Prayer Musings

Prayer Musings

Al Hanisim: Remembering Our Partnership in God’s Miracles

Both the holidays when this prayer is recited are marked by courageous human action in making space for the miraculous.

Prayer Musings

Al Hanisim: A Holiday Prayer of Thanks for Everyday Miracles

Why does the prayer recited on Hanukkah fail to make any mention of the holiday's central miracle?

Prayer Musings

Min Ha-meitzar: Calling to God From the Depths

From the constriction of our places of pain, Psalm 118 invites us into the wide expanse of the divine presence.

Elohai Neshama: Breathing the Soul Alive

The simple words of this traditional morning blessing draw us back to the dawn of our mythic creation.

Netilat Yadayim: Sanctifying Our Primary Moral Instrument

Jewish tradition calls for the washing of hands every morning, which serves as a reminder to use them for holy purposes.

Modeh Ani: Beginning the Day with Gratitude

Starting the day with gratefulness opens the heart to the blessing of wonder.

How to Pray for Happiness

The prayer Eilu Devarim reflects the seeming paradox that focusing on others more than ourselves makes us happier.

Shehechiyanu: A Meditation on this Moment

This blessing, traditionally recited for firsts, can be said anytime -- since every moment is new and unprecedented.

The Shema: How Listening Leads to Oneness

Judaism's foundational prayer calls on us not merely to listen, but to remember that there is one force of connection uniting us all.

Kol Nidrei: The Power of Words

Why does the holiest day of the Jewish year begin with a dry legal formula renouncing vows?

Kiddush: Holding the Divine Presence in Our Hands

Jewish mysticism sees the sanctification of wine as a spiritual practice to manifest God's presence in the world.

Hashkiveinu: Seeking Comfort and Protection Through the Night

This prayer, traditionally recited in the evening, envisions God as a guide and shelter.

Psalm 150: Praising God, Loudly

The final chapter of the Book of Psalms calls for a symphony of horns, drums, lyres and more.

Ata Chonen: A Prayer for Wisdom

If we lack powers of wisdom and discernment, no other request of God really matters.

Adonai Eloheichem Emet: Finding Truth in Our Time

The concluding words of the Shema prayer call us together as a people and as humanity