A new, fully traditional, Hebrew & English siddur, in which
photographs give focus to the meanings of tefilah —
a siddur for praying with.
Nehalel is modeled on the Nevarech bencher, which in 1999 pioneered the idea of juxtaposing prayers with photographs portraying their meanings. Messages still continually come in from people discovering Nevarech, telling us that Birkat Hamazon (Grace After Meals) — a prayer they may have recited every day since childhood — is suddenly brought to life by the photographs alongside its text. Nehalel now brings this coming-to-life effect to the full orthodox liturgy.
With this use of photographs, Nehalel makes us powerfully aware of the themes that intersect in the Siddur. The liturgy celebrates the Creator of our spectacular environment — the cosmic, earthly and Eretz-Yisraeli, the universal human environment as well as the national. It speaks our thanks for the gift of our lives within these; and through it we plead for personal, national and human welfare. Repeatedly, the Siddur recounts the catastrophes in our history, of destruction and exile, and then turns to our redemptions — the pattern intensely realized during the last century; and on almost every page we point to Jerusalem as the central symbol of the complete redemption we yearn for.
The images in Nehalel reflect these different themes. The photos are partly contemporary and partly historical; partly of the natural order, partly of human reality; partly from Eretz Yisrael, partly from a much wider panorama. Many are drawn from various archives — some documenting the dark times in Europe, others showing the triumphs of modern Zionism.
The result is a work that makes the themes of the liturgy conspicuous to us as we pray — with a force that possibly no siddur has achieved ever before.
Nehalel has been six years in development. Extensive resources have gone into developing a reliable and accurate, fully orthodox Hebrew text that is contemporary yet strictly within the bounds of tradition.
The new English translation is both elegant and literal, in a living idiom while uncompromisingly faithful to the meaning of the original.
The first of its three volumes, the full Shabbat siddur Nehalel beShabbat, will be arriving at the end of January and can be pre-ordered now. Nehalel beChol for weekdays and Nehalel beRegalim for festivals are projected to follow soon after.
Nehalel beShabbat contains well over six hundred pages of full-color print on high quality paper.
The Hebrew font used in Nehalel is graceful and readable. It also incorporates — for users attentive to these pronunciation issues — an easily read symbol for stressed syllable, and clearly visible distinctions between kamatz katan and kamatz gadol, as well as between sheva na and sheva nach.
Instructions, throughout Nehalel, are designed to assist those users relatively unfamiliar with the liturgy and practice, while remaining unobtrusive to the mavin. They are written in a style that tries, where conciseness enables it, to avoid promoting automaton-like motions, and to address instead the user's quest for meaning.
First and foremost, Nehalel is a siddur for davening with — a siddur for holding when standing before the Almighty, helping you achieve a vivid awareness of the meanings in prayer, and of the Being to Whom you communicate them.
Conception and development of Nehalel, as well as its new English translation, by Michael Haruni. Introductory pieces in Nehalel beShabbat by Rabbi Daniel Landes and by Rabbi Dr. Zvi Grumet. Graphic consultation, Dov Abramson.