Chapter: 17 – The Amidah

01 – The Amidah Is the Essence of Prayer

The Amidah prayer is the pinnacle of the prayer service, and all the other preceding sections are, to a great extent, preparations towards it. The person praying rises from level to level, from Korbanot to Pesukei d’Zimrah and from Pesukei … Continue reading

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02 – Three Steps Forward Before the Amidah

It is customary to take three steps forward prior to praying the Amidah, in order to express one’s desire to come closer to Hashem and to stand before Him (Rama 95:1). A person who is already standing in his place … Continue reading

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03 – Facing Jerusalem

During most parts of the prayer service, a person may face in any direction he desires. However, when he arrives at the climax of the prayer service and gets up in the Amidah to stand before the King of the … Continue reading

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04 – Standing and Putting One’s Feet Together

During Pesukei d’Zimrah and Birkot Keriat Shema a person is permitted to either sit or stand, but once he reaches Shemoneh Esrei (the Amidah), he must stand with his feet together. When one stands, he summons his complete being, from … Continue reading

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05 – Body and Hand Positions

One reciting the Amidah must lower his head slightly, so that his eyes point downwards in the way of humility; he must imagine himself standing in the Temple and directing his heart up towards the heavens (Yevamot 105b; Shulchan Aruch … Continue reading

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06 – Bowing Down During the Amidah

The Chachamim instituted bowing down in five places in the Amidah: in the beginning and end of Birkat Avot, in the beginning and end of Birkat Modim, and at the end of the Amidah, when one takes three steps backwards. … Continue reading

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07 – Praying Silently

We learn many essential halachot from the prayer of Chanah, who stood and begged Hashem 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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08 – In Any Language

It is permitted to recite the Amidah in any language (Sotah 32a). However, it is ideal to pray in Hebrew, for that is the language in which Anshei Knesset HaGedolah composed the wording of the prayers. Furthermore, Hebrew is the … Continue reading

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09 – Kavanah

One reciting the Amidah must have kavanah; that is, he must focus on what he is saying, and he must try not to let his mind be distracted by anything else during the prayer. If other thoughts enter his mind, … Continue reading

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10 – The Order of the Berachot

Shemoneh Esrei is divided into three parts: praises, requests, and thanksgiving. In reciting the first three berachot, we resemble slaves who offer words of praise before their master. While reciting the middle blessings we are similar to slaves who make … Continue reading

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