SHAḤARIT (Heb. שַׁחֲרִית; "dawn prayer"), the daily morning service and the most elaborate of the three prescribed daily prayers. Its institution is traditionally attributed to the patriarch Abraham (on the basis of Gen. 19:27), and the rabbis later made its recitation obligatory to replace the daily morning sacrifice (Tamid) performed in the Temple (Ber. 26b).
Shaḥarit consists of the following components: (1) *Morning Benedictions; (2) *Pesukei de-zimra; (3) reading of the *Shema and its benedictions; (4) *Amidah; (5) *Taḥanun, on days when it is recited; (6) *Torah reading, on mornings when it is required; (7) *Ashrei, Psalm 20 and a collection of biblical quotations; (8) *Aleinu le-Shabbe'ah. There are no basic variations in the text of the prayers recited each morning with the exception of the text of the Amidah, additions to the pesukei de-zimra on Sabbaths and festivals, and the addition of *Hallel on festivals and the *New Moon. In some rites, *piyyutim are also inserted during the morning prayers on certain Sabbaths and festivals. In most Israeli cities, the priestly blessing is recited each morning in the framework of the Amidah.
The time for the morning service is governed by the laws which determine the period for the recitation of the Shema and the Amidah. The start of the period in which the Shema should be recited begins with daybreak and concludes after a quarter of the day has passed (Ber. 1:2; Sh. Ar., oḤ 58:1). The time for reciting the Amidah begins with sunrise and ends after a third of the day has passed (Ber. 4:1; Sh. Ar., oḤ 89:1; and see *Day and Night). Extremely pious people (vatikin) were therefore careful to begin their prayers with daybreak so they could complete the recitation of the Shema by sunrise and recite the Amidah immediately afterward (Ber. 26a). If the morning prayers are delayed past their proper time for recitation, they may still be said until midday (Ber. 4:1; Sh. Ar., oḤ 89:1). If, by accident, the morning Amidah was not recited, an extra Amidah is added at the Minḥah service.
During daily morning services, the *tallit and *tefillin are worn for the duration of the prayers. On Sabbath and festivals, only the tallit is worn. On the Ninth of *Av, it is customary according to many rites to wear neither tallit nor tefillin for Shaḥarit, but to wear them for the *Minḥah prayers. Once the blessing preceding the pesukei de-zimra, *Barukhshe-Amar, is recited, the supplicants are forbidden to speak or to interrupt the prayers until the conclusion of the Amidah (Sh. Ar., oḤ 51:4).
Elbogen, Gottesdienst, 14ff.; Idelsohn, Liturgy, 73ff.; E. Levy, Yesodot ha-Tefillah (19522), 129ff.; E. Munk, The World of Prayer, 1 (1961), 17ff.