questions about Jewish prayer

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21
votes
3answers
303 views

Female praying in masculine language

When women daven (pray), even by ourselves, it is convention to daven with male-gendered words ("modeh" vs "moda" as one of many examples). Why is this; are there sources that say we should be doing ...
15
votes
4answers
647 views

Why do people frequently change tunes toward the end of Lecha Dodi?

Frequently, perhaps even most of the time, I've noticed that the chazan (prayer leader) for Kabalat Shabbat switches tunes for the last four verses of Lecha Dodi. Is there any reason for this, or are ...
15
votes
1answer
888 views

Meaning of “bidi-bidi-bum”

In Fiddler on the Roof, in Tevye's song "If I Were a Rich Man," there is a line "all day long I'd bidi-bidi-bum." According to Wikipedia this is a reference to prayer. A repeated phrase ...
15
votes
8answers
1k views

Phrasing of refuah prayer when praying for a non-Jew

How would you phrase a refuah (recovery from illness) tefillah (prayer) for a sick gentile? "Thomas ben [=son of] Mary"? "Thomas Smith"? Is it appropriate to include the name during the ...
15
votes
1answer
159 views

Why do we open the ark for important prayers?

What is the origin of the custom of opening the ark for important prayers (not connected with the need to take out the Torah scroll)?
15
votes
2answers
381 views

How do you pray for a sick baby who has not yet been named?

Is it possible to say a Mi SheBerach for a sick baby who has not yet been named? If so, how is it done? And if one cannot say a Mi SheBerach, is there another prayer that can be said? What if there ...
14
votes
11answers
915 views

What are the oldest Jewish songs (tune plus words) that are still popular today?

When I say "song", I mean the combination of tune and words; and yes I'm probably thinking Ashkenazically here. It seems like any European old-timer I've met knows the "good old fashioned" tune for ...
14
votes
3answers
297 views

Humming during shmoneh esre

On shabbat for shacharit and mussaf, I am usually still davening shmoneh esre by the time the chazzan gets to kedusha. In this situation, can I hum to the tune of kedusha? This essentially boils down ...
14
votes
4answers
198 views

How to say go-al Yisroel before Shacharis Amida

When the leader gets to just before the Shacharis Amida, how should he say the blessing go-al Yisroel: aloud or saying the word Yisroel so the end of it cannot be heard?
14
votes
5answers
376 views

Why do we still do chazarat hashatz?

This question assumes that the purpose of chazarat hashatz is to allow for those who were unable to say their own shmoneah esrei (assumedly due to Hebrew illiteracy) to fulfill their obligation to ...
14
votes
3answers
258 views

Why do we still say sections of davening in aramaic?

I am pretty sure the aramaic sections of davening were written in aramaic because it was considered necessary for people to understand what they were saying. If this is true, why don't we say those ...
14
votes
1answer
147 views

Is God swayed by popular appeal?

When we pray for someone to be healed, we pray this individually in the Amidah but we also often have a community misheberach list. I assume that there is a theological reason for the public prayer, ...
14
votes
1answer
356 views

Why don't we bow “correctly” during tefillah anymore?

According to the Gemara (Megillah 22b), and according to the RaMBa"M (Hil. Tefillah 5:13) (and apparently R' Avraham ben HaRaMBa"M was adamant), when we pray we are supposed to bow down ON our knees ...
14
votes
4answers
315 views

Gabai speaking during chazaras hashatz, kaddish or kriyas hatorah for the sake of the tzibbur

Is a gabai allowed to speak during chazaras hashatz, kaddish and/or kriyas hatorah for the sake of the tzibbur (e.g. to ask someone if they are a Kohen or Levi)?
13
votes
5answers
441 views

Prayer for Illness - Why use the mothers name?

Why when someone is sick do we say his mothers name not his father's?
13
votes
2answers
197 views

Who is the composer of Haneiros Halolu?

When we light the Menora we say Haneiros Halolu. Who composed these words?
13
votes
2answers
254 views

When to say Tefillas Haderech on an airplane?

When is the proper time to recite Tefillas Haderech when travelling in an airplane?
13
votes
2answers
273 views

Answering Multiple People Saying Kaddish Out-Of-Sync

Many times there is more than one person saying Kaddish in shul. Unfortunately, because people say things at different speeds, and have trouble hearing each other across long distances, the Kaddish ...
13
votes
2answers
256 views

Whispering prayers?

Can one whisper t'fila (prayer)? I'm thinking of obligatory t'filos like sh'mone esre and "Sh'ma". I know one can speak t'fila quietly, even very quietly; in fact, sh'mone esre is said quietly. I'm ...
13
votes
3answers
370 views

Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?

The "Tefilat Geshem" ("Prayer for Rain") recited on Shemini 'Atzeret contains six verses. Each verse refers to a different person (except the last, which refers to a nation) and makes various ...
12
votes
4answers
247 views

Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed - why do we whisper it?

Why do we say Boruch Shem Kevod Malchuso L'Olam Voed in Kriyas Shema in a whisper?
12
votes
5answers
329 views

How do you motivate a teen who has no interest in Davening?

Recently I met a 13-year-old who simply has no interest in Davening (praying). What would be a way of motivating such a kid to Daven?
12
votes
2answers
540 views

Nun in Ashrei- Psalm 145

The prayer Ashrei, which we recite three times a day, is an acrostic consisting of all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet except for nun (נ). Why is the nun omitted?
12
votes
3answers
306 views

Moving from one's spot after Kedusha

After standing still for Kedusha, some people move after saying Yimloich, whereas others wait until after the Chazan says Hokail Hakodoish. What is the correct way?
12
votes
4answers
250 views

When you're trapped by someone Davening behind you

There's a(n) Halachah (citation help, anyone?) that you are not supposed to pass in front of someone in prayer. As a result, many people are strict and won't take their three steps back when ...
12
votes
1answer
173 views

How do I say vidui in Selichos in a meaningful way

We say vidui three times in selichos. Many words are uttered in a relatively short time. How can we do this in a meaningful way that is not "vidui peh"? I have heard tell of one of the gedolei Torah ...
12
votes
2answers
189 views

Ana B'choach - Private prayer or Sing-Along song?

Many people have the custom to recite the prayer "Ana B'choach" after the initial six chapters of Tehillim said in Kabbalas Shabbos and before "Lecha Dodi". Based on the fact that it references ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Putting on tefillin late

For whatever reason, I was unable to put on tefillin while davening shacharit this morning. However, I have access to tefillin now, and the sun has not yet set. After I put on the tefillin, what ...
12
votes
1answer
159 views

Why do non-orphans leave during Yizkor?

In all the Shuls (Synagogues) I've Davened in over the years, I noticed that all those whose parents are alive leave the shul during Yizkor. Why is this so?
12
votes
1answer
156 views

Out-of-order minyan participation

Some shuls have several minyanim back to back. If one arrives before the Torah reading of the 8:30 minyan and has finished davening before the Torah reading of the 9:30 minyan (to whose Kedusha one ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

What are “universal minimum” standards of tznius for halachic purposes?

What are the minimum standards of tznius for halachic purposes? By "halachic purposes" I mean Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75, which forbids praying in the presence of ervah. I am raising the question ...
12
votes
1answer
265 views

Avinu Malkeinu - middle verses said out loud by Chazan

Why do we repeat out loud the verses of Avinu Malkeinu - from Hachzireinu B'Teshuva until Kosveinu B'Sefer Slicha U'Mechila? Why only these verses? Why not others?
12
votes
3answers
331 views

Can you ask God to kill you?

I know that out of desperation Moshe asks God to kill him and I don't necessarily see any reason it would be forbidden but I was curious if there was any discussion, halachic or otherwise, as to ...
12
votes
1answer
167 views

Rockets from Gaza while praying

I live in Beer Sheva, Israel where there are presently ongoing rockets fired at us from Gaza. We are warned of an impending rocket by a loud siren that gives us less than a minute to run to a bomb ...
12
votes
2answers
306 views

Inhaling prayers?

Elsewhere I ask whether it's sufficient to pray in a whisper. See there, please, for a description of whispering and how it differs from speaking quietly. Answers to that question indicate that ...
12
votes
3answers
203 views

What is the hetter for yeshivas to daven a Hoiche Kedusha?

I have seen many Yeshivas (and some not-so-yeshivas [day schools, etc.]) doing a Hoiche Kedusha for Mincha. They had the Chazzan start the first three Brachos of Shemoneh Esrei aloud and say ...
11
votes
11answers
319 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]?

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
11
votes
5answers
3k views

how do Jews pray?

I am an Indian (from India) and there are hardly any Jews here, except for some Israeli tourists. There are more than 150 million Muslims however. I want to know if the Jews pray and how they pray. I ...
11
votes
4answers
592 views

Why “Lach” not “Lecha” in “Modim Anachnu Lach”

Could someone please explain why the "Lach" in Modim Anachnu Lach is not "Lecha"... I guess this is some grammatical point rather than the use of the feminime "you"?
11
votes
1answer
511 views

Praying for rain in the Diaspora

Why on this year (and on other years that precede civil leap years) do we start praying for rain in the Diaspora (by inserting the phrase 'Vetein tal umatar") at maariv of December 5 and not maariv of ...
11
votes
3answers
443 views

Why do Jewish people sway while praying?

Is there a reason that people sway back and forth while praying? I saw a lot of people pray like this, but I'm too shy to ask them why do they do this.
11
votes
5answers
154 views

Why do we say “ואתה עתיד ליטלה ממני”?

In אלוקי נשמה, we thank ה׳ for giving us our souls, and we say that He is destined to take them from us. Isn't this saying that משיח will not come in our lifetime? Why aren't we hoping for תחית ...
11
votes
2answers
232 views

Is there tashlumin for n'ila?

Can one make up n'ila at the next prayer or the previous one at n'ila?
11
votes
3answers
213 views

Can I omit ברוך השם לעולם אמן ואמן to catch up in Maariv?

If the Shaliach Tzibbur for maariv (outside of Israel) goes too quickly for me to start the Amidah with him, is there a source which would allow me to omit the section ברוך השם לעולם אמן ואמן? This ...
11
votes
4answers
429 views

Tachanun without a Sefer Torah

Recently I began davening mincha with a minyan that meets in college. When it comes to Tachanun, what is the correct procedure if there's no Sefer Torah in the room [and building]?
11
votes
2answers
163 views

saying “יתברך” when the שליח צבור says “ברכו”

The Artscroll סדורים (prayer books) — "Ashkenaz" and "Sefard" editions, Hebrew-English and Hebrew-only editions, at the morning and evening prayers for holidays, Saturdays, and weekdays — indicate ...
11
votes
2answers
332 views

Who didn't recite Kabbalas Shabbos?

In this article, R. Michael Broyde writes that: Indeed, there have been prominent halachic authorities of the last generation who did not recite Kabbalat Shabbat. Can anyone provide examples of ...
11
votes
1answer
182 views

Is there a Beta Israel Siddur?

Ashkenazi siddurs are different from Sephardic siddurs, do Beta Israel Siddurs even exist?
11
votes
1answer
416 views

Does one choose one or two pesukim for names?

What posuk does one choose at the end of shmonei esrei if one has two names? do you use two pesukim? or take the posuk that starts with the first initial of the first name and ends with the last ...
11
votes
1answer
196 views

Safek (doubt) in Halachah - How unsure does one have to be?

If someone is unsure if he recited Tal UMatar, one has to repeat the Shemoneh 'Esreh (it's slightly more complicated, but let's keep it simple). If one is unsure if he remembered to Bentch (recite ...