There is a custom to say the paragraph “מה טובו” on entering the synagogue (see “Avodah Shebelev” Rabbi A Z Sternbuch, 5753, page 18).

The idea (but without the possuk of “Ma Tovu”) is mentioned in Mishnah Berurah just before 46 [1]. Simon 46 is entitled 'הלכות ברכות השחר וכ‏‏‏. From the fact that it is mentioned in this Simon can I assume that it is only to be said in the morning when entering the synagogue, or should it be said every time one enters a synagogue?

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    @RallisWiesenthal includes it also at the beginning of Kabbalat Shabbat in his siddur. Feb 27, 2014 at 22:09

2 Answers 2


Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 151:1, discusses what one should do who needs to enter a synagogue not for prayer or similar purposes. It (and Mishna B'rura and Aruch Hashulchan there) do not say to say "Ma tovu".

Aruch Hashulchan 46:16 seems, a little more explicitly than the Mishna B'rura you cite, to restrict "Ma tovu" to shacharis:

The language of prayer before "Baruch sheamar" is printed in prayer books: When one enters the synagogue, he should say "Ma tovu", "Adon olam", …

Neither Mishna B'rura nor Aruch Hashulchan mentions "Ma tovu" when discussing what one says before mincha (MB 234:6–7; AHS 234:1–2,7) or maariv (MB 236:1, 237:2; AHS 237:1–2).


Says in hilchos teffilin, to say pasuk vani berov chasdecha... While kissing mezuza When entering shul, So ma tovu includes that verse.

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    Can you please give a reference to this hilchos teffilin? Can we deduce from the fact that it is in hilchos tefillin that it is only to be said in the morning when we put tefillin on? Mar 2, 2014 at 13:47

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