Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried

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Chapter 8 : What May Not Be Done From Dawn Until After One Has Prayed


As soon as the day dawns, that is, the first light of the sun in the East - since this is the time when prayers may begin (if one had (by chance) prayed (at that early hour) then, after the event this is acceptable), one is not permitted to begin any kind of work, or transact one's business, or start a journey; until one prays, as it is said: 1 "Righteousness shall go before him; and he shall make its footsteps a way to walk in." "Righteousness" means prayer, wherein one declares the righteousness of our Creator, and only afterward is one to start on the road of material things.

  1. Psalms 85:14


One is not allowed (before praying) to eat or drink, as it is said: 1 "Ye shall not eat with the blood," which means, that you shall not eat before you pray for your lives. To one who first eats and drinks and then prays, the following Scriptural text applies: 2 "And hast cast Me behind thy back." Do not read "thy back" rather "thy pride"; the Holy One, blessed be He, said: "After this man had catered to his pride, he then accepted the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven." And even to drink coffee or tea with sugar and milk (before praying) is forbidden. But if one is old or feeble and cannot last out until the time when the congregation leaves from the synagogue, especially on Sabbaths and festivals, when (the services) are very extended, it is better to allow him to pray the (Shaharit) morning prayers at home at his ease, then say the kiddush, and eat something. Then one should go to the synagogue, listen attentively with the congregation while they pray Shaharit, and afterwards pray with them the (Musaf) additional prayers; but one should not drink coffee with sugar, or the like, without accepting the yoke of the Kingdom of Heaven first. However, if one is ill, one is allowed to eat and drink before the prayers, this is not (considered pampering oneself or) an act of pride. If one does not have the ability to concentrate upon the prayers without (first) eating and drinking, if one wants, one may eat and drink before praying.

  1. Lev. 19: 26
  2. I Kings 14:9


There are some (authorities) who hold that even if one awoke at midnight, one is not allowed to taste (any food) before praying; and it is proper to follow this stricter opinion. But if one has a weak heart, one may eat and drink something to strengthen oneself for the (commands of the) Torah.


Water, and also tea, or coffee without sugar or milk may be taken before praying, even after dawn, because in these there is no aspect of (pampering oneself or) pride. This may be done even on the Sabbath and festivals when (before meals) kiddush must be said, it is allowed to drink one of these before praying and kiddush does not prevent this, because before the prayers the time for kiddush has not yet come, as kiddush is only (said) before a meal, that is, just before eating, for it is not allowed for one to eat before saying the morning prayers.


It is forbidden (before praying in the morning), to first go to a neighbor's house, to meet him and give him a greeting or even to say to him: "Good morning" 1 or (in Ivrit) "good morning" 2 as it is said: 3 "Withdraw yourselves from man,whose breath is still in his nostrils; because for what is he to be esteemed?" This means, what is his importance, that you have advanced his honor before My honor? But if one met (a neighbor) by chance, from the halacha, one is allowed to greet him. It is proper, however, to alter one's (greeting) words, so that one remembers not to be delayed by other matters before praying.

  1. "Good morning" in Aramit.
  2. Some texts have "Guten Morgen", good morning in Yiddish, instead of "Boker Tov".
  3. Isaiah 2:22


Even to study (Torah) is forbidden one to begin after dawn. But if one is accustomed to go (regularly) to the synagogue and there is no fear that the time will go past, one is allowed. Also one who studies together (before praying) with others, and if they do not study now, they will lose their (time of) study, it is allowed to study with them because the collective merit of a group is very great. They must take care, however, not to go past the time set for praying.


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