(Feel free to write a better title.)

Today i ended up getting to shul too late for mincha, and having to daven outside (still within the proper time). Now, i know shemoneh esrei by heart, and even yaaleh v'yavo, but not al hanisim. Luckily, i had a siddur in my pocket (no, not a smartphone), and was able to read from it. But that made me wonder: What if i didn't have the text?

If i would not have been able to say al hanisim due to not knowing it by heart, would it be better to say shemoneh esrei in the proper time without al hanisim, or miss mincha, and daven tashlumin at maariv, with the proper additions?

What about yaaleh v'yavo? The difference is that if yaaleh v'yavo is forgotten, the shemoneh esrei must be repeated, while that is not the case with al hanisim.

To avoid working around the question: There's no mincha minyan available, no siddur or any text available, and no time to go look it up.

  • 4
    very similar judaism.stackexchange.com/q/35681/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 20:47
  • 1
    you are in bedieved situation, so guess? Daven with a minyan without al hanisim
    – havarka
    Commented Dec 22, 2014 at 23:13
  • Reminds me of the Gemoro in Brochos 35a: וכל הנהנה מן העוה''ז בלא ברכה מעל מאי תקנתיה ילך אצל חכם. ילך אצל חכם, מאי עביד ליה? הא עביד ליה איסורא?? אלא אמר רבא: ילך אצל חכם מעיקרא וילמדנו ברכות כדי שלא יבא לידי מעילה Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 7:50
  • 1
    When Moshe prayed for his sister, he did not use a formal prayer, or even use her Hebrew name. He simply said, "heal her." Formal written prayers are more for our convenience, I would think, than for G-d's benefit. Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 22:06

3 Answers 3


Rav Shlomo Zalman was asked what should one do who does not have a siddur available and it is shabbos or yom tov,and he only knows the weekday shmoneh esrei by heart.Rav Shlomo Zalman answered that he should say the weekday shmoneh esrei with yaleh v'yavo,and if it is just shabbos he should say the weekday shmoneh esrei and say yaleh vyavo and insert "ba'yom ha'shabbos ha'zeh".

Text of V'aleiu lo Yibul :

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  • Very interesting. The problem with this kind of books is the lake of explanations and sources +1
    – kouty
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 7:16
  • Nice find. But what should he do if he also doesn't know ya'aleh v'yavo by heart?
    – Scimonster
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 7:39
  • Wow! I would have thought you'd say retzei (from bentching) in that spot on Shabbos, instead of yaaleh veyavo.
    – Heshy
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 10:07
  • @Heshy that's cause youre used to not including Shabbat in yaaleh veyavo in davening. The older practice was to always include it except at bentching since you already mentioned shabbat
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 1, 2019 at 19:28
  • @kouty Start reading Berakhot 21a Commented Nov 2, 2019 at 18:35

I once heard that there was a situation in Russia years ago when things weren't so nice there, and some Jewish people were taken away to Labour Camp or whatever they used to do.

There were a group of them and they didn't have a siddur and it was Shabbat Rosh Chodesh. Nobody knew the Ata Yatzarta prayer by memory but would know the regular "Tikanta Shabbat".

A Rabbi present, told them to daven with Tikanta Shabbat because, as he put it "the lack of a Rosh Chodesh sacrifice would not invalidate the Shabbat sacrifice".

I'm not sure if they should end the bracha with the Rosh Chodesh addition or not (M'kadesh Hashabat v'rashei chodashim).

In any case, as Al Hanissim is something you say l'chatchila but b'di eved if you missed it you do not need to repeat, it makes sense to assume you should daven without out rather than not daven at all if you don't know it by memory.

A supplementary question might be whether to recite the opening section (up to "bizman haze") which is probably commonly known enough that you would know that part by memory, or whether that would be considered an interruption in absence of the full addition.

  • It doesn't make sense halachically that they would've omitted any mention of rosh chodesh since that is me'akev and one is required to repeat shemoneh esrei in such a case.
    – Loewian
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 22:06
  • 1
    You are required to repeat Shmona Esrei because it is "incomplete", but that doesn't mean it is totally invalid like you said nothing. Therefore in a totally bedi eved situation it may be better to recite that than nothing at all.
    – CashCow
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 8:51
  • Alternatively, it's 7 brachos l'vatala.
    – Loewian
    Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 19:06
  • If you can provide a source for this story, including the psak, i'll accept the answer.
    – Scimonster
    Commented Jan 19, 2015 at 15:56

Logically, it doesn't make sense to not daven because you don't know al hanisim since you wouldn't repeat shemoneh esrei if you forgot it (i.e. it's not me'akev). By tefillos that are me'akev such as yaaleh v'yavo by shacharis/mincha on rosh chodesh (or even ma'ariv on chol hamoed), I don't have a source but (again logically) if one knew enough hebrew to compose a brief/abridged mention of the day that would presumably suffice, and I suspect a person's native tongue would probably also work b'dieved (see Sotah 32a), which is the case at hand. In which case there should be no justification for delaying past the zman. (Arguably, if one did wait intentionally, tashlumin would not even be an available option since he might be considered a meizid if he could have really davened, albeit with an alternate nusach; see also http://www.yeshiva.co/midrash/shiur.asp?id=21341) Along these lines, l'chatchila he should presumably compose an alternate al hanisim as well even though it's not me'akev bdieved.

  • I don't know why that is logical. Maybe it isn't worth putting yourself in a bedieved situation of having to skip it. Shev v'al Taaseh.
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 22:03
  • You have a chiyuv to daven bizman. Shev v'al taaseh isn't a l'chatchila.
    – Loewian
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 22:08
  • Also, I wasn't advocating skipping it entirely; just composing an alternate nusach.
    – Loewian
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 22:10
  • I didn't say it was a lechatchilah. Neither is lechatchilah. But how do you know just using logic which is the better bedieved?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 22:12
  • Midraban a person is chayiv to daven mincha bizman. L'chatchila he should commemorate in Modim on Chanuka/Purim the miracles of the day. But he is yotzei his chiyuv drabanan even if he does not. Therefore, logically, even if he doesn't remember the exact nusach (which regardless was composed much later than the original takana of mincha and presumably has many variations), he should not intentionally be mevatel his chiyuv drabanan of mincha bizman. (In fact, if he does so intentionally, tashlumin is not even an option - "Me'uvas Lo Yuchal li'S'kon ve'Chesaron Lo Yuchal le'Himanos")
    – Loewian
    Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 22:35

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