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[The second section of the morning prayers, called “Psukei D’Zimra” (“Verses of Song [Praise]”) starts with “Baruch She’amar” (“Blessed be He Who Spoke [and the world was created]”) and ends with “Yishtabach” (“Praised be He…”).]

51.1: We say (1) “Baruch She’amar” before “Psukei D’Zimra” and “Yishtabach” after them.

MB 1: “Baruch She’amar” – This praise was fixed by the Men of the Great Assembly [the predecessor of the Great Sanhedrin and the Tanaitic period, composed of the greatest spiritual leaders of the people at the beginning of the second Temple period] by a tablet which fell from the heavens which they discovered to have this prayer written on it. And it has 87 words [“Paz”: In Hebrew, numbers can be represented by letter combinations, as each letter has a certain numerical value, and the total number is the sum of the values of all the letters. 87 = Pe (80) + Zayin (7), pronounced ‘Paz’]. And its indicator [“Siman”, memory-sign] is ‘Rosho Ketem Paz’ [“His head is fine gold”, Song of Songs 5:11], i.e., the head [beginning] of the prayer is a blessing of 87 [Paz] words. Therefore, one should not detract or add to the 87 words. And it is proper to say “Baruch She’amar” standing, even if one prays alone [and not in a congregation]. And one should hold the 2 tzitziot [tassels of the talis] which are in front of him [When one properly wears the talis, 2 tassels are in front of him and 2 in back] when he recites “Baruch She’amar”, and after he ends “Baruch She’amar” he should kiss them. The proper text of the prayer is “B’pheh ‘Amo” [Bet – Pheh – Heh, and not “B’phi”, Bet – Pheh – Yud] with a Segol [‘eh’ vowel, under the Pheh. However, the accepted Ashkenazi siddur reads “B’phi”, although Hassidim and Sefaradim do say ‘B’pheh”.] [Also, the last word should be] “B’tishbahot” with a Hirik [short ‘i’ vowel]. [I don’t know what alternate text he is disagreeing with. — SB]

51.2: (2) If one ended Baruch She’amar before (3) the hazan ended it, one should answer (4) after him ‘Amen’.

MB 2: If one ended – But if one has not ended it, he should NOT answer Amen. And it is simple that this [that he should NOT answer] is only from when he began to say “Blessed art Thou L-rd …” [in the middle of Baruch Sheamar], for the first part of Baruch She’amar is merely praise [and not a blessing which must not be interrupted in the middle]. And all this is only with respect to the Amen of Baruch She’amar or of Yishtabah, but as for other Amens, the Magen Avraham concludes in comment 3 on this siman that it is permitted to answer Amen even in the middle of saying the blessing of Baruch She’amar or Yishtabach, since this blessing [Baruch She’amar and Yishtabach are considered the beginning and end of one long blessing] was not mentioned in the Gemara. However if one has just finished saying the words “Blessed Art Thou” [at the end of Baruch She’amar] before he ended “King exalted in praises”, then the Hayyei Adam wrote that it is forbidden for him to answer Amen, because by this he would completely ruin the blessing [with the interruption].

MB 3: The hazan – But if he ended WITH the hazan at the same time, he should NOT answer Amen, as it looks like he is answering Amen after his own blessings, and we rule that this is disgraceful. The law is the same for all the blessings, with the exceptions of Yishtabach, “Yehallucha” [“They shall praise you”] at the end of Hallel, after “Hashomer ‘amo Yisrael La’ad” [“Who Preserves his people Israel forever”, following the reading of the Shema on weekday evenings]. With these three blessings, if he ended the blessing together with the leader or with another person, he should answer Amen, as many authorities are of the opinion that in these, one should answer Amen even after his own blessing. And although our practice is not in accordance with this opinion, as the Rama wrote in Siman 215, nevertheless in such cases we should certainly rely on this opinion. And if one finishes any blessing, whatever it might be, and the hazan finishes another blessing simultaneously, then it is permitted to answer Amen. [Thus wrote the Magen Avraham and the Shaarei Tshuva, and thus is also implied from the Commentary of the Vilna Gaon, in disagreement with the opinion of the Yad Aharon.]

MB 4: After him ‘Amen’ – And it is not considered an interruption between the blessing and the object of the blessing, for Psukei D’Zimra are praise, and Amen is also praise, and like Zimra [song] and it is not an interruption. And if he said things not connected to the prayer [“dvarim betalim”] between Baruch She’amar and Hodu [the beginning of the verses said after the blessing of Baruch She’amar], it is possible that he needs to go back and repeat the blessing due to the interruption, and even one word is an interruption [Pri Mgadim]. And it seems to me that according to this opinion, even when silent one should ideally be careful not to pause a long time between them (See Siman 206, in the Magen Avraham comment 4, and in the Novellae of Rabbi Akiva Eger there).

Shalom Bresticker [email protected]


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Siman 51: Laws of the Prayers from “Baruch She-amar” to “Yishtabach” (cont.)

51:6. [In the verse “For all the gods of the peoples are naught — but G-d created the heavens,”] one must (14) pause between “elilim” [nought] and “va-hashem shamayim asah” [and G-d created the heavens] [so it does not sound like “are nought and so is G-d, …” – AB].

MB 14: Pause – a little. And likewise one should pause [in that verse] between the words “ki” and “kol”, for there is a “psik” [a pause mark, that looks like ‘|’] between them – and that is why the “chaf” of “kol” has a dot [the first letter of “kol” is a Kaf, which is pronounced “chaf” without a dot. Here it has the dot, making the word “kol” instead of “chol”. In Hebrew grammar, the letter chaf/kaf has no dot if it follows a vowel sound directly, but has a dot if it follows a consonant or a pause. — YM, AB] Between “ha-amim” and “elilim” and [between] “shamayim” and “asah” one must likewise pause so as not to swallow the “mem” [‘m’, at the end of the first word].

51:7. [When reciting Psalm 145, “Tehila L’David… {A Praise of David},] (15) one must concentrate on [the meaning of] the verse “Pose-ach es yadecha etc.” [You open your hand and satisfy every living thing with favor]; and if one did not concentrate, he must go back and say it (16) again. {Rema: And we say the verse “va-anachnu nevarech y-h etc. [and we will bless G-d…” after “tehillah le-david” [Ps. 145] (Tur, Kol Bo). And we repeat the verse “Kol ha-neshamah tehallel y-h [halleluy-h]” [Every soul will praise G-d, Praise G-d], because it is the end of Pesukai Dezimra [the Verses of Praise] (Tur), and likewise the verse “Hashem yimloch (17) le-olam va-ed” [G-d should rule forever] [the last verse of the Song of the Sea]. (Abudraham) When one reaches “ve-atah Hasehem Elokenui modim anachnu lach” [= Therefore, Hashem our G-d, we give thanks to you; giving thanks connoting bowing] or the verse “ve-chol komah lefanecha tishtachaveh” [= every person shall bow to you], one should not bow and prostrate there, as explained later in Siman 113 (so says the Ri at the end of the chapter Ain Omdin, and R’ Yerucham in Netiv 2). The custom is to stand (18) when saying [the paragraphs] “Baruch She-amar”, (19) “Vayevarech David”, and “Yishtabach”.}

MB 15: One must concentrate – because the main reason that they established the recital of [the psalm] “tehillah le-david” every day is for this verse, because it recalls the praise of G-d that he attends to his creatures and feeds them.

MB 16: Again – See the Chayei Adam who brought in the name of the Levush that one must say from the verse “Pose-ach [etc.]” until the end of the psalm, in order. And if he did not remember [that he had to repeat this verse] until he already said other psalms, and he does not have a chance to go back, he should still say after davening from the verse “Pose-ach” until the end of the psalm.

MB 17: “Le-olam va-ed” – They wrote in the name of the AR”I that one should also say the Targum [= Aramaic translation by Onkelos] of this verse, i.e. repeat the verse twice and the Targum once; and that one should say the verse “Ki va sus par-oh [etc.]” [which follows “le-olam va-ed” in the Torah], for even that paragraph is part of the essential Song at the Sea. (But in the name of the GR”A they wrote not to say “Ki va etc.”.)

[This paragraph contains technical pronunciation details that are irrelevant to one reading the Psalms of Praise in English: — YM] In the second [occurence of the words] “mi kamocha” the kaf has a dot [i.e. kaf not chaf], but [in] the first “mi chamocha” and likewise “kol atzmosai tomarna Hashem mi chamocha” [in a different verse, in Nishmat] the chaf is soft [i.e. no dot]. In “Am zu ga-alta” the “gimmel” has a dot. [But In Ashkenazi pronunciation, dotted and undotted gimmels are pronounced the same.] In “Yid-mu ka-aven” the “kaf” is dotted. One should pause between “mayim” and “adirim”, because “adirim” modifies the Egyptians [and not “mayim”].

One should say the Song at the Sea [i.e. “Az Yashir”] with joy, and imagine in his mind as if that day he passed through the sea; one who says [it] with joy, his sins are forgiven.

MB 18: When saying “Baruch She-amar” – It seems from the Beis Yosef that on Shabbos it is proper to also stand when saying the verse “Hashem melech Hashem malach etc.” [= Hashem rules, Hashem has ruled, etc.], and so wrote the Magen Avraham in the name of Emek Habrachah. He also wrote in the name of the AR”I that when the congregation would say “Hashem melech etc.” he would stand with them even though he was not up to there.

MB 19: “Vayevarech David” – until he says “Atta hu Hashem ha-Elokim”. The AR”I ZA”L, when he said “ve-atta moshel ba-kol”, would give tzedakah while standing.

51:8. One should not say the songs [of praise] (20) hurriedly, but rather slowly [or gently].

MB 20: Hurriedly – that one should not skip any word or “swallow” it, but should bring them forth from his mouth [carefully and with precision] as if he were counting money. R’ Yehudah Chasid wrote that one who is not warmly dressed should daven at home during the winter slowly [rather than go to synagogue and speed through the prayers because he is cold]. (This needs investigation in light of what is said later in Siman 52 (that davening with a minyan outweighs the need to say Pesukai Dezimra altogether), and he may have referred to a case where due to the cold one cannot concentrate properly even for Shemoneh Esrei.)

Assaf Bednarsh


Well, this new mailer has proven a bomb. Thus, this admittedly old Halacha must be divided into parts to get through. A good year, everyone….

Siman 51. The laws of prayer from “Baruch Sheamar” to “Yishtabach” (cont.) [Which is the section of the prayers called P’sukei D’Zimra, Verses of Praise.]

51:9. It is appropriate to sing “Mizmor L’Sodah,” The Song of Thanks, [with a special tune] because all of the various songs will no longer be used in the future, with the exception of the Song of Thanks. {Rama: We do not say the Song of Thanks (21) on Shabbos or Yom Tov [the Holidays] (Tur), or during [the intermediate days of] Passover – because the Thanksgiving Sacrifice is not brought during those days (22) because of leavening [see below], or on the Eve of Passover – and see later in Section 429 [corrected from 499], or on the Eve of Yom Kippur – and see later in Section 604, and so is the custom in our countries.

MB 21: On Shabbos or Yom Tov – Because the Thanksgiving Sacrifice is not brought then. There are some places where they say the Song of Thanks on Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur, because one verse of it reads “Cry [TaRiu] to HaShem all the lands” [and T’ruos “TeRuah!” are made with a shofar.] And in our countries the custom is not to say it then.

MB 22: Because of leavening – Because ten leavened breads were required accompanying the Thanksgiving Sacrifice. So too on the Eve of Passover it was impossible to bring this sacrifice, because perhaps they would not be able to eat the bread before the time when leavening becomes prohibited – and it would then be necessary to burn the remainder, and it is forbidden to cause holy products to require burning [meaning that in the afternoon, it would be forbidden to eat them because of the prohibition of the Eve of Passover, while it would be _required_ to eat them in order to prevent them from being burnt.] And for the same reason, we do not say the Song on the Eve of Yom Kippur, because one who brought a Thanksgiving Sacrifice then would – by reducing the time when it is permissible to eat the bread – be causing them to become invalid. This is also the reason why one who reads the Torah portions relevant to the various sacrifices for individuals, does _not_ read them on the Eve of Yom Kippur, because they could not be brought then, exactly like the Thanksgiving sacrifice – with the exception of the Olah offering which can be read (Pri Megadim in the name of the T’vuas Shor) [Because the entire Olah is offered on the Altar – no part is eaten]. We do read the Song of Thanks on the Eve of Tisha B’Av [the Ninth of Av] and Tisha B’Av itself. On holidays, one should not skip over the verse “Mizmor Shir L’Yom HaShabbos [a song of praise for the Sabbath day],” because holidays are also called “Shabbos” [days of rest].