Makom Kavua For Davening

1. The Gemara in  Brachos (6b) states that “Anyone who establishes a set place for his prayer, the God of Avraham Avinu will be a help to him”. This Gemara is the source that one should always pray in the same place (Kovea Makom). (S.A. 90:19)
2. There are many reasons for this Halacha. The Rif explains that by a person who instead of praying in his immediate surroundings, goes to a specially designated place demonstrates that he regards prayer not as an unpleasant burden, but as an opportunity to connect to Hashem.
3. [It goes without saying that although it is important to be kovea makom for Tefillah, one should not chas v’shalom get into arguments or hurt another Jew’s feelings over one’s place in shul.]

4. This halacha does not just apply to praying in shul, rather, one should have a specific place in his house where he always davens when he cannot make it to shul. (M.B. 90:59)

5. One need not daven in the exact spot each day. Rather, as long as one is within 4 amos of his makov kavua (davening spot), he has fulfilled his obligation to daven in the same spot. (M.B. 90:60)
6. If there are people talking near one’s makom kavua, one may forgo davening in his spot and he may daven in a different place in the shul where it is more quiet. (Kaf Hachaim 90:118)
7. The Toras Chaim (90:25) and the Shearim Metzuyanim B’Halacha (vol. 1 page 79) both explain that the main issue is to daven shemoneh esrei in the same spot each day (makom kavua). The remaining of davening need not be recited in one’s makom kavua.
8. It is well known that every person should try to be one of the first ten people to arrive for prayer. The question was posed to Harav Chaim Kanievsky shlit”a (Shealas Rav page 188) what should one do if he has a choice to daven in his makom kavua (and not be one of the first ten to arrive to shul) or daven in a different shul and he would be one of the first ten to arrive for prayer? Harav Chaim responded that in his view the importance of davening in one’s makom kavua outweighs the importance of being one of the first ten to arrive at shul.
[Please note that if the minyan will only have ten men and by davening in one’s makom kavua, the other shul will not have a minyan, all agree that making the minyan outweighs makom kavua. Rav Chaim was only referring to a case where both shuls will have a minyan without you. In one shul you can be from the first ten people to arrive and in the other shul you have your makom kavua and in that instance Harav Chaim says that makom kavua has greater importance.]
9. The Shulchan Aruch (90:19) writes that in addition to davening in the same spot each day, one must also daven in the same shul every day.
10. The poskim explain that the Shulchan Aruch does not mean to say that one must daven in the same shul throughout the year. Rather, one may daven in one shul during the summer and another during the winter. He may pray in one shul on Shabbos and a different shul during the weekdays. He may even pray every shachris in one shul and every mincha in a different shul etc. The Shulchan Aruch is ruling that one should not daven shachris in one shul on one day and in a different shul the next day. Or one should not daven in one shul on one Shabbos and in a different shul the next Shabbos. (Ishei Yisroel page 87 note 39)

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