Prayer from the Heart

With unending gratitude to the One Above for His infinite kindness, we present Siddur Abodat Haleb, Prayer from the Heart.

Our prayers were authored prophetically to be meaningful in every circumstance and at all times.

Yet the literal definition of the words often proves to be quite complex. In addition, the flow of many sentences seems incongruent. It was therefore resolved to interweave the commentary into the tapestry of the translation, bringing the prayers nearer to heart and mind.

Explanations appear in lighter print and leave the original wording in darker print readable – and grammatically correct. One who can only pray in English recites the darker print alone, and preferably substitutes the Divine Names with their Hebrew transliterations.

Numerous sources were consulted for both the translation and commentary. The included commentaries were selected for their clarity, brevity, and ability to convey the timeless messages and lessons of prayer to our generation. Many passages were discussed with HaGaon HaGadol Rav Moshe Shapiro, of blessed memory, my esteemed master and teacher for nearly forty years. His wellspring of Torah knowledge, his profound understanding of even the most obscure passages, and his keen insight into the Hebrew language pervade the translation and commentary.

The prayers in these  volumes conform to the traditional version of Aleppo, Syria, as maintained in the original full Siddur of the American-Syrian community, Siddur Bet Yosef, which had been meticulously edited nearly half a century ago. The very few changes were those suggested by our late Chief Rabbi, Hacham Baruch Ben-Haim, of blessed memory, whose letter of approbation graces this volume, and by other rabbis of the community.

Every aspect of this Siddur was designed with the reader’s convenience in mind, while keeping the page clean and aesthetically pleasing. All laws and instructions relevant to a prayer appear next to it, and simple directions are provided when needed. Countless other gems of both layout and clarity can be found throughout.

Proper understanding of the theme and message of prayer is in itself a comfort. If we can truly learn how to speak to God, we will realize how blessed we are in any situation we find ourselves. It is our fervent hope and prayer that this Siddur accomplishes its purpose and helps bring our community and all of Israel closer to the One Who hears our prayers, Amen.