Preparations for Davening

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Proper Dress for Davening

  1. One must wear a belt during davening, though some say this applies only to someone who usually wears a belt, for someone who does not usually wear a belt it is considered a pious practice to wear one for davening. [1]
  2. If one’s pants are tight the pants will serve as a sufficient separation between the top and bottom part of one's body, but it is still a pious practice to wear a belt. [2]
  3. Being dressed properly depends on the standards of the time and place and the way people would walk in the streets and in front of important people. If it is accepted to wear short sleeve shirts or sandals without socks, one does not usually need to change for davening. One needs to make sure one is wearing respectable clothes as one is standing before Hashem. [3]
  4. One who usually works in short pants (shorts) is not recommended to daven in shorts, but it is not forbidden to. [4]
  5. One who usually wears a hat and jacket and happens not to have them should not daven without it unless one will miss davening with a minyan if one waits until one acquires a hat and jacket. (Draping a jacket over one’s shoulders is not considered wearing it.) However, one who usually does not wear a hat or jacket does not have to wear them during davening, but it is still a proper practice. [5]
  6. One should not daven in a robe or a bathing suit. [6]
  7. Some have the practice to wear a hat during davening in order to be properly dressed for davening. [7]

Preparing the Text for Davening

  1. Even though in theory it is proper to prepare the text of the holiday davenings we don't say so often, such as rosh chodesh, chanuka, purim, or the like, the minhag is to rely on the fact that we daven from a printed siddur and not prepare the text beforehand. Nonetheless, one should be careful to say yaaleh veyavo or the like from a siddur the first time they are said after 29 days.[8]

Needing the Bathroom

  1. If one needs to go to the bathroom, even if one would be able to hold it in for 72 minutes, it would be preferable not to pray until one has gone to the bathroom, unless one will miss praying before the latest time for Shemona Esreh by doing so. [9]

Going to Mikveh

  1. Originally, Ezra HaSofer made an institution that someone who was impure may not learn Torah or pray until he dips in the mikveh. However, this practice was not upheld and nowadays it is permitted for an impure person to learn Torah and daven.[10]
  2. There are pious people who have accepted to keep the original institution of Ezra and go to mikveh for a baal keri. If that is difficult they pour 9 kabin of water on themselves before davening or learning Torah.[11]
  3. The 9 kabin has to be continuous without interruption and specifically poured on one's head and it isn't sufficient if one bathes in 9 kabin.[12] 9 kabin can be estimated to between 12 and 15 liters. [13] A shower suffices for the 9 kabin.[14]
  4. A mikveh for a baal keri can be sheuvim but needs to be in the ground and not in a vessel. Even someone who is strict on this institution if he is sick and saw the emission out of his control and not because of tashmish he doesn't need to go to mikveh.[15]
  5. One shouldn't be strict on this practice if by doing so one is going to miss the time for Kriyat Shema or davening with a minyan.[16]
  6. Any chatzitza that doesn't cover majority of a person's body isn't a problem for the tevilah for a baal keri.[17]


  1. Shulchan Aruch 91:2, Mishna Brurah 91:4
  2. Avnei Yishfeh (pg 53 note 5), Piskei Teshuvot 91:1
  3. Piskei Teshuvot 91:3
  4. Halichot Shlomo 2:15
  5. Halichot Shlomo 2:15, Piskei Teshuvot 91:3
  6. Halichot Shlomo (2:15 note 73)
  7. The Mishna Brurah 91:12 quotes the Chaye Adam as saying that one should wear a hat for davening just as people walk in the street with a hat.
  8. The gemara Rosh Hashana 35a states that one should prepare one's tefillah every 30 days. The Tur 100:1 explains that there's a dispute whether this includes rosh chodesh or not. The Ritva (Rosh Hashana 35a s.v. Amar Rabbi Elazar) and the Shulchan Aruch 100:1 rule that one should also prepare the rosh chodesh tehillah and all the more so the less frequent tefillot. Rabbenu Manoch (quoted by the Beit Yosef 100:1) says that if one is davening from a siddur one doesn't have to prepare it in advance. While the Shulchan Aruch 100:1 doesn't hold like the Rabbenu Manoch, the Rama 100:1 does and the Yalkut Yosef 100:1 writes that the sephardi minhag is to rely on the rama.
  9. Yalkut Yosef 92:1
  10. Gemara Brachot 22a records the institution of Ezra Hasofer that a baal keri couldn't learn or daven until he went to mikveh. The motivation of the institution was that Torah and davening needed a serious frame of mind and a baal keri is incapable of that (Gemara 21b). Additionally, it was to prevent Talmidei Chachamim from being together with their wives too often (Gemara 22a, Rambam Tefillah 4:6, Tur 88:1). The gemara cites Nachum Ish Gam Zu who held that it was sufficient to pour 9 kabin of water on one's head instead of having to go to mikveh. The gemara discusses for whom this remedy worked and Rava (Brachot 22b) concludes that only someone who saw an emission out of his control and not because of tashmish can use this remedy. In any event, Rabbi Yehuda Ben Beteirah (Brachot 22a) repealed the institution of Ezra. The Rashba (Brachot 22a s.v. amar) clarifies that Rabbi Yehuda repealed the institution completely and didn't even require pouring 9 kabin.
    • How was he able to repeal an earlier institution? The Rambam (Kriyat Shema 4:8) and Rashba 22a explain that he was able to abolish this institution since a majority of the Jewish people never accepted it. The Meiri 22a quotes others who answer that he was able to abolish it since it was based on a derivation from the Torah and he disagreed with that derivation.
    • The Rif Brachot 13b cites two opinions as to whether Ezra completely abolished the institution or only for Torah learning but for davening it remained in place at least with respect to having 9 kabin of water poured on one's head. He concludes with Rav Hai Goan who says that the minhag is strict to keep it for davening. Rosh (Brachot 3:21) quotes the Rif. Rambam (Kriyat Shema 4:8) writes that the establishment of Ezra was repealed for Torah learning and Kriyat Shema and the minhag is to be lenient. However, regarding Tefillah, the Rambam (Tefillah 4:8) writes that although it is permitted to daven without going to mikveh or washing it is the minhag of Bavel and Spain to do so. Kesef Mishna (Tefillah 4:6) explains that this minhag is the same one as the Rav Hai Goan described and it would suffice with pouring 9 kabin on oneself.
    • Bet Yosef 88:1 disagrees and rejects the Rabbenu Yonah who distinguishes between Kriyat Shema which is permitted without going to mikveh and other Torah.
    • Shulchan Aruch 88:1 rules that the institution of Ezra was completely repealed for Torah and davening.
  11. Tur OC 241 writes that some pious people voluntary accepted to keep the institution of Ezra and it is a big stringency since even according to Ezra's institution it is sufficient to have 9 kabin poured upon oneself and not go to mikveh. Mishna Brurah 88:4 quotes this practice and writes that if it is difficult for them they can use the 9 kabin.
  12. Bet Yosef 88:1 quoting Rabbenu Yonah (13b s.v. ki) and Rambam (Mikvaot 3:4) clarifies that the pouring of 9 kabin needs to be continuous without any breaks.
  13. How much is 9 kabin? The Bet Yosef says that is 4.5 Kolondrinas. Mishna Brurah 88:4 says that it is 15 Polish quarts. That is the equivalent of 14.1 liters today, as each Polish quart was 0.9422L (Wikipedia on Polish Measurements). Since 9 kabin is 216 beitzim and a beitzah is 55 grams according to Rav Chaim Noeh it a total of 11.88 liters. Kaf Hachaim writes that it is 216 beitzim which is 3888 dirhams which is no more than 11.6 liters ( Yalkut Yosef 88:1 writes that it is 12.6 liters. Shoneh Halachot 88:6 writes that it is 21.6 liters.
  14. Yalkut Yosef 88:1 discusses whether the 9 kabin needs to come upon a person from the pouring of a person or it is sufficient if it comes on its own. He quotes the Raavad in Tamim Deim 66 who says that it needs to come from a person. He concludes that since the establishment was repealed and it is only a pious custom it isn't necessary have the 9 kabin come from a person pouring them. Shevet Halevi 1:24 agrees.
  15. Rava's conclusion on Brachot 22b is that someone sick who saw a keri involuntarily doesn't need to go to mikveh or 9 kabin. The Rashba 22b s.v. amar (cited by Bet Yosef 88:1) explains that this statement of Rava was relevant to someone who voluntarily decided to be strict and accept the institution of Ezra. Rambam codifies this. Mishna Brurah 88:4 agrees.
  16. Mishna Brurah 88:2. See Piskei Teshuvot 88:3 who quotes some who disagree and hold that for someone who usually goes to mikveh it is better to go and miss minyan than not to go. See Minchat Yitzchak 4:61 and Teshuvot Vehanhagot 1:109.
  17. Biur Halacha 88:1 s.v. vchen, Shevet Halevi 1:24