Praying in Languages Other Than Hebrew

Rabbi Ethan Tucker

Parashat Noah

As a result of the Tower of Babel, humanity moves from a unified speech to broad linguistic diversity. As Jews adapting to our local environments, we have usually taken on the linguistic forms that surround us in daily speech and writing, but at the same time have also often kept a strong tie to our holy language of Hebrew. Thus the question of what language to use in prayer—the time where sacredness of language seems most pertinent—is not a new question, nor is it a trivial one. Standing behind this question of language are underlying tensions as to what prayer is all about. (5776)