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Chapter 12:10-12
Preparing Oneself to Pray

10.A person should designate one synagogue or house of study where he will pray regularly. Similarly, within the synagogue, he should designate a fixed place to pray. Within four cubits of a place is still considered as the dame place. It is preferable if he can find a fixed place near a wall, as we find in the case of Hezikiah. [Isaiah 38:2 relates that when he decided to pray to G-d]: "Hazekiah turned his face to the wall."

One should not stand or sit next to a wicked person during prayer. When a person prays at home, he should also establish a fixed place, so that the members of his household will not disturb him.

11.It is a mitzvoh to run to the synagogue, to the house of study, or to fulfill other mitzvos, as [Hoshea 6:3] states: "Let us run to know G-d," and [Psalms 119:32] states: "I will run [on] the path of Your mitzvos." Accordingly even on the Sabbath it is permitted to run for the sake of a mitzvoh. However, within a synagogue or a house of study, it is forbidden to run.

When a person approaches the entrance [to the synagogue], he should hesitate momentarily so that he does not enter suddenly. He should tremble and fear from the splendor of His glory, blessed he His name. He should recite the verse (Psalms 5:8) "And, I, through Your great kindness, {enter Your house...,"]which is comparable to receiving permission. Afterwards, he should enter and proceed with awe and fear, as if he is walking in the presence of a king.

In communities where Jews have streets of their own, it is a mitzvoh to wrap oneself in the tallis an put on tefillin at home, and walk to the synagogue wearing them. In those places where the Jews live among the gentiles, or one would have to pass alleyways that are filled with filth, one should wrap oneself, in the tallis and put on tefillin in the anteroom before the synagogue itself, for entering the synagogue wearing a tallis and crowned with tefillin is a great matter.

12. Should something prevent on from going to a synagogue or a house of study or attending any other fixed minyan, one should try to assemble, ten people to pray together with a minyan at home. If that is impossible, one should at least pray at the time the minyan prays, for this is "a propitious time." Similarly, a person who lives in a place where there is no minyan should pray at the time the people of the nearest city pray communally.

Nevertheless, a person who must study Torah or begin work which is very pressing may begin prayers early [even if there is no minyan], as soon as the sun rises, since, as explained in Chapter 8, a person may not involve himself in these activities before prayer. e."

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Halacha-Yomi, Copyright (c) 1999 Project Genesis, Inc.


 

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