Halakha - Shema & Tefilla

She’ma §

Without a Minyan §

  • When saying without a minyan, one omits Qedusha in the first blessing
    • Se`adia Gaon: Skip to כאמור: לעשות אורים גדולים

Kawannah §

  • Only the first line davka requires kawannah

Proper Posture §

  • Mutar: Standing, walking, lying down שוכבין, or riding on an animal
  • Assur: Lying face down (on the ground) מול ופניו, on one’s back with face pointing upward
    • One should turn on their side
    • If they’re obese, and this is hard, they should turn slightly on their side

Sources §

Omission of Qedusha §

https://www.sefaria.org/Mishneh_Torah,_Prayer_and_the_Priestly_Blessing.7.17

סֵדֶר תְּפִלּוֹת כָּךְ הוּא. בַּשַּׁחַר מַשְׁכִּים אָדָם וּמְבָרֵךְ בְּרָכוֹת אֵלּוּ. וְקוֹרֵא הַזְּמִירוֹת וּמְבָרֵךְ לִפְנֵיהֶם וּלְאַחֲרֵיהֶם. וְקוֹרֵא אַחַר כָּךְ שְׁמַע וּמְבָרֵךְ לְפָנֶיהָ וּלְאַחֲרֶיהָ. וּמְדַלֵּג קְדֻשָּׁה מִן הַבְּרָכָה רִאשׁוֹנָה שֶׁלְּפָנֶיהָ שֶׁאֵין הַיָּחִיד אוֹמֵר קְדֻשָּׁה. וּכְשֶׁהוּא חוֹתֵם גָּאַל יִשְׂרָאֵל מִיָּד יַעֲמֹד כְּדֵי שֶׁיִּסְמֹךְ גְּאֻלָּה לִתְפִלָּה וּמִתְפַּלֵּל מְעֵמָּד כְּמוֹ שֶׁאָמַרְנוּ. וּכְשֶׁיַּשְׁלִים יֵשֵׁב וְיִפּל עַל פָּנָיו וּמִתְחַנֵּן וּמַגְבִּיהַּ רֹאשׁוֹ וּמִתְחַנֵּן מְעַט וְהוּא יוֹשֵׁב בְּדִבְרֵי תַּחֲנוּנִים. וְאַחַר כָּךְ יִקְרָא (תהילים קמה א) ״תְּהִלָּה לְדָוִד״ (מְיֻשָּׁב) וְיִתְחַנֵּן כְּפִי כֹּחוֹ וְיִפָּטֵר לְמַעֲשָׂיו:


The order of the prayers is as follows. In the morning, on arising, a person recites the blessings mentioned above; then reads the Psalms—reciting the appropriate blessings before and after them. Then he reads the Shema, reciting the blessings before and after it, omitting the Kedusha**Sanctification (Isaiah 6:3, Ezekiel 3.12). from the former of the two blessings before the Shema, this not being recited by an individual in his private devotions. When he has concluded the blessing after the Shema, which closes with the phrase, “Who redeemest Israel” he immediately rises, so that the reference to the Redemption may be connected with the Amidah prayer, which, as already stated by us, is recited standing. When this prayer is concluded, he sits down, bows his head, offers up supplications, raises his head and still seated, offers further supplications. Then he reads “The Psalm of David” (Psalm 145), offers according to his ability, more supplications, after which he proceeds to his affairs.

Kawannah §

מ"ת קריאת שמע ב:א

הַקּוֹרֵא אֶת שְׁמַע וְלֹא כִּוֵּן לִבּוֹ בְּפָסוּק רִאשׁוֹן שֶׁהוּא (דברים ו ד) ״שְׁמַע יִשְׂרָאֵל״ לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ וְהַשְּׁאָר אִם לֹא כִּוֵּן לִבּוֹ יָצָא. אֲפִלּוּ הָיָה קוֹרֵא בַּתּוֹרָה כְּדַרְכּוֹ אוֹ מַגִּיהַּ אֶת הַפָּרָשִׁיּוֹת הָאֵלּוּ בְּעוֹנַת קְרִיאָה יָצָא וְהוּא שֶׁכִּוֵּן לִבּוֹ בְּפָסוּק רִאשׁוֹן:

\ One who reads the Shema and does not concentrate his mind while reciting the first verse—"Hear, O Israel, the Lord, our God, the Lord is One," has not fulfilled his duty. As to the remaining verses, if he did not concentrate his mind (while reciting them), he has nevertheless fulfilled his duty. Even if he was reading the Torah in his usual course of study or examining these sections in a scroll (to ensure correctness), and read them at the prescribed time, he has fulfilled his duty, provided however that he concentrated his mind while reciting the First Verse.

Posture §

מ"ת קריאת שמע ב:ב

כָּל אָדָם קוֹרִין כְּדַרְכָּן בֵּין עוֹמְדִין בֵּין מְהַלְּכִין בֵּין שׁוֹכְבִין בֵּין רוֹכְבִין עַל גַּבֵּי בְּהֵמָה. וְאָסוּר לִקְרוֹת קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וְהוּא מֻטָּל וּפָנָיו טוּחוֹת בַּקַּרְקַע אוֹ מֻשְׁלָךְ עַל גַּבּוֹ וּפָנָיו לְמַעְלָה. אֲבָל קוֹרֵא הוּא וְהוּא שׁוֹכֵב עַל צִדּוֹ. וְאִם הָיָה בַּעַל בָּשָׂר הַרְבֵּה וְאֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְהִתְהַפֵּךְ עַל צִדּוֹ אוֹ שֶׁהָיָה חוֹלֶה נוֹטֶה מְעַט לְצִדּוֹ וְקוֹרֵא:

\ Everyone may read the Shema in the ordinary postures—standing, walking, lying down or riding on an animal. It is forbidden to read the Shema, lying down prone with face to the ground, or lying on the back with face looking up. But one may read it while lying on one's side. An extremely corpulent person who is unable to turn on his side or one who is sick should slightly turn on his side and then recite the Shema. \ \

Te’filah §

Prayer Times §

Minha §

  • Proper to pray at Minha Qatannah (the later Min7a)
    • One may pray starting at Min7a Gadol
  • One can say Min7a until She’ki3a

Minyan §

  • The ש”צ can only fulfill the obligation for one who does not know the liturgy. One who does has to say the te’filoth for their obligation to be fulfilles
    • Exceptions New Year’s Day & Yom HaKippurim of Jubilee yr
      • Does anyone pay attention to this now??

Amidah §

Tahanunim §

  • After the end of the Amidah, one prostrates and adds [can add] supplications

Blessing for Rain - Shemini Assereth §

מ״ת תפילה וברכת כהנים

מְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁהֵן צְרִיכִין לִגְשָׁמִים בִּימוֹת הַחַמָּה כְּגוֹן אִיֵּי הַיָּם הָרְחוֹקִים שׁוֹאֲלִין אֶת הַגְּשָׁמִים בְּעֵת שֶׁהֵן צְרִיכִין לָהֶן בְּשׁוֹמֵעַ תְּפִלָּה. וּמְקוֹמוֹת שֶׁהֵן עוֹשִׂין יוֹם טוֹב שְׁנֵי יָמִים אוֹמֵר מוֹרִיד הַגֶּשֶׁם בִּתְפִלַּת מוּסָף שֶׁל יוֹם רִאשׁוֹן שֶׁל שְׁמִינִי עֲצֶרֶת וּמִתְפַּלֵּל וְהוֹלֵךְ כָּל יְמוֹת הַגְּשָׁמִים:

\ In places that require rain in the summer, for instance in the distant sea-girt islands, a petition for rain, is offered up, whenever it is needed, in the prayer ending, "Who hearkenest unto prayer." In places where the second days of the feasts are kept, the formula, "Who causest the rain to descend" is recited, for the first time in the year, in the additional Service, on the first day of the feast of Solemn Assembly (8th day of Tabernacles) and continues to be recited throughout the winter.

Netilat Yedayyim §

  • Say Berakha, Wash Hands, Raise Hands
  • One still says the berakha when washing before meals
  • For meals: One can technically wash once for the whole day, but only as long as it’s intentional
  • All bread that has salt in it requires washing of the hands [without a berakha?] after the meal
    • This was a health precaution (Salt of Sidom]

Relevant Sources for Berakha Before Washing: MT Blessings 1:2-3, 11:3, 11:7; MT Tefillin 4:7. SA OH 25:8, 158:11

Additional Sources Related to Netilat Yadayim:

מ״ת - ברכות ו:ב

כָּל הַנּוֹטֵל יָדָיו בֵּין לַאֲכִילָה בֵּין לִקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע בֵּין לִתְפִלָּה מְבָרֵךְ תְּחִלָּה אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם. שֶׁזּוֹ מִצְוַת חֲכָמִים שֶּׁנִּצְטַוֵּינוּ מִן הַתּוֹרָה לִשְׁמֹעַ מֵהֶן שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (דברים יז יא) ״עַל פִּי הַתּוֹרָה אֲשֶׁר יוֹרוּךָ״. ומַיִם אַחֲרוֹנִים אֵין מְבָרְכִין עֲלֵיהֶן שֶׁאֵינָם אֶלָּא מִפְּנֵי הַסַּכָּנָה. וּלְפִיכָךְ חַיָּב אָדָם לְהִזָּהֵר בָּהֶן בְּיוֹתֵר: \

When washing the hands, whether for a meal or for the recital of the Shema or the Amidah prayer, one first says the blessing “Who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments and given us command concerning the washing of the hands”. For this is an ordinance of the sages whose instructions the Torah bids us heed, as it is said “According to the law which they shall teach thee’ (Deut. 17-11). The washing of the hands after a meal requires no blessing, since it was only instituted as a precautionary measure against danger to health.**that might arise from touching the eyes with fingers that have salt adhering to them. (See next paragraph.) Special attention should, on this account, be paid to the observance.

מ״ת - ברכות ו:ג

נְטִילַת יָדַיִם בֵּין תַּבְשִׁיל לְתַבְשִׁיל רְשׁוּת. רָצָה נוֹטֵל רָצָה אֵינוֹ נוֹטֵל. וּפֵרוֹת שֶׁל חֻלִּין אֵינָן צְרִיכִין נְטִילַת יָדַיִם בֵּין בַּתְּחִלָּה בֵּין בַּסּוֹף. וְכָל הַנּוֹטֵל יָדָיו לְפֵרוֹת הֲרֵי זֶה מִגַּסֵּי הָרוּחַ. כָּל פַּת שֶׁהַמֶּלַח בּוֹ צָרִיךְ נְטִילַת יָדַיִם בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה שֶׁמָּא יֵשׁ בּוֹ מֶלַח סְדוֹמִית אוֹ מֶלַח שֶׁטִּבְעוֹ כְּמֶלַח סְדוֹמִית וְיַעֲבִיר יָדָיו עַל עֵינָיו וִיסַמֵּא. מִפְּנֵי זֶה חַיָּבִין לִטּל יָדַיִם בְּסוֹף כָּל סְעֻדָּה מִפְּנֵי הַמֶּלַח. וּבְמַחֲנֶה פְּטוּרִים מִנְּטִילַת יָדַיִם בַּתְּחִלָּה מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵן טְרוּדִים בְּמִלְחָמָה. וְחַיָּבִין בָּאַחֲרוֹנָה מִפְּנֵי הַסַּכָּנָה:


Washing of the hands between the courses is permissive; a person may wash or refrain from doing so, as he pleases. Fruit that is unconsecrated does not require washing of the hands either before or after being eaten; and anyone who washes his hands for fruit belongs to the class of the arrogant. All bread that has salt in it requires washing of the hands at the end of the meal, for it may contain Salt of Sodom**Dead Sea. or salt with similar properties, and a person after eating such bread may pass his hands over his eyes and lose his sight. Hence the obligation to wash the hands at the end of each meal, on account of the salt. Soldiers in camp are dispensed from the duty of washing their hands before meals as their minds are preoccupied. But they are under the obligation of washing their hands after meals as a precaution against risk to health.

Meals only:

מ"ת הלכות ברכות - פרק ו:יו

נוֹטֵל אָדָם יָדָיו שַׁחֲרִית וּמַתְנֶה עֲלֵיהֶן כָּל הַיּוֹם וְאֵינוֹ צָרִיךְ לִטּל אֶת יָדָיו לְכָל אֲכִילָה וַאֲכִילָה. וְהוּא שֶׁלֹּא יַסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מֵהֶן. אֲבָל אִם הִסִּיחַ דַּעְתּוֹ מֵהֶן צָרִיךְ לִטּל יָדָיו בְּכָל עֵת שֶׁצָּרִיךְ נְטִילָה:

A person may wash his hands in the morning and make a condition with himself that this shall be the ablution for the entire day, and then he need not wash his hands for each meal—provided however that he does not allow his mind to become at any time oblivious of the intent to keep his hands clean. Should he have become oblivious, he has to wash his hands each time when this would ordinarily be required.

Linguistic Note §

Why do we call it Netilat Yedayyim?

  • The Taamei HaMinhagim, in “הנהגות אדם בבוקר” says:
  • ג טעם שתקנו רז״ל לומר על נט״י בנוסח ברכה זו לשון נטילה, מפני שהוא לשון הגבהה מתרגום “ותשאני רוח” “ונטלתני”, וכתיב (ישעיה ס”ג) “וינטלם וינשאם כל ימי עולם” - שצריך שיגביה ידיו למעלה (שלחן ארבע) :‏
  • ד עוד טעם לפי שצריך ליטול מן הכלי והכלי שמו נטלא בלשון תלמוד. אבודרהם:‏
  • That is, that according to the Shulchan Arba it is called that because Netilah means “raising”, and you have to raise your hands after pouring the water on them, and according to the Abudirham it is because the vessel with which you pour the water is called a Natla in the Talmud (see in Chulin 104a: “נטלא בת רביעתא”).

Note: This is just a linguistic note. It does not change the Din that one says the berakha first and then washes their hand (i.e. One may not say it in the middle, or afterwards, despite the fact that those are very common practices)

Qol Isha Erva §

Note: find relevant MT & Talmud sections (probably in Forthodoxy Article). Also check ask the Beith Din for sources? Find that GSUFYO thread about it [why?]

Qaddish (ambiguous) §

Selihoth (Minhag, not Din) §

  • Selihot are a Minhag, not a Law - instituted by Geonim - תקפ”א Tur
  • Sephardic custom may or may not be problematic, according to Joseph Dweck
    • Note: he seems to say this more as historical context, and doesn’t conclude that it is… just that it’s a bit odd
  • There is no real reason one can’t say the Aramaic sections without minyan - it’s based on Kabbalistic stuff

Without a Minyan §

  • 13 Attributes must be read in the Torah cantillation melody
  • One can say the Aramaic sections (despite popular belief). [Note: Find Yonatan Halevy video on this]

Sources and Footnotes §

Min7ah §

מ"ת הלכות תפילה וברכת כהנים ג:ב

כְּבָר אָמַרְנוּ שֶׁתְּפִלַּת הַמִּנְחָה כְּנֶגֶד תָּמִיד שֶׁל בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם תִּקְּנוּ זְמַנָּהּ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהָיָה הַתָּמִיד קָרֵב בְּכָל יוֹם בְּתֵשַׁע שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה תִּקְּנוּ זְמַנָּהּ מִתֵּשַׁע שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה וְהִיא הַנִּקְרֵאת מִנְחָה קְטַנָּה. וּלְפִי שֶׁבְּעֶרֶב הַפֶּסַח שֶׁחָל לִהְיוֹת בְּעֶרֶב שַׁבָּת הָיוּ שׁוֹחֲטִין אֶת הַתָּמִיד בְּשֵׁשׁ שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה, אָמְרוּ שֶׁהַמִּתְפַּלֵּל מֵאַחַר שֵׁשׁ שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה יָצָא. וּמִשֶּׁהִגִּיעַ זְמַן זֶה הִגִּיעַ זְמַן חִיּוּבָהּ וְזוֹ הִיא הַנִּקְרֵאת מִנְחָה גְּדוֹלָה: \ We have already stated that the time for reciting the afternoon service was fixed to correspond with the hour when the daily afternoon sacrifice was offered up. As this took place daily nine and a half hours after dawn, the time for reading the afternoon service was appointed to begin nine and a half hours after dawn. This is termed the Minor Afternoon (Service). And since the daily [afternoon] sacrifice was slaughtered six and a half hours after dawn on the Eve of Passover, whenever that date fell on the eve of the Sabbath, the Sages declared that if one recites the afternoon service later than six and a half hours after dawn, he has fulfilled his duty. The arrival of this hour marks the time when the obligation to read the afternoon service has commenced. This is termed the Major Afternoon (Service).

מ"ת הלכות תפילה וברכת כהנים ג:ד

הָא לָמַדְתָּ שֶׁזְּמַן מִנְחָה גְּדוֹלָה מִשֵּׁשׁ שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה עַד תֵּשַׁע שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה. וּזְמַן מִנְחָה קְטַנָּה מִתֵּשַׁע שָׁעוֹת וּמֶחֱצָה עַד שֶׁיִּשָּׁאֵר מִן הַיּוֹם שָׁעָה וּרְבִיעַ. וְיֵשׁ לוֹ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל אוֹתָהּ עַד שֶׁתִּשְׁקַע הַחַמָּה: \

Translation from Rambam App: \

Behold, you have learned that the time of Minchah Gedolah is from six and a half hours until nine and a half hours, and the time of Minchah K'tanah is from nine and a half hours until there are one and a quarter hours left in the day. One may [however,] recite [the afternoon service] until sunset

https://www.sefaria.org/Mishneh_Torah,_Prayer_and_the_Priestly_Blessing.3.4

Mechon Mamre text - Minha after Sheqia you pray two Arbith

כֵּיצַד: טָעָה וְלֹא הִתְפַּלַּל שַׁחְרִית עַד שֶׁעָבַר חֲצִי הַיּוֹם, יִתְפַּלַּל מִנְחָה שְׁתַּיִם--הָרִאשׁוֹנָה תְּפִלַּת מִנְחָה, וְהַשְּׁנִיָּה תַּשְׁלוּמֵי שַׁחְרִית. טָעָה וְלֹא הִתְפַּלַּל מִנְחָה עַד שֶׁשָּׁקְעָה הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ, מִתְפַּלֵּל עַרְבִּית שְׁתַּיִם--הָרִאשׁוֹנָה עַרְבִּית, וּשְׁנִיָּה תַּשְׁלוּמֵי מִנְחָה. טָעָה וְלֹא הִתְפַּלַּל עַרְבִּית עַד שֶׁעָלָה עַמּוּד הַשַּׁחַר, מִתְפַּלֵּל שַׁחְרִית שְׁתַּיִם--רִאשׁוֹנָה שַׁחְרִית, וּשְׁנִיָּה תַּשְׁלוּמֵי עַרְבִּית.

Minyan and Sha”Ss fulfilling Obligation §

https://www.sefaria.org/Mishneh_Torah,_Prayer_and_the_Priestly_Blessing.8.9

שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר מוֹצִיא אֶת הָרַבִּים יְדֵי חוֹבָתָן. כֵּיצַד. בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁהוּא מִתְפַּלֵּל וְהֵם שׁוֹמְעִין וְעוֹנִין אָמֵן אַחַר כָּל בְּרָכָה וּבְרָכָה הֲרֵי הֵן כְּמִתְפַּלְּלִין. בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים כְּשֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לְהִתְפַּלֵּל אֲבָל הַיּוֹדֵעַ אֵינוֹ יוֹצֵא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ אֶלָּא בִּתְפִלַּת עַצְמוֹ: \

The Reader discharges the obligation of the Congregation. How so? When he recites the prayers and they respond with the utterance of Amen after every blessing, they are regarded as praying. This only applies to one who does not know the liturgy. One who is proficient does not discharge his obligation unless he recites the prayers for himself.

https://www.sefaria.org/Mishneh_Torah,_Prayer_and_the_Priestly_Blessing.8.10

בַּמֶּה דְּבָרִים אֲמוּרִים בִּשְׁאָר יְמוֹת הַשָּׁנָה חוּץ מֵרֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה וְיוֹם הַכִּפּוּרִים שֶׁל שְׁנַת הַיּוֹבֵל. אֲבָל בִּשְׁנֵי יָמִים אֵלּוּ שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר מוֹצִיא אֶת הַיּוֹדֵעַ כְּשֵׁם שֶׁמּוֹצִיא מִי שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ מִפְּנֵי שֶׁהֵם בְּרָכוֹת אֲרֻכּוֹת וְאֵין רֹב הַיּוֹדְעִים אוֹתָן יְכוֹלִין לְכַוֵּן דַּעְתָּן כִּשְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר. לְפִיכָךְ אִם רָצָה הַיּוֹדֵעַ לִסְמֹךְ בִּשְׁנֵי יָמִים אֵלּוּ עַל תְּפִלַּת שַׁ״ץ לְהוֹצִיאוֹ יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ הָרְשׁוּת בְּיָדוֹ:


The foregoing rule holds good for all days of the year except New Year’s Day and the Day of Atonement in a Jubilee year. On those two days, the Reader discharges the obligations of the proficient as of the non-proficient, on the ground that the prayers recited on those days are lengthy and the majority of those acquainted with them cannot concentrate their minds as the Reader can. Hence, if one who is proficient wishes on those days to rely on the Reader’s recital of the prayers, he may do so.

Selihoth §

Orot Sephardic Selihot (ed. R. Eliezer Toledano) writes the following:

One who is reciting the Selihot without a minyan must say the Thirteen Attributes of Mercy with the cantillation melody used when reading from the Torah (Shulhan Aruch) 665:5). He may not recite those portions of the Selihot that are written in Aramaic (e.g., Marana D’vismaya…”); cf. Kaf Hahayyim 581:26.

(See link for extended teshuva from Yalkut Yosef)

On the other hand, see Yonatan Halevy’s video - no reasonable basis for requiring a minyan