Pesukei D’Zimra: The Jewish Warm Up Prayer

Posted By on October 5, 2019


People warm up for any serious activity. Any sport, any game, any activity needs some kind of preparation. Prayer is no different. Every morning Jews begin prayer services
with Pesukei D’Zimra which means verses of song. Pesukei D’Zimra begins with Birchot HaShachar, a series of blessings thanking
G-d for things in life that we are grateful for. We thank G-d for waking up
in the morning even when we’re really tired and just want to go back to bed. We thank G-d for having clothes to wear. Pesukei D’Zimra continues with various
songs and selections from the Hebrew Bible especially from the Book of Psalms. These songs are introduced by a prayer called
Baruch She’amar Baruch She’amar means
praised our you G-d for speaking and thereby creating the world. The service begins by acknowledging that words are powerful. G-d’s words are powerful and similarly the words that we are about to pray are powerful. Some form of Pesukei D’Zimra has been recited for at least 2,000 years. Ancient rabbis
would recite introductory prayers for an entire hour before they actually began
the main part of the service. the Talmud says that this warm-up is important because we need to have koved rosh literally a heavy head. We need to have a head that feels the seriousness, the weight, the importance of prayer, of
pouring our souls out to G-d. Without the warm up we might not take this whole
prayer thing as seriously and prayer is meant to be incredibly serious. A rabbi said that after the warm-up is over, when we arrive at the most important part of
the service, the Amidah, that even if a king greets us, we are supposed to
continue saying the Amidah prayer even if a snake begins wrapping itself around our heel that is still no excuse to lose our concentration. All of these are
dramatic ways of the rabbi saying, “Praying is kind of a big deal.” So we need
Pesukei D’Zimra to help us get ready. Now as you know for every two Jews there are
three opinions. While most Jewish communities do some form or another of Pesukei D’Zimra, what is said
and how it is sung will vary wherever you go. Ashkenazi Jews recite certain Psalms. Sephardi and Mizrachi Jews often add even more songs in their preliminary service. Some synagogues today spend over an hour
singing all of these preliminary prayers and others go through this part of the
service quickly in order to get to the rest of the morning service. Just like
people do different exercises and stretches before a sport or activity,
Jews recite different Psalms, songs and prayers at different paces but no matter where you are, what Jewish tradition cares about is that you get yourself ready

Posted by Lewis Heart

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *