Prayer Musings

Havdalah: Celebrating the Uniqueness of the Jewish people

Reveling in uniqueness is wonderful, proclaiming superiority is not.

Birkat Hagomel: A Blessing For Coming through Trauma — and Prevailing

This prayer expresses gratitude for the miracle of healing and full restoration to life.

Elohai Netzor: The Gift of Spaciousness in Prayer

This additional paragraph recited at the conclusion of the Amidah was one of a number of personal meditations the ancient rabbis would recite.

El Adon: Finding God in the Shifting Light

This meditation recited on Shabbat morning is the response of a poetic soul to the daily rising of the sun.

Ahavat Olam and Ahavah Rabbah: How God Shows Us Love

God does not show us love through indulgence or simple tenets of faith, but by illuminating the way to a holy life.

Asher Yatzar: Giving Thanks for Bodily Imperfections

Even when we aren’t perfectly well, our bodies are still doing countless amazing things.

Veahavta: And You Shall Love

The first paragraph of the Shema offers three models for loving God.

Adonai Eloheichem Emet: Finding Truth in Our Time

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

Hadlakat Nerot: The Spark of Transition

A little fire and a little magic makes the lighting of Shabbat candles a moment to slow down and see things differently.

Psalm 23: Who Walks in the Valley of the Shadow of Death?

These words are commonly understood as reassurance that God accompanies us in our darkest moments, but some ancient rabbis understood them differently.

Praying for the Government

The tradition of praying for the government reflects a recognition that Jewish welfare is bound up with that of the nations in which Jews live.

Praying for a Rebuilt and Redeemed Jerusalem

The 14th and 15th blessings of the Amidah pose some difficult theological questions.