from Yiddish דאַוונען daven ‘to pray’) are the prayer recitations and Jewish meditation traditions that form part of the observance of Rabbinic Judaism.These prayers, often with instructions and commentary, are found in the siddur, the traditional Jewish prayer book.However, if the Talmud mentions tefillah, it refers to the Shemoneh Esreh, only.
However, in general, today, Jewish men are obligated to conduct tefillah ("prayer") three times a day within specific time ranges (zmanim), while, according to some posekim ("decision makers"), women are only required to engage in tefillah once daily, others say at least twice daily.
The Talmud Bavli gives two reasons why there are three basic prayers de-rabbanan ("from our Rabbis") since the early Second Temple period on: to recall the daily sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem, and/or because each of the Patriarchs instituted one prayer: Abraham the morning, Isaac the afternoon and Jacob the evening.
The Talmud yerushalmi states that the Anshei Knesset Ha Gedola ("The Men of the Great Assembly") learned and understood the beneficial concept of regular daily prayer from personal habits of the forefathers (avoth, Avraham, Isaac, Yaacov) as hinted in the Tanach, and instituted the three daily prayers.
A distinction is made between individual prayer and communal prayer, which requires a quorum known as a minyan, with communal prayer being preferable as it permits the inclusion of prayers that otherwise must be omitted.
Mentioning tefillah, the Talmud always refers to the Amidah, that is also called Shemoneh Esreh.