Now that we have provided the outline of this powerful tefilah, with which we begin and end our day, we present the line-by-line translation and explanation of Adon Olam from the Pathway to Prayer Siddur by HaRav Mayer Birnbaum shlita. We have previously noted the uniqueness of this great siddur and how it provides so much more than basic translations. Additionally, it is very easy on the eye to glance, line by line, at the brief but clear explanations. This siddur sold out, but I am told that there are more on the way from a new printing.
As you study and recite this beautiful tefilah, please note the contrast between the first half and the second half. The first half focuses on Hashem being the One and only eternal and timeless Master of the universe. The second half then stresses our personal and close relationship, as well as affirming our emunah and bitachon. Consider pausing to reflect on the fact that the Master of the entire universe is my personal G-d and cares about me more than any human being. When Hashem is with me – when we allow Hashem in and rely on Him exclusively – then there is nothing for us to fear. What a beautiful and powerful way to begin and end our day!
Master of the universe, Who reigned before any form was created,
[and] at the time when everything was made by His will, then His name was proclaimed as “King” (by all creations).
And after all things will cease to exist, the Awesome One will reign alone.
And it is He Who was, and He Who is, and He Who will be, in glory.
And He is One, and there is no second to compare to Him or to join Him (as an equal).
He has no beginning [and] no end, and the power and the dominion (of the entire world) is His.
And He is my G-d and my living Redeemer (Who cares about me the most), and the Rock Who gives me strength to endure my pain in the time of trouble.
And He is my banner (that I rely on) and my refuge (to Whom I run to seek shelter), He is my portion [to save me] on the day I call [to Him].
Into His hand I entrust my spirit (neshamah) when I sleep and I [am confident that I will] awaken.
And also when my spirit is with my body (that is, when I am awake), Hashem is with me and I shall not fear.
The above translation, from the Pathway to Prayer Siddur, is reproduced with permission from the author, HaRav Mayer Birnbaum.
To access print versions of previous Tefilah segments,
please visit OU Torah’s Search portal, select the Topic of “Tefillah,”
and then select “Weekly Tefilah Focus” from the Series list.
For Rabbi Mordechai Finkelman’s video and audio shiurim, which are based on our Tefilah Focus segments but also include his insightful and inspiring additions, please visit TorahAnytime.com
or simply search for “TorahAnytime Rabbi Finkelman.”
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