Archive for the ‘Translations’ Category

The Unity of Above and Below

Sunday, July 7th, 2019

In honor of our teacher, R. Zalman Schachter-Shalom, ztz’l, on the occasion of his fifth Yahrzeit which begins at sunset tonight, 5 Tammuz, July 7, 2019, I offer this translation of Tikkunei Zohar 132a. May the memory of R. Zalman forever be a blessing! Gabbai Seth Fishman (Original text may be found clicking here)

My son: A merit comes to the one who unifies the blessed Holy One with His Shekhinah in this world because these parts suspend from these commandments. Then, the blessed Holy One couples with Her, with His Consort, in that world. And whoever comes near to bring an offering for Him [and] for His Shekhinah, the blessed Holy One comes near to Her, to His Consort. And whoever makes for Him a sanctuary, as scripture states, (ibid 25:8) “And they shall make Me a sanctuary” for the blessed Holy One, He makes for him, in that world, a house to dwell (for him) there which is the “holy of holies.” And whoever makes Him a Sukkah, the blessed Holy One forms shade over him in that world, and protects him from all destructive angels when emerging from this world and going to that world. Whoever blesses the blessed Holy One, and sanctifies him in his prayer in this world, the blessed Holy One blesses him in that world, and sanctifies him. And no sanctifications if less than ten. And also, thus, the blessed Holy One makes ten wedding canopies in Gan Eden for him.

Entire text below:


Reb Zalman’s Maoz Tzur Translation

Friday, December 4th, 2015

Dear Friends,

The awesome translation of Maoz Tzur by Reb Zalman a’h can be downloaded here.

And here is a rendition from a concert last year. Happy Hanukkah!

HaShir for High Holydays

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Reb Zalman sends these singable texts in English for liturgy of this time of year. Use them when you davenn during this season. Click here to download a word document with all the texts for yourself.

Kavvanah for KOL NIDRE


Don’t Diminish From Torah Its Renewal

Monday, July 22nd, 2013

Click here for the Hebrew text which comes from Yishmiru Daat, page 73.

Do not add to the word, etc., nor diminish from it, (Deuteronomy 4:2).

[We are invited to collaborate and participate in defining our Jewish practice in ways that are meaningful to us and yet, our text is clear: We are not to add to what was heard from Moshe and we are not to diminish from it. What gives here?]

Moshe Rabbeinu ah is saying, “When God commanded it to me, I said it to you, and now you wish to take what I said and hand it over to someone else referencing me as the source, then, Do not add to the word which I command, etc.

Although according to the statement (Yerushalmi Megillah 28a) that everything taught for all future times by an advanced Torah scholar was already given on the level of Moshe on Sinai, regarding something that Moshe did not himself say and which the Torah scholar subsequently innovated, these are handed over in the name of the innovator, because he innovated, sorted it out and removed anything negative from off of the new Torah / teaching that he innovated.

And the person who says something in the name of the one who first said it (Mishneh Avot 6:6) brings into the world the freeing of humanity from bondage. And the person who hangs something which Moshe didn’t say off a tree as tall as Moshe Rabbeinu does the reverse, he enslaves humanity. And another case, whoever says a thing in the name of Moshe the faithful shepherd only saying a part of the thing, for example, hishamru lachem pen yifteh livavichem / beware lest your heart be misled [terrible things will happen to you], but he doesn’t say kimei hashamayim al haaretz / “Heavenly days right here on Earth” [if you follow the Mitzvot], this person is transgressing the commandment that you shouldn’t diminish the word.

For when you say the words of Moshe in their context without omissions and in the way they were meant to be understood, they are the Torah. And similarly (Tikkunei Zohar 114), the teachings of Moshe are not to be diminished in any generation, God forbid,  from the second side of truth and the seventy faces of the Torah (Zohar I 47) forwards and backwards.

[Innovations based on Torah of Moshe together with perspectives of shifted paradigm, reality maps and our Emet / Truth as experienced in the present time are Torah from us.]

Stages of Prayer

Sunday, July 21st, 2013

Click here for the Hebrew text which comes from Yishmiru Daat page 72.

[Moshe begins to pray to God to reverse the edict that he would not be allowed to cross over into the Promised Land.]

(Deuteronomy 3:24) “O Lord God, You have begun to show Your servant Your beneficence and Your strong hand

הוי’ אלקים / YHVH Elokim / “YHVH God” is the way it’s heard. ‘אדנ”י הוי / ADNY YHVH / “O Lord YHVH” is the way it’s written.

[The second word is written with Shem Hamephorash, YHVH, pointed (voweled) like Elokim and therefore read aloud as “Elokim” instead of its  usual way of being read, Adonai. Thus, one hearing it would normally assume the word is written as it sounds, “Elokim“. The first word Adonai is written out and read as written, but if one hears it, one would assume the word written is the Shem Hamephorash YHVH.]

YHVH Elokim, (the way one hears it when it’s read aloud), seems straightforward for this text because YHVH (Chesed) is associated gadlicha / Your beneficence (Chesed), while Elokim (Gevurah) is associated with yad’cha hachazaka / Your strong hand (Gevurah). But according to the way it’s written, ADNY YHVH, there’s a question as to what’s going on here.


Moshe’s Lesson for Us

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Click here for Hebrew text

Vaetchanan / I entreated YHVH at that time, saying… (Deut 3:23).

[Moshe is praying that he not die in the land of Moab, but that he be allowed to enter the Land of Israel with the rest of the Israelites.]

The word, אתחנן / etchanan / I entreated, is written in the reflexive case which means that the object of the verb is also the subject. So in the case of prayer, it means that Moshe prayed himself. A reflexive in this instance functions as an intensifier with respect to the impact of the action, which is the experience Moshe has in praying. We may think of prayer as consisting of the one who prays and a God to whom one prays. But by putting the verb in the reflexive, it creates a feedback loop; the praying has more effect on the one who prays.


For Tisha B’av

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Click here for Hebrew text. Please consider this prayer composed by Reb Zalman for your Tisha B’av (freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman).

[During the time before there was a State of Israel, those ideals in our hearts which we tried to practice and which we wanted others to practice seemed not achievable where we were because, we felt we had no influence over our world where we were. And so, the longing for our homeland was tied into the longing for our dreams and our vision.

Now that the state of Israel is with us, our dreams and our visions still remain distant from our lives and therefore when we say the Tisha B’av prayers we need to remind ourselves of the distance between that which we would have in this world and that which we do have.]

May the One who knows of our wishes for a better world, and Who sees the longing and sadness that we hold in our hearts and the brokenness that we encounter in our lives, dear Yah our God, please comfort us. We are in mourning for the loss of Your chosen House, special place. We grieve the holiness that once could reach to us from without and which held us up as we lived our lives. Dear Yah, comfort especially those who are so broken by the world that they’ve become bitter and alienated from the holiness they could love, but have lost touch with because of its remoteness from them. And comfort those who reside in Yerushalayim because they feel these things more acutely and basically than we; residents of Yerushalayim, the capital of the state of Israel which is the place from where the first signs of our redemption begin; the city also called Al Quds, the holy place for Palestinians. Please may there be quiet and ease. Please assuage their anger and reduce their terror of being attacked. Please pour down to them a spirit of wisdom and the wherewithal to support one another, that one reaches out one to another with words of respect and honor. Please establish in support of them the bringing about of a government of ease and calm in which the representatives of the people treat one another with honesty and integrity.

Please comfort us Yah, haEl haGadol haGibor v’haNora, with that holy vision of a House of prayer for all peoples. Place into our hearts, feelings of respect and kinship for one another, one Law, one nation with everyone joining and being aware that they are Your creation, oh Yah, and that You are their Creator and, may Your glory be entreated, may it come about that we are all entreating and praying and hoping through the various hymns which will be united into a psalm, a song for a time that is completely Shabbos / full of peace and calm. May it be Your will, dear God, that the souls of all who enter the gates of the Holy city may be refreshed with complete ease, doubly consoled. Baruch atah yah, who comforts Zion and builds Yerushalayim, Ir Hashalom, Yerushat haolom / Jerusalem, city of peace, world’s legacy.


Moshe Empowered You Too!

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Click here for Hebrew text (freely translated by Gabbai Seth Fishman)

Since we left Sinai, we’ve been moving towards the Land. Moshe is near the end of his life. He begins his address which is the book of Devarim / Deuteronomy:

On that side of the Jordan, in the land of Moab” (Deuteronomy 1:5), Moshe is outside of the Land.

From outside the Land, הואיל משה / hoil moshe / “Moshe commenced” (ibid).

And this phraseology, hoil Moshe is uncommon. The targum / Aramaic translation is sharei moshe which means that he gave his permission. He gave permission that the ones who come after him, after his passing, for all future time, could explain it each in his own way just as he’s about to do in Devarim. Moshe is explaining the Torah and as he does so, he’s setting an example and giving permission for the rest of us that we are welcome to explain it following his example so that it should be a source that will strengthen itself over time.


In Honor of Aaron’s Passing

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Click here for Hebrew text. (Below is a word-for-word translation.)

Rosh Chodesh Menachem Av in honor of the passing of the Tzaddik Aaron, attendant to the regal bride, Aaron the Priest – invited guest for the Sefirah Hod!

For in his life, Aaron offered many offerings, and always, with their bringing of an offering, when he heard the verbal confessions of the baalei teshuvah, he emphasized the phrase, (Leviticus 1:2), “when a person brings an offering it is of you“, that, in truth, it was the sinner’s job to offer up himself for sins in error [שוגג], while for sins done intentionally [מזיד] they, [the sinners], are punished.


Leaders Who Can Open Doors to Teshuvah

Friday, July 5th, 2013

Please click here for Hebrew text.

“… to the heads of the tribesIf a man makes a vow” (Numbers 30:2-4)

And why, specifically, was the commandment of releasing vows introduced by saying that Moshe spoke to the heads of the tribes?

When a person does something three times, the doing of it and the repetition functions as a vow, (albeit a non-verbal one). In effect, it demonstrates that the behavior is being permitted for the person, that it is allowed to be done. So it is a de facto oath, undertaken by the creation of a habit.

These oaths are very difficult to annul because of the habit that has been established. In the case of addictions, the body and its cravings will sometimes overrule authority and reason. There are some situations in which even if the person decides to do what is right, he is unable to do so. The vow continues to hold sway on the person; annulment does not work.

The person needs someone who can help him and, those who can do so in such tricky situations are, from an empirical perspective, our leaders, the heads of our tribes.

The  pathway to releasing a person from his addiction is to elicit something that will begin the process of teshuvah in him. Regret is the first of the stages. They are: Identifying feelings of regret, asking for forgiveness of God or the person wronged, choosing to change the behavior, and changing it. Teshuvah gives the person the ability to take charge of the thing which had a grip on him before. Helping a person to feel regret helps to get them onto this path.

In every generation there are heads of tribes, empathetic souls who open a gate and a doorway to regret for us, to the knocking on the door of Teshuvah. They are the ones who can work with people in these situations. That’s why Moshe specifically spoke about annulment of vows to the heads of the tribes.


There is a difficult question in this section: Why is it that a mother or wife cannot annul her son’s or her husband’s vow, respectively, in the same way that a father or husband can annul the vows of a daughter or wife?