Until the Common Era prayer did not have a set time or text. People prayed in their own words whenever they chose, each according to his ability. Those more fluent beseeched and praised
As a result of exile and persecution, language became confused and Hebrew was becoming forgotten among the average people. Therefore, the leaders at that time organized a set text for all to pray. (Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Tefillah 1:3-4)
The Shelah HaKadosh explains that although the Men of the Great Assembly composed a fixed text of prayers for all Jews, in addition each person should pray to
Rabbi Natan writes, “One should make sure to pray to
“But even according to the Law, the original form of prayer is still of utmost importance. Although we follow the order of prayer ordained, one’s personal prayer, as it originally existed, is still the most beneficial. Make a habit of praying to
One should accustom oneself to pray regularly in his own words. Even someone who understands the set prayers in lashon hakodesh should do so, because his own words will be more natural, coming from his heart. All the more so, someone who doesn’t understand Hebrew must make time to pray in his own language, which is the only way for his words to be expressions of his heart. Even a short prayer said with feeling, the way one person speaks to another, will surely be most dear to
Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive guide, rather a brief summary to raise awareness of the issues. In any real case one should ask a competent Halachic authority.
L'iluy Nishmas the Rosh HaYeshiva - Rav Chonoh Menachem Mendel ben R' Yechezkel Shraga, Rav Yaakov Yeshaya ben R' Boruch Yehuda, and l'zchus for Shira Yaffa bas Rochel Miriam and her children for a yeshua teikef u'miyad!