A siddur is a Jewish prayer book, containing a set order of daily prayers. The word siddur comes from the Hebrew root meaning "order".
HistoryThe earliest parts of Jewish prayer book are the Shema Yisrael , and the Priestly Blessing, which are in the Torah. A set of eighteen blessings called the Shemoneh Esreh or the Amidah, 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 a 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 and his colleagues. 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, though a siddur was first mass-distributed only in 1865. The siddur began appearing in the vernacular as early as 1538. The first English translation was published in London in 1738 by an author writing under the pseudonym Gamaliel ben Pedahzur; a different translation was released in the United States in 1837.
Creating the siddurReadings from the Torah and the Nevi'im 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, 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 his Mishneh 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.
Different Jewish ritesThere are differences among, amongst others, the Sephardic, Teimani,
Chasidic, Ashkenazic, Bené Roma or Italkim, Romaniote and also Persian-, Kurdish-, Bukharian-, Georgian-, Mountain Jewish-, Ethiopian- and Cochin-Jewish liturgies. Most of these are slight differences in the wording of the prayers; for instance, Oriental Sephardic and some Hasidic prayer books state "חננו מאתך חכמה בינה ודעת", "Graciously bestow upon us from You wisdom, understanding and knowledge ", 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 "חננו מאתך דעה בינה והשכל", "Graciously bestow upon us from You knowledge, understanding, and reason". In some cases, however, 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 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, 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 composed by authors. 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, ibn Gabirol, Isaac Gayyath, Moses ibn Ezra, Abraham ibn Ezra and Judah ha-Levi, Moses ben Nahman 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 and weekday siddurimSome siddurim have only prayers for weekdays; others have prayers for weekdays and Shabbat. Many have prayers for weekdays, Shabbat, and the three Biblical festivals, Sukkot, Shavuot and Pesach. The latter are referred to as a Siddur Shalem.
Variations and additions on holidays
- There are many additional liturgical variations and additions to the siddur for the Yamim Noraim. As such, a special siddur has developed for just this period, known as a mahzor. 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.
- On Tisha b'Av, a special siddur is used that includes the text of the Book of Lamentations, the Torah and Haftarah readings for that day, and Kinot or special mournful piyyutim for that day. This siddur is usually called "Kinot" as well. Traditionally, every year many Jews hope that the Messiah will come and the Third Temple will be rebuilt, so Tisha b'Av will not happen again. So after the fast ends, many traditions place their Kinot siddurim in a geniza, or a burial place for sacred texts.
- , ed. Rabbi Basil Herring
- The Authorised Daily Prayer Book, ed. Joseph Hertz. NY, Block Publ'g Co., rev. ed. 1948.
- Siddur Ha-Shalem Ed. Philip Birnbaum. The Hebrew Publishing Company.
- The Metsudah Siddur: A New Linear Prayer Book Ziontalis.
- The Authorised Daily Prayer Book of the British Commonwealth, translation by Chief Rabbi Sir Jonathan Sacks
- The Artscroll Siddur, Mesorah Publications The " great innovation" of the Artscroll was that it was the first siddur " made it possible for even a neophyte ba’al teshuvah 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 Yisrael, Hotsa'at Moreshet, Bnei Brak, Israel.
- Siddur Siach Yitzchak, Nederlands-Israelitisch Kerkgenootschap, Amsterdam 1975
- Siddur Tefilas Kol Peh
- Siddur Tefilas Sh'ai, Feldheim Publishers : Israel/NewYork
- Siddur HaGra
- Siddur Aliyos Eliyahu
- Siddur Kol Bo
- Koren Sacks Siddur, Koren Publishers Jerusalem: based on latest Singer's prayer book, above
- Siddur , the complete Shabbat siddur in the projected siddur Nehalel series, in which photographs juxtaposed with the texts portray their meanings. The purpose of this innovation is to direct the user's attention to the meanings of the traditional prayers, thus contributing to the achieving of kavanah, a central requirement of authentic prayer.
- A rendering of both the siddur and the entire high holy day prayer book into English rhymed verse has been made by Rabbi Dr. Jeffrey M Cohen. The Siddur in Poetry and The Machzor in Poetry.
Hasidic">Hasidic Judaism">Hasidic Siddurim
- "Siddur Tefilah Yesharah," first published circa 1800, was later reprinted with the early Hasidic commentary "Keser Nehora" by Rabbi Aharon Hakohen of Zhelichov. This became known as the "Berditchever Siddur." The Berditchever Siddur has been reprinted many times, more recently by Rabbi Meir Yechezkel Weiner and Pe’er.
- Beis Aharon V'Yisrael is the second published siddur ever produced by Karliner Chassidim. It superseded Siddur Beis Aharon V'Yisrael published by Rebbe Yochanan Perlow.
- The Breslov Siddur published in a 2014 hardcover edition is one of the few Hasidic siddurim available in an English language translation. Translated by Avraham Sutton and Chaim Kramer. Y. Hall is the editor.
- Siddur Tehillat HaShem, available in a Hebrew-English version.
- Siddur Torah Or.
- Siddur Tefillah La-El Chayi
- In general, a Nusach Sefard siddur can be a good substitute for a specific Hasidic siddur. Many publishing houses have Nusach Sefard versions of the siddur, including ArtScroll, Tefillat Kol Peh, Koren-Sacks and Rinat Yisrael. However, a number of Hasidic groups have published their own variations of Nusach Sefard, including the communities of Spinka, Bobov, Munkatch, Slonim, Vizhnitz, Biala and Boston.
- The Complete Italian Rite Machazor
- Mahzor Ke-Minhag Roma, ed. Robert Bonfil, Jerusalem 2012,
- The Romaniote Rite, 2017/18 (a series containing the Siddur, Piyyutim, the Haftarot readings and a Haggadah according to the old Romaniote Rite
- "Mekor Chayim: A Reform Liturgy for Erev Shabbat Based on the Romaniote Rite", Greenberg, Yonatan, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Cincinnati, 236 pages, 2018.
Israel and diaspora
- Siddur Rinat Yisrael Sephardic and Edot ha-Mizrach Nusach edited by Rabbi Amram Aburbeh.
Israeli, following Rabbi [Ovadia Yosef]
please note, these siddurim are also for the Edot Ha-mizrach communities.
- Ohr V’Derech Sephardic Siddur
- Siddur Yeḥavveh Daat
- Siddur Avodat Ha-shem
- Siddur Ḥazon Ovadia
- Siddur L'maan Shmo
- Siddur Ha-Miforash Kavanat Halev
Sephardic Women's Siddur
some notable siddurim are:
- Avodat Hashem -l'bat yisrael- with psalms
- Ha-Siddur Ha-Meforash Kavanat Halev -l'bat yisrael- with psalms
- Avodah Shebalev- L'bat yisrael- with psalm
- 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, 5725 - 1965.
Greek, Turkish and Balkan Sephardim
- Mahzor LeYom Kippur-Proseuchologion tes hemeras tou Exilasmou According to the Sephardic Rite of Thessalonike, Athens 1969
- Siddur Sha'arei Tefillah-Ai Pylai ton Proseuchon Prayerbook for the whole year, Athens 1974
- Siddur Zehut Yosef According to the Rhodes and Turkish Traditions, Hazzan Isaac Azose, Seattle, Washington: Sephardic Traditions Foundation, 2002
North African Jews
- Siddur Od Abinu Ḥai ed. Levi Nahum: Jerusalem
- Mahzor Od Abinu Ḥai ed. Levi Nahum : Jerusalem
- Siddur Vezaraḥ Hashemesh, ed. Messas: Jerusalem
- Siddur Ish Matzliaḥ, ed. Mazuz, Machon ha-Rav Matzliah: B'nei Brak
- Siddur Farḥi
- Siddur Tefillat ha-Ḥodesh, ed. David Levi, Erez : Jerusalem
- Siddur Patah Eliyahou, ed. Joseph Charbit, Colbo: Paris
- Mahzor Zechor le-Avraham, Yarid ha-Sefarim : Jerusalem
- Siddur Darchei Avot
- Siddur Oro shel Olam
Middle Eastern Mizrachim (Sephardim)
Edot Ha-mizrach (Iraqi)
- Tefillat Yesharim: Jerusalem, Manṣur
- Siddur Od Yosef Ḥai
- Kol Eliyahu, ed. Mordechai Eliyahu
- Siddur Rinat Yisrael -, Hotsa'at Moreshet, Bnei Brak, Israel.
- 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: Sephardic Heritage Foundation, New York, 1990.
- Bet Yosef ve-Ohel Abraham: Jerusalem, Manṣur
- Orḥot Ḥayim, ed. Yedid: Jerusalem 1995
- Siddur Kol Mordechai, ed. Faham bros: Jerusalem 1984
- Abir Yaakob, ed. Haber: Sephardic Press
- Orot Sephardic Siddur, Eliezer Toledano: Lakewood, New Jersey, Orot Inc.
- Maḥzor Shelom Yerushalayim, ed. Albeg: New York, Sephardic Heritage Foundation 1982
Yemenite Jews (Teimanim)
BaladiThe Baladi Jews follow the legal rulings of the Rambam as codified in his work the Mishneh Torah. Rabbi Yiḥye Tsalaḥ revised this liturgy to end friction between traditionalists and Kabbalists who followed the innovations of the Ari. This siddur makes very few additions or changes and substantially follows the older Yemenite tradition as it had existed prior to this conflict.
- Siddur Tiklal, Yiḥyah Salaḥ ben Yehuda, 1800
- Siddur Shivat Tzion, Rabbi Yosef Qafih, 1950s
- Siddur Siaḥ Yerushalayim, Rabbi Yosef Qafih
- Siddur Tiklal: Torath Avoth
- Tiklal Ha-Mefoar Nosaḥ Baladi, Meyusad Al Pi Ha-Tiklal Im Etz Hayim Ha-Shalem Arukh K'Minhag Yahaduth Teiman: Bene Berak : Or Neriyah ben Mosheh Ozeri,
- Siddur Tefillat HaḤodesh - Beit Yaakov, Nusaḥ Sepharadim, Teiman, and Edoth Mizraḥ
- Siddur Kavanot HaRashash, Shalom Sharabi, Publisher: Yeshivat HaChaim Ve'Hashalom
Minhagei Eretz Yisrael
- Siddur Nusach Eretz Yisrael edited by Rabbi David Bar-Hayim Jerusalem, Israel., an attempted reconstruction of the ancient Palestinian minhag from the Jerusalem Talmud, the Cairo Geniza documents and other sources.
- Sabbath and Festival Prayer Book Ed. Morris Silverman with Robert Gordis, 1946. USCJ and RA
- Weekday Prayer Book Ed. Morris Silverman, 1956. USCJ
- Weekday Prayer Book 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.
- Siddur Lev Shalem for Shabbat and Festivals Ed. Edward Feld, 2016, 466 double pages, RA.
Progressive and Reform Judaism
- Ha-Avodah Shebalev, The prayer book of The Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism, Ed. The Council of Israel Progressive Rabbis, 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: Movement for Reform Judaism, London 2008, ; Official prayer book of the Reform movement in Britain
- Liberal Jewish Prayer Book: Vol. 1, 1926, 1937; Vol. 2, 1923, 1937; Vol. 3, 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, Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, London, 1967
- Vetaher Libenu: Purify Our Hearts, Congregation Beth El, Sudbury, MA 1980
- Siddur Lev Chadash, Union of Liberal and Progressive Synagogues, UK, 1995.
- Olat Tamid: Book of Prayers for Jewish Congregations
- The English speaking Reform Jewish movement primarily uses Mishkan T'Filah as its prayer book. This book also features a companion machzor and electronic supplements.
- All of the following are published by the Central Conference of American Rabbis:
- * Union Prayer Book, vol. 1 , 1892, 1895, 1918, 1940; vol. 2 , 1894, 1922, 1945
- * Weekday Afternoon and Evening Services for Use in the Synagogue and the House of Mourning, 1957
- * Gates of Prayer: The New Union Prayer Book, 1975
- * Gates of Prayer for Weekdays and at a House of Mourning, 1975
- * Gates of Prayer: Afternoon and Evening Services and Prayers for the House of Mourning, 1978
- * Gates of Prayer for Shabbat: A Gender Sensitive Prayerbook, 1992
- * Gates of Prayer for Weekdays and at a House of Mourning: A Gender Sensitive Prayerbook, 1992
- * Gates of Prayer for Weekdays: A Gender Sensitive Prayerbook, 1993
- * Gates of Prayer for Assemblies, 1993
- * Gates of Prayer for Shabbat and Weekdays: A Gender Sensitive Prayerbook, 1994
- * Mishkan T'filah : A Reform Siddur: Weekdays, Shabbat, Festivals, and Other Occasions of Public Worship, 2007; ;
- * Mishkan T'filah for Gatherings: A Reform Siddur, 2009
- * Mishkan T'filah for Travelers: A Reform Siddur, 2009
- * Mishkan T'filah for the House of Mourning, 2010
- * Mishkan T'filah Journal Edition, 2010
- * Mishkan T'filah for Children, 2013
- * Mishkan T'filah for Youth, 2014
- * Divrei Mishkan T'filah -- Delving into the Siddur, 2018
- Chaveirim Kol Yisrae2018il, a Siddur for Chavurot, 2000 a Project of The Progressive Chavurah Siddur Committee of Boston
- Seder ha-Tefillot: Forms of Prayer: Movement for Reform Judaism, London 2008, ; Official prayer book of the Reform movement in Britain
- 's Siddur B'chol L'vav'cha, for Friday night services; Publisher: Congregation Beth Simchat Torah ; ;
- Siddur Sha'ar Zahav, the first complete prayer book to address the lives and needs of LGBTQ as well as straight Jews; Publisher: J Levine Judaica & ; ;
- Seder Tov Lehodot: Teksten, gebeden en diensten voor weekdagen, Sjabbat en andere gelegenheden, Amsterdam 2000, Verbond van Liberaal-Religieuze Joden in Nederland now Nederlands Verbond voor Progressief Jodendom;
- Prayer Books edited by Rabbi Mordecai Kaplan and others:
- * Sabbath Prayer Book, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1945
- * High Holiday Prayer Book, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1948
- * Supplementary Prayers and Readings for the High Holidays, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1960
- * Festival Prayer Book, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1958
- * Daily Prayer Book, Jewish Reconstructionist Foundation, 1963
- Hadesh Yameinu : a book of Jewish prayer and meditation, edited and translated by Rabbi Ronald Aigen. Montreal, 1996.
- Kol Haneshamah Prayerbook series, ed. David Teutsch:
- * Erev Shabbat: Shabbat Eve, Reconstructionist Press, 1989; 2nd edition, 1993
- * Shirim Uvrahot: Songs, Blessings and Rituals for the Home, Reconstructionist Press, 1991, 1998
- * Shabbat Vehagim: Sabbath and Festivals, Reconstructionist Press, 1994; 3rd edition
- * Limot Hol: Daily Prayerbook, Reconstructionist Press, 1996; Reprint edition
- * Mahzor Leyamim Nora'im: Prayerbook for the Days of Awe, Reconstructionist Press, 1999; Fordham University Press; Bilingual edition
- * T'filot L'veit HaEvel: Prayers for a House of Mourning, Reconstructionist Press, 2001; Jewish Reconstructionist Federation
- Sh'ma': A Concise Weekday Siddur For Praying in English by Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2010.
Reconstructionist Rabbi Rebecca Alpert commented:
Liberal prayerbooks tend increasingly to avoid male-specific words and pronouns, seeking that all references to God in translations be made in gender-neutral language. For example, the UK Liberal movement's Siddur Lev Chadash does so, as does the UK Reform Movement's Forms of Prayer. In Mishkan T'filah, the American Reform Jewish prayer book released in 2007, references to God as “He” have been removed, and whenever Jewish patriarchs are named, so also are the matriarchs
Atheist or humanistic siddurim
- "Celebration: A Ceremonial and Philosophic Guide for Humanists and Humanistic Jews" by Sherwin T. Wine; Prometheus Books, 1988
- "A Humanistic Siddur of Spirituality and Meaning" by David Rabeeya; Xlibris Corporation, 2005
- "Liturgical Experiments: A Siddur for the Sceptical" in Hebrew, by Tzemah Yoreh