Halacha for Wednesday 12 Cheshvan 5778 November 1 2017

One who Arrives Late to the Synagogue on Shabbat Morning

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that if one arrives late to the synagogue for the Shacharit prayer and realizes that if he prays according to the proper order he will not be able to recite the Amida prayer along with the congregation, one should omit certain portions of the prayer in order to pray with the congregation, which is extremely important.

We shall now discuss the Halacha regarding one who arrives late to the synagogue for the Shacharit prayer on Shabbat morning. If it seems to one that one will be able to recite the entire Pesukei De’Zimra (beginning with “Mizmor Shir Le’Yom Ha’Shabbat” until “Az Yashir”) but will not be able to recite the “Nishmat Kol Hai” prayer customarily recited on Shabbat as well, the question becomes: Should one omit certain portions of the Pesukei De’Zimra in order to be able to recite the “Nishmat Kol Hai” prayer or is it preferable to recite the entire Pesukei De’Zimra and omit the “Nishmat Kol Hai” prayer?

The Opinion of the “Chayei Adam”
The Sefer Chayei Adam (Chapter 19) writes that it is preferable to omit Pesukei De’Zimra on Shabbat in order to have ample time to recite the “Nishmat Kol Hai” prayer, which is called “The Blessing of the Song.” Thus, if one does not have much time, one should recite “Baruch She’amar,” “Ashrei,” “Nishmat Kol Hai,” and “Yishtabach.” Several Acharonim rule accordingly.

The Opinion of the “Shalmei Tzibur”
Nevertheless, the Shalmei Tzibur writes that if one does not have enough time to recite both Pesukei De’Zimra and “Nishmat Kol Hai,” it is preferable to omit the “Nishmat Kol Hai” prayer than to omit parts of Pesukei De’Zimra, for we have a rule, “The more common of two Mitzvot takes precedence.” Thus, Pesukei De’Zimra, which is recited every day, precedes the “Nishmat Kol Hai” prayer which is only recited on Shabbatot and holidays. Many Acharonim rule likewise as well.

The Opinion of Maran zt”l
Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l writes that the opinion of the Chayei Adam is not necessarily correct, for reciting the “Nishmat Kol Hai” prayer is not as obligatory as reciting Pesukei De’Zimra and is merely a custom. Indeed, the Rambam writes (in his Order of Prayer): “On Shabbat, the congregation customarily adds the ‘Nishmat Kol Hai’ prayer before Yishtabach.” Clearly, reciting “Nishmat Kol Hai” is not an actual obligation and is merely customary (similar to reciting the “Song of the Sea,” i.e. “Az Yashir” which is also customary).

This is especially true since the Talmud does not mention the addition of “Nishmat Kol Hai” in the Shabbat morning prayer. Thus, Pesukei De’Zimra, which is recited daily, surely takes precedence over reciting “Nishmat Kol Hai.”

Summary: If one arrives late to the synagogue on Shabbat morning and sees that he will not be able to recite the Amida prayer with the congregation unless he omits certain portions of the prayer, it is preferable that one omit the “Nishmat Kol Hai” prayer rather than to omit the Psalms of Pesukei De’Zimra which are recited every day.

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