Simanim 108:9 - 109 Missing Tefilla Because of Monetary Loss

  • Rav Asher Meir
The Israel Koschitzky Virtual Beit Midrash

Mishna Berura
Yeshivat Har Etzion


This shiur is dedicated in memory of Shmuel b’reb David Ehrenhalt, z"l,
father of our alumnus Steve.
May the entire Ehrenhalt family be comforted among the mourners of Tzion veYerushalayim


Yeshivat Har Etzion mourns the death of Yona Baumel, z"l.
Mr. Baumol died on Friday, without fulfilling his heart's deepest desire:
to discover  the fate of his son – and our talmid - Zecharia,
last seen on the Sultan Yakoub battlefield in Lebanon 27 years ago.

We continue to pray for Zecharia's return.
HaMakom yenakhem etkhem be-tokh she'ar avelei Tzion veYerushalayim.


SHIUR #59: Simanim 108:9 - 109

Pages 271-275

by Rav Asher Meir




            This is a common dilemma, to say the least.  The source of the ruling in the SA and Rema is in the "Responsa" (to questions written by the author himself) Terumat Ha-Deshen, siman 5.  The THD first brings evidence that a person who neglects a religious duty because he is occupied in his livelihood is considered "anuss" - under duress.  Examples include one who neglects to cut his hair before a holiday because he was seeking a lost object; a Torah scholar who has forgotten his learning because of the pressures of making a living; one who boards a ship within three days of Shabbat in order to do business.  Afterwards, he points out that neglecting prayer is seemingly more severe since it is "avodat Kono" - serving his Maker.  Therefore, he concludes that it is really improper to neglect prayers because of monetary loss, but it is nonetheless considered a kind of duress.

            The Peri Megadim (Mishbetzot Zahav d.h Mihu, mentioned in BH d.h. Mihu) refers us to the halakha (SA 651) that while you must yield all of your possessions so as not to transgress a prohibition, you are not required to give up more than 20% to perform a mitzva.  The Peri Megadim points out that here we have two additional leniencies: one is that it is a rabbinic mitzva (the MB 651:10 seems to imply that with rabbinic commandments one need not yield all of one's possessions even to avoid a transgression), and also that you will be able to pray tashlumin.

            MAY one miss minyan, or pray at a "bedi'avad" time, because of livelihood pressures?  See SA 89:8, MB 90:29.  Therefore, if you have a likelihood of being in an uninterruptible business situation at the end of davening time (usually this occurs at mincha), you may find it prudent to pray alone early in the afternoon and avoid an irresistible temptation to miss davening later on, when this would be impermissible unless the monetary loss will be gigantic.


            It seems from the ruling here that the original identity of the missed prayer is irrelevant - the tashlumin is precisely to pray the subsequent prayer - whatever it is - twice.  However, from MB 25 and 26 it seems that this is not so!  It seems that tashlumin is subject to a double leniency: we can make compensation by praying a valid prayer now, or alternatively by saying the prayer we omitted.

            The only exception is if the prayer omitted CAN NOT be said now, because it CONTRADICTS the current time.  (And even this exception is not absolute - see BH d.h. Ha-to'eh at the end of the siman.)  If it merely OMITS some requirement of the current prayer there is no problem.

            The ruling mentioned in the SA is explicit in the gemara cited in last week's shiur.


            As mentioned explicitly in the beraita, if one forgot to recite Mincha on Shabbat one first says the motzaei Shabbat davening with havdala, and afterwards the tashlumin.  What if one omitted the motzaei Shabbat Maariv itself - necessitating two Shacharits the next morning?  In which one does one say Havdala?  See MB s.k. 33.

            According to SA 294:2, one who has no wine (or equivalent) for Havdala MUST say havdala in Maariv - otherwise his prayer is invalid!  It follows that if he did not do so (probably he did not know this little-known halakha) he will have to repeat Shacharit the next morning.  The same applies to one who ate without making havdala - SA 294:1.  In these cases, the reason mentioned by the MB 33 in the name of Magen Giborim does not apply.  When should he say havdala in THIS case?!  If there were no tashlumin, it seems that havdala would be said in Shacharit.  But since he is making up Maariv, it seems logical that this would be the appropriate time to say Havdala.  See the MB 294:2; which hypothesis does he favor?


            It is not at all uncommon to make anachronistic (ill-timed) additions to prayers, for instance to say "ya'aleh ve-yavo" even though it is no longer Rosh Chodesh or Chol Ha-Mo'ed and so on.  The MB likens these additions to inadvertent interruptions in prayers - unless the additions are somewhat appropriate to the obligatory prayer, or unless the additions actually belong in the prayer being made up in a compensatory prayer.



R. Huna said: if you enter Beit Knesset and find the congregation praying the Amida, start praying only if you can finish before the Shaliach Tzibur reaches "modim."  R. Yehoshua ben Levi says, only if you can finish before he reaches kedusha.

What is their argument?  One [R. Huna] holds that even an individual can recite kedusha [and therefore it doesn't matter if the congregation's kedusha is recited while he is in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei], and one [R. Yehoshua ben Levi] holds that a [lone] individual may not recite kedusha.  And R. Ada bar Ahava also said: Where do we learn that a lone individual does not say kedusha, as it is said (Vayikra 22:?) "And I will be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel" - any matter of sanctity [davar she-bekedusha] may not be [recited] with less than ten.  How does this follow [from the verse] - as Rabanai the brother of R. Chiya bar Aba taught [in a beraita]: we infer a correspondence based on the word "midst" [tokh]: Here it is written "And I will be sanctified in the midst of the children of Israel," and there [regarding the ten spies who slandered the land] it is written (Bamidbar 16:?) "Withdraw from the MIDST of that faction" - just as there were ten there, here also ten.

       However, everyone agrees that you should not interrupt [your prayers to say Modim or Kedusha if you did not manage to finish beforehand].  It was asked, what about interrupting for "yehe shemo ha-gadol mevorakh" [yehe shemei raba mevorakh of kaddish]?  When R. Dimi came he said that R. Yehuda and R. Shimon, the students of R. Yochanan, say that we don't interrupt except for "yehe shemo ha-gadol mevorakh," for which even the Work of the Chariot is interrupted.  But halakha is not like him [rather, we do not interrupt our Amida even to answer to Kaddish]  (Berakhot 21b).

            This passage seems to discuss the relative importance of tefilla be-tzibur on one hand and saying kedusha or modim together with the congregation on the other.  The supposition [hava amina] that you should start praying even though you will miss kedusha reasons that saying Shemone Esrei with the congregation is more important; according to the conclusion, it's more important to participate in kedusha.  According to this understanding, the essence of tefilla be-tzibur is saying the Amida when the congregation is reciting it silently and that is why we might have preferred to miss kedusha or modim.  The conclusion is that kedusha is more important than tefilla be-tzibur.

            Alternatively, the passage could be discussing the essence of tefilla be-tzibur.  The supposition that you should start praying even though one will miss kedusha reasons that tefilla be-tzibur requires praying while the congregation is reciting the Shemoneh Esrei silently; the conclusion is that even if you say Shemoneh Esrei afterwards, while the congregation is still assembled for prayer, tefilla be-tzibur is fulfilled, so it is better to wait.  Even according to this understanding, it may be that tefilla be-tzibur is fulfilled only if the Shemoneh Esrei is recited together with the Shatz, and not afterwards.  According to this understanding, tefilla be-tzibur really is more important than kedusha, but we do not need to choose since we can fulfill both.

            Finally, it may be that it is agreed that tefilla be-tzibur means saying Shemoneh Esrei silently together with the congregation (as our first understanding concludes), and that this is even MORE important than kedusha and modim (as the second understanding concludes).  However, when you arrive in the middle you have ALREADY missed tefilla be-tzibur, and you must wait.  But if you start with the congregation you don't need to wait.  This possibility is discussed in the BH at the beginning of the siman.

            The BH here does not resolve this question.  However, at the beginning of siman 104, the MB seems to sanction starting with the congregation even if one customarily prays at length.  It follows that even if you daven slowly, there is no need to wait for kedusha if you start with the congregation.  In Tefilla KeHilkhata 12:18, the author also tends to this conclusion.  This is true especially since your tefilla be-tzibur is certain, whereas missing kedusha is only conjectural - maybe the Shatz will slow down today, or perhaps you will later hear kedusha from another minyan.

            It seems that the highest level of tefilla be-tzibur is to say Shemoneh Esrei while the congregation is reciting it silently, and that this level is even more important than kedusha.  But there are other levels which may not supersede, or may not interfere with, kedusha.

            To repeat the very important and little-observed conclusion of our siman: if you reach Shemoneh Esrei after the congregation has already begun and you will miss kedusha if you rush in, you should take your time so that you reach kedusha together with the Shaliach Tzibur.  (Unless you have the patience to say the first two blessings very slowly, you will probably want to start only when the Shatz steps back from his silent prayer.)  This is true even if you will manage to reach kedusha during the petition following the Shemoneh Esrei ("Elokai netzor ...).  It is true that part of the kedusha can be recited then, but it is better to wait and recite the ENTIRE kedusha with the congregation.


            An important principle in halakha is "shome'a ke-oneh" - hearing is equivalent to responding.  The above passage occasions an interesting and important disagreement on the meaning of this principle, discussed in the Tosafot.  According to Rashi, if you are in the middle of the Amida when the congregation reaches kedusha or kaddish, you should pause and listen silently.  Then you have partially fulfilled the obligation to recite kedusha, since "shome'a ke-oneh."  (Even so, it is better if one can wait and say it out loud.)  Whereas Rabbenu Tam and Ri (R. Yitzchak of Dampierre) object that if shome'a is indeed ke-oneh, then listening silently constitutes and interruption just as answering out loud would!  They understood that listening is considered to be like actually saying - not merely for the purpose of fulfilling an obligation.  (Alternatively, they may have understood that even fulfilling the obligation of kedusha through shome'a ke-oneh is an interruption.)

            How does the SA rule?  See se'if 3.  (The SA is talking about someone who is saying the third berakha, that of kedusha, in his private Shemoneh Esrei.  But according to his reasoning, the same should apply to someone who is elsewhere in his prayers.)


            One may have noticed that the structure of the translations has been altered to a less passive construction - or rather, Please notice that I am now using more active and personal style for my translations.  For instance, "if your prayers are formal then they are not supplications" instead of "One whose prayers are formal, his prayers are not supplications."  I have tentatively decided that this construction conveys the content more faithfully.  It does raise the problem of how to distinguish those cases where the Mishna or Gemara itself uses the second person, but that bridge will be crossed when it is reached by us - or rather, we will cross that bridge when we come to it.  I am interested in any reactions to this unilateral editorial decision.