It is halacha that if one has needs (gadol) during tefilla, and can't hold it, one should go. To keep this very complex halachic discussion simple, let's just assume that we are talking about a situation where:

  1. It is a case where halacha rules that he indeed must go (e.g. can't wait 72 minutes)
  2. This is during the strongest case (e.g. Birchat Kriyat Shema or Shmone Eserei if applicable)

My question is, would this person be allowed to read?

[This might be because it will help them not think about holy matters, or because it will speed them up greatly as that is their normal practice, but to keep the question focussed if each is a different halacha, let's just ask about reading because that is what normally helps them with their needs.

The question is kept focussed, but if someone would like to give a comprehensive answer covering gadol and katan, all four/five sections of tefilla brought up under this halacha from pre-pesukei dezimra to shmoneh esrei, as well as discuss different materials for reading, that would be also fantastic.

  • In case someone wants to conclude that "not being able to hold it" = "no need for the help of reading", please consider that this is still sometimes useful for some people, e.g. certain kinds of IBS
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 16, 2023 at 11:35
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    I don't see how this would be different from any other time he goes to the bathroom. The inyanim relating to tefillah are a) speaking as a hefsek in certain situations (which does not apply here) and b) concentration (in this case he is REQUIRED to break his concentration and think about something besides his prayer.) What other issues could there be? Aug 16, 2023 at 18:40

1 Answer 1


In the case mentioned above, he needs to continue. In a situation he needs to break and go to the bathroom, he'll probably need to start from the beginning, so the question of 'hefsek' doesn't apply. See pninei halacha and notation 11.

  • Good source. But what do you mean by "he needs to continue"? Aug 17, 2023 at 9:47
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    Welcome to MiYodeya and thanks for this first answer. Great to have you learn with us!
    – mbloch
    Aug 17, 2023 at 9:48
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    Thanks for this, however it doesn't say that he would have to start over there?
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 17, 2023 at 12:43
  • @RabbiKaii at the end of the paragraph there is notation number 11, I'll update my answer.
    – AJ AJ
    Aug 20, 2023 at 11:40
  • @AJAJ got it, thanks!
    – Rabbi Kaii
    Aug 21, 2023 at 8:47

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