I’ve been using the new Siddur Nehalel BeShabbat for a number of weeks now and really enjoying it.
I’m sure you’re shocked.
After all, just because I wrote a positive review about the siddur, doesn’t mean that I have to keep using it. 🙂
The truth is, I didn’t use it for a couple of weeks.
One Shabbat it was sort of rainy and I didn’t want to risk getting the new siddur wet.
Then, during the week of Pesach I used my Yom Tov machzor.
The shabbat after Pesach I had a little internal debate. Use the new siddur? Don’t use the new siddur?
I went back and forth a few times and decided to try it again.
I’m glad I did.
Let me be clear. The Siddur Nehalel beShabbat is not perfect. The problems I pointed out in my previous review are still there.
However, I’ve noticed something very interesting. My concentration and enjoyment of Kabbalat Shabbat is much greater using this siddur.
I want to share with you one of the features of the siddur that I’ve been enjoying.
As you know, we say Psalm 92, Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat, three times each Shabbat.
It is said during Kabbalat Shabbat, during Pesukei Dezimrah, and as the psalm of the day.
For each repetition of Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat, Siddur Nehalel BeShabbat uses different photographs to highlight several verses of the psalm.
Here are the verses that are the focus of Friday night:
towering like Lebanese cedar:
Planted in the House of Adonai
and blooming in the courtyards of our God.
The picture on the right, from the Temple Mount Courtyard, shows a date palm loaded with fruit.
The left side shows a different date palm, this one standing near the Old City’s Dung Gate.
On Shabbat morning, the focus shifts to a historical aspect of the psalm:
all these functionaries of wickedness will be scattered wide.
On the right is a detail from the Arch of Titus in Rome. The destruction of the Roman Forum is shown on the left.
The Romans did triumph over the Jews and destroyed our Temple.
However, their might was not permanent.
The Jewish people survive, but where are the Romans?
Psalm of the Day
As we end the Shabbat morning prayers, the focus is on creation:
I shall sing in exaltation of Your handicraft.
On the right is a beautiful scene from Bahai Onelli National Park in Argentina.
To the left is Sella mountain range in Italy.
I like how the photographs have been joined so that the scenes appear to flow from one to the other.
I don’t know why Michael Haruni, the inspiration behind Nehalel BeShabbat, chose to highlight these verses from Psalm 92 in this order.
Here is a thought that has inspired me.
On Friday night we say Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbat just as shabbat is beginning.
The focus is personal.
Doesn’t everyone want to be a tzadik?
One way to be a tzadik and to become more of a tzadik is to celebrate and observe Shabbat in all of its details.
On Shabbat morning, during Pesukei DeZimrah, the focus is national and historical.
It’s not just an accident of history that the Temple was destroyed.
The Jewish people have a historic destiny that will eventually be fulfilled.
The final time we say Psalm 92 the focus is on God’s creation.
God created a beautiful world. One of the things we can do during Shabbat day is take a walk and enjoy that beauty.
Siddur Nehalel beShabbat, nusach Ashkenaz. Published by Nevarech. English translation by Michael Haruni.
Disclosure: I was given a review copy of Siddur Nehalel beShabbat by the publisher.
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