Orthodox Jews have a reputation for being obsessive about prayer. Some even go so far as to suggest that Orthodox Jews are more likely to pray than any other group of people on Earth.
In this article Rabbi Samuel Waldman will share information about the importance of Jewish prayer.
In the words of the Talmud (Sotah 29a): “Prayer is of the utmost importance.” It is a well-known fact that the more time we spend in prayer, the more time we have left to live a happy and fulfilled life.
So, what exactly is Orthodox prayer like? In this article you will find an insider’s view of the practice of Orthodox prayer from a rabbi’s perspective.
What is Orthodox Prayer Like?
According to Samuel Waldman, the tradition of Orthodox prayer is centuries old. The service of prayer was established in the very first century of the Common Era (AD). From the time of the early Christians, prayer was a continuous activity, often connected with a specific religious movement. The “one thought” meditation technique was based on the Jewish practice of ta’arof, which is the study of the written Torah scrolls and the oral Torah of the prophets. Ta’arof is an essential part of Orthodox prayer.
So Orthodox prayer is a blend of Jewish law, Jewish culture, and Christian custom. Unlike the Protestant and Catholic traditions, there is no “one thing” that characterizes Orthodox prayer. Rather, Orthodox prayer is a complex and rich tapestry of diverse practices.
Ritually Morning Prayer
Samuel Waldman shares that the first prayer of the day, the morning service, begins the daily cycle of Torah reading. The rabbi leads the service, and the congregation responds by repeating the Blessings of Adam, Eve, and the fish. After the reading of the Torah, the rabbi leads a moment of silence to think aloud about our most important gift to the world: the Book of Life. Afterward, the congregation is encouraged to offer blessings in different languages.
After the morning service, it is time for the evening service. The evening service is the main event of the day. It is the time when the community comes together to celebrate the fulfillment of their goals and the passage of time by saying “Good Night” to one another. During the evening service, the congregation lights the candle that represents the evening meal and celebrates their meal together by saying “Good Night” to one another once more.
Why Orthodox Jews Spend So Much Time in Prayer
While there is no question that prayer is important, there is much room for debate as to why Orthodox Jews spend so much time in prayer.
Samuel Waldman has written a very lengthy and very comprehensive explanation of The Sefer. It is all about the extremely important subject of Proper Prayer. It discusses all the reasons why Orthodox Jews spend so much time in prayer every day. It explains what we are supposed to accomplish by spending so much time in prayer. Ideas that most Jews are unaware of. It promises to be a classic on the topic of Prayer. Rabbi Waldman personally spends a lot of his time in intense prayer as his Sefer shows is the correct and proper way to pray.
“For Orthodox Jews, time is not only measured in hours and days, but in the “days of us.” For Orthodox Jews, time is a reflection of the relationship between the individual and the Creator. As the Creator, He is a source of endless grace. As the measure of all things, time is a reflection of the Creator’s will,” says Samuel Waldman.
There are many reasons why Orthodox Jews spend so much time in prayer. Some of them are mentioned below:
– For the expansion of the mind – The connection between the mind and the body, which is discussed in depth in the prayer book, Bikkur Hachamim , leads to the expansion of the mind.
– For the fulfillment of the mitzvot – As we have seen, the more we pay attention to the here and now, the less time we have left to enjoy the rest of life.
– For personal fulfillment – When we devote our time to God, we are fulfilling a personal need. When we delegate our time to Him, we are experiencing gratitude.
In this article, Samuel Waldman (follow him on Twitter) has given you a few insights into how Orthodox prayer is different from other forms of prayer and why they spend time in it. Orthodox prayer is meant to be a part of one’s daily devotional schedule. It is not some kind of extravagant ritual that can only be fulfilled in a synagogue or schmoozefest. It is meant to be a normal, everyday activity that can be practiced at home, at the office, or in the car. It is meant to be simple, and it is meant to be meditative.
When we focus on the here and now, and mentally send ourselves to sleep, we get a chance to experience what it is like to be in God’s presence. This, in itself, is a form of prayer.