We learn (Brachot 26b):

תניא כוותיה דרבי יוסי בר' חנינא אברהם תקן תפלת שחרית שנא' וישכם אברהם בבקר אל המקום אשר עמד שם ... יצחק תקן תפלת מנחה שנאמר ויצא יצחק לשוח בשדה לפנות ערב ואין שיחה אלא תפלה ... יעקב תקן תפלת ערבית שנאמר ויפגע במקום וילן שם ואין פגיעה אלא תפלה

that Avraham Avinu innovated Shacharis, that Yitzchak Avinu innovated Minchah, and that Yakov Avinu innovated Maariv. Each had a special tie to his tefila in terms of its significance and its correspondence with a particular attribute, i.e., chesed, gevurah, tiferes.

Yet we also learn that, with limited exceptions, our Forefathers performed all the mitzvos including the rabbinical ones that we do today.

I am asking whether the Patriarchs before Yakov davened all three (and possibly four) daily services, or just the ones they innovated, plus those existing previously. Also, what did they do about Musaf (and timebound korbanos more generally)?

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    "Basic assumption", perhaps. The term used is תקן which means, "established". It probably means that each one "coordinated" the concept of each tefillah to be performed later in history. It doesn't necessarily mean that they, themselves, davened that prayer. What would it really mean considering that there were no Siddurim and no organized format. Amidah and Shema hadn't been "created".
    – DanF
    Aug 2, 2018 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


The workaround is rather simple, the same Gemmorah you brought (Yuma 28b) that says that our forefathers kept all the Mitzvos continues "even Derabanan like Eruv Tavshilim". In other words, the Gemmorah itself says they kept Mitzvos that were instituted much later.

"אמר (רב) ואיתימא רב אשי קיים אברהם אבינו אפילו עירובי תבשילין שנאמר תורותי אחת תורה שבכתב ואחת תורה שבעל פה "

Rav said, and some say Rav Ashi said: Abraham our Patriarch fulfilled the entire Torah, even the Mitzvah of the joining of cooked foods [a rabbinic ordinance instituted later] as it is stated: MyTorahs. Since the term is in the plural, it indicates that Abraham kept two Torahs; one, the Written Torah, and one, the Oral Torah. In the course of fulfilling the Oral Torah, he fulfilled all the details and parameters included therein.

Same with Teffilos, Avraham kept davening Minha and Maariv that were instituted later by his son and grandson.

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    What does it mean for Yitzchak to institute Mincha if he was already saying it daily because he would institute it later?
    – Double AA
    Aug 2, 2018 at 13:39
  • @DoubleAA What does it mean to institute Mitzvos Derabanan if Avraham and all his descendants were keeping it already? I know it's a brainteaser, but it appears many times for Abraham that he did something על שם העתיד. Another option: התקין - made it "official", that beforehand it was not "official".
    – Al Berko
    Aug 2, 2018 at 13:56
  • The Gemara never says that Avraham and all his descendants kept it all.
    – Double AA
    Aug 2, 2018 at 13:58
  • @DoubleAA If not his descendants - bring a source who broke the chain, please.
    – Al Berko
    Aug 2, 2018 at 14:00
  • @AlBerko You are assuming that what Rabbi Yossi Bar Chanina is discussing, is the same thing being discussed by Rav and Rav Ashi. Rabbi Yossi is using the expression "תקן". But Rav and Rav Ashi are using the language "קיים". The term "תקן" has a connotation of adornment or beautification, the most beautiful way to perform the mitzvah. The term "קיים" is referring to the general halachic requirement. Rav and Rav Ashi are saying their tradition is that the Avot fulfilled all the mitzvot (not necessarily in the most beautiful way) of both the written and oral Torah. Aug 3, 2018 at 13:46

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