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Text-based study enhances Torah study skills

Developed specifically for online, interactive learning

Taught by scholars with a personal interest in the subject

Engaging topics made relevant to real life issues

About the Course

Prayer can be one of the most confounding of spiritual practices. If it is a personal, meditative, soul experience, then why is so much of it dictated by formality and structured liturgy? If we are praying to an all-knowing higher power, then why do we need to express thoughts, feelings and needs that are already revealed? It turns out that prayer is about developing a relationship. And just like any intimate relationship, it is full of nuances and subtleties; there is both an art and a science to prayer.

Course Syllabus

Why We Pray
Part 1 of The Heart of Prayer
Does G-d really need our prayers? Obviously not. He wants our prayers. But why? The same question can be asked about existence as a whole – G-d doesn’t need a world, but He wants one, and wishes to have a relationship with every being in it. Through prayer, we explore and express our relationship with the Divine, and with the Divine Soul within us. It is our way of bridging the finite and the infinite aspects of life, and connecting with the purpose of our existence.
The History of Jewish Prayer
Part 2 of The Heart of Prayer
Though the formal prayers found in prayerbooks today were established in Talmudic times, the origin of prayers dates much earlier, to Biblical times. The three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, each introduced one of the three daily prayers, and their names are invoked within the prayers. In this lesson we explore that connection between prayer and the patriarchs, as well as several other fascinating insights about prayer and its connection to our physical and emotional makeup.
A Tour of The Daily Prayers
Part 3 of The Heart of Prayer
At first glance, the structure of the prayers in the prayerbook may seem arbitrary. How did the “Men of the Great Assembly,” the Talmudic Sages who authored the basic liturgy of Jewish prayer, devise the structure that has remained for over 2,000 years? In this lesson we discover that daily prayer is a ladder comprised of four rungs – acknowledgment, emotion, intellect and submission – that we are meant to climb in our daily spiritual practice.
Guided Meditation
Part 4 of The Heart of Prayer
The core of every prayer service is the “Amida” or “Shmoneh Esreh” – the silent prayer. But in fact it is not so silent. In order to fulfill the requirements of the silent prayer, we have to physically verbalize the words so that we can hear the words we’re saying. In this lesson we will learn why meditative prayer is both silent and not silent, and also explore several meditations, some of them quite mystical, that deepen our connection to the meaning behind the words.
  • Level: Intermediate
  • Length/Effort:
    40 Minutes per week
  • Category: Prayer
  • Institution:
  • Cost: Name your own price!
    (Suggested Donation$40)
    Donate Here
    Registration Required

Meet the Instructor

Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan is a noted Torah scholar and lecturer. He is the director of Chabad-Lubavitch of the Maryland Region, a board member of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the international educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, and of the Jewish Learning Institute. Rabbi Kaplan serves as the spiritual leader of The Shul at the Lubavitch Center in Baltimore, Md., and has hosted radio and television shows for more than 35 years, including hosting the acclaimed weekly radio show, "Awake, Alive, and Jewish," and co-hosting the weekly cable program, "Diana, Mike, and the Rabbi."

  • This course went well beyond the time spent with Rabbi on line. It followed me throughout the week and will guide my thoughts well into the days to come.

    P. Rogers - NY

  • The course was designed really well, had excellent scholarship and explored the topic in satisfying depth. And, it was very, very thought-provoking.

    F Gold - Germany

  • It surpassed my expectations, and I am still in much thought about the subject matter. A good course will leave an everlasting mark on the student, and I have been thusly marked.

    R. Cohen - PA

  • Informative, open to discussion and participation, thought-provoking, compels you to reassess your own stance in your daily life. Thank you for a delightful and stimulating course awesome presentation, handouts…

    C. Berg - California