Jew­ish Text

The Sid­dur Companion

Paul H. Vishney
  • Review
By – July 30, 2012
Every Jew knows the sid­dur, but few real­ly study it in depth. This prayer book has a def­i­nite struc­ture that has evolved over the cen­turies. Mul­ti­ple authors and scribes have con­tributed to its con­tent. Paul H. Vish­ney, an Ortho­dox rab­bi, has writ­ten this guide based on the cur­ricu­lum for a class he taught at his syn­a­gogue. He bases his work on the Dai­ly Prayer Book by Philip Birn­baum and the Com­plete Artscroll Sid­dur by Rab­bi Nos­son Scher­man. Rab­bi Vish­ney pro­vides a his­to­ry of the sid­dur and an expla­na­tion of the bra­chot. He then exam­ines the dai­ly prayers (Bir­chot Hashacher, Sh’ma, Psukei D’zimra, Ami­da, etc.), Sab­bath prayers, Torah read­ing, and spe­cial prayers for Rosh Chodesh and count­ing the Omer. He also looks at Kid­dush, Hav­dalah, and Birkat Hama­zon. He explains the his­to­ry and struc­ture of each prayer and adds inter­est­ing lore and details in side­bars. A glos­sary and bib­li­og­ra­phy pro­vide fur­ther infor­ma­tion. Although the author pro­vides an Ortho­dox per­spec­tive, any­one with a seri­ous inter­est in the sid­dur and Jew­ish prayer will learn a great deal from this book. Gloss., index, notes.
Bar­bara M. Bibel is a librar­i­an at the Oak­land Pub­lic Library in Oak­land, CA; and at Con­gre­ga­tion Netiv­ot Shalom, Berke­ley, CA.

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