Why don't we recite "Ashrei" during the afternoon prayer of Yom Kippur like we do for every other Mincha of the year?


Actually there is a debate in Orach Chayim 622:1 between the Sefardi and the Ashkenazi practice (as pointed out by DoubleAA in comment):

למנחה אומר אשרי ובא לציון ואין אומרים ואני תפלתי אפילו אם חל להיות בשבת:‏

הגה: ואין אנו נוהגין לומר אשרי ובא לציון קודם מנחה רק קודם נעילה וכן כתבו קצת רבוותא (מרדכי והגהות מיימוני סוף ספר אהבה וסוף הלכות יום כיפור וכל בו ומנהגים). ואין אומרים אין כאלהינו ביום כיפור (מנהגים):‏

The Tur cites the concern mentioned by R' Amram Gaon, who says that there's a risk of saying the afternoon prayer too late:

אבל אנו רגילים לפתוח באשרי אחר גמר תפלת המנחה כדי למהר שלא יעבור זמן תפלת המנחה.

Therefore, in my English Artscroll machzor it is written on page 629:

The requirement of a separation between one Shemoneh Esrei and the next (Berakhot 30b) – which would normally be satisfied by Ashrei – is accounted for in this case by the Torah reading (Orach Chayim 622:1). In order to avoid any unnecessary delay between the two prayers, Ashrei–Uva LeTzion is shifted to Neilah, before which there is usually an intermission.

Please also note that, according to this tradition, Ein keiloheinu and Aleinu are also omitted at the end of the musaf, because the lengthy religious poems compensate for the former, and the latter is unnecessary if we pray the afternoon prayer right after it (see p. 625).

  • And in the reverse, we don't need an Ashrei before the Amidah for Minchah because we don't need a warm-up mood setting prayer if Minchah is on the heals of Mussaf. (Apparently the custom in Ashkenaz was that any breaks would be between Minchah and Ne'ilah, rather than today's practice of having the break before Minchah.) – Micha Berger Nov 13 '19 at 19:46

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