Biblical Data:

From the earliest epochs recorded in the Bible profound distress or joyous exaltation found expression in prayer. However primitive the mode of worship, the individual is commonly depicted as petitioning or thanking the Divinity through prayer. Apart from the Psalter, which is a book of prayer within the Bible, the Pentateuch, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa are interspersed with prayers. At least one prayer is attributed to every great Biblical character from Hannah (I Sam. i. 10, ii. 1-10) to Hezekiah (II Kings xix. 15-19).

Individual Prayers.

These individual prayers are independent of ritual injunction or priestly regulation. They are voluntary and spontaneous. Abraham prays for the salvation of Sodom and for the healing of Abimelech (Gen. xviii. 23-33, xx. 17); Jacob, for deliverance when Esau is approaching (Gen. xxxii. 9-12); Eliezer, that God may prosper his master's mission. (Gen. xxiv. 12-14); Moses, on behalf of erring Israel (Ex. xxxii. 31, 32); Joshua, in the despair that follows the defeat at Ai (Josh. vii. 6-9); Samuel, when, Israel importunes him for a king (I Sam. xii. 23); David, when the duty of building the Temple is transmitted to his son (II Sam. vii. 18-29); Jonah, when in the belly of the great fish (Jonah ii. 1-9); Daniel, for Israel's restoration from exile (Dan. ix. 3-19); Ezra, on learning of his people's backsliding (Ezra ix. 6-15); Nehemiah, on hearing of their communal hardships (Neh. i. 4-11).

Communal Prayer.

The building of the Temple naturally invited public prayer. Indeed, the prayer ascribed to Solomon at its dedication (I Kings viii. 12-53) includes every form of prayer-adoration, thanksgiving, petition, and confession. But communal prayer—that is, liturgy—is hardly found prior to the separation of Israel and Judah. The first ritual prayers are found in Deuteronomy (xxvi. 5-10 and 13-15, the former to be recited on bringing the first-fruits to the Temple, the latter after giving tithes). In connection with the Atonement-sacrifice, Aaron the priest lays his hands upon the head of the goat and confesses over it "all the iniquities of the children of Israel" (Lev. xvi. 21). Some words of prayer probably accompanied most offerings and sacrifices, and, perhaps, the building of altars (Gen. xii. 8, xiii.4). Again, the injunction imposed upon Aaron and his sons to bless the children of Israel occurs in a specified prayer-formula—the threefold priestly blessing (Num. vi. 22-27).

Many portions of the Bible have been incorporated into the liturgy, though in their original places they are merely portions of narratives or collections of precepts. The most notable example is the Shema' (Deut. vi. 4-9). "Liturgy," then, is a term wider than "prayer."

Row of Tombstones in the Old Cemetery at Prague.(From Jerabek, "Der Alte Prager Juden Friedhof.")A Corner of the Old Jewish Cemetery at Prague.(From Jerabek, "Der Alte Prager Juden Friedhof.")

It may be inferred that organized service was sufficiently well established in the days of the prophets of the eighth and seventh centuries to have drifted into conventionality (comp. Isa. i. 15, xxix. 13, Iviii. 5). That Daniel "kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God" (vi. 10), and that Ps. lv. 17 speaks of prayer "evening and morning, and at noon," would indicate the institution of triple daily services, though I Chron. xxiii. 30 specifies only morning and evening. So, too, the mention of grace before and after meat in the New Testament (Matt. xv. 36; Acts xxvii. 37) leads to the inference that such a prayer became customary before the close of the Old Testament canon.

Mode of Worship.

As to the manner of worship, the chant is probably older than the spoken prayer (Ex. xv.), even as verse is older than prose. Later, the musical embellishments of the service became very elaborate. The significance of many of the musical terms in the Psalms is uncertain. The singers were a gild differentiated by gradations of importance (see I Chron. xvi., and note the reference to psaltery, harp, cymbal, and trumpet). Among those that returned to Jerusalem the "two hundred singing men and singing women" are separately specified (Ezra ii. 65). It was customary in prayer to turn toward the Temple at Jerusalem (I Kings viii. 38; II Chron. vi. 34; Dan. vi. 11); this attitude may even have been considered necessary to give validity to the prayer. The Israelites prayed both standing and kneeling. Fasting and weeping were not unusual accompaniments of petition and confession, and occasionally, in times of great distress, sackcloth and ashes were added, and even rending of the mantle and shaving of the head (Job i. 20).

The belief in the objective efficacy of prayer is never questioned in the Bible. The prayer of Moses removes the plague from Egypt (Ex. viii. 29, 31) and heals the leprosy of Miriam (Num. xii. 13, 14). Both Elijah and Elisha restore by prayer apparently lifeless children (I Kings xvii. 20; II Kings iv. 33); and prayer with fasting and repentance averts the decree of doom against Nineveh (Jonah iii.). Similar incidents abound throughout the Scriptures.

A. M. H. H.—In Rabbinical Literature:

The word "tefillah" is defined as "thought" and "hope" (comp. ; Gen. xlviii. 11), as representing the means of reasoning and discriminating (Comp. ; Ex. ix. 4) between good and evil. A tefillah consists of two parts: (1) Benedictions, or praises of God's greatness and goodness, and expressions of gratitude for benefits received; (2) petitions, of either a public or private character. A tefillah is called a "service of the heart." "Ye shall serve the Lord your God" (Ex. xxiii. 25) is understood as "Ye shall worship God in prayer." The Patriarchs were the first authors of prayers, and are credited with instituting those for the morning, afternoon, and evening (see Abudarham, "Ḥibbur Perush ha-Berakot weha-Tefillot," p. 8a, Venice, 1566). Moses was the author of the phrase, "a great God, a mighty, and a terrible" (Deut. x. 17), which was incorporated into the opening of the 'Amidah (Yer. Ber. vii. 3; Yoma 69b). David and Daniel prayed thrice daily (Ps. lv. 17; Dan. vi. 10).

Prayer Substituted for Sacrifice.

Praying was, however, of a devotional character and entirely voluntary during the time of the First Temple. The Davidic hymns sung by the Levites and the vows of repentance accompanying the sin-offerings were the only obligatory exercises, though, according to Maimonides, at least one prayer a day was obligatory from the time of Moses to Ezra ("Yad," Tefillah, i. 3). The regular daily prayers commenced after the destruction of the First Temple, when they replaced the sacrifices (Hos. xiv. 2: "render as bullocks the offering of our lips" [R. V.]). It appears, however, that in Talmudic times the prayers were not recited generally, except among the middle classes. R. Gamaliel exempted from prayer husbandmen and working men, who were represented by the readers of the congregation (R. H. 35a). The higher class, that is, the scholars, would not be disturbed in their studies, which they considered of superior importance to prayers. R. Judah recited his prayers only once in thirty days (ib.). R. Jeremiah, studying under R. Ze'era, was anxious to leave his study when the time for prayer arrived; and Ze'era quoted, "He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination" (Prov. xxviii. 9; Shab. 10a).

The Talmudists were so occupied with their studies that they could not concentrate their minds on the prayers, which they accordingly often read unconsciously. R Ḥiyya b. Ashi said, "Whosoever is not in a settled state of mind shall not pray." R. Eliezer exempted travelers from praying for three days after returning from a journey. R. Eleazar b. Azariah would exempt almost anybody, on the novel plea that the prophet Isaiah had called exiled Israel the "afflicted" and "drunken," and a drunkard must not pray (Isa. li. 21; 'Er. 65a). Raba, who observed R. Hamnuna lingering over his prayers, remarked, "They put aside everlasting life [the Law] and concern themselves with the temporal life [praying for maintenance]" (Shab. 10a). Prayers should not be considered as a set task, but as petitions to Omnipotence for mercy (Abot ii. 18).

Intermediary Angels: Cabalistic View.

The Jewish monotheistic theory would not permit of any intermediary between God and the prayers of devotees. R. Judah said, "An appeal to a mortal patron for relief depends on his servant's willingness to permit the applicant to enter; but appeals to the Almighty in time of trouble do not depend on the angel Michael or Gabriel; one need only call upon God." "Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered" (Joel iii. 5 [A. V. ii. 32]; Yer. Ber. ix. 1). The cabalists, however, accepted the symbolic MeṬaṬron as the intermediary who records in the upper heaven man's prayers in order that they may be reviewed by the Almighty. In another version Sandelfon (= Συνάδελφος) forms of the prayers a crown for the Almighty (Zohar, Wayaḳhel, 167b).

The cabalists of a later period made direct appeals to the "mal'ake raḥamim" (angels of mercy), which practise was criticized as contrary to the Jewish faith. Traces of mediation are found in the Talmud: "Mountains and hills ask mercy for me! Heavens and earth . . . sun and moon . . . stars and constellations, pray for me" ('Ab. Zarah 17b); but these expressions are merely figures of speech.

Preparation and Posture. Page from the First Illustrated Printed Haggadah, Prague, 1526.(From the Sulzberger collection in the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York.)

Preparations, based on "Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel," were made before prayers (Amos iv. 12). The pious of ancient times occupied one hour in preparation for prayer (Ber. v. 1). Ezra's ordinance required scrupulous washing of the body immediately before prayer (Yer. Ber. iii. 4). One must be properly attired. Raba b. Huna put on red gaiters, another rabbi placed a mantle over his shoulders and reverently crossed his hands, "like a servant in the presence of his master" (Shab. 10a). The 'Amidah is recited standing (whence the term) and facing the Holy Land ("pray unto thee toward their land"; I Kings viii. 48). Those that live in Palestine "shall pray unto the Lord toward the city which thou hast chosen"; at Jerusalem the worshiper shall "spread forth his hands toward this house"; at the Temple, "before thine altar," the Holy of Holies (comp. I Kings viii. 31, 38, 44). Thus all Israel, at prayer, turn the face in the same direction (Yer. Ber. iv. 5).

One shall not mount a platform, but shall pray from a lowly position, for "Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord" (Ps. cxxx. 1). R. Eliezer b. Jacob said the worshiper (at 'Amidah) should keep his feet together, "straight," as do the angels (comp. Ezek. i. 7; Ber. 10b). He shall spread out and raise his hands toward the Holy King (Zohar, Balaḳ, 195b); he shall direct his eyes downward and his heart upward (Yeb. 105b). During a benediction he shall bow down, and then arise at the mention of God's name (Ber. 13a). The higher one's rank the more lowly should one's conduct be. Thus, the ordinary worshiper bows at the beginning and end of the 'Amidah and of Modim; the high priest bows at every benediction; but the king remains kneeling until the end of the prayer, as did Solomon (I Kings viii. 54; Yer. Ber. i. 5). At the end of the 'Amidah the worshiper steps back three paces and bows to the right and to the left. Abaye and Raba stepped back in a bowing position (Yoma 53b). This resembles the custom followed in taking leave of royalty in ancient times.

Time and Place.

R. Judah limited the time during which the morning prayer may be recited to the first four hours of the day (Ber. iv. 1). R. Johanan says it is meritorious to worship at dawn, citing, "They shall fear with the sunshine" (Ps. lxxii. 5, Hebr.). The Wetiḳin (= "the ancient pious," perhaps identical with the Essenes) watched for the first rays of the sun to begin the 'Amidah (Ber. 9b, 29b). There are now several societies of Wetiḳin in Jerusalem who worship at that hour. They have prepared tables of the sunrise for the year round from special observations taken from Mount Olivet. Raba would not order prayer for a fast-day in cloudy weather: "Thou hast covered thyself with a cloud that our prayer should not pass through" (Lam. iii. 44; Ber. 32b).

Solemnity and Decorum.

R. Huna said that the worshiper should have a regular place for his prayers, like Abraham, who had a "place where he stood before the Lord" (Gen. xix. 27; Ber. 6b). In the synagogue the elders sit in the front row, at the back of the Ark, and facing the people; the people sit in rows facing the Ark and the elders ("Yad," Tefillah, xi. 4). The front row, known as "the mizraḥ" (the east), thus became distinguished as the place of prayer for the honored members of the congregation. The rabbi occupies the first seat to the right of the Ark, the dayyanim and learned men sitting next to him, while the "parnas" (president) occupies the seat to the left of the Ark, the leaders of the congregation coming next. The prayers, especially the Amidah, should be offered partly in solemn silence and partly in a plaintive voice (Yer. Ber. iv. 4). One who raises his voice has too little faith in the efficacy of prayer (Ber. 24b). R. Jonah prayed in silence at the synagogue and aloud at home (Yer. Ber. iv. 1). The ḥazzan, who is the congregational representative ("sheliaḥ ẓibbur"), repeats aloud the 'Amidah for the benefit of those who can not read; and they respond "Amen" (see Amen).

The duration of prayer is discussed in the Talmud; some quote Hannah, who "continued praying" (I Sam. i. 12). R. Levi deprecates the "talk of lips"; other rabbis censure one who prolongs his prayers and praise him who shortens them. R. Akiba shortened his prayers in public and prolonged them in private (Yer. Ber. iv. 1; Ber. 3a, 31a, 32b). The regular prayers are generally conducted in a congregation of no less than ten adults; and it is highly commendable to pray in public (Ta'an. 8a), but where it is inconvenient to join the congregation the prayers are recited in private. Women as well as men are under obligation to pray (Ber. iii. 3). Girls are discouraged from praying. The Talmud classes among useless creatures "a praying girl, a gossiping widow, and a truant boy" (Soṭah 22a).

One who prays for others will be answered first, and will be relieved himself if in the same need, for "the Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends" (Job xlii. 10; B. Ḳ. 92a). Moses is credited with praying for sinners, that they might repent, referring to he "made intercession for the transgressors (Isa. liii. 12; Soṭah 14a). In times of trouble, when a fast-day is ordered, the people go out to the cemetery to seek the intercession of the dead (Ta'an. 16a; see Death in Rabbinical Literature).

Efficacy of Prayer.

The efficacy of prayer is emphasized in many ways. When Isaiah went to Hezekiah with the message, "Set thy house in order: for thou shalt die" (Isa. xxxviii. 1), Hezekiah answered, "Ben Amoz, finish thy prophecy and go! I have a tradition of my forefather [David] that even when the edge of the sword touches the neck one shall not stop praying for mercy" (Ber. 10a). R. Ḥanina b. Dosa was celebrated for effecting cures by his prayer; he could tell whether his efforts would prove successful, and would say, "This patient will live," or "This patient will die." He judged by "the fruit of his lips": when the prayer flowed freely from his mouth, it augured success; when otherwise, it meant failure. It is related that R. Johanan b. Zakkai relied more on R. Ḥanina than on himself when prayers were needed for his sick child, assuring his wife, "Although I am greater in learning than Ḥanina, he is more efficacious in prayer; I am, indeed, the prince, but he is the steward who has constant access to the king" (Ber. 34b).Another story concerns R. Gamaliel, who sent messengers to Ḥanina requesting him to pray for his son. Ḥanina ascended to the garret, prayed, and came down, telling the messengers that the crisis had passed. They noted the time, and found that at that hour the patient had recovered and demanded food (Yer. Ber. v. 5).

The prayer of one who is the righteous son of one who is righteous is more efficacious than the prayer of the righteous son of a wicked man. R. Isaac said, "The prayer of the righteous is comparable to a pitchfork [; comp. ="entreated"; Gen. xxv. 21]; as the pitchfork changes the position of the wheat so the prayer changes the disposition of God from wrath to mercy" (Yeb. 64a). R. Isaac was of the opinion that prayer could even reverse the high judgment, though R. Eleazar did not think it could reverse a judgment already decreed (R. H.18a). The same R. Isaac says that the reading of the Shema' before retiring is like a two-edged sword against demons (Ber. 5a; Rashi ad loc.). R. Judah says that prayer can change the sex of the embryo as if it were "clay in the potter's hands." Rab says Dinah was originally a male, whose sex was changed by the prayer of Rachel. This, however, is contradicted in the Mishnah, which characterizes any ex post facto prayer as "a vain effort" (Ber. ix. 3; 60a).

Significance of Prayer.

Prayer is valued higher than sacrifice (Ber. 32b). The prayer of the poor is as worthy as that of Moses and even more efficacious (based on Ex. xxii. 27 and Ps. xxii. 24; Zohar, Wayishlaḥ, 168b). Prayer, when offered with intensity, is as flame to coal in uniting the higher and lower worlds (Zohar, Wayaḳhel, 213b). Prayer is a part of Providence; it is a panacea for all ills; it must, however, be harmonious in word and spirit, like poetry with music ("'Iḳḳarim," iv. 16, 20, 23). "God is not less omniscient because we are taught to pray to Him, nor is He less good because He awaits our humiliation before He grants us relief; but we must assure in general terms that the expression of our wants in prayer is one of the duties incumbent on us, in common with all others; a test whether we are obedient and thereby deserving the divine favors, or whether we are obdurate and therefore deserving the continuance of the evil which afflicts us, as a just recompense for our transgressing in not recognizing the divine Power, in whose hand alone our enlargement is placed" (Leeser, "Discourses," x. 30).

The authorship and compilation of the prayers, at least of the Shema' and its benedictions, the Shemoneh 'Esreh, and the Birkat Sheba', are credited to 120 elders, among them more than 80 prophets (Yer. Ber. ii. 4; comp. Meg. 13b). Simeon ha-Paḳoli arranged the Shemoneh 'Esreh in the presence of R. Gamaliel at Jabneh; Samuel ha-Ḳaṭan added thereto the benediction, known as "We-la-Malshinim," against the Sadducces (Ber. 28b) and for the extinction of what were considered anti-Jewish sects, whom the Pharisees feared as dangerous to Judaism. The 'Amidah nevertheless retained the original name of Shemoneh 'Esreh. Various explanations are advanced for the number "eighteen" (Yer. Ber. iv. 3). It is not known whether the prayers were originally taught orally or were committed formally to writing; evidently they were recited by the people from memory for a long time, perhaps as late as the geonic period.

Shemoneh 'Esreh.

The first benediction in the Shemoneh 'Esreh is called "Birkat Abot"; the second relates to resurrection; the third is the Ḳedushshah. The three concluding benedictions are: Reẓeh (on the restoration of Zion); Modim (on gratitude to God); and Sim Shalom (a prayer for peace). The intermediate thirteen benedictions are solicitations for public and personal welfare. The abridgment of the thirteen benedictions is known as "Habinenu," and reads as follows: (1) "Grant us, O Lord our God, wisdom to learn Thy ways; (2) subject our hearts to Thy fear; (3) forgive our sins; (4) redeem us; (5) keep us from suffering; (6) satisfy us with the products of Thy earth; (7) gather our; dispersed from all quarters; (8) judge us in Thy faith; (9) punish the wicked; (10) reward the righteous; (11) rebuild Thy city and reconstruct Thy Temple; (12) let the royalty of David Thy servant flourish, and continue the generations of Jesse's son, Thy anointed; (13) anticipate our call by Thy answer. Blessed be the Lord who harkens to prayer" (Ber. 29a). This is the epitome of the nineteen benedictions. According to R. Akiba, if one is pressed for time, or if for other reasons one is unable to fully recite the benedictions, one may use this abridgment (Ber. iv. 3, 4).

Every 'Amidah is preceded by the first three, and concluded by the last three benedictions. On Sabbaths and holy days the intermediary thirteen benedictions of Shemoneh 'Esreh are omitted and replaced by one benediction bearing on the special occasion.

Number of Prayers.

R. Johanan says one may pray all day. Others are of the opinion that the permissible number of prayers is limited to three, and on a fast-day to four, including Ne'ilah (Ber. 21a, 31a). R. Samuel b. Naḥamani says the three prayers are for the three changes in the day: sunrise, noon, sunset (Yer. Ber. iv. 1). It is advised that Shaḥarit, Minḥah, and Ma'arib should be recited; nevertheless, the Ma'arib prayer is not obligatory. The Zohar distinctly says that the evening is not opportune for prayer (Zohar, Wayeḥi, 229b). This, however, refers to the 'Amidah and not to the Shema' and its benedictions (see Ma'arib). The Shema' of the morning is preceded by two benedictions and concluded by one; the Shema' of the evening is preceded by two and concluded by two, making altogether seven benedictions, fulfilling the verse, "Seven times a day do I praise thee" (Ps. cxix. 164; Ber. 11b). The Shema', with its benedictions beginning with Baraku, was subsequently joined to the 'Amidah. These in turn were preceded by hymns based on the verse, "Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing" (Ps. c. 2). These hymns are called "Pesuḳe de-Zimra" (verses from the Psalms), and consist of excerpts from the Scriptures, principally from the Psalms. On Sabbaths and holy days more hymns were added. The hymns begin with Baruk she-Amar and close with Yishtabbaḥ. This conclusion contains thirteen categories of prayers: song, praise, hymn, psalm, majesty, dominion, victory,grandeur, might, renown, glory, holiness, and sovereignty, corresponding to the thirteen attributes of God (Zohar, Terumah, 132a).

The preliminary benedictions were later added to the Shaḥarit service. Then were interpolated readings from the Pentateuch, Mishnah, and Gemara, based on the Talmudic saying: "One should divide his time into three periods: Scripture, Mishnah, and Talmud" (Ḳid. 30a). Still later many other additions, extensions, and embellishments were included, among them being the Adon 'Olam and the 'Alenu (in the 16th cent.).

The Shemonch 'Esreh was followed by Wehu Raḥum, a kind of seliḥah (for Mondays and Thursdays), and by Wa-Yomer Dawid (daily, except on semi-holy days). The verse "Wa-Yomer Dawid" (II Sam. xxiv. 14) is the preface to the "taḥnun" beginning with Raḥum we-Ḥannun, and containing Psalm vi. and other Scriptural passages. This taḥnun is a "silent" prayer, and is said in a muffled voice, with the face turned downward and resting on the arm, to resemble the posture of Moses and of Joshua (Deut, ix. 18, 25; Josh. vii. 6; see Meg. 22b; B. M. 59b). This is followed by Ashre (Ps. cxlv.) and U-ba le Ḥiyyon, 'Alenu, and the psalm of the day, as they were recited by the Levites in the Temple (Tamid vii. 4). The Ani Ma'amin, or the thirteen articles of faith according to Maimonides, is part of the additions at the close of the Shaḥarit prayer. See, further, Minḥah Prayer, and Ma'arib.

Sabbath Prayers.

The Sabbath prayers begin on Friday evening with Ḳabbalat Shabbat, composed of six psalms—xcv. to xcix., and xxix.—representing the six week-days. Next comes the piyyuṭ Lekah Dodi. This poem, composed by Solomon ha-Levi Alḳabiẓ (1529), is based on the words of Ḥanina, "Come, let us go out to meet the Queen Sabbath" (Shab. 119a); it is concluded by Ps. xcii. and xciii., followed by Ma'arib. We-Shameru (Ex. xxx. 16, 17) is recited before the 'Amidah. The main benediction of the 'Amidah is the Atta Ḳiddashta, etc. The ḥazzan's repetition of the 'Amidah is Magen Abot, a digest of the seven benedictions (Shab. 24b; Rasld ad loc.; "Yad," Tefillah, ix. 10). The second chapter of Shabbat, Ba-Meh Madliḳin, is read, followed by the 'Alenu. Ḳiddush is recited in the synagogue by the ḥazzan for the benefit of strangers.

Sabbath morning prayers commence as on week-days. Of the hymns, Ps. c. is omitted, its place being taken by Ps. xix., xxxiv., xc., xci., cxxxv., cxxxvi., xxxiii., xcii., xciii. Nishmat is a remnant of the mishnaic period (Ber. 59b; Ta'an. 6b); also El Adon, with the alphabet as the initial letters of the verses (see Zohar, Wayaḳhel, 105b).

The seventh intermediary benediction of the Shaḥarit 'Amidah begins with Yismaḥ Mosheh. Berik Shemeh (before taking out the Scroll from the Ark) is from the Zohar, and contains the sentence: "We depend not on a man nor do we trust in a Son-God, but in the God of heaven, who is the true God." The Yeḳum Purḳan, composed in Babylon in Aramaic, is similar to the Mi she-Berak, a blessing for the leaders and patrons of the synagogue. The Sephardim omit much of the Yeḳum Purḳan. Ha-Noten Teshu'ah is a blessing for government officials.

The main benediction of Musaf, Tiḳḳanta Shabbat, is composed of words in reversed alphabetical order. When the New Moon falls on Sabbath, Atta Yaẓarta is substituted. En ke-Elohenu follows, which the Sephardim recite every day. The Shir ha-Yiḥud and An'im Zemirot are credited to R. Judah ha-Ḥasid of Ratisbon. The main benediction of the Minḥah 'Amidah is the Atta Eḥad, of which there were two versions (see Seder of Amram Gaon, p. 30a); the three verses at the conclusion, Ps. cxix. 1, lxxi. 19, xxxvi. 7, are references to the deaths of Moses, Joseph, and David, each of whom died on a Sabbath afternoon (Zohar, Terumah, 278; comp. Seder Amram Gaon, l.c.). Ibn Yarḥi says they refer to the wicked who are released from Gehinnom on Sabbath and return thereto in the evening ("Ha-Manhig," 33b). Since, therefore, these verses refer to mourning they are omitted when taḥnun is omitted on week-days.

After Minḥah, during the winter Sabbaths (from Sukkot to Passover), Bareki Nafshi (Ps. civ., cxx.-cxxxiv.) is recited. During the summer Sabbaths (from Passover to Rosh ha-Shanah) chapters from the Abot, one every Sabbath in consecutive order, are recited instead of Bareki Nafshi. The week-day Ma'arib is recited on Sabbath evening, concluding with Wihi No'am, We-Yitten Leka, and Habdalah.

The New Moon is announced with a blessing on the Sabbath preceding it. Yom Kippur Ḳaṭan is recited on the day before New Moon. Ya'aleh we-Yabo is inserted in the Shemoneh 'Esreh of New Moon. Hallel is given after the 'Amidah. The Musaf service contains the main benediction of Mi-Pene Ḥaṭa'enu and refers to the New Moon sacrifices in the Temple.

The Three Festivals.

The services for the three festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Sukkot are alike, except the special interpolated references and readings for each individual festival. The preliminaries and conclusions of the prayers are the same as on Sabbath. The 'Amidah contains seven benedictions, with Attah Beḥartanu as the main one. Musaf includes Mi-Pene Ḥaṭa'enu, with reference to the special festival and Temple sacrifices on the occasion. The sacerdotal blessing on the pulpit or platform of the Ark ("Dukan") is pronounced by the "kohanim" after Reẓeh in the 'Amidah. On week-days and Sabbath the priestly blessing is recited by the ḥazzan after Modim. In Palestine the Dukan is pronounced by the kohanim every day; in Egypt it is pronounced every Saturday.

The New-Year service begins with the preliminary prayers for Sabbath and holy days. There are interpolations in the 'Amidah referring to the New-Year's blessings. The main benediction begins with Ube-ken, praying for the recognition of God's power, the restoration of the Jewish state, reward of the righteous and punishment of the wicked, and universal theocracy. The prayers for the Day of Atonement are similar to those for New-Year's Day, but with special references to the significance of the day. The Widdui (confession of sins), beginning with 'Ashamnu and Al-Ḥeṭ, is repeated inevery 'Amidah and, in an abridged form, at Ne'ilah. The Maḥzor contains many extra piyyuṭim for these holy days, the best known being Kol Nidre. (for the eve of Yom Kippur) and the 'Abodah (for Musaf). The Talmud declares that individual worshipers may shorten the long 'Amidah of Rosh ha-Shanah and of Yom Kippur (Yer. Ber. i. 5; R. H. 35a).

There are no special prayers for either Ḥanukkah or Purim, except those connected with the lighting of the Ḥanukkah lamp and the singing of Ma'oz Ẓur and Hallel after Shaḥarit on the Maccabean festival, and the reading of the Scroll of Esther, with some special yoẓerot in Shaḥarit, on Purim. There are special references in the 'Amidah at Modim to both Ḥanukkah and Purim. Examples of private devotions are to be found in Baer's "'Abodat Yisrael," p. 162. See Devotional Literature.

Praying in the Vernacular.

In regard to the language of the prayers, R. Judah preferred the vernacular Aramaic for all petitions concerning personal needs. R. Johanan, however, preferred Hebrew, because "the attending angels pay no attention to Aramaic" (Shab. 12b). Maimonides asserts that the use of foreign languages by Jews exiled in Persia, Greece, and other countries from the time of Nebuchadnezzar caused Ezra and his synod to formulate the prayers in pure Hebrew, so that all Israelites might pray in unison ("Yad," Tefillah, i. 4). However, private prayers in Aramaic were later inserted in the prayer-book; and Saadia Gaon included some in Arabic. Since the sixteenth century the prayer-book has been translated into most European languages.

The terminology of the prayers is the key to the investigation of their antiquity. In a number of instances the phrases are almost identical with those found in the New Testament; e.g., "Abinu she-ba-shamayim" = "Our Father in heaven"; "May His great name be extolled and hallowed," "may He establish His Kingdom" (in the Ḳaddish) = "Hallowed be Thy name, Thy Kingdom come"; "We will sanctify Thy name in the world as they sanctify it in the highest heaven" (in the Ḳedushshah) = "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." "Give us this day our daily bread" was a common prayer among the Talmudists. See Benedictions; Liturgy; Maḥzor; Piyyuṭ; Seliḥah; Yoẓerot; Zemirot.

  • Maimonides, Yad, Tefillah;
  • Shibbole ha-Leḳeṭ, §§ 1-54, ed. Buber, Wilna. 1886;
  • Ibn Yarḥi, Ha-Manhig, ed. Goldberg, Berlin, 1855;
  • Shulḥan 'Aruk, Oraḥ Ḥayyim, 89-134;
  • Albo, 'Iḳkarim;
  • 'Arama, 'Aḳedat Yiẓak, gate 58;
  • Zunz, G. V. pp. 366 et seq.;
  • Steinschneider, Jewish Literature, §§ 6, 19, London, 1857 (Hebr. ed., Sifrut Yisrael, pp. 82-90, Warsaw, 1897);
  • Isaac Leeser, Discourses, pp. 29-82, Philadelphia, 1868;
  • D. Oppenheim, in Allg. Zeit. des Jud. 1845, Nos. 2-4;
  • H. Guedallah, Observations on the Jewish Ritual of the Present Time, London, 1885;
  • Kohler, The Psalms and Their Place in the Liturgy, Philadelphia, 1897;
  • Elbogen, Gesch. des Achtzehngebets, Breslau, 1903;
  • F. Perles, Das Gebet, 1904.
E. C. J. D. E.