1 Prayer A Day

One of the more amazing things about Judaism is that praying and being spiritually connected are not relegated to only the synagogue. Often we ignore moments in our lives without pausing to acknowledge and appreciate the world around us–for good and bad.

To celebrate the opening of OJC’s new Beit Midrash, we are sharing a prayer a day (#1PrayerADay) to help you incorporate Judaism into your daily life. The dedication of our new Beit Midrash will be on August 19 and we hope to see you there.

Rabbi Aviva Fellman has compiled the first seven prayers.

Did you know that the Rabbis encourage us to recite 100 blessings each day (Rabbi Meir said: “A person is obliged to recite 100 blessings every day as it is said, ‘What does the Lord your God ask of you?’ (Deut. 10:12). Instead of “ma” (what?), read it as “mea” (the number 100).” (Talmud – Menachot 43b)).

One hundred seems like a lot. Why not start with adding one blessing a day and see how you can be enriched? We hope that these daily blessings will provide the encouragement and inspiration to enrich our lives with gratitude, humility, and wonder.

1) If we take the time to see the beauty and grandness of the world around us, things that seem like true works of amazement that only a “Creator” could provide, take a moment to say the following blessing:

On seeing a wondrous sight of nature- an earthquake, lightning, comet, exceptionally tall mountains, very wide rivers, etc.

2) If we take a moment to think about all of the parts of our body that have to work together to keep us alive, it is amazing that everything works as well as it does as often as it does. In Judaism, we are taught not to take anything for granted and we are taught that there is a prayer for nearly everything.

This prayer is recited after going to the bathroom. We are thankful that our bodies function the way that they do as creation is truly miraculous.


Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai, Elo-hei-nu,  me-lech  l’o-lam, A-sher  ya-tsar et  ha-a-dam  b’choch-mah,
u-va-ra  vo n’ka-vim  n’ka-vim, cha-lu-lim  cha-lu-lim, ga-lu  v’ya-du-a lif-nei  chi-sei  ch’vo-de-cha
she-im  yi-pa-tei-ach  e-chad  mei-hem o  yi-sa-teim  e-chad  mei-hem, i  ef-shar  l’hit-ka-yeim v’la-a-mod  l’fa-ne-cha [a-fi-lu  sha-ah  e-chat]. Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai, ro-fei  chawl  ba-sar u-maf-li  la-a-sot.

Blessed are You, HaShem, Our God, Sovereign of Space-Time, Who formed mankind with wisdom and created within him many openings and many cavities. It is obvious and known before Your Throne of Glory that if one of them were to be ruptured or one one of them were to be blocked it would be impossible to survive and to stand before You [for even one hour]. Blessed are You, HaShem, Who heals all flesh and acts wondrously.

3) I remember one time when I was elementary school as I kvetched to my parents and told them that I had prayed to God but God did not answer me, they said that God did but sometimes the answer is “no”. As much as we wish that our lives are always happy and filled with joy, we also realize that there is sadness and grief in the world. There are blessings that are recited that allow us a brief moment to mourn, empathize and reflect on pain and suffering.

When we hear about a death or other bad news and when we see destruction, we recite a blessing.
Ba-ruch  a-tah  A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu  Me-lech  Ha-o-lam, Da-yan  Ha-e-met.
Blessed are You, HaShem, our God, King of the Universe, the true Judge.

 

4) Do you ever have the desire to shout “Oh Thank God!” when hearing good news? Did you know that there is a blessing for that too?

 

5) Every time I see a rainbow, I am reminded of the story of Noah’s Ark. Apparently, the composer of the blessing on seeing a rainbow was too. Can you find the connection?

Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, zo-cheir ha-b’rit, v’ne-e-man biv-ri-to, v’ka-yam b’ma-a-ma-ro.

Blessed are You, HaShem, our God, King of the Universe, who remembers the Covenant, is trustworthy in His covenant, and fulfills His word.

 

6) I think that there are fewer things that are cooler than our connection and partnership with God. The blessing over bread is a testament to this partnership: God provides the ingredients and we turn them into the final product.
 
Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, ha-motzei le-chem min ha-aretz.
Blessed are You, HaShem, our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

 

7) Do you have mezuzot in your home? Join us on August 19th as we recite this blessing and affix a mezuza to the doorpost of our new Beit Midrash.
Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam, a-sher ki-de-shanu b’-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu lik-boah me-zu-zah.
Blessed are You, HaShem, our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His mitzvot, and commanded us to affix the mezuza.

 

8) Do you know there is a prayer you can say over the smelling of the fragrance of trees and shrubs?

 

9) In our Siddur Sim Shalom we find a prayer to start every morning with, to acknowledge God’s presence and compassion. This is our president’s, Willie’s, favorite prayers.

Modeh ani lifanekha melekh hai v’kayam shehehezarta bi nishmahti b’hemla, raba emunatekha.

I am grateful to You, living, enduring King, for restoring my soul to me in compassion. You are faithful beyond measure.

 

10) We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about prayers we can say when we are waking up and experiencing our day. Here is a prayer when it is time to lay down and get some sleep…and hopefully some peace from our crazy lives.

Vihi ratzon milfaneycha Adonai Eloheinu V’Elohai avotenu shetashkeyveni li-shalom ve-ta’amideini li shalom

May it be Your will O Lord my God, and the God of my ancestors, to let me lie down in peace and to let me rise up again in peace.

 

11) Blessings are meant to remind and connect you closer to God, but this blessing actually can build a stronger bond within families. Being able to offer your children a blessing can be a very spiritual and emotional experience for parents.

Ye’simcha Elohim ke-Ephraim ve hee-Menashe

Ye’simech Elohim ke-Sarah, Rivka, Rachel ve-Leah

Ye’varech’echa Adonoy ve’yish’merecha. Ya’ir Adonoy panav eilecha viy-chuneka. Yisa Adonoy panav eilecha, ve’yasim lecha shalom.

May God make you like Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah.
May God make you like Ephraim and Menashe.
May God bless you and watch over you.
May God shine the light of God’s face upon you and may God be gracious to you.
May God lift God’s face towards you and grant you peace

 

Here are special prayers from Rabbi Greenspan;

Not every word in the Siddur inspires me, but hardly a day passes without some of the words in the prayer book lifting me up and giving me the strength to face a new day. Here are some of the verses from Psalms and the Bible which appear in our daily liturgy which I find especially meaningful:

  1. Prayer helps me face the darkest day. Do you find comfort in prayer?  “You turn my mourning into dance; you change sackcloth into robes of joy.”  Ps. 30
  2. Prayer is not meant to be mournful. There’s often laughter in synagogue! “Worship the Lord in gladness; come before Him in joyous song.” Ps 100
  3. God feeds the hungry. Sometimes I am God’s hands in doing so! “You open Your hand and sustain all the living.” Ps. 145
  4. Remember that we all serve a higher authority. Who do you work for? “Put no trust in the powerful, in mortals who cannot save.” Ps. 146
  5. We all have talents with which we can serve and worship God. What are yours? “Praise God with trumpet, harp and lyre!” Ps. 150
  6. What an amazing prayer! Do I belong to God or does God belong to me?  Maybe both.  “He is my God and I will glorify Him!” Exodus 15
  7. I not only pray; I asked God for the ability to pray as well. “Open my mouth and let my lips proclaim your praise.”  Ps. 51
  8. Do you ever feel like you just need to cry out to God? Do you wonder if God is listening? “Out of the depths I called to you, Adonai; heed my plea.” Ps. 130
  9. Do you see prayer as a celebration of life; a chance to acknowledge the miracle of your own pulse?  “In the grave who can praise You?” Ps. 6
  10. How do you show you love of God and others: With heart, head, or hand?  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and might.” Deut. 6