What prayers are Jews obligated to say? I’ve heard that the average liturgy is 30 minutes but Rabbi David Bay Hayim does one that’s only 9.

  • There are many different types of prayers said - some as part of a daily liturgy and some prompted by specific moments during life. Different prayers take different lengths of time and different places say the same thing at different speeds so your question, as it stands, is very difficult to answer.
    – rosends
    Jan 19, 2021 at 21:19
  • jewfaq.org/prayer.htm
    – rosends
    Jan 19, 2021 at 21:40
  • Is the 9-minute referring to the morning prayers? Afternoon? Evening?
    – mbloch
    Jan 20, 2021 at 4:40
  • related: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/5412
    – msh210
    Jan 20, 2021 at 6:30

1 Answer 1


The order of prayer has many components of varying degrees of requirement, and also is different for different times of day, days of the week, and days of the year.

The core component of the prayers is the Shemona Essrai/Amida prayer, the "18 blessings" (actually 19, but that's not for here) that make up a single unit of prayer, "standing" before God, including praise, requests, and thanks to Him. This is a said at all prayer times, morning, afternoon and night. On Shabbos and holidays a shorter version is said, and on the High Holidays a longer version is said, though still with the Shabbos omissions.

Before the Shemona Essrai of the morning and night prayers, the Shema is said with its blessings before and after. This is also a core part of the prayers.

On certain days of the week and on (almost) all special days of the Jewish calendar, the Torah is read after Shemona Essrai. This is only read in a congregational setting, and can be as short as a few verses to the reading of a very long section of the Torah, as set for the reading of that particular day.

On Shabbos and holidays, an additional prayer is said to mention to special sacrifices brought in the Temple on these days, and to pray especially for their reinstatement.

Surrounding these are many other parts of prayer that are less central, and can be lengthened or shortened by the various traditions (nuschos). There are the recitation of the offerings (korbonos) and introductory hymns (Pisukei D'zimrah) before prayer, supplications (tachanun) after the prayer, additions for fast days (slichos), and other parts of the liturgy that vary significantly between European and Mediterranean rites, and between western and eastern European versions.

So, what is "obligatory"? Shema with its blessings and Shemona Essrai are obligatory. (The obligation of Shemona Essrai at night is technically less than the two times during the day, practically it is also obligatory.) That does not mean that other parts can arbitrarily be skipped, and differing circumstances have different rules, what can be said at a latter time and what can be omitted from time pressure, and what is really optional.

30 minutes is a normal (somewhat quick) time for the weekday morning prayers. The nine minute prayer must be the afternoon or evening prayer, which have basically just the "core" prayer and much less of the additions mentioned above.

  • Excellent synopsis, @Mordechai. Though I think a 30 minute Shacharit is perhaps more than "somewhat" quick :) Jan 20, 2021 at 18:00

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