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 Hilchos Tefilla 92-93 (page 252)
 מסימן צב סעיף ח עד תחילת סימן צד

Waiting After Davening
Staying Focused on Davening
Giving Tzedaka or Lending Money to the Poor Before Davening

Waiting after Davening
A person should pause before starting Shemoneh Esrei to gather his thoughts and focus on his tefilla.  Likewise, one should pause after completing his tefilla.  Rushing away could give the impression that davening is a burden to him. If possible, one should wait to be among the last nine who leave the shul so as not to be partially responsible for the departure of the Shechina. This is in addition to the general benefit of spending time in shul.
( סימן צג, סעיף א וס"ק א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 1-2)
Staying focused on davening
Davening from a siddur helps one stay focused on the tefilla, which is especially important in the case of Shemoneh Esrei. Reading from the siddur also reinforces accurate pronunciation. The use of a siddur is particularly significant for the chazan, who may be nervous and prone to making mistakes in front of the crowd. Some of the ba'alei mussar recommend that listeners follow the chazan's repetition in the siddur to help them stay focused. On the other hand, there is value in praying with closed eyes. Each person should choose the method that will help him most.
( ס"ק ב; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 3-5)
Giving tzedaka or lending money to the poor before davening
It is a wise idea to give tzedaka prior to davening, as it says "with tzedaka I will greet you." If there are no poor people available and no place to leave a donation for them, he can separate some money to give when it is possible. One opinion holds that the verse can be fulfilled with a loan to the poor or other acts of charity. There is a custom based on the Arizal to donate tzedaka when reciting the words v'Atah moshel bakol in Vayevareich Dovid.  One is exempt from giving to a collector during tefilla because of the rule of haoesek b'mitzva patur min hamitzva (someone involved in one mitzva is exempt from doing other mitzvos).
( סימן צב, סעיף י וס"ק לו; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 38-40)


  • Someone who touched the covered parts of his body cannot recite divrei kedusha until he cleans his hands. Thinking Torah thoughts with soiled hands is permissible, however.
  • If water is not available in the immediate area, he must go as far as a mil (an ancient measure of distance) to get water if he knows of a place where it can be found.
  • Chazal mandated that a person wash his hands before reciting Shemoneh Esrei, even if he is unaware that they are soiled.  According to some poskim, this holds true for kriyas Shema as well. These washings do not require a beracha and the hands do not need to be dried afterwards.


  • Davening towards Yerushalayim

  • Facing Mizrach

  • Facing other directions



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.