Appeal to the Matriarchs (Leah Novick)

This prayer can be used as an invocation for Mother’s Day or for other celebrations of ancestors. It is also possible to use this chant to the matriarchs to invoke the six directions: south, north, east, west, up, and down. One matriarch and one prophetess can be used for each direction.

We call upon Sarah the priestess, co-founder of Judaism, who gave us the candle-lighting ceremony. Beautiful and holy princess, she celebrated in sacred groves and a simple tent, bringing the light of the Shekhinah wherever she traveled. Laughing mother of ageless beauty, bless our way.

We call upon Rebekah, who traveled courageously while still a teenager, leaving her family compound to journey towards a new life. Guided to the spiritual path begun by Sarah, she too merited the presence of the clouds of glory and the miraculous candle-light. Courageous mother of difficult choices, bless our way.

We call upon Rachel, fair and lovely sister whose poignant memory is
cherished through time as the advocate of Israel. Her short life on earth transformed into a permanent vigil. Forever young, she is always present on the road to exile, watching over us like the winged Shekhinah. Romantic and beautiful mother, bless our way.

We call upon Leah, visionary mother of many tribes, progenitor of priests and kings. Like the primal birthing mother of creation, she produced constantly, giving life, giving names, giving nurturance. Great Lady, Mother Binah, Ha’Giveret Ha’Elyonah (Most High Mistress), Mother of Tears who sees the future, bless our way.

As we acknowledge the revered Hebrew matriarchs, we also call into
remembrance our Mothers Bilhah and Zilpah, co-parents of the emergent Jewish family. Aligned with Rachel and Leah, the twin aspects of the divine feminine, their contributions to our spiritual life need to be recalled and re-invented. Tribal mothers, bless our way

We call upon Hagar, Mother of the desert life, to whom God’s angel spoke directly. Recipient of the blessing of greatness at the Well of Divine Seeing, she awaits our request to heal the wounds between the children of Abraham. Re-claimed as mother, Keturah, help us to mend the torn garment of our inter-woven destinies. Wandering mother, bless our way.

We acknowledge the female visionaries of ancient Israel, whose prophetic contributions were recognized by the sages. These include Sarah, Miriam, Devorah, Hannah, Avigail, Huldah and Esther.

Miriam, charismatic spiritual and political leader, you challenged male
authority from childhood and taught through ecstatic music and dance. You nourished us in the desert, watering our bodies and souls. Dancing mother, guide us now, through another wilderness of confusion, showing us the way to restore feminine energy to a wounded planet.

Deborah, great warrior, judge and mother in Israel, your fiery example
inspires us to take action. We long to know more of your words and yearn to take your poetry into our hearts and minds. Warrior mother, we need your energy now to sacralize the political and create leaders that embody your prophetic leadership.

Hannah, woman of personal prayer, your petition is our model for individual appeals to the divine. You called out directly to God for help, transcending the conventional service. Prayerful mother, we need your davenning now, so that we might be empowered to attract divine healing into the barren places in our lives.

Avigayil, forceful woman of Carmel, you foresaw David’s future; feeding and welcoming the outlaw chief when his life was in jeopardy. Becoming his wife in hard times, before he was king and psalmist, you supported the emergence of genius. Clairvoyant mother, send us your insight so we might have the strength to trust and follow our intuitions.

Huldah, preacher at the Southern gates of the Temple, you were consulted on important religious matters, like your cousin Jeremiah. You, whose teaching comes to us in your advice to King Josiah, are needed now. Prophetic mother, help us find the deep learning of enlightenment and peace.

Esther, gentle queen with premonitory knowledge that propelled you to save your people, whether you are historical or mythological, we are touched by your story. How you must have feared your awesome destiny, overcoming fear with transcendent faith. Royal mother, bless us with inner strength to overcome the obstacles that block us from fulfilling our sacred assignments.

Rabbi Leah Novick is a spiritual teacher whose work is focused on the Shekhinah (Divine feminine) within Judaism. She is a pioneer of Jewish feminist spirituality and one of the oldest women rabbis--an elder in innovation.

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