Shema Bini I'm Finally Home
By Cantor Andrew Bernard, D.M.A.
One of the unique features of Mishkan T’filah is the inclusion of the final blessing—known as a chatimah or “seal”—at the end of nearly every version of a particular prayer: The Hebrew, the translation and the creative reading(s).
In a traditional service, the cantor chants the end of each prayer (usually beginning a phrase or two before the final blessing) and continues with the opening phrase of the next prayer. As traditional Jewish worship may be defined as congregants praying individually in the midst of community, the cantor uses the chatimot to keep the individual worshipers moving through the service more or less together.