Beyond Bleary-Eyed Page Shuffling

Some Early Morning Blessing Resources


offered with thoughts of Temple Micah’s upcoming siddur study group
Why open a prayer book?
The Art of Blessing the Day
God’s Faith
Morning Poetry
More Links

Why open a prayer book:

“Sometimes you’re just too strung out to come up with your own personal prayers. Having the text in front of you kind of takes you by the hand and walks you over to something that matters more than whatever is getting you down.
— Jay Michaelson in Making Prayer Real by R. Mike Comins, Jewish Lights 2010 (see also Making Prayer Real website
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“The Art of Blessing the Day”

An excerpt from the eponymous 1999 book by Marge Piercy:


The blessing for the return of a favorite cat,
the blessing for love returned, for friends’
return, for money received unexpected,
the blessing for the rising of the bread,
the sun, the oppressed. I am not sentimental
about old men mumbling the Hebrew by rote
with no more feeling than one says gesundheit.

But the discipline of blessings is to taste
each moment, the bitter, the sour, the sweet
and the salty, and be glad for what does not
hurt. The art is in compressing attention
to each little and big blossom of the tree

of life, to let the tongue sing each fruit,
its savor, its aroma and its use.
— Marge Piercy. Entire poem on publisher’s page
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God’s Faith?

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs-Kreimer teaches, regarding the early morning prayer, “Modah/eh ani…rabah emunatekha [Thank You, God for returning my soul to me…great is Your faith]”: What is this about God having “great faith”? Upon awakening, we note that God has just entrusted us with a new day…a whole day to help heal the world, wreak havoc in it, whatever we might choose to do with these precious hours. God is trusting us.
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Poetry for the Morning

Among poems added to the siddur in 10th through 14th Centuries CE is “At dawn, I seek thee” by Solomon ibn Gabirol (11th Century Spain):

AT the dawn, I seek Thee,
Refuge and rock sublime,—
Set my prayer before Thee in the morning,
And my prayer at eventime.
I before Thy greatness
Stand, and am afraid:—
All my secret thoughts Thine eye beholdeth
Deep within my bosom laid.
And withal what is it
Heart and tongue can do?
What is this my strength, and what is even
This the spirit in me too?
But verily man’s singing
May seem good to Thee;
So will I thank Thee, praising, while there dwelleth
Yet the breath of God in me.
This translation by Alice Lucas, 1917
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Links to further discussion, musing, references

Notes on General development of Jewish prayer, recommended by Ed Grossman

Discussion of “New” (2009) Koren Siddur and Egalitarian Judaism

“Endless Devotion”, Hillel Halkin’s review of same Koren Sacks Siddur in 2010 Jewish Review of Books, recommended by Marcia Bordman.

Thoughts on Mah Tovu and other morning prayers

“Strength to the Weary”

Meditations on the morning blessings in memory of Sgt. Julian C. Chase (z”l)

Wiki on “Siddur,” includes live links to many additional references, recommended by Ivan Sindell.

Many other resources out there and on this blog. Share your favorites.

Amichai-Siddur Handout (HANDOUT for 12/29/12 session)

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