Using Siddur Lev Shalem on Shavuot

By Rabbi Edward Feld

One of the special features of Lev Shalem is that it allows for an easy flow of holiday services. Once you turn to the Amidah for Yom Tov, the rest of the service flows from there, no need to turn back and forth. 

The siddur also acknowledges the holiday in special ways. Unique to this siddur, Yizkor is not generic but offers meditations geared to each holiday. Both of the poems by Lilly Kaufman and Marge Piercy found on page 333 associate memory of loved ones with the themes of the holiday. 

Similarly, the alternative musaf incorporates traditional piyyutim for the holiday. Many piyyutim expand on the Decalogue and the one that we’ve included here (p. 364) is in simple Hebrew and readable translation. The song Mipi El (p. 365) might be included in any part of the service. One might even think of using it for the introduction to arvit, the night before. 

This siddur follows the remark in Masechet Sofrim that on the festivals the Levites did not recite the usual psalm of the day but a special one for the holiday. Psalm 119 is a unique biblical acrostic creating nine line stanzas, each based on a letter of the alphabet, each describing the wonders of Torah. For the sake of usability, we’ve taken one line from each stanza. You might think of starting the morning service with this psalm (p 117) or even using it to begin arvit. 

Hag Sameah!

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