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Shabbat Parashat Vayechi 5773

Ask the Rabbi: Skipping to Shemoneh Esrei and Making Up What Was Missed

by Rav Daniel Mann

If you can find a way that your friend will accept it in the good spirit you intend, tell him that next time he should not skip straight to Shemoneh Esrei. Most of the berachot, which can be said after davening, can be skipped in order to say Shemoneh Esrei with a minyan, including almost all of Birkot Hashachar (see Rama, Orach Chayim 52:1; Yechaveh Da’at V:5; Ishei Yisrael 5:9). The exceptions are Elokai Neshama and Birkot Hatorah, due to a doubt under what circumstances they are fulfilled during davening (Mechayei Hameitim and Ahava Rabba, respectively).

Sephardim follow the opinion that one can indeed skip P’sukei D’zimra to be able to say Shemoneh Esrei with a minyan (Shulchan Aruch, OC 52:1; Yechaveh Da’at V:5). Ashkenazim follow the opinion that one can greatly shorten Psukei D’zimra to catch up, but at least the berachot (Baruch She’amar and Yishtabach) along with at least one zimra (Ashrei- see Berachot 4b) may not be skipped (Mishna Berura 52:6; Ishei Yisrael 16:21).

All agree that one may not skip Kri’at Shema  and its berachot and have Shemoneh Esrei precede them (Shulchan Aruch, OC 111:3). This is because of the great importance of semichat geula l’tefilla, which means the following. Birkot Kri’at Shema end with the beracha of Ga’al Yisrael (He who liberated Israel), and it is important that this beracha, being a classically poignant praise of Hashem, lead into Shemoneh Esrei, which is the main part of tefilla. Having this proximity is more important than davening Shemoneh Esrei with a minyan. At Ma’ariv, where semichat geula l’tefilla is less crucial, one who comes late actually should skip to Shemoneh Esrei to start with the minyan (Shulchan Aruch, OC 236:3).

Now let us move to your case, where one already recited Shemoneh Esrei without having first done P’sukei D’zimra and Kri’at Shema and its berachot. P’sukei D’zimra is a set of psalms and other p’sukim, sandwiched between opening (Baruch She’amar) and closing (Yishtabach) berachot. While P’sukei D’zimra existed at the time of the gemara (see Shabbat 118b), both the historical development of this section of tefilla and its exact function are not fully clear. However, it likely has to do with the idea of organizing one’s praise of Hashem before davening, as expressed in Avoda Zara 7b. This seems to be the reason that Rav Notrai Gaon (see Tur, OC 52) says that after Shemoneh Esrei has been said, it is no longer proper to recite P’sukei D’zimra. Although some say that it can be made up after Shemoneh Esrei (see ibid.), the Shulchan Aruch (OC 52:1) accepts Rav Notrai’s approach as halacha, but only in regard to the berachot. However, he says that one may and should recite the p’sukim that he skipped (as there is no problem of beracha l’vatala). There is a kabbalistically inclined approach that even reciting the p’sukim is problematic after Shemoneh Esrei. However, the more accepted view is that one may recite the p’sukim, but it is not obligatory to do so (see Yechaveh Da’at ibid.; Tefilla K’hilchata 10:39).

While it is important to go from the berachot of Kri’at Shema into Shemoneh Esrei, this does not mean that these berachot serve only as an introduction. Rather, there is a mitzva to recite the Torah’s p’sukim of Kri’at Shema, and Chazal created and attached berachot that share overlapping themes to Kri’at Shema. Thus, just as after Shemoneh Esrei there is still a mitzva of Kri’at Shema, so there is a mitzva to recite its berachot at that time (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 67:1; see aforementioned Shulchan Aruch, OC 236:3 regarding Ma’ariv).

Therefore, your friend should have said Kri’at Shema with its berachot and could have recited P’sukei D’zimra without its berachot.

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