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Davening Alone


Rabbi David Sperling

Av 15, 5773
B’’H Hello After three years of college I have decided I want to become more observant and live a life that is pleasing to G-d. So with this in mind, please excuse my naivety since I have basically been closed off to Judaism since my Bar Mitzvah. I am studying in New Zealand and the closest Orthodox Synagogue is two hours away from my city. I have met with the Rabbi there, who has been incredibly helpful, and have even been ’adopted’ by an observant family who have me often for Shabbos. I have only met one other Jew in my city where I study, which means praying in a Minyan is near impossible. Basically, I would like to know the order in which I need to daven alone for Shacharit, Mincha, and Maariv? I have an Artscroll siddur (Ashkenaz) but I am a little confused as to which prayers I need to omit, since I pray alone during the week, and in which order. I apologize for the naivety but it is difficult to find help in a city with only two Jews! Best regards,
Shalom, I am so happy to read of your growth in Torah and Mitzvot. (I myself grew up in Sydney, Australia, and visited New Zealand, and my father-in-law, Rabbi Apple, traveled there often to serve the small Jewish community - so I can imagine your situation clearly, and I am all the more impressed by your efforts knowing what your position is.) You are lucky indeed to have found a rabbi (albeit quite a trip away) and a place for Shabbatot. I am sure that when the opportunity arises you will come to Israel to continue your Jewish growth. In the meantime, keep up your learning and involvement in the community there, and may you be blessed with all the blessings written in the Torah. (May I also suggest the Machon Meir website, with an incredible variety of classes and resources). In answer to your question - In general the parts of the service you need to leave out when praying by yourself are those that need a minyan, which are kaddish, saying "Barechu", the repetition of the Amidah and the Torah reading. So, for Shacharit you could say everything except the kaddishes, the repetition of the Amidah, and the Torah reading (that is you skip from where it says "Removal Of The Torah From The Ark" up to where it says "Ashrei – Uva L'Tzion"). For Mincha, you would say Ashrei, then straight away the Amidah, tachanun and Alainu. And for Ma'ariv, start from the line after "Barechu" (which needs a minyan to say) and say until the kaddish before the Amidah - which you will leave out - then the Amidah, and Alainu. All mourner's kaddishes are also omitted in all services. However - all this is quite a lot to pray for someone starting out. May I suggest that you sit with the rabbi who knows you (or call him up) and get his guidelines on what parts of the service you should focus on as you begin your growth in Judaism. Without knowing you personally it is hard to give advice, but especially in Shacharit, the morning service, you may want to put tallit and teffilin on, then say only the blesssings over Torah study, the morning blessings, and then Shema and Amidah. Or, you may be more proficient and be able to add more parts of the service. If you have any more questions, or if we can be of any further help, please contact us. Blessings.
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