DAY 1025: About Hebrew Prayer

April 21, 2015
By bethmordecai
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DAY 1025: About Hebrew Prayer

Dear Hevreh,

Hebrew is hard, I know. Though I’ve spent many years reading, speaking, and singing Hebrew there are many times when I just don’t get it. It can feel foreign, but amazingly enough, it can also feel homey. There’s something about the cadence, the sound (especially those gutteral sounds that make you sound like you’re coughing up something) that speaks directly to my soul, my neshamah.

In my latest piece on State of Formation “Praying in Hebrew, Speaking in Tongues,” I discuss how the difficulty of understanding Hebrew makes it tough to be a language of meaningful prayer when we want to know what we’re saying when we pray. As such, it’s important to find language in our mother tongue of English to find pathways to pray. At the same time though, the uniqueness of Hebrew prayer, especially as it connects to our Jewish identity, particularly resonates with our need to pray, even if we don’t fully understand it.

This doesn’t mean we should forget about learning Hebrew and trying to understand it. Getting more familiar with Hebrew is a key way to connecting more with our tradition and as such I invite you to join our monthly Hebrew class on the second Thursday of the month beginning at 7 pm. And as always you can join us for weekly services where you’ll have a chance to practice and join together in praying in the tough, but powerful language of the Jewish people.

Kol Tuv,

Rabbi Ari Saks

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