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by Michael Reid Winikoff

Choir (SATB) with harp or piano
Shabbat Ma-ariv (Evening) Service

DURATION: 2:45                                                                            Purchase
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THE TEXT - Magein Avot is a kind of condensed version of the Friday night Amidah (silent devotion).  In most traditional congregations, it is one of a group of prayers recited aloud immediately following the silent devotion, and which are concerned solely with Shabbat, regardless of any festival or observance that might be concurrent.  In scanning the text of Magein Avot, one can discern the major precepts of this Amidah. 

THE MUSIC - In musical terms, this prayer lends its name to one of the important Shabbat chant modes – the so-called Magein Avot mode, which dominates the liturgy of Friday evening and early Saturday morning.  It is tranquil, reflective, devotional and at times ethereal in mood, a natural-minor scale often cadencing on the fifth degree. This lithe setting utilizes that mode, and is designed for ease and simplicity. 

PERFORMANCE - A slightly slower tempo than demonstrated in this playback may be taken, but never so slow as to bog the piece down.  There should always be a feeling of buoyancy.

Challenge level - 2 out of 6 stars

Magein avot bid’varo
M’chayei meitim b’ma-amaro
Ha-eil hakadosh she-ein kamohu
Hameini-ach l’amo b’yom
shabbat kodsho
Ki vam ratza l’hani-ach lahem
L’fanav na-avod b’yir-a vafachad
V’nodeh lish’mo b’chol yom tamid
Mei-ein (mei-on) habrachot
Eil hahoda-ot Adon hashalom
M’kadeish hashabbat
Um’vareich sh’vi-i
Umeini-ach bikdusha l’am m’dushnei oneg Zeicher l’ma-asei v’reisheet


A shield to our forebears has been G-d’s word,
At Whose bidding the dead shall be revived.
Holy G-d incomparable,
Who grants rest to Israel through
the Holy Sabbath,
And is pleased to grant them rest.
Whom we serve in awe and reverence,
Whose name we praise constantly each day
With appropriate blessings.
G-d Who merits thanks, Master of peace,
Who hallows the Sabbath
And blesses the seventh day,
Granting sacred rest to a delighted people –
In memory of Creation.