While you may be unable to attend services this Shabbat—either as a result of quarantine or due to synagogues canceling services—this does not mean that you cannot pray the Shabbat prayers. Of course, the ideal way to pray is in synagogue with a quorum of ten. However, with a little adaptation, the Shabbat prayers can most certainly be said in isolation. In fact, the silver lining to saying the prayers alone is that they will be more personal and you can go your own pace.

The vast majority of prayers may be recited at home just as they would be in synagogue. However, there are a number of key differences to bear in mind when praying without a quorum of ten. Among them: kaddish, barechu, and the repetition of the Amidah are omitted. Below we will run through the Shabbat prayers detailing the exact differences. We will be using the page numbers as found in the Kehot Annotated Hebrew-English Siddur.


According to the Talmud, even if you cannot make it to synagogue, you should still pray at the time the congregation prays. As such, do your best to begin at the time your local synagogue begins services. Also, before Shabbat, make sure you know the times when Shabbat begins and ends, as well as the latest time to say Shema etc.

Friday Night

Ideally, the afternoon prayer (minchah) should be prayed before lighting the Shabbat candles, but it is fine to pray after candle lighting, before sunset. When praying minchah, kaddish and the repetition of the amidah are omitted.

It is best to wait until after nightfall before starting the evening prayers (maariv). This break between sunset and nightfall is the perfect opportunity to study something on the parshah. Visit our parshah page in advance and print something that catches your eye.

Start Kabbalat Shabbat around nightfall. Using a prayer book with an English translation, this is an opportunity to go at your own pace, as there is no need to worry about the speed of the congregation. Read some of the English, as the Friday night liturgy contains some especially beautiful Psalms.

On page 160, it is the Chabad custom to recite the paragraph beginning Velomar (“and say instead of barechu when praying alone.

After the silent Amidah, the paragraph beginning va’yechulu (‘The heavens’) is recited, but we omit the first and last of the next three paragraphs, as they are essentially a truncated repetition of the Amidah.

The remainder of the service is said as usual, sans kaddish and barechu.

Shabbat Morning

Start your morning with a study session. Nothing will get you more in the mode for prayer than a little chassidut, why not print the daily portion of Tanya before Shabbat? Before studying (or eating anything) be sure to recite the morning blessings (pgs 5-9) and Shema.

For the morning prayers (shacharit), proceed as you would in synagogue (omitting kaddish and borchu) until after the silent amidah. The repetition is omitted, so you proceed directly to the “Song of the Day.”

Since the Torah is not going to be read, we skip the prayers associated with removing the Torah from the ark, which begin with the paragraph beginning atoh (‘You have’). Although there is obviously no Torah reading, read the parshah of the week from a Chumash, and feel free to peruse some of the commentaries as well.

Before the musaf prayer, only the first yekum purkan (‘may there’) is recited (pg 230). Skip the following two paragraphs. Proceed to ashrei (skipping 'av ha'rachamim') and then pray the musaf prayer, skipping the silent repetition of the amidah.

General Notes

Since kaddish cannot be recited, if you need to have it said for loved one, before Shabbat, fill out the short form on our Coronavirus Kaddish Service page to arrange kaddish to be said.

We cannot use technology on Shabbat, so please print this guide on Friday for Shabbat use.

For more on how to make the best of Shabbat in isolation see: 10 Tips for Preparing for Shabbat While Social Distancing