The Eighteen Benedictions
As to the number of blessings, there are actually nineteen blessings rather than Shemoneh Esreh (eighteen). To understand this discrepancy see prayer #12. Against Slanderers.
The first three benedictions state the fundamental beliefs of Judaism in the one true creator G-d;
1. G-d of HistoryThe intermediate benedictions 4-15 are petitions. 4-9 are personal in nature;
4. For understandingThe 10th -15th benedictions are national petitions;
10. For the reunion of IsraelBenedictions 16-18 are regarding service to HaShem:
16. The Hearing of Prayer
The following is an approximate translation of the Amidah with some paraphrasing by myself.
This version ©2004 Zion CS
O L-rd, open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise.2. G-d of Nature
[During the Ten Days of Repentance say: Remember us unto life, O king, who delights in life, and inscribe us in the book of life, for your own sake, O living G-d.]3. G-d who sanctifies.
Responsive reading:4. Prayer for understanding.
You favor man with knowledge, and teach mortals understanding. Favor us with knowledge, understanding and discernment from You. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, gracious Giver of knowledge.5. Prayer for repentance
Cause us to return, our Father, unto Your Torah; draw us near, our King, unto Your service, and bring us back in perfect repentance unto Your presence. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who delights in repentance.6. Prayer for forgiveness
Forgive us, our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, our King, for we have transgressed;7. Prayer for deliverance from affliction
Look upon our affliction and plead our cause, and redeem us speedily for Your name's sake; for You are a mighty Redeemer. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, the Redeemer of Israel. [On fast days the Reader says "Answer us, O L-rd, answer us on this day of the fast of our humiliation, for we are in great trouble. Turn not to our wickedness; conceal not your face from us, and hide not Yourself from our supplication. Be near, we beseach You, unto our cry; let Your lovingkindness be a comfort to us; even before we call unto You answer us, according as it is said, And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hear; for You, O L-rd, are He who answers in time of trouble, who delivers and rescues in all times of trouble and distress; the holy King."]8. Prayer for Healing
Heal us, O L-rd, and we shall be healed; save us and we shall be saved; for You are our praise. Grant a perfect healing to all our wounds; [You may add a prayer for the sick here] for You, almighty King, are a faithful and merciful Physician. Blessed art thou O L-rd, who heals the sick of Your people Israel.9. Prayer for Deliverance from want
Bless this year unto us, O L-rd our G-d, together with every kind of the produce, for our welfare; give [From December 4th until Passover: Dew and rain for] a blessing upon the face of the earth. O satisfy us with your goodness, and bless our year like other good years. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who blesses the years.10. Prayer for reunion of Israel
Sound the great horn for our freedom; raise the ensign to gather our exiles, and gather us from the four corners of the earth. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who gathers the dispersed of Your people Israel.11. Prayer for the righteous reign of G-d
Restore our judges as in former times, and our counselors as at the beginning; remove from us sorrow and sighing; reign over us, O L-rd, You alone, in lovingkindness and tender mercy, and clear us in judgment. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, the King who loves righteousness and judgment. [During the Ten Days of Repentance say: the King of Judgment.]12. Prayer against slanderers (added later at Yavneh)
And for slanderers let there be no hope, and let all wickedness perish as in a moment; let all Your enemies be speedily cut off, and the dominion of arrogance uproot and crush, cast down and humble speedily in our days. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who breaks the enemies and humbles the arrogant.13. Prayer for the righteous and proselytes
Toward the righteous and the pious, toward the elders of Your people the house of Israel, toward the remnant of their scribes, toward true proselytes, and toward us also may Your tender mercies be stirred, O L-rd our G-d; grant a good reward unto all who faithfully trust in Your Name; set our portion with them for ever, so that we may not be put to shame; for we have trusted in You. Blessed art thou, O L-rd the stay and trust of the righteous.
14. Prayer for the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
And Jerusalem, Your city, return in mercy, and dwell therein as You have spoken; rebuild it soon in our days as an everlasting building, and speedily set up therein the throne of David. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who rebuilds Jerusalem.15. Prayer for the Messianic King
Speedily cause the offspring of David, Your servant, to flourish, and lift up his glory by Your divine help because we wait for Your salvation all the day. Blessed art thou, O L-rd, who causes the strength of salvation (Yeshua) to flourish.
16. Prayer for the hearing of prayer.
Hear our voice, O L-rd our G-d; spare us and have mercy upon us, and accept our prayer in mercy and favor; for You are a G-d who hears and answers prayers and supplications; from Your presence, O our King, turn us not away empty; [On fast days the Reader says "Answer us, O L-rd, answer us on this day of the fast of our humiliation, for we are in great trouble. Turn not to our wickedness; conceal not your face from us, and hide not Yourself from our supplication. Be near, we beseach You, unto our cry; let Your lovingkindness be a comfort to us; even before we call unto You answer us, according as it is said, And it shall come to pass that, before they call, I will answer; while they are yet speaking, I will hear; for You, O L-rd, are He who answers in time of trouble, who delivers and rescues in all times of trouble and distress; the holy King."]
17. Prayer for the restoration of Temple service.
Accept, O L-rd our G-d, Your people Israel and their prayer; restore the service to the inner sanctuary of Your house; receive in love and favor both the offerings of Israel and their prayer; and may the worship of Your people Israel be ever acceptable unto You.
18. Thanksgiving for G-d's unfailing mercies.
[While the reader says the following paragraph the congregation recites in an undertone: We give thanks unto You for You are the L-rd our G-d, and the G-d of our fathers, the G-d of all flesh, our Creator and the Creator of all things in the beginning. Blessings and thanksgiving be to Your great and holy Name, because You have kept us in life and have preserved us' so may You continue to keep us in life and preserve us. Gather our exiles to Your holy courts to observe Your statutes, to do Your will, and to serve You with a perfect heart; seeing that we give thanks unto You. Blessed be the god to whom thanksgiving is due.]
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