The Proper Times for Prayer (2)

  • Rav David Brofsky




Last week, we reviewed the halakhically significant times relevant to the laws of Tefilla, i.e. amud ha-shachar, mi-shayakir and he-netz ha-chama.  We focused on Tefillat Shacharit, and questioned the EARLIEST times that Shacharit may be recited.


This week, we will explore the LATEST time Shacharit may be said, and discuss how one who misses a Tefilla may offer a Tefillat Tashlumin.  Our analysis will lead us to question the nature and parameters of this compensatory Tefilla. 


Latest Time for Tefillat Shacharit:


The Mishna (Berakhot 26a) teaches:


"The morning Tefilla can be recited until midday; Rabbi Yehuda says until the fourth hour…"


The Gemara (26b) explains:


"It has been taught also in accordance with Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi: Why did they say that the morning Tefilla could be said till midday? Because the regular morning sacrifice could be brought up to midday.  Rabbi Yehuda, however, says that it may be said up to the fourth hour because the regular morning sacrifice may be brought up to the fourth hour…"


In other words, the debate in our Mishna corresponds to a broader question regarding the proper times for offering the tamid shel shachar, the morning sacrifice.


The Rishonim question the scope of this debate.  The simple reading of the Gemara should lead us to conclude that if we were to rule in accordance with Rabbi Yehuda, one who did not pray until the fourth hour may not recite Shacharit. 


However, the Rif (Berakhot 18a), as well as the Rambam (Hilkhot Tefilla 3:1) and Rosh (Berakhot 4:1), rule that one who did not pray until the fourth hour, may still recite the Shemoneh Esrei until midday.  The reason for this "extension" remains unclear.


The Beit Yosef (OC 89) offers two explanations.


Firstly, he suggests that while the time for Tefillat Shacharit may only extend until the fourth hour, one may say the Shemoneh Esrei until midday as a "tashlumin."  In other words, just as who missed the Shacharit prayer entirely may recite two tefillot of Mincha, the first to fulfill the obligation of Mincha and the second in lieu of the missed Tefillat Shacharit, here too one who did not pray until the fourth hour may recite the Shemoneh Esrei until midday, as a form of tashlumin.  The Rambam (Hilkhot Tefilla 3:1) adopts this approach.


Secondly, the Beit Yosef suggests, perhaps there may be two "levels" of Shacharit.  One who recites Tefillat Shacharit until the fourth hour has fulfilled the obligation of Tefilla and receives "reward" for reciting "Tefillat Shacharit bi-zemana." However, one who delays Shacharit, may fulfill the mitzva of Tefillat Shacharit, but does not fulfill the mitzva of "Tefillat Shacharit bi-zemana." 


The Beit Yosef notes that these varying interpretations carry a number of ramifications.  For example, tashlumin is generally only offered to those who inadvertently miss a Tefilla (be-shogeg), and not to one who intentionally (be-meizid) omits a Tefilla.  Seemingly, if we are to view this "extention," until midday, as a type of "tashlumin," one who intentionally delays Tefillat Shacharit may NOT recite it between the fourth and sixth hour.  Furthermore, while one MIGHT suggest, based on certain understandings of Tefillat Tashlumin (see below), that while a Tefillat Tashlumin may even be recited AFTER midday, until six and a half hours after daylight, a "Tefillat Shacharit she-lo bi-zemana" may only be recited DURING zeman Shacharit, no later than midday (chatzot). 


The Shulchan Arukh (89:1) seems to accept the second approach, as he writes:


"If one mistakenly or intentionally recited (Shacharit) after the fourth hour, until midday, even though he does not receive the reward of Tefilla bi-zemana, he does receive the reward of Tefilla…"


The Rema adds that one may not recite Shacharit after the sixth hour (midday), again, in accordance with the second view, as described above. 


What is the source of this apparent compromise between Rabbi Yehuda and Chakhamim, which sanctions reciting Tefillat Shacharit until midday even according to Rabbi Yehuda?


As we learned a few weeks ago, the Rabbis disagree as to whether the tefillot were instituted by our forefathers ("avot tiknum"), or is in place of the daily sacrifices, offered morning, afternoon and evening ("kened korbanot tiknum").  We also noted that the Rambam actually cited both sources (Hilkhot Tefilla 1:5-6 and Hilkhot Melakhim 9:1).


We might suggest that while the SPECIFIC TIMES for prayers are derived from the sacrifices (Tefilla bi-zemana), the broader categories of prayer, i.e. Shacharit, Mincha and Maariv, which are, perhaps, less bound by time (Tefilla she-lo bi-zemana), were originated by the avot! If so, one who recited Shacharit after the fourth hour, may have fulfilled the patriarchal obligation of Tefilla she-lo bi-zemana, but not the rabbinic obligation of Tefilla bi-zemana.


Tefillat Tashlumin:


The Gemara (Berakhot 26a) teaches:


"…If a man erred and did not say the Tefillat Aravit, he says it twice in the morning.  [If he erred] in the morning, he says it twice in the afternoon… The question was raised: If a person erred and did not say Tefillat Mincha, should he say it twice in the evening? Should you argue from the fact that if he erred in the evening he prays twice in the morning, [I may reply that] this is because it is all one day, as it is written, 'And there was evening and there was morning, one day'; but in this case, prayer being in the place of sacrifice, since the day has passed the sacrifice lapses.  Or should we rather say that since prayer is supplication for mercy, a man may go on praying as long as he likes? — Come and hear: … If a man erred and did not say the Tefillat Mincha, he says it twice in the evening, and we do not apply here the principle that if 'the day has passed the offering lapses'…"


According to this Gemara, one who misses a Tefilla, may recite the following Tefilla twice, even if technically the next Tefilla is on the next day.  Furthermore, the Gemara (26b) adds, that even if one missed the prayer of Mincha on Shabbat, one may recite the Tefillat Aravit of Motzei Shabbat twice!


However, the Gemara does limit this opportunity to those who mistakenly omitted a prayer, and does not extend it to those who intentionally didn't pray.


"… 'That which is crooked cannot be made straight, and that which is wanting cannot be numbered': 'That which is crooked cannot be made straight' - this applies to one who omitted Shema of the evening or Shema of the morning or Tefilla of the evening or Tefilla of the morning… R. Yitzchak said in the name of R. Yochanan: With what case are we dealing here? With one who omitted deliberately.  R. Ashi said: The proof of this is that it says 'omitted,' and it does not say, 'erred.'  This proves it…"


What is the purpose of this Tefillat Tashlumin?


Seemingly, one could suggest that the Chazal simply offered an opportunity, for those who miss a Tefilla, to say another Tefilla in its stead.  As the Gemara (Berakhot 26a) explains, while one doesn't receive reward for Tefilla bi-zemana (Tefilla recited in its proper time), one still receives reward for Tefilla.


The Rishonim debate the scope of this opportunity. 


For example, Tosafot (Berakhot 26a s.v. ta'a) limit this tashlumin to the next Tefilla.  If, however, one missed Shacharit, and realized it only in the evening, would NOT be permitted to recite Tefillat Aravit twice. 


Talmidei Rabbenu Yona (Berakhot 18a [Rif]), however, cite the opinion of the Rabbanei Tzarfat (French Rabbis) who IMPLY that while one may only make up one Tefilla, it need not, necessarily, be during the time of the next Tefilla. 


Interestingly, they also cite another opinion which claims that one who was sick and unable to pray a number of Tefillot, may make up ALL of his Tefillot.


It would seem that the opinions cited above agree that tashlumin is an opportunity to compensate for missed Tefillot, and they merely debate the amount of Tefillot, as well as the time frame in which one may recite these prayers. 


However, we might suggest another explanation for Tefillat Tashlumin. 


The Gemara (Berakhot 31a) teaches:


"I might say that a man should pray the whole day? It has already been expressly stated by the hand of Daniel (6:11) 'And three times…' … I might say that he may combine all three prayers into one? It has already been clearly stated by David (Tehillim 55:18), as is written, 'Evening and morning and at noonday'…"


We have already encountered sources which indicate that the three daily prayers correspond to three distinct times of the day.  Similarly, the verse cited from Sefer Tehillim, 'Evening and morning and at noonday,' supports this idea.  However, the first verse cited by the Gemara, from Sefer Daniel, implies that the three daily prayers may NOT only be inherently linked to specific times, but rather, to a more general obligation to offer three daily prayers. 


If so, the conclusion of the Gemara may be that while there is a basic obligation to pray three times each day, there is an additional halakha which demands that these prayers be said at specific times. 


Is it possible that Tefillat Tashlumin isn't an opportunity to make up a missed prayer, but rather an attempt to fulfill the basic obligation to offer three daily prayers? If so, it would follow, that the parameters of tashlumin would include all three Tefillot, but would be limited to that specific day.


The Gemara cited above, which teaches that even one who misses Tefillat Mincha should pray Tefillat Aravit twice, despite the fact that the day ends at sunset, seems to contradict this idea.


However, the Tur (OC 108) cites an intriguing position of the Behag, which may support this suggestion.


"The Behag wrote that if one mistakenly didn't recite Aravit, he should recite Shacharit twice.  If he forgot and didn't pray Shacharit either, he should say Mincha three times… as long as the day hasn't ended he has the opportunity to do tashlumin for his Tefillot…"


Seemingly, the Behag believes that there are two types of tashlumin.  If one misses a specific Tefilla, one may make it up by reciting the next Tefilla twice.  In addition, even if one misses two Tefillot on a given day, one may recite three Tefillot, in order to fulfill the base requirement to offer three daily Tefillot. 


The halakha is NOT in accordance with this view.  However, the Shulchan Arukh (108:5) does cite the Talmidei Rabbeinu Yona (Berakhot 18a) who rule that while there is no tashlumin in this case, it is correct to say a Tefillat Nedava (voluntary prayer) instead.  The Mishna Berura (19) suggests that one should say a condition before this prayer: "If I am obligated to pray (as a tashlumin), then this should be my obligation.  And if not, this should be a voluntary prayer (nedava)."  In addition, as with any Tefillat Nedava (see Sulchan Arukh 107), one should insert a personal request (chiddush) in one at least one of the middle berakhot. 


Next week we will continue (and conclude) our discussion of Tefillat Tashlumin.