Questions tagged [tefilla]

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

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Jews allowed to pray and join Muslim congregation in Mosques and Experiences

I had read somewhere in Maimonidian literature that Jews are allowed to pray in Mosques. Is it even allowed for them to Join the Muslim congregation and pray the Salat for they worship the same God (...
knowit's user avatar
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22 votes
9 answers
2k 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 ...
user avatar
42 votes
27 answers
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 ...
Isaac Moses's user avatar
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17 votes
2 answers
4k 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 ...
Hashamyim's user avatar
  • 501
15 votes
3 answers
6k views

Do Jews pray to deceased forefathers?

Shalom, I would like to know if Jews consider it acceptable to pray to deceased ancestors, forefathers, or "saints" like some Christians in the Catholic tradition do. Deuteronomy 18:11 would seem to ...
SeligkeitIstInGott's user avatar
16 votes
5 answers
1k 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 ...
Michael Sandler's user avatar
10 votes
2 answers
2k views

When may one do a Hechi Kedushah?

May a Chazzan decide on his own to do a Hechi Kedushah, or are there rules for when it is appropriate/mandated?
Seth J's user avatar
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23 votes
9 answers
9k 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 ...
Jeremy's user avatar
  • 8,894
14 votes
7 answers
894 views

Saying words of prayer or Torah while an immodest photo or drawing is in your field of vision?

The halachah is clear (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75) that one may not recite Shema, or any other words of Torah or prayer, while in the presence of parts of the human body that should be covered. ...
Alex's user avatar
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10 votes
3 answers
1k views

Saying Ulichaporas Pasha in Musaf of Rosh Chodesh

During Musaf of Rosh Chodesh the words Ulichaporas Pasha is added on during a leap year. Why is this done? And what is the significance of it?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
553 views

Following minhagim when praying in a different community?

Say you go to a minyan of a different community than your own, how should you behave? When being hazan do you use their pronunciation or yours? Do you pray your nusach or theirs? Do you put on talit ...
Ani Yodea's user avatar
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22 votes
3 answers
3k 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 ...
morah hochman's user avatar
20 votes
1 answer
1k 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 (...
Seth J's user avatar
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16 votes
4 answers
779 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 ...
Seth J's user avatar
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15 votes
1 answer
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 ...
Double AA's user avatar
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13 votes
1 answer
629 views

Why are some bakashot made on Shabbat?

As I understand it, we don't make prayers of request (bakashot) on Shabbat (cf Rambam Shabbat 30:12). For that reason, we omit so many liturgical requests because of shabbos - e.g., Avinu Malkeinu, ...
Charles Koppelman's user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
637 views

A Lubavitch custom of reciting zecher and zeicher in "Ashrei"?

My cousin, a Lubavitcher, says both zecher and zeicher (that is, both זֶכֶר with a segol and זֵכֶר with a tzeire) in "Ashrei". I noticed this when I visited him a good few years ago, and assumed it ...
msh210's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
607 views

Davening in front of a picture of 'Avodah Zarah

This afternoon I found myself Davening in a classroom. It must have been a comparative cultures type of class, judging by the items that were hanging on the walls - posters and artwork and such. As I ...
Seth J's user avatar
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7 votes
1 answer
465 views

Why no repetition of the Shema in shul?

We repeat the amida in shul for the sake of those who do not know the amida. We read the birkat hamzaon aloud for the sake of those who do not know the blessings. In both cases, we assume that many ...
Yehuda W's user avatar
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6 votes
2 answers
738 views

Time for t'filah and you don't have a siddur: better to daven from memory or wait (and possibly miss the time)?

If the set time comes to daven (on a weekday, let's say) and you unexpectedly don't have a suitable (or any) siddur,1 does halacha call for you to wait (and possibly miss that amidah entirely), or ...
Monica Cellio's user avatar
4 votes
3 answers
495 views

Why do we pray for G-d to smash down our fellow Jews?

My question refers to the twelfth blessing of the Amida, which seems to contravene the Biblical mitzva of ahavas yisroel*: "And for the slanderers let there be no hope; and may all wickedness perish ...
SAH's user avatar
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21 votes
2 answers
2k 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 ...
Seth J's user avatar
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18 votes
2 answers
633 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 ...
msh210's user avatar
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14 votes
10 answers
1k views

If Hashem doesn't change, how does prayer work?

If Hashem is perfect and unchanging, how can we pray to Him to have mercy on us? Doesn't that imply a change? I've heard it implied that the way this works is that the prayer itself has the effect ...
Shraga's user avatar
  • 2,160
14 votes
3 answers
1k views

Does Maimonides Allow Prayer to Angels?

In his Mishna Commentary to Sanhedrin 10:1 Maimonides lists as his 5th principle the prohibition to pray to an angel even as an intermediary. He counts this in his enumeration of his 13 principles in ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
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14 votes
7 answers
2k views

Which parts of the prayer service must be said clearly out loud?

I've heard a few different opinions on this. During longer prayer services, such as Shacharit on Shabbat, at least in Nusach Sefard, Pesukei D'Zimrah is quite long and there is a tendency for the ...
Naftuli Kay's user avatar
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11 votes
2 answers
786 views

Refusing to Daven from the Amud

According to Bruchos 34a, one should initially refuse to Daven for the Amud, so as to feel unworthy of the duty and to not look too eager to do it. The first time one is asked he should refuse, the ...
zaq's user avatar
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11 votes
1 answer
419 views

Why are Ashre and Alenu considered communal prayers?

Shulchan Aruch (OC 65) says to say "Sh'ma" with the congregation when they say it, and Mishna B'rura 9 there says the same is true of other things recited as a congregation such as "Ashre" and "Alenu"....
msh210's user avatar
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11 votes
3 answers
248 views

How "with" the congregation do you have to be to avoid saying "Kel Melech Ne'eman" before Shema?

As I understand it, when reciting the Shema by yourself, you add the words "Kel Melech Ne'eman" beforehand; but when praying with a minyan, you don't. How "with the minyan" do you have to be? What ...
Shalom's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
8k views

When is the earliest time you can daven ma'ariv during the week?

When is the earliest time you can Daven Maariv on a weekday?
Gershon Gold's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

Cutting Tefillin Retzuos

As we know, the outside of the tefillin's retzuos (phylacteries' straps) must be black. Lately, I've noticed that the very end of the retzuah of my shel yad (tefillin of the arm) is cracking and ...
Tzvi's user avatar
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8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Can one recite prayers or learn torah while facing a bathroom whose door is open?

Do you have to close the bathroom door that you are in the vicinity of before being able to recite blessings or learn torah? Does it suffice to simply turn your back towards the bathroom door? For ...
Ani Yodea's user avatar
  • 13.2k
5 votes
2 answers
375 views

Importance of Minyan

How far must I go out of my way to pray with a minyan (quorum)? Does it matter if it's longer one direction than the other (ie I have ride back but not there or vice-versa)?
Double AA's user avatar
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5 votes
3 answers
347 views

Has any rav / gadol answered Maharal's question on why we pray?

I located this in beurei hatefilah מהרל נתיבות עולם א עמוד פא נתיב העבודה פרק ה And there are those who ask about tefila: if a person is worthy that G-d should grant him what he is requesting in ...
DanF's user avatar
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5 votes
6 answers
445 views

Since G-d is Omnipotent Why Does He Need Our Prayers?

What are some good answers to the Question if God is all powerfull what does he need our Prayers for? I would appreciate as many answers as possibile
SimchasTorah's user avatar
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4 votes
1 answer
477 views

Asking a Human to Interecede with God

Rambam writes (Hil. T'shuva 3:15) that it is forbidden to utilize any entity as an intermediary between oneself and God (more accurately that one who does so is a heretic who loses his share in the ...
mevaqesh's user avatar
  • 35.6k
2 votes
2 answers
661 views

When asking for personal requests in Shemoneh Esrei, how should one phrase them?

The Shulchan Aruch (OC 119:1) rules that one may add to a middle Brachah (i.e. from Atah Chonein to Shema Koleinu, inclusive) of Shemoneh Esrei a personal request on the topic; for instance, if one ...
DonielF's user avatar
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18 votes
6 answers
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?
SimchasTorah's user avatar
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17 votes
4 answers
1k 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 ...
jake's user avatar
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16 votes
2 answers
642 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 ...
msh210's user avatar
  • 73.7k
14 votes
1 answer
419 views

Changing location mid-way during Shemoneh Esrei?

In one of these hopefully rare events, I’ve found myself needing to daven Shemoneh Esrei in a hotel lobby. I tried finding a quiet place, only to realise mid-way one of the workers telling me I was ...
Larry's user avatar
  • 511
12 votes
2 answers
7k views

What are "universal minimum" standards of tznius for halachic purposes?

What are the minimum standards of tznius for halachic purposes? By "halachic purposes" I mean Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 75, which forbids praying in the presence of ervah. I am raising the question ...
SAH's user avatar
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12 votes
5 answers
583 views

Reconciling "פותח את ידך" and knowing people are starving?

Tehillim 145:16 (Sefaria's translation): פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת־יָדֶךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל־חַי רָצוֹן׃ You give it (the food mentioned in the previous pasuk) openhandedly, feeding every creature to its ...
Gavriel's user avatar
  • 9,698
12 votes
11 answers
994 views

How do you improve your Kavvanah [concentration]? [duplicate]

Building on my blog post here, I ask: How do you improve your concentration when davening?
The Rebbetzin's Husband's user avatar
12 votes
4 answers
3k views

Lecha Dodi (לכה דודי) - Last Stanza

At Boi Veshalom (in Lecha Dodi), we turn around to greet the Shabbos queen. Firstly, to which direction are we supposed to turn? Is it towards the door of the synagogue, always to the rear of the ...
yydl's user avatar
  • 38.6k
11 votes
2 answers
255 views

Dealing with Other Minyanim

Many times I find myself davening in one Minyan while another is taking place within earshot. What is the proper way to handle such a situation (in terms of answering Amens, Kedusha, etc.)?
yydl's user avatar
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11 votes
10 answers
1k views

What is the point of praying if your fate is already decided on Rosh Hashana?

It says in Mesechta Rosh Hashana "On the New Year, [first of Tishrei] all who have entered the earth pass before Him, one by one, like young sheep, as it says: “He that fashioned the heart of ...
user6781's user avatar
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10 votes
1 answer
3k views

When do we say Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo?

I'm somewhat confused on when Baruch Hu Uvaruch Shemo (ברוך הוא וברוך שמו) should be said after Hashem's name in a B'racha (I'm taking for granted that it is only said in the context of a bracha, but ...
yydl's user avatar
  • 38.6k
8 votes
6 answers
1k views

Effect of Maariv being originally optional

Is there any practical application of the fact that maariv was originally instituted as an optional prayer, and only later became binding because it was universally accepted? Full disclosure: I once ...
Y     e     z's user avatar
8 votes
6 answers
545 views

רָקִיאַע or רָקִיַע

The Minchas Shay at the beginning of B'reshis cites a dispute whether the word 'רָקִיעַ' (and likewise for other words with a furtive patach) is pronounced as רָקִיאַע or as רָקִיַע, that is, with a ...
msh210's user avatar
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