Shabbat Kiddush of Liberation: Letting the Land Rest

Shabbat Kiddush of Liberation: Letting the Land Rest

This ecological Kiddush was written for an instance when Shabbat coincided with Tu b’Shvat, the Jewish new year for the trees, by Mark X. Jacobs, the former Founding Executive Director of the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL). Jacobs begins and ends with the traditional Kiddush, inserting his own writings as an additional middle section. Because Shabbat celebrates the rest following Creation, he focuses on the beauty of the physical world and the importance of allowing the land to rest once a week. In both the Hebrew and English texts of the standard Kiddush, Jacobs replaces the references to God with terminology that is more egalitarian and ecologically focused. This piece was submitted to The Open Siddur Project, an initiative that aims to liberate the creative content of Jewish spiritual practice as a collectively shared resource for students, scholars, artists, and educators to adopt, adapt, and redistribute.

Shabbat Kiddush of Liberation for Shabbat Tu Bish’vat

יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי׃
וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאָם:‏
וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה:‏
וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה:‏
וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ,‏
כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת:‏

…the sixth day…

 The heavens and earth finished and all of their array.
On the seventh day, The Process of Unfolding completed that stage of the work It had done
And It abstained on the seventh day from all the work that It had done
And the Great Being blessed the seventh day and hallowed it
Because in that time the Process abstained from all of its doing which the Great Unfolding created in order to make…


As the earth turns and hides the sun,
And the stars illuminate the heavens,
Shabbat flows through us as the light fades.
Taking away the strain of our lives
As the shadows obscure our wrinkled brows and calloused hands.We accept upon ourselves a time of being
A liberation from the toil of the week
And a rest from triumphant creation.

Our minds have labored hard
Striving to imagine ways to effect tikkun olam — repair, transformation, healing of the world
And our hands and feet, arms and legs
Have executed the will of our vigilant reason
And our creative spirit
Building the beautiful and the necessary.

We thank our minds, we thank our hands, we thank our will and our feet and our eyes and our knees for the work they have done.
And we assume that now, for Shabbat, the world is perfect.

We call to sukkat shalom, the shelter of peace, all of our various selves
To rest from the contortion of social life and the demands of others.
We liberate ourselves and each other from roles and titles
labels and closets
positions and pretendings
internalized oppressions and oppressive projections
hierarchies and competition.

We bask in the liberating freedom of being our unmediated selves
Sharing with each other the dignity and freedom of equality.

In the close spaces we shall dwell as we rest
Intimate in our ways, overcoming the distances and isolation of the week
Sharing with neighborhood and friends, family and self
For today, here and now, not the future or the past.

Shabbat flows through the mind and spirit, the heart and soul
Out into the larger Self
Where Earth has freedom from our domination
Trees left unpruned and grass uncut
Soil untilled and fields unburned
Birds and wolves and bats and deer
Free from our interference
All life enjoying its place in the great cyclical mystery.

On Shabbat we come together
To celebrate
Creation, Earth, the richness of life, and ourselves
To be fully ourselves
And fully appreciative of each other.

By your leave, our Earth, as we bless your fruit:

Blessed are You, Yah, Our Spirit, Life of the Universe, who created the fruit of the vine.

Blessed are You, Yah, Our Spirit, Life of the Universe, who has sanctified us with commandments, took pleasure in us
And with love and favor gave us the holy Shabbat as a heritage, a remembrance of creation.
For this day is a holy convocation, a remembrance of and call to liberation and narrowness.
You chose us and You sanctified us with all the peoples of earth.
Your holy Shabbat with love and favor did you give us as a heritage.
Blessed are You, Yah, who sanctified the Shabbat.

בָּרוּךְ אַתְּ יָהּ רוּחֵינוּ חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים, בּוֹרֵא פְרִי הַגָּפֶן.‏

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יָהּ רוּחֵינוּ חֵי הָעוֹלָמִים, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְווֹתָיו וְרָצָה בָּנוּ,‏
וְשַׁבַּת קָדְשׁוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ, זִכָּרוֹן לְמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית,‏
כִּי הוּא יוֹם תְּחִלָּה לְמִקְרָאֵי קֹדֶשׁ, זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם.‏
כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ אִם כָּל הָעַמִּים.‏
וְשַׁבַּת קָדְשְׁךָ בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ.‏
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יָהּ מְקַדֵּשׁ הַשַּׁבָּת:

“קידוש של שבת ט״ו בשבט | Shabbat Kiddush of Liberation for Shabbat Tu biShvat by Mark X. Jacobs (1993)” is shared by Mark X. Jacobs with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.