List of Jewish prayers and blessings
Part of a series of articles on Jews and Judaism Who is a Jew? · Etymology · Culture
Listed below are some Hebrew prayers and blessings that are part of Judaism that are recited by many Jews. Most prayers and blessings can be found in the Siddur, or prayer book. This article addresses Jewish liturgical blessings, which generally begin with the formula:
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam...
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe..."
Prayers with their own articles
Amidah עמידה The "standing [prayer]", also known as the Shemoneh Esreh ("The Eighteen") prayer, is the essential component of the Jewish services. It is said three times a day (four times on holidays, and five times on Yom Kippur). Mizmor Shir מזמור שיר Psalm 30. Recited at the beginning of Pesukei Dezimra. Baruch Sheamar ברוך שאמר The first blessing of Pesukei Dezimra Songs of thanksgiving A series of paragraphs in Pesukei Dezimra. Includes Psalm 100 Yehi kevod יהי כבוד A series of verses recited during Pesukei Dezimra Ashrei אשרי Recited three times daily: during Pesukei Dezimra, following Uva Letzion, and at the beginning of Mincha (Ne'ila on Yom Kippur) Hallel (pesukei dezimra) הלל Includes Ashrei and Psalms 146, 147, 148, 149, and 150 Baruch Hashem L'Olam (Shacharit) ברוך ה לעולם Recited as a blessing after concluding Hallel Vayivarech David ויברך דוד From Chronicles Book I, Chapter 29, verses 10-13 Ata Hu Hashem L'Vadecha From Book of Nehemiah, Chapter 9, verses 6-11 Az Yashir אז ישיר From Book of Exodus 15:1-18 Yishtabach ישתבח Concluding blessing of Pesukei Dezimra Yotzer ohr יוצר אור The first blessing recited during Shacharit Maariv Aravim מעריב ערבים The first blessing recited during Maariv Ahava Rabbah אהבה רבה The second blessing recited during Shacharit Ahavat Olam אהבת עולם The second blessing recited during Maariv Shema Yisrael שמע ישראל A centerpiece of Jewish prayer services which affirms belief and trust in the One God, the Shema is composed of three sections taken from the Torah. Kaddish קדיש An Aramaic prayer which focuses on the idea of magnification and sanctification of God's name. This prayer is normally recited at the conclusion of a period of study or a section of a prayer service. Because mourners are required to say one version of the Kaddish (the Mourner's Kaddish), it is sometimes viewed as a prayer for the dead, but it does not actually mention death at all. Birkat Kohanim ברכת כהנים The "Priestly Blessing," recited by the Kohanim on Jewish holidays (every day in Israel). Ein Keloheinu אין כאלהינו A lyrical prayer recited at the end of services on Shabbat and holidays, praising God's uniqueness. Aleinu עלינו The Aleinu praises God for allowing the Jewish people to serve him, and expresses their hope that the whole world will recognize God and abandon idolatry. An'im Zemirot אנעים זמירות More formally known as "The Song of Glory," this song is sung at the end of morning prayers on Shabbat. Hallel הלל Psalms 113–118, recited as a prayer of praise and thanksgiving on Jewish holidays. Hallel is said in one of two forms: Full Hallel and Partial Hallel. Kol Nidre כל‑נדרי A prayer recited in the synagogue at the beginning of the evening service on Yom Kippur (יום כיפור), the Day of Atonement. It is a declaration of absolution from vows taken, to free the congregants from guilt due to unfulfilled vows during the previous (and coming) year. Shehecheyanu שהחיינו The blessing for special (once a year) occasions, recited on holidays and other special occasions. Birkat HaMazon ברכת המזון The blessing after meals, thanking God for the food and His support in general. Tefilat HaDerech תפלת הדרך The traveler's prayer for a safe journey. Birkat HaBayit ברכת הבית A blessing for the home often found inside on wall plaques or hamsas. Ma Tovu מה טובו A prayer of reverence for the synagogue, recited in the morning upon entering.
Candle lighting blessings before Shabbat
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the Shabbat candle[s]."
The Chabad version of the blessing adds the word קודש at the end of the blessing, making "... the candle of the holy Shabbat," transliterated, "... ner shel Shabbat kodesh."
Havdalah ("Separation" ceremony)
Havdalah is a ceremony consisting of four blessings.
First, since havdalah is recited over a cup of wine, the blessing on wine is said:
- Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, bo're p'ri hagafen.
- Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine."
Then, spices are smelled, preceded by the blessing on smelling spices:
:Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha‑olam, bo're minei b'samim.
- Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who creates varieties of spices."
The spices are then passed around and smelled by those present.
Next, a multi‑wicked candle, which has already been lit, is viewed, preceded by the blessing:
- Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, bo're m'orei ha'esh.
- Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the lights of the fire."
The candle is held up in the air and those present look at the reflection of the light on their fingernails.
Last is a blessing of praise for God's separating the holy from the every‑day:ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, המבדיל בין קודש לחול, בין אור לחושך, בין ישראל לעמים, בין יום השביעי לששת ימי המעשה. ברוך אתה ה', המבדיל בין קודש לחול.
- Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, ha'mavdil bein kodesh l'hol, bein or l'hoshekh, bein yisra'el la'amim, bein yom ha'sh'vi'i l'sheshet y'mei ha'ma'a'se. Barukh atah Adonai, ha'mavdil bein kodesh l'hol.
- Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who distinguishes between the sacred and the secular, between light and dark, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six days of labor. Blessed are You, Lord, Who distinguishes between the sacred and the secular."
Two blessings are recited as the Hanukkah candles are lit. On the first night, the sheheheyanu blessing is said as well (see below).
Blessing for lighting the candles
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher qiddeshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu lehadliq ner shellahanuka.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah light[s]."
Blessing for the miracles of Hanukkah
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, she'asa nisim la'avoteinu ba'yamim ha'heim ba'z'man ha'ze.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time..."
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur (The High Holy Days)
There is no candle lighting with berakha on yom tov because you can transfer fire and therefore, prelit candles are not needed.
Over apples and honey on Rosh Hashanah
On Rosh Hashanah eve, at the start of the festive meal, it is customary to dip some cut raw apples into some honey as symbolic of asking God to grant a sweet new year.
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, bo're p'ri ha'etz.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree."
A bite of apple dipped in honey is eaten, which is followed by:
Transliteration: Y'hi ratzon mil'fanekha, Adonai Eloheinu velohei avoteinu, shet'hadesh aleinu shana tova um'tuka.
Translation: "May it be Your will, Lord our God and God of our ancestors, that you renew for us a good and sweet year."
Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles)
- Main articles: Sukkot and Sukkah: Traditional blessings upon entering a Sukkah
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu leishev ba'sukah.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to dwell in the sukkah."
The following blessing is said when attaching a mezuzah to the doorpost:
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu likbo'a m'zuza.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to affix the mezuzah." It is preferable for every Jewish home (or apartment) to have a mezuzah.
Sheheḥeyanu ("Who has kept us alive")
This blessing is said whenever something pleasant that has not happened for a while is encountered. This includes all holidays except Shabbat. It is said on the first night of Hanukkah, but not for the other nights of that holiday. The blessing is also recited upon such occasions as affixing a mezuzah (particularly on a new home), buying new dress clothes, or eating a rare fruit.
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, she'hehiyanu v'kiy'manu v'higi'anu la‑z'man ha‑ze.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season."
Everyday prayers and blessings
Upon waking up
Transliteration: Modeh ani lifanekha melekh hai v'kayam shehehezarta bi nishmahti b'hemla, raba emunatekha.
Translation: "I give thanks before You, Living and Eternal King, that You have returned within me my soul with compassion; [how] abundant is Your faithfulness!"
Elohai Neshamahאלהי נשמה שנתת בי טהורה היא אתה בראתה אתה יצרתה נפחתה בי, [ואתה משמרה בקרבי ואתה עתיד למלה ממני ולהחזירה בי לעתיד לבא כל זמן שהנשמה בקרבי מודה אני לפניך, יי אלהי ולהי אבותי, רבון כל המעשים, אדון כל הנשמות. ברוך אתה יי, המחזיר נשמות לפגרים מתים]
Transliteration: "Elohai neshama shenatata bi t’horah hi. Atah b’ratah, atah y’tzartah, atah n’fachtah bi v’atah m’shamrah b’kirbi [veatah' atid litelah mime'ni ulehachazirah bi leatid lavo kol z'man shehaneshaman b'kirbi modeh/ah ani lefaneicha, Adonai Elohai v'lohei avotai, Ribobn kol hamasim, Adon kol haneshamot. Baruch atan Adonai, hamachazir neshamot lifgarim metim]."
Translation: "My God, the soul You have given me, She is pure. You create her, You form her, and You breathe her into me. [and You guard it while it is within me. One day You will take it from me, and restore it to me in the time to come. As long as the soul is within me, I will thank You, HaShem my God and God of my ancestors, Master of all works, Lord of all souls. Blessed are You, HaShem, who restores souls to lifeless bodies]."
Transliteration: Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam poke'ach ivrim.
Translation: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who opens the eyes of the blind.
For putting on tzitzit
For putting on a talit katan
The tzitzit are first inspected to make sure they are properly intact before wearing the tallit katan. While holding the tallit katan, in readiness to put it on, the following blessing is recited.
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu al mitzvat tzitzit.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us regarding the commandment of fringes."
After donning the tallit katan, many kiss the tzitzit; some additionally say the following:יהי רצון מלפניך ה׳ א‑להי וא‑להי אבותי, שתהי חשובה מצות ציצת לפניך כאלו קימתיה בכל פרטיה ודקדוקי וכונותיה ותריג מצות התלוים בה, אמן סלה.
Transliteration: Y'hi ratzon mil'fanekha, Adonai Elohai velohei avotai, she't'hei hashuva mitzvat tzitzit l'fanekha, k'ilu kiyamtiha b'khol p'rateha v'dikdukeha v'khavanoteha, v'taryag mitzvot ha't'luyim bah. Amen, Selah.
Translation: "May there be the desire before You, Lord, my God and the God of my forefathers, that the commandment of fringes should be considered before You as if I had fulfilled it in all its aspects, its details and its intentions, as well as the 613 commandments that are dependent on it. Amen, Selah."
For putting on a tallit gadol (prayer shawl)
On inspection of the tzitzit
Transliteration: Barkhi nafshi et Adonai. Adonai Elohai, gadalta m'od; hod v'hadar lavashta – O'te or ka'salma, no'te shamayim ka'y'ri'a.
Translation: "Bless, (O) my soul, the Lord. Lord my God, You are very great; glory and majesty have You worn – Who dons light as a garment, Who stretches out the heavens like a curtain."
Before putting on the tallit
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hit'atef ba'tzitzit.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to wrap ourselves with fringes."
After wrapping the tallit around the bodyמה יקר חסדך א‑להים, ובני אדם בצל כנפיך יחסיון. ירוין מדשן ביתך, ונחל עדניך תשקם. כי עמך מקור חיים, באורך נראה אור. משך חסדך לידעיך, וצדקתך לישרי לב.
Transliteration: Ma yakar hasd'kha Elohim, uvnei adam b'tzel k'nafekha yehesayun. Yirv'yun mi‑deshen beitekha, v'nahal adanekha tashkem. Ki im'kha m'kor hayim, b'or'kha nir'e or. M'shokh hasd'kha l'yod'ekha, v'tzidkat'kha l'yish'rei lev
Translation: "How precious is your kindness, [O] God! People take refuge in the shadow of Your wings. They are sated from the abundance of Your house, and from the stream of Your delights You give them to drink. For with You is the source of life; by Your light shall we see light. Extend Your kindness to those who know You, and Your righteousness to the upright of heart."
For putting on tefillin
On placement of the arm-tefillin
Before the strap of the arm-tefillin is fastened, the following blessing is said:
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hani'ah t'filin.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us to put on tefillin."
On placement of the head-tefillin
Sephardic and Hasidic authorities are of the opinion that the blessing on laying the head-tefillin is not necessary and the one blessing on laying the arm-tefillin is sufficient. Ashkenazim, however, do recite a second blessing on the head-tefillin, before tightening it around the head:
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al mitzvat t'filin.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and has commanded us regarding the commandment of tefillin."
Because of the doubt as to the necessity of this blessing, it is followed by a statement of praise, so as not to have uttered God's name in vain:
Transliteration: Barukh shem k'vod malkhuto l'olam va'ed.
Translation: "Blessed is the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever."
On coiling the straps around the middle finger
Transliteration: V'erastikh li l'olam, v'erastikh li b'tzedek u‑v'mishpat u‑v'hesed u‑v'rachamim. V'erastikh li b'emuna v'yadat et Adonai.
Translation: "And I will betroth you to Myself for ever; I will betroth you to Myself in righteousness, and in justice, and in lovingkindness, and in compassion. And I will betroth you to Myself in faithfulness; and you shall know the Lord."
Blessings during a meal
N'tilat Yadayim (Ritual washing of hands)
The hands are ritually washed before partaking of certain staples of life.
In the Ashkenazic tradition and some Sephardic and other communities, it is done before eating bread. In some Sephardic rites and in the German community originating in Frankfurt it is done before drinking wine and or eating bread, alone or with the wine (such as would be done before a Sabbath or festive meal) at which time this blessing is said:
Before washing hands, the blessing below is said.
Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Elohenu melekh ha'olam, asher qiddeshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al netilath yadayim.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning washing of hands."
Blessing over the bread
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, ha'motzi lehem min ha‑aretz.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth."
After the meal
Blessings over food
Additionally, appropriate blessings are said on food when not having a full (i.e. bread-based) meal.
There are five halakhic "food groups:"
Before eating grain products – M'zonot
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melekh ha'olam, bo're minei m'zonot.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who creates varieties of nourishment."
Before drinking wine – Ha-Gafen
This blessing is made for wine made from grapes, but not any other fermented drink. Wine made from other fruits, and other alcohols, require the Shehakol blessing (see below). Also, hands might be ritually washed first depending on the minhag of the person saying the blessing on the grape wine (see above).
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, bo're p'ri ha'gafen.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine."
Before eating fruit – Ha-Etz
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, bo're p'ri ha'etz.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the tree."
Before eating non-fruit produce – Ha-Adama
Before eating produce that grew directly from the earth:
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, bo're p'ri ha'adama.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the ground."
Before eating other foods – She-Hakol
Before eating or drinking any foods not in the first four categories:
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh ha'olam, she'hakol nih'ye bidvaro.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, through Whose word everything comes into being."
On immersion in a Mikvah
This blessing is made on immersion in a mikvah (ritual bath), e.g. by a woman following menstruation. When immersing utensils in a mikvah, the final words are modified to "al-tevliat keilim," or "concerning immersion of utensils."
Transliteration: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al ha't'vila.
Translation: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning immersion."
Blessing for surviving illness or danger
The Birkhat Ha‑Gomeyl blessing is said after surviving illness, childbirth, or danger (including a hazardous journey or captivity).
- Blessing: Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, ha'gomeyl lahayavim tovot, sheg'malani kol tov.
- Congregational Response: Amen. Mi sheg'malkha (for a woman: sheg'malayikh) kol tov, hu yigmalkha (yigmalayikh) kol tov. Selah.
- Blessing: "Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, Who bestows good things on the unworthy, and has bestowed on me every goodness."
- Congregational Response: "Amen. He Who has bestowed on you every goodness, may He continue to bestow on you every goodness. Selah."
Note: Mizrahi (Syrian) Jews precede this blessing with reciting Psalm 111:1. ....:
- Odeh Adonai be'khol layvov b'sood yishorim v'aydah.
- I shall give thanks to the Lord wholeheartedly in the assembly of the upright and the congregation.
... and (among Mizrahi) the Congregational Response at the end begins:
- Amen. Ho'ayl shegmolokh kol tov, ....
- Amen. God who has bestowed on you every goodness, ....
This prayer has its origins in the Talmud (T.B., Berachot 54b): "Rab Judah said, in the name of Rav, There are four person who have to offer thanksgiving: (1) One who has crossed the sea, (2) one who has crossed the wilderness, (3) one who has recovered from illness, and (4) one who has been freed from captivity." This was deduced from Psalm 107, where these four situations are mentioned. In the days of the Temple, such a person would bring a thanksgiving sacrifice, but as this is no longer possible, such a person stands and recites the blessing.
The word גמל (gomeyl) means a recompense, a reward, and frequently a generous benefit (e.g. Psalms 13:6, 103:2 & 10, 116:7). Joseph H. Hertz (1872-1946), chief rabbi of the British Empire, in his commentary to the prayerbook says: "The Benediction is not limited to the above-mentioned four classes [listed in the Talmud quotation], but is recited after any signal escape from danger. This Benediction is followed with deepfelt sympathy by the fellow-worshippers." Hertz mentions an instance in Britain in 1940 when was recited by an entire congregation because they were the survivors of a Blitz bombing of the previous night.
Most halakhic authorities hold that the Ha‑Gomeyl blessing must be said publicly, in front of a minyan of 10. It is customary for men to say it after being called to the Torah. All Conservative and many Orthodox authorities  hold that women are also obligated to say the Birkhat Hagomeyl blessing. The blessing is not time‑dependent (preferably it should be recited as soon after the deliverance from danger as the opportunity presents itself), and it substitutes in part for the todah (Thanksgiving) offering, one of the classes of korbanot (sacrifices) which women were obligated to offer (e.g. after childbirth) in the days of the Temple in Jerusalem. Accordingly, these authorities say that women are eligible to be counted in the minyan of 10 equally with men for the special purpose of the mitzvah of saying the HaGomeyl blessing and its congregational response publicly.
- ^ Orot Sephardic Weekday Siddur (1994, Lakewood, NJ) page 229; Koren Mizrahi Siddur (1988, Jerusalem) page 64; Nulman, Macy, Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer (1993, NJ, Jason Aronson) page 100.
- ^ Nulman, Macy, Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer (1993, NJ, Jason Aronson) page 100;Orot Sephardic Weekday Siddur (1994, Lakewood, NJ) page 229 adds the rabbinic specifications that the illness must have kept the person bedridden at least three days, and that the journey on land must have been hazardous or at least lasted 72 minutes outside the city.
- ^ Abrahams, Israel, A Companion to the Authorised Daily Prayerbook (2nd ed. 1922, London, Eyre & Spottiswoode) page LXXIX, (revised reprint 1966, NY, Hermon Press) page 79; Hertz, Joseph H., The Authorized Daily Prayer Book with commentary, introduction and notes (rev. American ed, 1948, NY, Bloch Publ'g) pages 487-488 (but the date of the Blitz attack may be in error).
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