Baal Shem Tov, or Besht — the founder of Chasidism —
Egalitarian Ushpizin: The Ushpizata
It's a kabbalistic tradition to invite seven ancestors into the Sukkah, representing the seven qualities of the lower Sefirot of the Tree of Life. Each night of Sukkot is focused on a different ancestor among the seven. Following the kabbalistic order, which is not chronological, the seven days correspond to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Aaron, Joseph and David — all men. I wrote the following liturgy for inviting the mothers and the fathers to the sukkah
This liturgy uses a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic that parallels what is found in the traditional Sefardic version of Ushpizin (the word "ushpizin" means guests in Aramaic). You can read the English translation below, and download a 2-page pdf of the liturgy here. For an explanation of the order and description of the mothers given in this liturgy, read this page.
For 5776 (2015), Noam Sienna calligraphed the order of the Ushpizata and Ushpizin according to this liturgy – you can see the picture below. Please print it out and hang it on your sukkah wall!
The prayer found at the very end of the liturgy comes from the Sefardic tradition, and it has a very eco-centric feeling. I've emphasized that by adding one phrase to the text, "healing the heavens", which is especially appropriate for Sukkot, when we pray for rain and make ourselves vulnerable to the sky. You can download and print out just this earthprayer here, 4 per page.
Behold we come here to fulfill the mitzvah to dwell in the sukkah, as YHVH our God commanded in the Torah: "Seven days you will dwell in sukkot, so that your generations will know that I made Israel's children dwell in sukkot when I brought them from Egypt."
For the sake of uniting the Holy One and the Shekhinah, to unify the name Y"H with V"H in complete unity, I invite to my meal, in the name of all Israel, the exalted guests, ushipizin ila'in v'ushpizata ila'ata.
By the power of this commandment, may there be drawn down to Rachel our mother from the Upper Mother [Binah], from the place of Leah our mother, the Encompassing Light of
[Day One] Love within Love. [Day Two] Love within Judgment. [Day Three] Love within Beauty. [Day Four] Love within Eternal Victory. [Day Five] Love within Majesty. [Day Six] Love within Foundation. [Day Seven] Love within Sovereignty.Come in exalted holy guests, come up exalted holy fathers, come in exalted holy mothers! Come sit in the shade of exalted faith, in the shadow of the Holy One, blessed be.
[Day One] Come in Abraham, merciful one, holy father. Come in Ruth, devoted kallah-daughter. Come in with them, Isaac, Jacob, Moshe, Aaron, Yosef and David, Sarah, Rebecca, Miriam, Deborah, Tamar and Rachel.
[Day Two] Come in Isaac, bound one. Come in Sarah, mistress, holy mother. Come in with them, Abraham, Jacob, Moshe, Aaron, Yosef and David, Ruth, Rebecca, Miriam, Deborah, Tamar and Rachel.
[Day Three] Come in Jacob, perfect, whole one. Come up Rivkah, God-seeker. Come in with them, Abraham, Isaac, Moshe, Aaron, Yosef and David, Ruth, Sarah, Miriam, Deborah, Tamar and Rachel.
[Day Four] Come in Moshe, faithful shepherd. Come in Miriam, the prophet, wellspring of the exalted stream. Come in with them, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Aaron, Yosef and David, Ruth, Sarah, Rebecca, Deborah, Tamar and Rachel.
[Day Five] Come in Aaron, holy priest. Come in Deborah, the prophet, judge of Israel. Come in with them, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moshe, Aaron, Yosef and David, Ruth, Sarah, Rebecca, Miriam, Tamar and Rachel.
[Day Six] Come in Yosef, righteous one. Come in Tamar, righteous one, bearer of mashiach. Come in with them, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moshe, Aaron and David, Ruth, Sarah, Rebecca, Miriam, Deborah and Rachel.
[Day Seven] Come in David, anointed king. Come in Rachel, mother weeping for her children. Come in with them, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moshe, Aaron and Yosef, Ruth, Sarah, Rebecca, Miriam, Deborah and Tamar.
God full of compassion, make Your Presence, Shekhinah, rest among us, and spread over us a sukkah of compassion and peace. Encompass us with the radiance of the Shekhinah, heal the heavens from our wounding actions and purify us from our sins. As an eagle awakens its nest, may You awaken the flow of life-energy to flow upon Your world, to give life to all, and water them. Give the hungry their food in its time*, and grant us merit to dwell many days on the earth. Blessed be Yah for all time, Amen, Amen.
Blessed be You, Adonai, Our God, Ruler of all space, all time, who made us holy through commandments, and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah.
*In the Shmitah year, add here: "give the land her rest".
Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006