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When do I pray Shacharit?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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One may pray Shacharit any time after dawn, but preferably, the Amidah shouldn't be recited until sunrise. However, all the preliminary prayers (the "Verses of Praise" and the Shema) can certainly be said before sunrise. Shacharit should be recited before "sof z'man Tefillah" (the conclusion of the time for prayer), which is at the end of the first third of the day (four Halachic Hours* after sunrise).

If one failed to pray before sof z'man tefillah, Shacharit can still be prayed until midday (six Halachic Hours after sunrise). One who prays between sof z'man tefillah and midday does not receive credit for timely prayer. To find out when dawn, sunrise, sof z'man tefillah, or midday is, for any date and location, go to http://chabad.org/calendar/zmanim.asp.

*"Halachic time" works differently than the clocks we are used to. In Halachah, time is based on Sha'ot Zmaniyot, "proportional hours" that depend on the season. Halachic hours are not necessarily 60 minutes; instead we take the day, from sunrise until sunset, and divide it into twelve equal parts. Each part constitutes one halachic hour. In the summer this can be up to 75 minutes and in the winter it can be as little as 45 minutes.


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RELATED CATEGORIES

Mitzvot » Prayer » About
Mitzvot » Prayer » Laws and Customs

Halachah
Jewish Law. All halachah which is applicable today is found in the Code of Jewish Law.
Halachic
Pertaining to Jewish Law.
Amidah
Highlight of every prayer, recited silently while standing. Weekday Amidah consists of nineteen blessings, Sabbath and holiday Amidah contains seven blessings.
Shacharit
Morning prayer service. One of the three prayers a Jew is obligated to pray every day.
Tefillah
Prayer. The Jewish Sages instituted three daily prayers, and an additional prayer on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays.
Shema
The most fundamental Jewish prayer, recited twice daily. This prayer, of Biblical origin, professes the belief in G-d's absolute unity.