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The Siddur Rav Amram Gaon includes the initial verse. Abudirham (nefillas apaim, ashrei, una letzion) writes that the reason for the addition of this verse, is that this verse is the source in the Talmud (B'rachos 30b) for practice of waiting a certain amount of time before prayer for one's thoughts to settle. ומה שמוסיפין בתחילת המזמור אשרי יושבי ביתך ...


If we want to add this to our prayer this is practically the best place. Before Baruch She'amar is before we start, especially in Nusach Ashkenaz, and would not be an actual part of the prayer. After Shmona Esrei is too late. We can't add it to Birchas Krias Shma and we don't want to add something to Psukei d'Zimra either, being that it is considered a ...

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