This week, I’m going to talk about the Jewish prayerbooks.
While people focus a lot of attention and detail to the beliefs and practices (namely, the commandments or mitzvos) of Judaism, a large part of Jewish observance has to do with prayer, mainly the three canonical prayers. These three prayers are: the morning prayer (shacharis), the afternoon prayer (mincha, literally “offering”), and the night prayer (ma’ariv or aravis). The morning and afternoon prayer replace the morning and evening offerings made in the temple. It is also at these times that one should or must recite the Shema.
Prayer is known in Hebrew as tefilla, and involves praising God and asking for His blessings. Other recitations are part of what is commanded, and serves as a reminder of what a Jew is supposed to do.