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What do Jewish prayers look like?

Jewish prayer

The prayers and traditions in Judaism represent an integral part of everyday life. Therefore our today´s task will be to look closer to what such prayers actually looks like.

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Morning prayers Jews praying at the synagogue
There are several types of prayers divided according to the time when they are performed. First of all we will focus on

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the morning prayer called Schacharit. It is a morning and at the same time the longest Jewish prayer. The prayer is divided into several parts. It is commenced with Birchot ha-schachar, a sort of morning blessings, when the praying person utters his or her thanksgiving to God for being woken up as a free and godfearing man. The praying person is wearing the so-called tallit, the prayer shawl and ftilin, the prayer straps. Only then the prayer becomes valid.

The next level of the prayer is the so-called Pesukei D´Zimrah, also called „verses of song“. During this part the choir sings psalms and hymns. When the singing is over the faith is directly confessed and the appropriate blessings are given. Then a part indicated as Amidah, i.e. quiet prayer follows which contains nineteen blessings. Amidah is followed by a prayer called Tachanun. It is a quiet penitent prayer. It is interesting that the prayer is recited in two versions and only in the weekdays! As soon as all these prayers are over the believers start to read from the Torah. Reading takes place on Mondays and Thursdays on Shabbat, on Rosh Chodesh, The Three Pilgrimage Festivals and High Holy Days, Hanukkah, Purim and on public fasting days. On Shabbat and fasting days the Torah is read also during afternoon prayers. At the conclusion of the prayers a hymn for the Lord of the Universe is performed which is identified as Aleinu. Then the prayer is finished by a prayer a of the day. The morning prayer is finished at noon at latest.

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Afternoon prayers Rabbi interprets the Torah
After the morning prayer comes the afternoon prayer called Mincha. The afternoon prayers are also divided in several parts and they rank among the shortest Jewish prayers. The prayers start with the psalm Ashrei. In the Shabbat time and Holy Days Uva le-Cijon continues and then the half Jewish hymn, Kaddish. On Shabbat and fasting days it is read from the Torah during the afternoon prayers. Reading is followed by Amidah, a sort of a central part of the prayers. This quiet prayer is composed of nineteen blessings. After the prayer the believers recite penitent prayers Vidui and Tachanun. However, they are penitent in weekdays only. The Full Kaddish comes next and then again the hymn Aleinu and orphan´s Kaddish. The afternoon prayer takes place in the time shortly after noon and before the nightfall.

Evening prayers Jewish prayers
A traditional Jewish day is concluded by evening prayers called Ma’ariv. Since a Jewish day day starts at nightfall, it is the first prayer of a new day. It is naturally also divided into several parts. It is started with Shema Yisra’el, which is confession of faith, followed by the appropriate blessings. It is followed by the quiet prayer Amidah and the prayer is again finished by the hymn Aleinu.

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