Peninei Halakha

05. Greetings Before Prayer

A woman who is about to pray Shaĥarit must take care not to address her parents or friends prior to doing so. If she does, she sins, as she ascribes more importance to their honor than to God’s honor, for rather than standing in prayer before God, she first goes to greet another person (Berakhot 14a).

If a woman’s parents require assistance and she has not time to pray beforehand, she may go to their aid before prayer, for in doing so she fulfills the mitzva of honoring her parents; however, she must first recite Birkhot Ha-shaĥar and Birkhot Ha-Torah. Likewise, when it is necessary to help people who are ill, and she will not be able to pray beforehand, she may assist them before prayer.

This prohibition is to visit a friend to to ask her how she is; however, if her friend comes to her house, she may greet her. If her friend does greet her, it is best that she responds “good morning” and not “Shalom” so as to remind herself that she has not yet prayed. Similarly, girls who pray at school and along their way meet their friends are permitted to address them and talk to them, although it is best to say “good morning” and not “Shalom.”

When it is necessary to call someone on the phone, be it to ask a question or relay a message, one may make a phone call before praying. However, it is forbidden to conduct an ordinary friendly phone conversation before prayer (see Peninei Halakha: Prayer, 12:1 n. 2).

It is proper that a woman who does not intend to pray Shaĥarit refrains from greeting her friend before she recites Birkhot Ha-shaĥar and Birkhot Ha-Torah.

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Translated By:
Series Editor: Rabbi Elli Fischer

The Laws of Shabbat (1+2) - Yocheved Cohen
The Laws of Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Women’s Prayer - Atira Ote
The Laws of Pesach - Joshua Wertheimer
The Laws of Zemanim - Moshe Lichtman

Editor: Nechama Unterman