Shacharit is said to have been established by the patriarch Abraham when he prayed in the morning. Prayer is done in the place of animal sacrifice as established by the prophet Hosea in Hosea 14, "And we will render the prayer of our lips in place of the sacrifice of bullocks," to still fulfill the Biblical commandment (Mitzvah) of serving God.
There are five major components of Shacharit: Pesukei dezimra, the Shema and its blessings, the Amidah, Tachanun, and the concluding blessings. On certain days, there are additional prayers and services added to Shacharit, including Mussaf and a Torah reading.
Shacharit is said to be started by Abraham, as Genesis 22:3 states, "Abraham arose early in the morning," which traditionally is the first Shacharit. The sages of the Great Assembly standardized many of the prayers for Shacharis and assembled them into siddurim. The prayers said vary among congregations and Jewish communities.
Shacharit comes from the Hebrew root שחר which means dawn.
Due to the numerous traditions by men before starting prayer when they awake in the morning, during or before Shacharis Jews put on their tefillin and/or tallit. Both actions are accompanied by blessings. Some do not eat until they have prayed.
Traditionally, a series of introductory prayers are said as the start of Shacharit. The main pieces of these prayers are Pesukei dezimra, consisting of numerous psalms, hymns, and prayers. Pesukei dezimra is said so that an individual will have praised God before making requests, which might be considered rude.
The Shema and its related blessings are said. One should, "concentrate on fulfilling the positive commandment of reciting the Shema" before reciting it. One should be sure to say it clearly and not to slur words together.
Shemoneh Esrei (The Amidah), a series of 19 blessings is recited. On Shabbat and Yom Tov, only 7 blessings are said. The blessings cover a variety of issues and ethics such as Jerusalem, crops, and prayer.
Tachanun is said. On Mondays and Thursdays, a longer version is recited. On other days, the extra parts are omitted. Tachanun is traditionally said with ones head resting on their arm. Tachanun is a collection of passages from the Hebrew bible (Tanakh). The service concludes, typically with Adon Olam, Psalm of the Day, and Prayer for Peace.
According to Jewish law, the earliest time to recite the morning service is when there is enough natural light "one can see a familiar acquaintance six feet away." It is a subjective standard. After sunrise and before mid-day is the usual time for this prayer service. The latest time one may recite the morning service is astronomical noon referred to as chatzot. After that, the afternoon service can be recited; it is called mincha.
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