Loving Prayer


Tamar Frankiel

"Loving Prayer is a study guide, to offer new perspectives to refresh your approach and guidance in some of the difficult aspects of prayer. Prayer is, after all, a key part of our
ancient spiritual practice, but it's hard for modern Jews to find their way into it. The siddur or prayer book may seem too dense. You may lose interest easily and need a framework
that sustains your involvement. You might be already familiar with the prayers, but they have become rote for you - you need some new insights.
"I've had some of the same experiences. I began learning the prayers with an excitement about learning something new, including learning to read Hebrew at the same time. I
struggled to follow the service while enjoying its songs and rhythms. Over time I became more comfortable, and began to experience a period of deep engagement with the prayers.
I prayed on my own much of the time. When we had the opportunity to pray with a community, on a holiday or special Shabbat, it was glorious.
"But that was followed by years of much less attention to prayers, for I was now a working mother with five children. We lived in an active Jewish community but I had so little time, and often just rushed through a few formal prayers. I became interested in Jewish meditation, which helped for a while. Still, over the years my own practice waxed and
waned: sometimes I was actively davening every morning, while at other times I was speaking to God less, studying and contemplating more". -- Tamar Frankiel


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Tamar Frankiel, Ph.D. is a Professor of Comparative Religion at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California. Dr. Frankiel is a leading teacher and writer about Jewish spiritual practice and is best known for her books The Gift of Kabbalah, an introduction to Jewish mysticism and The Voice of Sarah: Feminine Spirituality and Traditional Judaism.

Loving Prayer is a guide written in love – love of prayer and of God and of life in all its manifestations, intimating the emotional and spiritual pathways that thread through the arcs of Jewish prayer practice. A splendid guide!
— Dr. Avivah Gottlieb Zornberg, Ph.D. Author of Moses: A Human Life (Yale University Press)

Dr. Tamar Frankiel takes the readers on a journey through many levels of parallel universes, from the four mystical worlds to the inner world of the person who is at prayer. She draws skillfully from the fields of sociology, psychology, drama, and music, while providing an analysis of the prayer text that is crystal-clear and engaging.
— Rabbi Haim Ovadia, Magen David Sephardic Congregation, Rockville, MD

Loving Prayer is a gift for both the beginner and the experienced “pray-er.” It is accessible and illuminating, opening hearts and minds to the treasures that unfold in Jewish liturgy.
— Rabbi Laura Geller, Rabbi Emerita, Temple Emanuel of Beverly Hills, CA

An essential volume for the Jewish spiritual seeker who wishes to participate in Jewish prayer and draw a sense of inner purpose from personal and communal practice.— Cantor Sam Radwine, Cantor Emeritus, Congregation Ner Tamid, Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Frankiel teaches us to ‘love prayer’, to see and be drawn to its inner beauty, its hidden mystical themes and concealed gems, and to devote ourselves to lifelong knowledge of its depths. I have read many books on prayer; this one I treasure.
— Rabbi Mordecai Finley, Ph.D., Ohr HaTorah Synagogue / Academy for Jewish Religion, Los Angeles

ISBN 9781935604815. Paper. 174 pages. $18.95


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Click Here to Read the Preface to Loving Prayer


Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction 15
The Unique Components of Our Prayer 15
Drama of the Four Worlds 17

Chapter 2: Blessings: The Signature of Jewish Prayer 27
Types of Blessings 27
How Blessings Shape Our Prayers 32
The Architecture of Prayer: Mirroring Meaning 34
Gratitude: No Matter Too Small 42

Chapter 3: Songs of Life 51
Imagining Joy 53
David, the Heroic Poet 55
Happy Are Those Who Dwell in Your House 58
Reprise: The Temple 65
The Framework of Pesukei d’Zimrah 67

Chapter 4: From Eternity to Here 73
Moses and His People 74
Covenant Renewal 78
Transforming the Will 80
Love and Torah 88
Redemption 97
Understanding the Shema Liturgy 101

Chapter 5: The Tefillah: Completing the Circle 109
Secrets of the First Blessing 110
Beginning and Ending Blessings 120
Middle Blessings 126
Speaking Silence 138

Chapter 6 Turning Outward 141

Appendices 147
The Structure of Weekday Shacharit 147
Meditations in the Four Worlds 148
Historical Outline 154


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