A Map of a Shabbat Morning Prayer Service

The Bar/Bat Mitzvah (R)evolution continues!
Have you wondered if there's a shape, form or flow to Jewish religious services on weekdays, Shabbat or holy days? There is actually a beautiful flow and careful sequencing developed by the ancestors. We begin at ground level as individuals with prayers of gratitude for body, mind and soul. We ascend into the level of raising emotions with psalm singing where we begin to feel more like a community gathered than individuals assembling. We continue toward the point of being a Whole People able to acknowledge we are not in control of creation, to release into the Oneness at the point of saying the Shema, then to let Shechinah flow over our backs like a comforting waterfall as we bow at the Borchu.

Each of the several types of kaddish (Readers, mourners, Hatzi, d'rabbanan-for teachers) is the bridge to the next level up toward the Amidah. Here we find the prayer of our hearts so that we can descend from the place of pure spirited engagement to re-incorporate intellect in time to witness the reading of the Torah and to bring our heartfelt questions to Torah study. We continue down the ladder of prayer renewed and able to recommit at the Aleynu to living mitzvah-centered rather than self-centered lives. Then we do a mitzvah if it is our season of life to say Mourners Kaddish. And we are a mitzvah, by being present as a container of support for those who are saying kaddish. We land back on the ground with a piece like the Adom Olam that lets us leave services renewed in trust in creation, it will continue long after we are gone.

The ladder model depicted below is based on my reading of the perspective of the medieval Kabbalist, Rabbi Joseph Gikatilla

Ladder of Jewish Prayer


Atzilut, Atzilus
Dimension of
spiritual connection
and undifferentiated consciousness

Associated prayer is

Finding and expressing the
prayer of your heart




Shema & her blessings

Realizing the importance of listening and loving, through doing mitzvot,
receiving and giving love

Dimension of

intellectual expansion

Torah and Haftorah
Bring the prayer of your heart 
with you to this dimension so that when you listen to Torah being read and interpreted you know what you are seeking.




Awe and praise of creation, noticing your feelings, raising energy


Dimension of

Emotional response

Aleynu and Kaddish
Action oriented prayers.
Aleynu has us praying to do tikkun olam, repair of the world.
Kaddish has us fulfilling a mitzvah -  remembering loved ones who have died while honoring the glory and mystery of life and its Source.


Blessings to start the morning

Gratitude for a new day, blessings for body, mind, soul, guidance and more!

Dimension of
physical reality

Adom Olam
Emerging connected to the Big Picture, knowing you don’t control everything;
eternity is a process.