Let’s Pray Like Rav Yeshua! By Mark Cowley, delivered at Five Rivers Vineyard Christian Fellowship Nov 1 & 8, 2009 Throughout the Gospels, we get glimpses of how Jesus prayed. And of course, we are most familiar with the Lord’s Prayer. While there have been reams of materials written on the subject of prayer, it occurs to me that we can gain more insight on our own prayer life by a more thorough examination of how the master prayed. How did Rav Yeshua – Rabbi Jesus – pray? Like any good Hebrew son prayed! Over the next two weeks, I want to enhance your perspective on prayer in several ways. Today we’ll get a fuller picture of the prayer life of Jesus by understanding how the typical Hebrew prayed when Yeshua lived on the Earth. We’ll look at some major foundational differences between Hebraic prayer and western prayer, then examine several characteristics of prayer in Jesus’ day. For starters, to both ancient and modern Jews, prayer is the vehicle by which one is reminded that all life is sacred. In the culture of Yeshua, there was no such division as secular and sacred. God is the author of everything that pertains to life. With this point of view, our lenses change. This means that brushing my teeth is spiritual … (well, my wife things so, anyway); enjoying my comfy bed, cleaning the bathroom on Saturday mornings, taking a run on a beautiful autumn day. All these things are every bit as spiritual as me bringing this message or you worshipping a few minutes ago. In our culture though, we divide life into two pieces: the sacred and the profane. By profane I mean those things that are knowable by common, everyday experiences. Jesus did not view his world this way. So, why is this important? If I only approach God when I’m “spiritual”, then I have severely eliminated him from much or most of my life. Second point, before we look at some of the characteristics of Hebraic prayer. When Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, he asked his disciples, “Could you not tarry one hour (in prayer)?”1 Well, many have hade much of this hour, and some have nearly made a doctrine of it. On our culture, the “Sweet Hour of Prayer” has been an invitation to focus on the Lord in having a one-hour quiet time. This is a wonderful and meaningful practice that encourages discipline. But also, we must be aware of our tendency in the west to check off squares. (Bowing) “In Jesus’ name, Amen. See you tomorrow, Lord.” The Hebraic concept of prayer is much broader than the sweet hour of prayer. If I am kayaking down the river and see a doe with her two fawns, I say Baruch attah Adonai. If I run into an old friend and have a hug, I say Baruch attah Adonai. If I make it through a very difficult counseling session, I say Baruch attah Adonai: Blessed be the Lord. 1 Mark 14:37 [sic] So with that as our foundation, here are some of the major characteristics of Hebraic prayer. And remember, this is what the Lord grew up learning. First, prayer is pervasive. Jewish prayers tend to be short because the entire working day of an observant Jew is punctuated with sentence prayers. More than one hundred of these berakhot, “blessings”, are recited throughout the day. They customarily begin Baruch attah Adonai, “Blessed are you O Lord.” So, a Jew is likely to recite a prayer upon hearing bad news and good news, when smelling fragrant plants, and when eating food or drinking wine. A Jew offers prayer in the presence of thunder, lightening, wind, rainbows. A Jew is instructed to offer a prayer to bless God that one is able to go to the bathroom. Here is the literal blessing, and I’m not kidding, “Blessed is he who has formed man in wisdom and created in him many orifices and many cavities. It is fully known before ht throne of thy glory that if one of them should be improperly opened or one of them is closed it would be impossible for a man to stand before thee.” So, when the Rabbi is asked in Fiddler on the Roof, “Is there a blessing for the tsar?” and again, “Is there a blessing for a sewing machine?” these Jews, in their Russian village, are reflecting the ancient Hebraic belief that everything is sacred. It means constantly praising God for things with sentence prayers throughout the day. In the Jewish mindset, saintliness was, and is, not thought to consist in specific acts, such as excessive prayer, but was, and is, an attitude bound up with all actions, with all doings that accompany and shape life’s activities. Today’s Christian will fail to grasp Paul’s admonition to “pray without ceasing”2 unless they understand that a main feature of Jewish prayer is its pervasiveness. Second, prayer is corporate. Most Jewish prayer employs the plural “we” not the singular “I”. Prayer expresses the cry of the whole community. Unhappily, one of the characteristics of contemporary protestant Christianity is the mindset of the “Lone Ranger.” We seem to be losing our biblical sense of accountability to each other and think we can operate on our own. Certainly, our culture promotes this type of individuality. Nothing could be further from the Jewish mindset in which Yeshua existed; one of the best-known biblical prayers expresses this communal factor in its opening words, “Our Father in heaven…”3 In the words of an old Hasidic saying, “A prayer which is not spoken in the name of all Israel is no prayer at all.” In our culture, “It’s all about me.” Notice for instance the number of Christian songs that utilize the word, “I”. Perhaps most of them do. This is reflective of our culture. In our efforts to focus on our personal intimacy with the Lord, we often lose sight of the community. 2 1 Thessalonians 5:17 3 Luke 11:2 Rabbis say, “Always should a man associate himself with the community when praying. How should he pray? ‘May it be thy will, O Lord our God, to conduct us in peace’…” etc. This was the adopted view of prayer, because in the synagogue liturgy the use of the first person singular is very rare. It was antithetical to the Lord’s culture, where it’s all about community. You see this reflected in all Hebrew prayers. Third, prayer is praise. When Jacob’s wife, Leah, had borne her fourth son, she said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” So she named him Y’hudah – Judah.4 Both the word Judah and the word Jew derive from the verb, Yadah, “To Praise.” Hebrew praise and prayer often involved music. As you know, the psalms were poems written to be sung to musical accompaniment. Consider this Sabbath meal from Fiddler on the Roof (“Sabbath Prayer” clip). The place of song is crucial to a correct understanding of Jewish prayer. The primary purpose of prayer is not to make requests. The primary purpose is to praise. Fourth, prayer is sincere. The Talmud states for a prayer to be heard, it must be sincere. “Whoever performs the will of the All-present, and directs his heart to him in prayer, is heard.” And also, “every man in whom is the fear of God, his words are heard.” Often, our prayer is characterized by a complete lack of passion. (“And Lord, bless my family, my church, my country, and um … amen.”) A central element of Hebraic prayer is in its emotion. David’s psalms pour out emotion for instance! God the Father wants us to pray with “cavanaugh,” that is, passion and intensity! This is so important, that I feel safe in saying that if you can’t pray with cavanaugh, with passion, don’t bother at all. Remember the Lord sweating as drops of blood, as he agonized in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.5 I’m not talking about a demonstration of emotion; I’m talking “heartfelt” and meaningful … cavanaugh! I remember my first attempt at passionate prayer (here Mark told a story about when he’d run over a cat and his prayer for the cat to live). Throughout the Gospels, Jesus opposes the Pharisees’ practice of religion because it was not sincere. In Matthew 25:27, Jesus rebukes the Pharisees for their lack of authentic faith: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.” The prayers of Christians must be both real and sincere. Jesus commands, “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by 4 Genesis 29:35 5 Luke 22:44 men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”6 Fifth, prayer is persevering. The Talmud says, “No person should refrain from praying because he feels himself undeserving of a response; he should persevere with his prayer.” “If a man sees that he prays and is not answered, he should repeat his prayer.” Remember the Pharisee, who thanked God that he was unlike the sinner, and the sinner who humbly begged of God, “Be merciful to me, a sinner.”7 We know whose prayer was heard by the Father. Jesus tells us parables of persistence in prayer. And tells us to knock and keep knocking8 – I’m not going away, Lord!” Sixth, prayer is preeminent. Jewish writings say, “Greater is prayer than sacrifices. Greater is prayer than good deeds. He who prays must imagine that the shechinah is over against him; as it is said, ‘I have set the Lord always before me.’ When you pray, know before whom you stand.” There is an assumption among scholars that the early Christians continued to pray three times a day, in the morning, afternoon, and evening, like the Pharisees. This assumption arises from the number of times Paul goes to the synagogue in addition to a reference in Acts 10:9 of Peter praying at the sixth hour: “About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray.” Avinu sh’ba shamayim Our Father in Heaven Yitkadesh shimkha may your name be sanctified Tamlikh malkhutkha may you continue establishing your kingship. Yei’ase retsonkha May your will be done Ba-shamayim u-va’aretz in Heaven and in earth. Et lechem chu’keinu tein lanu ha-yom give us this day our necessary bread. Y’m’chal lanu al chocoteinu and forgive us our sins Kesh’mechalnu af anu as we also have forgiven those who have lechayaveinu sinned against us. Ve’al teveinu lidei nisayon and do not bring us into the grasp of temptation Ela tatzileinu min ha-ra but deliver us from the evil one. 6 Matthew 6:5-6 7 Luke 18:9-14 8 Matthew 7:7-8 Let’s Pray Like Rav Yeshua! Part II (Clip “Shalom Jerusalem”) (Reading from the Siddur prayer book, p. 55) Today is part two, “Praying like Rav Yeshua.” Last week we examined several characteristics of Hebrew prayer: - it’s pervasiveness, fir instance, many make it a point to bless God 100 times a day; - that prayer is corporate, always with the community of believers in mind and very little focus on the individual; - that prayer’s focus is praise, often in song, with far less emphasis on requests; - that prayer must be sincere, focused and meaningful; - that prayer must be persistent and God wants us to knock and keep knocking; and - that prayer is preeminent, that is, greater is prayer than sacrifices, greater is prayer than good deeds. Today, we’ll look at Jesus’ prayer book; more characteristics of Hebrew prayer; and expound on the Lord’s Prayer. First, this: I teach sociology at a small college. So much of sociology involves looking at how we are conformed to our culture. Born into a Jewish culture, Yeshua lived very much within the context of the Jewish traditions of his day. Scripture teaches us the following examples: - Yeshua’s parents were exceptionally devout and Torah observant. - As a family, they went up to Jerusalem for Passover every year. - Jesus was circumcised on the eighth day, according to scripture and custom. He was dedicated and given a Hebrew name at his circumcision. - Our Lord kept all the biblical festivals: including Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. - He regularly attended synagogue on Shabbat. - While at synagogue, he read the scriptures and expounded upon them. - As was the case for all boys in his culture, Yeshua began memorizing the torah at age five. - He then studied Jewish commentary on the law at age ten. - At twelve, as a “son of the covenant”, Jesus conversed with sages. - At age thirty, he began his public ministry when men came into full “spiritual vigor” and priests began serving at the Temple. All these evidences tell us of the Jewishness of our Lord, and from this, we can also surmise how Jesus prayed. Not only do we have his prayers in scripture, we know he also kept the requirements of Torah. This gives us further insight into his prayer life. So, let’s learn to pray like Rav Yeshua! Many are unaware that most of our worship services in Christendom draw deeply form the ancient patterns and principles of Jewish prayer and worship in the synagogue. In our culture, our prayers reflect a Greco-Roman mindset; while Yeshua’s prayers reflected a Hebraic-Judaic one. So, let’s make some distinctions, starting with Jesus’ prayer book, the siddur9. In synagogue, the siddur would be the common prayer guide. How do we know that Yeshua used the siddur? Well, some of the prayers and blessings form this book originated as early as four centuries before Jesus, from the time of Ezra. Yeshua would have known and prayed these ancient prayers. The prayers of the siddur are beautiful and heartfelt praises and petitions. It was and is of paramount importance to the culture in which Jesus lived. From the siddur, we can hear the heartbeat of the Israel Jesus lived in and from it we can draw upon the principles of Jewish prayer to inspire our own devotions. Allow me to share an example from Jesus’ prayer book. (Siddur, p. 15) Let’s now build upon last week, with some more important principles of prayer. First … 1. Praying In Jesus’ Name Here’s a very important point for your consideration. In Jewish prayer, there is no trace of magic, incantation, or vain repetition. What do I mean by magic? I remember a story told by Dwight Pryor, the Christian Hebrew scholar that has most influenced me. Some very well meaning men from Mexico made the trek to Dayton, in order to ask Dwight the exact, the precise pronunciation of Yeshua. They were concerned that if they baptized in the name of Jesus, or pronounced Yeshua incorrectly, that it wouldn’t take. Dwight quickly addressed their erred thinking. In some Christian circles, I have witnessed a kind of praying that seems to border on magic. Repeating the name Jesus, over and over again, in increasingly forceful ways does not bring about the desired effect. Biblical prayer knows no such practice and is not based upon a magical view of reality. It is not some force 9 A siddur is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers, including various orders of worship. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siddur or power that controls the universe, but a person, who desires to be known and addressed by name – certainly never manipulated. The Tetragrammaton10 yud-heh-vav-heh is a sacred name, but not a secret name that properly pronounced or invoked automatically empowers you. Same with the name Jesus or Yeshua. All power is in Jesus, the person, and his name reminds us of that. In Hebraic thought, a name represents that person, his character, his nature, or his authority. A name in and of itself has no power, nor the particular pronunciation of it; the sons of Sceva in Acts 19:13-16 learned this lesson the hard way, thinking that the name of Yeshua had magic power over demons. In other words, they knew who Jesus was, but they did not know Jesus, and they tried to invoke his power without being subject to his authority. Therefore, their use of his name was merely vain repetition. Most of you know the result of their encounter with a demon, who said, “Yeshua I know. And Sha’ul11 I recognize. But you? Who are you?” Then the man with the evil spirit fell upon them, overpowered them and gave them such a beating that they ran from the house, naked and bleeding. To “call upon the name of Jesus” means to identify with him, his actions, and his character. 2. Hebrew prayer is an outpouring of the soul. I elaborated on this last week, but it bears repeating. Prayer is not a religious ritual or a spiritual technique but a heart-to-heart, person-to-person communication with the Master of Creation. So when we think of how Yeshua prayed, it was intimate and suffused with adoration, celebration, and thanksgiving. 3. Hebraic prayer focuses on the Kingdom of God. This is very important. Jesus prayed this way, as did the sages, indeed the whole culture. The great emphasis is always on the one to whom prayer is addressed, and not so much our needs and desires. Don’t get me wrong, our Father wants us to petition him, but the higher calling in prayer is in being consumed with God and his Kingdom; to see God ruling and reigning in our sphere of influence, in our communities, in our country, in the whole world. 4. Hebraic prayer acknowledges God as personal. This you know, I’m sure. The Lord is personal and we speak directly to him. In fact, scripture tells us that he eagerly desires to commune with us. He is eager to hear our prayers and praises. His very character is Avinu, our Father. 10 The Tetragrammaton (from the Greek τετραγράμματον meaning "[a word] having four letters") is the Hebrew term “yhwh”, the name of the God of Israel in the Hebrew Bible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetragrammaton 11 Sha’ul is the Hebrew transliteration of Saul; Paul in Greek 5. Hebraic prayer reminds us of the great truths about God. If there’s just one thing you hear today, I hope it’s this. I feel very passionate about this one, and to my way of thinking, our prayers ought to be more about this than any other thing. To read the psalms, the prayers of Jesus, the siddur, the prayers of Paul, one thing becomes abundantly clear to me: that most of our prayers should be about extolling God. I believe that prayer should be suffused with praise, proclaiming to the Master what he has done and who he is: his character, his attributes, and his conduct. We praise him for who he is and we ask him to be in this world as he already is in Heaven. This emphasis continually reminds us of the truths about him and our responsibilities toward him. Let’s say it this way. We do not pray in order to conform God to our wishes; but rather to transform us into his will. 6. Hebraic prayer references biblical texts and allusions. Hebraic prayer is often taken straight from scripture. For instance, the Shema12, which is the great confession of faith, prayed twice daily in Israel, comes from Deuteronomy and from Numbers, and begins, “Hear O Israel, the Lord your God, the Lord is One…” There are in fact many examples in the siddur of how scripture itself is the basis for prayer. You know that if you pray the Word of God, you cannot go wrong. 7. Hebraic prayer is a daily duty. The philosophy of prayer in Jesus’ day is expressed in Psalm 16:8, “I have set the Lord continually before me.” So, Jewish people recite the Shema every morning and evening. Three times a day they pray the Amidah13, and at least a hundred times a day they praise God, Baruch attah Adonai …. How awesome it must be to have a life that is so God-Centered. 12 Shema Yisrael (or just Shema) (Hebrew for "Hear, [O] Israel") are the first two words of a section of the Torah (Hebrew Bible) that is a centerpiece of the morning and evening Jewish prayer services. The first verse encapsulates the monotheistic essence of Judaism: "Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is one," found in Deuteronomy 6:4. Observant Jews consider the Shema to be the most important part of the prayer service in Judaism, and its twice-daily recitation as a mitzvah (religious commandment). It is traditional for Jews to say the Shema as their last words. The term "Shema" is used by extension to refer to the whole part of the daily prayers that commence with Shema Yisrael and comprise Deuteronomy 6:4–9, 11:13-21, and Numbers 15:37–41. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shema_Yisrael 13 The Amidah (Hebrew for "The Standing Prayer") is the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy. As Judaism's prayer par excellence, the Amidah is often designated simply as tfila ("prayer") in rabbinic literature. Observant Jews recite the Amidah at each of three prayer services in a typical weekday: morning, afternoon, and evening. A special abbreviated Amidah is also the core of the Mussaf ("Additional") service that is recited on Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath), Rosh Chodesh (the day of the New Moon), and Jewish festivals. The prayer is recited standing with feet firmly together and preferably while facing Jerusalem. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amidah 8. Hebraic prayer is a disciplined activity. Our Lord Jesus prayed many prescribed prayers, that is, prayers that were already written. “What! You mean they weren’t all extemporaneous?” Well, the siddur for instance, is a book of prescribed prayers. Now don’t get me wrong, private extemporaneous prayers were encouraged, but by and large, Jesus grew up in a culture that utilized the discipline and devotion of prescribed prayers. Many of us Protestants have difficulty with this concept14 – that somehow praying a prayer that’s already written down doesn’t count, because it’s not ours. This however is like saying that a dance cannot be spiritual unless it is spontaneous. God loves the immediate expression of our heart and there is beauty in discipline. Prescribed prayers can put amazing language to what your heart wants to express. So, it is good to pray the words from the scriptures, from the sages, from Jesus himself. By praying from the siddur, from scripture, it is possible for us today to pray some of the very prayers that would have been a part of Jesus’ life, as well as the apostles and disciples as they awaited the promised Spirit in an upper room in Jerusalem. I’d like to comment on some of those prayers. First, the Shema, which is quoted in the New Testament in Mark 12:29. Jesus considered the Shema the beginning exhortation of the first of the two greatest commandments: “And Jesus answered him, the first of all commandments is, ‘Hear, O Israel; the Lord our God is one Lord.’” Jesus also refers to the Shema in John 10:30. A group of Jews in the Temple in Jerusalem at the Feast of Dedication, or Hanukkah, ask him if he is Messiah, the Anointed One of God. Jesus concludes his response with the words, “I and my Father are One.” In addition, the Apostle Paul reworks the Shema in 1 Corinthians 8:6, “Yet for us there is One God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and One Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.” And by the way, the Hebrew word for “One” in the Shema is Echad. Echad can be the number one or can mean a unity of more than one, thus supporting our Triune God. Here’s the Shema in its entirety. Hear, Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One. Blessed be the Name of his glorious kingdom forever and ever. 14 Many other Protestants, however, along with Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Christians have a long history of regularly employing prayers written over the ages by men and women of the faith in addition to, not instead of, extemporaneous prayer. Only one example is the Prayer of St. Francis, “Make me an instrument of your peace…” The Lord’s Prayer, as prayed by most Protestants, ends with the words “for thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory forever”, a prayer not in the Bible, rather found in the Didache, the earliest known book of liturgies, prayers and order for the Christian life. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. And it shall come to pass if you surely listen to the commandments that I command you today to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and all your soul, that I will give rain to your land, the early and the late rains, that you may gather in your grain, your wine and your oil. And I will give grass in your fields for your cattle and you will eat and you will be satisfied. Beware, lest your heart be deceived and you turn and serve other gods and worship them. And anger of the Lord will blaze against you, and he will close the heavens and there will not be rain, and the earth will not give you its fullness, and you will perish quickly from the good land that the Lord gives you. So you shall put these, my words, on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them for signs on your hands, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you shall teach them to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit at home, and when you walk along the way, and when you lie down and when you rise up. And you shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. In order to prolong your days and the days of your children on the land that the Lord promised your fathers that he would give them, as long as the days that the heavens are over the earth. And the Lord spoke to Moses saying, ‘Speak to the children of Israel and say to them they should make themselves tzitzit (fringes) on the corners of their clothing throughout their generations, and give the tzitzit of each corner a thread of blue. And they shall be tzitzit for you, and when you look at them you will remember all of the Lord’s commandments and do them and not follow after your heart and after your eyes which lead you astray. In order to remember and do all my commandments, and be holy for your God. I am the Lord, your God who led you from the land of Egypt to be a God to you. I am the Lord, your God.’15 (Show Prayer Shawl) Tzitzit16 is the Hebrew word for the tassel of fringe affixed to each of the four corners of a tallit 16. Today the tallit is a ceremonial prayer shawl used in times of 15 Deuteronomy 6:4-9; Deuteronomy 11:13-21; Numbers 15:37-41 prayer. Each corner fringe had one thread of blue call tekheilet 16. Tekheilet was used in garments of the high priest and for items in the Temple. God commanded that every Israelite make have a thread of tekheilet in the tzitzit signifying his membership in God’s “royal priesthood”. I would like to conclude this week similarly to last week but with some further definition of the Lord’s Prayer. First, when I read prayers from the siddur, I am amazed to see such similar verbiage that is contained in the Lord’s Prayer. When Yeshua taught the disciples to pray, he included all the themes of the Ancients of Israel. With that in mind, allow me to amplify the Lord’s Prayer. Avinu sh’ba shamayim Our Father in Heaven Yitkadesh shimkha may your name be sanctified By seeing our conduct, our good deeds, our acts of loving obedience, may people be encouraged to give honor to you and treat your name as Holy. Tamlikh malkhutkha may you continue establishing your kingship. Yei’ase retsonkha May your will be done Ba-shamayim u-va’aretz in Heaven and in earth. May your will be done! God’s Kingdom “comes” when God’s will is done, and the will of the Lord is to show us his favor and goodness. Yeshua is not teaching us to pray for the coming apocalypse, for the Son of Man to descend to Earth and set up the Kingdom of God. We are not praying for God’s Kingdom to come at some future point in time, but for his kingly authority and power to advance more and more in people’s lives now. The two phrases, “thy kingdom come” and “thy will be done” is classic Hebrew parallelism: saying the same thing twice, in parallel, for emphasis. The second phrase interprets and reinforces the first. To pray, in the Hebraic manner of Yeshua, for the kingdom to come is in fact to pray for the Father’s will to be done. The orientation is not on the future buy on 16 The Torah (Book of the Law, the first five books of the Hebrew Bible) commands us to wear tzitzit (fringes) at the corners of our garments as a reminder of the mitzvoth (“commandment”. Any of the 613 commandments that Jews are obligated to observe. It can also refer to any Jewish religious obligation, or more generally to any good deed.) The passage also instructs that the fringe should have a thread of "techeilet," believed to be a blue or turquoise dye, but the source of that dye is no longer known, so tzitzit today are all white. There is a complex procedure for tying the knots of the tzitzit, filled with religious and numerological significance. The mitzvah to wear tzitzit applies only to four-cornered garments, which were common in biblical times but are not common anymore. To fulfill this mitzvah, adult men wear a four-cornered shawl called a tallit during morning services. In some Orthodox congregations, only married men wear a tallit; in others, both married and unmarried men wear one. In Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist synagogues, both men and women may wear a tallit, but men are somewhat more likely than women to do so. A blessing is recited when you put on the tallit. http://www.jewfaq.org/signs.htm the fullness. “Lord, break in, take charge, and let your favor and goodness come upon us in the fullest measure possible!” Et lechem chu’keinu tein lanu ha-yom give us this day our necessary bread. Y’m’chal lanu al chocoteinu and forgive us our sins Kesh’mechalnu af anu as we also have forgiven those who lechayaveinu have sinned against us. Ve’al teveinu lidei nisayon and do not bring us into the grasp of temptation Ela tatzileinu min ha-ra but deliver us from the evil one. For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power and he Glory forever. Amen. For more information about Jewish prayer, symbols, and customs: Judaism 101 at http://www.jewfaq.org/index.htm is “an online encyclopedia of Judaism, covering Jewish beliefs, people, places, things, language, scripture, holidays, practices and customs.” Wikipedia’s Judaism Portal at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judaism contains a wealth of information as well as links to specific topics in a side-bar menu.
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