To Home PageReturn to Home Page


For generations Jews have been praying every day - prayer being one of the pillars "on which the world stands."1 There are several different versions of the prayer book, each differing only slightly from the others. The basic form and text of the prayers, formulated by the Anshei Knesses Hagedolah (Men of the Great Assembly) and by the sages of the Mishnah and Talmud, is common to them all; in this there is no substantial disparity between versions. They vary only in small details, such as the order of certain prayers and minor differences in textual phraseology.

In arranging the structure of our daily prayers, our rabbis and sages of old designed it to be not only a vehicle for "Service of the Heart," but also a vehicle for "Service of the Mind," kavanah (intense concentration bordering on a meditative state). It has been said that kavanah is the very soul of prayer - hence prayer without kavanah is like a body without a soul.

Unfortunately, human nature is such that the repetition of the prayers day after day tends to reduce what should be a profound daily experience to an absent-minded recitation. To assure that even a simple recital of the daily prayers will have value and impress itself upon our hearts and minds, a basic knowledge of their inner meanings is indispensable.

It is for this purpose that I decided to write this book, which is based primarly on information I received in classes given by Rabbi Nachman Wilhelm, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Lubavitch Yeshiva of Minnesota. While attending his classes, I became very interested in the vast amount of insight contained in this one small prayer. I hope that you will find greater knowledge and understanding of this prayer, and your deepened appreciation of it will be my reward.

Yisroel Mendel Dovid Bernath
Erev Yom Kippur, 5760
Twin Cities, Minnesota

To Home PageNext Section
To Home PageReturn to Home Page