Questions about Jewish prayer (the fixed order of typically-thrice-daily prayers, or prayer generally).

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12
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4answers
345 views

Keeping up with fast davening

My local shul in Johannesburg, South Africa is traditional with very few Yeshivah-background or even Shabbat-keeping members. They daven so fast I simply cannot keep up. Even if I skip most of Pesukei ...
12
votes
5answers
499 views

Should I be shuckling?

I was told that shuckeling (sp?) is an indication of the love-fear relationship that we have with God. You move forward showing that you want to be close to God and then backward out of fear of his ...
12
votes
3answers
767 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.
12
votes
3answers
279 views

וינוחו בה\בו\בם ישראל in Shabbat shemoneh esrei — why the change?

I've noticed that the Friday night shemoneh esrei (nusach Ashkenaz) uses the line "בה", shacharit and musaf use "בו", and mincha uses "בם" in the phrase "וינוחו _ ישראל מקדשי שמך..." What is the ...
12
votes
4answers
300 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
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2answers
384 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 ...
12
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2answers
227 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
1answer
221 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
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1answer
184 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
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5answers
239 views

How to pray for something

How is one supposed to pray for something he needs? Is he/she supposed to request it from God once or repeat the request over and over, or make arguments why he deserves it or something else? It ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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
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1answer
300 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
259 views

Sneezing during davening

I have read in the Gemara (Berachoth 24B) that sneezing during the Shemonei Esrei is a sign that your tefillot have been accepted. "Just as you have been granted relief below, so you have been granted ...
12
votes
1answer
227 views

Why are some bakashot made on Shabbat?

As I understand it, we don't make prayers of request (bakashot) on Shabbat (cf Rambam Shabbat 30:12). For that reason, we omit so many liturgical requests because of shabbos - e.g., Avinu Malkeinu, ...
12
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7answers
577 views

Which parts of the prayer service must be said clearly out loud?

I've heard a few different opinions on this. During longer prayer services, such as Shacharit on Shabbat, at least in Nusach Sefard, Pesukei D'Zimrah is quite long and there is a tendency for the ...
12
votes
3answers
249 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
418 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]? [duplicate]

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
11
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5answers
5k 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
8answers
438 views

How do you extend the sound of a daleth in Shema?

How does one extend the sound of the daleth in the echod of the shema as prescribed in OC 61 (6)?. The letter as we say it does not seem to allow extension. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalet ...
11
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3answers
247 views

Finding the quiet section of the synagogue

When you enter an unfamiliar synagogue, how do you find a seat in a section that's likely to have the least talking?
11
votes
2answers
857 views

What does it mean for one's soul to “be like dust to everyone”?

From the end of the Amidah: "To those who curse me, let my soul be silent; and let my soul be like dust to everyone". What does it mean, for one's soul to be like dust? And why is it a good thing?
11
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5answers
161 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
3answers
862 views

Are there required “ritual/daily” prayers in Judaism?

I have a question about the daily prayers of Judaism. I noticed on my trip to Jerusalem that a lot of those practicing Judaism got up at a certain time in the morning on the plane and faced a wall and ...
11
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3answers
4k views

Where can I get the free Hebrew text of the Siddur or Benching?

Where can I get the text of the siddur/prayer book (or at least benching/grace, mincha/afternoon prayer, and/or ma'ariv/evening prayer) in a free computer friendly format? I'd like to be able to make ...
11
votes
3answers
283 views

Can you learn during chazarat hashatz?

Are you allowed to learn Torah silently during the chazzan's repetition of Shmonah Esrei? (This is a case where you are davening with that minyan.)
11
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4answers
561 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
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3answers
130 views

How “with” the congregation do you have to be to avoid saying “Kel Melech Ne'eman” before Shema?

As I understand it, when reciting the Shema by yourself, you add the words "Kel Melech Ne'eman" beforehand; but when praying with a minyan, you don't. How "with the minyan" do you have to be? What ...
11
votes
1answer
371 views

Silent Amidah when praying without a minyan

If one is davening b'yichidut (praying by oneself), without a minyan, do they need to say the amidah silently or can they say it out loud? Phrased another way, what is the reason for praying the ...
11
votes
2answers
390 views

What is a woman's obligation when it comes to T'fillah?

In Orthodox practice it is commonly thought that women are not obligated in T'fillah (parts of it anyway) due to its time-bound nature. However, what is a woman's obligation? Which prayers must she ...
11
votes
3answers
160 views

Is Torah reading an individual or communal obligation?

Is the obligation to read the Torah (or hear it read) an individual or communal obligation? A possible nafka mina might be if one missed the Torah reading -- does he need to assemble a minyan to ...
11
votes
2answers
175 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
3answers
277 views

What is Ya'aleh Veyavo about?

Ya'aleh Veyavo is said on three occasions: in the third blessing of Birchas Hamazon, in the third to last blessing of Shmoneh Esrei on Rosh Chodesh and Chol Hamoed, and in the Kedushas Hayom (middle ...
11
votes
1answer
491 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
743 views

spitting in aleinu leshabeach

Does anyone know the origin of the custom to spit in Aleinu after the words שֶׁהֵם מִשְׁתַּחֲוִים לְהֶבֶל וְלָרִיק? Where did it start? And in which seforim is it mentioned? I have seen in the ...
10
votes
3answers
325 views

Why do we say Eishes Chayil on Friday nights?

Eishes Chayil is indeed a beautiful song. But why do we say it specifically Friday nights (before Kiddush)?
10
votes
4answers
291 views

What's so moving about Kol Nidrei

Wikipedia describes Kol Nidrei: Though not a prayer, this dry legal formula and its ceremonial accompaniment have been charged with emotional undertones since the medieval period, creating a ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

How precisely oriented towards Jerusalem should we face for praying?

I know we're supposed to face towards Jerusalem when praying/davening. For most of us in the Europe or the Western Hemisphere, we're used to facing "Mizrach", east. How precise should we be? If ...
10
votes
4answers
618 views

How to learn Amidah, Shma and others?

I live 3000km from shul and take conversion classes remotely. I am learning from Koren Siddur. Because I do not ever hear how the words should be spoken, I sometimes wonder if it is a waste of time. I ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Author of Nishmat kol chai

Who is the author of the prayer "Nishmat kol chai" which is said on Shabbat, Yom Tov, and during the great Hallel at the Seder?
10
votes
3answers
433 views

Best practices for praying in public with talit and tefilin

I just learned that a flight out of New York was diverted because a flight attendant saw a passenger putting on tefilin and freaked out, thinking that he was strapping on bombs. So, do you have any ...
10
votes
1answer
197 views

Why are Isaac and Rivka in Shochen Ad

Many siddurim capitalize the Yitzchak in Shochen Ad. Some draw attention to the Rivka. But why are either of them there? If you wanted to throw Yitzchak somewhere, why not minchah, which we ...
10
votes
3answers
226 views

Proper age to take a child to Shul

What is the proper age for children to begin being taken to Shul?
10
votes
3answers
520 views

Asking non-Jews to pray for someone

Is it appropriate to ask non-Jews to pray on behalf of someone in dire straits (sick, wrongfully imprisoned, trapped, etc.)? Edit: If it's appropriate, would it be inappropriate if the person being ...
10
votes
3answers
218 views

Who instituted the Musaf prayer?

According to the Gemara in Brachot, there are two views about Shacharit, Mincha, and Maariv: one is that the Avot instituted them, and one is that they correspond to the daily tmidin and the burning ...
10
votes
3answers
167 views

Does Maimonides Allow Prayer to Angels?

In his Mishna Commentary to Sanhedrin 10:1 Maimonides lists as his 5th principle the prohibition to pray to an angel even as an intermediary. He counts this in his enumeration of his 13 principles in ...
10
votes
1answer
196 views

Why have I never seen anyone “slicing the Shema”?

“Slicing the Shema” A good summary is to be found here, on the Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash website. In short, “…. ten men who prayed alone can subsequently fulfill their obligations of ...
10
votes
3answers
496 views

If women are not obliged to daven maariv, should they daven if they wish to?

This source says that women are not obliged to daven maariv but may do if they wish. Although the Shulchan Aruch (108:7) allows one to recite a Tefilat Nedava in a certain case, Halacha Berura (22nd ...
10
votes
2answers
394 views

When saying the Mi SheBerach prayer for a sick amputee, do you say “for his 248 limbs”?

The standard text of the Mi She-Berach prayer for the sick asks that G-d send healing "to his 248 limbs and 365 sinews." What if someone, G-d forbid, lost a foot a few years ago; and now prayers are ...
10
votes
4answers
262 views

Reconciling Nature with Continuous Creation

I have always understood that when God created the universe, he subjected it to a natural order and process under which the universe can function. The laws of nature are those that govern the ...
10
votes
3answers
136 views

What to do before death

If a doctor tells a person that he is certain to die shortly (e.g., within one hour), what should that person do during his remaining minutes?