Nine Days of Breath: A Poem to Bring Life to Your Shabbat

Nishmat beriyah, breath of a creation.
Nishmat rakia, breath of firmament.
Nishmat eretz vamayim, breath of earth and oceans.
Nishmat aisev, breath of plant life.
Nishmat meorot, breath of sun and moon.
Nishmat haya, breath of animal kingdom.
Nishmat adam, breath of human.
Nishmat ochlah, breath of nourishment.
Nishmat shabbat, breath of rest.

© 2015 Henry Rasof

Take a deep breath on shabbat morning and read or recite or sing this poem.

Unlike some of the other nishmatim (liturgical poems that go with the prayer about the breath) I have posted to Boulder Jewish News, which precede the nishmat prayer, this one traditionally goes after the prayer and before “Ilu Finu” [“Could song fill our mouth as water fills the sea…” (Siddur Sim Shalom)].

Although it’s meant for shabbat morning–really, I urge you to find room for it anywhere in your day!

Try one of these yourself–Just start each line with the word nishmat.

Thanks to Gideon Weisz and Joseph Davis for helping to breathe life into my Hebrew, and apologies if I still didn’t get it right!

About Henry Rasof z"l

I have been writing poetry for over fifty years. During this time, I have worked as a musician, chef, book acquisitions editor, and creative-writing instructor.

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