Chapter: Chapter 12: The Amida

01. Three Steps toward Prayer

During the Amida prayer we stand before God, the King of kings. This is not the case regarding other berakhot and prayers: although all prayers must be recited with solemnity and kavana, they are not on the same level as … Continue reading

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02. Facing Jerusalem

While reciting all the various berakhot and prayers, it is permissible to face in any direction. However, when one stands before the King of the world in the Amida, she must turn to face Jerusalem, the place that God chose … Continue reading

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03. Standing and Putting One’s Feet Together

There is a unique law regarding the Amida: it must be recited while standing. When one stands, she summons her complete being, from head to toe, to prayer. In addition, standing expresses the reverence and awe felt toward the King … Continue reading

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04. Placement of the Body and Hands

One reciting the Amida must bow her head slightly, so that her eyes point humbly downwards; she must imagine herself standing in the Temple and direct her heart toward heaven (Yevamot 105b; SA 95:2). The kabbalists praise one who prays … Continue reading

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05. Bowing During the Amida

The Sages instituted bowing in five places in the Amida: at the beginning and end of Avot, at the beginning and end of Modim, and at the end of the Amida, when one takes three steps backwards. They specifically chose … Continue reading

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06. Praying Silently

We learn many essential halakhot from the prayer of Ĥana, who stood and begged God to remember her and grant her a son. Her prayer was accepted and she merited giving birth to Shmuel the prophet, who was the greatest … Continue reading

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07. In Any Language

  One may recite the Amida in any language (Sota 32a). However, it is best to pray in Hebrew, for that is the language in which the Men of the Great Assembly composed the prayers. Furthermore, Hebrew is the holy … Continue reading

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08. Kavana

One reciting the Amida must have kavana, that is, she must pay attention to what she is saying and must try not to let her mind be distracted by anything else during the prayer. If other thoughts enter her mind, … Continue reading

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09. The Order of the Berakhot of Shemoneh Esrei

Shemoneh Esrei, the weekday Amida, is divided into three parts: praise, petition, and thanksgiving. While reciting the first three berakhot, we resemble slaves who offer words of praise before their master. While reciting the middle blessings we are like slaves … Continue reading

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10. Personal Requests in the Amida

The Men of the Great Assembly, in their wisdom and divine inspiration, incorporated all the ideal aspirations of the Jewish people in their formulation of the Amida. They meticulously chose every word until arriving at the perfect wording, with which … Continue reading

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