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Making Up a Tefilla With No Net Gain


Rabbi Daniel Mann

Question: I heard that if one davened during Rosh Chodesh and left out Ya’aleh V’yavo (=YVY), which he then fixed with a repeat Shemoneh Esrei but forgot "v’ten tal umatar" (=vttum), he does not have to repeat Shemoneh Esrei a third time because he said all the necessary elements. Is the same true in the opposite case – he left out vttum in the first tefilla and forgot YVY in the second – or is leaving out vttum worse? Also, what happens if one left out vttum at Friday Mincha – does he say an extra Ma’ariv to make up for the invalid Mincha, or since we do not say vttum on Shabbat, one gains nothing?

Question: We will start with a discussion that connects to your cases. If one forgot to daven Mincha, he davens Ma’ariv twice. If Mincha was Rosh Chodesh and Ma’ariv is after Rosh Chodesh, both of the Ma’ariv Shemoneh Esreis are without YVY, and the second still makes up for the missed Mincha (see Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chayim 108:9). However, regarding whether one who omitted YVY at Mincha of Rosh Chodesh recites a second Shemoneh Esrei at Ma’ariv (without YVY) to make up for the lacking Mincha, the Tur (OC 108) cites a machloket Rishonim. He and the Shulchan Aruch (OC 108:11) rule that due to the doubt of which opinion to follow, one says the second tefilla with the intention that, if it is not called for, it should be considered a tefillat nedava (voluntary prayer) (see Mishna Berura 108:33). If this occurred on Shabbat eve, one does not do a "double tefilla" because there are no tefillot nedava on Shabbat (Mishna Berura 108:36).
The conceptual question behind this machloket applies to your questions: when one leaves out a necessary section of Shemoneh Esrei, is it considered a valid tefilla that was missing an element, or is it considered an invalid tefilla? Rav Frank (Har Tzvi, OC I:54) connects the machloket to your first cases, of alternatingly missing vttum and YVY, without distinguishing between them. According to the opinion that a tefilla missing something is a tefilla, but one repeats it to provide a framework to insert the omission, in this case, between the two tefillot, he said everything. If the lacking Shemoneh Esrei is not a tefilla at all, then each of the attempts was useless and a third Shemoneh Esrei is necessary. Contemporary seforim argue whether a tefillat nedava is called for (Ishei Yisrael 39:30), discretionary (Tefilla K’hilchata 22:(25)), or better avoided (Piskei Teshuvot 108:12). (The order of presentation reflect our preference.)
Rav Chaim of Brisk is widely cited as distinguishing between forgetting YVY and forgetting vttum – YVY is an addition whereas vttum is part and parcel of the tefilla’s set format. Even so, the order of omission should not make a difference because either way, according to Rav Chaim, the tefilla missing vttum was worthless and cannot validate the YVY said at that time.
According to Rav Chaim, if one forgot vttum on Friday Mincha (your third case), he would do a double tefilla of Ma’ariv even on Shabbat, when there are no voluntary tefillot (see Har Tzvi ibid.). However, there are strong questions on the application of Rav Chaim’s distinction. First, if vttum is central to its beracha, why can one who forgot it make it up in Shomeiah Tefilla (see Berachot 29a)? Also, the opinion that one does not recite two tefillot at Ma’ariv when he cannot insert the missed element was said even for a case where one davened a weekday Mincha on Shabbat (Tosafot, Berachot 26b; Shulchan Aruch, ibid.). Although leaving out the beracha of Shabbat is certainly central to the tefilla, Rishonim say the tefilla is suffices so that there would not be a double Ma’ariv. Missing vttum is not worse than that. While there are probably answers for Rav Chaim, poskim (including the Har Tzvi ibid. and Kaf Hachayim 117:33 – see Ishei Yisrael 30:(57)) assume not like him regarding your third case. Therefore, in the cases where making up Shemoneh Esrei without vttum would not add anything new, one repeats only during the week, when a tefillat nedava is possible.
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