The basic form of Jewish prayer is the blessing. Saying blessings reminds us to pay attention to what we are doing and takes the mundane business of living in the secular world and introduces the sacred.
Most blessings begin with the same words:
“Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam . . .”
“Blessed are You, Eternal One, Our God, Ruler of the Universe . . . “
Then there may be a section about mitzvot [commandments]:
“. . . Asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav, vitzivanu . . .”
“. . . Who sanctifies us with commandments, and commands us . . .”
and then the rest of the blessing has to do with the reason for blessing at that time: usually something we are about to enjoy or a mitzvah to be performed.
I have provided MP3 files below which you can download and put into iTunes or another program. With the right software (such as iTunes), you can burn these recordings onto a disk. To download the file, click on the link.
Candle Blessing – This is the spoken blessing for candles before Shabbat. Light the candles and then say this blessing.
Candle Blessing Song – This is a sung version of the same blessing. There are several tunes to this blessing; this is only one of them.
Blessing for Wine – This is the spoken blessing for wine or grape juice. We say it whenever we are about to drink a glass of wine.
Sung Blessing for Wine – This is a sung version of the blessing for wine or grape juice.
Blessing for Bread – This is the blessing for bread. Sometimes Jews call it “HaMotzi” or say “let’s make motzi.” The word motzei in the blessing means “who brings forth.” We say it before meals or before eating a piece of bread.
Sung Blessing for Bread – This is a sung version of the blessing for bread.
Shema – The Shema is the first prayer Jewish children learn, and the last prayer on the lips of a dying person. It is a statement of the essential truth of Judaism: “Hear, O Israel: The Eternal is our God, the Eternal is One.”