Prayer is an intimate conversation between us and God, but it doesn’t always feel that way. We become uninspired, and we lose our sense of connection and feeling. What can we do about that? The videos below explore the roots of prayer in Biblical sources and examine how and why it works today, taking you on a journey to awaken and inspire your communication with God.
Each daily, weekly, and yearly cycle is related to specific Jewish prayers, setting the religious tone for the Jewish community. Our Hebrew prayers trace their roots to our Biblical forefathers, and we step into this ancient relationship between humanity and God every time we pray. Discover how to incorporate Tefillah into your modern life.
Blessing food is an important Jewish custom; it's a small moment of reflection of God's nourishment and kindness. But why do we pray after meals, when we've already blessed the food before eating? Why is Birkat Hamazon only for meals with bread? This 101 guide explains how Birkat Hamazon is more than just giving thanks – it's also a lesson in humility.
The regular ritual of prayer focuses a Jew’s attention on his or her connection to God, and adds holiness to every part of the day, from the first moment of awakening to the last moments before sleep.
The Biblical source for prayer is cited as the phrase וּלְעָבְדוֹ, בְּכָל-לְבַבְכֶם, וּבְכָל-נַפְשְׁכֶם — “And you shall serve Him [God] with all of your heart and all of your soul” (Deuteronomy 11:13). This service is interpreted as prayer, which is also known as a “labor of the heart.” Prayer is often described as a replacement for the daily sacrificial services that were conducted during the Holy Temple period. Unable to perform the activities of the Temple today, the Jewish people serve God with our words and our hearts.
The phrase “labor of the heart” also offers a keen insight into the nature of prayer. True prayer in Judaism is a difficult undertaking, but one that should ultimately be infused with love and respect, and that has profound effects on one’s life. Jewish prayer is seen as an act of self-reflection and self-improvement. Taking time each day to stand and communicate with God, making sure to concentrate on the meanings of the various prayers, can refocus our commitment to leading positive and impactful lives. Prayer is a time
Though there are many explanations for the various Jewish prayers and their different meanings, one of the most essential purposes of prayer is to infuse our daily lives with Godliness and spirituality. A typical day of Jewish prayer involves praying three times a day. The Shacharit prayers are recited in the morning, the Mincha prayers in the afternoon, and the Maariv prayers in the evening. On Shabbat and holidays, an extra prayer service called Mussaf is recited after Shacharit.
The prayers within each service vary (most include Ashrei, a hymn of praise, and the Shema, an affirmation of God’s oneness) but Shacharit, Mincha, Maariv, and Mussaf all culminate in the Amidah (“Ah-MEE-dah”), otherwise known as Shemoneh Esrei (“Sheh-mo-
Jewish prayer is known by several names. In Hebrew, prayer is called “