01 – Prayer

Prayer is one of the principal expressions of belief in Hashem. People are not perfect; they are flawed and long to improve themselves. They therefore turn to the Creator of the World in prayer. Human imperfection is apparent on two … Continue reading

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02 – The Prayers of Our Ancestors and Prophets

We learn in the Tanach that whenever our ancestors and the prophets needed help, they turned to Hashem in prayer. Avraham Avinu stood in prayer and begged that Sodom not be destroyed. Hashem answered him that if there were ten … Continue reading

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3 – The Effect of Prayer

HaKadosh Baruch Hu established a law in Creation, that when we awaken in the world below to approach the Almighty and request a blessing from Him, He, in turn, is aroused from above to bring upon us an abundance of … Continue reading

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04 – Is Prayer a Biblical Obligation?

The Rishonim disagree as to whether there is a biblical commandment (mitzvah m’d’oraita) to pray every day. According to the Rambam (Sefer HaMitzvot, mitzvah 5), there is a biblical commandment to pray daily, as it says (Exodus 23:25), “Serve God … Continue reading

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05 – The Institution of Prayer by Anshei Knesset HaGedolah

Anshei Knesset HaGedolah instituted the prayers and the blessings (Berachot 33a). They established the wording of the Shemoneh Esrei and decided on the phrasing of all the berachot, including Birkot Keriat Shema and Birkot HaNehenin (blessings recited upon deriving pleasure … Continue reading

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06 – The Standardized Wording (Nusach)

Establishing a uniform wording, which repeats itself throughout the three daily prayers, created a certain disadvantage. As a result, prayer is liable to become routine and a person is apt to lose the kavanah that is aroused within him when … Continue reading

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07 – Establishing Three Prayers

In addition to the special prayers that our forefathers prayed during times of trouble, they also fixed set times when they prayed to Hashem (Berachot 26b). Avraham Avinu initiated the Shacharit morning prayer. He was the one who originally illuminated … Continue reading

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08 – Kavanah and Those Who Find It Difficult to Concentrate

Prayer is considered avodah shebalev (service of the heart); therefore its essence is dependent upon kavanah (intent). There are two kinds of kavanah in prayer: one, a general kavanah, that the person praying is standing before the King of Kings … Continue reading

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09 – Hearing the Words One Utters and the Law of Hirhur

Some mitzvot are fulfilled through dibur (speech), such as prayer, the recital of Shema, and Birkat HaMazon. The Amora’im are divided on the question of whether one can fulfill these mitzvot b’dieved (after the fact), via hirhur (thought). According to … Continue reading

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10 – The Language of Prayer

The mitzvah of prayer is ideally performed in Hebrew, for that is the language in which Anshei Knesset HaGedolah composed the wording of prayer, and it is the Holy Tongue which was used to create the world. However, b’dieved, a … Continue reading

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