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 Hilchos Tefilla 100-101 (page 260)
 מתחילת סימן ק עד סימן קא סעיף ג

Which Tefillos May Not Be Recited by Heart?
If Someone Realizes that He Did Not Concentrate During the First Beracha of Shemoneh Esrei
Reciting Shemoneh Esrei Out Loud

Which tefillos may not be recited by heart?
A person should recite uncommon berachos or tefillos (e.g. prayers said only occasionally) from a siddur unless he reviews them beforehand. It is adequate to review them in one's mind before reciting them by heart.  Examples of uncommon tefillos include: the middle beracha of Shemoneh Esrei for Yom Tov/the first day of Rosh Hashana/Yom Kippur, Rosh Chodesh Mussaf, the addition to Atah Kadosh on the first night of Rosh Hashana, Ya'aleh v'yavo on the first night of Rosh Chodesh, Al hanisim on the first night of Chanuka or Purim, and Kiddush Levana. Piyutim that are difficult to understand should be reviewed prior to their recitation.
( סימן ק, סעיף א וס"ק א-ג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 1)
If someone realizes that he did not concentrate during the first beracha of Shemoneh Esrei
When reciting Shemoneh Esrei, it is important to understand the meaning of the words being said. Proper understanding of the words is essential for the first beracha. If, after reciting part of the beracha, a person realizes that he overlooked the proper understanding of the words , he should repeat the initial part of the beracha starting from E-lokai Avrohom. If he completed the beracha but has not begun the next one, some poskim suggest that he wait there until the chazan begins his repetition and concentrate on the missed words during the chazan's repetition. Other poskim recommend reviewing the meaning of the words in his mind and then continuing the tefilla. The poskim discuss whether this rule applies to the entire beracha or just to the essential words. One opinion holds that the rules of proper understanding apply to the beracha of Modim as well. Someone who davened the first beracha without proper intent should not repeat Shemoneh Esrei unless he was distracted as a result of inappropriately holding something in his hand; in that case, he should repeat the tefilla.
( סימן קא, סעיף א, ס"ק ב-ג וביה"ל ד"ה והאידנא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 5, 6, ו־8)
Reciting Shemoneh Esrei out loud
The words of Shemoneh Esrei must be pronounced audibly, but not loud enough for someone nearby to hear. One opinion holds that the words should be recited so quietly that even the speaker cannot hear them, but the halacha does not follow this opinion. Someone who must raise his voice in order to concentrate may daven in a low voice if he is davening alone. If that, too, is not adequate, he may daven in a loud voice. It is not permissible to daven out loud when davening with a tzibur, because the noise is liable to disturb others. Someone who davens out loud demonstrates that he believes Hashem is incapable of listening to silent prayers. Someone who davens out loud fulfills his obligation b'dieved.
( סימן קא, סעיף ב, ס"ק ה, ו, ט ו־י, וביה"ל ד"ה בלבו וד"ה ואם; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 16)

  • Someone who drank a reviis of undiluted wine in one gulp is prohibited from davening. He is permitted to daven if he drank it in two gulps or added a bit of water. If he drank a large quantity of wine, he is prohibited from davening -- even if he drank it in many gulps or added water -- until he sobers up.
  • Both intoxicated people and those who merely drank a reviis are forbidden from reciting kriyas Shema and its berachos, but they may recite all other berachos. There is, however, an opinion which holds that a drunk should preferably refrain from reciting any beracha.
  • Someone who drank a reviis of wine or an intoxicating beverage to the point that he is forbidden to daven and then walked a mil (an ancient measure of distance between 3,150-3,780 feet) or slept a little is considered to be free of alcohol and is permitted to daven.


  • Davening in languages other than Lashon Hakodesh

  • The benefits of reciting the tefillos in the original language

  • Why an individual should avoid davening in other languages



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.