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 Hilchos Tefilla 98 (page 258)
 מתחילת סימן צח עד תחילת סימן צט

Preparing the Mind for Davening
The Pace of Tefilla
Kissing One's Children in Shul

Preparing the mind for davening
A person must clear his mind from all distractions (e.g. anger, pain, etc.) and from the pleasures of this world before commencing tefilla. Instead, he should focus on the frailty of humanity and the loftiness of Hashem. A person should be careful to daven in a place that he will not be distracted from this focus. The mussar sefarim recommend various techniques for controlling one's thoughts.
( סעיף א-ב וס"ק ב, ה, ו ו־ז; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 7)
The pace of tefilla
A person must focus on the meaning of the words he is saying while davening. Before beginning a beracha, it is advisable to contemplate the meaning of the upcoming passage. The tefilla should be recited in an unhurried manner, in an attitude of supplication, like 'a beggar in the doorway.' Prayers should not be recited in the way of someone who is paying his dues and is eager to be done with it. Many poskim are of the opinion that if a tefilla-or, according to some, if the first beracha of a tefilla-is recited without the proper focus, the entire tefilla must be repeated. The halacha does not follow that opinion.
( סעיף א ו־ג, ס"ק א, ח ו־ט, וביה"ל ד"ה יתפלל; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 4)
Kissing one's children in shul
It is forbidden to kiss one's children in shul.  This is to impress upon them that there is no greater love in the world than the love one has for Hashem. The poskim discuss whether this rule applies only to small children, who tend to be the objects of greater displays of affection, or whether it applies to all children, regardless of age. There is an opinion which prohibits the kissing of children in shul even outside of davening times. The poskim permit kissing the hands of those one must respect, such as a rebbe or father.
( סעיף א; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 9)

  • A person standing for Shemoneh Esrei is considered to be standing before Hashem until he takes the three steps back after his tefilla. Regarding certain halachos, the person is no longer considered 'before Hashem' from the time that he says yihyu l'ratzon until he takes the three steps back.
  • A talis that shifts or tefillin that slide out of place may be repositioned during Shemoneh Esrei.
  • It is forbidden to spit during Shemoneh Esrei. If someone's mouth fills with spittle and he cannot swallow it or daven with it in his mouth, he may expel it into a tissue or something similar. After spitting, he must pause for the time it takes to walk four amos before continuing his tefilla.


  • Davening Shemoneh Esrei while intoxicated

  • Other tefillos while intoxicated

  • Sleeping after drinking



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.