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Q&A

Avinu Malkeinu as part of Tachanun

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I know the following:

  1. The word "considered" will surely invoke the response "by whom." I have no answer but want to know the breadth of opinions.

  2. The question begs "what does it matter?" I have yet to figure out if it does at all matter (other than to clarify the order of prayers), but I'm curious at this point.

In my siddurim, there is a set of vidui, confession, printed right after the morning Amida. Then comes Avinu Malkeinu, and then Tachanun. The Artscroll siddur I happened to use this morning comments that "The custom of confessing as a prelude to Tachanun is based on the Zohar." But then what follows is Avinu Malkeinu (labeled as such) and then, on page 124, the section entitled "Tachanun."

Is Avinu Malkeinu considered part of Tachanun which is why we would say Vidui before it or is it not, so we should be saying Vidui AFTER it on fast days, so that the confession is a prelude directly preceding the actual tachanun?

[this Q seems to hint to a possible disagreement in whether it is or isn't]

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For what it's worth, there are various customs re what point in the prayer to add Avinu Malkenu at. Some do so before confession, others after confession before face-falling, others after face-falling and Shomer Yisrael before Vaanachnu, others after all of the usual supplications. msh210‭ 9 months ago

2 answers

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Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Prayer and the Priestly Blessing, 5

שמונה דברים, צריך המתפלל להיזהר בהן ולעשותן; ואם היה דחוק, או נאנס, או שעבר ולא עשה אותן--אינן מעכבין. ואלו הן--עמידה, ונוכח המקדש, ותיקון הגוף, ותיקון המלבוש, ותיקון המקום, והשווית הקול, והכריעה, וההשתחוויה. עמידה כיצד: אין מתפללין אלא מעומד. היה יושב בספינה או בעגלה... השתחוויה כיצד: אחר שמגביה ראשו מכריעה חמישית, יושב לארץ, ונופל על פניו ארצה, ומתחנן בכל תחנונים שירצה.

There are 8 things an individual praying must be careful to do, but if [for any reason] he didn't do them, they do not prevent the fulfillment of the prayer, and they are: standing, facing the Temple, ... and prostration. What is "standing"? One only prays standing. If he is sitting on a boat or a wagon... What it "prostration"? After finishing [the bow at the end of the amida] one sits on the ground and falls on his face on the ground and supplicates with any supplication that he wants....

All the supplications between the amida and kaddish are "tachanun[im]" and are the final part of the amida. There are many varied customs about including or omitting certain fixed supplications on various occasions, in various orders, but they are just customs. In principle any supplication fulfills this requirement, and even if you did not supplicate at all then you still fulfill your obligation of prayer.

Use the opportunity to supplicate God for whatever you need in your last opportunity as you finish your visit with the King of Kings. Tachanun is the נעילה of each prayer and its intimate posture and loose liturgy reflect that "final moments" charge. "Saying tachanun" is frankly an oxymoron.

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3 comments

I think an improved source reference would be helpful. Some may not know that "Rambam Tefilla 5" is the same as: Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Prayer and the Priestly Blessing 5 manassehkatz‭ 9 months ago

Couldn't ונופל על פניו ארצה imply that this only refers to the part said with the head down, i.e. נפילת אפיים? user8078‭ 4 months ago

@user8078 it's an interesting thought, but 1) if you look at how the Rambam describes the prayer service practically he clearly includes a sitting part of tachanunim after the fallen part, and 2) then you'd be left with the strange situation of Avinu Malkenu being a hefsek before tachanun per se, which we know is not ideal (Bava Metzia 59). AA ‭ 4 months ago

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Looking from the practical Halacha, Avinu Malkenu is clearly linked to, if not an actual part of, Tachanun.

On Taanis Esther, which usually takes place on the day before Purim, Avinu Malkenu is not said at Mincha, matching the skipping of Tachanun as on most afternoons prior to a no-Tachanun day. Interestingly, at least in my Shul, we don't say Avinu Malkenu on Taanis Esther at Mincha when Purim falls on Sunday and Taanis Esther is pushed back to Thursday.

Avinu Malkenu is skipped in the afternoon on Asara B'Teves if it comes out on a Friday, which matches skipping Tachanun as on all Friday afternoons.

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2 comments

Considering Friday Erev Yom Kippur, I don't find your argument compelling. Similarly a bris during the 10 Days of Repentance. AA ‭ 9 months ago

What about those, who only say AM in the 10 days? What about those, who don't even say the one sentence AM, just on fast days? Kazi bácsi‭ 9 months ago

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