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Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 90 – The best place to daaven and Tefilla b’tzibbur

  • Do not daaven while standing on a chair, bed or stool. Do not daaven while standing on a platform raised 3 tefachim without fencing unless it is wide 4 x 4 amos. A common exception: A chazzan can stand on a platform to sound out his voice as long as he feels comfortable not to fall off. (ShA 1,2 – MB 5)
  • The Mogen Avraham writes that today the minhag is that the chazzan stands in a deeper place than the rest of the shul because of the possuk “mimaamakim k’rosicha Hashem”. (MB 5)
  • Do not daaven except in a room with windows. You should face them open towards Yerushalayim. In a shul, it’s best that there should be 12 windows. (Not all are required to be open towards Yerushalayim.) When you need inspiration, look up out of these to the sky to arouse your kavana. (ShA 4 – MB 8)
  • Do not daaven out in the open. You should have a roof over your head or be surrounded by walls. When travelling, try to find a tree to daaven under unless it will delay you too much. If you have a building to daaven in, don’t daaven under a tree. (ShA 5 – MB 11,12)
  • When planning a shul building, it’s best not to construct side rooms on the East side (i.e.the direction that the tzibbur will face.) (MB 21)
  • You should try to daaven in shul with a tzibbur even if there are sinners in the tzibbur. (ShA 9 – MB 28)
  • You should choose the shul that has more people in the tzibbur unless the quality of daavening is better in the smaller tzibbur. (MB 28)
  • If you have to choose between Shemoneh Esray with a minyan at a home and Shemoneh Esray alone in shul – daavening with a minyan takes precedence. (MB 28)
  • The main point of a minyan is Shemoneh Esray together – not Kaddish, Kedusha, and Borchu. Therefore you are obligated to hurry to shul so you’ll be able to daaven Shemoneh Esray with the tzibbur. (MB 28)
  • If you feel weak, even though you are not sick, you are not required to go to shul for daavening. You also do not need to lose money for this mitzva. However, those people who miss because they want to earn money or even learn Torah should be fined. (MB 29)
  • In a situation that you are daavening without a minyan, at least time it to daaven at the same time as the tzibbur is daavening. If you live in a place with no minyan you can rely on the minyan times of the large communities which are at all times. (ShA 9 – MB 31)
  • If you are daavening Mussaf when the tzibbur is daavening Shacharis, it counts as tefilla b’tzibbur as long as you daaven with them in the Shul. (MB 30)
  • When daavening Maariv privately, you may not daaven before tzais hakochovim. (MB 32)
  • If you missed the minyan, you should still go daaven in a shul where your tefillos will be accepted better – unless you are a talmid chochom and are worried about a chillul Hashem. (ShA 9 – MB 33)
  • When daavening with the tzibbur it is forbidden to start Shemoneh Esray before them. If they will miss the sof z’man tefilla or you are in a legitimate hurry, walk out of shul and daaven at home. (ShA 10 – MB 34,36)
  • If someone has a shul in his town and he neglects to daaven there – he is called a bad neighbor of Hashem. This does not apply to someone who daavens kavua with 10 men at a home.(ShA 11 – MB 38))
  • Attending a further shul rather than a closer one gives you reward for more footsteps. (MB 37)
  • It is a mitzva to run to shul and to any d’var mitzva even on Shabbos. If you have tallis and tefillin in your hand – run the whole way, but if not, run only when it appears that you are running to shul. (ShA12 -MB40)
  • When you arrive at the entrance of the shul don’t run – proceed to enter, walking with fear. (MB 41)
  • Don’t run in a street of goyim. (MB 40)
  • Don’t run nor take big steps away from shul, unless you are going to come back quickly, or going to learn Torah. (ShA 12 – MB 43)
  • Do not put something in your mouth that has a strong and lasting sweet taste on erev Yom Kippur or erev Tisha b’Av – because, when you swallow, you will be swallowing the sweetness on the fast. (MB 45)
  • Wake up early so that you can be counted from the first ten. However, it is preferable to take the time to put on tallis and tefillin before entering shul even if it means you will not be from the first ten. (ShA 14 – MB 47)
  • You must go out of your way for up to the time it takes to walk a mil (18min) in order to daaven with a minyan. (ShA 16 – MB 52)
  • You mustn’t get up and leave a city that will have a minyan – unless, by delaying, you will arrive at your destination after dark or you will miss a group departure. (ShA 17 – MB 54)
  • Choose a makom kavua for daavening in a shul that is your kavua shul. Also at home, choose a makom kavua that will be seperate from the household commotion. (ShA 19 – MB 59)
  • Within four amos is still considered your makom kavua. (MB 60)
  • When entering shul, do not begin Shemoneh Esray immediately – wait a moment to calm your thoughts. (ShA 20)
  • Honor a greater person by allowing him to enter into shul before you. (MB 62)
  • The best way to do the mitzva of tefilla is to see to it that no chatzitza comes between you and the wall. If that isn’t possible there is no issur – so do not leave to go to daaven in a different room. (MB 63)
  • A chatzitza is only something 10 tefachim high, 4 x 4 tefachim wide, not bolted down, nor used for your daavening – and is within your 4 amos. (ShA 21 – MB 64,66)
  • A person is not considered a chatzitza. Nevertheless, try to get a makom kavua next to a wall so you won’t have to daaven behind anyone.      (ShA 21,22 -MB 69)
  • Do not daaven in front of pictures or mirrors, even with your eyes closed. (ShA 23 – MB 71)
  • Mats and cloths that have images of avoda zora should not be brought into shul nor into your house. (Rama 23 – MB 72)
  • Do not daaven Shemoneh Esray within 4 amos next to, behind, or directly in front of your father, rebbi (rov chochmoso), or a godol hador, unless it is your makom kavua. (ShA 24 – MB 73,75)
  • Even when choosing a makom kavua take care that it should not be within 4 amos and 3 steps behind your father’s, rebbi’s (rov chochmoso), or godol hador’s place. This way you will not be stopping them from taking 3 steps back into your space while you are still in Shemoneh Esray. (ShA 24 – MB 73,78)

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