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There are many popular types of siddur (siddurim) in use.  Siddur.Com honors and respects them all.

siddur (Plural: siddurim) is a Jewish prayer book containing a selection of daily prayers.  Siddur.Com discusses how some of these prayers evolved and how the overall siddur has developed.  Moreover, Siddur.Com discusses the prayers that appear in the siddur and when they are to be said.  Finally, Siddur.Com offers the opportunity to transmit your personal prayers through cyberspace.  After submitting your prayer to Siddur.Com, you will immediately receive a confirmation that your message has been successfully sent.

Ashkenazi Orthodox Siddurim
  • Siddur Ha-Shalem Siddur (a.k.a. the Birnbaum Siddur) Ed. Philip Birnbaum. The Hebrew Publishing Company. ISBN 0-88482-054-8 (Hebrew-English)
  • The Metsudah Siddur: A New Linear Prayer Book Ziontalis. (Hebrew-English)
  • The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the British Commonwealth, translation by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks (the new version of “Singer’s Prayer Book”) (Hebrew-English)
  • The Artscroll Siddur, Mesorah Publications (In a number of versions including an interlinear translation and fairly popular today.) (Hebrew, Hebrew-English, Hebrew-Russian, Hebrew-Spanish, Hebrew-French) The ” great innovation” of the Artscroll was that it was the first siddur ” made it possible for even a neophyte ba’al teshuvah (returnee to the faith) to function gracefully in the act of prayer, bowing at the correct junctures, standing, sitting and stepping back” at the correct place in the service. “
  • Siddur Rinat YisraelHotsa’at Moreshet, Bnei Brak, Israel. (In a number of versions, popular in Israel.) (Hebrew)
  • Siddur Siach Yitzchak (Hebrew)
  • Siddur Tefilas Kol Peh (Hebrew)
  • Siddur Tefilas Sh’ai, Feldheim Publishers : Israel/NewYork (Hebrew)
  • Siddur HaGra (reflecting views of the Vilna Gaon)
  • Siddur Aliyos Eliyahu (Popular among followers of the Vilna Gaon who live in Israel and abroad) (Hebrew)
  • Siddur Kol Bo (Hebrew)
  • Koren Sacks Siddur (Hebrew-English), Koren Publishers Jerusalem: based on latest Singer’s prayer book, above (described as the first siddur to “pose a fresh challenge to the ArtScroll dominance.”)

Sephardic Siddurim

Spanish and Portuguese Jewish Siddurim

(Characterised by relative absence of Kabbalistic elements:)

  • Book of Prayer: According to the Custom of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews David de Sola Pool, New York: Union of Sephardic Congregations, 1979
  • Book of Prayer of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews’ Congregation, London. Volume One: Daily and occasional prayers. Oxford (Oxford Univ. Press, Vivian Ridler), 5725 – 1965.

Greek, Turkish and Balkan Sephardim Siddurim

(Usually characterised by presence of Kabbalistic elements:)

  • Siddur Zehut Yosef (Daily and Shabbat) According to the Rhodes and Turkish Traditions, Hazzan Isaac Azose, Seattle, Washington: Sephardic Traditions Foundation, 2002

North African Jewish Siddurim

(Usually characterised by presence of Kabbalistic elements:)

  • Siddur Od Abinu Chai ed. Levi Nahum: Jerusalem (Hebrew only, Livorno text, Libyan tradition)
  • Mahzor Od Abinu Chai Siddur ed. Levi Nahum (5 vols.): Jerusalem (Hebrew only, Livorno text, Libyan tradition)
  • Siddur Vezarach Hashemesh, ed. Messas: Jerusalem (Hebrew only, Meknes tradition)
  • Siddur Ish Matzliach, ed. Mazuz, Machon ha-Rav Matzliah: B’nei Brak (Hebrew only, Djerba tradition)
  • Siddur Farsi (Hebrew with Arabic translation, Egypt)
  • Siddur Tefillat ha-chodesh, ed. David Levi, Erez : Jerusalem (Hebrew only, Livorno text, Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian traditions)
  • Siddur Patah Eliyahou, ed. Joseph Charbit, Colbo: Paris (Hebrew and French, Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian traditions)
  • Mahzor Zechor le-Avraham, Yarid ha-Sefarim : Jerusalem (Based on the original Zechor le-Abraham: Livorno 1926, Hebrew only, Moroccan, Algerian and Tunisian traditions, days of awe only)
  • Siddur Darchei Avot (Moroccan)
  • Siddur Oro shel Olam

Middle Eastern Mizrachim (Sephardim)

(Usually characterised by presence of Kabbalistic elements:)

Syrian Siddurim
  • The Aram Soba Siddur: According to the Sephardic Custom of Aleppo Syria Rabbi Moshe Antebi, Jerusalem: Aram Soba Foundation, 1993
  • Siddur Abodat Haleb / Prayers from the Heart Rabbi Moshe Antebi, Lakewood, New Jersey: Israel Book Shop, 2002
  • Kol Yaacob Siddur: Sephardic Heritage Foundation, New York, 1990.
  • Bet Yosef ve-Ohel Abraham Siddur: Jerusalem, Man?ur (Hebrew only, based on Baghdadi text)
  • Orchot Chayim Siddur, ed. Yedid: Jerusalem 1995 (Hebrew only)
  • Siddur Kol Mordechai, ed. Faham bros: Jerusalem 1984 (minhah and arbit only)
  • Abir Yaakob Siddur, ed. Haber: Sephardic Press (Hebrew and English, Shabbat only)
  • Orot Sephardic Siddur, Eliezer Toledano: Lakewood, New Jersey, Orot Inc. (Hebrew and English: Baghdadi text, Syrian variants shown in square brackets)
  • Machzor Shelom Yerushalayim, ed. Albeg: New York, Sephardic Heritage Foundation 1982
Israeli, Siddurim following Rabbi Ovadia Yosef
  • Ohr V’Derech Sephardic Siddur
  • Siddur Yechavveh Daat
  • Siddur Avodat Ha-shem
  • Siddur Chazon Ovadia
  • Siddur L’maan Shmo
Edot Hamizrach (Iraqi) Siddurim
  • Tefillat Yesharim Siddur: Jerusalem, Manchur (Hebrew only)
  • Siddur Od Yosef Chai
  • Kol Eliyahu Siddurim, ed. Mordechai Eliyahu
  • Siddur Rinat Yisrael – (Edot Hamizrach edition), Hotsa’at Moreshet, Bnei Brak, Israel. (Hebrew)

Yemenite Jews (Teimanim)

Baladi Siddurim

  • Siddur Tiklal: Tzalach Yihiyeh Ben Yehuda, 1800
  • Siddur Tiklal: Torath Avoth
  • Siddur Siach Yerushalayim: Rabbi Yosef Qafich/Kapach
  • Tiklal Ha-Mefoar (MAHARITS) Nusahh Baladi, Meyusad Al Pi Ha-Tiklal Im Etz Hayim Ha-Shalem Arukh Ke-Minhag Yahaduth Teiman: Bene Berak : Or Neriyah ben Mosheh Ozeri, [2001 or 2002]

Shami Siddurim

  • Siddur Tefillat Hachodesh – Beit Yaakov, Nusach Sepharadim, Teiman, and Edoth Mizrach
  • Siddur Kavanot HaRashash, Shalom Sharabi, Publisher: Yeshivat HaChaim Ve’Hashalom

Chassidic Siddurim

  • Siddur Tehillat HaShem (the version currently used by Chabad-Lubavitch)
  • Siddur Torah Or (the Alter Rebbe’s original edition)
  • Nusach Sefard Siddur

Conservative Judaism Siddurim

  • Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book Siddur Ed. Morris Silverman with Robert Gordis, 1946. USCJ and RA
  • Weekday Prayer Book Siddur SEd. Morris Silverman, 1956. USCJ
  • Weekday Prayer Book Siddur Ed. Gershon Hadas with Jules Harlow, 1961, RA.
  • Siddur Sim Shalom Ed. Jules Harlow. 1985, 980 pages, RA and USCJ.
  • Siddur Sim Shalom for Shabbat and Festivals Ed. Lawrence Cahan, 1998, 816 pages. RA and USCJ.
  • Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays Ed. Avram Israel Reisner, 2003, 576 pages. RA and USCJ.
  • Siddur Va’ani Tefilati Ed. Simchah Roth, 1998, 744 pages. Israeli Masorti Movement and Rabbinical Assembly of Israel. Hebrew.
  • Va’ani Tefilati: Siddur Yisre’eli Ed. Ze’ev Kenan, 2009, 375 pages. Israeli Masorti Movement and Rabbinical Assembly of Israel. Hebrew.
  • Siddur Lev Yisrael Ed. Cheryl Magen, 1998, 432 pages. Camp Ramah. Hebrew.

Progressive and Reform Judaism Siddurim

  • Ha-Avodah Shebalev Siddur, The prayer book of The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Ed. The Council of Israel Progressive Rabbis (MARAM), 1982
  • The Companion to Ha-Avodah Shebalev published by Congregation Har-El Jerusalem in 1992 to help English-speaking immigrants and visitors; Hebrew pages from the original Ha-Avodah Shebalev, English translations from Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayer Book with additional translations by Adina Ben-Chorin.
  • Seder ha-Tefillot: Forms of Prayer Siddur: Movement for Reform Judaism, London 2008, ISBN 0-947884-13-0; ISBN 978-0-947884-13-0 Official prayer book of the Reform movement in Britain
  • Liberal Jewish Prayer Book Siddur: Vol. 1 (Services for Weekdays, Sabbaths, Etc.), 1926, 1937; Vol. 2 (Services for The Day of Memorial {Rosh Hashanah} and The Day of Atonement), 1923, 1937; Vol. 3 (Services for Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles), 1926; all published by the Liberal Jewish Synagogue, London, U.K.
  • Service of the Heart: Weekday Sabbath and Festival Services and Prayers for Home and Synagogue Siddur, Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, London, 1967
  • Gate of Repentance: Services for the High Holidays Siddur, Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, London, 1973
  • Vetaher Libenu Siddur: Purify Our Hearts, Congregation Beth El, Sudbury, MA 1980
  • Siddur Lev Chadash Siddur, Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, UK, 1995.
  • Machzor Ruach Chadashah Siddur, Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, London, 2003.
  • Olat Tamid Siddur: Book of Prayers for Jewish Congregations

All of the following Siddurim are published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis:

  • Union Prayer Book, vol. 1 (Sabbath, Festivals, and Weekdays), 1895, 1918, 1940; vol. 2 (High Holidays), 1894, 1922, 1945
  • Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayer Book, 1975
  • Gates of Repentance: The New Union Prayer Book, 1978, 1996
  • Gates of Prayer for Shabbat and Weekdays: A Gender Sensitive Prayerbook, 1994
  • Mishkan T’filah [Tabernacle of Prayer]: A Reform Siddur, 2007
  • Mishkan T’filah for Gatherings: A Reform Siddur, 2009
  • Mishkan T’filah for Travelers: A Reform Siddur, 2009

Reconstructionist Judaism Siddurim

Kol Haneshamah: Shabbat Vehagim
  • Prayer Books edited by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan and others:
    • Sabbath Prayer Book Siddur, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945
    • High Holiday Prayer Book Siddur (Vol. 1, Prayers for Rosh Hashanah; Vol. 2, Prayers for Yom Kippur), Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1948
    • Supplementary Prayers and Readings for the High Holidays, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1960
    • Festival Prayer Book Siddur, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1958
    • Daily Prayer Book Siddur, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1963
  • Hadesh Yameinu (Renew our days): a book of Jewish prayer and meditation, edited and translated by Rabbi Ronald Aigen. Montreal (Cong. Dorshei Emet), 1996.
  • Kol Haneshamah Prayerbook series, ed. David Teutsch:
    • Erev Shabbat: Shabbat Eve Siddur, Reconstructionist Press, 1989
    • Shirim Uvrahot: Songs, Blessings and Rituals for the Home, Reconstructionist Press, 1991
    • Shabbat Vehagim: The Sabbath and Festivals Siddur, Reconstructionist Press; 3rd edition (August 1, 1998)
    • Limot Hol: Daily Prayer Book Siddur, Reconstructionist Press; Reprint edition (September 1, 1998)
    • Kol Haneshamah: Prayers for a House of Mourning Siddur, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation (October 10, 2001)
    • Kol Haneshamah: Mahzor Leyamim Nora’Im Siddur, Fordham University Press; Bilingual edition (May 1, 2000)

Digital Siddurim

iPhone

  • Siddur RustyBrick
  • Pocket iSiddur Paul Abraham Jaimovich
  • Siddur Nusach Ari: Dovid Zirkind, JewishContent.org
  • Esh Siddur: Elyahu Sheetrit
  • Siddur HD (iPad): RustyBrick

Android

  • Siddur Tehillat Hashem Avraham Makovetsky
  • Smart Siddur Lite Karri Apps
  • Siddur Sfaradi RobertR
  • AndDaaven Siddur S Popper

Blackberry

  • JewishContent.org
  • Hebrew In Hand

History of the Siddur Prayer Book

The earliest parts of the Jewish prayer book are the Shema Yisrael (“Hear O Israel”) (Deuteronomy 6:4 et seq), and the Priestly Blessing (Numbers 6:24-26), which are in the Torah. A set of eighteen (currently nineteen) blessings called the Shemoneh Esreh or the Amidah (Hebrew, “standing [prayer]”), is traditionally ascribed to the Great Assembly in the time of Ezra, at the end of the Biblical period.

The name Shemoneh Esreh, literally “eighteen”, is an historical anachronism, since it now contains nineteen blessings. It was only near the end of the Second Temple period that the eighteen prayers of the weekday Amidah became standardized. Even at that time their precise wording and order was not yet fixed, and varied from locale to locale. Many modern scholars believe that parts of the Amidah came from the Hebrew apocryphal work Ben Sira.

According to the Talmud, soon after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem a formal version of the Amidah was adopted at a rabbinical council in Yavne, under the leadership of Rabban Gamaliel II. However, the precise wording was still left open. The order, general ideas, opening and closing lines were fixed. Most of the wording was left to the individual reader. It was not until several centuries later that the prayers began to be formally fixed. By the Middle Ages the texts of the prayers were nearly fixed, and in the form in which they are still used today.

The siddur was printed by Soncino in Italy as early as 1486. The siddur began appearing in the vernacular as early as 1538. The first – unauthorized – English translation, by Gamaliel ben Pedahzur (a pseudonym), appeared in London in 1738; a different translation was released in the United States in 1837.

Creating the siddur

Readings from the Torah (five books of Moses) and the Nevi’im (“Prophets”) form part of the prayer services. To this framework various Jewish sages added, from time to time, various prayers, and, for festivals especially, numerous hymns.

The earliest existing codification of the prayerbook was drawn up by Rav Amram Gaon of Sura, Babylon, about 850 CE. Half a century later Rav Saadia Gaon, also of Sura, composed a siddur, in which the rubrical matter is in Arabic. These were the basis of Simcha ben Samuel’s Machzor Vitry (11th century France), which was based on the ideas of his teacher, Rashi. Another formulation of the prayers was that appended by Maimonides to the laws of prayer in hisMishneh Torah: this forms the basis of the Yemenite liturgy, and has had some influence on other rites. From this point forward all Jewish prayerbooks had the same basic order and contents.

Two authoritative versions of the Ashkenazi siddur were those of Shabbetai Sofer in the 16th century and Seligman Baer in the 19th century; siddurim have also been published reflecting the views of Jacob Emden and the Vilna Gaon.

Nusach Ashkenaz Siddur prayer book
from Irkutsk, Russia, printed in 1918

Different Jewish rites

There are differences among the Sephardic (including Spanish and Portuguese), Teimani (Yemenite), Chasidic, Ashkenazic (German-Polish), Bené Roma or Italkim and Romaniote (Greek, once extending to Turkey and perhaps the southern Italian peninsula) liturgies. Most of these are slight differences in the wording of the prayers; for instance, Oriental Sephardic and some Hasidic prayer books state, “Graciously bestow upon us from You wisdom (?ochmah), understanding (binah) and knowledge (daat)”, in allusion to the Kabbalistic sefirot of those names, while the Nusach Ashkenaz, as well as Western Sephardic and other Hasidic versions retain the older wording, “Graciously bestow upon us from You knowledge, understanding, and reason”. In some cases, the order of the preparation for the Amidah is drastically different, reflecting the different halakhic and kabbalistic formulae that the various scholars relied on in assembling their siddurim, as well as the minhagim, or customs, or their locales.

Some forms of the Sephardi rite are considered to be very overtly kabbalistic, depending on how far they reflect the ritual of Isaac Luria. This is partly because the Tetragrammaton frequently appears with varying vowel points beneath the letters (unpronounced, but to be meditated upon) and different Names of God appear in small print within the final hei of the Tetragrammaton. In some editions, there is a Psalm in the preparations for the Amidah that is printed in the outline of a menorah, and the worshipper meditates on this shape as he recites the psalm.

The Ashkenazi rite is more common than the Sephardi rite in America. While Nusach Ashkenaz does contain some kabbalistic elements, such as acrostics and allusions to the sefirot (“To You, God, is the greatness [gedullah], and the might [gevurah], and the glory [tiferet], longevity [netzach],…” etc.), these are not easily seen unless the reader is already initiated. It is notable that although many other traditions avoid using the poem “Anim Zemiroth” on the Sabbath, for fear that its holiness would be less appreciated due to the frequency of the Sabbath, the poem is usually sung by Ashkenazi congregations before concluding the Sabbath Musaf service with the daily psalm. The ark is opened for the duration of the song.

Hasidim, though usually ethnically Ashkenazi, usually use liturgies with varying degrees of Sephardic influence, such as Nusach Sefard and Nusach Ari, in order to follow the order of the prayers set by Rabbi Isaac Luria, often called “Ari HaKadosh”, or “The Holy Lion”. Although the Ari himself was born Ashkenazi, he borrowed many elements from Sephardi and other traditions, since he felt that they followed Kabbalah and Halacha more faithfully. The Ari did not publish any siddur, but orally transmitted his particular usages to his students with interpretations and certain meditations. Many siddurim containing some form of the Sephardic rite together with the usages of the Ari were published, both by actual Sephardic communities and for the use of Hasidim and other Ashkenazim interested in Kabbalah. In 1803, Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi compiled an authoritative Siddur from the sixty siddurim that he checked for compliance with Hebrew grammar, Jewish law, and Kabbalah: this is what is known today as the “Nusach Ari”, and is used by Lubavitch Hasidim. Those that use Nusach HaAri claim that it is an all-encompassing nusach that is valid for any Jew, no matter what his ancestral tribe or identity, a view attributed to the Maggid of Mezeritch.

The Mahzor of each rite is distinguished by hymns (piyyutim) composed by authors (payyetanim). The most important writers are Yose ben Yoseh, probably in the 6th century, chiefly known for his compositions for Yom Kippur; Eleazar Kalir, the founder of the payyetanic style, perhaps in the 7th century; Saadia Gaon; and the Spanish school, consisting of Joseph ibn Abitur (died in 970), ibn Gabirol, Isaac Gayyath, Moses ibn Ezra, Abraham ibn Ezra and Judah ha-Levi, Moses ben Nahman (Nahmanides) and Isaac Luria. In the case of Nusach HaAri, however, many of these High Holiday piyyutim are absent: the older piyyutim were not present in the Sephardic rite, on which Nusach HaAri was based, and the followers of the Ari removed the piyyutim composed by the Spanish school.

Complete versus weekday Siddurim

Some siddurim have only prayers for weekdays; others have prayers for weekdays and Shabbat (Jewish Sabbath). Many have prayers for weekdays, Shabbat, and the three Biblical festivals, Sukkot (the feast of Tabernacles), Shavuot(the feast of weeks) and Pesach (Passover). The latter are referred to as a Siddur Shalem (“complete siddur”).

Variations and additions on holidays

There are many additional liturgical variations and additions to the siddur for the Yamim Noraim (The “Days of Awe”; High Holy Days, i.e. Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur). As such, a special siddur has developed for just this period, known as a mahzor (also: machzor). The mahzor contains not only the basic liturgy, but also many piyutim, Hebrew liturgical poems. Sometimes the term mahzor is also used for the prayer books for the three pilgrim festivals, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.

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