Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 92 – Washing and preparing for Tefilla

  • One should check himself well to see if he needs the restroom before daavening. Hhe should take this time even if it will cause him to miss tefilla b’tzibbur. (ShA 1 – MB 5)
  • If he figures he can withhold the urge to relieve himself for 72 minutes, he may say Krias Shema and any berachos and learn Torah. But, l’chatchila, he shouldn’t daaven Shemoneh Esray. (ShA 1 – MB 3,7)
  • If he cannot withhold the urge for 72 minutes, it is forbidden to daaven Shemoneh Esray, say Krias Shema, berachos, and even learn Torah. However, bedieved, only Shemoneh Esray must be repeated. Some say this applies to urinating as well. (ShA 1 – MB 2,6)
  • If he will miss z’man tefilla by going first to the restroom, he is allowed to daaven provided that he can hold the urge for 72 minutes.             (ShA 1 – MB 5)
  • A chazzan who has an urge to relieve himself before Chazoras Hashatz may hold in the urge because of kavod habrios if he can hold it for 72 minutes. (BeH “haya”)
  • A Baal Koray who has a need to relieve himself before Krias Hatorah may hold in the urge because of kavod habrios even if he cannot hold it for 72 minutes.This leniency applies, as well, to a person delivering a public Torah derasha.(MB 7 – BeH “haya”)
  • The shiur of 72 minutes is counted from the beginning of the tefilla. One is allowed to go to the toilet immediately after daavening and will still be yotzay bedieved as long as he was able to hold it 72 minutes from the beginning of his tefilla. (MB 4)
  • If one checked himself before tefilla and didn’t need the restroom whatsoever:

a: Then, during Pesukay D’zimra he had an urge that could not be held for 72 minutes – he is allowed to finish reading up until Borchu since he checked himself beforehand.

b: If the urge came after Borchu, he may finish that section up until Shemoneh Esray. (It would be best to go out bayn haprokim or in the middle of Emmes Veyatziv so he can come back and be somaych geula l’tefilla.)

c: If the urge came during Shemoneh Esray, he must complete the Shemoneh Esray but may not say the following section – namely, answering Kedusha. (ShA 2-MB 8,9)

  • The above halacha applies when he has not reached Bal Teshaktzu by holding in the urge – but if by holding it until he is finished the section, he will be transgressing Bal Teshaktzu (a conscious effort is required to hold back the urge) he is allowed (but not required) to interrupt even his Shemoneh Esray. (MB 11)
  • If one figures he cannot control the urge to relieve himself until he completes the Shemoneh Esray, he should go out to relieve himself without talking. When he is finished, and time k’day ligmor es kulo has not transpired, he may continue Shemoneh Esray from where he left off. However, if he didn’t check himself beforehand, he must begin Shemoneh Esray from the beginning. (MB 11)
  • Before the tefilla one must remove anything that might disturb him. e.g phlegm and mucus. (ShA 3)
  • You must wash your hands with water before Shacharis, Mincha, and Maariv. If you know you touched something dirty and you don’t have any water, go get some if it is within a mil – further than that, just wipe your hands on something that cleans. (ShA 4 – MB 13,15)
  • You must not skip z’man tefilla nor tefilla b’tzibbur to go washing with water. (ShA 4 – MB 20)
  • Once your mind is distracted from the clean status of your hands they have the status of stam yodayim. You mustn’t daaven until you wash again. If you don’t have water available, just wipe. This stringency does not apply to learning Torah nor to saying berachos. (ShA 5 – MB 25)
  • If in the middle of Krias Shema or Pesukay D’zimra, you remember that your hands are not washed – you must go wash. If this happens in the middle of tefilla – don’t move, just wipe your hands on something that cleans. (ShA 6 – MB 27)
  • What is considered dirty that requires one to wash after touching it?

a: A place on the body that is normally covered.

b: Scratching the scalp

c: Some say mucus from the nose or ear wax, but you can be maykel.

d: Mud. (ShA 7 – MB 29,30)

  • It is forbidden to touch the above mentioned things while daavening or learning. If you do, you may not continue to say the holy words – only the thoughts are allowed until you clean your hands. (Rama 7 – BeH “velochayn)
  • For learning Torah and saying berachos it will suffice to merely wipe your hands, bedieved. (MB 29)
  • After urinating, wait a few moments (k’day hiluch arba amos) for the droplets of urine to be absorbed before continuing daavening (compare birkas Asher Yotzar). (ShA 8)
  • One who is daavening should pause for a moment (k’day hiluch arba amos) in silence to stop the automatic words of prayer before going to urinate. (ShA 8)
  • It is good to give tzedoka before tefilla. Some communities have the custom to donate just as you say the possuk “V’haosher v’hakavod…”. Tzedoka shouldn’t be collected during Krias Hatorah. (ShA 10 – MB 36)