On washing the hands before a meal:
Blessed are you O God, our Lord, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments, and has commanded us about the washing of hands.
Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.
Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.
And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart.
And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up.
And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes.
And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
I am thankful before You,
Living and Sustaining Ruler,
Who returned my soul to me with mercy.
Your faithfulness is great.
Modeh ani l'fanecha melech chai v'kayam sh'hechezarta bi nishmati b'chemla rabah emunatecha.
Prayer Before Drinking Wine
Blessed are you, O God, our Lord, King of the Universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.
Blessing Over Fruit
Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe who creates the fruit of the tree.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam borei pri ha-etz.
Prayer After Eating (Birkat Hamazon)
Blessed is The Lord our God, Sovereign of the universe, who sustains the entire world with goodness, kindness and mercy. God gives food to all creatures, for God's mercy is everlasting. Through God’s abundant goodness we have not lacked sustenance, and may we not lack sustenance forever, for the sake of God’s great name. God sustains all, does good to all, and provides food for all the creatures whom God has created. Blessed is The Lord our God, who provides food for all.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hazan et ha-olam kulo b'tuvo b'chein b’chesed uv-rachamim, hu notein lechem l’chol-basar, ki l’olam chasdo, uv-tuvo hagadol tamid lo chasar lanu v’al yechsar lanu mazon l’olam va-ed. Ba-avur sh’mo hagadol, ki hu Eil zan um-farneis lakol, u-meitiv lakol u-meichin mazon l’chol-b’riyotav asher bara. Baruch atah Adonai, hazan et hakol.
Blessing Over Bread
Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe who brings forth bread from the earth.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
Prayer for Protection
O Lord, grant that this night we may sleep in peace. And that in the morning our awakening may also be in peace. May our daytime be cloaked in your peace.
Protect us and inspire us to think and act only out of love.
Keep far from us all evil; may our paths be free from all obstacles from when we go out until we return home.
Source: The Babylonian Talmud
Bless Ye HaShem
Behold, bless ye HaShem, all ye servants of HaShem, that stand in the house of HaShem in the night seasons.
Lift up your hands to the sanctuary, and bless ye HaShem.
HaShem bless thee out of Zion; even He that made heaven and earth.
God full of mercy who dwells on high
Grant perfect rest on the wings of Your Divine Presence
In the lofty heights of the holy and pure
who shine as the brightness of the heavens
to the soul of _______.
who has gone to his eternal rest
as all his family and friends
pray for the elevation of his soul.
His resting place shall be in the Garden of Eden.
Therefore, the Master of mercy will care for him
under the protection of His wings for all time
And bind his soul in the bond of everlasting life.
God is his inheritance and he will rest in peace
and let us say Amen.
El maley rachamim shochen bam'romim
hamtzey menuchah nechonah al kanfey haschechinah
bema'alot kedoshim ute'horim
kezohar harakia me'irim umazhirim
ba'avur shekol beney hamishpachah, yedidim umakirim
mitpalelim le'iluy nishmato
began eden tehey menuchato
lachen ba'al harachamim yastireyhu
beseter kenafav le'olamim
veyitzror bitzror hachayim et nismato
Adonai hu nachalato Veyanuach beshalom al mishkavo
Source: From Jewish Funeral Care
Prayers for Help in Times of Trouble
Incline Thine Ear, O HaShem
A Prayer of David. Incline Thine ear, O HaShem, and answer me; for I am poor and needy. Keep my soul, for I am godly; O Thou my God, save Thy servant that trusteth in Thee. Be gracious unto me, O Lord; for unto Thee do I cry all the day. Rejoice the soul of Thy servant; for unto Thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For Thou, L-rd, art good, and ready to pardon, and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon Thee. Give ear, O HaShem, unto my prayer; and attend unto the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I call upon Thee; for Thou wilt answer me.
Source: Tanakh (Jewish Publication Society, 1917)
Psalm of Comfort
As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God.
My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: 'When shall I come and appear before God?'
My tears have been my food day and night, while they say unto me all the day: 'Where is Thy God?'
These things I remember, and pour out my soul within me, how I passed on with the throng, and led them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, a multitude keeping holyday.
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why moanest thou within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him for the salvation of His countenance.
Hide Thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create me a clean heart, O God; and renew a stedfast spirit within me. Cast me not away from Thy presence; and take not Thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation; and let a willing spirit uphold me.
God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth do change, and though the mountains be moved into the heart of the seas;
Though the waters thereof roar and foam, though the mountains shake at the swelling thereof. Selah
There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God, the holiest dwelling-place of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved; God shall help her, at the approach of morning.
Nations were in tumult, kingdoms were moved; He uttered His voice, the earth melted.
HaShem of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our high tower. Selah
Come, behold the works of HaShem, who hath made desolations in the earth.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; He burneth the chariots in the fire.
'Let be, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.'
HaShem is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; He guideth me in straight paths for His name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff, they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I shall dwell in the house of HaShem for ever.
Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.
From the end of the earth will I call unto Thee, when my heart fainteth; lead me to a rock that is too high for me.
For Thou hast been a refuge for me, a tower of strength in the face of the enemy.
I will dwell in Thy Tent for ever; I will take refuge in the covert of Thy wings. Selah
I will lift up mine eyes unto the mountains: from whence shall my help come?
My help cometh from HaShem, who made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved; He that keepeth thee will not slumber.
Behold, He that keepeth Israel doth neither slumber nor sleep.
HaShem is thy keeper; HaShem is thy shade upon thy right hand.
The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night.
HaShem shall keep thee from all evil; He shall keep thy soul.
HaShem shall guard thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forth and for ever.
HaShem is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? HaShem is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil-doers came upon me to eat up my flesh, even mine adversaries and my foes, they stumbled and fell.
Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war should rise up against me, even then will I be confident.
O thou that dwellest in the covert of the Most High, and abidest in the shadow of the Almighty;
I will say of HaShem, who is my refuge and my fortress, my G-d, in whom I trust,
That He will deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He will cover thee with His pinions, and under His wings shalt thou take refuge; His truth is a shield and a buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flieth by day;
Of the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor of the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
A thousand may fall at Thy side, and ten thousand at Thy right hand; it shall not come nigh thee.
Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold, and see the recompense of the wicked.
For thou hast made HaShem who is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation.
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy tent.
For He will give His angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
They shall bear thee upon their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
Thou shalt tread upon the lion and asp; the young lion and the serpent shalt thou trample under feet.
Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known My name.
He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him, and bring him to honour.
With long life will I satisfy him, and make Him to behold My salvation.'
Thou, O HaShem, art enthroned for ever, Thy throne is from generation to generation.
Wherefore dost Thou forget us for ever, and forsake us so long time?
Turn Thou us unto Thee, O HaShem, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old.
Thou canst not have utterly rejected us, and be exceeding wroth against us!
God is the incomparable King of the Universe. The destiny of humanity is to come to this realization. Whereas human kings rule in accordance with the principle of :"might makes right," God is the Holy King, Who is, at the same time, beyond comparison in His power, "Vas er vil, Tut er" - "Whatever He wills, He can do," yet He is also the Father of the orphan and the Judge of the widow, Who is always on the side of the powerless.
He is the Incorruptible and Righteous Judge of the World, Who favors no one, and cannot be bribed.
He is the true God and His word, the Torah, is true and eternal.
Source: From The Malchiyot (Kingliness) prayer in the High Holidays liturgy
The Al-Chet, Yom Kippur Confession
For the mistakes we committed before You under duress and willingly.
For the mistakes we committed before You through having a hard heart.
For the mistakes we committed before you through things we blurted out with our lips.
For the mistake we committed before You through harsh speech.
For the mistakes we committed before You through wronging a friend.
For the mistakes we committed before You by degrading parents and teachers.
For the mistakes we committed before You by exercising power.
For the Mistakes we committed before You against those who know, and those who do not know.
For the mistakes we have committed before You through bribery.
For the mistake we have committed before You through denial and false promises.
For the mistake we have committed before You through negative speech.
For the mistakes we have committed before You with food and drink.
For the mistakes we committed before You by being arrogant.
For the mistakes we committed before You with a strong forehead (brazenness).
For the mistakes we committed before You in throwing off the yoke (i.e. refusing to accept responsibility).
For the mistakes we committed before You through jealousy (lit: 'a begrudging eye').
For the mistakes we committed before You through baseless hatred.
For the mistakes we committed before You in extending the hand.
For the mistakes we committed before You through confusion of the heart.
Prayer for Passover
This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
Let all who are hungry come and eat.
Let all who are in need come and celebrate Passover.
This year we are here: Next year, in the land of Israel.
This year we are slaves: Next year may we all be free.
Entering the Baby Into the Covenant
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to bring our daughter into the covenant of Israel.
Our mothers, Rebekka and Rachel, were betrothed and began new lives at the gently flowing waters of the well.
Our mother Tzipporah gave life to her child Moses in the ever-flowing waters of the Nile.
Our sister Miriam danced for the saving of lives beside the overflowing waters of the Sea of Reeds.
Water is God's gift to living souls, to cleanse us, to purify us, to sustain us, and to renew us.
Moses and Aaron and the priests of Israel washed with cleansing waters before attending to God's service at the altar.
As God separated the waters in the First Creation so do we ask that protecting waters surround this child.
As it is written: " I will sprinkle clean water upon you and you shall be clean. " (Ezekiel 36)
And it is written: " I am a well of living waters, a garden spring, a stream flowing from the heights of Lebanon. " (Song of Songs 4:15)
You are Blessed, O God, Spirit (Sovereign) of the World, who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and commanded us concerning Immersion.
For a girl:
May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah.
For a boy:
May God make you like Ephraim and Menasheh.
(Both) May God bless you and keep you. May God make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. May God lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.
For a Baby-Naming
Our God and God of our ancestors, sustain this child for her father and mother. Let her be called in Israel __________ daughter of _____ and ______. May the father rejoice in his offspring and may her mother rejoice in the fruit of her womb. Let your parents be happy; let she who bore you rejoice. Give thanks to God; God's mercy is constant. May this little one, _________, be big. As she has entered into the covenant, so may she enter into a life of Torah, loving relationships and good deeds.
We are humbled by the awesome power of this moment.
From our lives we have brought forth life.
Through our love we have fashioned a child of love.
May our child be a blessing to all he meets.
And may he count us among his blessings as well.
If you want to talk with someone in person, please feel free to call 212-864-5436
The Rev. Charles P. Henderson is a Presbyterian minister and
Executive Director of CrossCurrents.
He is the author of God and Science (John Knox Press, 1986).
A revised and expanded version of the book is appearing here. God and Science (Hypertext Edition,
He is also editor of a new book, featuring articles by world class scientists and theologians, and illustrating the leading views on the relationship between science and religion: Faith, Science and the Future (CrossCurrents Press, 2007).
Charles also tracks the boundry between the virtual and the real at his blog: Next World Design, focusing on the mediation of art, science and spirituality in the metaverse.