The Orthodox Union - via its website - fields questions of all types in areas of kashrut, Jewish law and values. Some of them are answered by Eretz Hemdah, the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies, Jerusalem, headed by Rav Yosef Carmel and Rav Moshe Ehrenreich, founded by HaRav Shaul Yisraeli zt"l, to prepare rabbanim and dayanim to serve the National Religious community in Israel and abroad. Ask the Rabbi is a joint venture of the OU, Yerushalayim Network, Eretz Hemdah… and the Israel Center. The following is a Q&A from Eretz Hemdah…
Skipping to Shemoneh Esrei and Making Up What Was Missed
Question: Someone came into shul very late for Shacharit. He put on tefillin and started Shemoneh Esrei right away with the tzibur. He asked me afterwards whether he should make up Psukei D’zimra and Kri’at Shema afterward. What should I have told him?
Answer: If you can find a way that your friend will accept it in the good spirit you intend, tell him that next time he should not skip straight to Shemoneh Esrei. Most of the b’rachot which can be said after davening, can be skipped in order to say Shemoneh Esrei with a minyan, including almost all of Birkot HaShachar (see Rama, Orach Chayim 52:1; Y’chaveh Da’at V:5; Ishei Yisrael 5:9). The exceptions are Elokai Neshama and Birchot HaTorah, due to a doubt under what circumstances they are fulfilled during davening (Mechayei HaMeitim and Ahava Rabba, respectively).
Sephardim follow the opinion that one can indeed skip P’sukei D’zimra to be able to say Shemoneh Esrei with a minyan (Shulchan Aruch, OC 52:1; Yechaveh Da’at V:5). Ashkenazim follow the opinion that one can greatly shorten Psukei D’zimra to catch up, but at least the b’rachot (Baruch She’amar and Yishtabach) along with at least one zimra (Ashrei - see B’rachot 4b) may not be skipped (Mishna Berura 52:6; Ishei Yisrael 16:21).
All agree that one may not skip Kri’at Shema and its b’rachot and have Shemoneh Esrei precede them (Shulchan Aruch, OC 112:3). This is because of the great importance of semichat geula l’tefila, which means the following. Birchot Kri’at Shema end with the b’racha of Ga’al Yisrael (He who liberated Israel), and it is important that this b’racha, being a classically poignant praise of Hashem, lead into Shemoneh Esrei, which is the main part of tefila. Having this proximity is more important than davening Shemoneh Esrei with a minyan. At Ma’ariv, where semichat geula l’tefilla is less crucial, one who comes late actually should skip to Shemoneh Esrei to start with the minyan (Shulchan Aruch, OC 236:3).
Now let us move to your case, where one already recited Shemoneh Esrei without having first done P’sukei D’zimra and Kri’at Shema and its b’rachot. P’sukei d’Zimra is a set of psalms and other p’sukim, sandwiched between opening (Baruch She’amar) and closing (Yishtabach) b’rachot. While P’sukei D’zimra existed at the time of the gemara (see Shabbat 118b), both the historical development of this section of tefila and its exact function are not fully clear. However, it likely has to do with the idea of organizing one’s praise of Hashem before davening, as expressed in Avoda Zara 7b. This seems to be the reason that Rav Notrai Gaon (see Tur, OC 52) says that after Shemoneh Esrei has been said, it is no longer proper to recite P’sukei d’Zimra. Although some say that it can be made up after Shemoneh Esrei (see ibid.), the Shulchan Aruch (OC 52:1) accepts Rav Notrai’s approach as halacha, but only in regard to the b’rachot. However, he says that one may and should recite the p’sukim that he skipped (as there is no problem of b’racha l’vatala). There is a kabbalistically inclined approach that even reciting the p’sukim is problematic after Shemoneh Esrei. However, the more accepted view is that one may recite the p’sukim, but it is not obligatory to do so (see Yechaveh Da’at ibid.; Tefila K’hilchata 10:39).
While it is important to go from the b’rachot of Kri’at Shema into Shemoneh Esrei, this does not mean that these b’rachot serve only as an introduction. Rather, there is a mitzva to recite the Torah’s p’sukim of Kri’at Shema, and Chazal created and attached b’rachot that share overlapping themes to Kri’at Shema. Thus, just as after Shemoneh Esrei there is still a mitzva of Kri’at Shema, so there is a mitzva to recite its b’rachot at that time (see Shulchan Aruch, OC 67:1; see aforementioned Shulchan Aruch, OC 236:3 regarding Ma’ariv).
Therefore, your friend should have said Kri’at Shema with its b’rachot and could have recited P’sukei d’Zimra without its b’rachot.
Rav Daniel Mann, Eretz Hemdah Institute
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