Amidah

The core element of each of the daily services. The Amidah was originally referred to as the Shemoneh-Esreh because of the eighteen benedictions which it originally comprised, and also as ha’tfillah, or the prayer, because of its centrality to the service. Literally translated, Amida means “standing,” which is how this core section must be recited. The Amida is said silently, and then repeated aloud by the prayer leader or hazzan. This repetition is called Hazarat ha-shatz and was added in order to insure that uneducated members of the community could still fulfill their duty by listening to the recitation of the Amidah. The number of benedictions uttered depends on the day that the Amidah is recited; for instance, only seven benedictions are included on Shabbat and festivals and nine are said in the Musaf service on Rosh Hashanah.