Prayer for Dew

The prayer for dew is a collection of four piyutim (poems) that are sung during Musaf on the first day of Pesah, when we officially stop praying for rain in the Amidah, and pray instead for dew. The S&P insert the poems into the reader's repetition of the Amidah (which would seem to be their intended location), while in many other Sephardi communities, and in Ashkenazi communities, they are sung separately before the start of the Amidah (to avoid interrupting it).

The Amidah begins with a special recitative tune (used only for the Prayers for Dew and Rain), and includes the 4 hymns. After that it continues as on other festivals.

For a PDF with the full text in Hebrew and English, click here.

1) Shezufat Shemesh

There are two "verses" to this piyut, and they are separated by the words of the Amidah, which I have made smaller and shaded in this image. The first recording presents the tune, which is suitable for table-singing; the second includes the recitative before and in between the two verses of the hymn, showing how the piece is actually sung in the synagogue.

Shezufat Shemesh (melody only) [JC]

Shezufat Shemesh (recitative and melody) [HB]

2) Mivtach Kol Hayetzur

This is the same tune as Shezufat Shemesh, though the ends of the verses are treated a little differently.

Mivtach Kol Hayetzur [JC]

Mivtach Kol Hayetzur [HB]

3) Leshoni Bonanta

This hymn is also part of the Prayer for Rain, said on Shemini Atzeret. In other Sephardi prayerbooks the second word of the hymn is "Konanta" ("you have prepared") instead of "Bonanta" ("you have made wise"). Though there is no great difference in meaning between the two, and "bonanta" is certainly an unusual (if not unique) form, nonetheless it is more correct poetically, since "konanta" appears at the start of the second stanza, and the great Spanish poets certainly preferred to use an unusual word (or create a new one) rather than repeat a rhyme!

Leshoni Bonanta [JC]

♫ Leshoni Bonanta [HB]

4) Lekh Leshalom Geshem

Perhaps the best loved of the tunes, this melody's opening recalls Hatikva (the Israel National Anthem) though it certainly predates it

Lech Leshalom Geshem [JC]

Lech Leshalom Geshem [HB]

Full Hebrew and English text

For a PDF with the full text in Hebrew and English, click here.

Related interest

In the clip below you can hear Hazan Daniel Halfon singing a stylized version of Lech Leshalom Geshem, arranged by Raymond Goldstein.

Before we move on, it is worth mentioning the following charming translation in verse of the central Prayer for Dew (Number 4 above), which was written for a children's version of the London S&P prayer book, published in the early seventies. Sadly that elegant publication has been superseded by something perhaps more technically precise, but undoubtedly more prosaic. The translation was the work of Andrew Samuel. Click on the image to enlarge.