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God's Favorite Prayers Paperback – July 14, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Tzvee Zahavy is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of Judaism, Talmud and Jewish liturgy.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 164 pages
  • Publisher: Talmudic Books (July 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615509495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615509495
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,035,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tzvee Zahavy is a scholar and expert in Judaism, Talmud and Jewish liturgy. He is author of the 2014 Kindle Editions, "The Book of Jewish New Year Prayers in English," "The Book of Jewish Prayers in English" and "Dear Rabbi." About his 2011 book, "God's Favorite Prayers," the Jewish Press said it, "makes for fascinating reading. It is... intelligent, sometimes amusing, and always highly readable..."

Professor Zahavy received a Distinguished Teaching Award when he was a professor at the University of Minnesota. He has rabbinic ordination from Yeshiva University, and a Ph.D. from Brown University. He blogs at Talmud (tzvee.blogspot.com) and swims laps every day.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Prof. Tzvee Zahavy has written a fascinating, readable, and erudite book that only he could write. Steeped in Talmudic learning, Prof Zahavy has written a book that is part "Jewish Catalog" The First Jewish Catalog: A Do-It-Yourself Kit(A trilogy by Michael and Sharon Strassfeld), part autobiographical, part biographical, part an historical account, and significantly, it does all that while dealing with that most difficult of subjects - prayer - making it meaningful and relevant for Jewish and non-Jewish audiences alike. He invites the reader into the heart of Jewish spirituality, to learn about its idiom and imagery, its emotions and its great sweeping dramas. The author invites the reader to meet six ideal personalities of Jewish prayer and to get to know some of God's favorite prayers.

An ordained Orthodox Rabbi and the son of a Rabbi, Prof. Zahavy studied with many of the great lights of Modern Jewish Scholarship (both religious and secular), as well as with traditional Rabbis, and this breadth of experience is the basis for his unique personal insights.

The book is an outgrowth of a course he as given, most recently at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America.

Jews, Zahavy says, recite, sing and meditate prayers that derive from six distinct archetypes. He labels those six personalities: the performer, the mystic, the scribe, the priest, the meditator and the celebrity, and he goes on to define his terms and to give examples.

A prolific writer, Prof. Zahavy has written many academic articles and books. His readable English translation of the Talmud Tractate Hullin (mostly dealing with slaughtering of Kosher animals) is available on his blog [...].

The book will be of value to anyone trying to understand Jewish liturgy and prayer in general.
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Format: Paperback
If you are anything like me, you too often pray by rote. On those relatively infrequent occasions when I actually try to think more deeply about what I am saying, I may focus on a particular prayer here or there. I can't do very much more than that because by the time I have pried apart the language of the prayer to get at its meaning and poetry, the service has already moved eight or ten prayers ahead. If I ever think of the prayers as a whole - and that is not too often - it is with the assumption that they are the compilation and expressions of a single, consistent authorial voice.

That is where Tzvee Zahavy's insightful "God's Favorite Prayers" comes in. The book provides an understanding of Jewish prayer by attuning us to six voices through which prayer speaks. He calls these the mystic, the priest, the scribe, the performer, the mediator and the celebrity. Each personality has a different focus and concern. Every prayer is an expression of one or more of these personalities. The prayers reflect these different concerns, some of which may not always be in complete harmony with the others. The multiplicity of voices means that our prayer services are not at all like a well constructed classical symphony, with a unifying key, themes, harmonies and movements, but a "Woodstock Festival of Jews at prayer" where a number of rock bands play pieces in various styles and different keys. The result may not be completely harmonious, but it is glorious nonetheless.

You might expect that a book penned by an author with both academic and rabbinic credentials would be a tad dry, but that is not the case here. This is not a pedant's book. It is very readable. Anyone familiar with the Siddur will find it easy to follow. Readability is also increased by the anecdotes and generous amount of personal history that the author has interspersed in the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Zahavy offers a very insightful and new way to view prayer. While the book is written thru his eyes it allows one to rethink about the way they pray.
This book made me think about me and how I personally communicate with god.
Highly recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
Tzvee Zahavy has been my rabbi for many years. No, he has no congregation, but all my questions are answered thoughtfully, with depth and with an ability to engage the questioner (me!) in learning. A scholar and a writer, he appeals to the former professor in me. This book feels as if we are talking together. There is no condescension, no obtuse reasoning and no preaching. This books asks how to enter prayer with different consciousnesses, how to be aware of other daveners and how to make the time spent in synagogue and prayer one that is worthwhile and meaningful. Entering this space with a guide like Tzvee Zahavy. and a book like God's Favorite Prayers broadens our experiences in prayer. Rereading segments is easy and thought provoking.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book! Writing in an unpretentious, first-person voice, Rabbi Tzvee Zahavy brings the Jewish liturgies alive with charming anecdotes and insightful analysis. He introduces six archetypal rabbinical types -- the performer, the mystic, the scribe, the priest, the mediator and the celebrity -- and these personalities provide a framework for his wide-ranging commentary on traditional and contemporary Judaism. As a non-Jew, I learned a lot and I believe this book will appeal to anyone who considers themselves spiritual.
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