Ashrei–Einei khol–Va'anahnu (Leib Glantz) 11:02
Ḥatzi kaddish (based on settings by Todros Greenberg and Abraham Kalechnik) 03:46
Ata...ritzatzta 3:03
L'khu n'rann'na–Hann'shama lakh (Isaac Kaminsky) 10:31
Kama yisartanu–Ki ata el raḥum–Ta'avor al pesha–Adonai adonai–S'laḥ na 03:21
Hattei (Israel Schorr) 07:39
Shimkha elohim–El melekh yoshev–Adonai adonai 01:55
El melekh yoshev (Zavel Zilberts) 03:59
B'motza'ei m'huḥa 2:47
B'motza'ei m'huḥa: Et y'min (Isaac Kaminsky) 04:01
B'motza'ei m'huḥa: D'rosh na 01:47
B'motza'ei m'huḥa: Zoḥalim (Joshua Lind) 02:29
B'motza'ei m'huḥa: Yotzer ata 00:47
B'motza'ei m'huḥa: Marom im atzmu 01:55
B'motza'ei m'huḥa: P'ne na (Ira Bigeleisen) 02:30
B'motza'ei m'huḥa: R'tze atiratam (Meyer Machtenberg) 04:14
Z'khor raḥamekha–Himmatze lanu 01:47
T'vi'enu (Joshua Lind) 02:50
Sh'ma kolenu (Joseph Rumshinsky) 06:23
Al ta'azvenu–Tavo l'fanekha 02:36
Ashamnu 02:36
Hirshanu–Anenu–Mi she'ana l'avraham–Hu ya'anenu 01:09
Raḥamana (Joshua Lind) 01:59
Maḥei umasei–Makhnisei raḥamim 01:03
Maran d'vishmayya (Dan Frohman) 01:32
Shomer yisra'el (Yossele Rosenblatt) 04:43
Avinu malkenu 01:13
Kaddish shalem (Jacob Gottlieb) 02:56

Liner Notes

The notes below pertain to the individual liturgical settings contained within this recording of a traditional s'liot service. For more on the liturgical and aesthetic parameters of the traditional s’liḥot service, see here.

Ashrei customarily serves as a prelude to the s’liḥot service. The origin of this practice is uncertain, and it may have begun simply as a selection from the Psalms to set an appropriate mood, or perhaps to provide a liturgical link to antiquity. One conjectural rationale stems from its 16th verse, pote’aḥ et yadekha... (You open Your hand and satisfy all the living with favor), which could be interpreted as God’s openness to repentance—the favor of His listening to and granting the petitions for pardon that are about to be offered.

Although ashrei is also recited or sung during other services, its specific function as a prelude to the S’lihot for the First Day has inspired numerous and sometimes extended cantorial and choral settings that exploit the virtuoso aspects of cantorial art. Unlike the simple responsorial chant that usually accompanies this ashrei, for example, on the Sabbath, s’liḥot-related settings are typically clothed in a tone of awe and supplication, in keeping with the occasion. In this rendition, the opening section is excerpted from a complete setting of the s’liḥot service by the learned cantor-composer Leib Glantz (1898–1964).

Einei khol—the setting of the latter portion of the ashrei—is a self-contained composition that was sung by Moshe Koussevitzky, one of the most famous virtuoso star cantors of the 20th century, who immigrated to the United States from Poland following the Second World War. Although the setting is commonly attributed to Koussevitzky, he probably did not compose it in a formal sense, and the choral parts have always been left to subsequent arrangers. It is nonetheless based on his improvisation, which became a relatively fixed rendition and may also have been drawn—as was much of Koussevitzky’s hazzanut and especially his modal constructions (nusaḥ hat’filla)—from the melodic style and characteristic phrases of Elias Zaludkovsky (1889–1943). As a youngster, Koussevitzky sang in Zaludkovsky’s choir, both in Rostov and Vilna, later succeeding him as cantor at the Vilna Khor Shul (choral synagogue). Still, Koussevitzky fashioned his rendition to exploit his own extraordinarily high tessitura and the legendary brilliance of his upper register. That aspect of his style was often modeled on the vocal approach of Gershon Sirota (1877?–1943), who served prior to Koussevitzky as chief cantor of the prestigious Tłomackie Synagogue in Warsaw. Koussevitzky made this rendition a standard part of his s’liḥot services in Brooklyn during the 1950s and 1960s at Temple Beth El of Boro Park, where Cantor Benzion Miller currently officiates.

Va’anaḥnu—the concluding part of ashrei—is from a setting by Joshua Lind, a highly respected émigré cantor and teacher, today best remembered as an extraordinarily prolific composer of traditional settings in the unapologetically earthy and melodically communicative style acquired from his earlier years in eastern European synagogue choirs. In particular, Lind’s music transparently reveals the imprint of his mentor, the revered hazzan, choirmaster, and composer Zeidl Rovner [Jacob Samuel Maragowsky; 1856–1943], whose own style was profoundly influenced by a general Hassidic melos. Lind’s hundreds of choral settings were never published, but they found their way into synagogue repertoires throughout the United States and Canada through networks of admiring cantors and choirmasters.

Ashrei leads directly into the rendition of the ḥatzi kaddish (half kaddish), which, by established convention, always introduces the actual s’liḥot liturgy. The ḥatzi kaddish is a reduced form of the full Aramaic text recited at other points in the liturgy, sometimes identified by liturgical scholars as the doxology. Kaddish embodies the supreme acknowledgment of God’s unparalleled greatness. It is the ultimate expression of unqualified glorification, praise, and worship of God unto all eternity. Originally, kaddish was not related to the liturgy per se, but was recited at the conclusion of rabbinic discourses or lessons, perhaps as a way of dismissing the assembly with an allusion to messianic hope as well as supreme faith. Because those discourses were delivered in Aramaic—the daily language of Jews for approximately fifteen hundred years following the Babylonian captivity—the kaddish text, too, was composed in that language. It developed around its central congregational response, y’he sh’me raba m’varakh l’alam ul’almei almaya (May His great name be worshiped forever, for all time, for all eternity), which derives from Daniel 2:20. Later, the kaddish was introduced into the liturgy to signal the conclusion of sections of a service, to divide such sections, or to conclude biblical readings or talmudic quotations. As the liturgical tradition developed, various forms of the kaddish—its full recitation as well as versions either omitting certain parts or containing alternate ones—were assigned to different specific roles in the liturgical order.

The original rationale for the ḥatzi kaddish as a preamble to the s’lihot is unclear, apart from the theological and poetic appropriateness of the text. However, by established liturgical rule, a kaddish recitation must function either as a conclusion of, or a division between, liturgical sections or scriptural readings—i.e., it must follow one or the other. This suggests yet another possible reason for the institution of ashrei as a prelude, for ashrei then fulfills the requirement of providing such a preceding section.

The ḥatzi kaddish rendition contains the oldest melodic elements in any formal First S’liḥot service: the individual motives and phrases—including the signature incipit— that combine to form this misinnai tune. Misinnai tunes are seasonal leitmotifs whose canonization for specific occurrences on the liturgical calendar dates to the initial formulation of the Ashkenazi rite in the Rhineland during the Middle Ages. They remain a fixed practice in all Ashkenazi synagogues. This particular tune is prescribed for the ḥatzi kaddish that precedes the musaf service on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. By established cantorial tradition, the same basic misinnai kaddish version for those Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur musaf services is also employed on the First S’liḥot, providing a musical anticipation of the impending Days of Awe. The easily recognizable motives of this misinnai tune figure prominently in any expanded cantorial-choral arrangement, regardless of style or period. But additional, more recent melodic components are usually attached as well to other parts of the text.

This 20th-century arrangement—a hybrid based on two distinct settings by émigré cantors Todros Greenberg (1893–1976) and Abraham Kalechnik (1846–1927)—exhibits these misinnai tune properties while also referring to a well-known but musically unrelated melody (beginning with the words b’ḥayyeikhon uv’yomeikhon)  commonly attributed to Wolf Shestapol (ca. 1832–72), an important cantor and synagogue composer in the Ukraine. That melody has become nearly inseparable from High Holy Day ḥatzi kaddish renditions in America. Similarly, the sequential and lighter-spirited melody for the last section (yitbarakh v’yishtabbaḥ)is also frequently found in these ḥatzi kaddish settings in American synagogues. Clearly eastern European in style, but not found in any notated European sources, it may be either European or American in origin. Its authorship has not been established.

L’khu n’rann’na contains verses from Psalms 95, 89, and 55, and Job 12:10, and leads into hann’shama lakh. The setting sung here, which became familiar in many American synagogues by the mid-20th century, is by Isaac Kaminsky (1871–1943), whose emotionally evocative melodies are very much in the popular vein of Lind. Most of Kaminsky’s music, however, has been known primarily in eastern states and especially in the greater New York area, probably owing to its advocacy there by the prominent choirmaster Oscar Julius (1903–86), who conducted for many of the leading cantors of his period and who arranged and edited Kaminsky’s repertoire. This is one of the few Kaminsky pieces that became popular throughout other parts of the United States, and it remains one of the most frequently sung settings of this text. Like Lind’s choral repertoire, most of Kaminsky’s music remains in manuscript and has been disseminated among cantors and choirmasters through their collegial networks.

The setting of hattei elohai ozn’kha by the noted émigré virtuoso cantor Israel Schorr was composed originally as a concert piece and was initially recorded by the composer. Later it became part of Yom Kippur repertoires of various cantors and choirs, not only in the United States and Canada but also in Israel. The male chorus arrangement here, for example, was written by Isaac Heilmann for his choir in the Great Synagogue in Haifa. The delicately lyrical melody for the words ki shimkha nikra, however, was not part of the original version and was interpolated later for Moshe Koussevitzky’s recording and public renditions, including his Carnegie Hall debut in 1938. He retained that interpolated melody, which is neither his own nor Schorr’s (suggestions of authorship have included European hazzan David Eisenstadt), when he sang the piece during his American s’liḥot services.

Zavel Zilberts was one of the few significant choral composers in America to have served previously as a choral director at one of eastern Europe’s westernized and sophisticated (but still “orthodox,” or at least not nonorthodox) synagogues, known as khor shuls. Prior to his immigration, Zilberts was the music director at the Great Central Synagogue in Moscow, where the repertoire was largely borrowed from the German Synagogue canon.

In America, where he wrote for both traditional and Reform services, Zilberts’s style remained more classical and restrained than the simpler folk-oriented and sometimes even theatrically embossed melos embraced by the other eastern European émigré synagogue composers represented here. This el melekh yoshev setting, illustrative of Zilberts’s khor shul influence without sacrificing melodic appeal to austerity, is one of his best-known synagogue works.

The entire rendition of the poem b’motza’ei m’nuḥa is a typical composite of various compositions for individual strophes, interspersed with cantorial improvisations for others and even with alternative refrain melodies. This pizmon has traditionally provided a musical centerpiece for the midnight First S’liḥot service. A few composers have set the entire pizmon as a purportedly cohesive composition, but most have set only one or perhaps a few of the strophes. The general practice that evolved in American synagogues has therefore been to plan a selection of strophes from various sources—ideally, of course, with an overall balance of contrasting styles. Even in the very few European sources that contain choral music for this text, such as the collection published in 1874 in Odessa by Joshua [Osias] Abrass (1820–84), only a few of the stanzas are included; and these are free compositions that do not allow rhythmically for the substitution of other strophes.

The aggregate rendition of b’motza’ei m’nuḥa recorded here is a microcosm of many of the clichés and idioms typical of orthodox and traditional choral style in synagogues where the eastern European brand of cantorial art prevails. Among these are intensely melodic solo passages for boy altos and sopranos; duets with the cantor; sustained bass solos; cantorial improvisations with choral responses and pedal point underpinnings; and fully composed sections that feature cantorial solo lines in harmony with choral expositions.

The setting of the poem’s initial strophe is a pastiche of traditional motives that was pieced together and arranged by Arnold Miller (1922–97) for the many choral services he conducted at synagogues in the greater Chicago area. Miller was a leading personality for many decades in the Jewish musical life of Chicago—as a composer, conductor, arranger, bandmaster, and pianist. The melody for the second line of the strophe, hat ozn’kha, was adapted from a tune he attributed to the esteemed cantor-composer and teacher of hazzanut, Joshua Samuel Weisser [Pilderwasser; 1888–1952].

The authorship of this setting of the sixth strophe, marom im atzmu, is uncertain. Cantor Joseph Malovany transcribed it from a live recording of a s’liḥot service sung by Cantor David Kusevitsky with a choir conducted by Morris Barash. An educated guess is that it was composed by Herman Zalis (1885–1969), who conducted, composed, and arranged for Kusevitsky for many years.

The penultimate strophe, p’ne na, was composed expressly for the Milken Archive by Cantor Ira Bigeleisen. His bass solo part reflects an idiomatic stylistic fixture of eastern European–oriented repertoire.

Meyer Machtenberg’s famous setting of the final strophe, r’tze atiratam, gained wide currency in American synagogues from its early recording by the world-renowned and preeminent cantor Yossele [Joseph] Rosenblatt (to whom it has sometimes been erroneously attributed, since his initial recording failed to credit Machtenberg). This piece has acquired numerous subsequent expansions and extended arrangements, with multiple recurrences of the signature melody for the refrain, lishmo’a. The one here, however, retains the simplicity of the original.

T’vi’enu [havi’enu in some variant readings] incorporates a verse from Isaiah 56:7 and contains a messianic message that is interpreted dramatically and vividly in this setting by Joshua Lind. This is an unabashedly theatrical treatment of the type that found great acceptance in traditional eastern European–oriented American synagogues. One is tempted to ascribe its kitsch to American Jewish popular influence, but its flavor is not so far afield from other traditional approaches to this text. Some of its most familiar settings by other composers—e.g., Kalechnik and even Eliezer Gerovisch (1844–1914), whose stylistic orientation is probably the most classically westernized and dignified among all eastern European synagogue composers—also betray a marchlike, almost triumphal military character. It has even been suggested that such lively dramatizations provide an aesthetic moment of emotional relief just prior to the following sober supplication, sh’ma kolenu, which is a fervent, heartrending plea.

The first part of sh’ma kolenu is taken from the daily service (from the section known as the sh’mone esrei, or the Eighteen Benedictions). The remainder of the text as it appears in the s’liḥot liturgy (generally considered part of the same s’liḥa prayer) is derived from Lamentations (5:21) and Psalms. Its cantorial rendition generally constitutes one of the emotional peaks of the First S’liḥot service. Joseph Rumshinsky (1881–1956), whose setting is sung here for most of the text, was primarily a Second Avenue Yiddish theater composer, songwriter, and conductor, and he is remembered as one of the giants of that popular genre. But like many of his most successful fellow Second Avenue songwriters, such as Sholom Secunda, Abraham Ellstein, and Alexander Olshanetsky, he also wrote (and sometimes conducted) for the synagogue. This is one of his best- known liturgical pieces. In this rendition, free cantorial improvisation has been substituted for the last section, a typical option in such traditional services.

Ashamnu is the short form of the communal confession. It consists of twenty-four alphabetically arranged expressions and manifestations of sin and transgression. The rendition here follows what has become the basic melodic pattern in American synagogues, based on some European traditions. But the solo vocal line in this arrangement mirrors the refined variant sung by Moshe Koussevitzky. In the synagogue, the choral responses would be joined by the congregation each time, and the recurring wordless tune that interrupts the recitation of collective transgressions is a ubiquitous congregational melody reserved for this occasion in nearly all traditional American services. At one time, there were many extant alternative melodies, but this particular tune has emerged as virtually exclusive.

The curious habit of attaching a lighthearted, homey tune to one of the most awe-inspiring and solemn moments in the liturgy has Hassidic origins in Europe, and even some humorous justifications in Hassidic folklore. S. Y. Agnon, in his Sippurei habesht (Stories of the Baal Shem Tov), relates a story in which the juxtaposition of joyful tunes against the text of the confessional is likened to the gladness felt by a devoted servant upon clearing rubbish from his king’s court. Yet the classical European published synagogue music collections contain no such tuneful adjuncts to the confessional. This custom, now standard in most traditional Ashkenazi services, may be but one further example of the lasting Hassidic imprint on the development of eastern European hazzanut during the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Joshua Lind's version of raḥamana, an Aramaic text written in Babylonia, is another case of humble supplication accompanied by mirthful song—in this case even akin to a quasi-Hassidic dance tune. Although other, more classically oriented settings of raḥamana—such as an extended composition by Zilberts—treat the opening lines with deep reverence and humility, most composers (including Zilberts) have nonetheless also set the final phrase with spirited optimism: “Now, soon, in our own time!”

Maran d’vishmayya is also in Aramaic. The composer of this setting, Dan (David) Frohman (1903–77), was the music director of a major Conservative synagogue in the Detroit area for many years. He frequently adapted folklike phrases in his pieces.

Celebrated as a legend both during his lifetime and after his death more than any other cantor in the pantheon of the great virtuosi, Yossele [Joseph] Rosenblatt was one of the supreme cantorial artists of all time. And especially to the lay public, non-Jewish as well as Jewish, he remains probably the most famous cantor of any generation. His shomer yisra’el is one of his most classically constructed and best-known compositions. It is sung here in a contemporary arrangement by the gifted South African–Israeli composer and arranger Raymond Goldstein, who has retained the full spirit and flavor of Rosenblatt’s style.

Avinu malkenu was improvised, according to the pertinent talmudic reference (b. Taanit 25b), by Rabbi Akiva in the 1st or 2nd century and was originally a nucleus of only five lines, with the preceding refrain on those two initial words of address (Our Father, Our King). It was subsequently increased to 29 lines in the Sephardi rite, 38 in the German Ashkenazi rite, and 44 in the Polish, or eastern European Ashkenazi rite. Only the last line, however, is customarily sung toward the conclusion of the s’lihot service. This melody is universal among American synagogues, but its origin is undetermined. It is not found in any notated European sources.

The full kaddish (kaddish shalem) (track 12, CD 2) concludes the s’liḥot service, just as it was begun with the half kaddish. Although there is no prescribed traditional version for this concluding kaddish, which can be simply and syllabically chanted, the engaging rendition here—which has become increasingly popular in recent decades—is based on a setting composed in Europe by Jacob Gottlieb (1852–1900), better known as Yankl der Heizeriker (Yankl the hoarse one, or husky-voiced one). It is now commonly labeled “Hassidic kaddish,” since Gottlieb apparently claimed that he had heard Hassidim singing the concluding kaddish of the Rosh Hashana musaf service “cheerfully” (though not necessarily to this specific tune). Neither its principal melody nor its secondary motives are found in the repertoire of any authentic Hassidic traditions; and Gottlieb referred to his creation simply as “yitgaddal”—the initial word of the text incipit. According to Gottlieb’s son Berl, he even substituted the Yiddish words a heym for the last pronouncement of v’al (and all [Israel] ), which he said gave it the meaning, “and all can now go home [since your prayers have been accepted].” This basic composite tune was sung and recorded by both Yossele Rosenblatt and Moshe Koussevitzky, in modified arrangements. It has therefore often been attributed erroneously to one or the other—including in supposedly reliable published sources. The original manuscript, however, formerly in the possession of Gottlieb’s grandson until his own death, together with the family oral history as passed down by Gottlieb’s son—also a cantor in various European cities and then in Newcastle upon Tyne, in England—leaves no doubt concerning authorship.

The basic version that has emerged through oral transmission to establish its present identity, however, departs in some significant respects from that original manuscript. This includes even differences in tonality, especially in the opening section. Moreover, numerous arrangers have tinkered with the piece, leaving a stream of variant renderings, adaptations, and altered choral elements—though none appear to have consulted the Gottlieb manuscript. The arrangement created for this recording also follows the melodic contours of the more commonly recognizable variants. Even though the Rosenblatt and Koussevitzky recordings introduced this kaddish many decades ago, its popularity increased remarkably over the course of the last quarter of the 20th century. So widespread had its use become by the end of the century that it is now frequently sung on Sabbaths and Festivals, even though Gottlieb intended it more narrowly for the High Holy Days.

Note: This recording is also available on the first two digital albumsof Volume 3—SEDER T’FILLOT: Traditional and Contemporary Synagogue Services.



By: Neil W. Levin





ASHREI (PSALMS 42:5; 144:15)

Those who dwell in Your house find happiness, and continue forever to praise You.
Happy is the people whose life is so blessed, happy is the nation whose God is the Lord.

Psalm 145 
A song of praise, by David

[I will exalt You, my God, my King, and worship Your name always—forever.
I will greet You every day and praise Your name forever, indeed forever.
God, so powerful, so praiseworthy, Your greatness is beyond examination.
One generation will praise Your deeds to the next, and describe Your mighty acts.
I will speak of the beauty and honor of Your majesty, as well as of Your miraculous deeds.
People will tell of the might of Your awesome Being, and I will speak of Your greatness.
They shall retell memories of Your great goodness, and joyfully sing of Your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, patient, and possessed of a full measure of loving-kindness.
The Lord is good to all, His mercies extend to all His creatures.
All those You have created will offer You thanks, and the righteous will worship You.
They will tell of the glory of Your kingdom, and speak of Your power.
They will inform the children of men of Your might, and of the glorious honor of Your kingdom.

The eyes of all look toward You, and You provide all with food at the appropriate time and season.
You open Your hand and satisfy all the living with great and good will. The Lord is righteous in all His paths, loving in all His deeds. Near to all who call is the Lord, to all who call in truth. He will fulfill the desires of those who fear Him—will hear their cry, will save them! The Lord protects all who love Him, but all the wicked will He destroy.
My mouth will speak the Lord’s praise, and all flesh will worship His holy name forever, forever.

Va'anaḥnu (Psalm 114:18)

And we will praise the Lord, from now unto eternity, Halleluyah!


May God’s great name be even more exalted and sanctified in the world that He created according to His own will; and may He fully establish His kingdom in your lifetime, in your own days, and in the life of all those of the House of Israel—soon, indeed without delay. Those praying here signal assent and say amen.

May His great name be worshiped forever, for all time, for all eternity. Worshiped, praised, glorified, exalted, elevated, adored, uplifted, and acclaimed be the name of the Holy One, praised be He—over and beyond all the words of worship and song, praise and consolation ever before uttered in this world. Those praying here signal assent and say amen.


You crushed the heads of the Leviathan and bestowed it as food to the people in the desert.
You split open the sources of springs of water, and of riverbeds.
You drained dry mighty rivers.
You divided the sea with Your strength.
You broke the heads of sea monsters in the waters.
You rule over the fury of the seas.
When the waves climb too high, You subdue them.
The Lord is sublime and much praised in the city of our
God, on His holy mountain.
O Lord of Hosts, God of Israel, You who dwell in the midst of the cherubim, You alone are God.

God, praised in the counsels of the holy, great and awesome in the midst of all that surrounds Him, the heavens tell of Your wonders, O Lord, Your faithfulness in the community of the holy.


Come then, let us sing to God! Let us joyfully shout to that Rock, our protector.
We will greet Him first with thanksgiving, then chant sweet melodies to Him.
Righteousness and judgment are the foundations of
Your throne; loving-kindness and truth precede Your presence.
We will share secrets together and with deep feeling visit the House of the Lord.
The oceans are His; He made them; and it was His hands that created the continents.

In His hands are the souls of all that live and the spirit that permeates the flesh of all mankind.
The soul is Yours, and the body—Yours. Have compassion, then, on the fruit of Your labor.
The soul is Yours, and the body—Yours. Lord, act for the sake of Your name.

We have come depending on Your name, Lord;
Act for the sake of Your name, for the honor of Your name.
For we know that name to be “God, gracious and merciful.”
For Your name’s sake, O Lord, forgive us then the multitude of our transgressions.

S'laḥ lanu avinu ki b'rov ivaltenu
Forgive us, our Father; we have been led astray by our own overwhelming foolishness. Pardon us, our King;  our sins continue to multiply.

... kama yisartanu... ki ata el rahum... ta'avor al pesha... adonai... s'lah lanu…

Kama yisartanu (Eikh niftaḥ pe)
You have chastised us over and again with the words of prophets and messengers. We have paid no heed to the words of preachers. [From early on until now, we have been lost, killed, slaughtered, butchered. We have become a tiny remnant among broken thorns. Our eyes—completely spent—find no more pleasures or joys.

The misled among the people, those who bow in worship to lifeless idols, why do they prosper from daybreak to the setting of the sun? They rise to accept debased, contemptible ways. You, the broken, the shattered—in what do you put your trust?]

Holy One, who abides forever, see the humiliation of those who sigh, who languish. They rely on You as one would on a brother. With Your awesome right arm, rescue us, preserve us, forever and ever. For our trust resides only in the greatness of Your mercy.

Ki ata el raḥum (Ki al raḥameka)
For You are a compassionate and gracious God, with infinite patience and abundant loving-kindness. You are generous with Your gifts of goodness, and You rule the world with Your own measure of mercy. As it is written in Scripture: “And He said: I will reveal all  of my goodness before you, and I will pronounce the name of the Lord in your presence; I will be gracious to whomsoever I please, and will be merciful to those to whom I choose to be merciful.”

Ta'avor al pesha (El erekh apayim)
Disregard our iniquities; erase our guilt as You did when You came down in a cloud and Moses placed himself beside You there.
Hear our cry and listen to what is written in the verse: “And he called upon the name of the Lord”—and it is also written: “And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed: The Lord, the Lord ...”

Adonai adonai
The Lord, the Lord, God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, trusting in loving-kindess and truth; preserving His grace for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and cleansing from sin.
Pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Your own.

S'lah lanu avinu ki ḥatanu
Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned. Pardon us, our King, for we have transgressed. For You, Lord, are good, forgiving, and filled with loving-kindness for all who call to You.

Slaḥ na
Use Your infinite loving-kindness, if You will, to pardon the transgression of this people, just as You have done from Israel’s days in Egypt until here and now, as it is written [in the Book of Exodus]: “And the Lord said: I have forgiven them according to your request.”


My God, turn Your ear toward us and hear; focus Your eyes on us and see our desolation and that of the city to which You have bonded Your name. For we dare not cast our supplications before You with a false feeling of our own righteousness. We do so because of our faith in Your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, give ear and act! Do not tarry, for Your own sake, my God; for Your name is bonded to that of Your people.


Your very name, O God, glorifies life. We await the pronouncement from You—“A good life!”
The mysteries of the beginnings of life are all explained in You. Look at us, answer us, enlighten our eyes.



God, King, You occupy a throne built on mercy. Your deeds reflect Your loving-kindness. You forgive Your people’s iniquities—putting each aside, one by one. You expand forgiveness for the sinner and pardon for the transgressor. Your righteousness extends to all creatures of flesh and spirit; You do not assign a full measure of punishment to those who err. God, You taught us that when in need of atonement, we are to recite Your thirteen attributes of mercy. Thus, today we ask You to remember us for our well-being. Remember: take note of Your covenant with us, which enumerates those thirteen attributes. You revealed all this to Your humble servant Moses centuries ago, as is recorded in Scripture: “And the Lord had descended in a cloud; He stood with Moses there and proclaimed the Lord’s name. The Lord passed before Moses and said”...



At the end of Sabbath rest we hasten to come, in anticipation of You.
You, whose habitation is praise, from the heavens turn Your ear toward us.

Lishmo'a el harina
Listen to the song! Listen to the prayer!


Awaken Your mighty right arm and perform Your deeds of valor.
Isaac our ancestor was justly bound to an altar; In his stead, though, You provided a ram—a ram to be tied, a ram to be sacrificed.
When Isaac’s descendants cry out in the night, shield them too, if You will.

D'rosh na
Examine well, if it please You, those who search for You, seeking Your presence.
Search for them from Your heavenly abode, And deafen not Your ear to their pleas.


Fearful and trembling before the Day of Judgment, Your anger and dunning demands make them ache like women with childbirth pains.
Let it please You to clear away their uncleanliness and let them testify to Your many wonders.


You are the Creator of every creature created.
At the beginning of time You prepared remedies to aid them in the narrowest of their straits, To gift them, though undeserved, from the hidden treasure house of Your grace.


Highest One, if the transgressions of Your community have multiplied, Strengthen Your folk, if it please You, from the treasures prepared in Your heavenly sanctuary.
Your people come to You begging for undeserved grace.


Look, please, to our adversities, and not to our sins.
You, who perform marvelous wonders, justify those who cry out to You. Give heed to their supplications, God, Lord of hosts.


Accept their requests when they stand before You in the night.
Willingly give those requests attention, as You would with sacrifices, with burnt offerings [in Temple days].
Show them Your wonders, Your greatness.


Remember Your Mercy, O Lord, for it extends from time’s beginning to eternity....

Remember for (the sake of) Your servants; remember for Abraham, for Isaac, and for Jacob. Do not focus on the perverseness of this people, on its wickedness, on its sinfulness. Remember for our sake the covenant with our ancestors, as You yourself have said: “And I will remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and yet also my covenant with Abraham...I’ll remember... and the land—I’ll remember the land as well.” Keep before You the covenant with our first forefathers as You had promised!

Himmatze lanu
Be available to us when we call, as it is written in Scripture: “And when you search there for the Lord your God, you will find Him—if you seek with all your heart and all your soul.”


Bring us to Your sacred mountain and let us rejoice in Your House of Prayer, as it was promised us in Scripture, which tells us: “And I will bring them to my sacred mountain and let them rejoice in my House of Prayer. All their offerings will be acceptable on my altar: for my house will be called a House of Prayer for all nations.”


Hear our voice, O Lord, our God, have compassion and mercy on us. Accept our prayers with tenderness, with goodwill.

Turn us, O Lord, toward You, that we may return to You in repentance.

Don’t cast us away from Your presence and Your holy spirit—don’t remove it from our midst.

Don’t cast us away at the time of old age; don’t abandon us as our strength ebbs away from us. 

[Give ear to our words, understand our thoughts. Let the words of our mouths and our hearts’ meditations find favor with You, Lord, our rock, our liberator.]


Don’t forsake us, Lord, our God; do not distance yourself from us. [Give us a sign of good things to come. Let our enemies observe it, and be embarrassed. You are our help, our comfort; we wait on You, O Lord; Lord, our God, we wait for Your response.]

Tavo l'fanekha
Our God, God of our fathers, let our prayer come before You. Do not hide Yourself from our supplications. We are not so brazen or so without self-knowledge as to plead before You, Lord, our God and God of our fathers, that we are guiltless or without sin. For in reality both our ancestors and we were and are culpable—sinful.


We have trespassed the boundaries of the Law. We have betrayed; we have robbed; we have slandered and defamed; we have sinned beyond sin; we have become wicked; we have become violent; we have imputed mendacity to others; we have given improper counsel; we have spoken falsehoods; we have mocked our fellows; we have been rebellious; we have rejected  good counsel; we have been disloyal; we have been base and vile; we have behaved like criminals; we have become aggressive; we have been stiff-necked; we have become corrupt; we have erred; we have caused others to err.

[We have turned our backs on Your commandments and on Your sure judgments, to no avail. Though You have been just in all that has transpired in our lives—Your deeds are framed in truthfulness—we nevertheless have embraced wickedness.]


We have been wicked and sinful, and therefore we have not been saved. Prepare our hearts to abandon the paths of wickedness and hasten to bring us our liberation; as Your prophet wrote, “Let the wicked man leave his path, and the sinner his schemes, and return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and let him return to our God, for God is generous in His compassion.”

In the Psalms, David, Your righteous anointed one, said before Your presence, “Who can understand unintended error? Cleanse me from secret faults.”...

For mercy and forgiveness are with the Lord our God.

Your name: Merciful God.
Your name: Gracious God.
Our name is bonded with Your name.
O Lord, act for the sake of Your name.

Act for Your sake, if not for ours!
Act for Your sake, and help us!

Answer us, O Lord, answer us!
Answer us, our God, answer us....


May He who answered our father Abraham on Mount Moriah, answer us!


Merciful One, who answers the prayers of the poor, answer us! Merciful One, who answers the prayers of the brokenhearted, answer us! Merciful One, who answers the prayers of those of wounded spirit, answer us! Merciful One, answer us! Merciful One, have pity on us! Merciful One, save us! Merciful One, release us! Merciful One, have mercy on us—now, soon, in our own time!


You wound, and You heal.
You bring death, and You rescue from the grave toward eternal life....
[Heal the pains that have assaulted us] so that we do not utterly perish in the prison that is our exile.

Makhnisei raḥamim
You angels; you who present pleas for mercy to the master of mercy, present our pleas before him.

Lord of our salvation, answer us quickly. Redeem us from evil decrees; save us with Your generous mercy—us, Your people, as well as Your truly anointed one.


Master of the heavens, we beseech You as a prisoner would his captor....

Master of the heavens, we beseech You as a slave would his master. We are so much oppressed that we exist in bleak darkness. Our souls have become embittered, and we are in great distress. We no longer have the physical power even to implore You properly, our Master.
Help us for the sake of the eternal covenant that You established with our ancestors.


Guardian of Israel, safeguard the remnants of Israel and let them not be abandoned and lost, those that declare: “Listen, O Israel...”

Guardian of Israel, safeguard the remnant of that singular people and let them not be abandoned and lost, those who declare the unity of Your name—The Lord is our God, the Lord is One!

Guardian of a holy nation, safeguard the remnant of that holy people, and let them not be abandoned and lost, those who three times daily declare Your threefold holiness.

[You who are placated by prayers for mercy and moved by supplications, be accepting of the prayers and supplications of an impoverished generation; for there is none but You to help.]


Our Father, our King, be gracious to us and answer us, for we have no good deeds to speak for us. Relate to us with righteousness and loving-kindness and be of a help to us.


Magnified and sanctified be His great name throughout the world which He hath created according to His will. And great is His glorious Creation! And may His kingdom come during our lives and days, and during the life of all the House of Israel. May His Kingdom come, His will be done on earth as in heaven. Speedily, soon, and let us say amen.

May His great name be worshiped. O worshiped be His holy name, forever and to all eternity.

Worshiped and praised, and glorified and exalted and extolled, and honored and magnified and lauded be the name of the Holy One, praised be He. Though He be beyond all worship and songs and praises and consolations that can be uttered in this world, and let us say amen.

May the supplications and petitions of all Israel be accepted before our Father in heaven. Will all present here assent by saying amen.

May there be abundant peace for us and for all Israel; and those praying here signal assent and say amen.

May He who establishes peace in His high place establish peace for us and for all Israel; and those praying here signal assent and say amen.



Composer: Various
Length: 96:55
Genre: Liturgical

Performers: Ira Biegeleisen, Bass Solo;  Neil Levin, Conductor;  Benzion Miller, Cantor;  Schola Hebraeica, Donald Barnum, chorus master

Date Recorded: 07/01/2001
Venue: New West End Synagogue (D), London, UK
Engineer: Campbell Hughes, Morgan Roberts and Bertram Kornacher
Assistant Engineer: Weir, Simon
Project Manager: Levin, Neil

Additional Credits:

Dale Lind (Zoḥalim, T'vi'enu, Raḥamana)
Ira Bigelesein (P'ne na)
Music Sales Corp (Sh'ma kolenu)
All other tracks: unpublished manuscripts
Choral Preparation: Jonathan Fluker

Translation by Rabbi Moron M. Leifman


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