Tefillah Tuesday: To All Who Call in Truth

Continuing with the acrostic Ashrei, Psalm 145, today let us focus on v. 18: “קרוב י’הוה לכל קוראיו לכל אשר יקראהו באמת.“ “The Lord is close to all who call upon Him, to all who call in truth.” For a worshipper reciting Ashrei, this verse plays a sly or ironic trick. Its first clause promises… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: The Missing Nun

The core of Pesukei d’Zimra is the final six chapters of Psalms, beginning with 145, known as “Ashrei [or, “how fortunate!”],” after the first words of Psalms 84.5 and 144.15, which are appended as a preface. The Talmud [Berakhot 4b] praises Ashrei as guaranteeing a place in the world to come to those who recite… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Holding Tight to the Tzitzit

The next major section of the morning prayers, beloved to most regular daveners, is the פסוקי דזימרא [pesukei d’zimra], or the “verses of song.” Structurally, the core of this section are the final six chapters of the book of Psalms, from Ashrei, Psalm 145, to the end of Psalm 150, concluding with the crescendo כל… Read more »

Tefillah Tuesday: Open Your Mouth Wide

Pesukei d’Zimra, the “verses of song” that open the morning liturgy, awaken us spiritually before the central prayer elements. Maybe you believe one or another Jewish teaching about God. Maybe you don’t. But if you want to daven, the minimum spiritual prerequisite is that you praise, that you gaze at each new morning and sing.… Read more »