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Writing Things Down During Tefillah

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#1 living2learn



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Posted 17 October 2012 - 10:43 AM

Sometimes (ok, most times) when I'm davening, things will run through my head that I must do or take care of, etc, and that makes it very hard to concentrate on what I'm saying. Am I allowed to keep a pen and paper nearby so that I can just jot things down to get them out of my head? When I do that, I'm free to forget about them; when I don't, I try to put them aside, and tell myself that everything will work out, but instead, I end up storing up a list in my head, and going over it frequently to make sure that I won't forget, and then it's just my mouth saying the words, because my mind is somewhere else. (I know it's only the yetzer hara, which is why I remember specifically during tefillah and then forget right after.) Are there certain parts of tefillah that I sometimes would and sometimes would not be allowed to write things down? (i.e. Pesukei D'zimrah, Birchos/Shema, Shemoneh Esrei, etc.)

#2 Rabbi Shapiro

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 11:53 AM

Writing during davening is the same as talking during davening. It is a hefsek. Whatever the Halachah regarding talking during various parts of davening, it is the same for writing.

Imagine if someone were to ask whether they could interrupt davening in order to talk here and there, lest they forget after davening what they want to say. In the sort term, it may be able to help the person during davening to not think of whatever it is they need to say, but that wouldn't be a good way to train someone to daven. In fact, it may just train them to not pay attention to their davening. Worst case scenario, they may find that their mind gets used to using the quiet and undistracted time during davening to remind them of things they need to write down.

In any case, in the long term, it isn't a good idea.

What I would suggest is, before davening, set aside a few minutes to remember the things that you need to remember and write them down, clearing your mind so you can give the davening your full attention.