Feminine Stanzas for the Prayer for Rain
Found In: Shemini Atzeret
Tags: tefillat hageshem
By Rabbi Ruth Gan Kagan | Prayer
Author's Note: Here are two versions, English and Hebrew, for stanzas invoking the merit of our foremothers as part of the Geshem prayer recited on Sukkot. They are not a translation of each other. The English version was written to resemble one particular common translation (that of David de Sola Pool). The Hebrew version is based on the Hebrew piyut, though, regretfully, it doesn't keep to the aleph-bet piyut construct.
Our God, God of our ancestors:
Remember one who laughed, cascading laugh like water
Whose way of women You resumed, blood flowing out as water
The babes of kingdoms from her breasts she nursed with milk like water
Her children You made numerous as sea sand by the water
For Sara's sake send water!
Remember one who, in her youth, went down to draw well water
A weary servant asked her for a little drink of water
She hastened, drawing until the camels all drank water
Blessing for her son she got, by going around, like water
For Rivkah's sake send water!
Remember one, whose eyes got soft; her tears flowed down like water
Who had to fill the lack of love in secrecy, like water
Her sister met her love in kiss and tears upon the well of water
For her children's pain she's weeping still, shedding tears like water
For Leah and Rachel's sake send water!
Remember one who watched through reeds her brother float on water
Who, with her drum, swept circles of dancing dames on water
Her merit gifted Your thirsty flock with a miraculous well of water
Her prophesy, in times of doubt, flowed from You like water
For Miriam's sake send water
Remember sitting under palm, upon a spring of water
Her song and wisdom bringing victory upon Kishon river's water
As You appeared, the mountains melted and the clouds dropped water
Your rescue came through one, offering milk instead of water
For Devorah and Yael's sake send water!
To download a PDF of the Hebrew, click here.