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Tuesday, 15 Tevet 5775 / January 6, 2015

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Rambam - 3 Chapters a Day

Tefilah and Birkat Kohanim - Chapter Five, Tefilah and Birkat Kohanim - Chapter Six, Tefilah and Birkat Kohanim - Chapter Seven

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Tefilah and Birkat Kohanim - Chapter Five

1

A person who prays must be careful to tend to [the following] eight matters. [However,] if he is pressured, confronted by circumstances beyond his control, or transgresses and does not attend to one them, they are not of absolute necessity. They are:
1) standing;
2) facing the Temple;
3) preparation of his body;
4) proper clothing;
5) proper place;
6) control of his voice;
7) bowing; and
8) prostration.

א

שמונה דברים צריך המתפלל להזהר בהן ולעשותן ואם היה דחוק או נאנס או שעבר ולא עשה אותן אין מעכבין ואלו הן:

עמידה ונוכח המקדש ותקון הגוף ותקון המלבושים ותקון המקום והשויית הקול והכריעה והשתחויה:

A person who prays must be careful to tend to [the following] eight matters. - The specific laws regarding these eight categories are discussed by the Rambam in the ensuing halachot of this chapter.

[However,] if he is pressured - and unable to carry out any or all of these prerequisites.

confronted by circumstances beyond his control - e.g., ill, as explained by the Rambam in Halachah 2.

or transgresses - i.e., even if one transgresses intentionally.

and does not do one of them, they are not of absolute necessity - i.e., one is not required to repeat the prayer or compensate for its recitation.

In the previous chapter, the Rambam listed five categories which are of absolute necessity for prayer. A person who fails to fulfill any of those requirements must repeat his prayers. These eight categories are לכתחילה (at the outset) necessary for the Amidah, but, do not disqualify the prayer if they were not tended to.

The Lechem Mishneh points out that even Chapter 4 refers to certain actions which were only problematic לכתחילה, such as burping and sneezing. Nevertheless, they are included in that chapter because, from a topical perspective, it is more appropriate to discuss them within the context of the general categories mentioned there.

They are: standing, - See Halachah 2.

facing the Temple, - See Halachah 3.

preparation of his body, - See Halachah 4.

proper clothing, - See Halachah 5.

proper place, - See Halachah 6-8.

control of his voice, - See Halachah 9.

bowing - See Halachot 10-12.

and prostration. - See Halachah 13-15.

2

Standing: What is implied?

[Generally,] one should pray only while standing. [Thus,] a person sitting in a boat or in a carriage, if able to stand, should do so; if not, he may sit in his place and pray.

A person who is ill may pray even while lying on his side, provided he is able to have the proper intention. Similarly, one who is thirsty or hungry is considered as one who is ill. [Therefore,] if he is able to concentrate properly he should pray. If not, he should not pray until he has eaten or drunk.

One riding an animal should not descend [from the animal] - even if he has someone to hold his animal. Rather, he should sit in his place and pray so his mind will be settled.

ב

עמידה כיצד אין מתפלל אלא מעומד היה יושב בספינה או בעגלה אם יכול לעמוד יעמוד ואם לאו ישב במקומו ויתפלל חולה מתפלל אפילו שוכב על צדו והוא שיכול לכוין את דעתו וכן הצמא והרעב הרי הן בכלל חולים אם יש בו יכולת לכוין את דעתו יתפלל ואם לאו אל יתפלל עד שיאכל וישתה היה רוכב על הבהמה אע"פשיש לו מי שיאחז בהמתו לא ירד אלא ישב במקומו ויתפלל כדי שתהא דעתו מיושבת עליו:

Standing: What is implied? [Generally,] one should pray only while standing. - As mentioned in Chapter 1, Halachah 1, prayer is called עבודה - service. Thus, it can be compared to the sacrifices in the Temple which are also referred to by that term. In regard to both these services, Deuteronomy 10:8 states: "...To stand before God and serve Him" (Berachot 30a, Tur, Orach Chayim 98).

Indeed, the term Amidah - (lit. "standing") is used to refer to the Shemoneh Esreh because of this requirement. (See Soferim 16:12.)

[Thus,] a person sitting in a boat or in a carriage, if able to stand, should do so; - However, unlike one riding an animal, he is not obligated to sit if he is able to stand (Lechem Mishneh).

if not, he may sit in his place and pray. - Berachot 30a relates a difference of opinion among the Sages whether it is preferable to recite one's prayers early, before the desired time so that one can stand during Shemoneh Esreh or whether one should set out on a journey in a boat or carriage and pray at the appropriate time even though one will not be able to stand.

From this discussion, we may conclude that, under these circumstances, it is acceptable for one to remain seated during the Shemoneh Esreh if doing so will contribute to one's ability to concentrate.

A person who is ill - and would have to strain to stand

may pray even while lying on his side - Note Hilchot Kri'at Shema 2:2 which relates that one may recite the Shema lying on one's side, but not lying on one's back.

provided he is able to have the proper intention - i.e., One who is ill should pray only when he is able to concentrate. However, if he is unable to concentrate, it is better that he should not pray (Rabbenu Manoach).

Hagahot Maimoniot relates that Rashi was accustomed not to pray when he was ill.

Similarly, one who is thirsty or hungry - to the extent that he cannot concentrate

is considered as one who is ill - and is not required to pray. The commentaries point to the statement of the Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 5:1) that one in discomfort should not pray as the source for this halachah.

[Therefore,] if he is able to concentrate properly he should pray, and if not he should not pray until he has eaten or drunk. - It is questionable whether this halachah is accepted at present, when, after the fact, prayer with a lesser level of concentration is accepted (Ramah, Orach Chayim 101) and siddurim are commonly available (See ibid. 9:3).

One riding an animal should not descend [from the animal] - even if he has someone to hold his animal, - Berachot 30a mentions opinions which require one to descend in this instance, however, the accepted view is...

Rather, he should sit in his place and pray so his mind will be settled - Even if someone were holding his animal, the person would be preoccupied with worries about his animal and, therefore, would be unable to concentrate on his Amidah.

3

Facing the Temple: What is implied?

A person standing in the Diaspora should face Eretz Yisrael and pray.

One standing in Eretz Yisrael should face Jerusalem.

One standing in Jerusalem should face the Temple.

One standing in the Temple should face the Holy of Holies.

A blind person, one who is unable to determine direction, or one travelling in a boat should direct his heart towards the Divine Presence and pray.

ג

נכח המקדש כיצד היה עומד בחוצה לארץ מחזיר פניו נכח ארץ ישראל ומתפלל היה עומד בארץ מכוין את פניו כנגד ירושלים היה עומד בירושלים מכוין פניו כנגד המקדש היה עומד במקדש מכוין פניו כנגד בית קדש הקדשים סומא ומי שלא יכול לכוין את הרוחות והמהלך בספינה יכוין את לבו כנגד השכינה ויתפלל:

Facing the Temple: What is implied? A person standing in the Diaspora should face Eretz Yisrael and pray. - Berachot 30a explains that this is derived from King Solomon's prayer at the dedication of the Temple (I Kings 8:48): "...and they will pray to You towards their land."

One standing in Eretz Yisrael should face Jerusalem. - as implied by I Kings 8:44: "...and they will pray to God towards the city that You have chosen" (Berachot, ibid.).

One standing in Jerusalem should face the Temple. - as implied by II Chronicles 6:24 (which gives a slightly different account of Solomon's prayer): "...and they will pray towards this House" (ibid.).

The Talmud (ibid.) also relates:

Rav Avin... said: What is implied by the verse: "Your neck is like the tower of David built with turrets (תלפיות) (Song of Songs 4:4)."? A hill (תל) to which all mouths (פיות) turn."

Thus, the Temple is called תל פיות, the hill to which all mouths turn in prayer.

One standing in the Temple should face the Holy of Holies. - as implied by I Kings 8:35: "...and they will pray towards this place." Berachot (ibid.) concludes: "Thus, all of Israel direct their hearts towards one place." (See also the commentary to Chapter 1, Halachah 3.)

A blind person, one who is - in a new place and is...

unable to determine direction, or one travelling in a boat - who cannot face whatever direction he desires lest he fall

should direct his heart towards the Divine Presence - as implied by I Kings 8:44: "...and they will pray to God" (ibid.).

and pray - In his commentary on the Mishnah (Berachot 4:5), the Rambam explains that one should imagine himself facing the Holy of Holies in the Temple.

4

The preparation of one's body: What is implied?

When one stands in prayer, he should place his feet together side by side. He should set his eyes downwards as if he is looking at the ground, and his heart upwards as if he is standing in Heaven.

His hands should be resting on his heart, with the right hand clasped over the left hand. He should stand like a servant before his master, in fear, awe, and dread. He should not rest his hand on his hips [during the Amidah].

ד

תקון הגוף כיצד כשהוא עומד בתפלה צריך לכוין את רגליו זו בצד זו ונותן עיניו למטה כאילו הוא מביט לארץ ויהיה לבו פנוי למעלה כאילו הוא עומד בשמים ומניח ידיו על לבו כפותין הימנית על השמאלית ועומד כעבד לפני רבו באימה ביראה ופחד ולא יניח ידיו על חלציו:

The preparation of one's body: What is implied? When one stands in prayer, he should place his feet together side by side. - Berachot 10b quotes Ezekiel 1:7 which describes the angels as standing in the following manner: "And their feet are a straight foot." Therefore, when praying, we place our feet together in order to appear as angels - those expert in praising God.

He should set his eyes downwards as if he is looking at the ground, and his heart upwards as if he is standing in Heaven - Yevamot 105b relates:

Rav Chiya and Rabbi Shimon bar Rebbe were sitting together. One of them opened the conversation and said: One praying should set his eyes downwards, as [I Kings 9:3] states: "And my eyes and my heart were there all the days" (i.e., towards the land of Israel and set downwards because of the presence of the Shechinah).
The other said that one's eyes should be pointed upwards, as [Eichah 3:41] states: "Let us lift up our hearts with our hands [towards God in Heaven]."
Rabbi Yishmael, the son of Rabbi Yossi, came and asked them what they were doing. They answered that they were discussing the Amidah. He [Rabbi Yishmael] said: My father said: One praying should set his eyes downwards and his heart upwards in order to fulfill both of those verses.

His hands should be resting on his heart - Shabbat 10a relates: "Ravvah threw off his cloak, clasped his hands together and prayed like a servant before his master."

with the right hand clasped over the left hand - The right side always represents the notion of lovingkindness; the left side, stern justice. Therefore, we hold our hands such that the right overpowers the left: i.e., lovingkindness overpowers stern judgement.

The right side is given prominence over the left in many other contexts because of this idea. (See the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 2:4.)

He should stand like a servant before his master, - The Maharal (Netiv Ha'avodah, Chapter 6), in his commentary on Berachot 10b quoted above, explains that placing our hands and feet together is a statement of absolute dependence on God. We demonstrate that we are neither able to move to our desired place, nor to act with our hands as we wish. In this way, we show how we are totally given over to His service, as a servant who has no independent existence of his own.

in fear, awe, and dread. - Berachot 30b bases this on Psalms 2:11: "And you shall serve God in fear."

He should not rest his hands on his hips [during the Amidah] - This appears to be based on Rav Yitzchak Alfasi's interpretation of Berachot 24b. The Hagahot Maimoniot explains that such a position conveys an attitude of irreverance. For similar reasons, it is forbidden to lean on anything during the Amidah.

5

Proper clothing: What is implied?

One should adjust his clothing and make himself neat and presentable before [praying], as [implied by Psalms 29:2]: "They bow to God in resplendent holiness."

One should not pray wearing [only] his undershirt, bareheaded, or barefoot - if it is the custom of the people of that place to stand before their most respected people with shoes.

In all places, one should not hold tefillin in his hand or a Sefer Torah in his arms during the Amidah, since he will worry about them. [Similarly,] one should not hold utensils or money in his hand. However, he may pray while holding his lulav on Sukkot, since it is the commandment of the day.

If one is carrying a burden of less than four kabbim on his head when the time for the Amidah arrives, he should throw it over his shoulder and pray. If it is larger than four kabbim, he should place it on the ground and then pray.

It is customary for all Sages and their students to pray only when wrapped in a tallit.

ה

תקון המלבושים כיצד מתקן מלבושיו תחלה ומציין עצמו ומהדר שנאמר השתחוו לה' בהדרת קדש ולא יעמוד בתפלה באפונדתו ולא בראש מגולה ולא ברגלים מגולות אם דרך אנשי המקום שלא יעמדו בפני הגדולים אלא בבתי הרגלים ובכל מקום לא יאחוז תפילין בידו וספר תורה בזרועו ויתפלל מפני שלבו טרוד בהן ולא יאחוז כלים ומעות בידו אבל מתפלל הוא ולולב בידו בימות החג מפני שהוא מצות היום היה משוי על ראשו והגיע זמן תפלה אם היה פחות מארבעה קבין מפשילו לאחוריו ומתפלל בו היה ארבעה קבין מניחו על גבי קרקע ואחר כך יתפלל דרך כל החכמים ותלמידיהם שלא יתפללו אלא כשהן עטופים:

Proper clothing: What is implied? One should adjust his clothing and make himself neat and presentable before [praying], as [implied by Psalms 29:2]: "They bow to God in resplendent holiness." - Berachot 30b relates that, on the basis of this verse, Rav Yehudah would adjust his clothes before praying.

One should not pray wearing [only] his undershirt - Our translation of אפונדתו is based on the Rambam's commentary to the Mishnah, Berachot 9:5, which defines that term as the undergarment worn to collect perspiration, in order that one's outer garments remain fresh. Others explain that it refers to a money belt.

bareheaded - Soferim 14:15 states that one may not utter God's name with his head uncovered. (See also Shabbat 155b.) "One praying must stand with his feet together and cover his head as one standing before the king" (Zohar, Va'etchanan 260b).

or barefoot - Shabbat 10a relates: "Ravvah bar Rav Huna put on fine shoes and then prayed. He said: 'Prepare to meet your God, Israel' (Amos 4:12)."

The Rambam does not mention the source of these halachot or the verse from Amos. Rather, he cites the verse in Psalms, which may be understood as producing a halachah that is more subjective in nature, dependent on the commonly accepted rules of etiquette.

if it is the custom of the people of that place - However, where it is normal practice to walk barefoot, as in particularly hot climates, it is permissible to pray that way (Kessef Mishneh).

to stand before their most respected people - This introduces a subjective element into these laws. The definition of proper clothing is dependent on local custom, i.e., how people dress when they want to make an impression on the respected people in one's community. See also the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 91:5.

Both the Mishnah Berurah and Aruch Hashulchan mention this idea in regard to wearing a hat and require one to do so during the Amidah if this is the usual way people present themselves.

with shoes.

In all places - i.e., the following rule in this halachah is in no way dependent on local custom, but applicable in all cases.

one should not hold tefillin in his hand or a Sefer Torah in his arms during the Amidah, since he will worry about them - lest they fall (Rashi, Berachot 23b).

[Similarly,] one should not hold utensils or money in his hand - Berachot (ibid) states: "A knife, money, a plate, and a loaf of bread are like them (i.e., like the Sefer Torah and tefillin)." Rashi explains that in these instances as well, one will fear that they will fall and injure him or become lost or ruined.

Based on Rashi's statements, there are authorities who rule that a person may hold an object which would not present a danger or causes worry if it falls, e.g., a notebook. Rabbenu Yonah, however, forbids the holding of any object except the lulav, which is explicitly mentioned in the Talmud. This is also the position of Terumat Hadeshen. (Even according to the latter view, one may hold a prayerbook.)

Shulchan Aruch HaRav (Orach Chayim 96:1) rules that one may also hold other objects (in line with Rashi's position), but states that the optimum manner of performing the mitzvah is not to hold anything, so that his hands may be clasped together over his heart, as the Rambam mentions in Halachah 4.

However, he may pray holding his lulav on Sukkot, - Sukkah 41b relates that Rav Ashi would pray with his lulav in his hand.

since it is the commandment of the day - Since it is the mitzvah of the day, it is dear to him and caring for it is not considering an encumberance that will disturb one's concentration (Rashi).

If one is carrying a burden of less than four kabbim on his head - This halachah quotes Bava Metzia 105b. See our commentary on Chapter 4, Halachah 6, for the modern equivalent of a kav.

when the time for the Amidah arrives, he should throw it over his shoulder and pray. - i.e., holding a burden of this size will not distrub one's concentration.

If it is larger than four kabbim, - holding it during prayer will be a distraction. Hence,...

he should place it on the ground and then pray.

It is customary for all the Sages and their students to pray only when wrapped in a tallit - Shabbat 10a relates that Rav Kahana would wrap himself in a tallit and pray. Ta'anit 20a also tells of Nakdimon ben Gurion, who when praying in the Holy Temple for rain, "wrapped himself in a tallit and stood to pray."

In Hilchot Tzitzit 3:11, the Rambam writes: "It is a great disgrace for a Torah scholar to pray without being wrapped in his tallit."

6

Proper place: What is implied?

One should stand in a low place and turn his face towards the wall. Also, one should open windows or doors that face Jerusalem and pray opposite them, as [Daniel 6:11] states: "...and he had windows open in his room facing Jerusalem."

A person should establish a fixed place where he always prays. One should not pray in a destroyed building, nor [should one pray] behind a synagogue, unless he turns his face towards the synagogue.

It is forbidden to sit down next to someone in the midst of the Amidah or to pass in front of him, except at a distance of four cubits.

ו

תקון המקום כיצד יעמוד במקום נמוך ויחזיר פניו לכותל וצריך לפתוח חלונות או פתחים כנגד ירושלים כדי להתפלל כנגדן שנאמר וכוין פתיחן ליה בעיליתיה וגו' וקובע מקום לתפלתו תמיד ואין מתפלל בחורבה ולא אחורי בית הכנסת אא"כ החזיר פניו לבית הכנסת ואסור לישב בצד העומד בתפלה או לעבור לפניו עד שירחיק ממנו ארבע אמות:


Proper place: What is implied? One should stand in a low place - Berachot 10b bases this law on the premise, "there is no loftiness before God, as [Psalms 130:1] states: 'From the depths, I call out to you, God.'”

and turn his face towards the wall - Berachot 5b bases this law on Isaiah 38:2: "And Chizkiyahu turned his face towards the wall and prayed."

In his responsa, the Rambam explains that the intent of this law is that one should not have anything before him that will disrupt his concentration on the Amidah. (See Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 90)

The Shulchan Aruch and the Ramah (Orach Chayim 90:21) discuss this concept. Among their conclusions are that people do not constitute a separation between a person praying and the wall, nor do small objects less than 10 handbreadths (approximately 80 centimeters) tall.

Also, one should open windows or doors - Berachot 31a states "A person should always pray in a house with windows."

In his responsum, the Rambam mentions that this halachah applies only to a house, as explicitly mentioned in the Talmud and not necessarily to a synagogue. However, the Beit Yosef (ibid.) quotes the Zohar (Vol. II, p. 251a), which requires a synagogue to have 12 windows, which correspond to the 12 seraphim in the Heavenly Court. He also quotes this law in his Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 90:4).

Rashi (Berachot 34b) explains that windows are an aid to concentration, as one looks heavenward and is humbled. Rabbenu Yonah suggests that the light has a calming effect, allowing one to concentrate on his prayers.

that face Jerusalem and pray opposite them, - in keeping with the obligation to face Jerusalem mentioned in Halachah 3.

as [Daniel 6:11] states: "...and he had windows open in his room facing Jerusalem" - The verse concludes: "...and he kneeled on his knees three times a day and prayed."

A person should establish a fixed place where he always prays. - Berachot 6b states: "Anyone who establishes a fixed place for his prayer will be assisted by the God of Abraham." Abraham is mentioned because, as can be inferred from Genesis 19:27, he had a fixed place for prayer.

The Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 4:4, states that even in a synagogue, a person should have a fixed place for prayer and should not move from place to place.

The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 90:19 quotes this law. The Magen Avraham adds that within four cubits (approx. six feet) of one's place is also considered acceptable, since it is impossible to be in exactly the same spot at all times. Therefore, a person who finds a colleague sitting in one's place in the synagogue, may pray within four cubits of his place. This is preferable to embarrassing the person sitting in his seat, who might very well be a visitor and not be aware of which seats are occupied by regular congregants.

One should not pray in a destroyed building - This halachah is derived within the context of the following narrative (Berachot 3a):

Rabbi Yossi said: Once I was walking on the road and I entered one of the destroyed buildings of Jerusalem in order to pray. Eliyahu [the Prophet] of blessed memory came and waited for me by the entrance until I had finished praying.
After I finished my prayer, he greeted me: "Peace unto you, Rebbe."
I replied to him: "Peace unto you, Rebbe and teacher."
He asked me: "My son, why did you enter this destroyed building?"
I answered him: "To pray."
He told me: "You should have prayed in the road."

The Talmud mentions that one should never enter a destroyed building on any account. Nevertheless, since the Talmud made this statement regarding Rabbi Yossi's prayer, the Rambam teaches the laws concerning destroyed buildings here in Hilchot Tefillah (Kessef Mishneh).

nor should one pray behind a synagogue unless he turns his face towards the synagogue. - Berachot 6b states: "Anyone praying behind a synagogue is called wicked,... this applies only when he faces away from the synagogue, but if he faces the synagogue there is no problem."

Rashi (in Berachot 6b) states that by facing away from the synagogue when one prays, one appears to deny God who is worshiped within. Therefore, even if facing the synagogue requires one to turn away from Jerusalem, it is desirable.

Tosafot, Eruvin 18b, explains that this refers to a person standing on the side of the door facing away from the synagogue, and thus towards the opposite direction of those worshipping inside. Therefore, he must simply turn the other way and solve the problem. Hagahot Maimoniot suggests that “behind a synagogue” may even refer to standing on the side of the synagogue and looking away.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 90:7) mentions all these possibilities and rules that one should refrain from praying in any of these places.

It is forbidden to sit down next to someone in the midst of the Amidah - Berachot 31b refers to Chanah's prayers for a son and her subsequent remarks to Eli, the priest: "I am the woman who stood here with you" (I Samuel 1:26). This verses indicates that Eli, as well as Chanah, was standing at the time.

Rabbenu Yonah also mentions that this applies only to a person sitting idly, but one studying or reciting the Shema need not worry and may continue to sit.

or to pass in front of him - for walking in front of someone will disrupt that person's concentration.

Rabbenu Yonah (commenting on Berachot 27a) explains that this refers only to "in front of him," but not to the side.

The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 102:5) points out that the Zohar (Parshat Chayei Sarah) mentions that passing on the side is also forbidden.
The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 102:5 mentions a practical application of this halachah:

If one completes his Amidah when a colleague is praying behind him, he is forbidden from taking his three steps [backwards] until the person behind him finishes his Amidah. Were he to [step backwards], he is like one passing before another in the midst of the Amidah. One must be especially careful in this, even if the last one began his Amidah after the first person.

except at a distance of four cubits - which is not likely to distract one's colleague.

7

One should not stand in a place three or more handbreadths high and pray. [Similarly, he should not pray while standing] on a bed, bench, or chair.

A raised platform that has a surface area of four cubits by four cubits which is the [minimum] size of a house, is considered like an attic. Thus, one is permitted to pray there. Similarly, if it is surrounded by walls, even if it is not four cubits by four cubits, one may pray there, since its height is not noticeable, because it constitutes an area unto itself.

ז

לא יעמוד במקום גבוה שלשה טפחים או יותר ויתפלל ולא על גבי מטה ולא על גבי ספסל ולא על גבי כסא היה בנין גבוה אם יש בו ארבע אמות על ארבע אמות שהוא שיעור הבית הרי הוא כעליה ומותר להתפלל בו וכן אם היה מוקף מחיצות מכל רוחותיו אף על פי שאין בו ארבע אמות על ארבע אמות מותר להתפלל בו מפני שאין גבהו ניכר שהרי חלק רשות לעצמו:

One should not stand in a place three or more handbreadths high - A handbreadth is the size of a fist: approximately 8 centimeters according to Shiurei Torah. Based on the principle of lavud, anything lower than three handbreadths is considered to be part of the ground itself.

and pray - Berachot 10b mentions this and the following laws within the context of the requirement to pray in a low place stated in the previous halachah.

[Similarly, he should not pray while standing] on a bed, bench, or chair - The special mention of these objects requires explanation, since presumably, they would be included in the general category of a place three handbreadths or more high. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 90) quotes Rabbi Yitzchak Abuhav as suggesting that it is forbidden to pray while standing on these objects even if they are less than three handbreadths high. Even at this low height, a person may be unable to concentrate out of fear that he might fall.

The Prisha (Orach Chayim 90) maintains that it is unlikely that a person would fear falling from such a low height and offers a different rationale. He explains that these objects constitute a separation between the person and the ground. In the Temple, the sacrificial service could be performed only while one was standing directly on the ground. Therefore, our prayers must be recited in a similar manner.

A raised platform that has a surface area of four cubits by four cubits which is the [minimum] size of a house, - This measure is also significant in regard to the laws of property and the prohibition of transferring from one domain to another on the Sabbath.

is considered like an attic. - i.e., it is considered a space in its own right rather than a raised area within a larger space.

Thus, one is permitted to pray there. - Migdal Oz points out that on the basis of this halachah, the leader of the congregation often stands on a raised platform in the synagogue in order that he be heard by all the congregants.

Similarly, if it is surrounded by walls, even if it is not four cubits by four cubits, - though it lacks the necessary size, its walls cause it to be considered as an independent entity. Hence,...

one may pray there, since its height is not noticeable, because it constitutes an area unto itself. - i.e., because of the walls, no one will worry about falling despite the height.

8

Craftsmen working at the top of a tree, or on top of a board or wall when the time of the Amidah arrives must descend in order to pray, and then return to their work. If they were at the top of an olive or fig tree, they may pray where they are, because of the excessive effort [involved in descending].

What is it that they pray? If they are working for meals alone, they recite three prayers of 19 blessings. If they are working for wages, they recite "Give us understanding." In either case, they do not lead the congregation or lift up their hands [to bless the people].

ח

האומנין שהיו עושין מלאכה בראש האילן או בראש הנדבך או בראש הכותל והגיע זמן תפלה יורדין למטה ומתפללין וחוזרין למלאכתן ואם היו בראש הזית או בראש התאנה מתפללין במקומן מפני שטרחן מרובה ומה הן מתפללין אם היו עושין בסעודתן בלבד מתפללין שלש תפלות של תשעה עשר ברכות היו עושין בשכרן מתפללין הביננו ובין כך ובין כך אין יורדין לפני התיבה ואין נושאין את כפיהן:


Craftsmen - who are hired to work for others by the hour or day, in contrast, to a person working on his own time.

working at the top of a tree or on top of a board - In his commentary to the Mishnah, Berachot 2:4, the Rambam explains the meaning of the word נדבך as follows:

The custom of those building a wall of earth (as opposed to bricks or stones) was to set up two large boards of wood and throw the earth in between them. They would pack it tight with wooden tools until it had the shape of a wall, and then tie [the two boards together.] Afterwards, they would remove the boards from the structure they had built...

בראש הנדבך means "on top of the wall at the time that they are packing (the earth) between the boards that are called נדבכים."

or wall when the time of the Amidah arrives must descend in order to pray, - The Mishnah (Berachot 16a) contrasts the Shema which these individuals may recite in their places and prayer, which requires that they descend. The difference is that, in the Shema, intense concentration is only required when reciting the first verse, while the entire Shemoneh Esreh should be recited with such intention. Hence, it is likely that in such precarious positions, the fear of falling will prevent a person from maintaining his concentration for this prolonged period. See also Hilchot Kri'at Shema, Chapter 2, Halachah 4.

and then return to their work. - i.e., though they are hired workers and thus, their time is not their own, nevertheless, they are granted the time to fulfill their fundamental religious obligations in the proper manner. However, after discharging those duties, they must return to work immediately.

If they were at the top of an olive or fig tree, they may pray where they are because of the excessive effort [involved in descending]. - Berachot 16a differentiates between these trees and those of other species. Rashi explains that the danger of falling from these trees is minimal because of their thick branches, and, therefore, one may stand there firmly and pray.

The Rambam, based on the Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 2:5, explains that the wide branches make the descent problematical, and, therefore, the workers may pray in the trees themselves.

What it is that they pray? If they are working for meals alone they recite three Amidahs of 19 blessings - Berachot (ibid.) arrives at this differentiation based on an apparent contradiction between two beraitot, one stating that workers must recite the entire Amidah, and the other stating that the abridged version is sufficient.

Those working for daily wages are in effect paid by the hour and must use their time for their employer in the fullest manner possible. In contrast, implicit in an agreement to work for meals is that a high rate of productivity is not expected from such a worker. Hence, he is granted greater leniency.

If they are working for wages, they recite "Give us understanding" - i.e., the abridged version of the Amidah, discussed in Chapter 2, Halachot 2-4.

In either case, they do not lead the congregation - nor participate in communal prayer because of the additional time involved. Rashi (Berachot 16a) also agrees that this applies even to one working for meals.

or lift up their hands [to bless the people] - i.e., if the artisan is a Cohen he should not bless the people during the repetition of the Amidah. Rather, he should pray and then return to his work at the earliest possible time.

9

Control of one's voice: What is implied?

A person should not raise his voice during his Amidah, nor should he pray silently. Rather, he should pronounce the words with his lips, whispering in a tone that he can hear.

He should not make his voice audible unless he is sick or cannot concentrate otherwise. In such a case, it is permitted except when in a congregation, lest the others be disturbed by his voice.

ט

השוויית הקול כיצד לא יגביה קולו בתפלתו ולא יתפלל בלבו אלא מחתך הדברים בשפתיו ומשמיע לאזניו בלחש ולא ישמיע קולו אלא אם כן היה חולה או שאינו יכול לכוין את לבו עד שישמיע קולו הרי זה מותר ובלבד שלא יהא בציבור כדי שלא תטרף דעתן מקולו:


Control of one's voice: What is implied? A person should not raise his voice during his Amidah - Berachot 31a explains that these laws are derived from the description of Channah's prayer (I Samuel 1:13): "Channah spoke unto her heart, only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard."

nor should he pray silently - i.e., merely contemplating on the words of prayer in his heart. The Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 4:1, states that the phrase, "only her lips moved," implies that she was speaking, not only thinking to herself.

Rather, he should pronounce the words with his lips, whispering in a tone that he can hear - Sotah 32b relates: "Why did they decree that the Amidah must be whispered? In order that those who have transgressed will not be embarrassed."

Rashi explains that transgressors confess their sins before God during the Amidah, and, therefore, the Sages ruled that the entire Amidah should be recited in a hushed tone so that people would not feel embarrassed to confess.

He should not make his voice audible - The first clause of this halachah implies that one should not raise his voice and speak very loudly during the Amidah. This clause teaches that one should not even speak in a normal tone of voice.

Both of these laws are based on Berachot 24b:

One who makes his voice audible during the Amidah is among those of little faith (i.e., he seems to indicate that it is necessary to speak loudly in order that God should hear him - Rashi).
One who raises his voice in the Amidah is among the false prophets. (Rashi explains that this is based on I Kings 18:28, which describes the actions of the false prophets of Ba'al: "And they called out loudly.")

Lechem Yehudah notes that the mention of both these halachot is somewhat unnecessary. The prohibition of making one's voice audible alone would appear to be sufficient. However, since that prohibition is lifted on occasion as explained below, the Rambam mentioned also the first law which is followed regardless of the circumstances involved.

unless he is sick or cannot concentrate otherwise, - When stating the abovementioned restriction, Berachot (ibid.) mentions that it can be relaxed in this eventuality.

In such a case, it is permitted except when in a congregation, lest the others be disturbed by his voice. - The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 101 allows an exception to this rule on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. On these days, people devote more concentration to their prayers. Also, they generally pray from a prayerbook. Therefore, they are less likely to be disturbed by someone else's voice. Nevertheless, the Magen Avraham notes that the Zohar suggests praying in a hushed tone even on these days.

10

Bowing: What is implied?

One praying bows five times in each and every Amidah:

In the first blessing, at the beginning and at the end;
in the blessing of thanks, at the beginning and at the end; and
upon completing the Amidah, one bows and takes three steps backwards while bowing. He takes leave from his left and afterwards, from his right. Then, he lifts his head up from the bowed position.

When he bows the [other] four times, he does so at [the utterance of the word] "Blessed" and straightens up when [reciting] G‑d's name.

To whom does the above apply? To an average person. However, the High Priest bows at the beginning and end of each and every blessing. A king bows at the beginning [of the Amidah] and does not lift his head until he completes his whole Amidah.

י

כריעה כיצד המתפלל כורע חמש כריעות בכל תפלה ותפלה בברכה ראשונה בתחלה ובסוף ובהודיה בתחלה ובסוף וכשגומר התפלה כורע ופוסע שלש פסיעות לאחוריו וכשהוא כורע נותן שלום משמאל עצמו ואח"כ מימין עצמו ואח"כ מגביה ראשו מן הכריעה וכשהוא כורע בארבע הכריעות כורע בברוך וכשהוא זוקף זוקף בשם במה דברים אמורים בהדיוט אבל כהן גדול כורע בתחילת כל ברכה ובסוף כל ברכה והמלך כיון ששחה בראשונה אינו מגביה ראשו עד שגומר כל תפלתו:


Bowing, - The bows in the Amidah are intended to express the concept of complete abnegation of self (See Tanya, Chapters 39 and 42).

what is implied? One praying bows five times in each and every Amidah: - Berachot 34a relates that a person who bows at any other time should be taught to discontinue his practice.

In the first blessing, at the beginning and at the end - i.e., one bows during the recitation of ברוך אתה at the beginning of the blessing and the recitation of ברוך אתה at the end.

in the blessing of thanks, - The blessing מודים, the second to last blessing of the Amidah.

at the beginning and at the end - i.e., at the recitation of the words מודים אנחנו לך (We are thankful to You) and the recitation of ברוך אתה at the end.

and upon completing the Amidah, one bows and takes three steps backwards - Hagahot Maimoniot points out that one should begin his three steps backwards with his left foot, in order that his right foot be the last to withdraw from before God.

while bowing - Yoma 53b mentions that Rav Chiya, the son of Rav Huna, saw that Ravva and Abbaye took three steps backwards in the midst of a prolonged bow.

He takes leave - Yoma (ibid.) states: "A person who prays must take three steps backwards and then take his leave. Anyone who does not do this is better not to have prayed at all"

from his left and afterwards, from his right - See Halachah 11 for the explanation of this halachah.

When he bows the [other] four times, he does so at [the utterance of the word] "Blessed" and straightens up when [reciting] G‑d's name. - Berachot 12a explains the latter law based on Psalms 146:8: "God straightens those bent over."

The Maharal (Netiv Ha'avodah, Chapter 10) explains that this reflects how God is the source of all life and He grants man the power to act.

Then, he lifts his head up from the bowed position.

To whom does the above apply? To an average person. However, the High Priest bows at the beginning and end of each and every blessing. - The commentaries question the Rambam's statements, noting that there are two opinions concerning this law mentioned in Berachot 34a, b and neither corresponds to the Rambam's text. See Kessef Mishneh.

A king bows at the beginning [of the Amidah] and does not lift his head until he completes his whole Amidah. - Berachot (ibid.) bases this statement on I Kings 8:54: "And so it was when Solomon completed praying to God..., he rose from kneeling before the Altar of God."

Rashi explains that the High Priest and King bow down more because a person who occupies a position of greatness must lower and subjugate himself before God. The Maharal (ibid.) mentions that bowing is a natural response to one's feelings of closeness to God. Therefore, these two men, closer than others to God, bowed more frequently.

11

Why should one take leave from the left first? Because one's left is to the right [side] of His countenance; i.e., just like when one stands before a king, he takes leave from the right of the king, and then afterwards from the left of the king. Thus, they established that one should withdraw from the Amidah in the same manner as he withdraws from before a king.

יא

ולמה נותן שלום לשמאלו תחלה מפני ששמאלו הוא ימין שכנגד פניו כלומר כשהוא עומד לפני המלך נותן שלום לימין המלך ואחר כך לשמאל המלך וקבעו שיפטר מן התפלה כמו שנפטרין מלפני המלך:


Why should one take leave from the left first? - as stated in the previous halachah

Because one's left is to the right [side] - Yoma 53b relates:

One should take leave from the right and then from the left, as [Deuteronomy 33:2] states: "From His right [came] a fiery teaching for them," and [Psalms 91:7] states: "A thousand fall by Your side and ten thousand from Your right."
Ravva saw that Abbaye took leave from his right side first. He said to him: "Do you think this refers to your right? It refers to your left, which is the right side of the Holy One, blessed be He."

The Zohar (II p. 32a) makes similar statements:

Since the Holy Name is on the right and the Torah is on the right, all is dependent on the right. We learn that one must raise up the right over the left, as [Deuteronomy 33:2] states: "From His right [comes] a fiery teaching for them."

of His countenance - Rashi, Yoma (ibid.) explains that during prayer, one must envision himself standing before the Divine Presence. Thus, his right side is actually opposite God's left, so to speak.

i.e., just like when one stands before a - mortal

king, he takes leave from the right of the king, and then afterwards, from the left of the king. Thus, they - The Sages of the Great Assembly, when laying down the rules for prayer,

established that one should withdraw from the Amidah in the same manner as he withdraws from before a king.

12

All these bows require that one bow until the vertebrae in his spine protrude and he makes himself like a bow.

However, if one bows slightly [to the extent that] it causes him pain and he appears to have bowed with all of his power, he need not worry.

יב

כל הכריעות האלו צריך שיכרע בהן עד שיתפקקו כל חליות שבשדרה ויעשה עצמו כקשת ואם שחה מעט וציער עצמו ונראה ככורע בכל כחו אינו חושש:


All these bows require that one bow until the vertebrae in his spine protrude - Rashi (Berachot 28b) explains that one must bow until a colleague could see the פקקים (joints) in his back. Lechem Yehudah states one must bow until the vertebrae stick out.

and he makes himself like a bow - Berachot (ibid.) states that one should bow until he could see a coin placed opposite his heart. The Rashba explains that this refers to a coin that would be placed on the ground opposite one's heart. Thus, one should not bend over completely, but rather curve his back such that he can see the ground.

However, if one bows slightly [to the extent that] it causes him pain and he appears to have bowed with all of his power, he need not worry. - Berachot (ibid.) states:

Rabbi Chanina says: "One need not do more than nod his head."
Ravva commented: "This is the case if it causes him pain, as long as he appears as one who is bowing."

13

Prostration, what is implied?

After one lifts his head from the fifth bow, he sits on the ground, falls with his face towards the earth, and utters all the supplications that he desires.

"Kneeling" always refers to [falling to] one's knees; "bowing," to bending over on one's face; and "prostration," to stretching out on one's hands and feet until he is flat with his face on the ground.

יג

השתחויה כיצד אחר שמגביה ראשו מכריעה חמישית ישב לארץ ונופל על פניו ארצה ומתחנן בכל התחנונים שירצה כריעה האמורה בכ"מ על ברכים קידה על אפים השתחויה זה פישוט ידים ורגלים עד שנמצא מוטל על פניו ארצה:


Prostrating, what is implied]? After one lifts his head from the fifth bow, he sits on the ground, falls with his face towards the earth, and utters all the supplications - Megillah 22b relates that the custom of falling to the earth in supplication was followed in Babylonia in Talmudic times.

The Tur, Orach Chayim 131, explains that the reason for prostrating oneself after Shemoneh Esreh is that by doing so, one prays in all three positions of prayer employed by Moses:

sitting (during the verses of Praise), - "...and I sat on the mountain 40 days and 40 nights" (Deuteronomy 9:9),
standing (during Shemoneh Esreh) - "And I stood on the mountain as on the first day for 40 days and 40 nights" (Deuteronomy 10:10),
prostration - "And I fell down before God, as at first, for 40 days and 40 nights" (Deuteronomy 9:25).

The Zohar (Parshat BaMidbar) explains that after prayer, a person should feel as if he has returned his soul to God and has no life-energy left. Thus, he falls to the ground where he receives new spiritual power.

that he desires - i.e., there is no fixed text of prayers recited at this time. In his Seder Tefilot kol HaShanah, the Rambam writes: "It is our custom to make supplication while prostrated with these statements and verses; sometimes, mentioning them all and sometimes, mentioning only some of them."

Thus, though there was a basic text for these prayers (which is, to a large extent, included in the extended Tachanun recited on Mondays and Thursdays), what a person actually said was still left to his own creative impulse.

There are two different versions of תחנון today. The תחנון of Nusach Ha'ari is based on Psalm 25, whereas that of Nusach Ashkenaz and Nusach Sefard is based on Psalm 6.

"Kneeling" always refers to [falling to] one's knees; - Megillah 22b derives this law from I Kings 8:54: "And so it was when Solomon completed his Prayer to God... that he rose from kneeling on his knees."

"bowing," to bending over on one's face; - This is derived from I Kings 1:31: "And Bat Sheva bowed with her face to the earth" (ibid.).

and "prostration," to stretching out on one's hands and feet until he is lying flat with his face on the ground. - This is derived from Genesis 37:10: "Will it come to pass that I and your mother and brothers will prostrate ourselves to you on the ground" (ibid.).

The definition of these three terms is important within the context of the following halachah.

14

When uttering the supplication after the Amidah, there are those who bow and there are those who prostrate themselves.

It is forbidden to prostrate oneself on stones except in the Holy Temple, as we have explained in Hilchot Avodat Kochavim.

An important person is not permitted to fall on his face unless he is certain that he is as righteous as Yehoshua. Rather, he should tilt his face slightly, but not press it to the ground.

One may pray in one place and offer this supplication in another

יד

כשהוא עושה נפילת פנים אחר תפלה יש מי שהוא עושה קידה ויש מי שהוא עושה השתחויה ואסור לעשות השתחויה על האבנים אלא במקדש כמו שבארנו בהל' עבודת כוכבים ואין אדם חשוב רשאי ליפול על פניו אא"כ הוא יודע בעצמו שהוא צדיק כיהושע אבל מטה פניו מעט ואינו כובש אותן בקרקע ומותר לאדם להתפלל במקום זה וליפול על פניו במקום אחר:


When uttering the supplication - i.e., the prayer recited after Shemoneh Esreh. In Hebrew, the Rambam uses the term נפילת אפים, which means literally "falling on the face." However, this translation is employed since the intent of "falling on one's face" is to recite these supplications.

after the Amidah, there are those who bow and there are those who prostrate themselves - Megillah 22b indicates that this variance in custom existed even in Talmudic times.

It is interesting that in Halachah 13, the Rambam mentioned only histachavah, prostrating oneself, as the proper method for נפילת אפים. Perhaps, he considered it the most preferable position.

It is forbidden to prostrate oneself on stones except in the Holy Temple, as we have explained in Hilchot Avodat Kochavim - Chapter 6, Halachot 6 and 7. There, the Rambam explains that it was a normal practice of idolators to place stones down in order to prostrate themselves upon them. He states that the Biblical prohibition - (Leviticus 26:1): "You shall not place a paved stone in your land to bow upon it" - refers to השתחואה alone, as opposed to simply bowing, which although forbidden, does not obligate punishment. See also Sefer Hamitzvot, Negative Commandment 12.

The Rambam also notes that prostration was permitted in the Temple, since the above verse mentioned only "your land". Similarly, because of this prohibition, it is customary to lie rugs or mats on top of the stone floors in most synagogues.

An important person is not permitted to fall on his face unless he is certain that he is as righteous as Yehoshua - Megillah (ibid.) relates:

An important person is not permitted to fall on his face unless he will be answered like Yehoshua bin Nun, as [Joshua 7:10] states: "God said to Yehoshua: 'Get up and go. Why is it that you have fallen on your face?'”

Rashi explains that a person of stature would be subjected to ridicule if his prayer were not answered as Yehoshua's was.

The Jerusalem Talmud, Ta'anit 2:6, restricts the application of this Halachah. According to one version, the limitation exists only to יחיד על הציבור (an individual who is praying on behalf of the community). Another version states יחיד בציבור (an individual in a congregation).

In these cases, there might be cause for embarrassment if he was not answered. However, there is no such restriction when an individual prays by himself. See also Tosafot, Megillah (ibid.).

Rather, he should tilt his face slightly, but not press it to the ground. - Megillah (ibid.) derives this law from the actions of Ravvah and Abbaye, who followed this practice instead of falling to the ground in accordance with the above rule.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 131:8) rules in accordance with the Rambam. The Ramah adds that no one should prostrate himself on the floor even if it is not stone. Therefore, the custom today is that everyone rests their heads on their arms while reciting Tachanun.

One may pray in one place and offer this supplication in another place. - The Lechem Mishneh maintains that this can be derived from the following narrative in Megillah (ibid.). Rav came to a synagogue in Babylonia, but did not fall to the ground after the Shemoneh Esreh as they did. One of the explanations offered by the Talmud for his behavior is that there was a stone floor in front of Rav, but not in front of the other congregants. The Talmud then asks: "Why didn't Rav move to their place?", obviously implying that one may offer this supplication in a place other than one's place of prayer.

15

It is an accepted custom among the entire Jewish people not to utter the supplication on Sabbaths or festivals. Nor [does one utter it] on Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah or Purim or in Minchah on the eve of Sabbaths or holidays, nor in the Evening Prayer of any day. There are [however,] individuals who do utter the supplication in the Evening Prayer.

On Yom Kippur only, one utters the supplication prayer in every prayer, since it is a day of supplication, requests, and fasting.

טו

מנהג פשוט בכל ישראל שאין נפילת אפים בשבתות ובמועדים ולא בראש השנה ולא בראשי חדשים ובחנוכה ובפורים ולא במנחה של ערבי שבתות וימים טובים ולא בערבית שבכל יום ויש יחידים שנופלים על פניהם בערבית וביוה"כ בלבד נופלים על פניהם בכל תפלה ותפלה מפני שהוא יום תחנה ובקשה ותענית:


It is an accepted custom among the entire Jewish people not to utter the supplication on Sabbaths or festivals. Nor [does one utter it] on Rosh Hashanah, Rosh Chodesh, Chanukah or Purim - This custom is also mentioned in the Siddur of Rav Saadia Gaon.

The days mentioned are all joyous occasions. At such times, we do not beseech God with extra supplication. Rather, we concentrate on the goodness that we have already received from Him. Similarly, we refrain from נפילת אפים at other occasions of joy; for example, a bride and groom on the day of their wedding and the week following it, and the participants in a ברית מילה (circumcision) are exempt from נפילת אפים. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim╟13 131:4.)

or in Minchah on the eve of Sabbaths or holidays, - when the festive nature of these days can already be felt.

nor in the Evening Prayer of any day - The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 131) explains that we refrain from reciting Tachanun at night for mystic reasons. Tachanun relates to the aspect of stern judgement which is also identified with the night. It is not proper to combine both aspects of judgement together.

There are [however,] individuals who do utter the supplication in the Evening Prayer - Otzar Geonim on Megillah 23b discusses the various customs regarding the utterance of נפילת אפים. Rav Sar Shalom mentions that, although it is not his custom, there are some people who do נפילת אפים after מעריב.

On Yom Kippur only, one utters the supplication in every prayer, since it is a day of supplication, requests, and fasting. - Though we recite confessional prayers in each service of Yom Kippur, the only times we fall to the ground in supplication is during the Avodah of the Musaf prayers (Ma'aseh Rokeach).


Tefilah and Birkat Kohanim - Chapter Six

1

A person is forbidden to walk behind a synagogue at the time that the congregation is praying, unless he is carrying a burden or there are two entrances to the synagogue on different sides. [In the latter instance], anyone who sees him would presume that perhaps he is planning to enter [the synagogue] through the other entrance.

Similarly, if there are two synagogues in the city, a person seeing him would say that perhaps he is going to his usual synagogue.

If one is wearing tefillin on his head, he is permitted to pass [a synagogue] even without any of these conditions, since the tefillin indicate that he is a person who is seriously interested in the performance of commandments, and not one to refrain from prayer.

א

אסור לו לאדם לעבור אחורי בית הכנסת בשעה שהציבור מתפללין אלא אם כן היה נושא משאוי או שהיה לבית הכנסת שני פתחים בשני רוחות שהרואה אומר שמא ילך ויכנס מפתח האחר וכן אם היה בעיר שני בתי כנסיות יאמר הרואה שמא ילך לבית הכנסת הרגיל בו ואם יש לו תפילין בראשו מותר לו לעבור ואע"פ שאין שם אחד מכל אלו שהתפילין מוכיחין עליו שהוא רודף אחר מצות ואינו ממבטלי תפלה:

A person is forbidden to walk behind a synagogue - This refers to the side of the synagogue on which there is an entrance. However, a person walking on the other side of the synagogue does not appear to dismiss the idea of prayer, since he has not willfully abstained from entering the place of worship (Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 90).

at the time that the congregation is praying, - Rashi, Berachot 61a, explains that a person passing by appears to be fleeing from the synagogue and the obligations observed therein.

unless he is carrying a burden - Since he is carrying a bundle, it is clearly understood why he is not entering the synagogue.

Berachot 8b quotes the above prohibition in the name of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi. It then quotes Abbaye who mentions the various qualifications related by the Rambam.

or there are two entrances to the synagogue on different sides. [In the latter instance], anyone who sees him would presume that perhaps he is planning to enter [the synagogue] through the other entrance. - Berachot 8b mentions the idea of two entrances to the synagogue. However, the specification that the entrances be on different sides is the Rambam's addition. Only in such a case could one seeing the person imagine that he is entering the synagogue by its other entrance. If the entrances are on the same side, the observer need simply wait to see if he also passes by the second entrance.

Similarly, if there are two synagogues in the city, a person seeing him would say that perhaps he is going to his usual synagogue - and is not shirking his responsibility to pray.

If one is wearing tefillin on his head, - See Hilchot tefillin 4:25 which mentions the obligation to wear tefillin throughout the entire day, even after one finished prayer. At present, as explained in the Tur (Orach Chayim 39), it is customary to wear tefillin only during prayer.

he is permitted to pass [a synagogue] even without any of these conditions, since the tefillin indicate that he is a person who is seriously interested in the performance of commandments, and not one to refrain from prayer.

2

One praying with a congregation should not lengthen his prayer excessively. [However,] he may do so when praying alone. If, after praying, he desires to [add to his prayers], he may, including even the confession of Yom Kippur.

Similarly, he may add in each of the middle blessings something relevant to that blessing if he desires.

ב

המתפלל עם הציבור לא יאריך את תפלתו יותר מדאי אבל בינו לבין עצמו הרשות בידו ואם בא לומר אחר תפלתו אפילו כסדר וידוי יום הכפורים אומר וכן אם רצה להוסיף בכל ברכה וברכה מן האמצעיות מעין הברכה מוסיף:

One praying with a congregation should not lengthen his prayer excessively - From the passage from Berachot quoted below, it would appear that the prohibition was instituted to prevent the discomfort that would be caused were the congregation to be forced to wait for one individual to finish his prayers. Rav Kapach notes that even if the congregation would not necessarily wait, it is forbidden to do so, lest one appear haughty.

[However,] he may do so when praying alone. - Berachot 31a states:

This was the custom of Rabbi Akiva; when praying in a congregation he would shorten his prayer in order not to bother those present, but when he prayed alone, one would leave him while he was in one corner of the room and [return and] find him in the other corner because of his bowings and prostrations.

If, after praying, - i.e., after he has completed Shemoneh Esreh

he desires to [add to his prayers] he may, - The Talmud (Avodah Zarah 8a and Berachot 31a) states that even though generally one should limit his requests during the recitation of Shemoneh Esreh to the blessing of שומע תפילה, this restriction does not apply after one concludes praying.

including even the confession of Yom Kippur. - The Talmud (ibid.) (and, similarly, the authoritative Oxford manuscript of the Mishneh Torah) states that after prayer, one may add “the order of the day of Yom Kippur” and does not mention וידוי (confession).

One might conclude that this indicates that one may add as much as he likes. The prayers of Yom Kippur are mentioned since they serve as the paradigm of long prayer.

Similarly, he may add in each of the middle blessings something relevant to that blessing if he desires. - as explained in the following halachah.

3

What is implied?

If one has a sick person [for whom he wants to pray], he should request mercy for this person in the blessing for the sick as eloquently as he can.

If he requires sustenance, he should add a supplication and request in the blessing for material prosperity. The same applies regarding each of the other blessings.

Should one desire to ask for all his needs in the blessing of "the One who hears Prayer," he may do so. However, he should make no requests in the first three or last three [blessings].

ג

כיצד היה לו חולה מבקש עליו רחמים בברכת חולים כפי צחות לשונו היה צריך לפרנסה מוסיף תחנה ובקשה בברכת השנים ועל דרך זה בכל אחת מהן ואם רצה לשאול כל צרכיו בשומע תפלה שואל אבל לא ישאול לא בשלש ראשונות ולא בשלש אחרונות:

What is implied? - by the last clause of the previous halachah.

If one has a sick person [for whom he wants to pray] he should request mercy for this person in the blessing for the sick, - Avodah Zarah 8a notes:

Even though [the Sages] taught that a person should make his special requests in [the blessing of] שומע תפילה, one may add at the end of each blessing something relevant to that blessing.

The Talmud quotes a second teaching which specifically mentions the two examples given by the Rambam.

as eloquently as he can. - Note Chapter 1, Halachah 4, which explains that the reason the Sages established a standard text of prayer was to prevent people from praying in a non-eloquent manner. Though a person is allowed to make whatever additions to prayer he desires, he should try to use the most elegant means of expression as possible.

If he requires sustenance, he should add a supplication and request in the blessing for material property. - The sixth of the intermediate blessings.

The same applies regarding each of the other [blessings]. - For example, Rashi (Avodah Zarah, ibid.) explains that one desiring not to forget that which he has learned should make such a request in חונן הדעת [the first of the intermediate blessings].

Should one desire to ask for all his needs in the blessing of "the One who hears Prayer," he may do so. - without qualms. There is no requirement to make one's requests in the other blessings as mentioned above.

However, he should make no requests in the first three or last three [blessings]. - See Berachot 34a and also Chapter 1, Halachah 9, and commentary.

4

A person is forbidden to taste anything or to do any work from dawn until after he has recited the Morning Prayer. He should also refrain from visiting the house of a friend to greet him before he has recited the Morning Prayer; nor should he set out on a journey before he has prayed.

However, one may taste food or do work before reciting Musaf or Minchah, although he should not have a full meal close to the time for Minchah.

ד

אסור לו לאדם שיטעום כלום או שיעשה מלאכה מאחר שיעלה עמוד השחר עד שיתפלל תפלת שחרית וכן לא ישכים לפתח חבירו לשאול בשלומו קודם שיתפלל תפלת שחרית ולא יצא בדרך קודם שיתפלל אבל טועם ועושה מלאכה קודם שיתפלל מוסף וקודם מנחה אבל אינו סועד סמוך למנחה:

A person is forbidden to taste - This includes both eating and drinking and indicates that one is forbidden from even tasting the smallest amount of food.

anything - Berachot 10b relates:

What does [Leviticus 19:26]: "You should not eat with blood" mean? You should not eat before you have prayed al dimchem [lit. “for your blood”]...
Anyone who eats and drinks and [only] afterwards prays - about him [I Kings 14:9[ states: "... and you have cast Me behind your body." Do not read גויך (your body), but rather גאיך (your pride). The Holy One, blessed be He, says: "After you have acted proudly and haughtily [by eating], will you accept upon yourself the sovereignty of Heaven?"

Thus, it is clear that one must deal with his spiritual obligations before fulfilling his physical needs.

Note Chapter 5, Halachah 2, where the Rambam states that one who is hungry or thirsty is considered sick and must eat or drink before prayer in order to pray with proper intention. For this reason, medicines also present no problem and may be taken before Shacharit (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 89:3).

The Mishnah Berurah (89:22) grants permission to drink tea or coffee before prayer, if this will help one's concentration during prayer. However,he suggests not putting sugar into the drink. The Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chayim 89:23) allows one to add sugar to tea and even suggests that adding milk is permissible.

or to do any work - Berachot 14a relates:

A person is forbidden to deal with his personal matters before he prays, as [Psalms 85:14] states: "[He will place] righteousness before him and he will place his feet in the path."

Rashi explains that first one must pay heed to the righteousness of the Creator, and only then walk in the way - i.e., do work that is necessary for his own personal needs.

from dawn until after he has recited the Morning Prayer - Dawn is the earliest possible time for the Morning Prayer. (See Chapter 3, Halachah 7.) Therefore, as soon as the obligation of prayer exists, one is forbidden to eat or drink.

He should also refrain from visiting the house of a friend to greet him before he has recited the Morning Prayer; - Berachot 14a relates:

Anyone who greets his friend before praying has, so to speak, made his friend into an altar, as [Isaiah 2:22] states: "Desist from the man whose life is in his nostrils, as for what is he considered." Do not read bemah (“for what”) but rather bamah (“an altar”).

Nevertheless, the Talmud explains that this prohibition only applies to going to a friend's house to greet him. Greeting him in the street is permitted.

nor should he set out on a journey before he has prayed. - Berachot 14a derives this law based on the same verse used as the source for the prohibition of working before praying.

However, one may taste food or do work before reciting Musaf or Minchah - Berachot 28b quotes two opinions, one of Rav Huna forbidding eating before Musaf, and one of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi forbidding eating before Minchah, but does not accept either of them as binding.

although he should not have a full meal close to the time for Minchah - Though the Talmud rejects the opinion of Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi regarding טעימה (tasting). However, there are restrictions in regard to eating a meal as explained in the following halachah (Kessef Mishneh).

5

Once the time for Minchah Gedolah arrives, one should not enter a bathhouse, even [if only] to sweat, until he has prayed, lest he faint and neglect prayer.

He should not eat, even a snack, lest he continue eating and neglect prayer, nor [should he] judge [a court case], even if only to render a final judgment, lest the decision be questioned and the matter be drawn out and cause him to miss prayer.

Similarly, one should not sit in a barber's chair, even for a regular haircut, until he prays, lest the scissors break. He should not enter a tanning house close to Minchah before he has prayed, lest he see a deficiency in his work which he will deal with, and [thereby] be delayed from praying.

If he begins doing one of these things, he need not stop, but may finish and then recite Minchah.

ה

כיון שהגיע זמן מנחה גדולה לא יכנס למרחץ אפילו להזיע עד שיתפלל שמא יתעלף ויבטל מן התפלה ולא לאכול אפילו אכילת עראי שמא ימשך באכילה ולא לדון אפילו בגמר דין שמא יסתר הדין וימשך ויבטל מן התפלה וכן לא ישב לפני הספר לספור אפילו תספורת הדיוט עד שיתפלל שמא ישבר הזוג ולא ליכנס לבורסקי סמוך למנחה עד שיתפלל שמא יראה הפסד במלאכתו ויתעסק בה ויתעכב מן התפלה ואם התחיל באחת מאלו לא יפסיק אלא גומר ואחר כך מתפלל תפלת מנחה:

Once the time for Minchah Gedolah arrives - i.e., six and a half hours (שעות זמניות) of the day, as explained in Chapter 3, Halachah 2.

one should not enter a bathhouse - This and the following laws are based on the Mishnah (Shabbat 9b): "One should not sit in front of the barber close to Minchah until he has prayed..." The Talmud explains that this refers to Minchah Gedolah.

even [if only] to sweat, until he has prayed - This person is not interested in bathing in the hot or cold bath or washing himself well, which are time-consuming activities. Nevertheless, since a prohibition was instituted against bathing...

lest he faint and neglect prayer - the restriction was enforced even in this instance.

He should not eat, even a snack, lest he continue eating and neglect prayer - In the previous halachah, the Rambam rules that one may taste food before Minchah, but forbade eating a meal. Here, he states that even a snack is forbidden. The Kessef Mishneh explains that eating a כביצה (the equivalent of an egg, 52 or 100 cubic centimeters, according to Shiurei Torah and the Chazon Ish, respectively) of fruit, or a כזית (an olive size, approximately 26 or 50 cubic centimeters, according to the same references cited) of bread constitutes achilat ari’ai which we have translated as a snack.

nor [should he] judge [a court case], even if only to render a final judgment, lest the decision be questioned and the matter be drawn out and cause him to miss prayer. - The Mishnah quoted above states simply that one must not sit in judgment close to Minchah. In his commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam states:

Even if the case is finished and the judges have heard the claims of the adversaries in the case, and have deliberated [and reached a verdict], and need only announce their final decision, the judge should not sit to render this decision close to the time of Minchah, lest he see the case in a different light and be required to start again, or the adversaries restate their claims and the matters drag on until the time [for Minchah] passes.

Similarly, one should not sit in a barber's chair, even for a regular haircut - as opposed to the especially intricate haircut given the High Priest, called the haircut of "ben Elasa" (Shabbat 9b). (See also Hilchot Klei HaMikdash 5:6)

until he prays, lest the scissors break - and the time for prayer pass before the barber can secure another scissors.

He should not enter a tanning house close to Minchah before he has prayed, lest he see a deficiency in his work which he will deal with, and [thereby] be delayed from praying. - The Rambam explains, in his commentary on the Mishnah, that if one sees a deficiency in the skin he will attempt to stop further damage, and his involvement in this work could last until after the end of the time for Minchah.

The Rambam's interpretation of the mishnah is not accepted by other authorities. Tosafot (Shabbat, loc. cit.) rules that only complicated activities are forbidden and simple acts, e.g., a snack or a normal haircut are permitted.

This disagreement finds expression in the rulings of the later authorities. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 232:2) quotes the Rambam's view. The Ramah brings a third opinion (of the Ba'al HaMa'or) which rules that even a large meal is permissible before Minchah Gedolah, and that a snack is permissible even before Minchah K'tanah. He adds that perhaps the reason for this leniency is that since it was customary to call people to synagogue, it is unlikely that they would not forget to go. However, he advises following the more stringent view when praying alone.

If he begins one of these things - Even if he began after the time of Minchah Gedolah and, therefore, his beginning was a transgression (Hagahot Maimoniot).

he need not stop, but may finish and then recite Minchah - This leniency is also based on the Mishnah (Shabbat, loc. cit.). After listing all the activities that are forbidden once Minchah Gedolah arrives, the Mishnah concludes: "And if he starts, he need not stop."

The Kessef Mishneh explains that this is the case only if he will be able to recite Minchah before the conclusion of the appropriate time. To emphasize this point, the Rambam mentions explicitly: "and then recite Minchah" - i.e., after he finishes doing whatever it is that he has started doing. However, if there will not be time to pray afterwards, he must stop and pray. Only then may he resume his activity.

The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 232:2, follows this interpretation of the Rambam and adds that if there will not be time afterwards, one must stop what he is doing immediately. The Magen Avraham points out that this means that even if it is still relatively early, if one is eating and expects the meal to continue until after the time of Minchah, he must stop immediately and pray, rather than wait until sometime later before the end of the day.

6

When is the beginning of a haircut? When he puts the barber's cloth over his knees.

When is the beginning of a bath? When he takes off his underclothes.

When is the beginning of [work in the] tanning house? When he ties the apron between his shoulders, as is the way of artisans.

When is the beginning of eating? For those who live in Eretz Yisrael, it is when one washes his hands. For inhabitants of Babylonia, it is when they loosen their belts.

When is the beginning of judgment? When the judges robe themselves in their taleisim and sit down. If they were [already] sitting, it is when the adversaries begin to make their claims.

ו

מאימתי התחלת תספורת משיניח מעפורת של ספרין על ברכיו ומאימתי התחלת מרחץ משיפשוט הבגד הסמוך לבשרו ומאימתי התחלת הבורסקי משיקשור בגד בין כתפיו כמו שהאומנין עושין ומאימתי התחלת אכילה לבני ארץ ישראל משיטול ידיו ולבני בבל משיתיר חגורו ומאימתי התחלת הדין משיתעטפו הדיינים וישבו ואם היו יושבין משיתחילו בעלי דינין לטעון:

When is the beginning of a haircut? - In Halachah 5, the Rambam taught us that if one had already begun his involvement in any of these activities, he need not stop in order to recite Minchah. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what constitutes involvement in these activities.

When he puts the barber's cloth over his knees - The מעפורת is an apron used to collect the hairs falling from one's head during a haircut, so that they do not fall onto his clothes. (Shabbat 9b) In his commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam states that one who has put the cloth over his knees "is prepared for a haircut." From that point on, even though no hair has actually been cut, he is considered involved in the haircut, so that he need not stop to pray.

When is the beginning of a bath? - i.e., when is he considered to be bathing, so that he need not stop to pray?

When he takes off his underclothes - literally, "the garments next to his skin." This is based on the Rambam's interpetation of Shabbat 9b: "When he removes his מעפרתו from himself." Rashi, in his commentary on that passage, offers a different interpretation - one's outermost garment, i.e., the first garment removed. The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 232:2) rules in line with Rashi's position.

When is the beginning of [work in the] tanning house? When he ties the apron between his shoulders, as is the way of artisans. - Shabbat 9b states simply: "When he ties between his shoulders." In his commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam explains that it is when he ties his belt in order to work with the skins. Evidently this means the belt around his apron. There is a version of the Rambam's commentary on the Mishnah which mentions also that he begins working with the skins. This is, however, hard to understand in light of his commentary here in the Mishneh Torah.

When is the beginning of eating? For those who live in Eretz Yisrael, it is when one washes one's hands - Shabbat 9b records a disagreement between Rav and Rabbi Chanina. Rav states that washing one's hands constitutes the beginning of eating, whereas Rabbi Chanina is of the opinion that loosening one's belt before eating is the beginning of the meal. The Talmud concludes that there is no real argument. Rav described the halachah for inhabitants of Eretz Yisrael, and Rabbi Chanina, for those of Babylonia.

For the inhabitants of Babylonia, it is when they loosen their belts - Rashi explains that the custom in Babylonia was to wear their belts particularly tight, necessitating that they be loosened prior to eating. This was not the case in Eretz Yisrael.

It is interesting to note that in his commentary on the Mishnah, the Rambam mentions only the halachah of washing one's hands. Since the Mishnah was written in Eretz Yisrael, its interpretation must be in line with the customs and realities of Eretz Yisrael. However, in the Mishneh Torah, the Rambam focuses on the actual halachah. Hence, he defines the beginning of eating in line with both positions, one relevant to Eretz Yisrael and the other to Babylonia.

When is the beginning of judgment? When the judges robe themselves in their talleisim and sit down. - Rashi explains that the judges wore their talleisim in court in order to focus their attention on the serious nature of the matter at hand. Shabbat 10a states: "Any judge who adjudicates a judgment of absolute truth ..., is considered by the Torah to be a partner with God in the creation of the world."

If they were [already] sitting, it is when the adversaries begin to make their claims - Shabbat 10a makes this point of clarification.

7

Even though the Evening Prayer is not obligatory, one should not come home from his work and say: "I will eat a little and sleep a little and then I will pray," lest sleep overtake him and he sleep all night. Rather, he should [first] pray, and afterwards he may eat, drink or sleep.

It is permissible to have a haircut or enter a bathhouse before the Morning Prayer. [The Sages] only established their decree before Minchah, since it is common for most people to go there during the day. However, in the morning, [these actions] are uncommon. Hence, they did not establish a decree.

ז

אף על פי שתפלת ערבית רשות לא יבא אדם ממלאכתו ויאמר אוכל מעט ואישן קמעא ואח"כ אתפלל שמא תאנוס אותו שינה ונמצא ישן כל הלילה אלא מתפלל ערבית ואח"כ אוכל ושותה או ישן ומותר להסתפר וליכנס למרחץ סמוך לשחרית מפני שלא גזרו אלא סמוך למנחה שהוא דבר המצוי שרוב העם נכנסין שם ביום אבל בשחר דבר שאינו מצוי לא גזרו בו:

Even though the Evening Prayer is not obligatory - See Chapter 1, Halachah 6 and the commentary there.

one should not come home from his work and say: "I will eat a little and sleep a little and then I will pray," lest sleep overtake him and he sleep all night. Rather, he should [first] pray, and afterwards, he may eat, drink or sleep. - Berachot 4b discusses the decree of the Sages requiring the recitation of the Shema before midnight even though its actual time lasts until dawn (See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:9.). That passage states:

The Sages produced a support for their words in order that a person not come in from the field in the evening and say: "I shall go home, eat a little, sleep a little and then recite the Shema and pray," lest he be overcome by sleep and sleep all night.
Rather, he should come from the field in the evening and enter the synagogue. If he is accustomed to recite the Shema immediately, he should. If he is accustomed to study Torah first, he should study, recite the Shema, pray and then eat his bread and recite grace.

In contrast to the restrictions mentioned in the previous halachah in regard to the afternoon prayers...

It is permissible to have a haircut or enter a bathhouse before the Morning Prayer. [The Sages] only established their decree before Minchah, since it is common for most people to go there during the day. However, in the morning, [these actions] are uncommon. Hence they did not establish a decree. - Since the Mishnah cited above mentions only "close to Minchah," the Rambam assumes that the halachot apply only to מנחה and not to שחרית for the reason he explains.

The Rambam does not mention going to the tanning house or eating in this halachah, because they are included in Halachah 4 regarding working or eating before the Morning Prayer, both of which are prohibited.

8

A person who is involved in the study of Torah when the time for prayer arrives must stop and pray. If the study of Torah is his full-time occupation and he does not work at all, and he is involved in the study of Torah at the time of prayer, he need not stop, since the commandment of the study of Torah is greater that the commandment of prayer.

Anyone involved in efforts for the welfare of the community is like one involved in Torah study.

ח

מי שהיה עוסק בתלמוד תורה והגיע זמן התפלה פוסק ומתפלל ואם היתה תורתו אומנותו ואינו עושה מלאכה כלל והיה עוסק בתורה בשעת תפלתו אינו פוסק שמצות תלמוד תורה גדולה ממצות תפלה וכל העוסק בצרכי רבים כעוסק בדברי תורה:

A person who is involved in the study of Torah when the time for prayer arrives must stop and pray - The Mishnah (Shabbat 9b) states that one must stop for Kri'at Shema, but not for prayer. The Talmud (11a) explains that this refers to one involved in the study of Torah.

If the study of Torah is his full-time occupation and he does not work at all, - Shabbat (ibid.) continues:

This applies only to Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his colleagues, whose full time occupation was the study of Torah, but we stop studying to recite the Shema and to pray.

Rashi explains that anyone who interrupts his studies in order to work, must also interrupt his studies in order to pray.

and he is involved in the study of Torah at the time of prayer, he need not stop, since the commandment of the study of Torah is greater than the commandment of prayer - In Hilchot Talmud Torah 3:3, the Rambam states: "There is no commandment among all the commandments that is equal to the study of Torah. Rather, the study of Torah is equal to all the other commandments, since study brings one to action. Therefore, study comes before action at all times."

A person involved in Torah study achieves a level of unity with God that is unparalleled by any other activity. One's intellect and God's wisdom become inextricably linked, until they are indistinguishable during the moments of one's actual involvement in study. On this basis, we can understand the description of Torah with the metaphor of bread (Proverbs 9:5, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 4:13). After bread is consumed by a person, it becomes assimilated into his blood and becomes part of the person himself. Similarly, when Torah is studied, it becomes absorbed into the person's character and becomes an integral part of his being (Tanya, Chapter 5).

As explained in the introduction to this text, prayer focuses on our attempt to relate to the Godliness that permeates our worldly existence. Though this is an extremely significant service, the connection established through Torah study is more complete. Thus, Shabbat 10a records how Ravvah rebuked Rav Hamnuna for neglecting his Torah studies to prolong his prayers. By doing he was "abandoning eternal life for transcient life." Therefore, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai and his colleagues whose commitment to Torah was all encompassing were not required to interrupt their studies for prayer.

Anyone involved in efforts for the welfare of the community is like one involved in Torah study - i.e., he can be compared to one whose full time occupation is the study of Torah. Therefore, he is exempt from the Amidah at that time.

This comparison of community work to the study of Torah is found in the Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 5:1. However, there it is taught in the context of praying in the midst of words of Torah. (See Chapter 4, Halachah 18.) Community work is also considered like Torah, so that one may pray after such work and it is considered as if he prayed in the midst of words of Torah.

The Kessef Mishneh explains that the Rambam derives this law from the continuation of the Talmudic passage (Shabbat 11a) cited above. The Talmud states that one involved in the decision of whether or not to proclaim a leap year (עיבור שנה) need not stop to pray, even though Torah study is not his full-time occupation. The Kessef Mishneh posits that the Rambam views involvement in עיבור שנה as community work. On this basis, he concludes that one need not stop in order to pray if he is involved in such activities.

9

One is forbidden to interrupt his Amidah except in a situation where his life is endangered. Even if the King of Israel greets him, he must not answer him. However, he may interrupt [to answer] a non-Jewish king, lest he kill him.

A person standing in the [midst of the] Amidah who sees a non-Jewish king or tyrant approaching him should shorten [his prayer]. If unable to do so, he may stop. Similarly, if one sees snakes or scorpions approaching him in a place where their bite is fatal, he should stop [praying] and flee. If they are not fatal, he should not stop.

ט

אין המתפלל מפסיק תפלתו אלא מפנ סכנת נפשות בלבד ואפילו מלך ישראל שואל בשלומו לא ישיבנו אבל פוסק הוא למלך עובד כוכבים שמא יהרגנו היה עומד בתפלה וראה מלך עובדי כוכבים או אנס בא כנגדו יקצר ואם אינו יכול יפסיק וכן אם ראה נחשים ועקרבים באים כנגדו אם הגיעו אליו והיה דרכן באותן המקומות שהן ממיתין פוסק ובורח ואם לא היה דרכן להמית אינו פוסק:


One is forbidden to interrupt his Amidah except in a situation where his life is endangered - In Hilchot Kri'at Shema 2:15-17, we discussed the various situations in which one is allowed to interrupt his recitation of the Shema. Here, the Rambam teaches that the laws regarding the Amidah are much more strict. Only a threat to one's very life is considered sufficient cause to interrupt the Amidah.

Even if the King of Israel greets him, he must not answer him - The Mishnah (Berachot 29b) states: "Even if the king greets him, he may not answer." The Talmud explains that this applies only to a Jewish king, but not to a foreign king. A Jewish king is expected to appreciate the seriousness of prayer and realize that a person's unwillingness to interrupt his prayers is not intended as an insult to the king's authority, but rather, submission to an even greater authority.

It is interesting to note that this halachah is taught in the Mishnah within the context of halachot stressing the serious nature of the Amidah and the high level of concentration necessary. Just as we learned that the level of intention necessary for the Amidah is greater than that necessary for Kri'at Shema (see Chapter 5, Halachah 8 and the commentary there), so too, the halachot regarding interruptions are stricter, as mentioned.

However, he may interrupt [and answer] a non-Jewish king, lest he - fail to understand the concept explained above and...

kill him - as a rebel against the king.

Berachot 32b-33a relates the following story which shows that the Sages did not always avail themselves of the leniency granted:

A righteous man was once praying on the road. A minister approached him and greet him. However, he did not respond.
[The minister] waited until he had finished praying and said to him: "Empty one! Is it not written in your Torah: 'Take heed and watch yourself carefully' (Deuteronomy 4:9), and 'Guard yourselves very carefully' (Deuteronomy 4:15)."
"When I greeted you, why didn't you answer? If I had cut off your head with my sword, who would have sought vengeance for your life?"
He said to him: "Let me appease you with words. If you were standing in front of an earthly king and your friend came and greeted you would you answer him?"
[The minister] said: "No."
"And if you did answer him what would they do to you?"
He replied: "They would cut off my head!"
He said: "And is it not reasonable that if you [would not interrupt] while standing in front of an earthly king who is here today and in the grave tomorrow, so too I, standing in front of the King of Kings, the Holy One blessed be He, who is eternally present, all the more so [should I not interrupt in order to return greetings]."
The minister was appeased immediately, and the righteous person returned home in peace."

A person standing in the [midst of the] Amidah who sees a non-Jewish king or tyrant approaching him should shorten [his prayer]. - Rabbenu Yonah explains that this means simply to recite the beginning and end of each blessing. The Kessef Mishneh also agrees with this explanation.

In Chapter 2, Halachot 2-3, the Rambam mentions the text for a shortened prayer. However, there is not necessarily a contradiction between this opinion and that law.

If unable to do so, he may stop. - Berachot 32b offers these two alternatives.

Rabbenu Yonah maintains that if possible, one should move slightly in order to avoid confronting the king or tyrant, and thus avoid the need to talk.

Similarly, if one sees snakes or scorpions approaching him in a place where their bite is fatal, he should stop [praying] and flee. If they are not fatal, he should not stop. - The Mishnah (Berachot 29b) states: "...and even if there is a snake curled around his ankle, he should not interrupt [his Amidah]." The Talmud (33a) mentions that a snake does not cause an interruption, but a scorpion does. Rashi explains that though snakes are not likely to bite, scorpions are likely to sting. Thus, the passage raises questions on the Rambam's decision, for he does not distinguish between snakes and scorpions.

The Rambam's statements appear to be based on the Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 5:1, which states that one ignores a snake only if it is simply curling around his leg. However, were the snake to approach him in a menacing fashion, appearing likely to bite, he may flee from the snake.

It is important to note that there is no actual need to interrupt his Amidah in the case of the dangerous creatures. He need simply leave that spot, find a safe place and continue praying.

Hagahot Maimoniot points out that in all the cases mentioned, even if he did actually speak in the middle of Shemoneh Esreh, he need only start again at the beginning of the blessing in which he stopped. If, however, he interrupted himself during the first or last three blessings, he should return to the beginning of the beginning of the first of the three blessings.

The laws mentioned in this halachah are discussed in the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 104.

10

Women, slaves and children are obligated to pray. Anyone exempt from Kri'at Shema is also exempt from the Amidah.

All those accompanying the dead [for burial], even if they are not required to carry the coffin, are exempt from the Amidah.

י

נשים ועבדים וקטנים חייבים בתפלה וכל איש שפטור מקריאת שמע פטור מן התפלה וכל המלוין את המת אף על פי שאין למטה צורך בהן פטורין מן התפלה:

Women, slaves and children are obligated to pray - This is based on the Mishnah (Berachot 20a-b). This halachah is discussed in Chapter 1, Halachah 2.

Anyone exempt from Kri'at Shema is also exempt from the Amidah. - The laws regarding those exempt from Kri'at Shema are contained in Hilchot Kri'at Shema 4:3-6. The exemption of these people from the Amidah is stated explicitly in the Mishnah (Berachot 17b).

All those accompanying the dead [for burial], even if they are not required to carry the coffin, are exempt from the Amidah - This is also based on the Mishnah (Berachot 17b) which teaches that though there are differences between the obligations people have regarding the recitation of the Shema (See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 4:4.), "both are exempt from the Amidah."

Rashi and Tosafot explain that the distinction between Kri'at Shema and the Amidah is based on the fact that the recital of the Shema is a Torah obligation. Some commentaries explain that this explanation would even be acceptable according to the Rambam. Though he holds that the Amidah is also a Torah obligation (see Chapter 1, Halachah 1), it is only necessary to pray once daily in order to fulfill one's Torah obligation. Therefore, one may be more lenient in granting an exemption from the Amidah, since the Torah obligation may have already been fulfilled or may be fulfilled by another Amidah later in the day.

However, the Rambam, himself, offers a different explanation in his commentary on the Mishnah. There, he states that since one is troubled (לבו טרוד) by the burial, he is exempt from the Amidah. This seems to be a function of the greater need for intention in the Amidah rather than its non-Torah status.

Tefilah and Birkat Kohanim - Chapter Seven

1

When the Sages instituted [a text for] these prayers, they [also] established other blessings to be recited every day. These are:

When a person gets into bed to sleep at night, he says:

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who causes the bonds of sleep to fall upon my eyes, who sinks [one into] restful slumber, and illuminates the pupil of the eye. May it be Your will, God, our Lord, to save me from the evil inclination and from a bad occurrence. May I not be disturbed by bad dreams or evil thoughts. Let my bed be perfect before You and may You raise me up from it to life and peace and illuminate my eyes lest I sleep a sleep of death. Blessed are You, God, who illuminates the whole world in His glory.

א

כשתקנו חכמים דברי תפלות אלו תקנו ברכות אחרות לברך אותן בכל יום אלו הן:

כשיכנס אדם למטתו לישן בלילה מברך ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם המפיל חבלי שינה על עיני והמשקיע שינת תרדמה והמאיר לאישון בת עין יהי רצון מלפניך יי' אלהי שתצילני מיצר רע ומפגע רע ואל יבהלוני חלומות רעים ולא הרהורים רעים ותהא מטתי שלימה לפניך ותעמידני ממנה לחיים ולשלום והאירה עיני פן אישן המות ברוך אתה יי' המאיר לעולם כולו בכבודו:

When the Sages - Ezra and his court, the Anshei K'nesset HaGedolah

[instituted a text for] these prayers, - See Chapter 1, Halachot 2-5.

they [also] established other blessings to be recited every day. - In Hilchot Berachot 1:4, the Rambam writes:

There are three types of blessings: blessings associated with [deriving] satisfaction, blessings associated with mitzvot, and blessings of thanksgiving which are a process of praise, thanksgiving, and request so that we will continually remember the Creator and fear Him.

In Hilchot Berachot 10:1, the Rambam writes that the blessings associated with the prayer service are included in the category of blessings of thanksgiving. This position is not accepted by all authorities. For example, the Avudraham considers the blessings associated with the prayer service as a separate category of blessings.

These are: When a person gets into bed - Note the Otzar HaGeonim which requires that both this blessing and the Shema be recited in one's bed, directly before retiring.

to sleep at night - The Rambam begins his discussion of the blessings of prayer with one recited at night in keeping with the concept that the new day starts after sunset. (See also Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:1 and our commentary there.)

he says: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe who causes - This blessing, with certain textual differences, is found in Berachot 60b.

the bonds of sleep - Our translation is based on Esther 1:6 which mentions חבלי בוץ - "bonds (or cords) of linen" (Otzar HaTefilot). The phrase may also be rendered as "the pains of sleep" based on Hoshea 13:13 חבלי יולדה - "the pains of childbirth." Exhaustion is painful to one's eyes and makes it difficult to keep them open.

to fall upon my eyes, who sinks [one into] restful slumber, - Rav Kapach's manuscript of the Mishneh Torah omits the latter clause. He also notes that the Yemenite siddur, which was composed in accordance with the Rambam's opinion, follows this version. Rav Yitzchok Alfasi's Halachot, which the Rambam often used as a source, also omits this clause.

and illuminates the pupil of the eye - See the Targum to Psalms 17:8. In Nusach Ashkenaz, this clause appears later in the blessing.

May it be Your will, God, our Lord, - The version in our texts of Berachot (ibid.) contains additional requests:

May it be Your will, God, my Lord, to lay me down to peace and grant my portion in Your Torah. Accustom me to commandments and not to transgressions and bring me not to sin or transgression, trial, or embarrassment.

This text is found in the Siddur of Rav Amram Gaon. The Vilna Gaon, in his emendations to the Talmud, suggests that these requests were not originally included in the Talmud and were added later by Rav Amram Gaon.

to save me from the evil inclination and from a bad occurrence. May I not be disturbed by bad dreams or evil thoughts. - The prevention of sinful thoughts and the avoidance of nocturnal emissions during sleep are two of the main reasons given for reciting the Shema before retiring.

Let my bed be perfect before You - Rashi (Berachot 60b) explains that this is a prayer for spiritually healthy children. See Sifre (Deuteronomy 31).

and may You raise me up from it to life and peace and illuminate my eyes lest I sleep a sleep of death - This is based on Psalms 13:4.

Blessed are You, God, who illuminates the whole world in His glory. - This is based on Ezekiel 43:2. Metzudat Tzion explains that the radiance of the Divine Presence is a source of light to the whole world. As we go to sleep at night in a dark world, we express our thanks for the Divine light that constantly fills the world.

The recitation of a blessing for sleep is based on our Sages' conception of sleep as one of God's greatest gifts because it allows man to rest and awake refreshed, able to serve his Creator with renewed energy and vigor. In Bereishit Rabbah 9:8, Rabbi Shimon ben Elazar interprets the words uttered by God at the end of the sixth day of creation, "and behold it was very good" (Genesis 1:30), as referring to the creation of sleep.

2

[Then,] one reads the first section of Kri'at Shema and goes to sleep. [This applies] even if his wife is sleeping with him.

If he is overcome by sleep, he should read the first verse [of Kri'at Shema] or verses of mercy and afterwards, he may go to sleep.

ב

וקורא פרשה ראשונה מקריאת שמע וישן ואפילו אשתו ישנה עמו (קורא פסוק ראשון או פסוקי רחמים ואחר כך יישן) ואם אנסתו שינה קורא אפילו פסוק ראשון או פסוקי רחמים ואח"כ יישן:

[Then,] - Berachot 60b states that one first recites Kri'at Shema and then, the blessing of hamapil (the blessing discussed in Halachah 1). This opinion is quoted by the Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 239:1). However, this order is only followed in Nusach Ari. Both Nusach Ashkenaz and Nusach Sephard follow the order stated by the Rambam.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 1:1) relates that Rav Zeira was accustomed to recite the Shema over and over until he fell asleep. This indicates that the Shema is the last thing said at night before sleeping (Hagahot Maimoniot in the name of Rabbenu Nissim Gaon).

one reads the first section - This is consistent with our text of Berachot (loc. cit.) which states that, before going to sleep, one recites "from Shema until V'haya im shamoa." This is the opinion followed in most communities at present.

Rabbenu Chananel rules that one recites the first two sections of Shema since both contain the phrases "with all your heart" and "while laying down" (See the commentary below). Rabbenu Asher also follows this position.

The Magen Avraham (239:1) quotes the Ari, Rabbi Yitzchok Luria, as requiring the recitation of all three sections of the Shema so that the 248 words it contains will guard the 248 limbs of the body during sleep. According to the opinion of Rashi mentioned below, it is also necessary to read all three sections.

of Kri'at Shema and goes to sleep - Berachot 4b explains that "it is a mitzvah" to recite the Shema before retiring. These statements are based on Psalms 4:5: "Tremble, but do not sin. Speak in your heart upon your bed and be still." Our Sages interpreted "Speak in your heart" and "upon your bed" as allusions to the phrases "with all your heart" and "upon your bed" in theShema.

That Talmudic passage implies that the reason for reciting the Shema before retiring is to protect oneself from undesirable influences during the night. According to Rashi (Berachot 2a) and others who allow the evening service to be recited before sunset, the recitation of Shema before retiring enables us to fulfill the mitzvah of Kri'at Shema at night. According to the writings of the Ari, the reciting of the Shema before retiring is a service of spiritual preparation for the soul's ascent from the body during sleep.

Since Berachot (ibid.) mentions that "it is a mitzvah" to recite the Shema before retiring, it was customary in certain communities to recite a blessing before reciting the Shema as is customary before performing other mitzvot. In his responsa (Pe'air HaDor 100), the Rambam specifically rules against reciting such a blessing. [However, note the Kolbo (29) who quotes the Rambam as stating in a responsa that such a blessing is required.]

[This applies] even if his wife is sleeping with him. - This line does not appear in either the Oxford or Yemenite manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah. See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 3:ibid. which permits the recitation of the Shema while touching one's wife because one is familiar with her.

If he is overcome by sleep, - and cannot recite the entire first section, at the very least

he should read the first verse [of Kri'at Shema] - which contains the essential statement of the unity of God.

or verses of mercy - Berachot 4b-5a states:

Rabbi Nachman says: "A Torah scholar need not [recite Kri'at Shema before sleep] for his Torah will protect him."
Abbaye says: "Even a Torah scholar must recite at least one verse describing God's mercy, for example: 'Into Your hand I entrust my spirit, You will redeem me, God, God of truth' (Psalms 31:6).

Sh'vuot 16b mentions that Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi would recite Psalm 91 as protection against unfavorable influences at night. Other verses that have a similar intent have been included by Kabbalistic authorities in the text of the Shema recited before retiring.

and, afterwards, he may go to sleep.

3

When a person awakes after concluding his sleep, while still in bed, he says:

My Lord, the soul that You have placed within me is pure. You have created it, You have formed it, You have breathed it into me and You preserve it within me. You will ultimately take it from me and restore it to me in the Time to Come. As long as the soul is lodged within me, I am thankful before You, O God, my Lord, Master of all works. Blessed are You, God, who restores souls to dead bodies.

ג

בשעה שייקץ בסוף שנתו מברך והוא על מטתו כך:

אלהי נשמה שנתת בי טהורה אתה בראתה ואתה יצרתה ואתה נפחתה בי ואתה משמרה בקרבי ואתה עתיד ליטלה ממני ואתה עתיד להחזירה בי לעתיד לבא כל זמן שהנשמה תלויה בקרבי מודה אני לפניך יי' אלהי רבון כל המעשים ברוך אתה יי' המחזיר נשמות לפגרים מתים:


When a person awakes after concluding his sleep, - I.e., in the morning when he has completed his night's sleep.

The Kessef Mishneh points out that although Berachot 60b states that one recites this blessing upon arising, the Rambam specifies that it be said only after concluding one's sleep. This makes it clear that a person who wakes up in the middle of the night and intends to return to sleep, need not recite this blessing.

while still in bed - Rabbenu Yonah (in his commentary to the Halachot of Rav Yitzchok Alfasi) takes issue with this statement. He writes:

This is difficult to understand. Since [upon waking] one's hands are not clean, how is it possible that [the Rambam] says that one should recite these blessings [while still in bed]. The Talmud mentions this [practice. However, this is because the Sages] were particularly holy. They would wash their hands [at night before sleep] and would be able to maintain a state [of purity] such that they could recite the blessings in the morning in cleanliness. We, however, are unable to maintain this state of cleanliness. Therefore, it is proper that we recite them only after נטילת ידים (the washing of the hands).

This position is widely accepted and is the basis of our practice today. See the commentary to Halachah 9.

he says: My Lord - In Hilchot Berachot 11:1, the Rambam writes:

All of the blessings begin with Baruch and conclude with Baruch except the final blessing of the blessings associated with the Shema, a blessing which follows directly after another blessing, and a blessing over fruit, those [blessings] which resemble it, or a blessing for mitzvot.

Given this statement, the commentaries wonder why this blessing does not begin with Baruch. Furthermore, in Hilchot Berachot 1:5, the Rambam writes that, unless a blessing follows another blessing, it must mention God's sovereignty over the world and no such mention is made in this blessing.

The Meiri in his commentary to Berachot (loc. cit.) offers the following resolution to these difficulties: Despite the fact that the entire period of a person's sleep divides between the recitation of hamapil and E-lohai Neshamah, the sleep is not considered as an interruption and E-lohai Neshamah is considered as following directly after hamapil. Accordingly, it is not required to begin with Baruch or mention God's sovereignty.

Other commentaries who follow different halachic perspectives than the Rambam offer these resolutions:
1) E-lohai Neshamah is a blessing of praise and prayer and does not require an opening phrase of blessing, in the same way that the blessing recited before travelling does not (Tosafot, Pesachim 104b).
2) E-lohai Neshamah is generally recited immediately after the blessing of אשר יצר and therefore can be considered as a blessing which follows another blessing.

the soul that You have placed within me - Each morning, we renew our thanks for the soul which God has returned to us, refreshed and revitalized.

is pure. - Despite his lowly physical state, man possesses an innate spirituality, a pure Godly soul, which is the source of all his positive actions and thoughts.

You have created it, You have formed it, You have breathed it into me - The three verbs used in this blessing correspond to three different descriptions of the creation of man in the Torah:
1) ויברא א-להים את האדם - "And the Lord created man" (Genesis 1:27).
2) א-להים את האדם וייצר ה' - "And God, the Lord, formed man" (Genesis 2:7).
3) ויפח באפיו נשמת חיים - "And He blew into his nostrils the soul of life" (ibid.).

These three verbs also relate to the three components of the soul, נפש, רוח, ונשמה (Maharsha, 14Berachot 60b).

In Kabbalah, the three verbs are understood as referring to the three worlds: עולם הבריאה - the world of creation, עולם היצירה - the world of form, and עולם העשיה - the world of physical action. The word טהרה - "pure" refers to עולם האצילות - the world of emanation, the highest of the four worlds. Thus, this prayer traces the descent of man's soul from God's Throne of Glory into the physical world.

and You preserve it within me. - Although the natural inclination of the soul is to return to its Source, God preserves its presence within the body in order that the person may serve His Creator in this world (Midrash Tehillim 62).

You will ultimately take it from me - at the time of death.

and restore it to me in the Time to Come - at the time of the resurrection of the dead.

As long as the soul is lodged - Though the word, "lodged," is present in the printed texts of the Mishneh Torah, it is lacking in most manuscripts. Similarly, it is not included in the text of the blessing in most siddurim.

within me, I am thankful before You, O God, my Lord, Master of all works. - Some siddurim add the phrase, "Lord of all souls," at this point so that the concluding phrase of the body of the blessing will correspond to the wording of the blessing itself.

Blessed are You, God, who restores souls to dead bodies. - Berachot 57b compares sleep to 1/60 of death. Therefore, waking can be compared to the resurrection of the dead (Rabbi Ya'akov Emden in his commentary on the siddur).

4

When one hears the crow of a rooster, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who gives the rooster understanding to distinguish between day and night.

When he puts on his clothes, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who clothes the naked.

When he puts his cloth on his head, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who crowns Israel in glory.

When he passes his hands over his eyes, he recites: [Blessed...] who opens the eyes of the blind.

When he sits up in his bed, he recites: [Blessed...] who unties those bound.

When he lowers his feet from the bed and rests them on the ground, he recites: [Blessed...] who spreads the earth over the waters.

When he stands up, he recites: [Blessed...] who straightens the bowed.

When he washes his hands, he recites: [Blessed...] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us regarding the washing of hands.

When he washes his face, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who removes the bonds of sleep from my eyes and slumber from my eyelids. May it be Your will, God, my Lord and Lord of my fathers, that You accustom me to the performance of [Your] commandments and do not accustom me to sins or transgressions. Cause the positive inclination to rule over me and not the evil inclination. Strengthen me in Your commandments and grant my portion in Your Torah. Allow me to find favor, lovingkindness, and mercy in Your eyes and the eyes of all who see me and bestow upon me benevolent kindnesses. Blessed are You, God, who bestows benevolent kindnesses.

ד

כששומע קול התרנגולים מברך ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם הנותן לשכוי בינה להבחין בין יום ובין לילה כשלובש בגדיו מברך ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם מלביש ערומים כשמניח סדינו על ראשו מברך ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם עוטר ישראל בתפארה כשמעביר ידיו על עיניו מברך פוקח עורים כשישב על מטתו מברך מתיר אסורים כשמוריד רגליו מן המטה ומניחם על גבי קרקע מברך רוקע הארץ על המים כשעומד מברך זוקף כפופים כשנוטל ידיו מברך אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על נטילת ידים כשרוחץ פניו מברך ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם המעביר חבלי שינה מעיני ותנומה מעפעפי יהי רצון מלפניך יי' אלהי ואלהי אבותי שתרגילני לדבר מצוה ואל תרגילני לדבר עבירה ועון ותשלט בי יצר טוב ואל ישלוט בי יצר רע ותחזקני במצותיך ותן חלקי בתורתך ותתנני לחן ולחסד ולרחמים בעיניך ובעיני כל רואי ותגמלני חסדים טובים ברוך אתה יי' גומל חסדים טובים:

In Halachot 4-6 the Rambam lists the seventeen blessings recited each morning, the ברכות השחר - Morning Blessings. These blessings are mentioned in Berachot 60b, albeit in a different order than that of the Rambam. The Lechem Mishneh explains that the sequence chosen by the Rambam reflects the order in which the corresponding actions are usually performed. See the commentary to Halachot 7 and 9.

When one hears the crow of a rooster, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who gives the rooster understanding to distinguish between day and night. - Since the crowing of the rooster generally heralds the dawn, the Sages established this blessing in response to it.

The word שכוי is translated as "rooster" based on Rosh HaShanah 26a which refers to Job 38:36: "Who has put wisdom in the inward parts and [given] understanding to the rooster (שכוי)."

Rabbenu Asher (in his halachic commentary to Berachot) interprets שכוי as "heart." The heart is the source of understanding which allows man to distinguish between day and night.

When he puts on his clothes, - This refers to one's outer garment. Therefore, even a person who has slept in pajamas or in his underwear should recite this blessing (Pri Chadash, Orach Chayim 46).

he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who clothes the naked. - Understood simply, this blessing expresses our appreciation to God for the clothes we wear. On a deeper level, it also expresses our cognizance of the sanctity of physical modesty.

When he puts his cloth on his head - This blessing is also mentioned in Berachot, loc. cit. The Rambam interprets it as referring to an ordinary head covering. In contrast, Rabbenu Yitzchok Alfasi interprets the Talmud's statement as referring to donning the tallit.

Tosafot and other Ashkenazic authorities maintain that this blessing should be reciting upon putting on a hat, yarmulke, or other headcovering.

he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who crowns Israel in glory. - The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 46) associates this blessing with the prohibition of walking four cubits with one's head uncovered (Shabbat 118b; See Hilchot De'ot 5:6). Covering our heads symbolizes Israel's fear and awe before God's presence. This is their glory, as Isaiah 62:3 states: "You shall be a crown of glory in the hand of God."

When he passes his hands over his eyes - In order to cause sleep to pass from their eyes, people often rub them vigorously.

Our text of Berachot (loc. cit.) states when "one opens his eyes." Many authorities favor this version over the text quoted by the Rambam (and Rav Yitzchok Alfasi) because Shabbat 108b warns of the dire consequences of touching one's eyes before washing one's hands in the morning. The Magen Avraham (Orach Chayim 46:2) suggests that people might have avoided the problem by cleaning their eyes with a cloth or rubbing their eyes with closed eyelids (Sha'arei Teshuvah).

he recites: [Blessed...] who opens the eyes of the blind. - This blessing is based on Psalms 146:18 and can be interpreted as a statement of gratitude for more than our physical eyesight. We thank God for the ability to see His greatness in creation. These are our metaphorical "eyes of reason."

When he sits up in his bed, he recites: [Blessed...] who unties those bound. - thanking God for the ability to move our limbs after sleep.

When he lowers his feet from the bed and rests them on the ground, he recites: [Blessed...] who spreads the earth over the waters - This blessing is based on Psalms 136:6: "[Give thanks] to the One who spread the earth over the waters, for His lovingkindness is eternal."

When he stands up, he recites: [Blessed...] who straightens the bowed. - This is based on Psalms 146:8. This blessing expresses gratitude for the uniquely human characteristic of upright posture. It may also be interpreted as giving thanks to God, the source of salvation for those bowed and downtrodden.

The Tur (Orach Chayim 46) states that if one recites this blessing before the blessing "who unties those bound," he should refrain from reciting the latter blessing. Though there is some difference of opinion about the matter, most later authorities accept the Tur's decision.

When he washes his hands, - In Hilchot Berachot 6:2, the Rambam specifically states that one should recite this blessing before washing one's hands so that the blessing will precede the performance of the mitzvah (Pesachim 7a). Rabbenu Yonah states that one should not recite this blessing until after washing one's hands because until one has washed his hands, he is not in a fit state to mention God's name (See Mishnah Berurah 4:2). (According to others, the recitation of this blessing should be delayed until after drying one's hands.)

The Rambam obviously does not accept this rationale since he requires many blessings to be recited before the washing of the hands as above.

he recites: [Blessed...] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us - Although this washing was instituted by the Rabbis, this wording is appropriate, as is explained in Hilchot Berachot (loc. cit.).

regarding the washing of hands. - This washing is required in preparation for the recitation of the Shema and the morning service.

Based on the Zohar (Vol. I, 169b, 184b), the Rabbis rule that, on washing in the morning, one pours water over his hands three times alternately, i.e., once over the right hand, once over the left hand, once more over the right, etc. This is done in order to remove the spirit of impurity that remains after sleep.

When he washes his face - Note Chapter 4, Halachah 2, which states that a person must wash his face in the morning as a preparation for prayer.

he recites: - There are slight, but significant, differences between the text of the blessing here and its source in Berachot (loc. cit.).

Blessed are You, God, Our Lord, King of the universe, who removes the bonds of sleep from my eyes - The last traces of drowsiness disappear when one washes his face (Avudraham).

and slumber from my eyelids. May it be Your will, God, - This entire prayer is considered one blessing. Therefore, one should not recite "Amen" after hearing a colleague recite the opening sentence of the blessing (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 46:1). Tosafot (Berachot 46a) states that one should say "and may it be..." to emphasize that the prayer is a single blessing.

my Lord and Lord of my fathers, that You accustom me - The Rambam, and similarly the Tur, use the first person singular, thus, making the prayer an individual statement. However, most siddurim use the first person plural, "us."

to the performance of [Your] commandments and do not accustom me to sins or transgressions. Cause the positive inclination to rule over me and not the evil inclination. - Though we always have free will, we ask God to strengthen our potential for making the proper choice (Taz).

Strengthen me in Your commandments and grant my portion in Your Torah. Allow me to find favor, lovingkindness, and mercy in Your eyes and the eyes of all who see me and bestow upon me benevolent kindnesses. Blessed are You, God, who bestows benevolent kindnesses. - The kindnesses refer to the return of the soul in the morning (Tosafot, loc. cit.) and also the instilling of a spirit of purity within us (Rikanti).

5

Whenever one enters the toilet, before entering, he says:

Be honored, holy honorable ones, servants of the Most High. Help me. Help me. Guard me. Guard me. Wait for me until I enter and come out, as this is the way of humans.

After he comes out, he recites:

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who formed man in wisdom and created within him many openings and cavities. It is revealed and known before the throne of Your glory that if one of them were to be blocked or if one of them were to be opened, it would be impossible to exist for even one moment. Blessed are You, God, who heals all flesh and works wonders.

ה

וכל זמן שיכנס לבית הכסא אומר קודם שיכנס התכבדו מכובדים קדושים משרתי עליון עזרוני עזרוני שמרוני שמרוני המתינו לי עד שאכנס ואצא שזה דרכן של בני אדם ואחר שיצא מברך ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר יצר את האדם בחכמה וברא בו נקבים נקבים חלולים חלולים גלוי וידוע לפני כסא כבודך שאם יסתם אחד מהם או אם יפתח אחד מהם אי אפשר להתקיים אפילו שעה אחת ברוך אתה יי' רופא כל בשר ומפליא לעשות:

Whenever one enters the toilet, - This halachah is dealt with among the morning blessings, since a person generally relieves himself shortly after arising. Nevertheless, its instructions apply whenever one relieves himself.

[Note, however, the opinion quoted by the Shulchan Aruch HaRav 6:1, which maintains that the blessing, אשר יצר, can be considered as one of the morning blessings and should be recited even if one does not relieve oneself.]

before entering, he says: Be honored, holy honorable ones, servants of the Most High. - This statement is quoted from Berachot 60b, but there are slight variations between the way the passage appears in the Talmud, the manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah, and its published text.

In his commentary to Berachot, Rashi explains that this statement is addressed to the angels that accompany us at all times as Psalms 91:11 states: "He will command all His angels for you, to guard you in all your ways."

Help me. Help me. Guard me. Guard me. - I.e., continue to do that which you have been commanded even though I am about to take leave of you momentarily.

Wait for me - for it is not fitting for the angels to enter a toilet.

until I enter and come out, as this is the way of humans - The Avudraham states that this prayer should only be recited by extremely righteous men. Anyone else who recites it would appear conceited. For this reason, the Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 3) rules that this prayer is not recited today.

After he - relieves himself, whether he defecated or urinated (Kessef Mishneh, in contrast to an opinion quoted by the Hagahot Maimoniot which rules that the blessing which follows should be recited only after defecating).

comes out, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who formed man in wisdom - See the Targum Yonaton to Ezekiel 28:12 which uses similar terms to praise the Divine wisdom manifest in the creation of the human body.

and created within him many openings and cavities. - e.g., the mouth, nose, anus.

It is revealed and known before the throne of Your glory that if one of them were to be blocked or if one of them were to be opened, it would be impossible to exist for even one moment - Tosafot (Berachot, loc. cit.) quotes Bereishit Rabbah (1:3) which states that unlike a manmade container which is unable to hold liquid when pierced by even the smallest pin, the body that God created is full of holes and cavities which open and close in a manner that allows man to continue to exist.

The Midrash Tanchuma (Shemini) relates:

Happy are you, Israel! A mitzvah was granted correspondent to each and every one of your limbs.... The numerical value of חלולים חלולים is 248, the number of limbs in the human body and the number of positive commandments in the Torah.

Blessed are You, God, who heals all flesh - This is based on Exodus 15:26: "For I am God, your healer."

and works wonders - This is based on Psalms 77:5: "You are the God who works wonders." The phrase מפליא לעשות is found, in a different context, in Judges 13:19.

The Darchei Moshe (Orach Chayim 6) explains that the wonders spoken of in this blessing refers to the maintenance of our spiritual soulsáwithin ouráphysical bodies. This may explain the accepted order of the blessings in which א-להי נשמה (Halachah 3) is recited immediately after this blessing, אשר יצר.

6

When one fastens his belt, he recites: [Blessed...universe,] who girds Israel with strength.

When he puts on his shoes, he recites: [Blessed...universe,] for You have provided me with all my needs.

When he walks to depart on his way, he recites: [Blessed... universe,] who prepares the steps of man.

[Also,] every day, a person should recite:

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has not made me a non-Jew.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has not made me a woman.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has not made me a servant.

ו

כשחוגר חגורו מברך אוזר ישראל בגבורה כשלובש נעליו מברך שעשית לי כל צרכי כשמהלך לצאת לדרך מברך המכין מצעדי גבר ומברך אדם בכל יום ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם שלא עשני גוי ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם שלא עשני אשה ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם שלא עשני עבד:

When one fastens his belt, - The Rambam accepts the interpretation most commentaries have given to the words מייניה אסר in Berachot 60b, the source for this blessing. The Ra'avad interprets the Talmud as referring to putting on one's trousers.

he recites: [Blessed...universe], who girds Israel - The Taz (Orach Chayim 46) points out that, of the morning blessings, only this and the blessing uttered after covering one's head (עוטר ישראל בתפארה) mention Israel. The other blessings praise God for kindnesses enjoyed by all people. In contrast, these two blessings highlight actions performed by the Jewish people as an expression of modesty. The belt is intended to separate the heart from the lower half of the body (See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 2:7 and 3:17). The covering of one's head signifies one's awareness of the Divine Presence, as stated above (See Halachah 4).

The Avudraham notes that this blessing is conceptually rooted in Jeremiah 12:11: "'As a girdle clings to a man's loins so have I caused the whole of the House of Israel and the House of Judah to cleave unto Me,' says God; 'that they might be unto Me, a people, a name, a praise and a glory.'”

with strength - The Avodat Yitzchok explains that a belt or girdle protects a person's body and affords him greater strength. Rav Asher of Lunil explains that this blessing refers to the spiritual strength granted to Israel through Torah study.

When he puts on his shoes, he recites: [Blessed...universe] for You have provided me - Our text follows the published text of the Mishneh Torah. The same text is also quoted by Rav Yitzchok Alfasi and Rabbenu Asher.

However, our text of Berachot (loc. cit.), the source for this blessing, reads: שעשה לי כל צרכי - "who provides me with all my needs"; referring to God in the third person rather than in the second person. This version is found in most siddurim today. It is also found in the authoritative Oxford manuscript of the Mishneh Torah and many Yemenite manuscripts.

with all my needs - Several different explanations are given for the association of this blessing with the putting on of one's shoes. The Avudraham states simply that a person is unable to move about freely without shoes. Therefore, putting on shoes enables him to acquire whatever he needs.

Rav Shlomo Kluger cites our Sages' statement, "A person should sell everything he owns and buy shoes," as evidence that a person who has shoes to wear has acquired that which is most necessary.

The Sh'loh quotes the Maharshal as explaining the source for this blessing as Psalms 8:6-9.

You have made him [man] a little lower than angels.... You have given him dominion over the works of Your hands. You have put everything under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the sky and the fish of the seas.

Wearing leather shoes demonstrates the way in which the animal kingdom has been placed "under man's feet" and makes us aware that the dominion we have been granted over all creation allows us to acquire "all our needs."

When he walks to depart on his way, he recites: - Our text of Berachot 60b and similarly, most contemporary siddurim, place this blessing before the previous one. Nevertheless, Rav Yitzchok Alfasi and Rabbenu Asher follow the same order as the Rambam.

[Blessed... universe] who prepares the steps of man - This blessing is based on Psalms 37:23: "The steps of man are ordered by God" and Proverbs 20:24: "The steps of man are from God," both of which imply that in addition to giving man the ability to walk, God also guides the direction of his steps.

[Also,] every day, a person should recite: - Based on Menachot 43b, the following three blessings are recited daily as an expression of thanks for the renewal of our being. Some authorities require a person to have seen a gentile, woman, or slave before reciting the appropriate blessing. However, the Rambam maintains that the blessing should be recited each morning unconditionally (The Responsa of Rav Avraham, the Rambam's son).

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has not made me a non-Jew - We thank God for creating us with the opportunity to relate to Him through the Torah and mitzvot which were given only to the Jews.

Menachot (loc. cit.) uses a positive statement for the formula of this blessing: "Blessed... who has made me a Jew." Rabbenu Asher quotes this text. The Rambam's version is found in the Jerusalem Talmud, Berachot 9:2. Rabbenu Yitzchok Alfasi also follows the Jerusalem Talmud.

The Levush, Orach Chayim 46, explains the reason for reciting the blessing in the negative: Eruvin 13a states that it would have been better for man not to have been created than to have been created (i.e., man's soul was in a higher state before its descent into the world than it is while in this world). Therefore, we do not express thanks for being created. Nevertheless, having been created, we thank God for not creating us as gentiles since gentiles have a far lesser number of commandments to fulfill.

The Bayit Chadash explains that the negative formula was chosen for the following reason. Our Sages required that we recite three blessings each morning. Torah law states that whenever a single blessing covers two different circumstances, the second blessing may not be recited. Therefore, since a statement thanking God "for making me a Jew" would make the blessing for "not making me a servant" superfluous, it is preferable to recite this blessing using the negative formula.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has not made me a woman - A woman is not obligated to fulfill all the positive mitzvot whose performance is limited to a specific time. As a result, a man has many more mitzvot to fulfill and recites this blessing thanking God for that privilege.

The Tur (Orach Chayim 46) mentions that a woman should recite a blessing thanking God "for making me according to His will."

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has not made me a servant - i.e., a Canaanite servant who is not a full member of the Jewish people (see Hilchot Issurei Bi'ah 13:11). Like women, a Canaanite servant is exempt from all the positive mitzvot whose performance is limited to a specific time.

The published text of the Mishneh Torah and Menachot (loc. cit.) list these blessings in this order. However, the authoritative manuscripts of the Mishneh Torah, Rav Yitzchok Alfasi, and most siddurim today reverse the sequence of the last two blessings. This order reflects an ascending hierarchy, with women who are endowed with the holiness of the Jewish people, placed after servants.

7

These eighteen blessings do not have a particular order. Rather, one recites each of them in response to the condition for which the blessing was instituted, at the appropriate time.

What is implied? One who fastens his belt while still in his bed recites [the blessing] "who girds Israel with strength." One who hears the voice of the rooster recites [the blessing] "who gives understanding to the rooster."

Any blessing in which one is not obligated should not be recited.

ז

שמנה עשר ברכות אלו אין להם סדר אלא מברך כל אחת מהן על דבר שהברכה בשבילו בשעתו כיצד הרי שחגר חגורו והוא על מטתו מברך אוזר ישראל בגבורה שמע קול התרנגול מברך הנותן לשכוי בינה וכל ברכה מהן שלא נתחייב בה אינו מברך אותה:

These eighteen blessings - Only seventeen blessings are recited in the morning. The eighteenth blessing is hamapil, the blessing recited before retiring at night. Nevertheless, as explained in the commentary to Halachah 3, the Rambam views it as connected to the morning blessings.

The eighteen blessings correspond to the eighteen blessings of the Shemoneh Esreh, and also to the number of times God's name is mentioned in Psalms 29, in the song sung by the Jewish People after the splitting of the Red Sea (Exodus 15:1-19), and in the three sections of Kri'at Shema. (See also our commentary on Chapter 1, Halachah 4.)

do not have a particular order - as might be inferred from the previous halachot. (The practice of reciting the blessings in a set order is discussed in Halachah 9.)

Rather, one recites each of them in response to the condition for which the blessing was instituted, at the appropriate time. - The Rambam's statements in this and the following two halachot are all based on the idea that these blessings are ברכות הודאה - "blessings of thanks." Therefore, a person who does not receive the benefit associated with a particular blessing does not recite the blessing thanking God for that particular condition.

Rav Natrunai Gaon and Rav Amram Gaon differ with the Rambam. They consider these blessings to be ברכות שבח - "blessings of praise" for the goodness which God has granted the world as a whole and not thanks for benefit which one has derived as an individual. This opinion is accepted by the Ramah (Orach Chayim 46) and other Ashkenazic halachic authorities. The Shulchan Aruch and the Sephardic authorities accept the Rambam's view with certain reservations.

What is implied? - As the Rambam explained, each blessing is recited in response to a particular action generally carried out each morning. Therefore, should these actions be performed in a different order, the sequence of the blessings is changed correspondingly.

One who fastens his belt while still in his bed recites [the blessing] "who girds Israel with strength" - Although in Halachah 6, the Rambam stated that this blessing should be recited after one has gotten off his bed, if one fastens his belt while still in bed, he recites the appropriate blessing at that time.

One who hears the voice of the rooster recites [the blessing] "who gives understanding to the rooster" - This halachah is restated here as a prelude to the law that follows, i.e., that one not obligated in a blessing should not recite it. According to the Rambam, one who did not hear a rooster in the morning does not recite the blessing of הנותן לשכוי בינה.

Any blessing in which one is not obligated - because one has not personally derived the benefit associated with the mitzvah

should not be recited - As mentioned above, this is one of the differences between the Rambam's conception of the morning blessings and that of the other Geonim, who maintain that the blessings should be recited regardless. In consideration of the Rambam's position, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 46:8) suggests reciting the blessings without mentioning God's name. The Ramah maintains that one should follow the other opinion.

Even among those who accept the Rambam's conception of these blessings, some authorities would disagree regarding this particular blessing. With this blessing, we are not thanking God for hearing the rooster's crow itself, but for the benefit which we receive from the daylight which the rooster discerns. (See Tosafot and Rabbenu Asher, Berachot 60b.)

8

What is implied? One who sleeps in his outer garment should not recite the blessing "who clothes the naked" upon rising.

One who walks barefoot does not recite the blessing, "for You have provided me with all my needs."

On Yom Kippur and the ninth of Av, when one does not wash, one does not recite the blessing al netilat yadayim, nor the blessing "who removes the bonds of sleep...."

One who does not relieve himself does not recite the blessing, "who created man in wisdom...." The same applies regarding the remainder of the blessings.

ח

כיצד לן בכסותו אינו מברך כשעומד מלביש ערומים הלך יחף אינו מברך שעשית לי כל צרכי ביוה"כ ובתשעה באב שאין שם רחיצה אינו מברך נטילת ידים ולא המעביר חבלי שינה אם לא נכנס לבית הכסא אינו מברך אשר יצר את האדם וכן שאר ברכות אלו:


What is implied? - This halachah exemplifies the final principle mentioned in the previous halachah, that a person should not recite a blessing if he does not derive the benefit associated with it.

One who sleeps in his outer garment - in contrast to pajamas or underwear

should not recite the blessing "who clothes the naked" upon rising. - Since, though he is clothed, he performed the activity associated with the blessing on the previous day.

One who walks barefoot does not recite the blessing, "for You have provided me with all my needs." - the blessing associated with wearing shoes.

On Yom Kippur and the ninth of Av, when one does not wash, - Washing is one of the five afflictions forbidden on these two days. See Hilchot Sh'vitat Asor 1:5 and 3:1-6 and Hilchot Ta'aniot 5:10.

one does not recite the blessing al netilat yadayim, - In Hilchot Sh'vitat Asor 3:2, the Rambam qualifies the prohibition against washing by stating: "One [who is] soiled from excrement or dirt may wash the dirty area in the normal fashion without worry." He also allows a woman to wash her hands in order to feed her child.

The source for the Rambam's statements, Yoma 77b, explains that the reason for this leniency is the presence of shivta on her hands. Rashi interprets this as רוח רעה, the spirit of impurity which rests on our hands before the morning washing.

Tosafot (Yoma, ibid.) rules that one does wash his hands upon rising in the morning on Yom Kippur since רוח רעה is considered like any filth and may be removed in its normal fashion. As apparent from the previous halachot, the Rambam does not consider רוח רעה as a significant factor and forbids such washing. (See Lechem Mishneh, Hilchot Sh'vitat Asor.)

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 613:2) accepts Tosafot's opinion and states:

One washes his hands in the morning [on Yom Kippur] and recites על נטילת ידים. One should be careful to wash only the ends of the joints of his fingers.

The Ramah adds: "And he should not intend to enjoy the washing, and do so [only] to remove the רוח רעה from his hands."

nor the blessing "who removes the bonds of sleep..." - which is associated with washing one's face. Since washing in this manner is prohibited on these days, one does not recite this blessing.

This ruling is also questioned by other halachic authorities. The Ra'avad states that since it is permissible to clean one's face if it is dirty, one may clean the dirt that collects in one's eyes overnight and recite the blessing associated with this washing.

The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 613:4 rules that one who is particularly fastidious may wash his face with water on the morning of Yom Kippur. The Ramah adds that the custom is to be very strict in this regard and not even to wash the eyes. The Mishnah Berurah (basing himself on the Bayit Chadash) permits one to moisten his fingertips and clean the dirt from his eyes. All of these laws regarding Yom Kippur also apply to the ninth of Av.

One who does not relieve himself - in the morning.

does not recite the blessing, "who created man in wisdom...." - as part of the morning blessings.

The same applies regarding the remainder of the blessings. - Though Ashkenazic authorities do not accept the Rambam's ruling as explained above, we do find a law which parallels the Rambam's stance here. Even according to the Ashkenazic authorities, one should not recite the blessing "who has provided me with all my needs" on Yom Kippur or Tish'ah B'Av, since it is forbidden for everyone to wear shoes on these days.

9

It is the custom of the people in the majority of our cities to recite these blessings one after another in the synagogue, whether or not they are obligated in them.

This is a mistake and it is not proper to follow this practice. One should not recite a blessing unless he is obligated to.

ט

נהגו העם ברוב ערינו לברך ברכות אלו זו אחר זו בבית הכנסת בין נתחייבו בהן בין לא נתחייבו בהן וטעות הוא ואין ראוי לעשות כן ולא יברך ברכה אא"כ נתחייב בה:

It is the custom of the people in the majority of our cities to recite these blessings one after another in the synagogue, whether or not they are obligated in them. - This practice has its source in the opinions of the other Geonim mentioned above. The Tur (Orach Chayim 46) explains the custom:

Since one's hand are not clean [upon rising], the [rabbis] instituted the practice of reciting the [blessings] in order in the synagogue. [Another reason for the institution of this practice is that] many of the common people do not know how to recite the [blessings] and when they are recited in the synagogue, they can answer "Amen" afterwards, and thus, fulfill their obligation.

This is a mistake and it is not proper to follow this practice. One should not recite a blessing unless he is obligated to. - The Kessef Mishneh explains that the Rambam sees two difficulties in this practice:
a) The blessings are not recited at their proper time, i.e., immediately after the action to which they are a response;
b) In the synagogue, all the blessings are recited and it is improper to recite a blessing that one is not obligated to recite.

In answer to the first objection, Rabbenu Asher and Rabbenu Yonah explain that there is no problem with reciting these blessings after the actions to which they relate have been completed. The only blessings that must be recited in direct conjunction with the deed with which they are associated are those recited before fulfilling commandments. However, blessings of thanks or praise may be uttered later. This opinion is accepted by all Ashkenazic authorities.

Today, many people recite these blessings at home after washing and dressing. In certain communities, they are recited communally in the synagogue. In all cases, however, each individual who is able to read the blessings from a siddur or knows them by heart should recite the blessings himself every morning.

10

One who rises to study Torah, whether the Written or Oral Law, before he recites the Shema, should wash his hands beforehand, recite [the following] three blessings, and then study.

[These blessings] are:

[Blessed... universe,] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the words of Torah.
And please, God, our Lord, make pleasant the words of Your Torah in our mouths and in the mouths of Your people, the entire House of Israel. May we, our offspring, and the offspring of Your people, be knowers of Your name and among those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. Blessed are You, God, who teaches Torah to His people, Israel.
Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has chosen us from among all the nations and given us His Torah. Blessed are You, God, who gives the Torah.

י

המשכים לקרוא בתורה קודם שיקרא קריאת שמע בין קרא בתורה שבכתב בין קרא בתורה שבעל פה נוטל ידיו תחלה ומברך שלש ברכות ואחר כך קורא ואלו הן:

אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו על דברי תורה והערב נא יי' אלהינו את דברי תורתך בפינו ובפיפיות עמך כל בית ישראל ונהיה אנחנו וצאצאינו וצאצאי עמך יודעי שמך ועוסקי תורתך ברוך אתה יי' המלמד תורה לעמו ישראל ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר בחר בנו מכל העמים ונתן לנו את תורתו ברוך אתה יי' נותן התורה:


One who rises to study Torah, whether the Written or Oral Law, - There is debate in the Talmud about this matter. Some Sages did not require the recitation of a blessing for the study of certain portions of the Oral Law (See Berachot 11b). Nevertheless, the decision quoted by the Rambam is accepted by all halachic authorities. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 47:2 explains the reason for this decision, "They [all portions of the Oral Law] are all Torah and were given to Moses at Mount Sinai."

before he recites the Shema, - Berachot 11b states:

Once one has recited the Shema, he need not recite a blessing [for Torah study] since he has fulfilled his obligation with Ahavah Rabbah (the second blessing before the Shema).

This blessing praises God for teaching our ancestors "the laws that bring eternal life" and includes our prayers that He "grant our hearts understanding... to learn and to teach... all the teachings of Your Torah." Therefore, Ahavah Rabbah is considered as comparableáto the blessings recited before Torah study (Rashi, Berachot, ibid.).

Rabbenu Asher quotes an opinion in the Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 5:1) which states that the blessing of Ahavah Rabbah can replace the blessings before the study of the Torah only when one studies immediately after reciting the Shema and Shemoneh Esreh. The Ra'avad and the Rashba, however, maintain that the recitation of the Shema is also considered as Torah study. Therefore, if one recites the Shema after Ahavah Rabbah, one is considered to have fulfilled his obligation.

The Rambam appears to follow the latter opinion, however, the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 47:8) accepts Rabbenu Asher's view.

should wash his hands beforehand, - to fulfill the obligation of נטילת ידים upon rising in the morning.

recite [the following] three blessings, and then study. - Both here and in Halachah 11, the Rambam states that one must study immediately after reciting these blessings. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 47) explains the motivating principle: All blessings recited before the performance of a commandment must be followed immediately by the fulfillment of the commandment.

This position is, however, not universally accepted. Tosafot (Berachot 11b), Rabbenu Yonah, and the Mordechai disagree and do not require the repetition of the blessings even if an interruption was made between their recitation and Torah study. The Shulchan Aruch (loc. cit.,:9) warns against making such an interruption.

[The comparison of the blessings before Torah study to the blessings of the mitzvot is not universally accepted. In addition to the opinion of the Ramban mentioned in the following halachah, the Levush (Orach Chayim 47) compares the blessings before Torah study to the blessings recited before partaking of food. Just as one thanks God for the satisfaction granted from food and other physical things, one blesses Him for the satisfaction derived from Torah study. See also Shulchan Aruch HaRav 47:1, Likkutei Sichot Vol. 14.]

[These blessings] are: [Blessed... universe] who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the words of Torah. - There are two different versions of this blessing:
a) one which has its source in the published text of the Talmud, Berachot 11b, and concludes: לעסוק בדברי תורה - "to occupy [ourselves] in the words of Torah."
b) the version quoted by the Rambam: על דברי תורה - "concerning the words of Torah." This version is also found in the siddur of Rav Amram Gaon and the Halachot of Rav Yitzchok Alfasi.

The siddurim of the Sephardim, Yemenites and Nusach Ari follow the Rambam's text, whereas Nusach Ashkenaz reads לעסוק בדברי תורה.
[

In both versions, this blessing contains thirteen words corresponding to the thirteen principles of Biblical exegesis that apply to the Torah (יºג מדות שהתורה נדרשת בהן, Shulchan Tahor).]

And - The presence here of the Hebrew letter vav (ו) which is generally translated as "and" is the subject of much discussion among the Rabbis.

Tosafot (Berachot 46a) explains that, according to Rabbenu Tam, any blessing that follows another blessing of only a single line must itself begin "Blessed are You..." and cannot be included in the phrase "Blessed are You..." in the first blessing. Therefore, since this paragraph does not begin "Blessed are You...," it appears to be a continuation of the first blessing and not a blessing of its own. The vav - "and" - indicates the connection between the two paragraphs.

The Rambam, however, clearly states that the second paragraph is considered as a blessing in its own right and not a continuation of the first blessing. The vav would, therefore, appear to be superfluous. Though most printed texts of the Mishneh Torah include a vav, the authoritative Oxford manuscript of the Mishneh Torah, the Yemenite manuscripts, and the Ramah's text of the Mishneh Torah all lack a vav. (Note Shulchan Aruch HaRav 47:5, which explains that even according to the opinion that the second paragraph is a separate blessing, adding the vav is in place.)

The Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 47:6 rules that the vav should be recited. The Ramah adds that although the custom is not to say it, it should be said. Most siddurim of Nusach Ashkenaz and Sefard include the vav.

please, God, our Lord, make pleasant the words of Your Torah - We ask God to let us appreciate the sweetness of His Torah so that we will study it with love (Rashi, Berachot 11b).

in our mouths and in the mouths of Your people, the entire House of Israel. May we, our offspring, - The Bayit Chadash adds "and our offsprings' offspring" as a reference to the statement (Bava Metzia 85a) that the Torah will never depart from a family which has three generations of Torah scholars. However, this version is not included in many siddurim.

and the offspring of Your people, be knowers of Your name and among those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. Blessed are You, God, who teaches Torah to His people, Israel. - This version is found in the published texts of the Mishneh Torah and the published texts of Berachot 11b, the source for this blessing. However, in his responsa, the Rambam suggests a different conclusion for this blessing: "Blessed are You, God, the Giver of the Torah." He explains the reasons why he favors the latter version:

This [wording] alludes to our recognition that God gave us the Torah so that we will learn to do everything it states. [The blessing is a request] that He open our hearts to the study of Torah, for this was the reason it was given to us as a heritage.
However, to conclude [the blessing with] "who teaches Torah..." is incorrect, for God... does not teach us the Torah. Though in His love for us, He separated us from the gentiles and gave us the Torah of truth, the actual performance of the mitzvah is left to us and doing His will is in our hands.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has chosen us from among all the nations and given us His Torah. - The designation of Israel as God's chosen people is associated with His giving them the Torah on Mount Sinai (Tur, Orach Chayim 47).

Blessed are You, God, who gives the Torah - Berachot (loc. cit.) refers to this as "the most exalted of these blessings" because it contains thanks to God and praise of Israel and the Torah (Rashi).

Rabbenu Yonah points out that although this blessing follows directly after another blessing, it departs from the normal pattern of such blessings and begins "Blessed are You...." He explains that this is because this blessing is also often recited in isolation, before the reading of the Torah in the synagogue.

The recitation of the blessings of the Torah is very important. Bava Metzia 85a states that Eretz Yisrael was destroyed because the Jews forsook the Torah. Our Sages clarified that statement, explaining that it means that the people would study Torah without reciting the blessings before it. A person who studies Torah without reciting the blessings fails to realize its holiness and sanctity, therefore, it is considered as if he ""forsook the Torah.''

11

One is obligated to recite these three blessings every day. Afterwards, one should read a few words of Torah. [To fulfill this obligation,] the people adopted the custom of reading the Priestly Blessing. In certain places, they recite [the passage, (Numbers 28: 1-9)]: "Command the children of Israel...," and there are places where they read both of them.

Also, [it is proper] to read chapters or laws from the Mishnah and the Beraitot.

יא

בכל יום חייב אדם לברך שלש ברכות אלו ואחר כך קורא מעט מדברי תורה ונהגו העם לקרוא ברכת כהנים ויש מקומות שקורין צו את בני ישראל ויש מקומות שקורין שתיהן וקורין פרקים או הלכות מן המשנה ומן הברייתות:


One is obligated to recite these three blessings - The nature of this obligation is debated among the commentaries. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 47) and others understand the Rambam as considering these blessings similar to any other blessing recited before the performance of a mitzvah and hence, of Rabbinic origin.

Nevertheless, Berachot 21a and Yoma 37a state that the obligation to recite a blessing on Torah study stems from the Torah itself. In keeping with this view, the Ramban (Hosafot to Sefer HaMitzvot, positive commandment 15) reckons the recitation of the blessings of the Torah as a separate mitzvah.

every day. - Perhaps with the words "every day," the Rambam is implying that these blessings should be recited even if one does not sleep at night. See Magen Avraham 47:11.

The blessings are recited only once a day. In contrast to the blessings recited over other mitzvot, even if one interrupts his study and occupies himself with other matters, one need not recite a second blessing. The Shulchan Aruch HaRav 4:7 gives two reasons for this difference:
1) The blessings before the Torah resemble the other morning blessings. A person enjoys the benefits associated with the morning blessings intermittently throughout the day, yet he only recites the blessings once in the morning. Similarly, though one may study at several different occasions in a single day, the blessings are recited only once daily.
2) The obligation to study Torah is incumbent upon one throughout the entire day and, at all times, one's attention should be on one's studies.

Afterwards, one should read a few words of Torah. - If these blessings are comparable to other blessings recited before the performance of mitzvot, the mitzvah (studying Torah) must also be fulfilled immediately after the recitation of the blessing (Kessef Mishneh).

[To fulfill this obligation,] the people adopted the custom of reading the Priestly Blessing. - The Priestly Blessing is found in Numbers 6:22-27. Tosafot (Berachot 11b) also mentions the custom of reciting the Priestly Blessing each morning and Rav Amram Gaon includes the Priestly Blessing in his siddur.

The Avudraham mentions that the recitation of these verses arouses Divine blessing for the Jewish people. The Even Yarchi notes that the verses of the Priestly Blessing contain 60 letters, corresponding to the 60 tractates in the Talmud.

In certain places, they recite [the passage (Numbers 28:1-9)]: "Command the children of Israel...," - These verses describe the morning sacrifice offered daily in the Holy Temple. The Machzor Vitri (an early siddur of French origin) does not include the Priestly Blessing and mentions these verses instead.

and there are places where they read both of them - In the Order of the Prayers for the Entire Year found at the conclusion of Sefer Ahavah, the Rambam includes both these passages, with the verses describing the sacrifices preceding the Priestly Blessings.

The Tur and the Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 47:9) both understand the Priestly Blessing to be a fulfillment of the requirement to study Torah after the blessings. The verses of the Daily Sacrifice are recited later, with the intention that our recitation of these verses will compensate for our inability to actually offer these sacrifices (Ta'anit 27b, Orach Chayim 48).

Also, [it is proper] to read chapters or laws from the Mishnah and the Beraitot. - so that we will have studied passages from the written law, the Mishnah, and the Talmud and thus, emphasize how our obligation to study Torah applies to all three. Note Kiddushin 30a and Hilchot Talmud Torah 1:11, which advises one to divide his Torah study, a third in the Written Law, a third in Mishnah and a third in Talmud.

In his Order of Prayers, the Rambam lists the following passages from the oral law after the the Priestly Blessings:

These are the precepts for which no fixed limit is prescribed: Pe'ah (the corners of the field left unharvested for the needy, Leviticus 23:22), Bikkurim (the first fruits, Exodus 23:19), HaRei'on (the pilgrimage offerings, Deuteronomy 16:16-17), acts of kindness and the study of Torah. [A Mishnah, Pe'ah 1:1.]
These are the precepts, the fruits of which a person enjoys in this world, while the principle remains [for him] in the world to come: Honoring one's mother and father, acts of kindness, concentration during prayer, visiting the sick, waking early to go to the study hall, hospitality to guests, bringing peace between man and his fellow man, and the study of Torah, which is equivalent to them all. [A beraita, Shabbat 127a]
Rav Zeira says: "Jewish women imposed a stringent practice upon themselves. Even if they saw a drop of [vaginal] blood the size of a mustard seed, they would count seven clean days after it." [An example of Torah law, Berachot 31a, Nidah 66a, and Megillah 28b]
It was taught in the School of Elijah: Whoever studies Torah law every day is assured of life in the world to come [as implied by Chabakuk 3:6]: "Halichot (the paths of) the world are his." Do not read halichot, but halachot (Torah laws) [Megillah 28b].
Rabbi Eliezer said in the name of Rabbi Chanina: Torah scholars increase peace in the world as [implied by Isaiah 54:13]: "And all your children will be students of God and great will be the peace of your children." [Berachot 64a.]

12

The Sages praised those who recite songs from the Book of Psalms every day; from "A song of praise by David... (Tehillah l'David)" (Psalms 145) until the end of the Book [of Psalms]. It has become customary to read verses before and after them.

They instituted a blessing before the [recitation of the] songs, Baruch She'amar..., and a blessing after [concluding] them, Yishtabach. Afterwards, one recites the blessings for Kri'at Shema and recites the Shema.

יב

ושבחו חכמים למי שקורא זמירות מספר תהלים בכל יום ויום מתהלה לדוד עד סוף הספר וכבר נהגו לקרות פסוקים לפניהם ולאחריהם ותקנו ברכה לפני הזמירות והיא ברוך שאמר וברכה לאחריהם והוא ישתבח ואח"כ מברך על קריאת שמע וקורא קריאת שמע:

The Sages praised - Rav Kapach notes that at the beginning of this chapter, the Rambam attributes the order of the prayers to the Anshei K'nesset HaGedolah. Therefore, we can assume that they also instituted the practice of reciting verses of praise before the blessings of the Shema. (Note the statement of Rabbi Simlai, Berachot 32a, which suggests praising God before reciting the Shemoneh Esreh.) Though from the passage from Shabbat quoted below one might infer that the recitation of these verses was instituted later, perhaps this refers to the designation of the specific verses to be recited, while the practice of reciting verses itself had already existed.

those who recite songs from the Book of Psalms every day; from "A song of praise by David... (Tehillah l'David)" (Psalms 145) - Berachot 4b states that anyone who recites Psalms 145 three times each day is guaranteed a place in the World to Come.

until the end of the Book [of Psalms] - Shabbat 118b relates:

Rabbi Yossi said: "May my portion be with those who complete [the recitation of] Hallel every day."
That cannot be. Behold, the master taught that one who recites Hallel every day is considered as a blasphemer and abuser.
In regard to what did [Rabbi Yossi] make his statement? In regard to פסוקי דזמרא - the verses of song.

The Rambam understands פסוקי דזמרא as referring to the last six chapters of Psalms (Kessef Mishneh). This definition is also accepted by Rav Yitzchok Alfasi and Rabbenu Asher.

It has become customary to read verses before and after them - In his Order of Prayers for the Entire Year, the Rambam mentions a series of verses from Psalms and from I Chronicles 29:10-14 which are recited before and after these six Psalms. See Soferim 17:11. These verses are customarily recited today in both Ashkenazic and Sephardic communities.

They instituted a blessing before the [recitation of the] songs, Baruch She'amar..., - Tradition states that the Anshei K'nesset HaGedolah received this blessing and the blessing,Yishtabach, from Heaven. Therefore, our custom is to recite these blessings standing (Or Zerua).

The Pri Chadash takes issue with this view and maintains that these blessings were instituted by the Geonim after the conclusion of the Talmud. Though the Or Zerua's opinion is based only on "tradition," the fact that the Jerusalem Talmud refers to these blessings, as mentioned below, indicates that they were recited during the Talmudic era.

and a blessing after [concluding] them, Yishtabach. - The Hagahot Maimoniot explain that the blessings, Baruch She'amar and Yishtabach are considered a single unit. Therefore, Yishtabach is considered a blessing which follows directly after another blessing - despite the verses recited between the two blessings. Accordingly, it does not begin "Blessed are You, God...."

Though the verses of פסוקי דזמרא are not considered an interruption between the blessings, idle conversation certainly would be. Thus, the Jerusalem Talmud rules that anyone who talks between Baruch She'amar and Yishtabach has transgressed and is not fit to be part of the Jewish army (which must be composed only of righteous men).

Afterwards, one recites the blessings for Kri'at Shema and recites the Shema - See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:5-8.

13

There are places where they are accustomed to recite the Song of the Sea (Exodus 14:30-15:26) each day after they recite Yishtabach. Afterwards, they recite the blessings for theShema.

There are places where they recite the song, Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-43), and there are individuals who recite both of them. Everything is dependent on custom.

יג

יש מקומות שנהגו בהן לקרות בכל יום אחר שמברכין ישבתח שירת הים ואחר כך מברכין על שמע ויש מקומות שקורין שירת האזינו ויש יחידים שקורין שתי השירות הכל לפי המנהג:

There are places where they are accustomed to recite the Song of the Sea (Exodus 14:30-15:26) each day - The Zohar (II:54b) states that anyone who recites this song at present will merit to recite it in the Messianic age.

See also the Tosefta, Berachot (2:1) and the Shulchan Aruch HaRav 66:4 which emphasize (albeit in a different context) that the obligation to recall the exodus from Egypt each day should also include the recollection of the miracle of the splitting of the sea.

after they recite Yishtabach. - In his siddur, Rav Sa'adia Gaon writes that "though this is a fine custom, it is not obligatory or necessary."

Afterwards, they recite the blessings for the Shema - It is improper to make an interruption between Yishtabach and the blessings of the Shema. (See Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 54:3) However, verses of praise and prayer are not considered an interruption. Note the custom of reciting Shir hama'alot at this point in prayer during the Ten Days of Repentance.

Today, we recite the Song of the Sea before Yishtabach. Sefer HaBatim suggests that this is because it is also praise of God and thus, is appropriate within the context of פסוקי דזמרא.

There are places where they recite the song of Ha'azinu (Deuteronomy 32:1-43) - Ha'azinu is also a song of general relevance. The Maggid of Meseritch advised reciting it daily as a means of evoking Divine blessing.

Among Sephardic Jews, there is a custom to recite Ha'azinu in place of the Song of the Sea on the Tish'ah b'Av because of the verses of reproof contained in it (Ma'aseh Rokeach).

and there are individuals who recite both of them. Everything is dependent on custom.

14

A person is obligated to recite 100 blessings [in the period of one] day and night. What are these 100 blessings?
The twenty-three blessings that we have counted in this chapter,
the seven blessings before and after Kri'at Shema in the morning and in the evening;
When one wraps himself in tzitzit, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves in tzitzit.
When he puts on his Tefilin, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to put on Tefilin.
[One recites] three Amidot, each of which contains eighteen blessings.

Behold, this is 86 blessings.

When one eats two meals, [one] during the day and [one] at night, one recites 14 blessings, seven for each meal:

one when he washes his hands before eating,
and, on the food itself, one before and three afterwards,
on the wine, one before and one afterwards,
[a total] of seven.

Thus, there are 100 blessings all told.

יד

חייב אדם לברך מאה ברכות בין היום והלילה ומה הן מאה ברכות אלו כ"ג ברכות שמנינו בפרק זה ושבע ברכות של קריאת שמע של שחרית וערבית לפניה ולאחריה וכשמתעטף בציצית מברך ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להתעטף בציצית וכשלובש תפילין מברך ברוך אתה יי' אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להניח תפילין ושלש תפלות שבכל תפלה מהן שמנה עשרה ברכות הרי שמונים ושש ברכות וכשהוא אוכל שתי סעודות של יום והלילה מברך ארבע עשרה ברכות שבע בכל סעודה אחת כשיטול ידיו תחלה ועל המזון אחת בתחלה ושלש בסוף ועל היין לפניו ולאחריו הרי שבע ברכות הרי מאה ברכות בין הכל:

A person is obligated to recite 100 blessings [in the period of one] day and night - Menachot 43b relates:

Rabbi Meir used to say: "One is obligated to recite 100 blessings every day as [implied by Deuteronomy 10:12]: 'And now Israel, what is it that God, your Lord, asks of you.'”

Rashi explains that the word, מה- "what" can be read as מאה - "100", allowing for the interpretation, "And now Israel, 100 [blessings] is what God, your Lord, asks of you."

The Tur (Orach Chayim 46) quotes Rav Natrunai Gaon who attributes the institution of this custom to King David.

What are these 100 blessings? The twenty-three blessings that we have counted in this chapter, - i.e., the eighteen blessings discussed in Halachot 1-9, the three blessings recited before studying Torah (see Halachot 10, 11) and the two blessings associated with פסוקי דזמרא (see Halachah 12).

the seven blessings before and after Kri'at Shema in the morning and in the evening - Two blessings before the Shema and one blessing afterwards in the morning; two blessings before the Shema and two afterwards in the evening. (See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:5.)

When one wraps himself in tzitzit, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to wrap ourselves in tzitzit - See Hilchot Tzitzit 3:8.

When he puts on his tefillin, he recites: Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to put on tefillin - Note Hilchot Tefilin 4:5, where the Rambam states that only one blessing should be recited when putting on tefillin. Other authorities require two blessings to be recited: one, on the Tefilah placed on the arm, and another, on the Tefilah placed on the head. See also the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 25:9 and the Ramah's notes there.

[One recites] three Amidot, each of which contains eighteen blessings. - The Rambam mentions the addition of the nineteenth blessing in the Shemoneh Esreh in the next halachah. Here he is discussing the 100 blessings in their original historical context.

Behold, this is 86 blessings - i.e., the 23 of the morning blessings, the 7 associated with the Shema, 1 on tefillin, 1 on tzitzit, and 54 (18x3) from the three Shemoneh Esreh prayers.

When one eats two meals, [one] during the day and [one] at night, - In his Commentary on the Mishnah, Pe'ah 8:7, the Rambam explains that two meals, one during the day and one at night, is the normal fare for a person each day.

one recites 14 blessings, seven for each meal: one when he washes his hands before eating - See Hilchot Berachot 6:2.

and on the food itself, one before - HaMotzi. See Hilchot Berachot 3:2.

and three afterwards - These are the three blessings which constitute the Torah's requirement for the grace after meals:
1) ברכת הזן,
2) ברכת הארץ, and
3) בונה ירושלים

See Hilchot Berachot 2:1. The Rambam mentions the fourth blessing included in the grace in the next halachah.

on the wine, one before - See Hilchot Berachot 7:14-15 which mentions the custom of reciting the grace after meals over a cup of wine. Before drinking from that wine, one recites the blessing: borey pri hagefen.

and one afterwards - i.e., מעין שלש - the blessing which is reciting after drinking wine. See Hilchot Berachot 8:15.

[a total] of seven. Thus, there are 100 blessings all told.

15

At present, since the [Sages] established the blessing [cursing] the heretics in prayer and added hatov v'hameitiv in the grace after meals, there are five more blessings.

On Sabbaths and holidays, when the Amidah contains [only] seven blessings, and similarly, on other days, if one is not obligated in all of these blessings - e.g., one did not sleep at night, nor loosen his belt, nor go to the bathroom, or the like - he must complete the 100 blessings by [reciting blessings over] fruits.

טו

בזמן הזה שתקנו ברכת האפיקורוסין בתפלה והוסיפו הטוב והמטיב בברכת המזון נמצאו חמש ברכות יתירות בשבתות וימים טובים שהתפלה שבע ברכות וכן אם לא נתחייב בשאר הימים בכל הברכות האלו כגון שלא ישן כל הלילה ולא התיר חגורו ולא נכנס לבית הכסא וכיוצא באלו צריך להשלים מאה ברכות מן הפירות:


At present, since the [Sages] established the blessing [cursing] the heretics in prayer - See Chapter 2:1.

and added hatov v'hameitiv in the grace after meals, - This refers to the fourth blessing of the grace after meals. As explained in Hilchot Berachot 2:1, this blessing was instituted later than the first three blessings, its recitation having been ordained by the Sages of the Mishnah.

there are five more blessings. - recited every day.

On Sabbaths and holidays, - Yom Kippur presents a particular problem for although there are five prayer services, one is not permitted to eat and cannot recite blessings over food.

when the Amidah contains [only] seven blessings - See Chapter 2, Halachah 5.

and similarly, on other days, if one is not obligated in all of these blessings - This follows the Rambam's view (see Halachot 7-9) that a person should not recite the morning blessings unless he performs the actions with which they are associated.

e.g., one did not sleep at night, - If a person does not sleep at night, he misses at least two blessings: hamapil (Halachah 1) and E-lohai neshamah (Halachah 3). According to some opinions, he also should not recite hama'avir sheinah (Halachah 4).

nor loosen his belt, - in which case, he would not be obligated to recite the blessing, ozer Yisrael b'gevurah - "who girds Israel with strength" - upon fastening it the following morning.

nor go to the bathroom, - in which case, he is exempt from the blessing of asher yatzar discussed in Halachah 5.

or the like - i.e., any one of the morning blessings, with the exception of shelo asani goy, shelo asani aved, shelo asani isha.

he must complete the 100 blessings by [reciting blessings over] fruits. - as explained in Halachah 16.

Menachot 43b, the source for the requirement to recite 100 blessings, also recognized the difficulties inherent in fulfilling that requirement on the Sabbaths and holidays, and advises completing the sum of 100 blessings by reciting blessings before smelling spices or before eating sweets.

The Hagahot Maimoniot quotes an opinion that allows the blessings recited on the reading of the Torah and haftorah to be included in the calculation of the 100 blessings. This yields another 27 blessings. For this reason, Hagahot Maimoniot suggests that the blessings on the Torah should be recited loudly so that those present are able to answer "Amen." The Magen Avraham (46:8) suggests that one should rely on this opinion only when he cannot recite sufficient blessings on fruits.

16

What is implied?

[When] one eats a small amount of vegetables, he recites a blessing before and after it. [When] he eats a small amount of a particular fruit, he recites a blessing before and after it. He should count all the blessings [he recites] until he completes [the requirement of] 100 each day.

טז

כיצד אוכל מעט ירק ומברך לפניו ולאחריו וחוזר ואוכל מעט מפרי זה ומברך לפניו ולאחריו ומונה כל הברכות עד שמשלים מאה בכל יום:


What is implied? - I.e., how does one supplement the number of blessings recited on the Sabbath and festivals.

[When] one eats a small amount of vegetables, he recites a blessing before - borey pri ha'adamah (Hilchot Berachot 8:1).

and after it. - borey nefashot (ibid.).

[When] he eats a small amount of a particular fruit, he recites a blessing before - borey pri ha'etz (ibid.)

and after it. - borey nefashot or al hapeirot (ibid.).

He should count all the blessings [he recites] until he completes [the requirement of] 100 each day. - The Rambam's choice of words implies that each day, a person should carefully keep track of the number of blessings he recites until he fulfills the requirement.

Note the comments of the Lechem Mishneh who explains that although one should try to recite 100 blessings each day, one should be careful not to recite unnecessary blessings.

17

The order of prayer is as follows:

In the morning, a person should rise early and recite the blessings [mentioned above]. [Then,] he recites the songs [of praise] and the blessings before and after them. [Afterwards,] he recites theShema, [together with] the blessings before and after it. He should omit the Kedushah from the first blessing before [the Shema] because an individual does not recite Kedushah.

When he concludes [the blessing,] ga'al Yisrael, he should stand immediately to connect [the blessing of] redemption to prayer. He should pray standing, as we have said.

When he concludes, he should sit, fall on his face and recite the supplication prayer. [Afterwards,] he should lift up his head and recite a few [additional] supplications while sitting amid supplication.

Afterwards, while sitting, he recites Tehillah l'David (Psalms 145), adds supplications according to his ability and departs to his own affairs.

יז

סדר תפלות כך הוא בשחר משכים אדם ומברך ברכות אלו וקורא הזמירות ומברך לפניהם ולאחריהם וקורא אחר כך שמע ומברך לפניה ולאחריה ומדלג קדושה מן הברכה ראשונה שלפניה שאין היחיד אומר קדושה וכשהוא חותם גאל ישראל מיד יעמוד כדי שיסמוך גאולה לתפלה ומתפלל מעומד כמו שאמרנו וכשישלים ישב ויפול על פניו ומתחנן ומגביה ראשו ומתחנן מעט והוא יושב בדברי תחנונים ואח"כ יקרא תהלה לדוד (מיושב) ויתחנן כפי כחו ויפטר למעשיו:

In this and the following halachah, the Rambam summarizes the order of an individual's daily prayers from rising in the morning until the Evening Service. In the following two chapters, the Rambam deals with the subject of communal prayer.

The order of prayer is as follows: In the morning, a person should rise early - so that he will be able to complete the recitation of the Shema and the blessing which follows it before sunrise, Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:11).

and recite the blessings [mentioned above]. - i.e., the morning blessings mentioned in Halachot 3-6, 10-11.

[Then,] he recites the songs [of praise] and the blessings before and after them. - as explained in Halachah 12.

[Afterwards,] he recites the Shema, - in fulfillment of his obligation to recite the Shema each day (Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:1).

[together with] the blessings before and after it. - the two blessings before the Shema and the one blessing afterwards (See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:5).

He should omit the Kedushah - The passage which quotes the praises of the angels who recite "Holy, Holy, Holy is the God of Hosts, the whole world is full of His glory" (Isaiah 6:3) and "Blessed is the honor of God from His place" (Ezekiel 3:12). This passage is recited three times during the morning service, once in the first blessing before Kri'at Shema, once in the repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh, and once at the conclusion of the service. (See Chapter 9, Halachot 4-5.)

from the first blessing before [the Shema] - Precisely which portion of the blessing to omit is a matter of debate among the Rabbis. See Beit Yosef, Orach Chayim 59.

because an individual - praying without a quorum (minyan)

does not recite Kedushah. - As stated in Chapter 8, Halachot 4-6, any "holy matter" should not be recited in the absence of a minyan of ten people. The Kedushah recited when repeating the Shemoneh Esreh is considered as a "holy matter" of this nature. (See Berachot 21b, Megillah 23b. See also Chapter 8, Halachah 4, and Chapter 9, Halachah 5 for a discussion of the text of Kedushah.)

In this halachah, the Rambam equates all three recitations of the Kedushah in the morning service. The Tur (Orach Chayim 59) cites Rav Natrunai Gaon as also sharing this opinion. There is no specific Talmudic or Midrashic source to this effect. However, the Zohar (Vol. II, 129b, 132b) also considers all three recitations of Kedushah to be bound by the same rulings.

Rabbenu Yonah quotes the opinion of the Ashkenazic authorities who distinguish between these recitations of Kedushah. They maintain that since, in the repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh, we liken ourselves to the angels and recite the same praises, a minyan is necessary. However, the other Kedushot are simply narrative descriptions of the praises uttered by the angels and therefore, do not require a minyan.

The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 59:3) quotes the Rambam's position. The Ramah concludes that even an individual should recite the blessing without deleting the Kedushah.

The Kessef Mishneh writes that Rabbi Avraham, the Rambam's son, states that his father later changed his position regarding this halachah and wrote in a responsum that one should recite Kedushah even without a quorum of ten. This is also recorded by Orchot Chayim, Rashba, and Rabbenu Manoach. However, there are other responsa which indicate that the Rambam did not change his mind.

When he concludes [the blessing,] ga'al Yisrael, - The blessing beginning Emet v'yatziv, which follows the recitation of the Shema.

he should stand immediately to connect [the blessing of] redemption to prayer - Berachot 42a relates: "prayer should follow immediately after [the blessing of] redemption."

Berachot 9b states:

One who connects [the blessing of] redemption to prayer will not be harmed the whole day...[Rav Bruna] was a great man who experienced intense joy in his [performance of] mitzvot. One day, he connected [the blessing of] redemption to prayer and the smile did not leave his face all day.

The Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 1:1) equates one who does not fulfill this practice to a loved one who knocks on the door of the king and then departs. When the king answers the door and sees no one there, he also turns away.

He should pray standing, as we have said. - See Chapter 5, Halachah 2.

When he concludes, he should sit, fall on his face and recite the supplication prayer. - See Chapter 5, Halachah 13.

[Afterwards,] he should lift up his head and recite a few [additional] supplications while sitting amid supplication. - In his Order of Prayers for the Entire Year, the Rambam lists these verses beginning with - "And we do not know what to do for our eyes are directed towards You" (II Chronicles 20:12).

In Chapter 4, Halachah 16, and Halachah 18 of this chapter, the Rambam requires one to sit a short while after prayer before taking his leave. Perhaps that is the basis for the suggestion to sit during these supplicatory prayers.

Afterwards, while sitting, he recites Tehillah l'David (Psalms 145), - Berachot 4b states: "Anyone who recites Tehillah l'David three times daily is guaranteed a place in the World to Come." Since this Psalm is not included in the evening service, it is recited twice in the morning service.

adds supplications according to his ability - In Chapter 9:5, the Rambam rules that one should recite the passage, U'va l'Tzion go'el. However, that passage includes the Kedushah and hence, according to the opinion mentioned above, should only be recited in communal prayer. Therefore, an individual recites only the supplications found at the end of that prayer.

In his Order of Prayers, the Rambam also mentions the custom of reciting the "song of the day" and of eyn k'e-loheinu.

and departs to his own affairs. - The Tur and Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chayim 155:1) quote Berachot 64a which states that after prayer, one should proceed to Torah study. It is unclear why the Rambam does not mention this point.

18

One begins the Minchah service by reciting Tehillah l'David (Psalm 145) while sitting. Afterwards, one stands and recites the Minchah prayer. When he finishes, he falls on his face and recites the supplication prayer, raises his head and utters [more] supplication according to his ability and departs to his own matters.

יח

ובתפלת המנחה מתחיל לקרוא תהלה לדוד מיושב ואחר כך עומד ומתפלל תפלת המנחה וכשמשלים נופל על פניו ומתחנן ומגביה ראשו ויתחנן כפי כחו ויפטר למעשיו


One begins the Minchah service by reciting Tehillah l'David (Psalm 145) - This is the third time this psalm is recited in the daily prayers in keeping with the directive of Berachot 4b mentioned in the previous halachah.

Reciting Tehillah l'David here also fulfills the obligation (Berachot 31a, Chapter 4, Halachah 18) to pray "amid words of Torah." See also Chapter 9, Halachah 8.

while sitting - The siddur of Rav Sa'adia Gaon states that תהילה לדוד should be recited sitting until one is calm and properly prepared to pray. Only then should one stand and recite Shemoneh Esreh. See Chapter 4, Halachah 16.

Afterwards, one stands and recites the Minchah prayer. - See Chapter 5, Halachah 2.

When he finishes, he falls on his face and recites the supplication prayer, - See Chapter 5, Halachah 13.

raises his head and utters [more] supplication according to his ability and departs to his own matters. - as explained in the previous halachah.

In the evening service, he recites the Shema together with the blessings before and after it, - See Hilchot Kri'at Shema 1:5-6.

connects [the blessing of] redemption to prayer - See the previous halachah. Note also the concluding statement of this halachah.

and prays standing. - See Chapter 5, Halachah 2.

When he finishes, he sits a short while - See Chapter 4, Halachah 16.

and departs. - Here, the Rambam does not add "to his own matters" as in regard to the morning and afternoon service. Before the evening service, a person should have concluded his work and business affairs.

One who offers prayers of supplication after the evening service is praiseworthy. - In Chapter 5, Halachah 15, the Rambam writes that the common custom is not to fall on one's face and recite supplications in the evening service. The Beit Yosef (Orach Chayim 131) explains that both falling on one's face and night are associated with God's attribute of judgement and it would be inappropriate to combine the two.

It is unclear whether the Rambam is here referring to the practice of falling on one's face (nefilat apayim) or merely the recitation of supplicatory prayers (tachanun). Rav Amram Gaon records that in Babylonia, it was the custom to recite such prayers every night except Friday.

Even though one recites the blessing hashkiveinu - the second blessing recited after the Shema at night

after ga'al Yisrael, it is not considered as an interruption between [the blessing of] redemption and prayer, for - Berachot 4b relates: Since the Sages established the blessing hashkiveinu...

they are both considered as one long blessing. - Hashkiveinu is considered as a continuation of the theme of redemption (Tosafot, Berachot 4b) because it contains the request for God to save us from many different types of difficulties just as He redeemed us from Egypt (Maharit Algazi). The connection is further emphasized by the fact that in the exodus from Egypt, God protected the Jews on a night where permission was granted for the forces of destruction to act. Similarly, in hashkiveinu, we ask Him to protect us from "all evil matters and fears of night" (Birkai Yosef).

19

In the evening service, he recites the Shema together with the blessings before and after it, connects [the blessing of] redemption to prayer and prays standing. When he finishes, he sits a short while and departs.

One who offers prayers of supplication after the evening service is praiseworthy.

Even though one recites the blessing hashkiveinu afterga'al Yisrael, it is not considered as an interruption between [the blessing of] redemption and prayer, for they are both considered as one long blessing.

יט

ובתפלת הערב קורא ק"ש ומברך לפניה ולאחריה וסומך גאולה לתפלה ומתפלל מעומד וכשישלים ישב מעט ויפטר והמתחנן אחר תפלת ערבית הרי זה משובח ואע"פ שמברך השכיבנו אחר גאל ישראל אינה הפסק בין גאולה לתפלה והרי שתיהן כברכה אחת ארוכה:

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