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 Hilchos Tefilla 90 (page 246)
 מסעיף יט עד סעיף כג

Designating a Spot to Daven
Davening Near an Entrance
Davening Towards a Wall

Designating a spot to daven
One should have a set place -- a makom kavua -- for davening. One reason for this is that tefilla is like a korban, and every korban had a set place where it was offered. A makom kavua is defined as a set seat in a set shul. One should not daven out of his set place without good cause. Even people who daven at home should designate a place for their tefillos in an area where they are unlikely to be disturbed. If a person davens somewhere only occasionally (e.g. Yamim Noraim, vacation), he should still have a designated spot in that shul where he sits whenever he is there.It is also proper to have a set seat for Torah study.
( סעיף יט וס"ק נט; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 67-68)
Davening near an entrance
One should not daven within four tefachim of the shul doorway. Davening too close to the door could give the impression that one finds sitting in shul burdensome.  Also, a person who is too close to the entrance could become distracted by the tumult outdoors. Taking both of these reasons into account, someone whose official seat is near the doorway is permitted to daven there if the door is closed. It is proper to enter the shul to daven rather than reciting one's tefillos in the lobby. (See also §90:9 and seif koton 38.)
( סעיף כ וס"ק סא)
Davening towards a wall  
Ideally, there should not be anything blocking a person from the wall in front of him when he davens. Fixed items of furniture (e.g. bookcase, table, stand) are not considered problematic separations between a person and the wall. The poskim discuss whether small items (less than ten tefachim high and four across) between a person and the wall are problematic in this regard. There is an opinion which forbids people from davening one behind the other. This opinion should be followed when possible.
( סעיף כא וס"ק סג, סו, סח ו־סט; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 76)


  • Someone whose home is located more than a mil (an ancient mile) from the nearest shul is exempt from tefilla b'tzibur. In ancient times, someone who would have to travel the mil alone was exempt from joining the minyan for Ma'ariv. It is possible that this exemption no longer applies now that our streets are lit up at night.
  • A person who is occupied exclusively with Torah and only attends to his essential personal needs is exempt from davening with a minyan if one is not available in the room in which he learns.
  • The first ten people to arrive in shul receive a reward equal to all those who come later. According to the Zohar, the initial ten should gather outside the shul and enter together.

  • Davening facing a mural

  • Davening near one's father

  • If tzoah appeared during davening



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.