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Monday, February 11, 2013

Hineni Heoni Mimaas - The Hazzan's Prayer

During the High Holy Days, the Hazzan begins the Musaf service with the Hineni prayer (here I am), which is a private prayer.  Serving as the Shaliach Tzibbur (emissary of the congregation), the Hazzan, a man of great humility, pleads with the Almighty that he be worthy to represent the people of his congregation and all the people of Israel.

This prayer is extremely powerful.  Listen closely as the Hazzan prays for the congregation on these Days of Judgment.  The introduction is by Rabbi Irving J. Rosenbaum of the Chicago Loop Synagogue. 

Hineni Heoni Mimaas

Below is a translation of the prayer:

Here I stand, impoverished of deeds, trembling and frightened with the dread of He Who is enthroned upon the praises of Israel.

I have come to stand and supplicate before You for Your people Israel, who have sent me although I am unworthy and unqualified to do so.

Therefore, I beg of you, O G-d of Abraham, G-d of Isaac, and G-d of Jacob, HaShem, HaShem, G-d, Compassionate and Gracious, G-d of Israel, Frightening and Awesome One, grant success to the way upon which I travel, standing to plead for mercy upon myself and upon those who sent me.

Please do not hold them to blame for my sins and do not find them guilty of my iniquities, for I am a careless and willful sinner. Let them not feel humiliated by my willful sins. Let them not be ashamed of me and let me not be ashamed of them. Accept my prayer like the prayers of an experienced elder whose lifetime has been well spent, whose beard is fully grown, whose voice is sweet, and who is friendly with other people.

May you denounce the Satan, that he not impede me. May You regard our omissions with love, and obscure our willful sins with love. May You transform all travail and evil to joy and gladness, to life and peace, for us and for all Israel, who love truth and peace. And may there be no stumbling block in my prayer.

May it be Your will, HaShem, the G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the great, mighty, and awesome G-d, “I Am That I Am,” that all the angels who bring up prayers may present my prayer before Your Throne of Glory; may they spread it out before You for the sake of all the righteous, devout, wholesome, and upright people, and for the sake of the glory of Your great and awesome Name, for You hear the prayer of Your people Israel with compassion.

Blessed are You, who hears prayer.

Thank you to Elisson for the translation []

Sunday, February 3, 2013

WALDMAN meets Dr. Joseph Shlomo Burg

In 1961 in Forest Hills, New York there was a concert / rally for Israel Bonds.  At this event, Dr. Burg was a speaker and met my father (z"l). He was a lover of Hazzanut and was a big fan of my father.

Burg, a former Israeli Minister of Postal Services graciously gave a commemorative stamp album and a personal letter to my father stating that it was an honor to have met him.  Some photos of the stamps are included below as well as a copy of the letter.

Also, please find some biographical information about Dr. Burg, courtesy of Wikipedia. []

Yosef Shlomo Burg was born in Dresden, Germany. He attended the Rabbinical Seminary in Berlin and the University of Berlin from 1928 to 1931. He received a Doctorate in mathematics and logic from the University of Leipzig in 1933 and was ordained as a rabbi in 1938. While at the University of Leipzig, he joined the Young Mizrahi religious Zionist movement. He arranged Jewish prayer services in private homes after German synagogues were burned, and worked underground to help Jews escape to England and the Netherlands. His mother and grandmother died in Nazi concentration camps. In 1939, he immigrated to Mandate Palestine. He worked as teacher at the Herzliya Hebrew Gymnasium in Tel Aviv before moving to Jerusalem. There he become a research fellow at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Burg lived in the Rehavia neighborhood of Jerusalem. He died on 15 October 1999 at the age of 90 at the Sha'arei Tzedek Medical Center.

Political Career
In the 1951 elections the party ran by itself, winning eight seats. Burg remained in the Knesset and became Minister of Health in the third government. In the fourth, fifth and sixth governments he served as Minister of Postal Services, a position he retained until 1958. In Palestine, Burg joined Hapoel HaMizrachi, a religious-Zionist party. Alongside three other religious parties, Hapoel HaMizrachi ran on a joint list called the United Religious Front for thefirst Knesset elections in 1949. In 1956 Hapoel HaMizrachi merged with their ideological twins from the Mizrachi party to form the National Religious Party (NRP). The party was a member of all governments until 1992, and as a key party member, Burg maintained a ministerial position in every Knesset until his resignation from the Knesset in 1986, holding the positions of Minister of Welfare, Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister without Portfolio and Minister of Religious Affairs.In 1977, he became the President of the World Mizrachi Movement. Burg was famous for his erudite wit. Journalists dubbed his appearances in parliament "Burgtheater," after the famous playhouse in Vienna.[1]

According to Shimon Peres, Burg's most important legacy was trying to bridge the gulf between religious and secular Jews: "He was a religious man but he believed in compromise."[1] Ehud Barak said Burg took the path of moderation and tolerance, and showed a love for Jewish tradition.[1]