MORNING BENEDICTIONS

MORNING BENEDICTIONS (Heb. בִּרְכוֹת הַשַּׁחַר), designation of a series of benedictions (the number and sequence varying in the different rituals), which constitute the first part of the morning prayer (Shaḥarit ). After a number of preliminary hymns, the following blessings are recited: (1) for ablution; (2) for the wondrous harmony of the bodily functions; (3) the three Torah blessings (birkat ha-torah ), which in some versions appear in a different place; and (4) Elohai Neshamah (based upon Ber. 60b) closing with the formula: "Blessed art Thou, O Lord, Who restores the souls unto the dead." This is followed by a series of 15 benedictions (but this number varies in different versions) praising God who: (1) "endows the cock with the ability to distinguish between day and night"; (2) "has not made me a heathen" (the Conservative Sim Shalom siddur has "who has made me a Jew "); (3) "has not made me a slave" (Sim Shalom: "who has made me free"); (4) "has not made me a woman"; women say: "who has made me according to Thy will" (these last three blessings are near the end in the Sephardi rite and some ḥasidic rites; Sin Shalom: "who has made me in His image); (5) "enlightens the blind"; (6) "clothes the naked"; (7) "looses the bound"; (8) "raises them that are bowed down"; (9) "stretches out the earth upon the waters"; (10) "has provided me with all my necessities"; (11) "has ordained the steps of man"; (12) "girds Israel with might"; (13) "crowns Israel with glory"; (14) "gives strength to the weary" (this does not appear in all versions); and (15) "causes sleep to pass from my eyes." These blessings, most of which are mentioned in the Talmud (Ber. 60b), were recited originally at home during the various stages of a person's awakening: opening his eyes, standing up, getting dressed, etc. Maimonides opposed their recital at public worship (Yad, Tefillah, 7:9), but in the course of time they were incorporated into the morning service in the synagogue, probably because people did not remember by heart their wording or their order. Several personal prayers of tannaitic and amoraic origin (quoted in Ber. 16b, 60b) are then recited. These are followed by the scriptural account of the akedah , by the confession of R. Johanan (Yoma 87b), by the shema , the order of sacrifices (parashat ha-korbanot), and in most rites, especially the Sephardi, Pittum ha-Ketoret, and by talmudic sections: Zevaḥim (Mishnah, chapter 5) and the baraita of R. Ishmael (Introd. to Sifra, Leviticus). The morning service proper then begins. The Conservatives have introduced alternate passages after the Shema, omitting the korbanot and Pittum ha-Ketoret passages. These are: Avot de-Rabbi Natan 11a; Sukkah 49b; Sifrei Deut Ekev; and Sotah 14a. After the textual study paragraphs they have kaddish de-rabbanan, followed by Shir shel Yom, Psalm 27 for the month of Elul, Psalm 49 for a shiva house, then Anim Zemirot, Psalm 30, and the mourner's kaddish. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: E. Munk, The World of Prayer, 1 (1954), 18–56; Elbogen, Gottesdienst, s.v. Birkhot ha-Shaḥar; Eisenstein, Dinim., s.v. Birkhot ha-Shaḥar; J. Heinemann, Ha-Tefillah bi-Tekufat ha-Tanna'im ve-ha-Amora'im (19662), index s.v. Birkhot ha-Shaḥar; Freehof, in: HUCA, 23 pt. 2 (1950–51), 339–54; Abrahams, Companion, x–xix.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • BENEDICTIONS — (Heb. sing. בְּרָכָה, berakhah; pl. בְּרָכוֹת, berakhot), formulas of blessing or thanksgiving, in public and private services. The Hebrew noun berakhah is derived from the verb brk ברך ( to fall on one s knees ). The Talmud ascribes the… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • SHEMA, READING OF — SHEMA, READING OF, the twice daily recitation of the declaration of God s unity, called the Shema ( Hear ) after the first word in Deuteronomy 6:4; also called Keri at Shema ( the reading of the Shema ). As it had developed by at least   as early …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • AV, THE NINTH OF — (Heb. תִּשְׁעָה בְּאָב, Tishah be Av), traditional day of mourning for the destruction of the Temples in Jerusalem. Historical Background The First Temple, built by King Solomon, was destroyed by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in 586 B.C.E.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • SHAḤARIT — (Heb. שַׁחֲרִית; dawn prayer ), the daily morning service and the most elaborate of the three prescribed daily prayers. Its institution is traditionally attributed to the patriarch Abraham (on the basis of Gen. 19:27), and the rabbis later made… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Shaharith — Ashk. /shahkh rddis/; Seph. /shah khah rddeet /, n. Hebrew. the religious service celebrated by Jews every morning. Also, Shaharit, Shaharis, Shacharith. Cf. Maariv, Minhah. [Shaharith lit., morning time] * * * ▪ Judaism also spelled  Shaharit,… …   Universalium

  • MINHAG — (Heb. מִנְהָג; custom, usage ) from the verb to lead. DEFINITION The word is found in the Bible (II Kings 9:2) meaning the driving (of a chariot) but it was taken by the rabbis to refer to usage. As such, it is used in a wide variety of senses.… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • MODEH ANI — (Heb. מוֹדֶה אֲנִי; I give thanks ), initial words of a prayer said immediately upon waking in the morning. The short prayer ( I give thanks unto Thee, O living and eternal King, who hast restored my soul unto me in mercy; great is Thy… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • PESUKEI DE-ZIMRA — (Aram. פְּסוּקֵי דְזִמְדָא; lit. verses of song/praise ; cf. Shab. 118b; Soferim 18:1, ed. Higger), in the Ashkenazi rite, the Psalms and cognate biblical passages recited in Shaḥarit immediately following the morning benedictions ; the Sephardi …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Judaism — /jooh dee iz euhm, day , deuh /, n. 1. the monotheistic religion of the Jews, having its ethical, ceremonial, and legal foundation in the precepts of the Old Testament and in the teachings and commentaries of the rabbis as found chiefly in the… …   Universalium

  • Amidah — The Amidah (Hebrew: תפילת העמידה, Tefilat HaAmidah The Standing Prayer ), also called the Shmona Esre (שמנה עשרה, Shmonah Esreh The Eighteen [‏Blessings‏] ), is the central prayer of the Jewish liturgy. As Judaism s prayer par excellence , the… …   Wikipedia

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