
Our Redeemer, the Mighty One of Jacob.
You are YHVH our God,
Who brought us out of Egypt.
We shall acknowledge no God but You,
No Saviour except Yourself.
You are the Hope of Israel,
Our Saviour in times of distress.
When terror seizes us, let us cry,
See, our Saviour comes!
See, our reward is with Him alone,
And our recompense accompanies Him.
When the nations oppress us, we shall say,
Behold YHVH our Father, our God, our Rock, our Saviour!
When we are dragged down and reviled, we shall proclaim,
Praise be to YHVH our God, our Saviour,
Who hears us,
And daily bears our burdens.
12. REMEMBRANCE OF GODS PROMISES
‘This is what YHVH God says:
“I am going to take the stick of Joseph
which is in Ephraim’s hand,
and of the Israelite tribes associated with him,
And join it to Judah’s stick
and to the Israelites associated with him,
making them a single stick of wood,
and they will become one in My hand.
I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone;
I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.
I will make them one nation in the Land,
one people on the mountains of Israel.
There will be one king over all of them
and they will never again be two nations
or be divided into two kingdoms.
My servant David will be king over them,
and they will all have one shepherd;
David My servant will be their prince forever.
I will put My sanctuary among them forever
My dwelling place will be with them;
I will be their God, and they will be My people.”
(extracts from Ezekiel 37:15-28)
13. REWARDS FOR FOLLOWING GODS WAYS
Behold, The time is coming,
When I will make a renewed covenant
With the house of Israel
And with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their ancestors
When I took them by the hand
To lead them out of Egypt,
Because they broke My covenant,
Though I was a husband to them.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
After that time,
I will put My law in their minds
And write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
And they will be My people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbour,
Or a man his brother, saying, ‘Know YHVH,’
Because they will all know Me,
From the least of them to the greatest;
For I will forgive their wrongdoings
And I will remember their sins no more.”
14. PRAYER IN THE HOLY NAME
Praise be to you, O YHVH,
God of our father Israel,
from eternity to eternity.
Yours, O YHVH, are greatness and power
and glory and majesty and splendour,
indeed, everything in heaven and earth is Yours.
To You, O YHVH, belong kingship;
You are preeminent as head over all.
Wealth and honour come from You;
You have dominion over all things.
In Your hands are strength and power
to exalt and give strength to all.
Now, our God, we praise You,
and extol Your glorious Name.
(Prayer of David, 1 Chron 29:10-13)
B. EXPOSITION OF THE TORAH
Blessed be YHVH our God, who has given us Torah to liberate us, to teach and guide us in holiness, and to sanctify those who follow YHVH the Redeemer. Amein.
This week’s sidra, according to the ancient, three-year, Galileo-Judean reading cycle that we follow, is from the Book of (see weekly email)
Blessed are You, O YHVH our God, for You have sanctified us with Your instruction and teaching. Amein
C. THE READING FROM THE BOOKS OF THE PROPHETS
We bless You and praise You, O YHVH our God, that You continue to give us guidance, to explain Your teachings, and call us back to the holiness of Your ways. Amein.
The corresponding haftarah this week is from (see weekly email)
Blessed be YHVH forever! We bless You and give You honour O YHVH, for You light up our hearts with Your guidance and teaching. Amein.
(see weekly emails)
15. PRAYER IN EXALTATION OF GODS HOLY NAME
Magnified and sanctified be His great Name throughout the Universe, which He created according to His will.
May His Kingdom come to reign in your lifetime, and in your days, and in the lifetime of the whole House of Israel quickly and soon.
May His great Name be blessed forever and ever! Amein.
Blest, glorified, extolled, exalted, celebrated, honoured, venerated, and praised be the Name of the Holy One, Blessed be He! Amein.
Even though He is far beyond all blessings, songs, exaltations, or honours that we can ever say.
May God send us a great peace from heaven, and upon the whole house of Israel.
(This is the original Aramaic prayer composed about 100 BCE.
With Hebrew additions it only became a Mourners Prayer
in the 12th century CE).
(listen to Psalm 104 – mostly instrumental with some vocals, performed by the Yamma Ensemble)
16. PETITIONARY PRAYERS
Let us now enrich and sanctify our prayer, by praying for the needs of others.
Look with compassion upon those who suffer, O YHVH, and heal their wounds. May those among the nations who currently endure the pain of war and civil conflict, may peace speedily come to them, so that they may be able to rebuild their lives, free from fear.
May those who have recently endured the cruel whims of Nature, and come through earthquake and fire, storm and flood, may they see Your great power, not in the catastrophes that have befallen them, but rather in the aid, assistance and charity that rushes speedily to rescue them. Help them to rebuild their lives, and to heal them swiftly from the traumas they have suffered.
Watch over and care for those who struggle each day to find food, water, clothing, and shelter. Guide them towards courage and strength, and to the opportunity to improve their lives. Stir also the hearts of those in high position, that they might move the mountains that the poor alone cannot move.
Shelter those minorities around the world who are persecuted and suffer daily because of the religion they belong to, and who cannot express their faith openly, for fear of harassment by the state, or edicts of death from religious authorities. Protect also those who are oppressed by their own religions. O YHVH, God of liberty and free will, grant them freedom from their terrors and save them; and may we who have known persecution ourselves, may we never turn round and cause others to suffer because of their faith.
Guide Your people, Israel, and protect her with a lasting peace. Fill the House of Israel with the holiness of Your Presence. Renew her faith in the future. Guide those who lead the government of the land of Israel, that in their negotiations with others, all accords made will be just and fair to all sides. Deliver her from fear, and fulfil the promises You made to our ancestors.
Let us pray for the peace of Jerusalem; may those who love her dwell safe and secure. May there be peace within her walls, and security within her citadels. For the sake of our families and friends, let us say, “Peace be within you.” For the sake of the house of YHVH our God, let us seek your prosperity.
Bless with peace all the nations of the earth, that one day their swords may be beaten into ploughshares, and they may learn war no more. May their leaders learn to care for all their people, and govern wisely and with dignity.
May Your Reign come swiftly, and be speedily fulfilled. Make known Your ways within our hearts, and help us to live them and to do them.
Bless those who minister to Your people, and to the Nations. May they have the courage to examine in their hearts what they teach, and speak only what is true, and according to Your Teaching. Guide them always in the ways of love, care, and compassion.
Watch over us in our community, all Followers of the Way wherever they may be, both known and unknown to us. Help us to live in the holiness of Your teaching, and remain true to the ideals that you have set before us.
Compassionate YHVH, God of the poor, enfold Your loving Presence around the poor, the widowed and the orphaned, the lonely, the old, the sick and the dying. Help them to see that they are never alone, and that You are always with them.
Bless all the little ones, our children. May they never lose their sense of awe and wonder with the world which You have created in Your wisdom. Help us to see You with their eyes.
Let us now pray for a moment in silence for our own personal needs.
(pray for whatever thoughts and concerns you have had over the last week).
These, O YHVH, and many more unspoken, are our prayers.
17. PRAYER OF INTIMATE SUPPLICATION TO GOD
The weak and the poor, O YHVH
You have not forgotten them.
O YHVH our Saviour and Redeemer,
Therefore quicken to our aid.
R/ But in all things Your will, not ours, be done.
(see weekly emails)
18. FINAL BLESSING AND DISMISSAL
Shalom aleikhem. Peace be with you.
yevarekhekha YHVH ve-yishmerekha
ya’eir YHVH panav eileykha vichunekha
yissa YHVH panav eileykha, ve-yaseim lekha shalom
May YHVH bless you and watch over you;
May YHVH deal favourably with you and be gracious to you;
May YHVH turn good fortune towards you and grant you peace
Now let us go forth on this Sabbath, which our God has given to us as a day of peace.