Questions tagged [tefilla]

Questions about Jewish prayer (the fixed order of typically-thrice-daily prayers, or prayer generally).

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40
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27answers
2k views

Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I tend to daven (pray) without sufficient focus and very quickly. In particular, I find that most of the time that I'm praying, my mind is on things other than the words that I'm saying. And, not that ...
30
votes
2answers
594 views

Rockets from Gaza while praying

I live in Israel where there are presently (late 2012) ongoing rockets fired at us from Gaza. We are warned of an impending rocket by a loud siren that gives us less than a minute to run to a bomb ...
29
votes
5answers
731 views

Female praying in masculine language

When women daven (pray), even by ourselves, it is convention to daven with male-gendered words ("modeh" vs "moda" as one of many examples). Why is this; are there sources that say we should be doing ...
28
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do people frequently change tunes toward the end of Lecha Dodi?

Frequently, perhaps even most of the time, I've noticed that the chazan (prayer leader) for Kabalat Shabbat switches tunes for the last four verses of Lecha Dodi. Is there any reason for this, or are ...
28
votes
1answer
3k views

Did Jews in Arab countries ever rely on Islamic calls to prayer?

It just occurred to me that Jews in Arab/Islamic countries would most likely have heard the adhan call the populace to prayer five times a day. Upon looking at an Islamic time-table and doing some ...
26
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2answers
339 views

How can I pray for Jewish people as they approach death? I am a hospice chaplain

I am a chaplain in a hospice, serving those who are terminally ill. As a chaplain, I do not promote my faith, rather, I help those walk in their faith as death approaches. One of the sad issues I ...
23
votes
2answers
683 views

Which way to face while praying on another planet

On Earth, we pray facing Jerusalem. On another planet, it makes sense to pray facing Earth. However, since planets move relative to each other, Earth might not be always in the same direction. In ...
22
votes
9answers
7k views

Phrasing of refuah prayer when praying for a non-Jew

How would you phrase a refuah (recovery from illness) tefillah (prayer) for a sick gentile? "Thomas ben [=son of] Mary"? "Thomas Smith"? Is it appropriate to include the name during the ...
22
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3answers
2k views

What is a woman's obligation when it comes to T'fillah?

In Orthodox practice it is commonly thought that women are not obligated in T'fillah (parts of it anyway) due to its time-bound nature. However, what is a woman's obligation? Which prayers must she ...
22
votes
5answers
607 views

Gabai speaking during chazaras hashatz, kaddish or kriyas hatorah for the sake of the tzibbur

Is a gabai allowed to speak during chazaras hashatz, kaddish and/or kriyas hatorah for the sake of the tzibbur (e.g. to ask someone if they are a Kohen or Levi)?
21
votes
8answers
1k views

Why do we still do chazarat hashatz?

This question assumes that the purpose of chazarat hashatz is to allow for those who were unable to say their own shmoneah esrei (assumedly due to Hebrew illiteracy) to fulfill their obligation to ...
21
votes
2answers
3k views

Meaning of "bidi-bidi-bum"

In Fiddler on the Roof, in Tevye's song "If I Were a Rich Man," there is a line "all day long I'd bidi-bidi-bum." According to Wikipedia this is a reference to prayer. A repeated phrase throughout ...
21
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2answers
1k views

Different traditions in Hebrew pronunciation [closed]

The theme of Hebrew pronunciation is one that facinates me and, as such, I want to get some feedback on some issues I've been thinking about for years. I have already discussed some of these issues ...
20
votes
2answers
2k views

Nun in Ashrei- Psalm 145

The prayer Ashrei, which we recite three times a day, is an acrostic consisting of all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet except for nun (נ). Why is the nun omitted?
20
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7answers
1k views

Why doesn't Tefilat Geshem have a verse referring to Miriam?

The "Tefilat Geshem" ("Prayer for Rain") recited on Shemini 'Atzeret contains six verses. Each verse refers to a different person (except the last, which refers to a nation) and makes various ...
20
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4answers
2k views

Praying in "multifaith spaces" in airports and other institutions

In airports and hospitals and such, you can often find "multifaith spaces". Is it permitted to pray in them? These "interfaith prayer chapels" are not churches: they're completely neutral rooms and ...
19
votes
4answers
808 views

A rabbi asked me to light candles before weekday Mincha/Ma'ariv. Is this customary? Is there a bracha?

Last night, I was pulled in off the street to help an unfamiliar shul make a minyan for Mincha/Ma'ariv. The rabbi greeted me, and when he learned I do not speak Hebrew, he gave me a very nice blessing ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

What halachic issues are involved in turning off a mobile phone while praying the quiet Amidah?

A person realises during his quiet Amidah, that he has not turned off his mobile phone. He is worried lest it ring while he is praying. On the other hand, turning it off will interfere with his ...
19
votes
3answers
798 views

Why do we still say sections of davening in aramaic?

I am pretty sure the aramaic sections of davening were written in aramaic because it was considered necessary for people to understand what they were saying. If this is true, why don't we say those ...
19
votes
5answers
670 views

What is the hetter for yeshivas to daven a Hoiche Kedusha?

I have seen many Yeshivas (and some not-so-yeshivas [day schools, etc.]) doing a Hoiche Kedusha for Mincha. They had the Chazzan start the first three Brachos of Shemoneh Esrei aloud and say Kedushah,...
19
votes
1answer
965 views

Why don't we bow "correctly" during tefillah anymore?

According to the Gemara (Megillah 22b), and according to the RaMBa"M (Hil. Tefillah 5:13) (and apparently R' Avraham ben HaRaMBa"M was adamant), when we pray we are supposed to bow down ON our knees (...
18
votes
12answers
5k views

What are the oldest Jewish songs (tune plus words) that are still popular today?

When I say "song", I mean the combination of tune and words; and yes I'm probably thinking Ashkenazically here. It seems like any European old-timer I've met knows the "good old fashioned" tune for ...
18
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6answers
3k views

Prayer for Illness - Why use the mothers name?

Why when someone is sick do we say his mothers name not his father's?
18
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3answers
422 views

Is there tashlumin for n'ila?

Being that n'ila is a unique prayer, in that it only occurs once a year, can one make up (do tashlumin for) n'ila at the next prayer or the previous one at n'ila?
18
votes
2answers
1k views

Silent Amidah when praying without a minyan

If one is davening b'yichidut (praying by oneself), without a minyan, do they need to say the amidah silently or can they say it out loud? Phrased another way, what is the reason for praying the ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

What is Ya'aleh Veyavo about?

Ya'aleh Veyavo is said on three occasions: in the third blessing of Birchas Hamazon, in the third to last blessing of Shmoneh Esrei on Rosh Chodesh and Chol Hamoed, and in the Kedushas Hayom (middle ...
18
votes
3answers
455 views

Moving from one's spot after Kedusha

After standing still for Kedusha, some people move after saying Yimloich, whereas others wait until after the Chazan says Hokail Hakodoish. What is the correct way?
18
votes
2answers
512 views

Answering Multiple People Saying Kaddish Out-Of-Sync

Many times there is more than one person saying Kaddish in shul. Unfortunately, because people say things at different speeds, and have trouble hearing each other across long distances, the Kaddish ...
18
votes
2answers
536 views

Whispering prayers?

Can one whisper t'fila (prayer)? I'm thinking of obligatory t'filos like sh'mone esre and "Sh'ma". I know one can speak t'fila quietly, even very quietly; in fact, sh'mone esre is said quietly. I'm ...
17
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5answers
4k views

Why do Jewish people sway while praying?

Is there a reason that people sway back and forth while praying? I saw a lot of people pray like this, but I'm too shy to ask them why do they do this.
17
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2answers
373 views

Who is the composer of Haneiros Halolu?

When we light the Menora we say Haneiros Halolu. Who composed these words?
17
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6answers
601 views

Why pray for Y'hoshua and not Kalev?

Rashi to Sh'lach 13:16 notes that Moshe prayed that God save Y'hoshua from the other spies' plot. This is a paraphrase of a g'mara (Sotah 34b) which implies strongly that Moshe did not similarly pray ...
17
votes
1answer
348 views

Why do we open the ark for important prayers?

What is the origin of the custom of opening the ark for important prayers (not connected with the need to take out the Torah scroll)?
17
votes
2answers
1k views

How do you pray for a sick baby who has not yet been named?

Is it possible to say a Mi SheBerach for a sick baby who has not yet been named? If so, how is it done? And if one cannot say a Mi SheBerach, is there another prayer that can be said? What if there ...
16
votes
5answers
980 views

Keeping up with fast davening

My local shul in Johannesburg, South Africa is traditional with very few Yeshivah-background or even Shabbat-keeping members. They daven so fast I simply cannot keep up. Even if I skip most of Pesukei ...
16
votes
4answers
371 views

How to say go-al Yisroel before Shacharis Amida

When the leader gets to just before the Shacharis Amida, how should he say the blessing go-al Yisroel: aloud or saying the word Yisroel so the end of it cannot be heard?
16
votes
4answers
652 views

When you're trapped by someone Davening behind you

There's a(n) Halachah (Berachos 27a, Shulchan Aruch 102:4) that you are not supposed to pass in front of someone in prayer. As a result, many people are strict and won't take their three steps back ...
16
votes
3answers
502 views

Humming during shmoneh esre

On shabbat for shacharit and mussaf, I am usually still davening shmoneh esre by the time the chazzan gets to kedusha. In this situation, can I hum to the tune of kedusha? This essentially boils down ...
16
votes
3answers
925 views

Yisgadal or Yisgadel?

I've noticed that some people, when reciting kaddish, pronounce the first words as "yisgadal v'yiskadash" with a patach under the dalet of both words, while others say "yisgadel v'yisgadesh" with a ...
16
votes
1answer
529 views

Is there a Beta Israel Siddur?

Ashkenazi siddurs are different from Sephardic siddurs, do Beta Israel Siddurs even exist?
16
votes
2answers
568 views

Inhaling prayers?

Elsewhere I ask whether it's sufficient to pray in a whisper. See there, please, for a description of whispering and how it differs from speaking quietly. Answers to that question indicate that ...
16
votes
1answer
271 views

Out-of-order minyan participation

Some shuls have several minyanim back to back. If one arrives before the Torah reading of the 8:30 minyan and has finished davening before the Torah reading of the 9:30 minyan (to whose Kedusha one ...
16
votes
2answers
444 views

Why does almost every community say Lecha Dodi?

The prayer Lecha Dodi was composed in the 16th century which is relatively recent as the general Nusach of prayer was founded between 516 BCE – 70 CE by the Anshei K'neset Hagdolah, and its rare that ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Praying for rain in the Diaspora

Why on this year (and on other years that precede civil leap years) do we start praying for rain in the Diaspora (by inserting the phrase 'Vetein tal umatar") at maariv of December 5 and not maariv of ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

I am not Jewish but would like to visit a MO synagogue to pray occasionally on Shabbat. What is the best course?

I have studied Judaism for five years privately but also with the assistance of friends. There isn't a shul in the city where I live so most Shabbats I pray at home. Occasionally I have driven into ...
15
votes
3answers
526 views

וינוחו בה\בו\בם ישראל in Shabbat shemoneh esrei -- why the change?

I've noticed that the Friday night shemoneh esrei (nusach Ashkenaz) uses the line "בה", shacharit and musaf use "בו", and mincha uses "בם" in the phrase "וינוחו _ ישראל מקדשי שמך..." What is the ...
15
votes
4answers
792 views

How sick does someone have to be to be put on "the cholim list"?

By putting someone on a cholim list you are asking the tzibur to daven/ say tehillim on their behalf. How sick does someone need to be for it to be appropriate to put them on such a list?
15
votes
4answers
359 views

How do we know what the Chazzan should say aloud?

In many siddurim, the text indicates a position, toward the end of each normal paragraph of prayer, where the Chazzan is supposed to start reading aloud, so that everyone knows when it's time to go on ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Can you ask God to kill you?

I know that out of desperation Moshe asks God to kill him and I don't necessarily see any reason it would be forbidden but I was curious if there was any discussion, halachic or otherwise, as to ...
15
votes
3answers
10k views

Putting on tefillin late

For whatever reason, I was unable to put on tefillin while davening shacharit this morning. However, I have access to tefillin now, and the sun has not yet set. After I put on the tefillin, what ...

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