Why do Jews pray? What is the role of prayer in their lives as moral and ethical beings? From the simplest details of how to comport oneself on entering a synagogue to the most profound and moving comments on the prayers themselves, Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin guides readers of To Pray as a Jew through the entire prescribed course of Jewish liturgy, passage by passage, ritual by ritual, in this handsome and indispensable guide to Jewish prayer.Unexcelled for beginners as well as the religiously observant, To Pray as a Jew is intended to show the way, to enlighten, and hopefully to inspire.
The Jewish prayer book, or siddur, remains the standard text from which children in Jewish schools learn to read.
Yet many adult Jews are unfamiliar with the siddur and are confused by prayer services
Other know the prayer book's Hebrew texts by rote but do not really comprehend them.
Writing for both kinds of readers in this classic devotional guide, Rabbi Hayim Halevy Donin reviews the basic shape of a Jewish prayer service and then begins his survey of prayers
all of which are quoted here in both Hebrew and English
with the Shemoneh Esrei, the core of every service.
One of the most appealing qualities of the book is the author's penchant for reminding readers to be mindful of the practical dimension of prayer life:
'Unless prayer is also accompanied by the traits of character and ethical behavior that Judaism demands,
prayer is no indication of piety at all. One need only stop to consider that in real life, evil men pray too.