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Many synagogues - mainly Orthodox, not specifically Hassidic, light two candles in front of the Chazzan's (cantor's) table. The candles are on during the duration of the prayers and extinguished afterwards. It has nothing to do with yahrtzeit or any occasion other than praying, itself. I located the reason for this custom in this article: The Shulchan ...


7

I was a major sufferer of the problem you describe, and to be honest, I have not completely cured myself of this; however, there are a few things that I have done recently that have made a huge difference in my level of focus during davening. First of all, the times when I paid the least attention to my davening were always when I was tired. When I'm barely ...


5

Many chasidim light candles on the yahrtzeits of important figures in chasidic history. One of the more widely-practiced ones (in the US) is to light a candle on the Yahrtzeit of R' Mendel of Riminov, which is the night after Lag Ba'omer. Chasidish shuls or shuls with lots of chasidim tend to leave out candles for people to light in the shul. I've even ...


4

I witnessed the Rosh Yeshiva of Ner Israel several times pick up a sefer and learn when the Chazzan would choose a slow tune for Mimkomcha of the Shabbos Shacharis Kedusha. I don't see piyutim being any different than the sections between the primary lines of Kedusha, and certainly not any more stringent. The Rosh Yeshiva never learned or did anything ...


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Rav Schwab on Prayer (compiled from taped lectures under the editorship of his eldest son Rav Moses L. Schwab) Iyun Tefilla, Hebrew version of "Rav Schwab on Prayer" Rabbi Shimon Schwab was officially "retired," but his mind and conscience never rested. Always a great thinker and teacher, he turned his attention to the Siddur.


4

As for me, My Prayer by Rabbi Dr. Nissan Mindel is such a book. It doesn't have quite the academic bent that your question implies, but it does give the history of the prayers and why they are placed where they are. It does not much touch on the variety of customs in different communities.


3

The following is from Aish: After the recitation, many take special time to thank God for the many blessings of health, prosperity, and joy in their lives. There is also a special prayer composed by women, for women, which many include at this time: May it be Your will, Lord my God and God of my fathers, to be gracious to me (and to my ...


3

First of all, the berachos upon pesukei dezimra (Yishtabach and Baruch Sheamar) cannot be made after one has said the Amidah (Shulchan Aruch 52). The question, then, is about the pesukim/mizmorim. The Shulchan Aruch there writes that one may, after finishing davening, go back to say the parts of pesukei dezimra that he skipped, and it sounds a bit like he ...


3

I think the paytan was working the other way. He had a list of holy 'shepherds' in who's zchus we beseach water, he filled in the stanzas with something about water concerning them all. This is very apparent from some of the forced associations. The one about Avraham is all poetic and nothing literal. Mentioning Moshe being thrown in the water seems strange. ...


2

learn about the greatness of G-d. study in depth shaar yichud of chovos halevavos, shaar yichud v'emuna in tanya and moreh nevuchim also study the marks of divine wisdom in nature. the more you will know the infinite wisdom of God the more you will be humbled and prayer will become meaningful. This is what I have found from personal experience. I also ...


2

There is another reason for a woman to close her eyes at the lighting of the candles for Shabbos. Technically, she should first say the bracha and then light the candles. However, once she has said the bracha, she has accepted Shabbos and is forbidden to light the candles. Thus, she lights the candle, put the match or lighting device away, closes her eyes, ...


1

During candle lighting she should be thinking about fulfilling the Mitzva of honouring the Shabbat by creating a brighter room. After she has extinguished the match, covered her eyes, made the Bracha and then looked at the candles and accepted Shabbat, she may want to use this auspicious time to pray for whatever she feels needs to be prayed for. The ...


1

I read from an old book by Rabbi Louis Isaac Rabinowitz that it parallels a person's trip to the temple in Jerusalem. there's more but from from what I remember: Yaale - he goes up the steps. veyavo -he comes towards the kohen veyagia - he gets there veyerae - he appears before G-d veyeratze - his sacrifice is accepted favorably he goes on there, if ...


1

FWIW, I can give you an idea that I developed with a friend of mine. I don't have an actual source, though this idea is based (however loosely) on the Ramban. In short: Ya'aleh Veyavo is a prayer asking for God to judge us favorably, which is appropriate for the holidays and Rosh Chodesh because they are all mini-judgement days. By referring to Rosh ...


1

Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan in Jewish Meditation discusses visualizing the words as black fire on white fire. Focusing on visualizing one thing on its own is very hard. Doing it for the whole prayer takes a LOT of practice. This slowed me WAY down.



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