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

Yes, there is a history of Jewish communities in Arab countries relying on the Muslim call to prayer for their own praying times. For one such example, here is the Ben Ish Hai, (Hacham Yosef Haim) who ...
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27 votes
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A rabbi asked me to light candles before weekday Mincha/Ma'ariv. Is this customary? Is there a bracha?

Many synagogues - mainly Orthodox, not specifically Hassidic, light two candles in front of the Chazzan's (cantor's) table. The candles are on during the duration of the prayers and extinguished ...
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20 votes

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

In Lma'an Yishme'u #267 (page 2) Rabbi Chaim Hillel Raskin says that it is a Halachic obligation to quiet or turn off a cell phone before starting to Daven. If he did not, and his cell phone rings, ...
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19 votes

Is it ok to pray for a non-religious friend that he become religious?

The Gemara in Berachos 10a says that (at the advice of his wife Beruriah) Rebbi Meir prayed for neighbors of his to become religious, and the Gemara seems to approve of this. This is also implied by ...
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19 votes
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Why the reverse order of "Zachor Veshamor" in "Lecha Dodi"?

The beginning of each stanza spells the name of the author שלמה הלוי. I surmise that the author wanted to spell his name and therefore reversed the order.
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18 votes
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Why does Wednesday's shir shel yom include part of the next perek?

Moreshet.co.il reports: אך האריז"ל הנהיג להוסיף שלשה פסוקים ראשונים ממזמור צ"ה, "לכו נרננה" וכו', כדי לא לסיים בפורענות - "יצמיתם ה' אלקינו", כעין מה שאמרו חז"ל לגבי הפסקה בקריאת התורה: "ואין ...
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18 votes
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Can a service dog enter a Temple during service?

Yes. The Jerusalem Talmud (Tractate Megillah) quotes Rav Imi telling his assistant that if a scholar should visit and need to sleep in the Synagogue, he should let him, and allow him to bring ...
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16 votes

Should one lain the trop while reciting Shiras Hayam during Pesukei D'zimra?

סידור אוצר התפילות writes: וכן כתב של"ה שירת הים צריך לאמרה מעומד ובשמחה רבה כאלו אותה שעה יצא ממצרים, ובכוונה ובנגון הטעמים And so writes the Shaloh, Shiras Hayam must be said standing, and ...
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  • 5,539
16 votes

Would anybody be able to point me in the direction of legitimate Jewish meditation practices?

I would recommend R' Aryeh Kaplan's book, Jewish Meditation: A Practical Guide. It is halachically kosher and quite comprehensive If you are interested in more theoretical sources, same author has ...
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16 votes
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May Jews not pray to the Abrahamic God in any guise?

Christianity and Islam say they worship the same god that we do, but that does not make it so. Christianity is the bigger problem. They say that a human being was part of God, which is shituf (think ...
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15 votes
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Making a mistake in davening: when should one find out what to do?

Mishna Berura on SA OC 104 sk 2: ‏ (ב) בתפלתו ואפילו במקום הפסד ממון אין לו להפסיק. כתב הח"א כלל כ"ה סעיף ט' העומד בתפלה ונסתפק באיזה דין איך יתפלל כגון ששכח איזה דבר בתפלה מותר לילך ...
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15 votes
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Tefillin Chol HaMoed Hefsek

The Mishnah Berurah there explicitly addresses your question. In s.k. 28 he writes: ואפילו לאותן המניחין תפילין בחוה"מ בלי ברכה או המניחין תפלין דר"ת אחר שחלץ תפלין דרש"י או שחלץ תפלין ...
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14 votes
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Why no repetition of the Shema in shul?

The Gra writes (Shenot Eliyahu to Brachot 1:1) that you have to read Shema yourself and you cannot fulfill your obligation by listening to another. (This is not universally agreed to, but see the next ...
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14 votes
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What does it mean for one's soul to "be like dust to everyone"?

Most undertand this to be a prayer for the trait of humility; specifically as expressed by ignoring the abuse of others. This is implied by the Chovos Halevavos (Shaar Hac'nia ch. 10): והששי כי ...
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13 votes
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Getting "used to" making a change in davening

In Shulchan Aruch Harav siman 582 sief 3 the Baal HaTanya writes that even if you went home and said 90 times hamelech hakadosh and then were uncertain if you did it right in davening, you still have ...
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  • 446
13 votes

Where does this Havdala-oriented prayer come from?

This looks like an English translation of the Yiddish prayer גאט פון אברהם: גאט פון אברהם און פון יצחק און פון יעקב! באהיט דיין פאלק ישראל פון אלע בייזן אין דיינעם לויב, אז דער ליבער שבת קודש ...
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13 votes

Minhag to pause in middle of birkas kriyas shema

The Tur (OC 61) says, in his guidance on careful pronunciation of Hebrew, to be careful to pause between a word ending in a ם and a word starting with an א, and one of the examples of that that he ...
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13 votes

What ancient prayer contains the term "Osem" (אֹסֶם)?

In the Prayer which the Cohen Gadol (high priest) said on Yom kippur after he exited the קודש הקדשים (Holy of Holies), (Found in the Machzor of Yom-kippur toward the end of the Avodah prayers], we ...
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12 votes
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Seeking scholarly siddur with sources

Eizur Eliyahu is very scholarly, it is technically a siddur according to the nusach of the Gr"a but attempts to get the text closest to what the Gr"a had. (possibly available Here) Also Rav ...
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12 votes
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What happens in a modern Jewish liturgy?

At an Orthodox Jewish service, pretty much everything liturgical will be in Hebrew, with bits of Aramaic thrown in. There's a cantor AKA "Chazzan" up front who leads and recites certain communal parts ...
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12 votes
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Which way to face while praying on another planet

I suppose it's a fascinating question, but for me the answer seems to be a bit easier. It's quite the same, when someone doesn't know where is mizrach. In this case you should focus your concentration ...
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11 votes

Experience-based advice for focusing and slowing down prayers?

I was a major sufferer of the problem you describe, and to be honest, I have not completely cured myself of this; however, there are a few things that I have done recently that have made a huge ...
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11 votes
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Why don't we add in other korbanot on holidays?

The Shulchan Arukh rules (OC 48) that one should include the verses related to the Shabbat offerings in the morning because they, unlike the verses for Rosh Chodesh and Yom Tov, are not going to be ...
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11 votes
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What should you be doing during the repetition of the Amidah?

Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 20:1 (yonanewman.org) When the chazan steps (back) after (completing) the quiet (individual) prayers, he should stand still for the amount of time (it takes one) to walk four ...
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11 votes
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Does Maimonides Allow Prayer to Angels?

There is indeed at least unnamed but very early Rabbi who believed this prayer to be proof that there's no prohibition of praying to angels. See the responsum published by Simcha Emanuel in Hamayaan, ...
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11 votes

Saying Yaale v'Yavo out loud to remind others during Amida

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach is quoted in Halichos Shlomo (page 98 note 20) saying that the minhag for the mispallelim to raise ones voice when saying "V'sein Tal Umatar Lebracha" and other similar ...
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11 votes
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Davening with a Minyan in China

I don't know if there's such a system available at the moment but I came across a project on Kickstarter [ JPal ] that aims to automate this process. According to the developers people can create a ...
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11 votes
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Chazan forgot Yaaleh VeYavo at Maariv Chol HaMoed

This question (in the context of forgetting morid hageshem) was posed to Rabbi Efraim Grenblatt in his sefer Rivevos Efraim (volume 1 responsum 177). Rabbi Greenblatt cites the sefer Oreach Ne'eman (...
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11 votes
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Brachot that don't come from the Gemara?

The Beit Yosef (OH 46) notes that this blessing is not found in the Talmud. In Be'ur HaGra to Shulhan Arukh (OH 46:6), the Vilna Gaon comments on both the opinion of the Shulhan Arukh, who states that ...
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11 votes
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What constitutes the Shema?

Because the literature surrounding the Shema is quite vast, I will bring only general essentials below. Text of the Shema, referenced below: Deut. 6 שְׁמַע יִשרָאֵל יי אֱלהֵינוּ יי אֶחָד: ...
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