The most appropriate time for the study of Chassidus is in the morning before Shacharis. At this time the Supernal attribute of Loven HaElyon [i.e., a transcendent light from G‑d’s very Essence, the source of infinite Divine compassion] irradiates from Above — and this is aroused by the mode of divine service called baboker deAvraham [i.e., Avraham’s initiative in worship, stemming from his dominant attribute of Chesed].1

Meditating on the teachings of Chassidus while wearing tallis and tefillin before beginning the morning prayers upgrades their quality, and enhances the manner in which one lives one’s day. Moreover, the very meditation is different than at other times. Being closer to a man’s essence, its effect is more potent.2

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To dispel whatever may hamper the acceptability of one’s prayers, charity should be given beforehand. Thus we find that before praying Rabbi Eliezer would give a pauper a coin, in the spirit of the verse, “With tzedek (‘righteousness’; cf. tzedakah — ‘charity’) shall I behold Your countenance.”3 For accusatory voices On High adjudge whether a worshiper is indeed worthy of entering the heavenly palace of the King of Kings in prayer. Yet “charity rescues...,”4 and “charity elevates a nation....”5

The most auspicious times of the day to give charity are in the morning before Shacharis and in the afternoon before Minchah.6

By giving a poor man charity before prayer and thereby giving him life, one’s prayers come alive.

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According to a widely accepted tradition, those whose limited knowledge and memory do not allow them to meditate properly on the particular mystical meditations (kavanos) that apply in the course of the prayers, need to bear in mind only one comprehensive intention — that their prayers be heard by G‑d together with all the kavanos that are explained in the works of Kabbalah.7

A mourner throughout the first eleven months of mourning, and so too a person who is observing a yahrzeit, kindles five candles at the time of prayer.8

On Rosh Chodesh, and likewise on any day on which there is a Mussaf prayer, a mourner does not lead the service. This applies also to Minchah on that afternoon and to Maariv of the preceding evening.9

On Chanukah a mourner may lead the service, except for Hallel.10

[The Alter Rebbe wrote:] “As an emissary of our Rabbis of blessed memory I have come to enact a decree which applies equally to all — that no idle talk be uttered from the time when the sheliach tzibbur commences the service until the end of the last Kaddish, whether it be at Maariv, Shacharis or Minchah.”11

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The question has been asked: How is it possible to engage in “the service of the heart” by meditating on Chassidus at length during prayer, and yet to fulfill one’s obligation to pray together with a congregation? Our forebears, the Rebbeim, have answered this question with the following authoritative ruling: “Praying with a congregation” (tefillah betzibbur) means “praying at the time that the congregation prays.” They therefore instructed their chassidim to listen to the whole congregational service — including every Kaddish, Barchu, Kedushah, the Reading of the Torah, and each Kaddish of the congregational prayer — and then to pray deliberately, each man according to his meditative ability, with the devout “service of the heart.”12

It is the custom of married men to wear a gartl at all prayers (and for the performance of certain mitzvos as well, though it is yet to be clarified why this is not done for all mitzvos).13

In addition to raising his voice at the end of each paragraph of the congregational prayers, the sheliach tzibbur should make himself heard at the following places: הודו...עלילותיו (Siddur, pp. 27 and 148); כי כל...עשה (pp. 28 and 148) ;רוממו...אלקינו (pp. 28 and 149); ה' הושיעה...קראנו (pp. 29 and 149); אתה הוא...לפניך (pp. 38 and 164); ומלכותו...קימת (pp. 48 and 176).14

The sentences beginning ה' מלך and והיה ה' למלך (p. 30) are said standing. If one is at another place in his prayers when the congregation reaches this point, he ought to stand up with the congregation. In such a case, however, it would appear that he should not interrupt himself to read these sentences, even when an interruption is permitted, but should continue with his prayers.15