Chapter: 03 – The Place of Prayer

01 – The Mitzvah to Pray in a Synagogue

When a person prays in a synagogue with a congregation, his prayer is heard (see Berachot 6a). Even someone who missed praying in a minyan has a mitzvah to pray in the synagogue, since it is a permanent and special … Continue reading

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02 – Establishing a Regular Place to Pray

It is a mitzvah to choose a synagogue and pray there regularly. One should not change his place of prayer needlessly. This was the custom of Avraham Avinu who designated a place to pray, as it is written (Genesis 19:27), … Continue reading

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03 – In Which Synagogue Is It Preferable to Pray?

When a person chooses a permanent synagogue, he must take into consideration several factors. If the choice is between a beit midrash (study hall) and a synagogue, it is better that he establish his place in a beit midrash, for … Continue reading

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04 – One May Not Pray in a High Place

A person who stands before HaKadosh Baruch Hu in prayer should know that his life is dependent on Hashem’s kindness, and should therefore stand before Him humbly. That is what the Chachamim meant when they said (Berachot 10b), “A person … Continue reading

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05 – One Should Enter Two “Doorways”

The Chachamim teach, “A person should always enter through two doorways in the synagogue… and then pray” (Berachot 8a). There are three interpretations of this statement and all were accepted as halachah (Shulchan Aruch 90:20). The first explanation of Chazal’s … Continue reading

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06 – Nothing Should Separate a Person from the Wall While Praying

Ideally there should be nothing standing between a person praying the Amidah and the wall, so that nothing distracts him from praying. Permanent furniture standing against the wall, such as a cupboard, is not considered to be a partition, and … Continue reading

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07 – One May Not Pray Near His Primary Rabbi

A person may not recite the Amidah prayer too close to his primary rabbi, for if he prays alongside him, he presents himself as his rabbi’s equal. An even greater prohibition exists against praying in front of one’s rabbi, so … Continue reading

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08 – A Proper Place to Pray

One should pray in a room with windows, and l’chatchilah it is good that a window facing Jerusalem be open (Shulchan Aruch 90:4). When someone is in a place with no windows, he should pray in a well-lit place, since … Continue reading

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09 – Areas Free from Excrement and Foul Odors

It is forbidden to say or think matters of sanctity in a place that contains feces or other foul smells, as it is written (Deuteronomy 23:14-15), “You will return and cover your excrement. This is because God your Lord walks … Continue reading

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10 – Additional Laws

A person is permitted to pray facing the bathroom, as long as the door is closed and no foul odor reaches him. However, if the door is open, he is prohibited from praying there (Mishnah Berurah 83:5). Feces of young … Continue reading

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