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Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe. By Your word You bring on the evening, with wisdom open the gates, with understanding alter times and change seasons, and with Your plan order the stars in their heavenly courses. You are Creator of day and night, rolling light away from darkness and darkness away from light. You cause day to pass and bring on the night, and distinguish between them. Adonai Zzeva-ot {Literally, “Master of Legions.” God creates harmonious relations among all the competing forces of the Universe.} is Your Name. Ever-living God, may You rule over us forever!

Blessed are You, Adonai, Who brings on the evening.

The first of the prayers surrounding the shema praises God as Creator and Sustainer of the Universe, and expresses our wonder at the regularity and predictability of the world in which we live. As God promised Noah (Genesis 8:22), “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.”

In the evening, the Creation prayer is known as ma-ariv aravim (“…Who brings on the evening”). Indeed, the entire evening service is named Ma-ariv in honor of this prayer.

In the morning, the Creation prayer is known as yotzer or. (See the next prayer in the module.)

God is Creator of night as well as day. Unlike the Zoroastrians who believed in a god of good and a god of evil, Jewish theology has always insisted that God is One. The same God Who has brought times of fear and despair, will provide sufficient courage and hope to sustain us until the arrival of a new dawn.

Most prayers begin the words
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam— “Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe.”

Almost all prayers conclude with the words … Baruch atah Adonai—“Blessed are You, Adonai…” followed by the major theme of the prayer that has just been recited. This is known as the חֲתׅימׇה chatima, or “signature” of the prayer. See above, for instance: “Blessed are You, Adonai, Who brings on the evening.”

Listen to this prayer