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Peninei Halakha > Women's Prayer > Chapter 15: Korbanot and Pesukei De-zimra > 07. The Order of Preference for Omissions

07. The Order of Preference for Omissions

A woman who wants to recite Pesukei De-zimra and its berakhot but does not have time to recite the whole thing may recite the main parts. She begins with Barukh She-amar, recites the six psalms from Ashrei until the end of the Halleluyot (which are the main parts of Pesukei De-zimra) and ends with Yishtabaĥ. If she does not even have time for that, she may recite just Barukh She-amar, Ashrei, the two psalms which begin with the words “Halleluya hallelu” (Tehilim 148 and 150), and Yishtabaĥ. If she does not even have time for that, she may recite just Barukh She-amar, Ashrei, and Yishtabaĥ. However, if she does not have time to recite Ashrei, she may not say Barukh She-amar and Yishtabaĥ, because these berakhot were instituted to be recited along with the psalms of David, so one must at least recite the main psalm, Ashrei, between them.

These guidelines apply to an ad hoc situation. However, a woman who only wants to recite Ashrei before the Amida on a regular basis should not recite Barukh She-amar and Yishtabaĥ, for those berakhot were instituted on the main part Pesukei De-zimra – the last six chapters of Tehilim – and since a woman is not obligated to recite Pesukei De-zimra, it is not proper for her to recite them in a be-di’avad situation of reciting only one psalm.

In a women’s educational framework, teachers may decide that the girls will regularly recite the berakhot of Pesukei De-zimra along with the six Halleluyot, so that on the one hand they will say Pesukei De-zimra and on the other they will not be overburdened. However, if it seems that the six Halleluyot are also too difficult for the girls to recite with kavana, it is best that they do not recite Pesukei De-zimra at all (as explained above, 8:3). 1


  1. As a rule, the order of precedence for women to recite the main parts of prayer is as follows: Birkhot Ha-shaĥar and Birkhot Ha-Torah, the first verse of Keri’at Shema, and the Amida prayer. If there is more time, it is best to recite Birkat Emet Ve-yatziv, for it mentions the Exodus from Egypt, which is a biblical commandment for men, and some say even women must recite it. By reciting it one adjoins berakha of redemption to the Amida, as explained above, 8:3 n. 4. Following them in importance are Pesukei De-zimra, meaning Barukh She-amar, the six Halleluyot, and Yishtabaĥ. However, Beirur Halakha (Zilber) vol. 1, §70 and Ishei Yisrael 7:18 state concerning the order of precedence, that once she has time to recite Barukh She-amar, Ashrei, and Yishtabaĥ, she then recites the rest of the Shema and its berakhot. If she has more time, only then she recites the remaining Pesukei De-zimra psalms. However, this is problematic: There are poskim who maintain that women must recite Pesukei De-zimra, and all agree that it is preparation for prayer and that women must pray. Moreover, according to Rif and Rosh the essence of Pesukei De-zimra is the last six psalms of Tehilim (see Peninei Halakha: Prayer, ch. 14 nn. 1, 3, and 10). If so, why should a woman give priority to Birkhot Keri’at Shema, from which she is certainly exempt and which are not preparation for the Amida? Therefore, it seems that all six Halleluyot take precedence over Birkhot Keri’at Shema, as mentioned above, 8:3 n. 4. I have further found that Halikhot Bat Yisrael 2 n. 21 states in the name of R. Scheinberg that women must recite Pesukei De-zimra but perhaps can skip passages and recite just Barukh She-amar, Ashrei, and Yishtabaĥ. This is again problematic, for how can we instruct women to omit the main parts of Pesukei De-zimra on a regular basis? Perhaps this opinion follows R. Akiva Eger’s position, cited in MB, that women are obligated in Pesukei De-zimra, and should therefore recite it even in the most abbreviated way, that is, in keeping with the position of Talmidei Rabbeinu Yona (Berakhot 23a) that the main purpose of Pesukei De-zimra is for Ashrei. However, most poskim maintain that women are exempt from Pesukei De-zimra, as explained in n. 2 above; if so, why should they recite it in an abbreviated manner? The fact that the woman already wants to enhance the mitzva means that in principle she should recite them properly, meaning the six Halleluyot, for they constitute Pesukei De-zimra, as Rif and Rosh teach (and Talmidei Rabbeinu Yona presumably agree), and not just say one psalm. R. Rabinovitch concurs with my ruling. Additionally, Yeĥaveh Da’at 3:3 rules that it is forbidden for women to recite the berakhot of Pesukei De-zimra, for they are dependent on time. Although it is not customary to practice in accordance with its ruling, as explained above, chapter 2 n. 10, still, it is proper to err on the side of caution and not say them when reciting only one psalm. Perhaps it is best to instruct even men not to recite the berakhot on Pesukei De-zimra for the recitation of Ashrei alone on a regular basis. However, if a woman recites the six psalms which are the essence of Pesukei De-zimra, she must give preference to Keri’at Shema and its berakhot over the Tamid and incense passages, which take precedence over the rest of Pesukei De-zimra due to their importance, as explained in Peninei Halakha: Prayer, 13:1 n. 2. The overall order of preference is explained above, 8:3 n. 4.

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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