These days, neitz (at least in the Northeast of America) is at approximately 7:10 AM. There are many minyanim that I've been to that daven at 6:50 or earlier throughout the year, all but guaranteeing that shemoneh esrei is being davened before neitz.

What are the heterim for this? When the sole reason to do so is because that's the time the minyan happens thoughout the year, what are the reasons why this is muttar and that minyanim do not push off davening to hit neitz (even when it's just a minute or two off)?

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    Um. Some people need to get to work. Dec 11, 2020 at 1:09
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    Same hetter for davening after neitz:)
    – user6591
    Dec 11, 2020 at 2:35
  • Thanks for the check. But note that DoubleAA had quite a number of detailed disagreements with my points, see the comments. I've tried to correct what I said as needed.
    – MichoelR
    Feb 4, 2021 at 2:37
  • (Excuse the hebrew, but this is much simpler) בקיצור יש מחלוקת איך להגדיר תפילה כוותיקין, שלדעת הרי"ף זה לכתחילה ולהתפלל לפני הנץ זה בדיעבד, וכמו כן אחר הנץ, אבל לדעתו אין להתפלל לפני הנץ אלא בשעת הדחק, ואחר הנץ אם עבר על הדין של לכתחילה אפילו בפשיעה. ולדעת התוס' וותיקין הוא מצוה מן המובחר, ולהתפלל או לפני כן או אחרי כן הוא גם כן לכתחילה. באיגרת משה כותב כתוס', אבל נראה לי שמנהג הספרדים ומנהג א"י לחשוש יותר לשיטת הרי"ף.
    – Mordechai
    Feb 4, 2021 at 9:09
  • @Mordechai Thank you, that's helpful. But note that that Igros Moshe there also included the Rif in his mechudashdik shitah (paraphrasing his words). What he was basically doing was moving the issue from tefillah to krias shema (same with R' Isser Zalman), and saying that the real problems are with doing krias shema too early. I think.
    – MichoelR
    Feb 4, 2021 at 13:53

2 Answers 2


It seems to me that you are asking two different questions. For the first, it is far from clear that davening before neitz is any problem compared to davening later - which I think you're assuming. The Shulchan Aruch uses a language of "b'diavad", but Igros Moshe (OH 4:6) and R' Isser Zalman (Even Ha'azel on the Rambam on Krias Shema, if I remember right) suggest that that means, compared to davening exactly at neitz or immediately just after. In their opinion, davening before neitz is no different from davening after neitz. I think the language of the Tur (89) is especially clear:

זמן תפלת השחר מתחיל משעלה עמוד השחר והאיר פני המזרח שהיא כנגד תמיד השחר ומאותה שעה ואילך הוא זמנה ומ"מ עיקר מצותה עם הנץ החמה אלא שאם התפלל משעלה עמוד השחר יצא ונמשך עד סוף ד' שעות
The time of Shacharis begins with dawn and the brightening east, as [the prayer] corresponds to the Tamid of the morning. From then onward is its time - but the main mitzvah is [to pray] as the sun rises. But if he prayed from dawn he has fulfilled his obligation, and that continues until the end of the fourth hour.

I see that the Mishnah Berurah (89:1) and others do agree with your assumption.
See the Kaf Hachaim 89(3) who brings the פר"ח who learns the Shulchan Aruch the way I was describing, and who also does not seem to see any difference between before neitz and after it.
Later in that section, the Shulchan Aruch (89:8) talks about davening before משיכיר, before one can distinguish. That is a still earlier time and not advised because it interferes with other parts of davening or putting on tefillin.

For the second question, why not move it a few minutes to neitz? Some minyanim indeed do that. But when they asked R' Feivel Cohen shlit"a (the בדי השולחן), the Rav of the shul where I used to daven, he brushed off the idea: Some people daven neitz (the special people called vatikin, which Rashi describes as [Berachos 9b] "humble men who love mitzvos"), and they do it all year-round. The rest don't.
I don't know if other rabbanim agree with that idea or have some other reason. It certainly seems to be the minhag. My current synagogue has hundreds of members and only one Shacharis minyan: early, same time every morning.

  • This seems to miss the point. It is indeed debatable if there are rishonim who think before and after sunrise are equally not-vatikin, but there are undoubtedly rishonim who strongly prefer after sunrise to before it, so you still need to explain why not do it. And the second point, while the opinion of one rabbi, is not that helpful since it doesn't give a reason.
    – Double AA
    Dec 11, 2020 at 2:49
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    Once there are opinions that it is perfectly fine, the explanation is that these rabbonim and shuls poskin like the opinions that it is fine. I don't think the questioner knew that there are such opinions. [Nor has anyone here yet shown any other opinions!] And, Rav Feivel did indeed give a reason, which I quoted.
    – MichoelR
    Dec 11, 2020 at 2:54
  • The reason you quoted is "because we don't". That's not a reason in any meaningful sense of the word. Like if you ask a kid why they like baseball and they say "because I do". That's not a reason in any meaningful sense of the word. It's just a tautology
    – Double AA
    Dec 11, 2020 at 3:05
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    you are incorrect to point that out since it's not true. Just because no one here has bothered citing the positions that forbid davening before sunrise unless necessary doesn't mean they don't exist. The Rambam for instance couldn't be clearer. So too Rabbenu Yonah. Both of whom the Shulchan Aruch tends to rule like regarding Shema times. The Shulchan Aruch even specifically changes the language of the Tur to remove your diyuk. Moreover from Rabbenus Chananel, Tam, and Zerachiah et al it's clear before sunrise isn't ideal even for shema!
    – Double AA
    Dec 11, 2020 at 3:06
  • @DoubleAA The reason Rav Feival was giving was that the people who do it are special people, as Rashi says. Ordinary people don't have that practice, and that is the minhag Yisroel everywhere I know of. A few special shuls daven vasikin and the rest don't. You are looking at Rishonim rather than looking at the way the minhag works currently. And I think you are misreading the Rambam to say he "forbids" this, certainly to say that he "could not be clearer"!
    – MichoelR
    Dec 11, 2020 at 15:58

In Shulchan Aruch O.C. 89:8 we find the following codification:

בשעת הדחק כגון שצריך להשכים לדרך יכול להתפלל משעלה עמוד השחר

Under pressing circumstances, e.g. that he needs to rise early for the road, one can pray from dawn.

Synagogues with early prayer services may be assuming that for for those who need to go to work it is considered a pressing circumstance.

  • I think you are making a mistake here. This part of the Shulchan Aruch is discussing davening before משיכיר - as it says, from dawn. The questioner is asking about davening near neitz: after משיכיר. For that you do not need "pressing circumstances".
    – MichoelR
    Dec 11, 2020 at 15:52
  • @MichoelR Misheyakkir doesn't have anything to do with davening shacharis, only for saying shema.
    – Double AA
    Dec 11, 2020 at 16:27
  • @DoubleAA Still, it is clear from the discussion in that section that the Shulchan Aruch is working out how to arrange Krias Shema and its brachos around the fact that you already davened, "even though you won't be able to bring גאולה next to tefillah..."
    – MichoelR
    Dec 24, 2023 at 16:59
  • @MichoelR he even discusses that. You are just making up what he says about a case he didn't think to distinguish
    – Double AA
    Dec 24, 2023 at 17:06
  • @DoubleAA To me he seems to be explaining why it is only permitted בשעת הדחק: because it makes a mess of the rest of the davening.
    – MichoelR
    Dec 24, 2023 at 17:21

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