18 – Errors, Additions, and Omissions in the Amidah

01 – Error, Omission, and Interruption in the Amidah

A person who skips one of the eighteen berachot in the Amidah does not fulfill his obligation of the mitzvah of prayer. Even if he does actually recite the full Amidah, but rearranges the order of the berachot, he does not fulfill his obligation. This is because Anshei Knesset HaGedolah, who instituted the wording of prayer, meticulously established the order of the berachot of the Amidah and based their carefully selected words on verses of Scripture (Megillah 17b; Shulchan Aruch 119:3).

Additionally, a person who makes a mistake in one of the berachot, such that it alters the essence of the berachah, is considered not to have recited that berachah at all. This holds true for one who omits the end of a berachah, or inserts words that do not belong at all, like requesting rain in the summer (Bei’ur Halachah 119:3).

One who completes the Amidah and then remembers that he omitted words or erred in one of the berachot must repeat the entire Amidah. Even if he has not yet taken three steps back, if he finished the prayers of supplication and is about to take steps backwards, he must return to the beginning of the Amidah (Shulchan Aruch 117:5).

If he has not yet concluded the Amidah and remembers that he omitted words or made a mistake in one of the thirteen middle berachot, he must return to that berachah and continue praying from that point on, in the correct order. Even though he repeats the berachot that he already recited, since everything after that berachah was not recited in order, it is as if he did not say them at all, and he must recite them again in their correct sequence.

If one skips words or errs in one of the first three berachot, or in one of the last three berachot, he must go back to the beginning of them. Since the first three berachot possess one theme, as do the last three berachot, (see earlier in this book 17:10), each section is considered one unit. Therefore, anyone who makes a mistake in one berachah is considered to have erred in all of them and must repeat all three of them from the beginning (Berachot 34a; Rama 114:6).

The law concerning a person who interrupts Shemoneh Esrei in the middle, whether with speech or silently, is as follows: if the interruption is short, he continues praying from the point at which he stopped. However, if the interruption is long, enough that he could have finished praying the entire Amidah from beginning to end, he returns to the start of the Amidah. Some say that there is no difference between an intentional interruption and one due to circumstances beyond his control. In either case, since there was enough time for him to finish the entire Amidah, he starts from the beginning (Shulchan Aruch 104:5). Others say that he only returns to the beginning of the Amidah if the interruption was due to circumstances beyond his control; however, if he interrupted willingly, even after a long interruption, he returns to pray from the place at which he stopped (Rama 65:1; Mishnah Berurah 104:16).[1]


[1]. The poskim disagree as to what the law is concerning a person who purposely (b’meizid) talks in the middle of the Amidah. Some say (Shulchan Aruch, Taz, and Kaf HaChaim 104:33) that he is considered like anyone who interrupts in the middle of his prayer. Others say (Bach, Magen Avraham, and Chayei Adam) that since he interrupted intentionally, he rendered his prayer invalid and he must return to the beginning of the Amidah. See also Bei’ur Halachah 104:6.

02 – Additions Pertaining to Particular Days

On special days, prayers that pertain to that specific day are added. There are additions that, if forgotten, prevent one’s fulfillment of his obligation, and there are additions that l’chatchilah must be recited, but b’dieved, if not included, do not prevent a person from fulfilling his obligation.

On Chol HaMo’ed Pesach and Sukkot, the Ya’aleh V’Yavo prayer is added in Birkat Retzeh. If a person forgets to say it, he must repeat the Amidah. If he did not finish the Amidah yet, he goes back to Retzeh, recites Ya’aleh V’Yavo, and from there continues on until the end of the Amidah. Similarly, we recite Ya’aleh V’Yavo on Rosh Chodesh. If it was omitted in Shacharit or Minchah, the Amidah must be repeated. However, if forgotten in Ma’ariv of Rosh Chodesh, it is not recited again, because when the new month was sanctified in Jerusalem based on the testimony of witnesses, there was no sanctification at night. Therefore, the sanctity of Rosh Chodesh does not yet apply in Ma’ariv (Shulchan Aruch 422:1).

On Motza’ei Shabbat we add the Havdalah wording in Birkat Attah Chonen of the Amidah. If forgotten, it is not repeated since the person praying will fulfill his obligation afterwards, in the Havdalah ceremony performed over wine (Shulchan Aruch 294:1).

On Chanukah and Purim, Al HaNisim is added in Birkat HaHoda’ah. If a person forgets to recite it, he does not go back, since these holidays are rabbinic. Therefore, forgetting to mention them in the Amidah does not prevent one from fulfilling his obligation (Shulchan Aruch 682:1).

On fast days, individuals add Aneinu in the berachah of Shome’a Tefillah. Ashkenazim only recite it in Minchah (Rama 565:3). Sephardim recite it throughout the whole fast: on Tish’ah B’Av – in Ma’ariv, Shacharit, and Minchah; on the other fast days – in Shacharit and Minchah (Kaf HaChaim 565:17). Some are accustomed to reciting it in Ma’ariv on all fast days (Rav Rakach, Maharitz). According to all minhagim, one who forgets to say Aneinu does not repeat the Amidah.

During the Ten Days of Repentance, which are days of judgment, for during that time Hashem’s Kingdom is revealed in the world, we conclude the third berachah with the words, “HaMelech HaKadosh,” and conclude Birkat Hashivah Shofteinu with the words, “HaMelech HaMishpat.” If one mistakenly says “HaKel HaKadosh” in the third berachah and does not correct himself as he recites it (toch k’dei dibur), he must return to the beginning of the Amidah since, as we already learned, the first three berachot are considered one unit and anyone who makes a mistake in one of them must go back to the beginning. If a person accidentally concludes Birkat Hashivah Shofteinu as usual, “Melech ohev tzedakah u’mishpat” and does not correct himself while reciting it (toch k’dei dibur), according to the custom of Ashkenazim and some Sephardim, b’dieved he fulfills his obligation, because even in the wording recited throughout the whole year, the word “Melech” (King) is used (Rama 118:1; Ben Ish Chai, Nitzavim 19; Kaf HaChaim 1). Other Sephardim maintain that he does not fulfill his obligation because he did not recite the High Holy Days wording. Therefore, if he has not yet finished his Amidah, he must return to Birkat Hashivah Shofteinu, conclude it appropriately, and continue from there until the end of the Amidah. If he already finished reciting the Amidah, he must pray again, while stipulating that if he was not obligated to repeat the prayer, the second prayer is considered voluntary (nedavah) (Shulchan Aruch 118:1; Yechaveh Da’at 1:57).

There are four other additions made during the Ten Days of Repentance: “Zochreinu,” “Mi Kamocha,” “U’chetov,” and “B’Sefer Chaim.” If any of them are forgotten, the Amidah is not repeated (Shulchan Aruch 582:5).

If a person accidentally recites Ya’aleh V’Yavo, Zochreinu, or Al HaNisim on a regular weekday, he must go back to the beginning of the berachah. If he already went on to the next berachah, he continues despite his mistake.[2]


[2]. Some poskim say that since he recited words that do not belong there at all, he must go back to the beginning of the berachah in which he made the mistake. If he erred in the first three or last three berachot, he returns to the beginning of them. However, if he already finished the Amidah, he must start the Shemoneh Esrei again. This is on condition that he recited an outright falsity, such as in Ya’aleh V’Yavo, the words “b’Yom Rosh HaChodesh hazeh” or in “Zochreinu l’Chaim”, the words “v’kotveinu,” when it is not the time of inscription (ketivah). However, if he only recited the beginning of Ya’aleh V’Yavo or such similar additions, it is not considered an interruption and he continues praying. That is what the Knesset HaGedolah, Pri Chadash, and Mishnah Berurah 108:37-38 write. In contrast, the Shulchan Aruch 108:12 maintains that even if one said, “b’Yom Rosh HaChodesh hazeh” or other similar words, even though it is incorrect, it is not considered an interruption. A number of prominent Acharonim agree with him, among them, Magen Avraham 693:1 and Da’at Torah 668, as well as Kaf HaChaim 108:58. However, in practice, perhaps it is possible to say that even according to the Mishnah Berurah one does not repeat other berachot for such a mistake. Only if he did not finish the berachah in which he erred does he go back to the beginning of it, but if he already finished, he does not repeat it. The same holds true for the first or last three berachot; he does not return to the beginning of all of them, rather only to the beginning of the specific berachah in which he made the mistake. Therefore, in practice, it is not clear that he disagrees with the Shulchan Aruch concerning a mistaken addition which requires reciting another berachah, as I have written above.

03 – The Voluntary Prayer (Tefillat Nedavah) and Laws in Situations of Uncertainty

The Chachamim instituted three daily prayers: Shacharit, corresponding to the morning Tamid offering; Minchah, corresponding to the Tamid of the afternoon; and Ma’ariv, corresponding to the raising of the organs and fats upon the altar. Just as when the Temple existed and every individual was permitted to bring voluntary offerings, so too, an individual is permitted to recite an additional voluntary Shemoneh Esrei. In order for his prayer to be recognized as voluntary, he must add some sort of special personal request in that prayer. We do not offer a Musaf offering voluntarily, therefore, one may not recite Musaf voluntarily. And just as we do not offer voluntary offerings on Shabbatot and festivals, so too, there are no voluntary prayers on those days (Shulchan Aruch 107:1-2). Anyone who wants to say a voluntary prayer must be certain that he is careful and capable of having kavanah in his prayer from beginning to end. If he cannot concentrate well, it is best that he does not recite a voluntary prayer at all (Shulchan Aruch 107:4). Nowadays, the accepted teaching is that we do not recite voluntary prayers because we do not have the proper kavanah.

One who is uncertain as to whether or not he recited one of the three daily prayers, as long as the time for its recital has not yet passed, he recites the prayer and makes a stipulation in his heart. He thinks, “If I already prayed, this prayer is considered a voluntary prayer, and if not, this is an obligatory prayer.” It is unnecessary to introduce any personal requests into that Amidah, since the fact that he is avoiding uncertainty is itself the innovation. Even though we do not recite voluntary prayers nowadays, we are permitted to do so in order to avoid uncertainty. If, in the middle of that Amidah, one remembers that he already prayed, he continues to recite the Amidah until the end and adds a personal request to illustrate that it is, indeed, a voluntary prayer. This is allowed because he made a stipulation in the beginning of his prayer explaining that his Amidah should be considered voluntary if, in fact, he already prayed.

If a person starts to pray on the basis that his prayer is obligatory, thinking that he did not yet pray, but suddenly remembers in the middle of his Amidah that he already did, he must stop immediately. His prayer cannot become voluntary, for just like there is no offering that is partly obligatory and partly voluntary, so too, there is no prayer that begins as obligatory and ends as voluntary (Shulchan Aruch 107:1).

One who is daydreaming in the middle of his prayer to the point where he is unsure what part of the Amidah he is reciting, for instance, a person who is pondering whether he is reciting the sixth berachah or the tenth, according to most poskim, in order to avoid uncertainty he must return to the sixth berachah and start to pray from that point on.[3]


[3]According to the Chayei Adam 24:21, he starts from the berachah that he knows for certain he has not yet recited. However, most poskim maintain that he must continue after the last berachah that he clearly remembers saying, so that there will be no doubt as to whether or not he skipped one of the berachot. This is what is written in Kaf HaChaim 119:20, Yabia Omer 2:9, and Yalkut Yosef, part 1, p. 206.
Regarding a person who is uncertain as to whether or not he prayed at all and must pray another Amidah as a voluntary prayer, the Bei’ur Halachah 107:1 s.v. “Im” writes that in the opinion of the Chayei Adam, nowadays he may not pray a voluntary prayer even with a stipulation. However, this opinion is not accepted.

04 – Mentioning and Asking for Rain

In the winter season, we mention rain twice in the Amidah. In the beginning, we mention rain in our praise of Hashem Who causes rain to fall; afterwards, we ask Hashem to bless us with dew and rain.

In the second berachah of the Amidah, Mechayei HaMeitim, we praise the One “Who makes the wind blow and the rain fall,” (“Mashiv haru’ach u’morid hagashem”). Chazal instituted mentioning the praise of rain in this particular berachah because rain gives life to the world.

In the ninth berachah, Birkat HaShanim, we request rain. According to the Sephardic minhag, the entire wording of Birkat HaShanim changes from winter to summer: in the winter we start with “Barech Aleinu” and in the summer we start with “Barcheinu Hashem Elokeinu.” According to the Ashkenazic minhag, the wording of Birkat HaShanim in the summer and in the winter is identical, with the exception of the words “v’ten tal u’matar” in the winter, and “v’ten berachah” in the summer.

Although both the mention of rain and the request for it are recited in the winter, there is a difference between them. The mention of rain is recited at the appropriate season for rain, whereas the prayer for rain is only recited when we actually want rain to start falling.

The mention of rain begins on the holiday of Shemini Atzeret. Conceivably, rain could be mentioned from the beginning of Sukkot, since from then on, the period of rain begins. However, because rain is considered to be a sign of a curse on the holiday of Sukkot, for we cannot fulfill the mitzvah of sitting in the sukkah when it is raining, we therefore do not mention it then. Chazal chose the Musaf prayer of Shemini Atzeret as the point at which we begin to mention rain, for then the whole community comes to synagogue and the announcement of its recital can be made in the presence of everyone. Ma’ariv was not chosen because not everyone comes to synagogue for the Ma’ariv prayer. Likewise, it cannot be announced before reciting the Amidah of Shacharit because we are prohibited from interrupting between redemption and prayer (Beit Yosef and Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 114:1-2).

However, the beginning of the request for rain was delayed fifteen days to the seventh night of the month of MarCheshvan. This is so that the last of the people returning home to the area of the Euphrates River from a Sukkot pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem, would arrive without encountering rain on their way (Shulchan Aruch 117:1). Even after the destruction of Jerusalem, this custom was not abolished, since any minhag that reminds us of the great days of the Temple is cherished. Only after the Temple is rebuilt will the Sanhedrin be able to determine whether or not to change the time that we start asking for rain, taking into consideration contemporary means of transportation.

We continue to mention rain until the first day of Pesach; in Shacharit we still mention rain, but in Musaf we start mentioning dew. Regarding the request for rain, since the request is only made on weekdays, it turns out that the last time we ask for rain is in Minchah of Erev Pesach.

05 -The Law Regarding Errors in the Mention and Request for Rain

One who unintentionally mentions rain in the summer must go back and correct his mistake, since there is no praise in mentioning rain at that time. If he did not yet finish the berachah, he goes back to the beginning of it and says “Morid hatal,” as should be recited in the summer. If he already finished the berachah, he must start the Amidah again from the beginning in order to recite it properly, since the first three berachot are considered one unit (Shulchan Aruch 114:4).

One who mistakenly did not mention rain in the winter but instead mentioned dew, like we say in the summer, “Morid hatal,” need not repeat it since he recited some sort of praise relating to water. However, if he did not mention dew either, he must go back and repeat the entire Amidah, since he omitted such important words of praise (Shulchan Aruch 114:5).

One who incorrectly requests rain in the summer: since he made an inappropriate request in Birkat HaShanim, he must go back and correct it. Therefore, if he did not finish his Amidah yet, he returns to Birkat HaShanim, recites it properly, and continues in order from there until the end of the Amidah. If he already finished the Amidah, he recites the Amidah again properly from the beginning (Shulchan Aruch 117:3).

If, by mistake, one did not request rain in the winter, it depends how much of the Amidah he already recited. If he did not yet reach Birkat Shome’a Tefillah, he continues his prayer and when he arrives at Birkat Shome’a Tefillah, in which one is permitted to make any request, he asks for rain, thereby correcting his mistake. However, if he already passed Birkat Shome’a Tefillah, he missed the place in which he is able to correct himself and lost all the berachot that he recited after Birkat HaShanim. He must return to Birkat HaShanim, recite it in accordance with the halachah, and from then on continue to pray in the proper order. If he already finished the Amidah and was prepared to take three steps back, his prayer is considered insufficient since he did not request rain, and it must be repeated in the proper manner (Shulchan Aruch 117:4-5).

06 – Advice Against Mistakes

The most frequent mistake made in the Amidah concerns the mention of, and the request for rain, because the wording is switched bi-annually. Throughout half the year, we become accustomed to a certain wording and tend to continue even though the time has come to change. As we learned, in three out of four possible errors regarding the request and mention of rain, we are obligated to repeat the prayer (see note 4).

If a person is uncertain as to whether or not he recited the correct words, as long as thirty days have not passed since the change in wording, in the beginning of the summer or winter, we assume that he most likely erred, since he is still in the habit of using the earlier wording. If his mistake is one of the three that necessitate a repetition, he must go back and pray correctly. However, if thirty days already passed, when people become accustomed to the change in wording; we can assume that he most likely recited the correct wording, and he does not need to repeat the Amidah.

In order to be spared this uncertainty, following which it is necessary to go back and repeat the prayer, it is best that every person accustom himself to the new wording on the day of the change by repeating it ninety times, so that his tongue will get into the habit of reciting the new wording and he will not err. In that way, even if the person is in doubt whether or not he recited the proper wording, the assumption is that he must have recited it correctly, since he already trained his tongue ninety times to say it in accordance with the halachah. Hence, it is unnecessary to repeat his prayer. (Shulchan Aruch 114:8-9).

Therefore, when the seventh night of Cheshvan arrives, according to the Sephardic minhag, which maintains that the nusach of the entire paragraph requesting rain changes, one should accustom himself to opening the berachah properly by reciting “Rofei cholei Amo Yisrael, Barech aleinu” ninety times. According to the minhag of the Ashkenazim, he says, “v’et kol minei tevuatah l’tovah, v’ten tal u’matar livrachah.” Some six months later, when he arrives at the Musaf service of the first day of Pesach, he says, “Mechayei meitim Attah rav lehoshia, Morid hatal” ninety times. On motza’ei chag before Ma’ariv of Chol HaMo’ed, according to the Sephardic minhag he says, “Rofei cholei Amo Yisrael, Barcheinu” and according to the Ashkenazic minhag, “v’et kol mini tevuatah l’tovah, v’ten berachah” (Mishnah Berurah 114:40; Kaf HaChaim 60).[4]


[4]However, if he makes a mistake concerning the mention of rain in the period of transition from summer to winter, he does not need to repeat the Amidah, for as we learned, even if he did not say “Mashiv haru’ach u’morid hagashem,” but he mentioned dew, he fulfilled his obligation. Therefore, because “Morid hatal” (concerning dew) is recited in the summer, then even if he recited the summer wording, he fulfilled his obligation. (Although the Rama 114:3 writes that “Morid hatal” is not said in the summer, in Israel the Ashkenazic minhag is to say it.) However, in the transition period from winter to summer, if he erred, he invalidated his prayer, because that would mean he said “Morid hagashem” (regarding rain) in the summer. Any mistake a person makes concerning the request for rain renders his prayer invalid. To summarize, in three out of the four possibilities of error, it is necessary to repeat one’s prayer.
The source for the law that a person must repeat the Amidah in the first thirty days is in the Yerushalmi Ta’anit, chapter 1, halachah 1. Maharam of Rotenberg advises to routinize one’s tongue by saying the words ninety times. Although Rabbeinu Peretz disagrees with him, the Rosh concurs, and that is also what Shulchan Aruch rules as well. However, this is slightly problematic, for in thirty days, the second berachah of the Shemoneh Esrei is recited approximately 100 times, because of the Musaf prayers on Shabbat, holidays, and Chol HaMo’ed, whereas Birkat HaShanim is said less than eighty times, since it is not recited on Shabbat or in Musaf. Indeed, some poskim maintain that the main point is to accustom oneself with ninety Amidahs, as the Eliyah Rabbah and Derech HaChaim write. In the opinion of the Taz, Gra, and other Acharonim, the essence is to recite the prayers of those thirty days, even if he did not accustom himself to the wording ninety times. See Mishnah Berurah 114:37. In small paragraph 41 he writes in the name of the Chatam Sofer that l’chatchilah one should, indeed, accustom himself to the wording by reciting it 101 times. However, in practice, he concludes that if he only accustomed himself by reciting it ninety times, it is not in our power to rule that he should repeat the Amidah against the ruling of the Shulchan Aruch. It seems that the reasoning behind the Maharam’s words is that there is no significant difference between 80, 90, or 100 times, yet the more one repeats it, the more he will familiarize his tongue. Since the Yerushalmi established that after thirty days one most probably does not err, he established that one’s tongue can be trained by saying it ninety times, which is the average number of times the Amidah is recited in a month.

07 – The Law Outside of Israel

The Chachamim postponed the commencement of the request for rain in Babylonia (Bavel) until the sixtieth day of the winter season (which comes out to be the 4th or 5th of December). This is because there is an abundance of water from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and therefore it is unnecessary to request rain in that area at the very beginning of winter. All people living outside of Israel follow the custom of Babylonia, and start asking for rain starting from the sixtieth day of the season (Shulchan Aruch 117:1).[5]

Regarding a person residing in Israel who leaves the country for a few months, there is disagreement. Some say that he should request rain as they do in Israel, for that is his home (Pri Chadash). Others say that he should request rain according to the custom of the place where he is (Birkei Yosef). In any situation of uncertainty, one should request rain in the berachah of Shome’a Tefillah and not in Birkat HaShanim, thereby fulfilling his obligation according to all opinions. See the note for details of the halachah.[6]

In places that require rain in the spring, the request for rain in Birkat HaShanim should not be continued after Pesach. Instead, the law concerning those places resembles the law of individuals; the people in those areas pray for rain in Birkat Shome’a Tefillah in which every person may add his own personal requests (Shulchan Aruch 117:2).[7]

People living in countries south of the equator, such as Argentina, Brazil, and Australia, also request rain when it is winter in Israel. Despite the fact that it is summer in those countries at that time, since Israel is the center of the Jewish world, Jews everywhere follow its custom and make the request for rain according to winter in Israel.

However, in places where the rain causes damage in the summer, the people do not practice the minhag of Israel, so as not to request something that is harmful for them. Instead, all year round they recite the wording of the summer in Birkat HaShanim, and request rain in Shome’a Tefillah. During their winter they should have in mind the place in which they live, and during Israel’s winter they should think of Israel.[8]

One traveling from Israel, or the northern countries to visit those areas should continue requesting rain according to the winter of Israel, even if the rain causes damage there (She’arim Metzuyanim BaHalachah 19:3).


[5]. In the countries closest to Israel, in which the climates are dry and more water is needed, it is customary to begin to request rain at the same time people in Israel do, on the eve of the seventh of Cheshvan. That is the custom even in far-away countries where the climate is similar to that of Israel, such as Djerba (Yalkut Yosef 117:4).

[6]. The dispute of the Acharonim is explained in the Mishnah Berurah 117:5. Kaf HaChaim 11 tends to agree with the opinion of the Birkei Yosef who maintains that one requests rain as they do in the place where he is at that time. Many mention the advice that one should make his request in Shome’a Tefillah (Tefillah KeHilchatah p. 235; Yalkut Yosef 117:15; Ishei Yisrael 23:37). In that way, he fulfills his obligation according to all, since even when there is an obligation to ask for rain, the request can be made up in Shome’a Tefillah if missed, and on the other hand, even if it is not the proper time to make such a request, if he asked for rain in Shome’a Tefillah, he need not repeat his prayer.Details of certain laws: An Israeli who leaves the country: 1) If he leaves before the seventh of Cheshvan, he asks for rain in Shome’a Tefillah starting from the seventh of Cheshvan. 2) If he leaves after the seventh of Cheshvan, since he already began requesting rain, he continues to do so in Birkat HaShanim (Kaf HaChaim 13, in the name of Kesher Shel Gudal). 3) If he leaves with his family for more than a year, he is considered at that time to be a resident of a different country and he follows the custom there.

A person from a different country who comes to Israel: it is better that he practices like those in Israel, and therefore if he intends to return to his country after the day on which it is necessary to start requesting rain there, he requests rain as those in Israel do. If he intends to return before the day that it is necessary to start requesting rain there, some say he makes his request in Shome’a Tefillah. Others say that he requests as they do in Israel. When he returns to his country, he does not need to continue the request for rain, but it is good to do so in Shome’a Tefillah (Yalkut Yosef 117:17).

In all these laws, it seems that if one erred and practiced according to one of the outlined opinions (and did not make his request in Shome’a Tefillah), he need not repeat his prayer. Concerning a chazan, even if he requests rain in Shome’a Tefillah in his silent Amidah, he prays the repetition according to the custom of the place in which he resides, because it is a prayer on behalf of the congregation (Ishei Yisrael 23:39).

[7]. If he mistakenly requested rain in Birkat HaShanim in a place that needs rain after Pesach, according to the Shulchan Aruch 117:2 he must repeat his prayer with a stipulation that if the halachah follows the Rosh’s reasoning, then it would be permitted for the residents of that place to ask for rain in Birkat HaShanim and, indeed, this prayer is a voluntary prayer (tefillat nedavah). According to the Rama, b’dieved he is not obligated to repeat the Amidah. If he realized in the middle of his prayer that he requested rain in Birkat HaShanim at the wrong time, the Yabia Omer, part 2, Orach Chaim 9:17, based on the Shulchan Aruch, writes that he must immediately go back and correct his mistake. However, according to the Mishnah Berurah 10, since b’dieved he fulfills his obligation even after saying it, he concludes his prayer and if he wishes to repeat his prayer, he prays another Amidah as a voluntary prayer. The Kaf HaChaim 25 writes that he finishes his prayer and afterwards recites another voluntary Amidah.

[8]. The distinction between normal circumstances in which we follow the custom of Israel, and a situation in which the rain causes damage, is clarified in Torat Chaim 3:7; Kaf HaChaim 117:17, and Ishei Yisrael 23:42. Or L’Tzion, part 2, 30 writes that even when the rain causes damage to a certain place, it is good that the people there request rain for Israel during their summer.

08 – Making Up a Forgotten Prayer

A person who forgot to pray, or did not pray due to circumstances beyond his control, must make up the missed prayer. If he forgot to pray Shacharit, he makes it up after Minchah. First he prays Minchah, and after the last Kaddish, he recites the Amidah again to make up for the missed Shacharit. If he wishes to pray the supplementary prayer together with the Amidah repetition, he is permitted to do so; however, he must be careful to pause between the two recitals of the Amidah for at least the amount of time that it takes to walk the distance of four amot.

If one forgets to pray Minchah, he makes it up after Ma’ariv. Following the last Kaddish, he recites the Amidah again as a supplementary prayer for the missed Minchah. If he forgets to pray Ma’ariv, he makes it up after Shacharit; either he prays the supplementary Ma’ariv Amidah together with the Amidah repetition, or he recites it after the last Kaddish of Shacharit.[9]

Whoever forgets to recite a supplementary prayer after the obligatory Amidah can b’dieved make it up during the entire time specified to recite that prayer. This means that if one does not pray a supplementary prayer for Minchah immediately after Ma’ariv, he can b’dieved make it up until chatzot (halachic midnight), since l’chatchilah that is the last possible time to pray Ma’ariv. There are those who say that b’dieved it can be made up even until amud hashachar. If one did not pray the supplementary prayer for Ma’ariv immediately after he recited the Amidah for Shacharit, he can b’dieved make it up until the conclusion of four hours. If he did not pray the supplementary prayer for Shacharit immediately after the Minchah Amidah, he can b’dieved make it up until bein hashemashot (see Mishnah Berurah 108:15; Kaf HaChaim 11). He should not wait until the end of the time to pray. Instead, he should stand and pray immediately upon remembering that he missed the supplementary prayer so as not to lengthen the interval between the obligatory prayer and the supplementary prayer. Even if he began to eat, he must immediately stop eating and pray the supplementary prayer (Mishnah Berurah 108:10).

The person praying must be careful to pray the supplementary prayer after the obligatory one. If he intended to recite the first prayer as supplementary and the second as obligatory, he did not fulfill his obligation of the supplementary prayer, and he must pray a third Amidah in order to make up for the forgotten prayer. For instance, if a person forgot to pray Minchah on Shabbat, and on Motza’ei Shabbat in the Amidah of Ma’ariv he did not recite the Havdalah wording, “Attah Chonantanu,” having in mind that it is for the supplementary Minchah, whereas in his second Amidah he did recite the Havdalah wording, he must repeat the supplementary prayer for Minchah. However, if he mistakenly forgot to say Attah Chonantanu in the first Amidah and then remembers in the second Amidah and recites it, since he intended the first Amidah to be for Ma’ariv and the second to be as a supplement for Minchah, he fulfilled his obligation.[10]


[9]. The Acharonim disagree as to whether or not it is permissible to fulfill one’s obligation of a supplementary prayer (tashlumim) by hearing the chazan’s repetition of the Amidah. According to the Pri Megadim and the Mishnah Berurah 108:5, since it is an obligation to pray a supplementary Amidah, one who knows how to pray by himself cannot fulfill his obligation by hearing the repetition. According to the Chida, it is permissible to fulfill one’s obligation of the supplementary Ma’ariv Amidah by hearing the ShacharitAmidah repetition, since in essence Ma’ariv is optional. That is also how Kaf HaChaim 108:6 rules, but he adds that a verification must be made that the chazan, indeed, has kavanah to fulfill the obligation of those who are listening to his repetition, as written in Yalkut Yosef 108:7. The Mishnah Berurah, too, is lenient b’dieved, and rules that if a person has kavanah to fulfill his obligation of a supplementary Ma’ariv in the Amidah repetition of Shacharit, he does fulfill it. Aruch HaShulchan 108:16 is completely lenient, meaning that in the Amidah repetition of Minchah as well, one can fulfill his obligation if he missed the Shacharit prayer. Regarding the chazan himself, everyone agrees that the Amidah repetition that he recites can effectively be considered as his supplementary prayer (Mishnah Berurah 108:4).It seems that when the Shulchan Aruch 108:2 writes that a person prays again after Shacharit, he is referring specifically to one who is praying individually. However, if he is praying in a minyan, it is preferable that he prays his supplementary prayer together with the chazan’s Amidah repetition or after the last Kaddish, for if he does not, he loses out on responding to some of the Kaddishim as well as reciting Kedushah d’Sidra.

[10]The majority of poskim maintain that everything depends on the person’s kavanah (Mishnah Berurah 108:28, unlike the Taz). The Magen Avraham and Taz are doubtful concerning a case in which a person has kavanah in the first Amidah for tashlumim and the second one as an obligation, but he did not recite Attah Chonantanu and lacks tangible proof that he prayed the second Amidah as the obligatory prayer. Therefore, perhaps he does not need to repeat his prayer. Nevertheless, the opinion of the Shulchan Aruch and most poskim is that he must repeat the Amidah, and that is the halachah. It is best that he make a stipulation that if he is not obligated to recite this prayer, his prayer is considered voluntary (Mishnah Berurah 108:7; Yalkut Yosef, part 1, p. 214).

09 – In What Situations Are Supplementary Prayers Not Recited?

The Chachamim instituted the recital of a supplementary prayer solely to make up for the preceding prayer that was missed. Therefore, one who missed both Shacharit and Minchah, due to circumstances beyond his control, prays a supplementary prayer after Ma’ariv for Minchah alone. If he desires, he may pray an additional voluntary prayer for the Shacharit that he missed (Shulchan Aruch 108:4-5), although nowadays we are not accustomed to praying voluntary prayers.[11]

One who forgot to recite Musaf cannot make it up since the Musaf offerings are only brought on specific days. Similarly, one who forgot to pray Shacharit on a day that Musaf is recited, even though we learned that one must make up the prayer in the Amidah immediately following it, the Musaf prayer does not count and one must make up Shacharit after Minchah.

Someone who intentionally (b’meizid) missed one of the prayers cannot make it up. The Rishonim write that if he wants, he may recite it as a voluntary prayer (Shulchan Aruch 108:7). However, we already learned that today we are not accustomed to praying voluntary prayers, since one who does must be sure that he can concentrate throughout the whole prayer, from beginning to end (Kaf HaChaim 108:31).

Nonetheless, one who did not recite Minchah or Ma’ariv when he still had the chance, thinking that after he finished the matter occupying his attention, time for prayer would remain, but was ultimately drawn into what he was doing, while the time to pray passed, is not considered to have purposely negated his prayer and must make it up after the next one. The law regarding a person who started to eat before praying, with the thought that he would have time to pray afterwards, but eventually forgot, is similar. Despite the fact that he started to eat when it was forbidden (earlier in this book 12:6-7; 24:6; 25:9), since he did not contemptuously cancel his prayer, he makes it up after the next one (Shulchan Aruch 108:8). However, consider the case of a person engaged in a game, such as soccer, who was called to go pray lest the proper time pass. Out of his enthusiasm for the game, he said, “Just one more minute,” and continued to play. Meanwhile, the time to pray passed. In such a case, he cannot make up his prayer. Were it not for the game, he would have been more than happy to pray. Nevertheless, since he knew for certain that the time to pray was about to lapse, he is, indeed, deemed one who scornfully neglected his prayer.


[11]. According to the Rambam, Rosh, Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah, Rashbam, and Shulchan Aruch, it is only permissible to make up the last prayer. Others say that he may make up all the prayers that he missed, as writes the Rashba and “yesh omrim” in Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah. The Shulchan Aruch writes that it is good to make up all the prayers as voluntary (tefillat nedavah). However, since today we are not accustomed to praying voluntary prayers, it seems that only one who is certain that he will have the proper kavanah may pray a voluntary prayer to make up a missed Amidah.

10 – Additional Laws and Cases of Uncertainty

One who forgot to recite Minchah on Erev Shabbat must pray the Ma’ariv Shabbat Amidah twice, the first for Ma’ariv and the second for the Minchah that he missed. Even though that Minchah was supposed to be a weekday Amidah comprised of eighteen berachot, nevertheless, since the time to make it up falls on Shabbat, the wording of the Shabbat prayer is recited (Shulchan Aruch 108:9).

One who forgot to recite Ya’aleh V’Yavo in Minchah of Rosh Chodesh did not fulfill his obligation. If the following day is a second day of Rosh Chodesh, clearly he must pray a supplementary prayer after Ma’ariv for the missed Minchah and in both recite Ya’aleh V’Yavo. However, if the evening already begins a regular day, there is doubt concerning this issue. On the one hand, if the whole problem is that he did not mention Ya’aleh V’Yavo in Minchah, how would it help to pray another Amidah after Ma’ariv without Ya’aleh V’Yavo? On the other hand, he did not fulfill his obligation for Minchah, since at that time it was Rosh Chodesh and he failed to recite Ya’aleh V’Yavo, whereas if he were to pray a supplementary prayer he would fulfill his obligation because he would recite the appropriate prayers for that specific time. In practice, the ruling is that one is to recite Ma’ariv twice and make a stipulation that if he is not obligated to make up the missed prayer, the additional prayer he is praying should be considered voluntary. There is no need to introduce any new personal requests at this time.

The ruling is similar to the law regarding one who errs on Shabbat and instead of reciting Minchah of Shabbat recites the weekday wording without mentioning the sanctity of Shabbat. The law in that case requires that he recite two weekday Amidahs on Motza’ei Shabbat with a stipulation that if he is not obligated to make up the prayer, the additional prayer he is praying should be considered voluntary (Shulchan Aruch 108:11).