When we have simchas (celebrations) — weddings, bar/bat mitzvahs, etc. — we tend to put a lot of effort into making sure all the details of the day are just right. But it’s important to think not only about the experience of the day itself, but about the things that will last far into the future.
That’s right, the benchers.
Long after the food has been digested and the flowers are dead, these little books of blessings and songs will adorn the Shabbat tables of your friends and relatives around the world week after week, and they’ll think about you and your simcha each time. So it’s important to choose a bencher that reflects your values and that your family and friends will want to continue using. And that’s why, when I get married this summer, we’ll be using L’chu N’ran’nah (Let Us Sing). This brand-new bencher is edited by Barry Walfish and Mark Frydenberg (editors of Chaveirim Kol Yisraeil, “the purple siddur”) and Aviva Richman, and distributed by Haggadahs-R-Us (of A Different Night fame).
L’chu N’ran’nah has something for everyone. In addition to the full Hebrew text, the entire bencher is translated (referring to God in gender-neutral language) and transliterated. For those who want to navigate easily between the Hebrew, English, and transliteration, there is a line-by-line three-column layout like the purple siddur. For those who like to sing, a wide range of songs are included, from Kol Mekadeish Shevi’i to Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu. For those of a scholarly bent, the foonotes provide citations to many of the biblical and rabbinic references in the Shabbat zemirot. For those looking for alternatives to the traditional liturgy, the bencher provides four alternative versions of birkat hamazon. For those looking for alternatives within the traditional structure, the bencher provides many options, including two different versions of the “harachaman” for peace between the children of Sarah and the children of Hagar (or is it between the children of Isaac and the children of Ishmael?).
There are many options for contents and covers, including a full version with all the songs as well as a mini version with just birkat hamazon. The bencher will be out by Shavuot.
Let us sing!