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Shabbat Parashat Vayakhel Pekudei 5778

Ask the Rabbi: When to Make Up Psukei Dzimra

Rav Daniel Mann

Question: Someone in shul did something I see as strange. He came late, skipped to Yishtabach when the tzibbur got up to it, but then was making up few p’sukim of P’sukei D’zimra at each of the pauses in Birchot Kri’at Shema and during chazarat hashatz (we barely had a minyan, and it was unclear to me how often he was answering amen). Is that the right way to do things?


Answer: Your shul-mate was correct to skip parts of P’sukei D’zimra in order to daven with the tzibbur, preferably finishing Yishtabach together and, more crucially, starting Shemoneh Esrei together (Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 52:1). For Sephardim, one may even skip all of P’sukei D’zimra, including Baruch She’amar and Yishtabach (ibid.), whereas Ashkenazim should say at least those berachot and Ashrei (Mishna Berura 52:6).

However, it was wrong to say parts of P’sukei D’zimra during pauses in Birchot Shema, during which one may not speak non-crucial things. There are two sets of rules of speech at that time: in between berachot and sections of Kri’at Shema (bein haperakim), and in their midst (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 66:1). Actually, most of the “pauses,” i.e., when we wait for the chazan, are in the midst of berachot of Kri’at Shema or other times when it is particularly bad to speak, even for mitzva purposes. (The exception is after “…yotzer hame’orot.”)

Even bein haperakim, the list of permitted recitations is very limited. The Shulchan Aruch (ibid.) rules that one who did not put on tallit and tefillin previously may do so with a beracha during bein haperakim. However, the Rama cites an opinion that one does not recite the beracha until later, even though putting on tefillin at that time is important (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 25:4), and rules this way regarding tzitzit/tallit. The Mishna Berura (66:15) explains that since having a tallit on at that time is only desirable and not a real requirement, the beracha is an unjustified interruption during the Kri’at Shema section.

How critical is P’sukei D’zimra at that point? For one who skipped all of P’sukei D’zimra (see above), arguably, if he now realizes that he can fit it in bein haperakim, it might be important enough to do. After all, according to the Shulchan Aruch, a make-up P’sukei D’zimra will be without Baruch She’amar/Yishtabach. We find a machloket whether a passing opportunity to make a non-critical beracha (see Mishna Berura 66:19 regarding the beracha on lightening) justifies recitation bein haperakim. However, assuming the person said a shortened P’sukei D’zimra, why recite individual mizmorim at this sensitive point? After all, there already was a basic pre-tefilla praise of Hashem (P’sukei D’zimra’s main function), and the fact that one may shorten it shows the rest is not critical. Whatever he recited was out of its normal framework (i.e., between Baruch She’amar and Yishtabach), and the mizmorim can and should be done after tefilla. There is a better idea, for one who hopes to get in more of P’sukei D’zimra than if he just skips to Yishtabach and knows he davens faster than the chazan. He can continue P’sukei D’zimra, answering Kaddish and Barchu while in its midst, and then catch up to the tzibbur during Birchot Kri’at Shema (Mishna Berura 52:6).

What about P’sukei D’zimra during chazarat hashatz? The basic halacha is that it is only forbidden to speak mundane matters during chazarat hashatz (Shulchan Aruch OC, 124:7). However, poskim consider it bad precedent to even learn Torah or recite supplications when people should be concentrating on chazarat hashatz (Mishna Berura 124:17). If it is unclear if there are ten (perhaps, nine – see Living the Halachic Process vol. I, A-10) people listening to every word (Igrot Moshe, OC IV 19) then it is certainly wrong to be involved in anything else. If (as is likely) recitation of P’sukei D’zimra will cause him to miss answering some amens and this may cause the loss of the quorum for amen during some berachot (others in shul likely also sometimes lose concentration), this is severe (Shulchan Aruch, OC 124:4).


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