Translation:Arukh ha-Shulchan/Orach Chaim/89

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Translation:Arukh ha-Shulchan
by Yechiel Michel Epstein, translated from Hebrew by Wikisource
Orach Chaim 670
Laws of Prayer and It's Timing

Translated from the Hebrew by Wikisource

588410Translation:Arukh ha-ShulchanOrach Chaim 670
Laws of Prayer and It's Timing
Yechiel Michel Epstein

This chapter contains thirty-two sections: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32

Translator's note: This section of the Aruch Hashulchan can be divided into three sections: 1) an introduction to the nature of the obligation to pray (1-10) 2) the time when one is allowed to pray (11-14) 3) the practices that one is not allowed to do before they pray. (14-32)

Section 1[edit]

Rambam writes in the beginning of The laws of prayer: Hilchot Tephila:

It is a positive (Scriptual) commandment to pray every day. As it says "And you will serve Hashem your God". From tradition, we learn that this "service" is referring to prayer. As it says "And you will serve Him with all of your Heart". Our Sages say: What is "Service of the Heart"? Prayer.
However, praying with a quorum is not a Scriptual obligation, nor are the words that one prays a Scriptual obligation, nor are the set times that one prays a Scriptual obligation.
Therefore, woman and servants are obligated to pray, because prayer is a positive commandment that does not have a set time.
So the obligation to prayer is such: Man should pray every day, and first say praise of the Holy One Blessed Be He, and then beg for his needs, and then give praise and this for the good that He (God) gives Him.
Everyone according to his(/her) ability

So are the Rambam's words.

Section 2[edit]

(As mentioned above), the opinion of the Rambam is that prayer is a positive Scriptual commandment, as he explains in his list of commandments, in the fifth commandment, and the Sifrei said likewise.

However, the Ramban disagreed with him, and ruled that prayer is a Rabbinic commandment, as is implied in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law).

According to the Rambam, these references that seem to imply that prayer is a Rabbinic commandment are referring to the times and content of prayer.

Concerning where it says (Berachot: 21a) "If there is a doubt whether one prayed or not, they do not go back and pray again"- was also referring to fixed prayer.

Another explanation (of this passage from the Talmud is) that since this scenario is only talking about one prayer, he will still pray another two prayers that day, and (through these prayers) fulfill his obligation to pray on a Scriptual level (which requires that one only pray once a day).

The same is true by a case where someone had seminal omissions (Baal Keri). When it says (in the Talmud) that they should not pray, it was referring to fixed prayer. However, he should still ask God for his needs without mentioning the Name of God (Ado--Nai). (If he did so) he would fulfill his Scriptual obligation.

The same is true by woman where (the Talmud) says that they are obligated to pray Scriptually. This passage was not referring to fixed prayer, but was rather saying that they are required to ask for their needs from God.

Section 3[edit]

One should ask the following question: Where does the Rambam infer that the scriptual obligation of prayer includes the obligation to (in this order) first praise God, then ask for one's needs, and then give praise and thanks?

Where does he learn this from?

Is not the only source that we have of the scriputal status of prayer "And you shall serve (Hashem your God)?"

It seems to me, that we learn it from the following (passage of the Talmud) (Berachot: 32a).

Men should always first praise God, and then ask for their needs. We learn this from Moses our teacher, see (Parshat Va’Etchanan 4:24-25).

If this is the case, then we are also commanded in the order that we pray, as it says in (Berachot 34a):

The first set of phrases (the one prays) are comparable to a servant who gives praise to his master, the middle phrases are comparable to a servant who requests a great reward from his master, and the ending phrases are comparable to a servant who receives his reward and excuses himself.

This ("and he excuses himself") means: He gives thanks for his great reward.

Since this is the required practice (of asking) from a human king, certainly it is required before the King of all Kings the Holy One Blessed Be He.

For this reason, the Men of the Great Assembly decreed that (we pray) thus (in the eighteen supplements: Shemonei Esrei).

So if we are required to pray Scriptually, then we are also required in (the order) that (we pray).

Section 4[edit]

In my humble opinion, the opinion of the Ramban does not dictate that the main obligation to pray is Rabbinic, nor does it advocate that Scripturally, there is no obligation to pray at all, as this (line as reasoning) does not make sense.

Rather, the Ramban is saying that (the obligation to pray) is not included in the list of (613) commandments, and that in a case of doubt (e.g. of whether one prayed or not) we rule leniently, similarly to the way that we rule by all other Rabbinic commandments.

My opinion is reflected in the words of the Ramban himself in the Laws of Shevutei Shabbat (The Rabbinic prohibitions of Shabbat), where he says that running a business on Shabbat (literally: buying and selling {anything}) is (only) a Rabbinic prohibition.

The Ramban’s was (surely) not saying that scripturally, it is permitted to do business on Shabbat, because if that was the case, it would not be (recognizable as) Shabbat! ( Proof for my words can be found in the Tanach,) where Nechemya reprimands (the people) for breaking Shabbat (when he saw them running their stores on Shabbat.)

So the Ramban’s intention (is to say, that running a store in Shabbat) is a Scriptural prohibition, but it is not included in the list of prohibitions that one receives stoning for.

Nevertheless, it is still a Scriptural prohibition.

(The Ritva writes thus in the name of the Ramban.)

Section 5[edit]

According to me, how can you say that there is no (Scriptural) commandment to pray to our father in heaven? Isn't Avodah (worship in the Holy Temple) is one of the three pillars of the world's existence! {Pirkei Avoth)!? (However) because of our many sins today, we do not have the Holy Temple, the only reminent of worship is prayer.

We are like servants in the hands of our masters. How can (one) say that you are not obligated to pray to God every day?

Furthermore, I will bring a proof from the Ramban himself that prayer is a Scriptural commandment. He says the following:

When it says "(And you shall serve Hashem) with all of your heart"- (we learn out from here) that there is a positive commandment for us to serve God with all of our heart. In other words, one must have the correct intentions (kavanah) order to "Love {Hashem your God with all of your heart...}"...From this verse, we learn the commandment to love God with all of your heart... So are his words.

If this is so, then (the scenario of serving God with all of your heart) must refer to prayer, because this is the only action that one has to have kavanah. Also, how will one abstain love of God without praying to him at all?

Furthermore: You should know that, in the opinion of the Ramban, saying blessings before learning Torah is a Scriptural commandment, as I have written in chapter 57, see there.

The following are the Ramban's words:

We are commanded to give thanks to God for the amazing goodness that He gave us, by giving us the Torah...

So are his words. Therefore, how could one say that we are not obligated to give thanks to God for all of the kindnesses and miracles that He preforms for us constantly? How (are we) not (commanded) daily, to ask for mercy for our bodies and livelihoods? Can there be a greater obligation then this? Rather, the reality is as I have written, that there is a Scriptural obligation to pray daily, but it is nevertheless not counted in the list of commandments.

Section 6[edit]

In my humble opinion, the reason why the Ramban did not include prayer in the list of (613) commandments, is because it is higher than (the rest of the commandments). (The reason for this is because when one prays,) it is like (one) stands before a king and speaks to him “face to face”, so to speak.

Therefore, (when one prays), one should (pray) with (a feeling of) honor and fear. (Following his prayers,) the rest of the congregation should come and praise God in the repetition, in similarity to the angles above. (Is this Kedusha?)

Our Sages said that (prayer is one of) “the aspects (of creation) that is at the height of the world” . (We are also taught that our) prayers create “crowns” for God. (See Medrashic sources.)

(According to the Ramban,) prayer is the most important commandment. It is like the backbone of the body (i.e. the part of the body that holds the other parts up.) So the reason why it is not included in the list of commandments, is because it is not a one of the commandments…it is the main commandment.

So (according to the Ramban) the concept prayer is not included in the list of commandments because it is the main commandment, (and therefore, above the rest.)

Section 7[edit]

King David of Blessed memory said.

"In the evening, morning and afternoon, I will praise and lament, and He will hear my voice."( Tehillim 55:18)

He also said:

"My prayers are like incense before you" (Tehillim 141:2)

In other words, prayer is as important as the incense (of the sacrifices).

Daniel also prayed three times a day, even when times were good for him.

"In good times, he blessed (God) for his blessings, and gave thanks before His God". (Daniel 6:11)

In fact, (Daniel) was (willing to) give up his life for prayer, which (he almost did) when (King Nevuchatnetzar) threw him into a lion’s den.

(Therefore,) It was not for naught that the Men of the Great Assembly (Anshei Kenneset Hagedolah) ordered (the creation and order of the fixed prayers). After all, there were a number of prophets (whose names will be mentioned later) and one hundred and twenty elders between them. So (when they realized that the Jewish people were not articulate enough to order their prayers anymore), they ordered the (Shemonei Esrei) with Divine inspiration . “(Every letter) stands at the height of the world” (i.e. our prayers profoundly impact both the physical and spiritual realms.)

And Heaven forbid should one change their words (in Shemonei Esrei), even to the last detail! And one should certainly (not follow) the (practice) of those heretics who change the language of (Shemonei Esrei) from Hebrew to the vernacular. (People who do so) do not have a portion in the house of Israel or in its holy Torah, and do so with tremendous arrogance. How is it possible that members of our generation can change (the language) of the Men of the Great Assembly, who had the following prophets among them (?!): Chaga, Zacharia, Malachi, Ezra, Nechemia, Zerubavel, and Yehoshua the son of Tziduk, the Cohen Gadol).

Concerning the small differences between Nusach Ashkenaz and Nusach Sefard – there is no (real) difference. (The reasons for this are the following:). (One,) both were accepted long ago (as legitimate). (Two,) the both have the same ideas with in them, and both are (therefore,) legitimate opinions.

Section 8[edit]

Our Rabbis instituted (that the Shemonei Esrei was set up into the following) order: 1) 3 phrases of praise 2) 18 phrases which include all that we need, as the Rambam writes there (and the following are his words:) These supplements contain all of the needs of man, as well as the needs of the congregation). 3) three phrases of thanks.

One who maticulate in the wording of the prayers (and understands them on a basic level) will discover amazing principles in the (wording of the Shemonei Esrei). (If one understands the wording of the shemonei esrei according to the deeper meaning), they will discover the basic principles of the world's existence.It was not for naught that our Sages described how great prayer is.

section 9[edit]

(Our Sages) decreed, that the order of our prayers (should be the) same order of the sacrifices: There are two daily prayers every day, to represent the two daily sacrifices every day. Any day that there was an added sacrifice ( קרבן מוסף ), as on Shabbas, Yom Tov, and Rosh Chodesh, the Sages instituted a third prayer which they called תפילת מוסף.

The Shacharit prayer represents the morning sacrifice, and the Mincha prayer represents the afternoon sacrifice.

Therefore, they instituted that one should pray a third prayer at night, which they called ערבית, which represented the reminents of the afternoon sacrifice which burned all night, as it says "NEED HELP WITH PASUK"(Vayikra 6:2). As King David says "In the evening morning and afternoon I will praise...", and (likewise,) Daniel also prayed three times a day, as I have written.

However, praying the evening prayer ( ערבית) is not obligatory, because it does not represent a actual sacrifice. However, since nowadays, all of Israel, in all communities, pray the evening prayer (ערבית), we have accepted it upon ourselves as an obligation. {authors note: See Semag, who is one of the first to make this observation, and also see the Rambam who explains this "non-obligatory prayer")

Section 10[edit]

(Because of the importance of prayer, Our Sages) instituted that we pray an additional pray on fast days which is recited between sunset (and the point where there are three stars out), in order to increase (the amount of) supplements and requests in (order to take advantage) of the fast day. This extra prayer is called "Neilla", because (while we pray) we open the gates of heaven (up to) the sun (i.e. the limits of our prayers there have no limit) (Rambam). However, we only say the Neilla prayer on Yom Kipor, as was taught in (Pesachim 54b):

Today, we have no more public fast days, in terms of saying Neilla...even concerning Tisha Ba'av (the ninth of Av)

So (in conclusion to this section,) on all normal weekdays, there are three prayers, on the Shabbat, Yomim Tovim (holidays), and Rosh Chodesh (the first (and sometimes second) day of the new month), there are four prayers, and on Yom Kipor, there are five.

It also says (in Berachot 26b):

Abraham instituted the morning prayer, Issac instituted the afternoon prayer, and Jacob instituted the evening prayer, as is implied in the verses.

It also says thus in Talmud Yerushalmi, in the begining of the chapter "morning prayers". From here, one can also infer that the obligation to pray is biblical, as from the verse "and you will Serve (Him with all of your heart...), as the Rambam writes.

Section 11[edit]

The Beit Yosef writes the following:

One may pray the morning morning prayers at sunrise, as it says "You will fear him with the sun" (Tehillim). If however, one prayed at the crack of dawn when the eastern horizon was visible, they fulfilled their obligation. One may say the morning prayer until the fourth hour into the day, which is a third of the day.

The Tur also writes similarly (saying the following:)

One may pray the morning prayer at the crack of dawn when the eastern horizon is visible...

The Rush also writes thus, in the begining of the chapter "morning blessings". He writes the following:

The time (for praying the morning prayer) starts at the crack of dawn, and when the eastern horizon is visible...

One may infer from their language that the crack of dawn is the same time as when the easter horizon is visible, and before this is considered nighttime. Rashi, and the Vilna Goan (G"RA) also write thus, and the following are (the G"RA's words:)

Rabbi Gamliel says: (One may say Shema) until the crack of dawn- (the G"RA comments and says:) this is the same time as when the eastern horizon is visible.

Concerning what it says in the third chapter of Yuma, that the eastern horizon is after the crack of dawn; this was referring to when the entire eastern horizon was visible, as (when this occurs), it is considered a complete day. However when one can see the eastern horizon (i.e. at the eastern horizon can be seen at a bare minimum) the same time as the crack of dawn..

Section 12[edit]

However, (the following passage from) Midrash Rabbah (seems to contradict my assertion that the crack of dawn is the same time as when the eastern horizon is visible):

Rabbi Chanina says: From the crack of dawn until the eastern horizon is visible is four Milin (a measurement of time) and from the point where the eastern horizon is visible until sunrise is four milin.

(This seems to explicitly contradict the notion of the Aruch Hashulchan, Vilna Goan and Rashi, who claim that the crack of dawn is the same time as when the eastern horizon comes up!)

However (in order to answer this question, I) will bring the talmud Yerushalmi, where is quotes this conversation as saying איילת השחר.

(note: The G"RA comments on this difference of opinion concerning the actual language of this quote. There, he says that this diversion of language proves what he claims: that the crack of dawn is the same as the point where the eastern horizon is visible.)

Section 13[edit]

Our Rabbis learned (Berachot: chapter four)

One may pray shacharit (the morning prayer) until midday. Rabbi Yehuda says: (one may pray) up to the fourth hour.

The law is in accordance with Rabbi Yehuda. As the Rif writes:

Although the law is not in accordance with the Rabbis (who rule that) one may pray until midday, if one accidentally (missed the time for prayers: i.e. the fourth hour expired), one may pray until midday. Although, (if one does this), they do not receive reward for praying at the proper time, they still receive reward for praying.

(translators explanation: There are two aspects of the obligation of prayer: 1) the time that one prays 2) the actual obligation to pray. If one prayed between the fourth hour and midday, they only receive the second of the two aspects: the reward for praying.)

The Rambam also writes similarly. The Tur says the following:

If one accidently did not pray and the fourth hour had passed- they may pray until midday. (If one does this,) they do not recieve the reward for praying at the correct time, but they do receive the reward for praying.

The Beit Yosef also writes similarly when he writes "If one accidentely missed the proper time for prayer....". However, the Ramah comments and says:

After midday, it is forbidden for one to pray the Shacharit prayer.

Section 14[edit]

Although the Rif and Rambam do not specifically say (that one may pray) until midday, this was obviously their intention, as they rule in accordance with the Rabbis, who do not rule that one may not pray until midday.[What?] And this is the law: If one purposefully missed (morning prayers) they may not make it up. However, if one mistakenly or due to circumstances beyond one's control missed prayers, he may pray the afternoon prayers twice, which we will elaborate on in section 108.

The reason why the Rif does not say this is because [NEED HELP WITH REASON]. Therefore, the Rambam and Shulchan Aruch add the words: "If one either mistakenly or due to circumstances beyond one's control missed prayers {missed morning prayers...}". Also, when our teacher the Ramah specifically wrote: And after midday it is forbidden to pray, he was referring to cases where one mistakenly or due to circumstances beyond one's control missed prayers missed morning prayers, and we rely on him. However, (in that situation), one should pray the afternoon prayers first, as I have written there. And this is the consensus of the leaders. (Magen Avraham 89:5, Taz:89:1) '''Please look over and correct the many mistakes in this paragraph'''

Section 15[edit]

From the crack of dawn onwards, it is forbidden for one to say "Shalom" to his friend (before he prays) because God's Name is "Shalom". We learn this from the Talmud where it says the following (Berachot 14a):

Anyone who says "Shalom" to his fellow before he prays- is considered as if he brought a private sacrifice (which are nowadays forbidden}

In other words, (this means) that since prayer is the replacement for prays, when one says "Shalom" to his fellow (before he prays,) it is considered as if one greets his friend and then receives the Divine Presence

The Tur writes that this specifically refers to one who goes to his friend's house. However, if he happens to bump him - he may say "Shalom" to him. So are his words.

Section 16[edit]

The Beit Yosef writes the following:

Since the crack of dawn is the point where one may pray, it is forbidden for one to say "Shalom" (hello) to his fellow (before one prays). However, it is permitted to say "good morning" (to his fellow). However, even this language (of good morning) is not permitted except if one happens to be going about some business (and bumps into his friend). If however, he specifically goes to greet his friend, even saying (good morning), is prohibited. It is also prohibited to bow to his fellow when he greets his friend. Some say that bowing to one's fellow is prohibited even if one did not specifically go to his friends house. If however, one started saying morning blessings, one should not be so concerned. However, if one did not specifically go to his friend's house, but rather happened to bump into him while traveling, it is permitted to say "Shalom" to him. According to some, even if one saw his friend in the marketplace, one should say not (say "Shalom") but rather "good morning" in order to remind him that he should not do other things before he prays.

So are his words.

Section 17[edit]

I dont understand what it is written when it says "Even this is not permitted except...However (if the only reason why you are going to your friend's house is to greet him, even this term {of Shalom} is prohibited...], because there is a problem: (The law is that) if one is not specifically going to greet his friend, even saying "Shalom" is permitted! And don't answer that when {the shulchan Aruch wrote this, he did so} in accordance with the "according to some" because if that were the case he should have said this much more condensed: Going to one's friend's house is prohibited, even if one (only says} "good morning"!. However, if one bumped into his friend, some say that one even say "shalom" while others rule that one may only say "good morning"...

I saw someone who explained this (Shulchan Aruch as follows: When it says:) "And even this is not permitted" except in cases where he went out to do something"- it means that he happened to be near his friend's house, where it would be permitted to say "good morning". However, to say "Shalom" would be prohibited even in that instance. In other words: Even those who rule that if one bumps into someone they may "shalom" if one bumped into his friend), thwould agree that in this instance it would be prohibited to do so.

In my humble opinion, [this explanation is not correct because] that is not the implied meaning of his explanation. And if this were true, why didn't he say so? Furthermore, since in the end of the matter he is going to their house, why does it matter what his intentions were? Another question: How is it permitted for one to go do things before prayers? As we will soon learn, it is prohibited to do any [major] activities before prayers [as the Magen Avraham claims is the case]!

This subject needs much further study. would prohibit (saying Shalom) in this instance.

Section 18[edit]

In my humble opinion, this is the explanation [of this section of the Shulchan Aruch:] Since, according to the simple understanding of this passage of the Talmud, one would think that it is only prohibited to say "Shalom" before prayers, but going to somebody elses house before prayers [and saying 'good morning'] would be permitted, ((and in fact, (the Tosaphot Ri quotes Rabbenu Preventz who expresses the opinion) that one may in fact greet his fellow before prayers by saying 'good morning', our teacher the Beit Yosef, who taught that the prohibition lies in going to one's friend's house before prayers [and not in the wording of "Shalom"],

Therefore, our teacher the Beit Yosef [author of the Shulchan Aruch], who holds that the prohibition In this passage of the

Section 19[edit]

Concerning what the Beit Yosef (the writer of the Shulchan Aruch) wrote, that "after one said morning blessings, one does not have to to worry so much"- was not refering to saying "Shalom", but rather to the [prohibition] of bowing (to ones friends before prayers) or saying "Shalom" when one does not specifically go up to his friends home [which would be permitted anycase]. However, if one went to his friends home- it is explicit in the talmud that it is forbidden to say "Shalom" to his friend. (Magen Avraham). Therefore, it would also be permitted for one to go to his friend's house and say "good morning".

The reason why he was so meticulous in the wording he used, saying "one not worry so much" was to tell you the following: It is [only] permitted to say "shalom" if the two[main] factors: going to one friend's house before prayers and saying "shalom".