Before reciting the verse from Psalms 51:17 that precedes the silent prayer, many traditions add the sentence from Haazinu (Devarim 32:3) before the minchah, musaf and neilah:

כִּ֛י שֵׁ֥ם יְהוָ֖ה אֶקְרָ֑א הָב֥וּ גֹ֖דֶל לֵֽאלֹהֵֽינוּ׃

For I will proclaim the name of the Lord, ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

Why is that sentence added specifically at this point?

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    If your Hebrew's good: forum.otzar.org/viewtopic.php?t=42276 Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 20:50
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    @רבותמחשבות So it is at least as old as the Tur. I always thought is was something more recent. Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 21:05
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    Perhaps the question should be asked the other way: why at Shacharis and Maariv do we start Shemoneh Esrei differently? On a regular day, sure, Mincha's the odd one out, but across the five tefillos, more of them include כי שם than exclude it.
    – DonielF
    Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 23:41
  • @DonielF Exclusion is clear from the Masechet Berakhot argument. The verse would be considered an interruption. Commented Dec 26, 2018 at 10:03

2 Answers 2


According to Halacha you are not supposed to have a break between Geula and Tefila by Shacharis and Maariv. However by Mincha there is no problem of having a break, therefore we can say this extra Posuk. You may ask then isn't אֲדנָי שפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ a break. The Gemara in Brachos 4b asks this question and answers אלא התם כיון דתקינו רבנן למימר ה' שפתי תפתח כתפילה אריכתא דמיא that since the Chachamim instituted this Posuk therefore it is considered part of the Tefila. Perhaps by Mincha to indicate that one may break therefore we say this additional Posuk.


Rabbi Shmuel Pinchas Gelbard says that perhaps this Posuk is added in due to the fact that we learn many Hilchos Brachos from it Brachos 21, Brachos 45

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    Thanks can you add in why that pasuk and why we add at all (just because we can doesn't mean we should). elst we could add in a whole megillah, no?
    – user2110
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 20:24
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    It may be worth adding that, according to the link brought, some Sidurim don't have "Ki Shem ha-Shem Eqra" said before Shemoneh Esreh at all( including in Minchah and Musaf).
    – Tamir Evan
    Commented Nov 29, 2012 at 20:41
  • I don't have access to Beurei Hatefilla site, now. But, I think they had an interesting article that debated the necessity of S'michut Ge'ula :etfilla for Ma'ariv. This led to questions as to whether Baruch Hashem L'olam was considered an interruption or not. I'll try to locate that article and post something this week. Of course, you are welcome to beat me to it :-)
    – DanF
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 13:46
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    Sources????????? Commented Dec 25, 2018 at 20:50
  • Your answer doesn't explain why the shliach tzibbur, who doesn't have the issue of masmich geulah letefillah, doesn't say it at Shacharis. Also it follows from your answer that someone who isn't being mashmich geulah letefillah, like one who was late for maariv and jumps into shemoneh esrei, would say it
    – robev
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 8:03

Refer to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 18:2 which provides the reason that @GershonGold already mentioned that the verse is not recited before the Shemone Esrei of Shacharis and Ma’ariv as we don't want to interrupt between the Bracha of Go’al Yisroel and Shemone Esrei. Conversely, when we recite this posuk at Mussaf, Mincha (and Neilah) it is when there is no issue of Semichus of Geulah L’Tefillah:

Before saying, Tehillos le'eil elyon, you should stand and prepare yourself for the prayer of Shemoneh Esrei [Amidah]. You should rid yourself of phlegm and saliva, and anything that may distract your thoughts; then walk back three steps and say: tehillos le'eil elyon, and continue till [Ga'al Yisrael], then return [to your position] by walking three steps forward in the manner of one approaching a king. You should not make any interruption between Ga'al Yisrael and Shemoneh Esrei, not even [in response] to Kaddish, Kedusha, or Barechu, because [the prayer of] redemption must be joined to the [Amidah] prayer. It is best to be precise in concluding the berachah of Ga'al Yisrael simultaneously with the chazzan, because should you finish first and the chazzan afterwards, there is a question whether to answer Amein to the berachah of the chazzan; but when you conclude the berachah with him, you are certainly not required to answer Amein, because you do not answer Amein to your own berachah. (See Chapter Six, paragraph eleven.) In the ma'ariv service, since the berachah preceding the Shemoneh Esrei [does not] end with Ga'al Yisrael, an interruption is permitted, as it is permitted at any place between one chapter and another. [See Chapter 16 paragraph 2] Before praying Shemoneh Esrei, we say the verse: "Hashem, sefasai tiftach" [My Master open my lips]. This is not [considered] an interruption because it is relevant to the prayer; but the verse: "Ki Sheim Hashem ekra," etc. should not be said [before the Amidah], except at musaf and minchah prayers, before saying, Hashem, sefasai tiftach.

As far as why specifically this verse is chosen. I came across the forum thread of the dafyomi.co.il here which links it to a piece from the Midrash Shocher Tov / Midrash Tehillim 29.

The thread reads as follows:

See the siddur of R'Shabsai Sofer, second volume, page 117, where R' Satz discusses the minhag of saying ki shem before shemona esra. At the bottom of page 117 he brings a Midrash Tehillim which clearly links the two.

The response sheds further light:

Thank you for the very interesting sources, I think you've solved our problem, Rav Leibel. Midrash Tehilim (Socher Tov) 29:2 says the following. First it equates the verse "Havu l'Hashem Kavod v'Oz" that King David said with the verse of "Ki Shem Hashem Ekra" -- in both cases Moshe and King David were calling on others to give honor to Hashem, and to pray to Hashem. The Midrash continues that David tells us, in this Mizmor, how to pray: Havu l'Hashem... i.e., to mention Avos, Gevuros, Kedushas Hashem (as the Gemara learns from this Mizmor in Rosh Hashanah 32a; Rashi Berachos 28b DH Havu).

It seems from this Midrash that the words Ki SHem, and Havu l'Hashem, are a source for the prayer of Shemoneh Esreh that we pray. It is still not clear how this can be seen from the words Ki SHem... . Perhaps the "Ki" means not "when," but "just as." Moshe tells us to praise Hashem in Tefilah by following his lead. (In fact, the verses following the verse Ki Shem, in Haazinu, can be roughly formulating the same pattern of Avos, gevuros, Kedushas Hashem.)

Someone else then points out a Sforno on the verse which helps strengthen the claim just made above:

The SFORNO indeed says that the words "Ki Shem Hashem Ekra" mean, "When I pray" (since the words "Korei Hashem" often refer to prayer, see his proofs).

This may indeed be the source for the Midrash that we quoted in our earlier mailing, which asserts that Moshe was asking the Jews to pray. As I mentioned then, the word "Ki" may mean, "just as I" pray, so too should you.

  • Looks great. Would it then follow that one starting maariv with shemoneh esrei (when he's late and isn't masmich geulah letefillah) should say it? Or the shliach tzibbur before their repetition even at Shacharis?
    – robev
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 12:21
  • Ooh that's a good question! Have to have a think?!
    – Dov
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 12:25
  • These sources discuss one verse כי שם. The kabbalists who introduced this practice introduced multiple thematically appropriate verses to add after ה' שפתי but only this one has stuck and it was moved to before
    – Double AA
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 12:27
  • Will try and see if I can link the Shabsai Sofer source but the otzar website I think is closed over the whole of Succos as it is taking ages to load.
    – Dov
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 12:27
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    @robev Rav chaim Kanievski in Ishei Yisroel 23:59 says that if someone has to repeat Shemona esrei of shachris or maariv, (I.e. he realized he forgot yaaleh veyavo) he should say the passuk of ki shem
    – Chatzkel
    Commented Oct 12, 2022 at 14:56

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