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Hilchos Tefilla 88 (page 237)
מתחילת סימן פט עד אמצע סעיף א ואם טעה

The Four Stages of Morning
Mitzvos that Must be Fulfilled During the Day
Completing the Tefilla Within Zman Tefilla

The four stages of morning
There are four stages to morning:  1) alos - the time that the first light appears on the horizon (there is a debate amongst the poskim regarding how many minutes before sunrise this occurs), 2) the time that the whole horizon lights up, 3) mesheyakir - the time that there is sufficient light to recognize a causal acquaintance from a distance of four amos (there are several opinions as to when this happens), and 4) neitz -- when the ball of the sun appears at the tips of the mountains.
( סעיף א, ס"ק א-ד, וביה"ל ד"ה ואם; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 2 ו־4)
Mitzvos that must be fulfilled during the day
Daytime mitzvos can be performed only after the whole horizon lights up. There is an opinion that they can be performed at dawn-when the first light starts to emerge-but the halacha does not follow that opinion, and mitzvos performed then must be repeated after the horizon lights up. Shemoneh Esrei is a possible exception to this rule, since repeating the berachos might be a beracha l'vatala. The proper time to begin the mitzvos of Shema, tzitzis and tefillin is after mesheyakir. When necessary, it is permissible to recite Shema once the horizon lights up, but this cannot be done on a regular basis.
( סעיף א, ס"ק א, ב ו־ד, וביה"ל ד"ה ואם; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 3)
Completing the tefilla within zman tefilla
The ideal time for Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei is precisely at neitz, but it may be recited until a third of the day has passed. The poskim discuss whether the day is reckoned from alos until shkia (Magen Avrohom) or from sunrise until shkia (Gra and Ba'al Hatanya). Bedieved, a person who davened before sunrise but after the horizon lit up has fulfilled his obligation. It is not necessary to stop someone who chooses to daven before sunrise (but after the horizon lit up) even if there is no pressing need to do so. The entire Shemoneh Esrei (including chazaras hashatz) must be completed before the end of the zman.
( סעיף א, ס"ק ד-ה, וביה"ל ד"ה יצא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 6 ו־8)

  • When tamei, a woman is obligated to daven and make berachos. She is permitted to enter a shul and handle sefarim, but she should not look at an open sefer Torah.
  • Ideally, a woman who is tamei should not enter a cemetery.  She should not even approach an individual grave, such as the burial place of Rabbi Shimon ben Yochai. According to some contemporary poskim, if there is a pressing need she may go to a cemetery to pray, but she should stay four amos away from any graves.
  • Many women avoid entering cemeteries when they are pregnant.

  • Greeting people before davening

  • A reminder to daven

  • Davening Shemoneh Esrei after the zman



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.