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Chapter 12:7-9
Preparing Oneself to Pray

7. A person should try and exert himself to pray together with a minyan, as [Psalms 69:14] states: " May my prayer to You, G-d, be at a propitious time." When is "a propitious time"? When the community prays. Similarly, [Isaiah 49:8] announces: Thus declares G-d: 'I will answer you at a propitious time.'"

G-d will not reject the prayers of the many, even if there are sinners among them, as [Job 36:5] can be interpreted: "Behold, G-d, the many, He will not despise them." Similarly, [Psalms 55:19] relates: He redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me, because of the many who were with me" (Berochos 8a).

8.[The following rules apply to] a person who is travelling and reaches a place where he would like to spend the night: If there is a place further on his way, within four milim, where communal prayers are recited, he must travel those four milim in order to pray with a minyan. This applies provided that he can arrive there before nightfall, so that he will not have to travel alone at night.

Similarly, he must turn back one mil in order to pray with a minyan.* Surely, one should not leave a place where prayer is recited communally if its possible for him to reach his destination while it is still day.

* { Similarly, a person living within a mil of a minyan is required to attend communal services every day (Shulchon Oruch HoRav 90:17, Mishnoh Beruroh 90:52).}

9. It is a great mitzvoh to pray in a synagogue or in a house of study, for these are holy places. This applies even when, on occasion, there is no minyan there; nevertheless, because of its holiness, it is preferable to pray there alone.

A person who customarily studies Torah in a house of study should pray there together with a minyan, even if there is a synagogue in his city. However, someone who does not frequently study Torah in a house of study should pray in the synagogue, for there more people are present, and [Proverbs 14:28] states: "Amidst the multitude of people is the glory of the King." When there are two synagogues in a person's city, he should go to the further one, so that he will earn reward for his steps.

Rabbi Yehoshua ben Levi declared: A person should always rise early to attend the synagogue, so that he will be counted among the first ten who arrive, Even if a hundred people come after him, he receives a reward equal to all of them (Berochos 47b).

Also, [Berochos8a] teaches: Whoever attends a synagogue or a house of study at the appropriate time, spends an appropriate mount of theme there, and behaves in a holy manner as is befitting the place, merits long life, as [Proverbs 8:34] states: "Happy is the man who hearkens to me, faithfully coming to My gates day after day, waiting at the doorposts of My entrances." Afterwards, the verse continues: Whoever finds Me, finds life."

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

 
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