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Shemoneh Esrei 3
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Practical Tips for Maintaining Focus The Sifsei Chaim1 quotes Rambam who states that maintaining focus during the entire Shemoneh Esrei is a realistic long-term goal and it is within our reach.  He tells us that this can take many years and we should not give up hope and settle for less.  Each person is different […]
Shemoneh Esrei 2
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ה’ שפתי תפתח ופי יגיד תהלתיך – My Master, open my lips, that my mouth may declare Your praise. We are in the middle of our tefilah and have been moving our lips for quite a while before reaching this point.  Why do we need to make this request of Hashem before we begin our […]
Shemoneh Esrei 1
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Introduction Shemoneh Esrei is the core of our tefilah and therefore requires the highest level of kavanah.  The Meiri writes1 that one cannot compare the kavanah required even for Shema with the kavanah required for Shemoneh Esrei.  “With every word [of Shemoneh Esrei] one will find inspiration to fear and love Hashem…and to increase one’s […]
Shema 2
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Overview – Part 2 We thank Dr. Doniel Steinberg for creating the enlightening card (see below) which we will use for our focus this week.  
Shema 1
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Overview – Part 1 Before proceeding to our next tefilah, which, b’ezras Hashem, will be the Shemoneh Esrei, we will devote two weeks to the Shema, primarily focusing on the essence and first pasuk, Shema Yisrael. The Sefer HaChinuch discusses the root of the mitzvah of Shema.  The following is a rough translation of part […]
Ashrei 26
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Summary – Part 3 סומך ה’ לכל הנופלים וזוקף לכל הכפופים Hashem supports those who are falling – this means that Hashem supports those who are in a downward spiral, falling time and again.  Hashem supports everyone, regardless of how far or how often he or she is falling. Those who are generally on a […]
Ashrei 25
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Summary – Part 2 ועזוז נוראותיך יאמרו, וגדולתך אספרנה Most of the world’s population will speak of Hashem’s awesome power – ועזוז נוראותיך יאמרו.  However, David HaMelech says, I will speak of the great chesed of Hashem – וגדולתך אספרנה – since these awesome acts were performed for the benefit of those who love Him. […]
Ashrei 24
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Summary – Part 1 אשרי יושבי ביתך, עוד יהללוך סלה  Fortunate/praiseworthy are those who can sit in Hashem’s house by directing their minds to Hashem/Torah/chesed/mitzvos wherever they are (except bathrooms and the like).  Those who consistently thank Hashem for the goodness in their lives will be fortunate to feel that they are continuously dwelling in […]
Ashrei 23
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ואנחנו נברך י-ה, מעתה ועד עולם, הללוי-ה – We will bless G-d from this time and forever, Halleluyah. This pasuk is actually not part of Tehilim 145, from which the rest of Ashrei (beginning with the third pasuk) is taken.  Why was this pasuk added as the conclusion of Ashrei? The Avudraham, the Meiri, and […]
Ashrei 22
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תהלת ה’ ידבר פי, ויברך כל בשר שם קדשו לעולם ועד – May my mouth declare the praise of Hashem, and may all flesh bless His Holy Name forever and ever. The sefer Nafshi Cholas Ahavasecha connects the word בשר (“basar”) in our pasuk to the same word written in the pasuk in Parshas Korach […]