Prayer Essentials

For the week ending 19 November 2016 / 18 Heshvan 5777

Laws for Making up for a Missed Prayer - Part 1

by Rabbi Yitzchak Botton
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Although it is true that each of the three daily prayers — Shacharit, Mincha and Ma’ariv — have a set time during which they must be said, if one accidentally misses any of these prayers he can make up for it.

We can derive a valuable lesson from this fact. We must not look at our shortcomings with an attitude of despair, but instead with an attitude of, “I can fix it; I can do better next time.”

We should remember that G-d does not expect each person to be absolutely perfect. We are not “Administering Angels”. He only expects us to try to do our best. One can only make up a missed prayer that was missed unintentionally (“shogeg”), or missed due to something beyond his control (“onus”) such as when he is too ill. Therefore, if one mistakenly missed Shacharit he prays Mincha twice. The first Shemoneh Esrei is for Mincha (which is the prayer for the present), and the second prayer is said for the missed Shacharit. Similarly, if one forgot Mincha, in the evening he prays twice. The first prayer is for Ma'ariv, and the second is for the missed Mincha. The same procedure applies for one that is making up Shacharit (Shulchan Aruch Orech Chaim 108:1-2).

When praying twice in the morning, according to the Mishneh Berurah, one should first say the Shemoneh Esrei for Shacharit, then tachanun and ashrei, and then Shemoneh Esrei for the missed Ma'ariv of the night before. However, the Kaf HaChaim maintains that one should only say ashrei, and then the second Shemoneh Esrei, followed by tachanun afterwards. The Kaf Hachaim explains that one should also repeat ashrei again, together with uva'letzion, while the Mishneh Berurah writes that one does not need to repeat it again.

When making up a missed prayer in the evening the Rema writes that one should say ashrei in-between the two Shemoneh Esrei prayers. However, the Mishneh Berurah writes that other rabbis maintain, based on the Rikanati, that according to Kabbalah one should not say ashrei at night. Instead, one should just wait the time it takes to walk four amot between prayers. He concludes with the words of the Derech Chaim that each of the two options is reliable. In connection to the above, the Kaf Hachaim concludes, based on the Zohar and Kabbalah, that one should not say ashrei between the two Shemoneh Esrei prayers, both in Mincha and in Ma'ariv. For Mincha the Mishneh Berurah writes in the name of the later authorities to say ashrei between the two Shemoneh Esrei prayers.

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