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Isn't it pretty?

Friday, November 11, 2005

My First All-Hebrew Siddur

I bought my first all Hebrew siddur* yesterday. I have been dragging my backpack around with me every day, mainly in order to carry my Artscroll siddur, which is just too big and heavy to carry in my purse. But I was tired of doing that and I realized that I daven in all Hebrew in the mornings anyway, so I don't really need such a big siddur. It was a big step for me to let go of my Artscroll. When I first started to be interested in Orthodox Judaism, my Hebrew was really rusty. I went to Hebrew school growing up, but hadn't had the need for Hebrew since I had been 13. So I have been using Artscroll since I first became religious, first davening completely in English and adding more and more Hebrew as time went on. With the shomeneh esray , I learned it bracha by bracha in Hebrew, adding one more as I became familiar with the one before it, until one day I was reading the whole thing in Hebrew. It was a big accomplishment the day I picked up an all-Hebrew bencher and managed to locate the appopriate page. And when I could walk into shul after services started and located where we were, without having to ask someone or having the page number posted. So buying an all-Hebrew siddur is a big step for me. And I have to say I am a little proud of the fact that I have come this far, even if my Hebrew still needs an incredible amount of work. Davening from it this morning was actually nice. Because it was a different siddur, everything was on different pages, so it really caused me to stop, slow down, and really look at the words and make sure I was saying the right thing. It made me contemplate my davening more, and think about how far I have come from the time when I didn't know what the words "davening" or "siddur" meant. I am happy that such a small purchase could show me the progress I have made - and I hope that it continues. Maybe one day I will be able to pick up the all-Hebrew pages that a friend from Israel sends me, and read them by myself, without needing someone to help me. But then again, that wouldn't be nearly as much fun. *I realize there are a lot of Hebrew words used in this post. For those who don't know them (and I know what it feels like, because that was me for a long time), "siddur" means prayerbook, "davening" means praying, "shemonah esrei" literally means 18, and is the major portion of our praying that consisted originally of 18 blesings, "bracha" means blessing, a "bencher" is a book that we use that has prayers for after eating.

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