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

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24
votes
21answers
689 views

Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I tend to daven (pray) without sufficient focus and very quickly. In particular, I find that most of the time that I'm praying, my mind is on things other than the words that I'm saying. And, not that ...
24
votes
4answers
387 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 ...
22
votes
1answer
2k views

Did Jews in Arab countries ever rely on Islamic calls to prayer?

It just occurred to me that Jews in Arab/Islamic countries would most likely have heard the adhan call the populace to prayer five times a day. Upon looking at an Islamic time-table and doing some ...
19
votes
2answers
268 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 ...
18
votes
4answers
814 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
1k views

What halachic issues are involved in turning off a mobile phone while praying the quiet Amidah?

A person realises during his quiet Amidah, that he has not turned off his mobile phone. He is worried lest it ring while he is praying. On the other hand, turning it off will interfere with his ...
17
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
17
votes
13answers
1k 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 ...
17
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 ...
17
votes
1answer
196 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)?
16
votes
2answers
707 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?
16
votes
2answers
321 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
497 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
506 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
690 views

Prayer for Illness - Why use the mothers name?

Why when someone is sick do we say his mothers name not his father's?
15
votes
3answers
343 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
456 views

When to say Tefillas Haderech on an airplane?

When is the proper time to recite Tefillas Haderech when travelling in an airplane?
15
votes
3answers
344 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
352 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
238 views

Why does almost every community say Lecha Dodi?

The prayer Lecha Dodi was composed in the 16th century which is relatively recent as the general Nusach of prayer was founded between 516 BCE – 70 CE by the Anshei K'neset Hagdolah, and its rare that ...
15
votes
4answers
361 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)?
14
votes
5answers
465 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
4answers
226 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
2answers
228 views

Who is the composer of Haneiros Halolu?

When we light the Menora we say Haneiros Halolu. Who composed these words?
14
votes
2answers
265 views

Is there tashlumin for n'ila?

Can one make up n'ila at the next prayer or the previous one at n'ila?
14
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
837 views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
14
votes
2answers
348 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
173 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, ...
13
votes
4answers
831 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"?
13
votes
3answers
207 views

A rabbi asked me to light candles before weekday Mincha/Ma'ariv. Is this customary? Is there a bracha?

Last night, I was pulled in off the street to help an unfamiliar shul make a minyan for Mincha/Ma'ariv. The rabbi greeted me, and when he learned I do not speak Hebrew, he gave me a very nice blessing ...
13
votes
4answers
339 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?
13
votes
4answers
449 views

Yisgadal or Yisgadel?

I've noticed that some people, when reciting kaddish, pronounce the first words as "yisgadal v'yiskadash" with a patach under the dalet of both words, while others say "yisgadel v'yisgadesh" with a ...
13
votes
5answers
395 views

Meaning of the phrase “Tzur Chevli B'eit Tzarah” near the end of Adon Olam

Near the end of Adon Olam, there is the phrase "Tzur Chevli B'eit Tzarah". What exactly is the meaning of this phrase, and specifically the term "Tzur Chevli"? I have seen it translated rather ...
13
votes
3answers
224 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
328 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?
13
votes
4answers
282 views

How sick does someone have to be to be put on “the cholim list”?

By putting someone on a cholim list you are asking the tzibur to daven/ say tehillim on their behalf. How sick does someone need to be for it to be appropriate to put them on such a list?
13
votes
5answers
563 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
191 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
255 views

Is there a Beta Israel Siddur?

Ashkenazi siddurs are different from Sephardic siddurs, do Beta Israel Siddurs even exist?
13
votes
2answers
114 views

How often and for how long should one pray for a sick person?

Are there rules/guidelines for how often to include a sick person in the refa’enu prayer in the amidah, and for how long to include them? Should one pray for that person every time one prays until one ...
13
votes
3answers
501 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
327 views

Praying in “multifaith spaces” in airports and other institutions

In airports and hospitals and such, you can often find "multifaith spaces". Is it permitted to pray in them? These "interfaith prayer chapels" are not churches: they're completely neutral rooms and ...
13
votes
2answers
286 views

why does the chazzan stand for the entire davening?

From what I have seen, other than tachanun (nefilat apayim) the chazzan stands for the entire davening. Why is this so? Why not sit for things like krias shema?
13
votes
0answers
304 views

Hallel on Yom Nicanor

Yom Nicanor celebrated the victory of Yehuda Maccabi (a few years after the events commemorated on Chanuka) over Nicanor, the Syrian-Greek governor who threatened to destroy the Temple if he wasn't ...
12
votes
1answer
682 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
414 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
3answers
709 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
2answers
860 views

I am not Jewish but would like to visit a MO synagogue to pray occasionally on Shabbat. What is the best course?

I have studied Judaism for five years privately but also with the assistance of friends. There isn't a shul in the city where I live so most Shabbats I pray at home. Occasionally I have driven into ...
12
votes
3answers
272 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 ...