Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

This is the Catholic English version of the "Lord's Prayer." Its direct antecedent can be found in the New Testament and according to their tradition, was basically said by Jesus as a prayer to God.

Would a Jew be permitted to say this as a prayer?

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    I don't know Greek so I don't know what the original says or what "Thy kingdom come" means but it looks to my untrained eye like some of the things we do pray for every morning before p'suke d'zimra. It also looks very fishy to that same eye to ask that God emulate us in the "as we forgive..." line.
    – WAF
    Apr 1, 2011 at 3:49
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    I t does not seem fishy to me : ״ותאמר רבא כל המעביר על מדותיו מעבירין לו על כל פשעיו in TB Yoma 87b. hebrewbooks.org/shas.aspx?mesechta=6&daf=87b&format=pdf
    – Yahu
    Apr 1, 2011 at 20:43
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    @Yahu - Does that mean that in a literal, practical sense the Kesef Mishna would necessarily endorse asking for such treatment? And more importantly, Rava used the plural as the implicit subject of the statement specifically to avoid ascribing such direct causation to God. Given the tone of our prayers, which incorporate this indirectness across the board (e.g. y'hi ratzon *mil'fanecha*...), deviating from that standard remains fishy in my opinion.
    – WAF
    Apr 5, 2011 at 17:17
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    @WAF, Christians generally don't take the line "forgive us as we forgive..." to mean, "God, emulate us!" Rather, we take that to mean, "God forgive us, and we will also forgive others." Jul 6, 2011 at 2:10
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    Regarding the line "forgive us as we forgive others...", it may not be so foreign. Consider Gamaliel II's philosophy: "Whoever has mercy on other people, Heaven will have mercy upon him; whoever does not have mercy on other people, Heaven will not have mercy upon him." Jul 20, 2011 at 14:52

5 Answers 5


To add to Jeff's and Josh's points, we find that there are in fact practices in prayer (kneeling, raising our hands) that are attested in Tanach but were later abandoned as Jewish practices, precisely because non-Jewish religions made these parts of their own rituals. How much more so, then, that we shouldn't adopt prayers that they originated!

  • I seem to recall a halacha that we may not sing as part of prayers tunes from churches. (I've no time now to find a citation.) This sounds like that.
    – msh210
    Apr 1, 2011 at 16:21
  • I would add: ספר שכתבו מין נשרף עם אזכרות שבו.
    – JNF
    Oct 1, 2012 at 21:31
  • Can you provide sources to your assertion that those practices were abandoned for the reasons you stated?
    – Seth J
    Jan 1, 2013 at 15:12
  • @JNF I don't see the relevance.
    – Double AA
    Apr 27, 2014 at 1:03
  • @DoubleAA Even things originally Jewish are to be treated as מינות when coming from a מין. Though I don't know about actually abandoning things they imitated (see Seth's comment)
    – JNF
    Apr 27, 2014 at 6:29

Ḥukath HaGoyim. Next question?

Seriously, though, according to those who hold that Christianity is not 'Avodah Zarah (lit. "foreign worship", aka idolatry) for gentiles, it is still 'Avodah Zarah for Jews. Why? Either it's idolatry or it's not, right? No, say some (not all) of those who hold this opinion. According to them, it's not idolatry. If it were, it would be 'Avodah Zarah for gentiles, too. The Zarah (adj., lit. "foreign") is not (always) a modifier on the entity to which the 'Avodah (worship) is directed, but it can also be a modifier on the nature of the 'Avodah itself.

In other words, even if you hold that Christians worship HaShem in some ludicrous way and aren't worshiping an idol, it still is not the Jewish way of worshiping. As such, Jews may not participate, join, copy, or in any way emulate this practice.

It's at best Ḥukath HaGoyim, at worst 'Avodah Zarah.


Prayers are composed with different attitudes, and reference different Scriptures.

I am certainly not paskening here, but it is essentially a sectarian prayer, and gives credence to that religion. What is the motivation in saying it? Breaking down boundaries in this area is surely a slippery slope, when dealing with a religion that actively wishes to convert Jews. So it is, at the least, a very bad idea.

One could pick apart various parts of this prayer. For example, "forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us". This seems akin to Jesus saying "judge not, lest ye be judged." But there are places this applies and where it does not. The gemara in Bava Kamma 50a states “Kol HaOmer HKB”H Vatran Hu, Yevatru Chaiyav”, “Anyone who says Hashem is a pushover, Hashem will push over his life”.

"But deliver us from evil" is translated in Matthew 6:13 as alternatively "from the Evil one". Catholic doctrine, as affirmed by the Pope (from what I recall from a shiur by Rabbi Tendler, when the Pope made this statement) considers Satan to be a separate power wholly apart from God and His influence. This is a problem of shtei reshuyot, and the reference to the Evil One may then be one of avoda zarah.

Why go looking for trouble? But again, consult your local Orthodox rabbi.


It has a funny sense to it that's hard to pin down, like a piece of shellfish that's gone bad. The "arting in heaven" for one thing seems a step away from anthropomorphism to me.

Why does anyone need such a prayer, anyway? The Torah has everything that's needed. Saying this 'prayer' would seem to be conferring tacitly some legitimacy on the entire concept of a so-called 'new testament'. Like the shellfish, it's much better imo to avoid.

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    'our father who art in Heaven' = 'avinu shebashamayim'. but i agree with the rest of your answer. Apr 1, 2011 at 14:18
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    As a chaplain in hospitals, I frequently found that saying this with a family was of some help and comfort to them.
    – Ze'ev
    Aug 29, 2012 at 8:43

If one prayed this prayer, a Jew may think that he is a christian or crazy. The prayer in itself is fine, but the problem is in that it identifies too strongly with another religion, that only Christians recite it.

But then again, many prayed the shmonah esreh together before the added a 13th bracha, "lameshumadim,,,:

Then one might ask, are we not allowed to pray because goying pray?

  • Who cares what another Jew thinks that he's crazy or not. That's why "go in private close the door and pray to your father in heaven" .. or go pray "in the garden." Jan 26 at 8:07

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