Prayer and Blessing

Birkat Ha’Ilanot

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Written by: Erin Parfet
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For now, the winter has passed, and the rains are over and gone. The blossoms have appeared on the land. The time for pruning has come. Song of Songs 2:11

Hallel

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Written by: Erin Parfet
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It is considered a mitzvah to recite Hallel (“praise” in English) in the synagogues on certain festive Jewish holidays. Hallel is a sacred communal prayer of thanksgiving for all the blessings God has bestowed upon Israel. The basis of the prayer is Psalms 113–118, sometimes referred to as the Egyptian Hallel, especially Psalms 113–114.

Hashkiveinu

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Written by: Erin Parfet
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hashkiveinu"Guard our coming and our going; grant us life and peace, now and always. (Siddur Sim Shalom, p. 33)

(ufros aleinu sukat sh’lomecha) "Spread over us Your shelter of peace... (Siddur Sim Shalom, p. 285)

Shalom Aleichem

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Written by: Erin Parfet
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shalom aleychem articleShalom Aleichem ("Peace Be Upon You") is not only a traditional beloved greeting and message of farewell among the Jewish people when they meet (first scripturally appearing in Genesis 43:23 and further referenced in Judges 6:23), but is also the title of a commonly sung poem universally sung at Friday night Shabbat meals. The term "shalom" itself has broad linguistic applications as possibly a noun, interjection, verb, or adverb and can be used either independently as a greeting or in various expressions such as "shalom aleichem." As per the Talmud, it is required for Jews to greet one another bearing messages of peace (and if one offers peace to you, then you are required to respond with a message of peace lest you rob another of their peace).

Shehecheyanu

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Written by: Erin Parfet
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Shehecheyanu ("that we are alive") is a generic Jewish blessing said in addition to regular blessings as the Jewish people express gratitude to God for the gift of life and the miracles that occur around us in the present moment, reminding us to take nothing for granted and allow ourselves to be surprised by as well as thankful for the small, finer, sometimes overlooked things in life.