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This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
This is the approved revision of this page, as well as being the most recent.
- 1 Preferred Location to Daven
- 2 Preparation for Shemona Esrei
- 3 When one may pray Shemonah Esreh
- 4 Bowing in Shemonah Esrei
- 5 Walking in Front of Someone Davening
- 6 Sitting in front of Someone Davening
- 7 Interruptions
- 8 Concentration during Shemonah Esrei
- 9 Praying Shemonah Esrei’s in a row
- 10 If there is a doubt whether one prayed
- 11 Position of Davening
- 12 Traveling in a dangerous place
- 13 Hashem Sfatai Tiftach
- 14 Berachot
- 15 Insertions
- 16 Mistaken Tefillot
- 17 Sources
Preferred Location to Daven
Near a Wall
- Preferably, one should Daven close to a wall so that there’s nothing interrupting between one and the wall. However, if something is established like a table or a closet it is not considered an interruption between the person davening and the wall.
- If one isn’t unable to stand next to the wall because of the lack of space, one shouldn’t refrain from Davening for this, rather one should close one’s eyes or pray from a siddur so as not to loose concentration. 
- A bed that’s used for sleeping isn’t considered an interruption between the person davening and the wall, however because some argue on this, one try to strict not to daven in front of a bed used for sleeping if that’s possible.
- A object that’s needed for Davening such as a shtender isn’t called an interruption.
Makom Kavua / Praying in the Same Place
- One should establish a set place for his prayer and pray in the same place and same shul This halacha only applies for the shemoneh esrei.
- One should have a set place for praying at home if he cannot make it to shul.
- If there are people talking near one's makom kavua, one may forgo praying in his spot and he may daven in a different place in the shul where it is more quiet. 
- If a guest is already sitting in your makom kavuah you shouldn't kick them out because it is possible that they might be offended or annoyed and it is better to daven in another seat rather than bother a guest.
Preparation for Shemona Esrei
Not Needing to Go to the Bathroom
- Before Shemona Esrei one should be sure that one doesn't need to go to the bathroom. Even if one could hold it in for 72 minutes he should still go before Shemona Esrei and it is forbidden to initially pray needing to go to the bathroom. After the fact if he did pray when he needed to go to the bathroom, if he was able to hold it in for 72 minutes then it counts.
- If one needs to go to the bathroom before Shemona Esrei and if he goes he knows that he'll miss davening with a minyan he should nonetheless go to the bathroom and miss the minyan even if he would be able to hold it in for 72 minutes.
- If one needs to go to the bathroom before Shemona Esrei and if he goes he knows that he'll miss the latest time to daven Shemona Esrei altogether if he can hold it in for 72 minutes he should do so and pray first.
When one may pray Shemonah Esreh
- Shemona Esreh is part of Shacharit, Mincha, and Arvit and each may be said at different times. For the guidelines of when is the earliest and latest time for each prayer, see the When is the earliest and latest time to pray? page.
Bowing in Shemonah Esrei
- There are four places in Shemonah Esrei where one is supposed to bow, which are at the beginning and the end of the Bracha of Avot, and at the beginning and the end of the Bracha of Hodah.
- One has to bow until all the vertebrae of the spine protrude. 
- One shouldn’t just bow one’s body but not one’s head rather one should bow one’s head also (like a reed). 
- One shouldn’t bow too far to the point that one’s mouth is at the same level as the belt of one’s pants. 
- Someone who is old or sick and can not bow so far should just bow his head and that’s sufficient because it’s evident that he’s wants to bow but is in pain. 
- When one bows one should bow quickly at one time and when one stand upright one should do so slowly, one’s head first and then one’s body so that it doesn’t look like it’s a burden upon oneself. 
Walking in Front of Someone Davening
- It’s forbidden to walk in front of someone praying within 4 Amot.  however, on the sides and in back of them it’s permissible.  Some explain the reason is that walking in front of him prevents his Kavana  Some explain that the area where a person davens has the shechina and it’s improper to interrupt the one Davening from the Shechina. 
- Some say just like one can’t walk in front one may not walk to the sides in front (in front but not directly in front). 
- There’s a dispute whether one may walk into the 4 amot of someone praying and stand there and in cases of great need one may be lenient. 
Taking Three Steps Back
- If one finished one’s Shemonah Esrei and the one behind him isn’t finished, it’s forbidden to take three steps back, even if the one behind started Shemonah Esrei after him.  In cases of great need, for a mitzvah, or if the one who’s waiting is greatly pained by waiting a long time it’s permissible to take three steps back in a diagonal (not to walk directly in front of the one Davening behind him). 
- Similarly, it’s forbidden to take the three steps before Shemonah Esrei in front of someone Davening. 
- If the one davening behind oneself has finished but didn’t take his three steps back and is waiting for someone else behind him, it’s permitted to take the three steps back in order to go to do a mitzvah like saying tachanun. 
- Even if the one Davening has a Tallit over his face it’s still forbidden to pass in front of the one davening. 
- A Kohen who needs to pass someone Davening in order to Duchan, or someone who needs the bathroom is permitted to pass in front of someone who’s Davening. This is only true if the one Davening has his eyes closed, or has his eyes open and not in the siddur, however if his eyes are open but are focused on the siddur, it’s forbidden to pass before him in any regard. 
- However, it’s forbidden to pass in front of someone Davening or take three steps back in order to say Tachanun. 
If there is an interposition
- Even an interposition of 10 Tefachim and 4 Tefachim wide one should be strict not to pass before someone Davening. However if the interruption is taller than the one Davening, then it’s permissible to walk in front of the one Davening. 
- A shtender isn’t considered an interruption between the one Davening and one passing before him unless the Shtender is 10 Tefachim tall by 4 Tefachim wide. 
Someone Davening in a Public Domain
- Someone who is Davening in a public walkway of a shul and is blocking the congregation from walking, some say it’s permissible to walk in front of the davener and some forbid since the entire area of the shul is a place of Davening.  It’s also appropriate to politely rebuke the person who is Davening in the public walkway that he is making an obstacle for the congregation (physically and spiritually).  However, if that public area is usually used as a place of Davening when there’s an overflow of daveners, it’s permissible to daven there. 
- In some shuls, it’s so crowded that many minyanim take place in crevices of rooms or hallways and it’s nearly impossible for a finishing minyan to pass a minyan that’s still praying, this minhag has what to rely on, however, the davener should daven next to a wall, or at least close his eyes or look only into a sefer. Nonetheless, it’s preferable not to pray in such a shul. 
Sitting in front of Someone Davening
- Chazal learn from Chanah who was praying in the Bet HaMikdash and the pasuk says that there was no one sitting where she stood. . Some explain that the reason for the prohibition is that it's not proper that it should appear that someone is davening and accepting Hashem's kingship and the one sitting refuses to do so.  Some explain that the prohibition is because the Shechina dwells in that area where a person davens and it's inappropriate to sit. 
- It's forbidden to sit within 4 amot of someone davening  including behind the one davening.  Some say that one shouldn’t sit in front of someone up to as far as he can see (which is assumed to be up to 266 amot) , however, this opinion isn’t totally accepted but the achronim hold that it’s proper to follow this opinion. 
- It's forbidden to lean on a Shtender within 4 amot of someone davening. However, if one is only leaning a little and if the Shtender was removed one wouldn't fall, one may be lenient in cases of need. 
- One shouldn't sit (within 4 amot) even to learn unless, it's behind the one davening and there's a need. 
- If one was already sitting and then someone came and started Davening next to you, it’s permissible to continue sitting, yet it’s proper to stand.  However, that only applies in one’s home, however, in a place of a minyan kavuah or a shul where the area is designated for Davening, one must stand unless one is learning. 
- It’s not respectful to say Mashiv HaRuach (or any other Davening) out loud in order to remind other people to mention a certain part of Davening except for the Gabbai (or someone designated) who is permitted to do so. 
- If you notice that someone made a mistake in Davening that would require him to go back to the beginning, for example, you heard someone miss Mashiv HaRuach (and Morid HaTal), one may signal with one’s hands in order to get his attention, if that’s unsuccessful, one should tell him after Davening. However, this leniency to interrupt Shemona Esrei with signaling isn’t agreed upon. 
- When one is saying Shemoneh Esrei one shouldn't interrupt to answer Kaddish, Kedusha, or Barchu, rather one should silently listen to the Shaliach Tzibbur. However, one who is reciting Elokai Netzor in his Shemoneh Esrei should answer to the first 5 Amens of Kaddish. 
- If a child is disturbing your davening it is permitted to motion to him to quiet him down so that you can have better kavana. If it doesn't bother your kavana you shouldn't stop.
Concentration during Shemonah Esrei
- One should have kavana (proper concentration) when praying Shemonah Esrei. If one is unable to have kavana for all of Shemonah Esrei one should make an extra effort to have kavana for the first Bracha (Magen Avraham). If one didn’t have kavana even in the first Bracha according to the strict law one is obligated to return to the beginning of Shemonah Esrei.  However, nowadays if one did not have kavana one should not return to the beginning of Shemonah Esrei. 
- Some say that if one can’t have kavana for the entire Shemonah Esrei one should at least have kavana for the first Bracha and Bracha of Modim. 
- Some say that if one can’t have kavana for the entire Shemonah Esrei one should at least have kavana for the conclusion (Bracha Atta Hashem…) of each Bracha. 
Praying Shemonah Esrei’s in a row
- If one is going to pray two Shemonah Esrei’s one after the other one should wait between them the time it takes to settle one’s mind in order to pray again which is the time it takes to walk 4 Amot. 
- One must wait between Shemonah Esrei’s whether (1) one is saying Mussaf right after Shacharit, (3) if one is doing Tashlumin, or (3) if one made a mistake and needs to repeat Shemonah Esrei.  This time begins after one says Oseh Shalom and after one has taken one’s three steps back. 
- Even if one doesn’t want to take three steps forward but rather one plans on saying the second Shemonah Esrei in the place one finished one’s three steps one must wait this amount of time before starting the next Shemonah Esrei. 
- One who realizes that he missed a key part of the amidah, such as Yaaleh viyavo, so that he must start again from the beginning, need not wait at all. 
If there is a doubt whether one prayed
- If one is unsure if one said Shemonah Esrei yet, one should pray again with a stipulation of Nedavah, and one doesn’t need to add any new idea in the Shemonah Esrei.  The stipulation of Nedvah is: If I am obligated to pray, let this prayer fulfill that obligation, if I’m not obligated, let this prayer be a voluntary prayer. 
- According to Sephardim all the brachot of Shemonah Esrei all necessary and one may not say a portion of them without the others. For example, if one only knows a portion of the Brachot it is better not to say anything.  However, according to Ashkenazim one should say any of the Brachot one knows or one can. 
If one lost one's place
- If one began to dose off or for any other reason lost one's place, many poskim say that one should return to the bracha that one is unsure about and continue from there, however, there is a minority opinion that if one is in the first three brachot of Shemoneh Esrei, he should return to the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei, if he is in the last three brachot he should return to Retzeh, and if he is in the middle brachot, he should return to the bracha that he is sure that he didn't yet say.
- Some explain that the above case is only if one is silent and unsure where he is up to, however, if as one is saying the words of Shemoneh Esrei one begins to have a doubt whether he skipped a bracha, one should continue from where one is up to because we assume that he didn't skip anything. 
Position of Davening
- One should not lean on a pillar or a friend while saying Shemonah Esrei. 
- If one is riding a donkey, one is not obligated to get off the donkey, even if there is a person who will hold the donkey while one prays. Instead, one may pray while the donkey is moving. Some are strict to stop the donkey to say the first Bracha of Shemonah Esrei, and one should be careful to follow this, unless there’s danger. 
- If one is on a boat or a wagon if one is able to stand to pray one should do so. If one is able to stand for the bowings and three steps back (at the end of Shemonah Esrei) one should do so. If not, one should pray sitting. Some are strict to stop the donkey to say the first Bracha of Shemonah Esrei and one should be careful about this unless there’s danger. 
- If one is walking by foot one may pray while walking and even if one doesn’t face Yerushalayim. Some are strict to stop the donkey to say the first Bracha of Shemonah Esrei and one should be careful about this unless there’s danger. 
- It all depends on the situation, the time, place, and ability of the person to pray with a settled mind. 
- Someone who is sick and can’t stand may pray even lying down if he is able to have kavana (proper intent). If he is not able to have kavana he should think the words of Shemonah Esrei. 
- If one was forced to pray sitting or while traveling, one should pray again standing when one is able to. 
- When one davens one should make sure to have one's feet together.
- One should not put one's heels together and keep a distance between one's feet forming a "V". 
- If one can't put one's feet together one should simply try to put them as close together as he can.
Which Direction to Face
- If one is outside Israel one should face Israel and also have intent to face Yerushalyim, the Bet HaMikdash, and Kodesh Kodashim, meaning that one should picture oneself in the Bet HaMikdash in Yerushalyim in the place of Kodesh HaKodeshim. 
- If one is in Israel one should face Yerushalyim and also have intent to face the Bet HaMikdash and Kodesh Kodashim, meaning that one should picture oneself in the Bet HaMikdash in the place of the Kodesh Kodashim. 
- If one is in Yerushalyim one should face the (place of the) Bet HaMikdash and also have intent to also face the Kodesh Kodashim, meaning one should picture oneself in the place of Kodesh Kodashim. 
- If one doesn’t know which way to pray one should have intent to pray to Hashem. Similarly, a blind person who doesn’t know which way to pray should have intent to pray to Hashem. 
- If one is on a donkey one should still turn one’s face in the direction of Israel. 
- The Rabbis tell us that one who wants a blessing in wisdom should pray towards the south and one who wants a blessing in wealth should pray towards the north. If praying towards Israel is a different direction than one wants to pray in order to receive a blessing, then according to some one should turn one’s body towards the south or north and one’s face to Israel, and according to others one should turn one’s face to towards the south or north and one’s body to Israel. 
- The congregation should set up the Aron or Heichal (in which the Sefer Torah is kept) in the direction of Israel (which in America is East). Even if the Heichal in another direction, nonetheless, the congregation should still pray in the direction of Israel. 
- If the congregation is davening towards the Aron which isn't in the East (for America), which isn't the correct minhag, and a few people want to daven to the East, nonetheless they shouldn't deviate from the practice of the congregation.
- If one is praying at the Kotel, he should face forward and not a little bit to the left, because the exact location of the Kodesh Kodashim isn't known. 
Outside the Shul
- If the shul is facing east with the entrance in the west and he is on the outside on the west side he should daven facing east. If he davens west he is showing that he doesn't believe in the God which the congregation is praying to.
- If the shul has its entrance on the west and is facing east and he is standing to the east of the shul he may not daven towards the east since doing so indicates that one doesn't believe in the God that the congregation is praying towards. Rather he should daven towards the shul. Shulchan Aruch 90:7 holds like Rashi.
- Ideally one should always daven in the shul but if one needs to daven outside the shul and he is on the west side he can daven towards the east since he is davening together with the congregation.
Posture During Davening
- Generally one should keep one's eyes downward and figuratively one's heart upward towards Hashem in heaven.
- One should clasp one's hands with the right hand over the left one like a servant before a king.
- Nowadays we don't raise our hands outstretched and open since that is a practice of the non-Jews.
Traveling in a dangerous place
- If one is traveling in a place of danger one should pray a short prayer with the following text: צרכי עמך ישראל מרובין ודעתם קצרה יהי רצון מלפניך ה' אלהינו שתתן לכל אחד ואחד כדי פרנסתו ולכל גויה וגויה די מחסורה והטוב בעיניך עשה ברוך אתה ה' שומע תפלה 
- There is no introduction of the first three Brachot nor conclusion of the last three Brachot of Shemonah Esrei. 
- It may be prayed as one is walking however if it’s possible to stand still one should do so. 
- If one reaches a settlement and one is able to pray before the latest time for that prayer one should pray Shemonah Esrei. 
- If one was able to pray and didn’t do so before the latest time then it’s considered as though one intentionally missed that prayer and one may not make Tashlumin. 
- However, if by the time one reached the settlement the latest time for prayer has passed one should pray Tashlumin at the next prayer. 
- If one missed multiple prayers one may only make Tashlumin for one prayer. 
Hashem Sfatai Tiftach
- The pasuk of "Hashem Sfatai Tiftach..." (Tehillim 51:17) was added to Shemoneh Esrei because it indicates that even one who sinned may accomplish atonement through sincere prayer. 
- If one forgot to say "Hashem Sefatai Tiftach..." and began the first Beracha of the shemoneh esrei he is yotze and need not go back. 
First Three Brachot
- One may not add any personal requests in the first three brachot of Shemona Esrei, however, the texts that are inserted for Aseret Yemey Teshuva are permitted since they are communal requests.
- The beracha of atta chonen... is recited first among the middle 13 berachot of the shemoneh esrei either because what makes man better than other creations is Hashem gave us the power to think or because the ability to distinguish between right and wrong is the most important. 
- On Motzaei Shabbat, Havdalah ( Atta Chonantanu ) is added to this beracha because it is the ability to distinguish that allows to be distinguish between kodesh (holy) and chol (vain). 
- For more details, see the Atta Chonantanu page.
- The beracha of hashivenu follows the beracha of atta chonen because we are asking Hashem to help us distinguish between right and wrong so that we can recognize our sins and do proper teshuva. 
- The beracha of slach lanu follows the beracha of hashivenu because after we pray for teshuva we need to focus on the sins themselves and ask forgiveness for them. 
- Some have the minhag to strike the left side of the chest with the right hand when saying the words chatanu and pashanu in the beracha of slach lanu as is done during viduy.  Some say that one doesn't strike his chest on days which tachanun is omitted. Others disagree. 
- The main idea one should have in his mind during the beracha of Refaenu is to ask Hashem that we should be healthy and strong in order to be able to learn Torah and observe all the Mitzvot. 
- In the beracha of Refaenu one may add a special tefillah for a sick person.  Some poskim say that for a sick relative one should add this special tefillah in the beracha of Refaenu, while for any other sick person one should add it in the beracha of shema koleinu. 
- For ashkenazim, if one said sim shalom accidentally at maariv instead of shalom rav, one wouldn't have to repeat shemoneh esrei. 
Taking Three Steps Back
- See the Taking Three Steps Back page for details.
- If someone makes a mistake in Shemona Esrei some poskim consider the brachot to be brachot levatalot, while others hold that they were valid brachot but didn’t fulfill the complete obligation of tefillah that day.
- For Rosh Chodesh and Chol Hamoed Yaaleh Vyavo is inserted. See that page for details.
- For Chanuka and Purim Al Hanissim is inserted. See that page for details.
- For the winter Mashiv Haruach Umorid Hageshem is inserted in Atta Gibor and Ten Tal/Barech Aleinu in Birchat Hashanim. See the respective pages for details.
- If a person didn't daven mincha and mistakenly davened maariv after plag hamincha, the poskim hold that the tefillah does count as maariv and does not count as mincha. Therefore, when he realizes he needs to daven mincha before sunset.
- If a person already davened mincha and then mistakenly davened mincha again after plag hamincha that second mincha does not count as a maariv since he did not intend for it to count as maariv. If he realized while he was in the first three brachot of shemona esrei he could change that tefillah into a maariv to save his first three brachot. If he realized after the first three brachot in the middle of shemona esrei he should stop immediately.
- Shulchan Aruch O.C. 90:21 based on Gemara Brachot 5b
- Taz 90:5 write that if there’s not enough space in a room where ten people are Davening, one shouldn’t refrain from Davening rather one should daven and make an effort to have kavanah by closing one’s eyes or looking into the siddur only. Mishna Brurah 90:63 brings this as Halacha.
- Mishna Brurah 90:65 writes that a bed used to sleep on is considered established and not an interruption (based on Bet Yosef) however because some (Bach and Taz) argue that it is an interruption, one should try to avoid Davening in front of a bed used for sleeping if it’s possible.
- Mishna Brurah 90:66
- Shulchan Aruch 90:19. The Gemara Berachot 6b states that, "Anyone who establishes a set place for his prayer, the God of Avraham Avinu will be a help to him"
Ishei Yisroel page 87 note 39 writes that one may pray in one shul during the summer and another during the winter or in one shul on Shabbat and a different shul during the week.
- Toras Chaim (90:25) and the Shearim Metzuyanim B'Halacha (vol. 1 page 79)
- Rabbenu Yonah 3b s.v. kol, Mishna Brura 90:59
- Kaf Hachaim 90:118
- Rabbi Zilberstein in Chashukei Chemed Brachot 7b
- Gemara Brachot 23a, Shulchan Aruch 92:1
- Gemara Brachot 23a, Shulchan Aruch 92:1
- Mishna Brurah 92:5, Yalkut Yosef 92:2
- Mishna Brurah 92:5 writes that the Magen Avraham explains that if one can hold it in for 72 minutes and if one doesn't daven now he'll miss the time for that prayer altogether he can rely on the Rif that it is permitted initially to pray if he can hold it in for 72 minutes. Yalkut Yosef 92:1 agrees.
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:11
- In Gemara Brachot 28b, Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi says that one should bow to the point that the vertebrae in one’s spine protrude and are visible (according to Rashi s.v. SheYitpokeku). This is brought as halacha by the Rif (Brachot 24a), Rosh (Brachot 5:22), Rambam (Tefillah 5:12), Tur 113:4, and S”A 113:4.
- S”A 113:4, Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:11
- Bet Yosef 113:5 quotes the Hagahot Ashurei, Tosfot, Smag, Smak, and Hagahot Maimoniot that one shouldn’t bow too far that one’s mouth is at the same level as one’s belt. This is codified in the Tur and S”A 113:5. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:11 concurs. Mishna Brurah 113:11 points out that it looks like yuhara (arrogance) if you do.
- In Gemara Brachot 28b, Rabbi Chanina says that it’s sufficient to bow one’s head for the bowings in Shemonah Esrei. Rava limits this to someone who is in pain and would like to bow but is unable to (according to Rashi s.v. DeMissar). This is brought as halacha by the Rif (Brachot 24a), Rosh (Brachot 5:22), Rambam (Tefillah 5:12), Tur 113:4, and S”A 113:5. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:11 concurs.
- Tur and Bet Yosef 113:5 quoting the Rav Hai Goan, codified in S”A 113:6.
- Gemara Brachot 27a writes that Rav didn’t move after praying Shemonah Esrei because Rabbi Yirmeyah was praying behind him. Then Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi concludes that it’s forbidden to walk in front of someone praying Shemonah Esrei. Nonetheless, the Gemara says that Rav Ami and Rav Asi did walk in front of those beyond four amot. This is brought as halacha by the Rif 18b, Rosh 4:4, Rambam Tefillah 5:6, Tur and S”A 102:4. MB 102:15 quotes two reasons for this. The first one is based on the maamar mordechai that you will distract the person who you walk in front of, and the second one is based on the chayei adam who says that you are creating a barrier between him and the schechina.
- Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 18b s.v. Asur) comments on the gemara which says not to pass in front of someone praying that one would be allowed to walk to the side of someone praying. This is also the implication of the Kesef Mishna in the Rambam 5:6. This is codified in Tur and S”A 102:4. Nonetheless, the Mishna Brurah 102:17 quotes the Zohar which is strict even walking on the side of someone praying within 4 amot. Beiur Halacha 102 quotes the Eliya Rabba and the Shla that the same would apply with walking in front of somebody saying keriat shema.
- Magen Avraham 102:6
- Sh”t Ginat Veradim 1:39
- The Magen Avraham 102:6 writes that any area where the one praying could see the one walking it’s forbidden to walk (as one ruins his Kavana). The Pri Megadim (Eshel Avraham 102:5) infers that the front to the side (not directly in front) is forbidden. The Mishna Brurah 102:16 writes that the Magen Avraham is strict regarding the front to the side while the Eliyahu Rabba is lenient. The Kaf HaChaim 102:28 only quotes the opinion of the Pri Megadim.
- Mishna Brurah 102:18 writes that it’s a dispute between the Magen Avraham and Eliyah Rabba and in cases of great need one may be lenient.
- S”A 102:5, Mishna Brurah 102:21 adds that even if the one behind him started after him and is now extending his prayers, it’s forbidden to take three steps back. Shulchan Aruch HaMukutzer Einei Yitzchak (pg 130) writes that some are of the minhag to be lenient not to look back after one finished davening to see if one is Davening behind him. He adds that even though this goes against S”A still the minhag has what to rely on. [It seems this isn’t a source to rely on as it contradicts S”A, however one can judge others favorable who aren’t careful about this halacha.]
- Mishna Brurah 102:18 writes that according to Eliyah Rabba who permits walking in the front sides of someone Davening, one may take three steps back into that area. Accordingly, Arba Amot Shel Tefillah (pg 50) rules that in cases of great need or a mitzvah one may take three steps in a diagonal. Similarly, Sh”t Teshuvot VeHanhagot is lenient if the one waiting is greatly paining by waiting.
- Halichot Shlomo 8:33
- Halichot Shlomo 8:34
- Beiur Halacha 102:4 s.v. Asur says although it doesn't distract the person praying, it is still a problem of creating a hefsek between him and the shechina. Sh"t Teshuvot Vihanhagot 1:75 says some would allow it in this situation.
- Halichot Shlomo 8:33
- Halichot Shlomo 8:33
- Mishna Brurah 102:2 writes that one may not pass before someone even if there’s an interruption of ten Tefachim with the width of 4 Tefachim since it still can ruin the kavana of the one Davening. Therefore, if it’s as tall as the one Davening it won’t ruin his kavana and it’s permissible.
- Halichot Shlomo 8:33 in the note based on Mishna Brurah 102:2
- Maharsham in Daat Torah leaves this question as a tzarich iyun. Rav Shlomo Zalman in Halichot Shlomo (8:36) permits if there’s a need (so quotes the Piskei Teshuvot 102:3(5)). Similarly, Yalkut Yosef (Sherit Yosef vol 3 pg 24) permits in cases of great need. However, Dalet Amot Shel Tefillah (8:2, pg 68) quotes Rav Betzalel Stern and implies from Rav Moshe Shternbach that it’s forbidden.
- Sefer Dalet Amot Shel Tefillah (end of chapter 10) quotes stories of Rav Moshe Feinstein, the Steipler and others who would rebuke the person who davened in a public domain after they finished Davening. So writes Halichot 8:36, Piskei Teshuvot 102:3(5).
- Sh”t Betzel Chachma 30,31, quoted in Piskei Teshuvot 102:3(5)
- Sh”t Me’at Mayim 1, quoted in Dalet Amot Shel Tefillah (8:5, pg 69)
- Gemara Brachot 32a from Shmuel 1 chapter 1
- Tur 102, Trumat HaDeshen 3
- Shulchan Aruch HaRav 102:1, Sefer Arba Amot Shel Tefillah pg 1 suggests that this is based on Shibolei HaLeket (Brachot 25) in name of Rav Hai Goan.
- Brachot 31b, Shulchan Aruch 102:1
- Rama 102:1 and Mishna Brurah 102:4 rule that even behind the one davening is forbidden to sit.
- S”A 102:1, Sefer Amot Shel Tefillah 2:2 pg 5 writes that the measure of as far as a person can see is 266 or 266 2/3 amot based on Shach Y”D 244:8
- Mishna Brurah 102:9
- Mishna Brurah 102:1
- Mishna Brurah 102:6
- S”A and Rama 102:3
- Mishna Brurah 102:13
- The concept of having someone such as the Shaliach Tzibbur say Mashiv HaRuach out loud to remind the congregation is mentioned in many achronim including Bach 236:3 in name of the Smag, Magen Avraham 114:2, Mateh Moshe 519, Bear Heteiv 422:1, and Kaf HaChaim 237:17.
- Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo (8 note 20) stresses that it’s inappropriate for anyone besides the Gabbai (or Shaliach Tzibbur) to say the Mashiv HaRuach out loud because that’s not the way a person would speak before a king. Similarly, Rav Moshe Stern in Sh”t Beer Moshe 4:10 permits and adds that once one person said it out loud another person isn’t allowed. This is also the opinion of Rav Ovadyah Yosef in Yalkut Yosef (Tefillah vol 2 pg 96), Rav Elyashiv (quoted in Peninei Tefillah pg 85), and Sh”t Eretz Tzvi 24.
- On the other hand, the Chazon Ish (quoted in Orchot Rabbenu (vol 3 pg 207 note 9) holds that it’s improper for anyone including the gabbai to raise one’s voice. (It seems Aruch HaShulchan 114:5 agrees. Likewise, Piskei Teshuvot 114:5 understands Beiur Halacha 114:1 s.v. Asur like the Chazon Ish but rules like Rabbi Shlomo Zalman.)
- Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo 20:6 rules that one may signal to someone who made a mistake in Davening that would cause him to repeat Shemonah Esrei. This is also the opinion of Dvar Meshulam (pg 120) based on Igrot Moshe 4:16 (below). However, Rav Elyashiv (quoted in Peninei Tefillah pg 85-6) holds that it’s forbidden to signal to someone else because his mistake has nothing to do with your davening unless the other person’s mistake bothers his Davening. [From Sh”t Igrot Moshe (4:16 pg 28) who writes that in a case where there was an announcement of the incorrect page number for congregants who wouldn’t know any better that one may in Shaat HaDachak announce the correct page number between Brachot in Shemonah Esrei because the Tzorech Tefillah of others is like the Tzorech Tefillah of oneself, it seems that Rav Moshe would agree to Rabbi Shlomo Zalman.]
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:14
- Kitzur Shulchan Aruch of Rav Rephael Baruch Toledano, Volume 1, Page 107
- Mishna Brurah 104:1
- Or Letzion 2:45:27
- *Gemara Brachot 34b quotes a Briatta which says that one must have kavana (proper intent) while praying Shemonah Esrei and if one is unable to do so one should at least have kavana in the first Bracha (Magen Avraham). However, on Gemara Brachot 30b Rabbi Elazar makes a general statement that one needs to have kavana while saying Shemonah Esrei and if one doesn’t then one repeats Shemonah Esrei. To resolve the difficulty, Tosfot (Brachot 33b s.v. Yechaven) explains that Rabbi Elazar was only speaking about the first Bracha of Shemonah Esrei. This is also the ruling of the Rosh (Brachot 5:24), Rambam (Tefillah 10:1), and Smag (Asin 19, pg 101b). Tur and Shulchan Aruch 101:1 codify this as halacha.
- The Tur 101:1 writes that nowadays if one didn’t have kavana in the first Bracha of Shemonah Esrei one shouldn’t have to return to the beginning because once one didn’t have kavana the first time there’s no guarantee that one is going to be successful the next time. This is the ruling of the Rama 101:1. The Birkei Yosef 101:2 explains that the S”A 101:1 intentionally omitted this idea of the Tur because he disagrees with it. However, the Birkei Yosef concludes that the minhag is to follow the Rama. This is also the opinion of the Kaf HaChaim 101:4.
- The Smak (Siman 11 pg 9a) writes that if one is unable to have kavana for the entire Shemonah Esrei one should have kavana at least for the first Bracha and the Bracha of Modim. The Bet Yosef 101:1 wonders as to the source of idea of the Smak. Nonetheless, this idea is brought in the poskim such as the Kaf HaChaim 101:3.
- The Tur 101:1 quotes the Raah (Rabbi Eliezer MeMitz) who says that if one can’t have kavana for the entire Shemonah Esrei one should at least have kavana for the conclusion (Bracha Atta Hashem…) of each Bracha. This is brought by the Levush, Eliyah Rabba 101:2, S”A HaRav 101:1, and Kaf HaChaim 101:1.
- *The Gemara Brachot 30b says that between two different prayers one should wait the time it takes to settle one’s mind in order to pray again properly.
- *Rashi (Brachot 30b s.v. Kama) explains that the Gemara is discussing a case where one made a mistake and has to repeat Shemonah Esrei or if one wants to say Mussaf right after Shacharit. Tosfot s.v. Kama gives the same examples. The Rambam (Tefillah 10:15) implies that the same is true if a person has to say Tashlumin (a make up prayer) one has to wait between one Shemonah Esrei and the next. (This implication is clearly explained in the Kesef Mishna 10:15 there.) The Tur 101:1 agrees.
- Mishna Brurah 101:2, Kaf HaChaim 101:2
- Mishna Brurah 105:4 explains that one must wait this amount of time even if one plans on saying Shemonah Esrei in the place where one finished taking three steps back. Otherwise, one would need to wait anyway before taking three steps forward even if one wasn’t saying another Shemonah Esrei. This is also brought by the Kaf HaChaim 105:4.
- Rivivot Ephraim 1:170
- S”A 107:1
- Brachot 21a s.v. Ha, Sh”t Rashba 1:91 quoted in the Bet Yosef 107. This is quoted by most of the Achronim including Mishna Brurah 107:2, and Halacha Brurah 107:1.
- Sh”t Yabia Omer 2:8, 10:10
- Mishna Brurah 593:2
- *Yalkut Yosef (Tefillah vol 1, p. 540, 107:3) writes that if a person began to dose off or for any other reason lost his place in Shemona Esrei, he should return to the Bracha after the last one he surely said. He bases this ruling off the Yerushalmi (Brachot 2:4) that compares the case of a person who made a mistake in Shemonei Esrei and doesn't remember where the mistake was to a person who made a mistake in Shema and doesn't remember where he made the mistake, in which case, he hast to return to the place he is in doubt about. Yalkut Yosef explains that we don't apply the general rule of Safek Brachot Lehakel here because every bracha is necessary to fulfill Shemoneh Esrei and one shouldn't put oneself into a doubt of the upcoming brachot being brachot levatala. Another reason that Safek Brachot Lehakel may not apply to Shemoneh Esrei is because the Gemara Brachot says "if only it was possible a person should pray all day". The Chesed LeAlafim 107:1, Ben Ish Chai (Mishpatim #20), Sh"t Or Li (Siman 30), and Sh"t Mein Ganim 17:42 agree. [See the Chesed LeAlafim and Ben Ish Chai who say that if one is unsure where one is in the first three brachot one should return to the beginning of Shemonah Esrei. However, they seem to be referring to the case where a person is not sure which of the first brachot they are up to.] See also Nezer HaTorah (Av 5770, p. 293) which suggests that although there were those who disagreed with the above ruling based on their reading of the Yerushalmi, those poskim had a mistaken girsa in the Mahara Fulda's commentary on the Yerushalmi. The Beiur Halacha 188 s.v. Lechzor quotes a similar idea in regards to Birkat HaMazon.
- However, the Chaye Adam (24:21) writes that if one dosed off or for another reason lost one's place, then if one is in the first three brachot of Shemoneh Esrei, he should return to the beginning of Shemoneh Esrei, if he is in the last three brachot he should return to Retzeh, and if he is in the middle brachot, he should return to the bracha that he is sure that he didn't yet say. See Pitchei Teshuvot 119:5 who quotes a large number of achronim who disagree with the Chaye Adam and some who are concerned for his opinion and suggest some resolutions.
- Sh"t Beit Oved 159 quoted by Pitchei Teshuvot (Siman 119:34). A support for this could be brought from the Yerushalmi (quoted by Yalkut Yosef Tefillah vol 1 p. 540).
- S”A 94:8
- S”A 94:4
- S”A 94:4-5
- S”A 94:4
- S”A 94:4
- S”A and Rama 94:6
- S”A 94:9
- The Gemara Brachot 10b writes that one should be sure to keep one's feet together for Shemona Esrei like an angel. Rabbenu Yonah Brachot 5a s.v. hamitpalel explains that one should try to keep one's feet together so that they appear like one leg as the angels are described as having one foot. This is codified by the Shulchan Aruch 95:1.
- Rabbenu Yonah Brachot 5a s.v. hamitpalel quotes some who held that one should keep one's feet like a "V" with one's heels together since one pasuk describes an angel's feet like the hoof of a calf. Rabbenu Yonah rejects their opinion and holds that one's feet should be put together. Rav Moshe in Igrot Moshe OC 5:38:5 writes that since this opinion was rejected even if someone has a minhag to do that or he saw a Rebbe do that he should change to follow the halacha.
- Igrot Moshe 5:38:6 writes that if one can't put his feet together he should just try to put them as close together as he can. He is in disagreement with the Aruch Hashulchan who recommends putting the heel of one foot together with the toes of another foot. The Aruch Hashulchan 95:2 is based on the Yerushalmi but Rav Moshe writes that it isn't clear that that interpretation of the Yerushalmi is correct, the Bavli disagrees with the Yerushalmi, and it would look strange to do that which one shouldn't do in public.
- The Yerushalmi has a dispute about the position one should have in Shemona Esrei, whether it was to mimic an angel or the kohanim.
- *The Gemara Brachot 30a quotes a Briattta which learns from a pasek in Melachim (Aleph 8:48) that a person outside Israel should pray towards Israel. The Rif 20a, Rosh (Brachot 4:19), and Rambam (Tefillah 5:3) rule like this Briatta in the Gemara.
- Tosfot (Brachot 30a s.v. LeTalpiyot) writes that even though there are opinions in Bava Batra 25b which say that the Shechina rests in the east or west specifically, nonetheless, we hold like this Gemara Brachot which says that one should always pray towards Israel. This is quoted by the Rosh (Brachot 4:19) and Tur 94:1-3.
- Rabbenu Yonah (Brachot 20b s.v. Haya) explains that one who prays from outside Israel should not only face Israel but more also have intent to face Yerushalayim, the Bet HaMikdash, and the Kodesh Kodashim. S”A 94:1 rules like the explanation of the Rabbenu Yonah. Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:6 concurs. The Mishna Brurah 94:3 explains the S”A to mean that one should face Israel and also picture oneself in the Bet HaMikdash in Yerushalyim in the place of the Kodesh Kodashim.
- Gemara Brachot 30a, Tur and S”A 94:1 (see above footnote)
- Gemara Brachot 30a, Tur and S”A 94:1 (see above footnote)
- The Gemara Brachot 30a quotes a Briatta which says that a seeing person who is unable to determine the direction to pray or a blind person should pray to Hashem. The Rif 20a, Rosh (Brachot 4:19), Rambam (Tefillah 5:3), and Tur 94:3 rule like this Briatta. Interestingly the S”A 94:3 summarizes this halacha that anyone who is unable to determine the proper direction to pray should have intent to pray to Hashem and leaves out the mention of a blind person. Halacha Brurah 94:1 and Aruch HaShulchan 94:1 quote both that generally anyone who doesn’t know which direction to pray and also a blind person who doesn’t know which direction to pray. Beiur Halacha 94:3 s.v. Mi SheAino writes that it’s preferable to pick one direction to turn one’s body and the face another direction in order that there’s a greater chance that one is facing Israel.
- Magen Avraham 94:2 in explanation of S”A 94:2. Mishna Brurah 94:8 agrees.
- *The Mahari Avuhav (commentary on the Tur, Siman 94) writes that it’s a wonderment why our minhag is to pray towards the north or south if we should pray to the east in order to face Israel (considering that the Mahari Avuhav lived in Europe). The Mahari Avuhav concludes that it’s sufficient to have one’s body face north or south and one’s face in the direction of Israel.
- The Gemara Bava Batra 25b says that one who wants wisdom should pray to the south and one who wants wealth should pray to the north. The Gemara asks how one could face north or south if one has to face the Shechina (the divine providence, which we hold is in Israel). According to Rashi (D”H DeMetzaded) the Gemara answers that one should just turn one’s face to the north or south but leave one’s body facing the Shechina. The Bet Yosef 94:1-3 says that it seems that Rashi would hold that one should face Israel and have one’s body turned north or south.
- The Bet Yosef answers that once (in regards to praying north or south) we see that turning one’s face satisfies praying in that direction, so too, by praying to Israel turning one’s face is sufficient. The S”A 94:2 rules like the Mahari Avuhav that one who is praying to any direction other than Israel should turn one’s face to Israel.
- However, the Taz 94:3 argues that it’s preferable to follow Rashi and have one’s body in the direction of Israel and just turn one’s face north or south so that one doesn’t appear to separate from the congregation. Mishna Brurah 94:12 holds like the Taz.
- Yet, the Perisha 94:4 adds support to the Mahari Avuhav saying that פסוק implies that everything depends on the way one’s eyes and heart faces. Halacha Brurah 94:4 rules like the Perisha.
- The Magen Avraham 94:2 explains that this dispute is relevant in the case of where the minhag a certain place is to pray in a certain direction.
- The Mishna Brurah 94:8, 12 explains that this dispute is also relevant in the case where one wants to pray to the south or north in order to receive blessing. The Rama 94:2 says that if one wants to pray south or north for blessing one just turn one’s face towards Israel. However, Mishna Brurah 94:12 writes that the minhag is to follow the Taz and turn one’s body north or south but not one’s face.
- Magen Avraham 94:3, Mishna Brurah 94:9, Halacha Brurah 94:2. The Netsiv in Meishiv Dvar 1:10 writes that the Magen Avraham is correct but nonetheless the minhag is to daven in the direction of the aron and one shouldn't protest. See Rabbi Taubes's article on the topic.
- Yad Eliyahu Lublin 1 quotes someone who says that it is Yuhara to daven to the East if the minhag is to daven to the Aron. However, the Yad Eliyahu personally disagrees since the halacha is that you should face East it isn't Yuhara (Bet Yosef 235:1). Mishna Brurah 98:10 and Halacha Brurah 94:6 accept the position of the one who prohibited deviating from the congregation unlike the Yad Eliyahu.
- Limikdashech Tuv page 241. Sh"t Teshuvot Vihanhagot 3:39.
- According to Rashi this is the case where the gemara 6b stated that if a person davens away from the congregation he is called a wicked person.
- This is the case that the gemara 6b is referring to according to Tosfot. Shulchan Aruch 90:7 holds like Tosfot.
- Mishna Brurah 90:18
- Yevamot 105b, Tur and Shulchan Aruch 95:2. Bet Yosef cites the Mahari Avuhav who explains that one can look from time to time upward but generally they should be downward. He used this idea to justify the explanation of Rashi that a shul should have windows so that a person can see outside to pray for the world and if one is only looking downward how will one ever look out the window.
- Rambam Tefillah 5:4, Shulchan Aruch 92:3
- Rabbi Akiva Eiger 89:1 writes that even though the practice of raising one's hands towards heaven open and outstretched is found in Torah many times and is advised by the Zohar today we don't do that because it how the non-Jews worship their god.
- Gemara Brachot 29b like the ruling of Rav Huna like the version of Acherim, Tur and S”A 110:3, Halacha Brurah 110:7
- Gemara Brachot 30a, Tur and S”A 110:3, Halacha Brurah 110:7
- Gemara Brachot 30a, Tur and S”A 110:3, Halacha Brurah 110:7
- Gemara Brachot 30a, Tur and S”A 110:3, Halacha Brurah 110:8
- Mishna Brurah 110:15, Kaf HaChaim 110:12, Halacha Brurah 110:8
- Rama 110:3, Halacha Brurah 110:8
- Bet Yosef 110:3, Halacha Brurah 110:8
- Beit Yosef 111 in the name of Rabbeinu Yonah
- Mishna Brurah 111:1, see Beiur Halacha "Chozer V'omer"
- Radvaz 3:532
- Shulchan Aruch 115:1 and Mishna Brurah 115:1
- Mishna Brurah 115:1, Baer Heitev 115:1. See Mishna Brurah and baer heitev who add that the word binah is itself an acronym for besamim yayin ner and havdala, the four berachot we recite in havdala.
- Mishna Brurah 115:1
- Mishna Brurah 115:1
- Piskei Tshuvot 115:2 citing Mekor Chaim OC 115 based on a midrash in kohelet.
- Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo 11:45 says that one doesn't strike his chest on those days while Piskei Tshuvot 115:2 quotes those who disagree.
- Mishna Brurah 115:1
- Mishna Brurah 116:3.
- Halichot Shlomo 8:60, Sh"t Or LiTzion 2:7:33
- Sh"t Rivivot Ephraim 8:30. Rav Herschel Schachter (Nefesh HaRav pg. 152: letter 4) says that Rav Soloveitchik would say sim shalom in mincha and maariv anyway.
- Igrot Moshe 4:99:3, Tzitz Eliezer 8:6 cited by Halichot Yisrael
- Halichot Yisrael p. 108 writes that this seems to be the dispute in Tosfot Brachot 26b.
- Magen Avraham 108:10 writes that if a person mistakenly davened maariv early after plag and did not yet daven mincha he still needs to daven mincha afterwards while it is time for mincha. Pri Megadim, Machasit Hashekel, Levushei Sarad, Magen Giborim (Elef Hamagen 108:14), Eliya Rabba 108:8, Kaf Hachayim 108:29, Chayei Adam 27:15, Shulchan Aruch Harav 108:13, Aruch Hashulchan 108:8, and Mishna Brurah 108:21 agree on this point that the maariv counted and he still needs to daven mincha. Divrei Dovid 5:19 quotes the Zivchei Tzedek 2:14 and Yabia Omer OC 6:21:2 and 9:108:104 agree.
- Rav Dovid Taharani in Divrei Dovid 5:19 proves from Magen Avraham 108:10 that one needs intention to fulfill the shemona esrei that one is praying and thinking that one is praying another prayer doesn't count for the one that is necessary. He also proves it from the idea of tashlumin that it is necessary to intend to pray the correct prayer or it is ineffective (Shulchan Aruch O.C. 108:1). He quotes Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Siach Halacha v. 2 p. 11 and Rav Elyashiv (Minchat Pri 2:17) agree that it is impossible to switch a tefillah from one to the other after you already prayed and intended it for one and in fact it was needed for another. He also cites the Besel Hachachma 5:22 who is unsure about this case of someone who davened mincha a second time after plag and suggests davening maariv with a tenay. Finally, he cites Maaseh Nissim p. 66 holds that it was effective for maariv. A similar approach can be found in Shevet Halevi 4:13.
- Divrei Dovid 5:19
- Divrei Dovid 5:19 quoting Rav Chaim Kanievsky (Ishei Yisrael p. 748) and Rav Elyashiv (Minchat Pri 2:17)
|( V | T )||Specific parts of Prayer|
| Birchot HaShachar - Birchot HaTorah - Korbanot - Kaddish - Pesukei DeZimrah - Barchu - Birchot Kriyat Shema - Kriyat Shema|
Amidah: Shmoneh Esrei - Mashiv HaRuach - Atta Chonen - Atta Chonantanu - Hashivenu - Slach Lanu - Refaenu - Barech Aleinu - Yaaleh VeYavo - Al Hanissim - Sim Shalom - 3 Steps - Chazarat HaShatz - Kedusha - Birkat Cohanim - Havinenu
Post-Amidah: Kriyat HaTorah - Hagbah and Gelila - Tachanun, Ashrei, Aleinu, Shir Shel Yom
Other daily prayers
|Mincha - Mariv/Arvit - Repeating Shema at Night - Bedtime Shema - Tikkun Chatzot|
|Tefillat HaDerech - Mussaf - Hallel of Rosh Chodesh|