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Being late for the Silent Amidah...?

Question of the Month:

Is it more important to daven the Amidah to yourself or to listen & participate in the Reader's Repetition? Because of being late, I wanted to daven the most important prayers - such as Sh'ma and then I found myself starting the Amidah quite late. Is it more important to daven the Amidah to yourself, or to listen to and participate in the Reader's Repetition? During the Reader's Repetition is it ok, bad (or neutral) to put money in the Tzedakah box? Some of these questions came up today because I was reading the Rabin Mishnah Study group - most of it is way over my head. but there was a discussion of what to do or NOT do during the Reader's Repetition. Please point me in the right direction (Could I find answer in Klein's book?) During the Reader's Repetition, is it ok, to put money in the Tzedakah box?

Answer:

Rabbi Isaac Klein's Guide to Jewish Religious Practice has a chapter devoted to daily prayer that is rather extensive, however, he does not deal with the questions you are raising. But we can find what you are looking for in Rabbi Hayim Donin's To Pray as a Jew. The basic goal of public prayer is to be able to recite the Kedusha with the congregation when they say the Amida. However, the Amida has to be said after the Shema. So it is a question of how late one arrives at the service. If you can start at the Shema section in time to join the congregation for the Amida, then that is what you do. And then, after you have done the Shema & Amida, you can go back and pick up most of Birkhot Hashachar and Pezuke D'zimra.

There are some parts that you cannot technically add later, they are al netilat yadiyim, the Torah blessings and Elohai neshamah as well as Baruch She'amar and Yishtabach. Consequently, if you arrive earlier, and you you can include more of the service prior to the Shema section you start with those. The first three can be said on their own, while the later two are the opening and closing blessings of Pesuke D'zimra, so you'd at least have to do the Ashrei in between. If you have more time, you can include more of the preliminary service, but all the rest can be done later on.

On the other hand, if you are so late that you can't do the Shema section prior to joining the congregation for the Amida, then you forfeit the privilege of joining them and simply begin at the start of the service and go at your own pace. I know that this can be confusing, if you need further clarification, I'd be happy to look at the siddur together with you.

As to your question on when to put money in the pushke - customs vary. Our practice is to do it after finishing the Amida. Some communities do it at the end of services, while others do it during the Ashrei after reciting the line "Potayach et yadecha" which praises God as the one who opens our hands to provide for the poor. You can do this during the Reader's Repetition of the Amida, as long as you don't do it during the Kedusha, when movement or talking is prohibited.

Thu, November 21 2019 23 Cheshvan 5780