What Does Amud Mean?

Amud is Hebrew for “pillar,” and is related to the root word of amidah, which means “standing.” Here are some of its meanings:

Prayer Lectern

In common Yiddish and Hebrew parlance, amud refers to the lectern in the front of the synagogue from which the prayers are read. Hence “going to the amud” or “davening for the amud” is idiomatic for leading prayer services in the synagogue.

In the Bible

In the book of Exodus1, we read that in their journeys pillar through the desert, the people of Israel were guided by a pillar (amud) of cloud by day and a (amud) of fire by night.

Amud Hashachar: Dawn

In Judaism, it is important to determine when night ends and daytime begins, since there are certain mitzvahs that can be performed only at night and others that can be done only during the day. When does the change from night to day happen? We are given two landmarks: dawn and sunrise. Dawn is referred to as alot hashachar (“the rise of morning”), or amud hashachar (“the morning pillar”). This is when the sun’s rays begin to illuminate the sky even though the sun has yet to appear at the horizon.

Read more about Amud Hashachar here.