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August 30, 2015 | 15th Elul 5775

Have You Noticed?—
Changes in Hebrew and English Wording in Mishkan T'filah

by Rabbi Sue Ann Wasserman


From Birchot Hashachar (The Morning Blessings)


Elohai N’shamah (p. 34–35)


Mid-way through the prayer the option of modeh/modah (offer thanks, first in the masculine and then the feminine) is offered.


Further down in the prayer the word v’imotai (mothers) is added.



Nisim B’chol Yom (p. 36–37)


The order of the blessings is different from the order in Gates of Prayer (GOP).


Two additional blessings are added: roka haaretz al hamayim, (Who stretches the earth over the waters), and she-asani b’tzelem Elohim, (Who made me in the image of God).


From Sh’ma u’Virchotecha (The Sh’ma and Her Blessings)


Yotzeir (p. 60–61)



MT has included the traditional sentence before the closing chatima: Or-chadash al Tzion ta-ir, v’nizkeh chulanu m’heirah l’oro (Shine a new light upon Zion, and may we all swiftly merit its radiance.).



Ahavah Rabbah (p. 62–63)


In the second paragraph which begins, V’ha-eir eineinu four words from the traditional text are added following v’lo neivosh. They are: v’lo nikaleim, v’lo nikasheil, (never deserve rebuke, and never stumble,


A few lines down in the prayer, set off by an asterisk is another inclusion from the traditional text: Vahavi-einu l’shalom mei-arba kanfot ha-aretz, v’tolicheinu kom’miyut l’artzeinu. (Gather us in peace from the four corners of the earth and lead us upright to our land.)



Sh’ma (p. 64–65)


Following the V’ahavta, MT offers the traditional third paragraph of the Sh’ma which begins Vayomer Adonai el Moshe… Numbers 15:37-39.


From the Amidah  (The Standing Prayer)


Avot v’Imahot (p. 76–77)


The order of the matriarchs has changed to Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah. (Please see the Web site piece “Ordering the Matriarchs: The Leah and Rachel (or Rachel and Leah) Debate” for a more detailed explanation.)



G’vurot (p. 78–79)


MT includes in parentheses, as an option, the traditional wording m’chayeih meitim (You revive the dead) following m’chayeih hakol (You give life to all).


The seasonal prayers for wind, rain and dew according to the growing seasons in the Land of Israel are included following the first sentence of the G’vurot.



Birkat Shalom (p. 96–97)


In the second sentence, note the change of the word avinu (our Father) to yotzreinu (our Creator) in MT.


Before the chatimah (final blessing of the prayer) the Shabbat Shuvah insertion is expanded to resemble the insertion in Gates of Repentance.



Oseh Shalom (T’filat HaLev in MT, p. 98–99)


Following v’al kol Yisrael (and all Israel) the words v’al kol yosh’vei teiveil (all who inhabit the earth) are added.


For the Reading of Torah


Av harachamim (p. 362)


This literally translates as Father of mercy. In GOP it had been changed to El harachamim which literally translates as God of mercy. However, both MT and GOP translate these phrases as “Source of mercy.”


Aleinu and Mourner’s Kaddish


Aleinu (p. 586–591)


There are two versions: Aleinu I and Aleinu II.


Aleinu I is the full traditional text as was Aleinu I in GOP.


Aleinu II parallels Aleinu II in GOP in the English and Hebrew. There is an additional alternative English reading in MT as well as an additional Hebrew text before V’ne-emar (Thus it has been said): Al kein n’kaveh l’cha Adonai Eloheinu, lirot m’heirah b’tiferet uzecha, l’takein olam b’malchut Shaddai (Adonai our God, how soon we hope to behold the perfection of our world, guided by a sacred Covenant drawn from human and divine meeting.).

Rabbi Wasserman is the Union for Reform Judaism's Director of Worship, Music and Religious Living.

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