Due to my work schedule it is impossible for me to attend morning prayer services in the synagogue, so I plan on praying at home. However, I'm somewhat confused as to which specific prayers I should recite. I understand that some require a minyan while others do not. I was hoping to attain further guidance on these matters. Thank you.


Congratulations on your decision to begin praying every day! I'm sure you will find that starting the day thinking about G d will positively impact your entire day.

Please note that I don't know which prayerbook edition you are using. This will make it slightly more difficult to identify specific prayers, as different translations inevitably provide slight variations. Bear this fact in mind when looking for a prayer I refer to.

The following rules apply to the standard weekday morning service:

The most common prayer which you will omit is the kaddish prayer. Kaddish is recited several times during the course of the prayers, sometimes by the chazzan (individual leading the prayer service), and sometimes by the mourners in the congregation. This prayer is never recited without a minyan. It starts with the words "Yitgadal v'yitkadash shmei rabba" ("Exalted and hallowed be His great Name").

After the Yishtabach (May Your Name be praised...) blessing, the chazzan recites kaddish and then says "Barchu et Adon-nai hamevorach" ("Bless the L-rd who is blessed"). The congregation responds "Baruch Adonai hamevorach leolam vaed" ("Blessed be the L-rd who is blessed for all eternity"). One praying alone omits these two lines.

After the congregation finishes reciting the amidah (also known as Shmoneh Esrei), the chazzan repeats the amidah. There are three prayers which are recited during the chazzan's repetition of the amidah which are not recited in the individual's amidah. There is no repetition of the amidah when praying alone, and these additions are not recited either.

The three additions:

1. After the second blessing (which ends with "michayeh hametim" — "Blessed are You L-rd, who revives the dead"), there is a paragraph of responsive reading called Kedushah.

2. While the chazzan recites the blessing which begins with the word "Modim" ("We thankfully acknowledge"), the congregation says a paragraph entitled Modim Derabanan.

3. Before the last blessing, the chazzan recites the Priestly Blessings. It begins with the words "Elohenu v'elohay" ("Our G d and G d of our fathers").

In the penitential prayers which follow the amidah, the verses that describe G d's attributes of mercy are only recited when praying with a minyan. These verses paragraph begins with the words, "Vaya'avor Adonai al..." ("And the L-rd passed before...").

On Mondays and Thursdays (and other special dates on the Jewish calendar) the Torah is read. When the Torah is taken out of the ark and when it is put back in the ark, special prayers are recited. One praying alone doesn't read from the Torah scroll, and doesn't say any of these prayers.

In conclusion, you do not recite:

1. Kaddish.

2. Barchu.

3. The additional prayers recited during the chazzan's repetition of the amidah.

4. G d's attributes of mercy.

5. Any of the prayers that are associated with the reading of the Torah.

Other than the above mentioned prayers, you can recite everything which is recited when praying as part of a congregation.

Rabbi Eliezer Posner