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Chapter 14: 1-3
P'sukei D'zimroh

1. P'sukei D'zimroh(the "verses of praise") refer to [the portion of the prayer service extending] from Hodu to the conclusion of the song [sang at the Red Sea]. Boruch She'omar is the blessing recited beforehand, and Yishtabach is the blessing recited afterwards.

A person is forbidden to interrupt his prayers by speaking from the time begins Boruch she'omar until the end of his prayers. This applies even if he speaks in Hebrew. (Whenever it is forbidden to make an interruption, this prohibition applies even to speaking in Hebrew.)

Regarding an interruption for the sake of a mitzvoh, different laws apply, depending on whether one is in the midst of P'sukei D'zimroh and its blessings or the Shema and its blessings. In P'sukei D'zimroh, even in the midst of Boruch she'omar to Yishtabach, it is permitted to answer "Amen." Similarly, if one hears the congregation reciting the Shema, one may recite the Shema together with them. Surely, one may interrupt one's prayers to respond to Kaddish, Kedushoh, and Borchu with the congregation.* Nevertheless, if possible, one should plan to make the interruption in a place where it is natural to stop, between one psalm and another, or at least between one verse and another.

* { One may interrupt P'sukei D'zimroh to recite the prayer Modim, recited by the congregation in response to the chazon (Shulchon Oruch Horav 66:5).}

Boruch Hu uvoruch shemo (is not mentioned in the Talmud and) should not be recited within P'sukei D'zimroh, even at a place where it is natural to stop. Similarly, the prayer Yisborach v'yishtabach, which is recited while the chazon chants Borchu, should not be recited at this stage of prayer, since it is only a custom.

Also, it appears to me that a person who relieved himself and washed his hands should not recite the blessing asher yotzar, since he can recite it afterwards. (See also Law 8. The laws governing interruptions in the midst of Shema and its blessings will be explained in Chapter 16.)

2. A person should hold the two tzitzis that are in the front of the tallis and recite Boruch she'omar while standing. When he concludes reciting mehulol batishbochos, he should kiss them and release them.

He should recite the entire P'sukei D'zimroh patiently and pleasantly, without hurrying. He should be carful with each of the words, as if he were counting money, and should concentrate on the meanings of the words.

In particular, the verse Pose'ach es yodecho... ("You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing") should be recited with great concentration, focusing on the meaning of the words and, in one's thought, praying for one's own sustenance and the sustenance of the entire Jewish people. If one had no awareness whatsoever when reciting that verse, one must recite it again with the proper attention.

[In the prayer Hodu,] one should pause between the word, elilim (falsehood) and the phrase V'ado-noi Shomayim osoh (G-d made the heavens), lest the latter phrase be misinterpreted as referring to what was stated previously.

3. During P'sukei D'zimroh and surely in the portions of the service that follow until its conclusion, a person should take care not to touch portions of his body or head which are usually covered. Similarly, it is forbidden to touch the waste produced by the nose or ears unless one uses a handkerchief.

A person who touches any of the above with his hands must wash them with water. If he is in the midst of the Shemoneh Esreh and it is impossible for him to move na search for water, it is sufficient for him to clean [his hands by wiping them on] a shard or rubbing them on the wall or the like.

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



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