Halacha for Sunday 13 Sivan 5779 June 16 2019

One Who Begins the Amida Prayer and Then Remembers That He Has Already Prayed

Question: What is the appropriate procedure for one has begun to recite the Amida prayer and then suddenly remembers that he has already prayed that specific prayer?

Answer: We have already explained that one may pray a voluntary prayer which one is not obligated to as a voluntary prayer and is tantamount to a donated sacrifice. Nevertheless, we have mentioned the opinion of the Poskim who rule that one should not pray a donated prayer nowadays when concentrating during prayer is quite difficult.

Now, let us discuss our scenario regarding an individual who has begun the Amida prayer and then remembers in the middle of praying that he has already prayed this specific prayer. Indeed, this is a common occurrence by an individual who has a set time to pray Mincha daily, such as at 7:00 PM, and one day this individual happened to be in a place where there was a Minyan praying Mincha at 2:00 PM so he prayed with them. The individual later continues his daily routine which includes going to pray Mincha at 7:00. After beginning to pray, the individual suddenly remembers that he has already prayed. How should the individual proceed? If he continues to pray, he will continue to recite blessings in vain. If he stops praying, this will mean that all the blessings that he has already recited will have been blessings in vain!

The Gemara (Berachot 21a) deals with this situation and states, “Rav Yehuda said in the name of Shmuel: If one was standing in prayer and remembers that he has already prayed, one must stop even in the middle of the blessing.” This means that if one remembers in the middle of the Amida prayer, such as in the middle of the “Refa’enu” blessing, that one has already prayed, one must stop praying immediately, for every blessing one has recited until this point was in error (and one must recite “Baruch Shem Kevod Malchuto Le’Olam Va’ed”). One may not even conclude the blessing one is in the middle of, such as the “Refa’enu” blessing, for the conclusion of the blessing ‘Baruch Ata Hashem Rofeh Cholei Amo Yisrael” is the text of a blessing which includes Hashem’s name in it and it may not be recited in vain.

The apparent question is: We have already explained that according to the letter of the law, one may pray a voluntary/donated prayer, i.e. a prayer of which all blessings are non-obligatory. If so, in our case when one remembers in the middle of praying that one has already prayed this prayer, why not allow the individual to continue at the very least as a donated prayer so that not all of the blessings that he has already recited are considered blessings in vain?

Indeed, the Rishonim disagree regarding this very point, for the Rashba and Ra’avad write that one may, in fact, continue one’s prayer as a voluntary/donated prayer. On the other hand, most of the Geonim and Rishonim disagree and maintain that one must immediately stop praying, for since one has begun this prayer as an obligatory prayer (in error nonetheless), one cannot switch over in the middle of the prayer to make it a donated prayer because prayer is in the place of offerings and we find no such offering that is part obligatory and part voluntary (Tosafot Ha’Rosh quoting Geonim).

Halachically speaking, there is no such thing as a partially voluntary prayer meaning that if one began reciting the Amida prayer because he was under the assumption that it was obligatory, one may no longer continue this prayer as a voluntary/donated prayer based on the ruling of the majority of the Poskim (see Yalkut Yosef, Tefillah, Volume 1, page 202 and on).

Summary: One who has begun reciting the Amida prayer and then realizes that he has already prayed that specific prayer must stop praying immediately, even in the middle of a blessing.

In the next Halacha we shall, G-d-willing, discuss the parameters of this Halacha as it applies to the Arvit prayer.

Ask the Rabbi


8 Halachot Most Popular

The Laws of the Holiday of Sukkot

As per the request of many of our members and as a public service, we shall now list a synopsis of some laws which are essential for the upcoming Sukkot holiday: The Sukkah must be made of three walls and Sechach (the roof). The walls may be made of any material which can withstand a normal wi......

Read Halacha

Chol Ha’Mo’ed

The days between the first and seventh days (outside of Israel between the second and eighth days) of the Pesach holiday and the days between the first day of Sukkot and the holiday of Shemini Atzeret (outside of Israel between the second day of Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret) are called “Chol Ha&......

Read Halacha

The Blessing of “Lee’shev Ba’Sukkah”

Question: Regarding the “Lee’shev Ba’Sukkah” blessing, what is more halachically preferable: To recite the blessing while standing before sitting down to begin one’s meal in the Sukkah or should one recite this blessing when he is already seated after having recited the......

Read Halacha

The Laws of Dwelling in the Sukkah

Since we will not have enough time to discuss the laws of Sukkot between Yom Kippur and Sukkot, we shall therefore begin discussing some of the pertinent laws of the Sukkot holiday now. The Mitzvah of Dwelling in the Sukkah The Torah (Vayikra 23) states: “You shall dwell in the huts for se......

Read Halacha


Motza’ei Yom Kippur

Adding From the Mundane Onto the Holiness One must add some of the mundane weekday onto the holiness of Yom Kippur upon its exit, i.e. one should not end this holy day immediately with nightfall; rather, one should wait another few minutes. Thus, it is prohibited to eat or perform work on Motza&rsq......

Read Halacha

Simchat Torah

The Rambam (end of Chapter 8 of Hilchot Lulav) states: “Even though it is a Mitzvah to rejoice on all the festivals, there was an additional celebration in the Temple on the festival of Sukkot, as the Torah commands: ‘And you shall rejoice before Hashem, your G-d, for seven days.’ ......

Read Halacha

Erev Yom Kippur and Maran zt”l’s Epic Words, “I Forgive Everyone”

The Mitzvah to Eat on Erev Yom Kippur The Torah (Vayikra 23) states: “And you shall oppress yourselves on the ninth of the month at night,” meaning that the obligation to fast on Yom Kippur begins from the night of the tenth of Tishrei. Our Sages (Berachot 8a) inquired about the languag......

Read Halacha

Etrog Jam

Question: Is there any Segulah (auspicious practice) in eating Etrog jam? What is the proper blessing on such jam? Answer: There are women who customarily eat part of the Etrog (which was used for the Mitzvah) after the Sukkot holiday claiming that it is a Segulah to deliver one’s babies ea......

Read Halacha