Category: Tefillah

Knowledgebase entries about Jewish prayer, synagogue services, Torah reading, and other ritual practices relating to communal tefillah.

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  • Birkat ha-Ilanot

    ברכת האילנות – A blessing said upon seeing blossoming fruit trees in Nisan, or the first time one sees flowering trees in the season. For more details, see the Birkat ha-Ilanot Source Sheet. The words of the blessing are: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱלֹקינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁלֹּא חִסַּר בְּעוֹלָמוֹ כְּלוּם וּבָרָא בוֹ בְּרִיּוֹת טוֹבוֹת וְאִילָנוֹת טוֹבוֹת…

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  • Four Parshiyot

    Among the special Shabbatot in the calendar year, there are four preceding Pesach known as the Four Parshiyot (Arba Parshiyot – ארבע פרשיות), during which special maftir and haftarah portions are read. In distinction to special Shabbatot that coincide with holidays, the Four Parshiyot do not have a coinciding occasion. Rather, they are tied to…

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  • Haftarah

    Haftarah refers to an additional selection of text from the Neviim (Prophets), the second division of books of Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible), read after the parashah (Torah portion of the week). The haftarah is thematically tied either to the parashah or events on the Jewish calendar. Seeking out the thematic connection is one of the…

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  • Piyut

    פיוט – pl. piyutim – Hebrew, and occasionally Aramaic, liturgical poetry, meaning poems added to the prayer service. Piyutim appear especially in the machzor (holiday prayerbook), but also in the daily siddur, especially in the earlier period of their composition. The earliest piyyutim were written in Eretz Yisrael during the Byzantine period when the form…

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  • Shabbat Chazon

    The third of three special Shabbatot before Tish’ah be-Av, known as the Three of Rebuke (Telata de-Puranuta – תלתא דפורענותא), when the haftarah read is Chazon Yeshayahu, Yeshayahu 1:1–27.

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  • Shabbat ha-Chodesh

    A special Shabbat and the last of the Four Parshiyot, Shabbat ha-Chodesh (שבת החודש) is the Shabbat before on on the first of Nisan. The maftir comes from Parashat Bo, describing the first month of the year (Chodesh Nisan); the hatarah is Yechezkel 45:16-46:18. It is distinct from Shabbat Rosh Chodesh. Rarely, when one of…

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  • Shabbat ha-Gadol

    Shabbat ha-Gadol (שבת הגדול) is the Shabbat before Pesach, during which it is traditional for the rabbi to deliver a special derash (sermon). The haftarah is Malakhi 3:4-24.

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  • Shabbat Machar Chodesh

    The Shabbat immediately preceding Rosh Chodesh is called Shabbat Machar Chodesh (שבת מחר חודש) and the haftarah is 1 Shemuel 20:18-42. It is distinct from Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat Mevarkhim, and Shabbat ha-Chodesh.

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  • Shabbat Mevarchim

    The Shabbat before a week in which Rosh Chodesh falls is called Shabbat Mevarchim (שבת מברכים) and the blessing on the new month, Birkat ha-Chodesh (ברכת החודש), is said. It is distinct from Shabbat Rosh Chodesh, Shabbat Machar Chodesh, and Shabbat ha-Chodesh.

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  • Shabbat Nachamu

    One of the special Shabbatot, Shabbat Nachamu (שבת נחמו) is the first Shabbat following Tish’ah Be-Av, and the first of the Seven Shabbatot of Consolation (Shev de-Nechamata) leading up to Rosh ha-Shannah. The haftarah, from which it gets its name, is Nachamu, Nachamu Ami, Yeshayahu 40:1-26.

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