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 email@example.com
Pre-service Music (right click on link to open YouTube video in a new window, then return to this page to continue service):
(Sung by Erez Yechi’el)
A. WELCOME ADDRESS
Good morning everyone, and Shabbat Shalom (a Sabbath of Peace) to all of you signed on today. Welcome once again to our “virtual” congregation. I am greatly hearted to pray with you here this Shabbat, and I hope that the Presence of YHVH will touch you today, this Shabbat.
Our heavenly Father is our Friend, who stays by us when all abandon us. We can never fail to have confidence in YHVH, because God is constant. Let us pray then with confidence to our Great Friend this hour, and gain strength from His Presence. Let us also pray that God will so fill us with His Presence, that our hearts will overflow with His power.
1. CALL TO WORSHIP
My friends, beloved sons and daughters of God, let us bring together our restless hearts in this hour of reverence, and let us not be afraid to do the will of our God. Let us not be afraid to speak with kindness or goodness, for Gods holy Presence will guide us. Let us not be afraid to follow the paths of righteousness, for Gods mighty hand will lead us; and let us not be afraid to forgive our enemies, for Gods mercy will shelter us.
And let us give up and abandon all that we have vainly served, that we may more perfectly follow the greatest good, and the greatest love.
Let us still our souls and listen quietly to the thoughts within us. Let us hear that still small voice of holiness which God has placed within each of us; for too often we ignore it, and as a consequence we err from Gods ordained path. Let us hope that we are never too caught up in our own pettiness or anger that we are too prideful to listen to that voice.
Let us cut out the kingdoms of human pride, arrogance and bluster, if only for this hour, and instead welcome the ever present kingdom of our God. For in doing so we allow the majesty and sanctity of Gods ways to make their dwelling within us. May Gods teaching guide us, and lead us throughout our lives to a perfection of spirit, which is our birthright as human beings, as children of the one Creator.
Therefore I offer you this hour of prayer, that we may 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
Beloved Father in Heaven, hear the spirit of prayer that pours forth from our hearts, the river of sweet blessing that rushes from our lips when we speak of your deeds. All that we receive comes from you, and we give forth of ourselves because of what we have received from you. We are alive because of the fire that your Presence enkindles within us when we sit with you, and we stay alive because of what you inspire us to give others of ourselves when we walk with you.
Never allow the living stream of our prayers settle into stagnant pools, nor let the restful waters by our hearts turn bitter. Turn your ear speedily to our meditations, and your gentle care to our contemplation.
R/ Hear our prayer, O YHVH, and let our thoughts come before you.
3. KEEPING THE SABBATH
Thus spoke YHVH through the Prophets:
kol shomeir shabbat mei-chalelo,
va-haviotim el har qadshi,
ve-shimachtim be-veyt tefillati
All who keep the Sabbath without desecrating it,
And who hold fast to my covenant
These I will bring to my holy mountain,
And give them joy in my house of prayer.
4. THE SHEMA (long version)
shema yisrael, YHVH elohéinu, YHVH echad.
ve-ahávta et YHVH elohékha be-khol levávkha
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
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
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,
O YHVH, You have examined me and know me.
When I sit down or stand up You know it;
You discern my thoughts from afar.
You watch me when I am walking, or when I am lying down;
You know every detail of my conduct.
A word will not yet be on my tongue
Before You, O YHVH, know all about it.
You fence me in securely, behind and in front,
You have laid Your hand upon me.
Such amazing knowledge is beyond me,
It is a mystery I cannot fathom it.
Where could I go to escape Your spirit?
Where could I possibly flee from Your Presence?
If I climb to the skies, You are there;
If I descend to the depths, there You are.
If I were to speed away on the wings of the dawn,
If I were to dwell beyond the far ocean,
Even there Your hand will be guiding me,
Your right hand steadying me safely.
7. PRAYERS OF PENITENCE AND FORGIVENESS
Have mercy on us, O God,
According to Your steadfast love;
And according to Your abundant mercy
Blot out our transgressions.
Wash us thoroughly from our iniquity,
And cleanse us from our sin.
For we know that our transgressions
And our sins are ever before us.
Against You alone have we sinned,
And done what is wrong in Your sight,
So that You would be justified in Your sentence,
And blameless in passing judgement.
O YHVH, do not rebuke us in Your anger,
Or discipline us in Your wrath.
For our iniquities overwhelm us,
Like heavy burdens, hard to bear.
Therefore we confess our iniquity,
And we are sorry for our sin.
Therefore turn Your face from our sins,
And wipe away our guilt.
Purify us with hyssop til we are clean,
Wash us til our souls are whiter than snow.
Create in us a clean heart,
And renew within us a resolute spirit.
For then our lips shall be opened,
And our mouths shall praise You,
(combined extracts from Psalms 38 & 51)
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
I shall praise you to the heights, O God my King!
I shall bless Your Name forever and ever!
Day after day I shall bless You,
I shall praise Your Name forever and ever!
Great is YHVH, and worthy of all praise,
His greatness beyond all reckoning.
Each generation will praise Your deeds to the next,
Proclaiming Your mighty works.
I will tell of the splendour of Your glory:
I will recite the story of Your wonders.
People will speak of Your awesome power,
And shall recount Your greatness.
They will celebrate Your abundant generosity,
And joyfully acclaim Your saving beneficence.
YHVH is gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger, full of faithful love.
YHVH is generous to all,
His tenderness embraces all creatures.
All Your creatures shall thank You, O YHVH,
And Your faithful shall bless You.
They shall speak of the glory of Your Kingdom,
And tell of Your might,
Making known Your mighty deeds to all humanity
The glory and majesty of Your Kingdom to all the nations.
Your Kingdom is an eternal kingdom,
Your Reign lasts from age to age.
YHVH is beneficent in all His ways,
And faithful in all His works.
(Psalm 145:1-3, 17)
9. SECOND PRAYER OF PRAISE
Praise be to YHVH!
It is good to sing psalms to our God
How pleasant it is to praise Him!
It is YHVH who rebuilds Jerusalem
He gathers together the exiles of Israel,
Healing the broken-hearted,
And binding up their wounds.
Great is YHVH, and full of power,
His wisdom is beyond all telling.
YHVH sustains the poor,
And humbles the wicked to the dust.
Sing to YHVH a song of praise,
Chant a hymn with a lyre to our God!
O Jerusalem, glorify YHVH!
Praise God, O Zion!
Praise be to YHVH!
(Psalm 147:1-3, 5-7, 12)
10. PRAYER OF THANKSGIVING
Break into song for our God,
Sing in honour of YHVH!
Let psalm and canticle mingle for Him,
Extol His Name, invoke it!
For YHVH has pitched His tent among His people,
He delivers us from the hands of our oppressors.
His strength does not lie in numbers,
Nor His might in strong men;
For He is the God of the humble,
The help of the oppressed,
The support of the weak,
The refuge of the forsaken,
And the only Saviour of those in despair.
Sing therefore a new song to our God:
O YHVH, You are great, You are glorious,
Wonderfully strong, unconquerable!
May Your whole creation worship You!
For You spoke,
And things came into being;
You sent forth Your breath,
And they were put together,
And no one can resist Your voice.
11. PRAYER TO YHVH, OUR SAVIOUR AND REDEEMER
It is YHVH alone who is your Saviour and your Redeemer;
It is YHVHs hand that will shelter you from the storm;
It is YHVHs shield that will protect you from danger;
It is YHVHs fire that will cleanse you and purify you;
YHVHs Divine Presence that will fill you with holiness and lift you up.
Your spirit will never be poor,
Because YHVH is your inheritance and your wealth;
Your soul will never hunger,
Because the power of YHVH will fill your heart and mind with good things;
YHVHs spirit will be an eternal river of sweet and living water,
So that your soul will never thirst.
Glorify the holy name of YHVH,
Because God is mighty;
Revere YHVH in awe,
Because of Gods powerful might.
Proclaim YHVH to the heavens,
For there is none to compare to our God:
YHVH of the heavenly hosts.
(a Talmidi hymn)
12. REMEMBRANCE OF GODS PROMISES
Blessed are the humble in spirit,
because theirs is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are the meek,
because they shall inherit the Land.
Blessed are they who mourn,
because they shall be comforted.
Blessed are they who weep,
because they shall laugh.
Blessed are the merciful,
because they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the unselfish,
because they shall see God.
Blessed are they who hunger,
because they shall be filled.
Blessed are they who thirst,
because they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are they who create peace,
because they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they who pursue virtue simply for what it is,
because theirs is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you when people reject you and malign you,
because our ancestors did no less to the prophets.
Rejoice! Dance for joy!
Because remember, your reward in heaven is great.
13. REWARDS FOR FOLLOWING GODS WAYS
So now listen, O Jacob, my servant
Israel, whom I have chosen.
This is what YHVH says
He who made you, who formed you in the womb,
and who will help you:
Do not be afraid, O Jacob, my servant,
Beloved Yeshurun, whom I have chosen.
For I will pour water on the thirsty land,
and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring,
and my blessing on your descendants.
They will spring up like grass in a meadow,
like poplar trees by flowing streams.
One will say, ‘I belong to YHVH ‘;
another will call himself by the name of Jacob;
still another will write on his hand, ‘YHVH’s,’
and will take the name Israel.
14. LITANY OF ALLEGIANCE TO YHVH AND HIS HOLY NAME
You are YHVH our God;
YHVH is Your Name throughout every generation,
the Name by which You are to be remembered forever.
You alone, O YHVH our God, shall we follow;
You alone shall we revere.
We will have no other gods before You.
We will not invoke the names of other gods;
we will not let them be heard on our lips.
For You are YHVH, that is Your Name;
your glory will not be given to any other name.
Blessed be the Holy Name of YHVH forever!
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 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
yitgadal we-yitqadash shmeyh rabba be-alma, di bra ki-ruteyh
we-yamlikh malkhuteyh be-chayéykhon ub-yoméykhon, ub-chayyey di kal beyt yisraeyl baagala ubi-zman qarib
yhey shmeyh rabba mebarakh lealmey almáyya. amin.
yitbarakh we-yishtabach we-yitpaar we-yitromam we-yitnasei we-yithadar we-yitalleh we-yithallal shmeyh di qudsha, brikh hu! amin
leeila min kal birkháta we-shiráta we-tushbecháta we-nehemáta di amiran be-alma
yhey shlama rabba min shmáyya weal kal beyt yisraeyl
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).
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 who 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.
May those among the Jewish people who do not follow the Way we follow be blessed, and may their names be enrolled in the Book of Life; may they prosper, and may their names and the names of their descendants not be blotted out; may their wise men and women be found a place among the righteous, and may their holy ones be uplifted over the wicked, and be saved by the glory and power of YHVH. May they find peace, may they be protected from our common enemies, and may they not become lost or extinguished.
(a special blessing in response to the curse formulated
against us by the rabbis of Yavneh in 90 CE)
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 arms of love 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
With a loud voice I cry to YHVH;
I appeal loudly to YHVH for mercy.
I pour out my sorrow before Him
When my spirit fails within me.
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
yaeir YHVH panav eilekha 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.