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Part I: Orach Chayim


A person should recite the appropriate blessing at each stage of getting up in the morning (e.g., “...Who clothes the naked” upon getting dressed, “...Who straightens the bent” upon rising from one’s bed, etc.); see 46:1. Nowadays, however, it is customary to recite all the morning blessings together at the beginning of the morning prayers (6:2; 46:2,4-8). They may be recited before dawn (except for "...Who gave the rooster understanding...") and before washing the hands; see 47:13. A person should recite at least 100 blessings every day (46:3).

A person should be very careful (47:1) to recite the blessings on the Torah (see 47:5-8) before reading, writing, or reciting anything related to Torah (47:2-3), but it is not necessary to recite these blessings before thinking about Torah, giving a halachic decision (47:4), or reciting verses as part of the prayers (see 46:9). The blessings are recited by both men and women (47:14). They are valid for all the Torah that is studied until going to sleep at night; see 47:8-12.

It is appropriate to recite every day passages from the Torah about the sacrifices, as well as the passages about the washing basin, the ashes from the altar, the incense and the golden altar, the sacrifice of Isaac, the manna, and the Ten Commandments (1:5-9;48:1). The passages about the sacrifices should be recited only in the daytime (47:13). Because they are familiar, they may be recited by heart, although passages from the Bible may ordinarily be read only from a written text (49:1). It is also customary to recite a Mishnah chapter (Zevachim Ch.5) that deals with the sacrifices, as well as Rabbi Ishmael's 13 rules for interpreting the Torah (50:1).

Passages from the Psalms (see 51:6-7,9) are then read slowly (51:8), preceded by "Blessed be He who spoke ..." and followed by "May Your Name be praised..." (51:1;53:1-2;54:1). On answering "Amen" to these blessings see 51:2-3 and 54:2; on interruptions see 51:4-5;53:3;54:3;57:2; on what a person does if he arrives late see 52:1 and 56:1. After this part of the service, KADDISH is recited (55:1); on details about KADDISH and the responses to it see 56:1-5. After KADDISH, BARECHU ("Bless HA-SHEM, Who is Blessed") is recited (57:1).

The person who leads the service should be righteous, learned (see 53:4-5), and acceptable to the community (see 53:21-22). He must be an adult male (see 53:9-10), and should be mature if possible (see 53:6-8); but he can be blind (53:14). He should not prolong the service excessively (see 53:11); must be able to pronounce Hebrew correctly (53:12); must be dressed properly (53:13,25); and should use a communal prayer book (53:26). A person who is asked to lead should not accept immediately unless he does it regularly, or is asked by an important person, or the previous leader had to be replaced in the middle of the service (53:15-17). On persons who are not acceptable to lead, or to whom there are objections, see 53:18-21; on paying salaries to those who lead services see 53:22-24 and 585:5; on dismissing and replacing a leader see 53:25-26.

KADDISH, BARECHU, and KEDUSHAH (see Ch.7) should be recited standing (56:1) and may be recited only in the presence of ten adult male Jews (55:1,4-5,8-10) who must all be in one place (see 55:13-20); the same is true for the Torah reading (141:1;143:1; see Ch.10). A sinner may be counted as one of the ten if he is not under a ban (see 55:11-12). On the procedure if some of the ten leave see 55:2-3; on what to do if not all ten can participate see 55:6-7; on ensuring that ten will be present see 55:21-22. These prayers may be recited if some of those present (preferably six or more, but if necessary even one) have not yet heard them; if possible, a person who has not yet heard them should be the leader, and should not stand where the previous leader stood if the first group is still present (69:1). If ten are present, the leader may begin the prayers even if others are still expected to arrive (124:3).

Shulchan Aruch, Copyright (c) 2000 Project Genesis, Inc.



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