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November 08, 1991 - Image 150

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1991-11-08

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Stand Up, Sit Down, Pray!

Continued from Page L-1

powerful, generous, merciful,
singular and ours. Praising God
is also an important way of
identifying just to Whom it is we
are addressing all of our other
kinds of prayers.
Petition: Prayers in which we ask
God for things like health,
peace, understanding and a
good year, to name just a few
Thanksgiving: Prayers in which we
say "Thank you, God." God has
given us a lot, and these
prayers are one of the ways for
us to show our appreciation.
Originally, the worship service
consisted of only two major
sections: (1) The Sh'ma and its
blessings and (2) the Tefilah
(Literally "The Prayer"), also known
as the 18 Benedictions or the Amida
(The Standing Prayer). All services
today are built around these two
sections, but there are some
changes, depending on when you
pray. The morning and evening
services are a bit different from
each other, as are Shabbat and
weekday services. The themes and
ideas, however, are the same. We
will focus on the Shabbat (Saturday)
morning service.
The rebbe of Tsanz was asked by a
Chasid: "What does the Rabbi do
before praying?" "I pray," was the

reply, "that I may be able to pray
— The Hasidic Anthology
by Louis Newman

When an athlete runs a
marathon, she doesn't just walk up
to the starting line and wait for the
gun. She needs to focus her
concentration and prepare her body
for the task ahead. She needs to
'warm up — to stretch and focus.
'The pray-er who wants to try to
climb the mountain must do
likewise. There are two sections
which get us into the swing of the
(prayer-thing: Birkot Hashahar and
iPesukei de-Zimra. Some
congregations will have one or more
songs instead of these sections, but
the idea is the same: Get ready to
Birkot Hashahar ("the blessings
of the dawn") serve to bring us from
the state just having arisen from
sleep to an emotional, physical,
mental and spiritual readiness for
prayer. We praise God for the fact
that we have woken, are whole, and
are ready to study Torah. The
second part is the Pesukei de-Zimra
("the sentences of song"). It
contains several sections from
Tehilim — the Book of Psalms.
Now we get to the meat of the
service. It begins with a preamble
— the Barchu. My friend and
teacher, Joel Grishaver, describes

this prayer like the beginning of a
rock concert. The lights go down
and out struts James Brown. He
shouts: "Let me hear you say
`Yeah!' " And the crowd shouts
"Yeah!!" The leader of the service
says "Praise Adonai to Whom all
praise is due" (think: "Are you
ready to pray?") and the
congregation responds "Praised be
Adonai to Whom all praise is due
forever and ever!" (think/shout:
"Yeah!"). And just like at a concert,
we rise for this prayer. And now we
begin to really pray.

The rabbis of the Mishnah (the
legal interpretation of the Torah —
dating from about 2000 BCE to 200
CE) spent a lot of time discussing
when and how one should recite the
Sh'ma. And that is how we get the
blessings that come with the Sh'ma.
Mishnah Brachot 1.4 tells us:
"In the Morning, one should bless
two before it and one after it."

These three prayers are the
highlights of our biblical relationship
with God: (1) The creation of the
world; (2) Redemption from Egyptian
slavery; and (3) the revelation of
God's presence to the entire people
at Mt. Sinai. These three themes,
and the grand imagery which
surrounds them frame the Sh'ma,
reminding us of exactly which God
— ;i1 all the gods worshipped by the

peoples of the world — we are
trying to reach.
The first blessing before the
Sh'ma is Yotzer Or — Creator of
Light. In it we praise God for
creating the world and recognize
God as the greatest power in the
universe, responsible for all of the
phenomena we experience. The
second is Ahavah Rabbah — Great
Love. In it we praise Adonai giving
us the Torah out of love for us. In
effect, we recognize God as our
parent, who gives us mitzvot to
protect and guide us because of
God's love for us.
As the name (the Sh'ma and its
blessings) implies, the Sh'ma is the
centerpiece of this section. The
Sh'ma is made up of several
sections of the Torah. In it, we
declare that Adonai is the God of
the Jewish people, and that Adonai
is one God — not several. It
continues with a listing of the ways
in which we are supposed to show
our love and devotion for God. The
Sh'ma has been called "the
watchword of our faith," because it
embodies most of the things that
differentiate Jewish people from
those of other faith traditions.
After the Sh'ma comes the
Geulah — Redemption. In this
prayer we praise God for leading us
out of slavery in Egypt. It was
perhaps the single most traumatic

Hava Nedeber Ivrit: The Power Of Prayer


Aba shel Yossi was adam dati
like most of the Yehudim in his iyr,
until he became a chaver in a
Zionist youth movement, and made
aliya to Eretz Yisrael. He was
among the me'yasdim of a kibbutz
in Yisrael and, like many other
anashim tze'irim of his dor, did not
have any dat or masoret in his life.
Yossi nolad in the totally
secular s'via of the kibbutz and did
not even see a beit-knesset until
he was drafted to the tzava where
he met David. Although David was
the only chayal dati in his yechida,
he was loved by all because of his
unusual personality and the kavod
with which he treated everyone.

teh dial/


27676 Franklin Road
Southfield, Michigan 48034
November 8, 1991

Associate Publisher: Arthur M. Horwitz
Jewish Experiences for Families
Adviser: Harlene W. Appelman


FRIDAY, NOV. 8, 1991

Yossi was greatly impressed by him.
When Milchemet Yom Kippur
broke out, on Yom Kippur of 1973,
Yossi and his yechida were
stationed at te'alat Suez. David
asked his chaverim to join him for a
minyan, and out of kavod to their
friend, they agreed and left their
fortified position le'hitpalel outside.
They were in the middle of their
t'filah when the hafgaza started
and their position was completely
destroyed in a direct hit.
Yossi's life was never the same
after that day. He was sure the
t'filah saved his life and became a
chozer bitshuvah. When
Milchemet Levanon broke out,
Yossi was chovesh in the tzava.
He was on a matos tzva'ee
above admat ha'oyev when the
matos was hit and all aboard had
to jump. Yossi was patzua kasheh
when he reached the ground. His
ayin y'min was bleeding (he later
lost his eye), and he could hardly
move his regel smol.
He knew his only sikooy for
survival was to reach shetach
Yisrael where he would receive
teepul refoo'ey and be taken to a
belt cholim back home. But how
could this be accomplished?

He could hardly see anything
and he felt ke'ev norah in his
wounded regel. He knew he was
losing harbe dam, but somehow he
felt that it was retzon Ha'shem that
he would live. Ha'Shem saved him
from mavet once when he was
praying, and he would save him
Yossi started to pray, reciting
p'sukim from Sefer Tehilim and
from the siddur. At the same time
he was crawling le'at, with great
difficulty, trying to ignore the
ke'evim in his whole body, and
reciting his favorite p'sukim, the
same p'sukim he knew Yehudim
had recited for hundreds of years,
the p'sukim that carried his fellow
Jews through many z'manim
kashim in history.
Crawling and praying, dragging
his bleeding body, Yossi sof sof
reached a group of chayalim
Yisraeli 'yim, and all he could
recall was his t'filah.
His chaverim told him about
his miraculous survival. All the
rof'im and achayot were amazed at
Yossi's mental and physical koach
that enabled him to crawl to safety
in spite of his severe condition.
Yossi was not amazed. He knew it

was a ness, but he knew how and
why the ness happened.

Meelon (Dictionary)

aba shel Yossi
Yossi's father
adam dati
a religious man
a member
anashim tze'irim
young people
was born
chayal dati
a religious soldier
a unit
Milchemet Yom Kippur
The Yom
Kippur War
te'alat Suez
The Suez Canal
to pray
chozer bitshuva
a person
who goes back
to religion

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