I, in an attempt to improve kavana (intent) in prayer, would like to study a perush (commentary) which explains the shemonei esrei in details (pshat of each word and maybe a bit more). Can anyone recommend something online for this?

UPDATE: to clarify, looking for pshat type analysis, like the malbim on tanach


4 Answers 4


The new Kehot siddur has a good starting point for those who need an English translation that focuses on being conversational, with enough of an explanation to provide some depth. On the online sample at the link, they have the first page of Shemonei Esrei (both the Hebrew side, and the english translation side) so you can see specifically if it is what you are looking for.

For those who already comfortable with Hebrew, for depth there is nothing I have seen like the Siddur Shai Lamora (although the online sample at that link is only about the first blessing of the morning). There are couple of caveats with it though, which may be good or bad, depending on what you are looking for. It is very wide-ranging, exploring kabbalistic and simple meanings. So the simple meaning is there, it just isn't the only thing on the page. Second is that it relies on what was said previously. So if you skip straight to Shemona Esrei, you won't get everything it said, for example, about the structure of a blessing in general and what it means, or what Hashem's name means, things like that.

A more intermediate alternative there is a siddur printed by Kehot (at least it had the Kehot logo on it) where it printed the Siddur with an interlinear hebrew elucidation. I can't find that one online (it was probably printed by their Israel division), but a local book store that carries Chabad items may have it.

  • thanks. i know what the words mean, but would like to understand the choice of words and the inyanim more clearly.
    – ray
    Jan 8, 2014 at 18:44
  • @ray, I think the bottom commentary addresses that.
    – Yishai
    Jan 8, 2014 at 19:33
  • had a look, it's more of a theme type commentary. i'm looking more for a clear pshat analysis, like the malbim on tanach
    – ray
    Jan 9, 2014 at 6:44
  • @ray, I know a couple like that, but they are in Hebrew (very recent, simple Hebrew). Is that helpful, or do you prefer English?
    – Yishai
    Jan 9, 2014 at 11:55
  • hebrew is better since amida is in hebrew
    – ray
    Jan 10, 2014 at 6:51

I would recommend Pathway To Prayer It's an in depth explanation to the Shmone Esreh as well as many suggestions to concentrate on Tefilla. There are many different versions depending on your Nusach and for which Shmone Esreh you want, It's fantastic and has really made my Shmone Esreh better.


Rabbi Leff has a book - "Shemoneh Esrei: The depth and beauty of our daily tefillah" which does a lot of explaining phrases and ideas.

Also, if you are willing to go with Hebrew, the siddur Ishei Yisrael has the commentary of the Gra"h and the Siach Yitzchak, both of which are very good. Otzar Hatefillos has the etz yosef and iyun tefillah, also very good.


You might also look into the book Rabbi Shwab on Prayer. It can be found Here

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