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Home :: Prayer :: Short List of Obligatory Prayers

Short List of Obligatory Prayers

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Unfortunately, the human nature behaves the way that reciting prayers day after day has the quality of turning what should have been daily deep feeling to simple and thoughtless reading. Still, even superficial reciting of daily prayers has the value as far as it's not deprived of sense of G-d and feeling of dependence on Him. However, so that our prayers could impress our heart and mind, the knowledge of intrinsic meaning of their contents is necessary, at least in general outline. That's why the main meaning of current page and following ones is defining the list of obligatory prayers and revealing their deep contents.

Prayers in the Morning

So, what does your day, as well as day of each person in general, begin with? Of course, with morning awakening. It's exactly to this very first moment of your new day beginning that the very first words pronounced by you refer to: "Mode (for girls - Moda) Ani Lefanecha, Melech Hai Vekayam, Shehekhezarta Bi Nishmati Behemla, Raba Emunatecha" ("I'm grateful to You, King Living and Eternal, for You, by Your Mercy, returned my soul to me, great is Your faithfulness" - Biblical language translation). This is expression of gratitude and thankfulness to G-d for that renewal of our body and consciousness they got due to dreaming and night rest. That's why it's pronounced right away after waking up from sleeping, in a whisper, sitting at bed and slightly bending head forward, putting both hands onto the heart - right one onto left one. Read more...

After getting up, washing, but before having a breakfast - the main and the most ancient of known Biblical prayers is recited - "Shema Yisrael" ("Hear, O Israel" - Biblical language translation) (Dvarim 6:4-9; Dvarim 11:13-21; Bemidbar 15:37-41). HIDA writes about necessity to daily recite this prayer twice a day - after morning awakening and before bedtime - for Bnei Noah. This prayer is symbol of faith into One Creator and unconditional acceptance of His full authority upon oneself. "Shema Yisrael" can be recited both while sitting and while standing and while walking, however when pronouncing the first verse "Shema Yisrael, A-donai E-loheinu, A-donai Ehad" ("Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One" - Biblical language translation) (Dvarim 6:4) - one should be still. "Shema Yisrael" can be recited while lying as well, but only lying sidelong. When pronouncing the words "Shema Yisrael, A-donai E-loheinu, A-donai Ehad" ("Hear, O Israel, the L-rd is our G-d, the L-rd is One" - Biblical language translation) (Dvarim 6:4) - one should close his eyes and cover his eyelids with palm of right hand to absolutely free his mind from surrounding and concentrate upon pronounced contents, being aware of the sense of each single word. Read more...

Right after "Shema Yisrael", recitation of 100th psalm "Mizmor Letoda" ("Song for a thanksgiving offering" - Biblical language translation) (Tehillim 100) follows. Sages adduce comparison that gives idea about how one should recite "Mizmor Letoda": as he who counts precious coins, takes them one by one, examines being afraid to mistake - as he who prays, must check pronunciation of each word and think over their sense. According to the custom, one must stand when reciting "Mizmor Letoda". This psalm is recited everyday except for Saturday, eight Pesah days and its eve (Nissan 14-22), two Shavuot days (Sivan 6-7), two Rosh ha-Shana days (Tishrey 1-2), Yom-Kippur day and its eve (Tishrey 9-10), first two and one last Succot days (Tishrey 15-16 and 22) and Simhat-Tora (Tishrey 23) - as far as the psalm itself corresponds to burnt-offering sacrifice which was brought to Temple daily, except for days, mentioned above. One should recite this psalm with special trembling as far as its recitation substitutes for bringing of sacrifice itself. G-d treats him who recited it as if he brought Him burnt-offering sacrifice indeed. And as far as this highly-sacred sacrifice was allowed to be brought not only by Jews but by the peoples of the world as well - one of Lubavitcher rebbes Tzemah Tzedek writes Bnei Noah must recite the psalm corresponding to it. Read more...

Obligatory for Bnei Noah prayers are finished after reciting "Mizmor Letoda". Since this very moment one can get down to his active daily schedule: have a breakfast, make all necessary preparations, leave for work and the like. However there's a custom and according to this custom one is to recite a psalm which sequence number corresponds to age of person who prays. He is to do that in the morning, after obligatory prayers. For instance, he who's 24 years old - he reads 25th psalm (as far as his 25th year is now going).

Obligatory After Food Blessing

After breakfast, having lunch finished, after dinner, after supper - simply having any meal finished, even after having a snack - the obligatory after food blessing is recited: "Baruch E-l Olam, Sheachalnu Mishelo" ("Blessed is G-d of universe, from Whose generosity we've eaten" - Biblical language translation). Bread and table-cloth must not be removed until the blessing is recited. Bread lying on the table during recitation of the blessing points at abundance in the house: bread was eaten here and it still remained. It guarantees abundance in the future, attracting G-d's blessing which doesn't cover empty place. It is known that recitation of this blessing by people contributes to return of Shechina (G-d's presence - Biblical language translation) into this world and assists in correction of terrible consequences of Adam and Hava's sin. Read more...

Prayers in the Evening

In the evening the "Shema Yisrael" prayer is to be recited once more. It is recited after supper, when have all possible business finished, right before going to bed so that right after reciting the prayer one could dress up into night-clothes and fall asleep. Or - "Shema Yisrael" is recited when already being in bed. Sages say that everybody who's afraid of G-d and take care of one's soul, must remember everything he did during the day, before going to bed. And if he committed some offence, he should repent in all sincerity and accept the obligation not to repeat it anymore. The offences towards the neighbor should be analyzed especially hard (flattery, lie, slander, snarl and the like). And if during the day some one offended him or harmed him somehow, he should try to forgive that person with all his heart. When have prayer's reciting finished, one says: "B'yadcha Afkid Ruhi, Padita Oti A-donai, E-l Emet" ("Into Your hands I put my soul, You ransomed me, the L-rd, G-d of truth" - Biblical language translation). After that, one lies down and falls asleep.

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