April 28, 2023
Grant peace, goodness and blessing, grace, kindness, and compassion to us and to all Your people Israel. Bless us, our Father, all of us as one, with the light of Your countenance, for by the light of Your countenance did You give us, Adonai our God, the Torah of life and love of kindness, justice, blessing, mercy, life, and peace. And may You see fit, to bless your people Israel, always, and in every hour, with Your peace. Blessed are You, Adonai, who bless Your people Israel with peace.
Asking God for spiritual blessings—as opposed to material blessings—is permissible on Shabbat. In the morning, when time allows prayer to be more suffused with kavana, the prayer for shalom is longer than the mere couple of sentences offered in the afternoon and evening services. And on Shabbat morning, when no one is in a hurry to leave, the stirring sim shalom is first recited by each member of the congregation, and then, in the communal repetition of the tefila, it is chanted antiphonally: the cantor chants the verses, and the cantor and congregation join in the singing the refrain.
Mystics tell the tale of a butter-fingered angel, whom God had entrusted with the task of carrying all the sparks of goodness through the heavens in an earthenware jug. Of course, the jug fell out of the angel’s hands and broke, thus scattering all the sparks of goodness throughout the world. Only by working together with God can we human beings, in whom these sparks of goodness have become embedded, restore the harmony that existed in primordial times.
Please listen to this beautiful rendition of Sim Shalom, both composed and chanted here, by our own beloved Cantor Paul Zim! Yasher Koach Hazzan!