OK I admit it, I have a problem. I collect siddurim. Which do I use? Almost
all of them. Depends on my mood or Mochin gadlus or katnus - small minded or
Keser Nehora - Berditchiver Siddur - I have two of them I recieved from my
Ksav Ashuris - Ashurite Torah Script Siddur - This handwritten siddur is
always on my Rebbe's shtender.
Shela HaKadosh Siddur - Bach's Haskama says if you daven from it your prayes
will be answered. The Sulitza rebbe shlita (whom I was close to when I lived
in the US) uses this.
Rav Yaakov Emden - Yaabetz Siddur - I have my Rebbe's old one, I use for
Kiddush Friday nights (has his wine stains) My rebbe uses this for special
occasions, Seder Night, Shofar Blowing etc.
Arizal Siddurim - these are full of Kabbalistic Yichudim and Divine Names
(my Rebbe uses them during Shaking of the Lulav).
Toldos Aharon's Siddur - Standard Nusach Sefard, small size clear print and
has Shem Havayah with Shiluv Adon"y and Tefillos from rav Arele and other
Biala Siddur - Also in Ashuri script, but printed as opposed to hand
written, easier to read, has interesting minhagim and commentaries
Ben Ish Chai Siddur and Lashon Chachamim - I used this one for years till it
fell apart and recite many of his tefilos
Avodas Elimelech - A siddur with Rebbe reb melech's commentray collected
from Noam Elimelech
Tzolasa D'Yisroel - A siddur with Baal Shem Tov's commentray collected from
I switch off. But on a daily basis I use Keser Nehora - Berditchiver Siddur.
Sometimes I try to have in mind the kavanos.
Which Siddur inspires you?
Someone once asked me how in the world could I concentrate with my eyes
closed, without looking in the siddur?
The truth is, I look in the siddur for most of davening, its only the
amidah, the silent shemoneh esrei where the conflict begins...
On the one hand we always say osios machkimos - the letters make one wiser.
There is a spirtiual light within the holy letters of the Hebrew language.
Especially if we see them written in Kesav Ashuri like in the Sefer Torah.
On the other hand, when I close my eyes, my concentration is so much
stronger, nothing to see and distract me. My mind begins to focus inward.
Sometimes I can see the letters in my mind. I draw them like glowing coals
in my mind's eye.
Other times I am free of letters, no letters just thoughts.
Still other times the kaleidoscope of images in my minds eye explodes with
brilliant colors, shapes and forms, full of the fire of prayer.
Some people close their eyes to escape and to stop seeing the world.
Some people only see the world for the first time truly, when they close
Like Rebbe Nachman's story about the Beggars, the Blind Beggar sees the
reality so much that he is blind to the falsehood of the physical world of
What do you see when you close your eyes?
R' Tal Moshe Zwecker
Director Machon Be'er Mayim Chaim
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