Hoshanot by Reb Zalman z”l

Hoshanna Rabbah, “The Great ‘Save Us!’,” falls on the seventh day of Sukkot. It’s traditional to recite hoshanot, supplicatory prayers, on that day.

Reb Zalman has written a set of contemporary poetic hoshanot in Hebrew and in English. Of his hoshanot, Reb Arthur (Rabbi Arthur Waskow) notes that:

These Hoshanot in English by Reb Zalman follow the model of the traditional Hebrew Hoshanot, which are aimed at the protection and healing of the earth from locusts, drought, etc. These English versions do so not only in the line-by-line meaning, but also by celebrating, day by day, the aspects of the universe that (according to the first chapter of Genesis) were created on each of the original seven days. They also draw on the alphabetical pattern of the traditional Hebrew Hoshanot.

Here’s how they begin:

Hosha’na for the sake of
the Aura of life
the Beams of Light
the Clearness of Light
the Dynamics of Light
the Effulgence of Light
the diFfraction of light
the Glory of light
the Haloes of light
the Illumination of light
the Joys of sight…

Even if you’re not dancing around a sanctuary with lulavim and Torah scrolls, reading Reb Zalman’s hoshanot and reflecting on their meaning is a lovely observance of Hoshana Rabbah. They’re online  here at the Shalom Center (with commentary from Reb Arthur contextualizing the hoshanot themselves.)

A pdf of Reb Zalman’s Hoshanot (in both Hebrew and English) is also available for download thanks to Jewish Renewal Hasidus.