Here you will find guided meditations, chants and songs all of which I use personally as well as integrate into various spiritual oriented services and settings which I lead.
This page would simply not be possible without the help of two very special people in my congregation and in my life.
First, thank you to Phillip Gay. Reb Phillip is responsible for the short video exploring the Renewal Minyan as well as lending his beautiful spirit to so much that takes place at CSH.
Second, I am deeply indebted to Alan Resnic. Reb Alan has put in countless hours cleaning up most of the chants/songs you will find on this page. He was given the incredible task of making my overwhelmingly mediocre voice bearable and worthy of downloading. He is also in process of weaving instrumentation and other vocalists into these chants. He has many more plans for audio technology and further music downloads as we move forward at CSH and here at Rabbi.com.
These two men are a gift from God. Thank you for there efforts and what is available here is in no small measure due to them.
The Renewal Minyan
The Renewal Minyan is a minyan (prayer group) that meets at CSH every Shabbat (Saturday) morning at 8:30 a.m. Here we explore the Divine through simple but spirited chanting and singing interspersed with readings and meditation.
Below Are Various Mindfulness Meditations, Some Taken From the Shabbat Renewal Minyan
- The Olam – World, Guided Meditation
The “Olam Meditation” is roughly a 22 minute guided visualization/meditation. It is great for gaining a sense of both equanimity as well as perspective. It centers around the idea that our “olam” physical world can be both distracting and deceptive, and yet it can also offer us hints and glimpses into ultimate reality.
- The Shabbat Guided Meditation
This is a guided meditation to be used on Shabbat or any day of the week. It centers around the idea that we are more than human doings, we are human beings. However, as we live our busy lives we tend to forget this and need to find ways to return to that place of being, of “shabbat.”
- The Neshama (Soul) Meditation
The Neshama meditation is a twenty minute guided meditation and exploration of the breath.
- The Shalom Meditation
The Shalom Chant is ten minutes. The first five minutes explore the nature of chant and the word “Shalom” and then five minutes of chanting. It is open ended and can continue as long as you choose.
This section is for anyone facing an illness or bodily struggle of any kind. Here you will find various meditative practices and guided meditations to help you not only cope, but learn practical techniques crucial for healing, wholeness and inner peace.
Refuah Shleima – God Bless
- The Healing Service
The Healing Service has many of the components of the Renewal Minyan: chanting, poetry, meditation. In addition there is always a focus on healing, both self and others. Sometimes it is related to the calendar (High Holy Days, Winter Solstice, the New Moon…) and other times it just revolves around healing in general.
Renewal Minyan Chants
Below are various chants used at CSH in the Renewal Minyan
- The Elohai Neshama Chant
Elohai is the first line of a longer morning prayer we recite thanking God for the gift of our soul, our neshama. Our neshama is pure and we re-orient ourselves to our higher purpose, to our highest self, our neshama, through chanting this mantra.
- Rabah Emunatecha
Rabah Emunatecha are the last two words from the Modeh prayer. This prayer is supposed to be the first words out of a Jew’s mouth upon awakening every morning. The words are about Hoda’ah, Todah, or saying “Thank You” to God for another day of life. These last two words literally mean, “abundant belief” or “unlimited affirmation” and remind us that the Creator has chosen us for another day of life, for a particular purpose, for a unique reason. Live it!
- The “Ribono Shel Olam” Chant
Ribono shel olam literally means, “master of the universe” and is a common phrase used in Judaism to refer to God. This chant is a powerful tool to break through our illusions of control as we turn our mind and our heart over to the source of true power, to the Ribono Shel Olam.
L’olam is a prayer taken from the morning liturgy. It essentially re-orients us back towards a place of “emet – truth” not only in our outer life but our inner life as well. L’olam is probably the most complex Hebrew chant which I engage. Although it is made up of a lot of Hebrew words (which can be downloaded as a PDF, nonetheless, once you get the rhythm you will be hooked.
- The Amen Nigun (Song)
Amen is a word which needs very little introduction. The problem, however, is that we are so overly familiar with it that we tend to be oblivious to it’s true meaning and power. To say “amen” to a blessing or moment of beauty is to literally affirm all that is right and good in one’s life and in the world. This song is sung at the CSH Renewal Minyan after reciting the Birkot HaShachar (Morning Blessings) as is a powerful communal way of sharing a moment. It can certainly be incorporated into one’s personal blessing practice as well.
- Ivdu Et HaShem B’simcha
We chant this song to remind us that the spiritual work we engage, the prayer, the avodah (ivdu) is, above all else, supposed to be filled with simcha – joy.
Galei is taken from the Musaf Amidah from the Shalosh Regalim (Pilgrimage Holidays). It is an invitation to the Divine to make Herself manifest in our lives, to reveal Herself as we are now open and listening.
- Gan Eden Mikedem (aka the CSH Shabbat Study Session Fight Song)
This has become the Congregation Shirat Hayam Torah study nigun. Torah was never meant to be processed intellectually only. Rather, it was meant to enter our hearts as well as our heads if it is truly to be authentic Torah and living entity in our lives.
Ashrei is a popular synagogue prayer which virtually no one pays attention to. This first line says it all – ashrei, joy, comes if and when we are able to sit, sit still and be present in our lives.
- Adonai Melech
This chant opens us up to the truth that we are not God, we are not the ultimate source of our lives. Chanting this helps us to learn to give up control, surrendering to this Higher Authority as He carries us along our path and towards our destiny.
- Oseh Shalom
Oseh Shalom probably needs no introduction as it is one of the most popular prayers and songs in Judaism. It is a plea for God’s presence to make Itself manifest in our world and in our lives particularly through the form of shalom – peace. This tune, however, is less well known and was created by Reb Shlomo Carlebach z”l.
- B’Shem HaShem
This is a text traditionally recited when someone is going to sleep. It is an invocation of melakhim, messengers or “angels” to be present in our lives, to guide us, protect us and heal us. Yes, traditional Judaism does believe in angels and we can transform our lives by inviting them, or this energy, into our lives.
- Michael = God’s compassion
- Gavriel = God’s strength
- Uriel = God’s vision
- Rafael = God’s healing
- Ki Va Moed & Od Yavo
Ki Va Moed – “Now, the time is upon us” are words we sing to help us be mindful to the moment, the presence of Shabbat, a holy day or any moment of any day making every day a holy day.
Od Yavo is a relatively recently created song by the Israeli rock group Sheva (see my Recommended Music Page). It is a plea for peace and committment to striving for peace which begins first and foremost by the willingness to put ourselves in the shoes of another. When Jews sing “salaam” and Muslims sing “shalom” only then will we be on our way towards achieving peace.
- The Shalom Chant
The Shalom Chant is a beautiful way to open or close a meditative practice. It is also just a great stand alone chant. It is chanted in a series of four repetitions corresponding to the “four worlds” as set forth in Kabbalah. With each chant we ascend in shalom (peace) or perhaps the supernal Shalom descends into this world upon us.
- The Shema Explanation & Chant
The Shema Chant is ten minutes, the first five exploring the word Shema and the last five using the word “Shema” as a chant. It is open ended and can continue for as long as you choose.