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September 2, 2015 | 18th Elul 5775
Home  /  Worship, Music and Spirituality  /  The New Reform Prayerbook - Mishkan T'filah  /  Music  /  Chatimot of Mishkan T'filah  / 
Chatimot of Mishkan T'filah

By Cantor Andrew Bernard, D.M.A.

One of the unique features of Mishkan T’filah is the inclusion of the final blessing—known as a chatimah or “seal”—at the end of nearly every version of a particular prayer: The Hebrew, the translation and the creative reading(s).

In a traditional service, the cantor chants the end of each prayer (usually beginning a phrase or two before the final blessing) and continues with the opening phrase of the next prayer. As traditional Jewish worship may be defined as congregants praying individually in the midst of community, the cantor uses the chatimot to keep the individual worshipers moving through the service more or less together.

In Mishkan T’filah, the chatimah can be used to signal the end of a prayer—and thus indicating to the congregation that they should turn the page—and/or as a musical transition from one prayer to another. The chatimot are rendered below in simple form according to traditional Eastern European nusach, the characteristic modal/melodic atmosphere that changes from service to service and between rubrics within a service. (It is said that a Jew could be blindfolded and led into the synagogue, and could tell you from the melodies what day and what time of day it was.) In the cantorial art of chazzanut, the cantor would improvise upon these outlines with emotional and spiritual artistry, lifting the prayers of the people to even greater heights.

Below are files of all the chatimot grouped by service.

    The first file in each of the nine groups is a PDF that contains all of the chatimot notated for that particular group of services. The remaining files within the group are all audio and consist of each chatimah as an individual MP3, enabling you to both see and hear it.

    Dr. Bernard is a member of the American Conference of Cantors, serving as cantor of Temple Beth El in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is a vice-chair of the URJ’s Joint Commission on Worship, Music and Religious Living and is the author of The Sound of Sacred Time: A Basic Music Theory Textbook to Teach the Jewish Prayer Modes. He can be contacted at

      Shabbat Evening Chatimot
    Shabbat Morning Chatimot
    Weekday Evening Chatimot
    Weekday Morning Chatimot
    Festival (Yom Tov) Evening Chatimot
    Festival (Yom Tov) Morning Chatimot

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