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I want to highlight parts of the prayers where the congregation responds and where the chazzan speaks so I can better follow the service, as well as write in some notes about the prayer order, etc. Can I write in the siddur or will my rabbi have a meltdown? =)

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    I don't see an issue with it, and I've seen it done, but I don't have any authoritative sources for you at the moment. – Shokhet Jan 5 '15 at 4:32
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    Isaac Moses assumes you can in this question. His question is based off of this blog post, where the Rebbetzin's Husband recommends it. – Shokhet Jan 5 '15 at 5:29
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    @Shokhet You should make this an answer. – sabbahillel Jan 5 '15 at 10:23
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    Is it your own siddur? – Scimonster Jan 5 '15 at 15:05
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    Yes. I don't write on other people's property. It's called vandalism =) – Baruch Jan 5 '15 at 15:27
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While I've never done this myself, I don't see any issue with it, provided that you highlight and underline respectfully.

In fact, the practice comes highly recommended by the Rebbetzin's Husband, and has also been discussed elsewhere on this site.

From that blog post:

It's a way to corral ourselves during our distracted moments, and draw ourselves back.
It's a way to personalize our davening, by highlighting elements that matter to us.
It's a way to remember the items that catch our eye or ear and inspire us once, for the next time we daven.

So it seems that it's not just something that you may do, but rather a recommended practice. I wish you much success in focusing on your prayers!

  • I discovered this answer while wondering whether it was ok to copy the sources for text (eg "Psalm xx:yy") from a nicely informative siddur into one without footnotes. I get the impression this would be acceptable too? – chrysanthemum Sep 6 '15 at 6:32
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    @chrysanthemum I don't see why that would be an issue. The only issue that comes to mind is one of copyright, which shouldn't be a problem if you're not selling/distributing your siddur. – Shokhet Sep 8 '15 at 15:08
  • @shokhet Thank for. I own both and its purely for my own personal use :) – chrysanthemum Sep 8 '15 at 15:53
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My answer is based on logical deduction.

Many siddurim already include typed English instructions and translations, etc. interspersed between the Hebrew prayers. I don't see the difference whether the publisher has typed instructions or whether you highlight or write your own instructions to help you out.

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Provided you're not erasing G-d's name, there should be no problem.

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    (Also provided it is your own siddur.) – Loewian Jan 5 '15 at 6:06

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