05 – What Parts May Be Omitted to Enable Praying in a Minyan?

https://ph.yhb.org.il/en/02-14-05/

When a person arrives late to synagogue and notices that the congregation is about to finish reciting Pesukei d’Zimrah, it is better that he omit some parts of Pesukei d’Zimrah (most of Birkot HaShachar, Korbanot, and some other passages) in order to succeed in praying Shemoneh Esrei with the minyan, since the virtue of praying in a minyan is greater than the virtue of reciting Pesukei d’Zimrah. The whole idea behind the recital of Pesukei d’Zimrah is to prepare for prayer, in order to facilitate its acceptance. However, the prayer of a person who prays with a minyan is certainly accepted and desirable (Berachot 8a).

Nonetheless, there are passages that may not be omitted, namely, Baruch She’amar, Ashrei, and Yishtabach, so that the opportunity to recite them will not be missed. The berachot of Pesukei d’Zimrah were instituted for the purpose of reciting praise before the Amidah and one who did not say them prior to it is not permitted to recite them afterwards. In order to recite the berachot of Pesukei d’Zimrah, one is obligated to recite at least one passage of praise; therefore it is best that he say the most important passage, which is Ashrei.

Similarly, one must be strict in reciting Birkat Elokai Neshamah and Birkot HaTorah before prayer, for if he does not, he will have lost the opportunity to say them (Mishnah Berurah 52:9; Bei’ur Halachah there). Likewise, before prayer one must wrap himself in a tallit and put on tefillin.

If one notices that he does not have time to say these berachot and Ashrei and still succeed in praying with the minyan, he should pray individually without omitting anything.

L’chatchilah, one should try to plan his omissions in such a way that he will succeed in praying with the congregation, meaning with ten people who are praying the silent Amidah. However, if he sees that he cannot say the berachot and Ashrei and still succeed in praying the silent Amidah with the congregation, he should try to pray with the chazan as he repeats the Amidah (Chazarat Hashatz), for even by doing that, he is considered one who is praying in a minyan according to most poskim.[8]

Whenever one must omit passages from Pesukei d’Zimrah in order to pray in a minyan, it is good to complete them after the prayer service.[9]


[8]A summary of this topic: Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah, Rosh, and the Tur maintain that in order to pray in a minyan it is best to skip all of Pesukei d’Zimrah including its berachot. Even though after prayer he will not be able to recite the berachot of Pesukei d’Zimrah, it is preferable that he pray in a minyan, as the Chachamim established. The reason for this is that prayer of the many is certainly accepted, while the basis for the recital of Pesukei d’Zimrah stems from a minhag that the nation of Israel practiced, and although berachot were instituted for them, they are not the essence of the prayer like BirkotKeriat Shema and the Amidah. This resembles the opinion of Rasag and Rambam brought in note 1. Even according to those who maintain that the reason behind the recital of Pesukei d’Zimrah lies in what we learn from Moshe’s prayer, as brought there by the Bach in his explanation of the Rif, Rosh, and Tur, nevertheless, it is not implied that their recital is an absolute obligation, rather that all of Israel were accustomed to say them and the custom is binding, but does not override prayer in a minyan. So rules the Shulchan Aruch 52:1, Rama, KitzurShulchan Aruch 14:7, as well as Rav Rakach’s Sha’arei Tefillah, based on 91 poskim.In contrast to that, many kabbalists write, based on the Zohar, that one must be very strict in preserving the order of the prayer service, for within it great secrets are hinted. Anyone who changes the order of the prayers overturns the channels of Divine influx which flow via prayer. Therefore, even a person who arrives late to synagogue must not skip any part of the Korbanot or Pesukei d’Zimrah. These words are brought as halachah in Kaf HaChaim 52:2, as well as Yaskil Avdi part 1, Orach Chaim 2:6. (See Shut Rav Pe’alim, part 2, Orach Chaim 4, who agrees that in times of need one may skip part of Pesukei d’Zimrah and Korbanot). However, the Chacham Tzvi, responsa 36, explains that the strict attitude of the Zohar not to change the order of the prayer refers to a person praying individually, but regarding one who has the opportunity to pray with a minyan, it is proper that he skip Pesukei d’Zimrah in order to pray with the congregation, because even according to Kabbalah, communal prayer is most valued and accepted. (So write the Chida in Kesher Shel Gudal 5:10 and the Mishnah Berurah 52:1.)

The Mishkenot Yaakov is of an intermediate opinion, that in order to pray in a minyan, it is best to skip all the Psalms in Pesukei d’Zimrah, Birkot HaShachar, and the Korbanot, on condition that he succeed in reciting the berachot of Pesukei d’Zimrah – Baruch She’amar and Yishtabach – for if they are not recited before the Amidah, he loses out on saying them, and they are important berachot which were instituted in the time of the Tanna’im. In order to say them, one must recite Ashrei between them. This is the opinion of the Mishnah Berurah 52:6, Bei’ur Halachah 53:2 s.v. “Ein,” and Chayei Adam 19:7. That is what Rav Mordechai Eliyahu writes in practice in his siddur, p. 76.

Although according to eminent Rishonim and the Shulchan Aruch it is even preferable to skip the berachot in order to pray in a minyan, I have not mentioned their opinion above, since there is another uncertainty involved – is the Amidah with the chazan considered to be prayer in a minyan? According to the Pri Megadim Eshel Avraham, 52:1 praying with the chazan as he repeats the Amidah is not considered prayer in a minyan, and so it is implied from the Rama 109:2. By contrast, Eshel Avraham Butshatsh and many Acharonim maintain that it is indeed considered prayer in a minyan (see earlier in this book 2:3, and note 2). Therefore, if skipping everything will enable a person to pray the silent Amidah with the congregation, it is still better that he recite the berachot of Pesukei d’Zimrah and whatever sections he can and then pray with the chazan, for it is the opinion of most poskim that his prayer is considered to be in a minyan. However, if there remains so little time that in order to pray with the chazan he would have to skip all of Pesukei d’Zimrah including the berachot, it is best that he does not skip, from two standpoints: 1) According to the Mishkenot Yaakov and those who agree with him, a person must never skip the berachot of Pesukei d’Zimrah. 2) Some poskim maintain that this is not considered prayer in a minyan and if so, there is no reason to skip the berachot for the sake of a prayer that is doubtful as to whether it is considered to be in a minyan. That is what I have written above.

When two options stand before a person – not to skip any parts of the Korbanot or Pesukei d’Zimrah at all and to pray with the chazan as he repeats the Amidah, or to recite select parts of the service, meaning Birkot HaShachar, the verses of the Tamid and the Ketoret, Baruch She’amar, Ashrei, all the Halleluyot, and Yishtabach, and thereby succeed in praying the silent Amidah with the congregation – it seems, in my humble opinion, that it is preferable to skip certain parts and pray with the congregation, for everyone agrees that the silent Amidah is considered prayer in a minyan, and he already recited the essential sections, whose sources are in the Talmud. However, if, in order to pray with the congregation, he must skip more, then in that case it seems to me that it is preferable to pray with the chazan.

[9]. The Tur writes in the name of Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah and the Rosh that a person who skipped all of Pesukei d’Zimrah including the berachot (according to his opinion) must make them up with the berachot after the prayer service. (Although we learned in note 1 that the Rosh maintains that Pesukei d’Zimrah were instituted as an introduction of praise for prayer, nevertheless according to him, b’dieved, there is value in saying them even after prayer, as implied from Rasag and Rambam there.) By contrast, the opinion of Rav Natrunai is not to recite them after prayer, and so writes the Rashba. The Beit Yosef interprets this to mean that only the berachot must not be recited after prayer, because their recital was instituted as preparation for prayer, but it is correct to go back and make up the verses themselves. That is how the Shulchan Aruch 52 rules. However, according to the Bach and the Perishah, Rav Natrunai’s words mean that one must not recite the verses either. Aruch HaShulchan 5 writes that the law is that shev v’al ta’aseh adif (sitting and not performing an action is preferable.) It is also the opinion of the Maharitz from Yemen not to recite Pesukei d’Zimrah in accordance to the prayer service. Most poskim write like the Shulchan Aruch, that it is correct to make up the verses after prayer.
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