- Question: [Sunday, 21st Shevat, 5783]
I will be flying next week and will be arriving to my destination very close to midday. I do not like Davening on the plane as it is very difficult to concentrate as I’m sure you know. So, I have the option of Davening in a local Shul in JFK upon my arrival, however, what I am not sure about is regarding how to calculate midday. Am I only allowed to Daven Shacharis up until Chatzos, or can I do so until a half-hour after Chatzos. I’ve heard both opinions and would like to know what the ruling is. If I have the extra half hour after Chatzos than I can peacefully Daven in the Shul in JFK. If I don’t, then I’ll really have to rush my Davening and would rather just Daven on the plane.
Although we find such an opinion amongst the Poskim to permit praying until a half hour past Chatzos, the final ruling of Admur and the vast majority of Ashkenazi and Sephardi Achronim including the Mishneh Berurah and Kaf Hachaim, is that one may only Daven Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei up until midday, and not even a moment afterwards. Thus, one does not have a half hour leeway of time to pray after midday. Accordingly, if you assess that you may not make it to the Shul in JFK with enough time to peacefully Daven prior to actual midday, then you should simply pray on the plane, as accustomed by Frum Yidden all over the world.
Explanation: The concept of Zeman Tefila and Chatzos is recorded in the Mishneh, Talmud, and Poskim, and was established by the sages and the prophets, and is unanimously accepted amongst the Poskim. This matter is binding on all Jews and they must initially strive to complete Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei by that time, and one who does not do so is considered a transgressor. Now, the question is raised as to the definition of Chatzos in this regard. On the one hand, Chatzos normally always means midday and hence simply speaking when one is told to complete a task by midday, it means exactly that, and not a moment past midday. On the other hand, the entire logic and reason behind the various time slots given for the three prayers of Shacharis, Mincha, and Maariv, were arranged in a way that they don’t overlap and that they start one after the other. Hence, perhaps one can argue that since what is not allowed to Daven Mincha until a half-hour passes after midday, therefore, one may Daven Shacharis up until a half-hour past midday, as until then the time of Mincha has yet to arrive. Indeed, so was the ruling of some Poskim. However, Admur and majority of other Poskim, as is the simple understanding of all Poskim who simply write Chatzos, reject this notion and limit the prayer of Shacharis until exactly midday and not a minute afterwards, being that in truth the technical time for Davening Mincha is exactly from midday and onwards, and it is only due to a worry that one may get mixed up with the times that the sages decreed to not begin Mincha until a half-hour passes after midday. Hence, immediately upon the arrival of midday, the time of Mincha has already arrived and the time of Shacharis has immediately ended.
It is interesting to note that Rav Akiva Eiger gives the following advice, which takes advantage of both options of opinions, and states that one can Daven Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei after midday within the half-hour and stipulate that if the main opinion follows that one can still Daven Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei, then accounts as one’s Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei, and if the main opinion follows that one can no longer Daven Shacharis Shemoneh Esrei after midday, then one should have in mind that this prayer is his Mincha prayer [and later on Daven Mincha with a stipulation that it is either Mincha or Tahslumin of Shacharis]. However, from the wording of Admur, and his rulings elsewhere, this ability to condition one’s prayer is completely negated, as in Admur’s opinion the entire half-hour period past midday is invalid for both Shacharis and Mincha Shermoneh Esrei [as he writes in his Kuntrus Achron], and hence one gains nothing by doing this condition.
Sources: Poskim who rule that may not Daven past midday even within half hour: Admur 89:2 “Even initially one may pray Shacharis until midday if he transgressed and did not pray beforehand. One may pray until midday being that the time of the next prayer has yet to arrive. However, immediately after midday [he could no longer pray Shacharis] since the time of the prayer of Mincha has already arrived, even though one is not yet able to Daven Mincha until a half-hour after midday, this is because majority of people not expertise to know when midday has arrived however in truth the time of Mincha begins immediately after midday and therefore one can no longer make up the Shacharis prayer then.”; Admur Kuntrus Achron 291:1; Implication of Michaber and Rama 89:1 who simply write Chatzos; Beis Yosef 89; M”A 89:5 [as explained in Machatzis Hashekel]; Levush 89; Soles Belula 89:1; Mamar Mordechai 89:2; Nehar Shalom 89; Chayeh Adam 27:1; Kitzur SHU”A 18:1; M”B 89:6 that so is implied from Rama ibid and so is final ruling; Kaf Hachaim 89:11 Lenient opinions who permit prayer within half hour: Taz 89:1; Bach 89; Perisha 89:1; Elya Raba 89:3; Brought and negated in M”B ibid; See regarding the advice of Rav Akiva Eiger: Hagahos Rav Akiva Eiger 89:5; Tzelach Brachos 26a; Brought in M”B ibid; Piskeiy Teshuvos 89:10 See regarding the general obligation of Zeman Tefila: Admur 89:1-2; Michaber 89:1; Rambam Tefila 3:1; Mishneh Brachos 4:1; Ketzos Hashulchan 20:1