Maharal on Prayer

Elucidation and Reflections - A new vocalized Hebrew Edition with English Translation and Commentary

By Rabbi Avraham Dov (Barry) Katz

Format: Hardcover

Pages: 560

ISBN: 978-1602804838

Ktav Publishing House

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This is the first English translation of the entire Maharal’s Nesiv HaAvodah. The Hebrew text is vocalized and contains footnotes. The English paragraphs are aligned with the Hebrew text for easy reading and understanding.

There are three primary sections to the Maharal’s Nesiv HaAvodah: • Chapters 1–6: The principles and dimensions of tefilla. Chapters 7–12 contain tefilla's various customs, content, and ideas. Chapters 13–20 contain the various forms of Avodah in a Jew’s daily life outside the formal Beit Knesses. At the beginning of each chapter, the Maharal generally defines the theme that he will explore and then proceeds with evidence to support his theme and related topics.

For example, chapters 1 and 2 deal with man’s role, and God’s interaction with him. Chapters 7–12 are divided into the practices of tefilla. The most significant section of our tefilla is the Shema, discussed in Chapter 7. Chapter 8 focuses on the practice: of what one does during the recital of the Shema. Chapter 11 deals with the recital of the words of the Kedushah. The few words of the Kedushah express our feeling of the presence of God. Chapter 12 is on limiting the use of words to praise God in tefilla. Chapters 13–20 discuss Avodah that occurs outside the framework of formal tefilla. Chapter 13 begins with a discussion of Tefillas HaDerech, Birkas HaGomel, Shenayim Mikra Ve’echad Targum. The final topic in this chapter is Kiddush HaChodesh. Chapter 17 discusses a fortiori inference (kal vechomer), which the Gemara identifies as the reason we recite the Berachah of HaMotzi before we eat bread. Chapter 18, is the most comprehensive Chapter 19 covers one of the last topics the Maharal addresses: Mayim Acharonim, washing hands before Birkas HaMazon. He addresses the purpose of Mayim Acharonim, its source, and the difference between Mayim Acharonim and Mayim Rishonim. Maharal concludes Nesiv HaAvodah in Chapter 20 with a discussion on the recitation of Keri’at Shema al HaMitah. The Shema represents one’s commitment to one’s faith, and that stays with a person all the times of the day and night when Torah learning is not possible.