Friday, January 16, 2015

Information on Jewish Rituals and Prayers

Prayer is a way of expressing life's meaning in words. Human being always find fulfillment in worship that is enriching, participatory, meaningful and joyful. Today, most major religions involve prayer in one way or another. Some ritualize the act of prayer as a strict sequence of action, while others teach that prayer may be practiced spontaneously by anyone at any time. In Jewish religion recitation of prayer is the central characteristic of worship. Prayer is both a devotion and discipline for orthodox Judaism. For Jews, it is a way to access and talk with an all-powerful and omnipresent God.

Here are few important things about Jewish Prayers
  • Prayer Schedule:  All Jews are  supposed to recite three prayers daily and more on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. They have to worship during the morning ("Shacharit"), afternoon (MInchah) and in the evening ("Maariv"). In orthodox services, prayer is followed  by a series of readings of their prayer book “Siddur”. There are three different sorts of prayer thanksgiving, prayers of praise, and prayers that ask for things. The most important aspect of these prayers is the "Amidah" meaning "standing", which is a series of 19 blessings. Additionally, Jews also reads excerpt from the Talmud and Hebrew bible throughout a day
  • Clothing: Jewish men and women wear specific type of clothing when they pray. This includes a jewish prayer shawl, kippah, silk scarves, tefflin, etc. A prayer shawl is a white rectangular piece of fabric, a garment, or cloak that envelopes the wearer both physically and spiritually, in prayer and celebration, in joy and sorrow. A kippah is a type of skull-cap used to cover the head (Orthodox Jewish women keep their heads covered at all times). Teflin is also a type of tallit made up of two small black boxes with strips, that are kept on the head and tied to the arm.
  • Facing Jerusalem: Synagogues is Jews place of worship. This holiest of cities for Jews is mentioned hundreds of times throughout the Hebrew Bible and believed to be the religion's permanent capital. These have been built traditionally by keeping the direction of Jerusalem in mind. It's mandatory to face the Jerusalem and wear jewish tallit, while worshiping in home or a Synagogue.
  • Communal Prayer: Judaism encourages group prayer and plays an integral role in building Jewish faith. They prioritized communal prayer in synagogue to make a connection between god and his followers. The Jews pray in a communal voice and use “we” in place of “I”
These are some of the standardized rituals and schedule of prayers, which orthodox jews needs to follow.  All these are prepared to keep the faith alive, that was lost after the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem in 587/586 B.C.E. Jews believe that God will take action in response to prayer.

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