Women's Daily Prayer that May be Useful to Men As Well

Andrea Kim Foster gives us an idea of how the traditional Amidah prayer for weekdays could be reconstructed to speak to the experience of older women who are refusing to see themselves as "aging" but rather as moving into a new  life stage which Rabbi Zalman Schachter Shalomi dubbed "Sage-ing." Prayer is hard for everyone (except those who do it without conscious attention to what they are saying); this attempt to make the words more relevant may or may not work for you, but might provide a model for both women and men to create your own form of daily prayer (davening). It's a path we should be exploring in Beyt Tikkun. And if you do create new prayers, please share them with me and let me share them with the rest of our community.--Rabbi Michael Lerner 

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Weekday Amidah for Women Transitioning to Sage-ing

by ALEPH rabbinic student Andrea Kim Foster, Ph.D.

September 2009 - January 2010

Opening Meditation

Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         You have maintained the birthing place within me and I am grateful.

         Now I am experiencing a change.

         I open to the sweetness of a new way to create as I make this transition.

         Shine Your light as I enter a dawn Sage-esses have danced forever.

         I step forward with a song on my lips.

Blessings of Praise 1- 3

1 Ancestors

         Dear Shekhinah Mother, Birther of all birthers,

         You hold in Your heart and memory my sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and great-grandmothers. You remember Leah and Rachel, before them Your conversations with Rebekkah, back to Blessed Sarah. You have heard them and they, You. I acknowledge You, the One who incubates us and provides our freedom wings. You have passed through all the ancestors forward to me and into the next generations. You have been with us all as we have birthed ourselves through life’s changes. Be with me now, as I, too, transition from seedtime to who I am becoming. You know my potential. Help me birth myself with Your protecting love.


Blessing #1 I Bless You and sing Your Blessing in my life as You did for the matriarchs Sarah, Rebekkah, Leah, and Rachel before me and will long after I have breathed my last Sh’ma.

2 God’s Power

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         You help rebirth me, changing a space within me I thought had one purpose. I witness this womb place is bigger, with a greater purpose than I imagined possible. You show me quiet gestation will bud a new creation, from chrysalis to my butterfly self I barely yet know. I knew You created miracles, but didn’t fathom the possibility of this mystery unfolding. Help me embrace this life of accomplishments You have actualized for me thus far. Your investment in me is awesome and continues to unfold. The possibilities are limitless. My soul’s everlasting journey continues and again lifts its neshama closer to You. I accept the mystery of  the newest creation You transform within me.

Blessing #2 Lifegiver, You who creates anew from a part of me that withers, like the tree thought dead in winter sprouting and budding in springtime. You who gives eternal life to bodies, minds, and spirits, I Bless You and thank You for my new self birthing as the old releases and transforms.

3 Sanctification of God’s Name

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         Where I am planted You are the seed sprouting in Your earth or blowing in Your wind. Your sacredness radiates from the expanses above the vast fields to the speckled light shining on the softened bed of needles in the evergreen forests. In Your totality I am lifted to become one with all You are in the spaces of being and non-being, of seeing and not seeing. As I change I see You anew as much as I see the One in me emerge. I am You wherever I am. You are me. We are everything. We witness Your majesty from the air or, on the back of the mouse exploring the ground together. In Your holiness You again lift me on eagle’s wings to hear the angels praise You. I become one of Your emissaries singing of Your greatness. Together we all lift our voices to praise You. You cause us in Your magnificence to lift above our daily tasks to offer You our profound gifts, each of us an instrument in the orchestra playing the symphony of You.


Blessing #3 From the six directions let all praise Your name: earth rooted, heavenward,  right, left, forward, behind. May we all gather hands and sing Your praise.

Blessings of Petition 4- 16 (Weekday)

4 Knowledge

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         In my journey toward Sage-ing please grace me with the knowledge of the wisdom women You have taught before me. You already planted their stories in my heart and soul. Let me now reap their wisdom. Give me the courage to unwrap the stories, to dig deeper within their lives to prepare mine. Help me harvest the matriarchs’ ways so I am able to sift their wisdom into my life experience and separate the golden wheat from the chaff, the nutritious kernels for my well-being, releasing what I don’t need to the wind floating down the healing waters of time.

Blessing #4 Favor me with insights from the ancient wisdom of the mothers’ stories and knowledge of their lives to make my own truly one with You.

5 Repentance

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         I turn myself to Your Graciousness. I am willing to change. It has been too long I’ve been torn within and from You. I sit by the lakeside and loose my heart pouring cleansing tears out to You. My sorrows fill the night, yet because of You I see glimmers of becoming who I will be. Many times I have risen to walk in the moonlight, open-eyed, finding my way to You in the shadows, using Your stars to guide my path. Those ancient lights from ancient universes have been my awareness and understanding of You. Yet through the darkness I’ve seen something else of You closer, the horizon of brilliant colors as the sunrises beckon. Please show me the rest of You for my journey homeward as I envision forgiveness from my heart to You, and from You, to me. I have faced the moon a long time and am now ready to turn toward Your breaking dawn. I love You. I Thank You. A new day approaches as I walk toward Your sunrise and You begin to shine more brightly. Please remind me of Your ever-present love and guide me to Your light.


Blessing #5 Please accept my willingness to change as I walk toward our new day.  

6 Forgiveness

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         I am aware it is I who have resisted, who have held You at a distance from my heart and soul. Will You accept me now for the changes I have made and undertake? Forgive me, please. I know I must forgive myself for keeping us apart as I embrace the next phase of this journey. I will keep opening to Your Torah and asking the women to shine light on all their stories not written and those yet to be written. Only then can our Torah be scribed together for the fullness of the truth, Your truth. Our truth. As I  forgive myself , please forgive me. Only together can we be on this journey. My heart opens to accept Your Love. I embrace Your Torah. Accept me, please.

Blessing #6 Please forgive me. Welcome me on the Torah path as I am, where I am, now.

7 Redemption

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         You are a vessel, a safe haven, a lap large enough for all the children of the universe! Make space for us to be rocked, nuzzled, comforted, by You. Be patient as we wrestle with the selves that no longer serve us. We are sometimes frightened and struggle to say “goodbye” to the parts we no longer need, to welcome the birthing process. Our soul sisters, mothers, aunts, grandmothers and great-grandmothers tell us this change takes time, its natural, an ancient rite-of-passage, and we are apprenticed to the best! Help us settle into Your lap for the ride through this rebirthing of our souls to Sagedom.

Blessing #7 Please sing us a freedom lullaby home to You.

8 Healing

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         At this moment on my journey I feel I am breaking into pieces. I am told the more shards, the greater Your light shines through. It doesn’t feel that way. I am sometimes afraid because I don’t know what the new me looks like. At times I want to cry from unexplained sadness. Then I am okay again. This is not easy. I know you never said it would be.

If praying for (a) specific individual(s) add:     May You choose, Dear Shekhinah Mother that it please You in Your ability to cleanse body, mind, and spirit, and bring wholeness, to heal all those who are in need of healing,, whether from this life change or any other reason. Please heal and bring comfort to Your child(ren).

Blessing #8 My faith in you draws me forward to wellness, health, shalom--wholeness and  balance. Help me see a new way of looking at myself in Your light and heal me.

9  Years

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         I have learned from our relatives’ stories that the journey takes years, more  than I might imagine. Bless this year with what I need, with money enough for food, clothing, place to live, a home, and more! Bless me now with goodness that I may serve You best even as I go through this transformation. I acknowledge Your abundance and desire a reminder from You of those blessings, the reasons I agreed to be on this path with You. Show me Your abundance! Thank you for Your great blessings.

Blessing #9 Bless me on this journey with Your radiant goodness for the year.

10 Gathering of the Exiles

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         Your loud call wakes us from exile. We left to grow our independence. Now You welcome us back from the distant journey of each of our becomings. You welcome home all your exiles with ready, open arms. We know our way home. You gave us our freedom wings, but it is Your roots that draw us back. As we are, we turn homeward to You.

Blessing #10 Blessed are You Shekhina Mother whose great call brings Your children dispersed throughout the lands home to Your hearth.

11 Justice

         Dear Shekhina Mother,

         Please restore the right judgments of our matriarchs’ tents,. We have inklings of the shape it is to take, but Oh, Dear God, it has been so long and the scales are tipping this way and that. Please, help us find the right vision to steady it all. The wise counsel is offered from grandmother to mother, daughter, sister, friend, through the birthing time and the moon time. It is there in our our whispers and shouts, our conversations, our tears, joys, and our deliberations. Let us know from the good counsel of the women how to create just living.

Blessing #11 Blessed are You Shekhina, our Mother, who loves righteousness, and justice.

From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur say instead: Blessed are You, Shekhina, our Mother, the nurturing One of justice.

12 Heretics

         Dear Shekhina Mother,

         Let there be no place in our tents for those who cause us to doubt our ways, to unbalance us, who are insulting and arrogant, who attempt to lead us astray during any of our transition times. We need You, our Protector, to send far away anyone who insights to turn us against ourselves, disabling them from reaching us at all. Let us be led right by our mothers quickly in our day.

Blessing #12 Blessed are You, Shekhina Mother, who turns away the insulting and arrogant from our tents and humbles the rude ones.

13 the Righteous

         Dear Shekhina Mother

         Welcome! Welcome into our tents!! All you elders and storytellers, God-wrestler choosers, remnants of the wisest, and all the righteous among us, gather around our hearth with compassion and honor to our Creator. Take care of the good!  Reward us all who trust in Your name, that You will hold us forever because of our great trust in You. Take care of Your community for together You know we can shine Your light more brightly. Then others will find their way to us by Your light and we will all walk forward with You. Please, shine brightly for us all to find the way in Your righteousness.

Blessing #13 Blessed are You, Shekhina, Mother who trusts and upholds the righteous.

14 Jerusalem

         Dear Shekhina Mother,

         Return to our tent quickly. Find your city of peace with us, with compassion, and stay forever!! Make a place for Ruth and Naomi to reside with us. You said You would return building Yourself  a forever place, a place of wholeness, for You to be among us. Do so now speedily and stay with us as You promised You would in our time.

Blessing #14 Blessed are You Shekhina Mother rebuilder of Eternal wholeness.

15 David

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         May Ruth’s children flourish and show the way of planting that all are nourished, needs fulfilled, taken care of and loved. May the time arrive when we all are safe and live the way of peace and Torah, when all experience justice and humanity, when bodies-minds-spirits are at ease and all are protected, when war is a distant memory. Oh, Creator Mother, please bring us this peace time. More important, show us how to bring it to ourselves. We want to birth peace on earth and for the planet’s survival, for the universe’s. You are our lifeline to that promised time. We hold tight to Your light. As Your children, we willingly serve You. 

Blessing #15 Praised are You who causes mindful ones to be saved and restored by Your light.

16 Prayer

         Dear Shekhinah Mother,

         You know my name. You’ve heard my voice. I know we talked before I came here. Listen. Please, I don’t remember talking about this transition time with You. Hear this plea of mine; reassure me I’m on the path with You, or, to You. Help me. Have mercy on me. Do not turn me away empty-handed. Remind me of my purpose and we will reframe the who I am to the one I am becoming to serve Your people Israel.

Blessing #16 Blessed are You, Sheckinah Mother, who hears prayers.

Blessings of Thanksgiving (Gratitude) 17-19

17 Sacrificial Service

         Dear Shekhina Mother,

         Listen, we pour our hearts out to You as we journey through these changes and we still want more from You! We extend our heartfelt love offerings to You. Accept them, please. The lines, the wrinkles, the falling skin of our throats, the soft places, bruises, cuts and scrapes all reflect the outer, the visible, of who we are. We have turned ourselves inside out for You to see us, in the process revealing our inner souls, all for You to witness. Restore Your Makom, Your Holy place, with us. May our God-wrestling offerings sweeten Your essence and be accepted by You.

Blessing #17 May You favor the prayers of our God-wrestling.

18 Grateful Acknowledgment

         Dear Shekhina Mother,

         Thank You for being my God, the Forever Shield and Protector You are and have been for all generations of grandmothers, mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins, and all traversing changes. You are the light of my days and nights, as day becomes night and the morning light blossoms forth again. You are the sunrises and sunsets, the moon lighting my way at night and the heavenly stars guiding my path. You I praise for wherever I am, unsettled or balanced, You hold my life and soul as steady as the northern star in the heavens. You cradle my neshama, my soul, in Your lap. You are kind, good, and merciful, filled with compassion to overflowing, and I am humbled and awed by the magnificence of the miracles You bestow on me everyday. I continue to entrust my journey to Your caring hands. You give me hope by always sustaining me.

From Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur, add: Write all of us in who shine Your light on the world.

Blessing #18 Awesome and wonderful Shekhina Mother, thank You and BLESS YOU!

19 The Priestly Blessing/Peace

         Dear Shekhina Mother,

         Bless us during this transition as You offered blessings to our mothers in their changing times and they in turn offered to their children. Keep us close to Your Heart, shine Your wisdom on us and show us Your kindness as we move into our new selves. Turn Your face to us in peace.        

         Grant us all the goodness You have to offer. Be a light to us with Your Torah. Bless us constantly with all there is that is good, with kindness, compassion, life, and peace. May we be transformed into our wholeness by Your light.


Blessing #19 Your outstretched arms spread over us like a great blanket covering all Your children. Bless us with peace.

Closing Meditation

         Dear Shekhina Mother,

         I have opened to Your sweetness and stepped forward, entering the dawn of the Sage-esses. Protect me from uttering wrongdoing and close the vessel from deliberately speaking misleading words. Help me ignore barbs and insults; allow my soul to rise above toxins of unkindness. Let those nasty attempts to deter me fall flat. Silently! May I be filled with Your Torah that my neshama, my soul, be blessed with Your countenance, that my TorahSeed-planting be pleasing to You. Oh, God, You who spreads peace over all of us, wrap us in Your peace as You have before. Tuck us in, all Your children in one large bed. Cover us, Your God-wrestlers, with Your blanket of peace and say, Amen.


© January 4, 2010 by Andrea Kim Foster. All rights reserved

Thanks to Judy Barokas (Reston Virginia) my hevruta for our weekly Amidah discussions; also, to Rabbis Marcia Prager and Shawn Zevit of the Davennin’ Leadership Training Institute for this assignment. In addition, to Rabbis Mark Raphael and David Shneyer, of Gaithersburg and Beallsville, Maryland, respectively. Thank you for your support, guidance, and editing suggestions!

1 With this benediction arises a new theme, concern for the end of time. This is significant for the next four blessings. Hoffman, Rabbi Lawrence A. Editor, My People’s Prayer Book, The Amidah, Volume Jewish Lights Publishing: Woodstock, Vemont,  p. 140.

2  Ibid., Scholars believe this is the 19th of the 18 blessings and developed from #14,  p. 143.