I’ve decided to speak on the topic of the “Avinu Malkeinu” (“Our Father, Our King) prayer. Can you tell me some things about it?
I’ll try to give you a few of the highlights of the Avinu Malkeinu prayer.
Avinu Malkeinu finds its origins in the Talmud (Taanis 25b): The Talmud relates that a famine hit hard, and as a result, the Sages proclaimed a fast day. During the fast day, Rabbi Akiva, one of the greatest Sages of Mishnaic times, recited five sentences, each one beginning with the words “Avinu Malkeinu,” “our Father, our King.” Immediately after his recitation of these five sentences, it began to rain.
Over the generations, different communities added to Rabbi Akiva’s original list of five, and eventually, it grew to the list of forty or so lines that we have today.
Aveinu Malkeinu is recited on fast days and during the 10 days of Repentence between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur. However, it is not recited on Tisha B’av, even though it is a fast day. In addition, Avinu Malkeinu is never recited on Shabbat, except for one occasion: if Yom Kippur falls on Shabbat, Avinu Malkeinu is recited during the last prayer of the day, Neilah.
This should help you get started. I hope it goes well!
Rabbi Yoel Spotts