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 »

Tefillah Tuesday: Alef, The One

The usage of Psalm 100 in Pesukei d’Zimra depends on how you interpret the title. Mizmor Le’Todah, מזמור לתודה, means either a “Song of Gratitude,” or the “Song for the Thanksgiving Sacrifice.” Those who associate the brief poem with free-willed – that is, optional – sacrifices, generally refrain from reciting this psalm on Shabbat or… Read more »


This week we mark the 50th anniversary (on the Hebrew calendar) of the 1967 Six-Day War, certainly the most momentous passage in Israel’s history. Israel’s territory was multiplied almost three-fold, acquiring Sinai (of course later returned to Egypt), Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. These latter two were annexed under Israeli… Read more »