web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part VIII)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

Share Button

We now turn to Birkat Kohanim.

* * * * *

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 128:10) states that kohanim cannot begin reciting the blessing before Birkat Kohanim until the chazzan finishes Modim. The Tur (ad loc.) explains that this means that the kohanim must not only wait for the congregation to answer “Amen” to “hatov shimcha u’lcha na’eh l’hodos,” but they also have to wait until the chazzan calls out to them to proceed with their blessing. This is the procedure that is commonly followed nowadays when there is more than one kohen present. However, if there is only one kohen present, the chazzan should not call out to him; rather, the kohen should begin the blessing on his own. The Mechaber and Tur are based on the Gemara in Sotah (38-39).

The Gemara, in turn, is based on the passage in Parshat Naso (Numbers 6:22-27), where Hashem instructs Moses to speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them, “Koh tevarchu et Bnei Yisrael, amor lahem – so shall you bless the children of Israel, say to them.”

The Klei Yakar (Parshat Naso ad loc.) further clarifies the role of the chazzan in Birkat Kohanim: “Amor lahem – say to them”: From here our sages deduced that the chazzan calls upon the kohanim (in a responsive manner), saying the text of the blessing word for word. He does so because he is the intermediary who starts the process of bringing closer the overflow of blessing from the source of blessings to the spout, to the kohen. Thus, when he intones “Yevarechecha Hashem,” he is in effect fashioning the kohen into a vessel that is full and overflowing with the blessings of Hashem. Then, when the kohen intones the same to the congregation, he pours from that overflowing blessing into the empty vessel, i.e., the congregation. However, if the chazzan didn’t call upon the kohen, the kohen would in effect be pouring from one empty vessel into another empty vessel.

How does the Klei Yakar’s explanation fit situations where there is only one kohen and the chazzan does not call upon him to start? We might suggest that even in these cases, the chazzan initiates the blessing. The kohen must technically begin because the text of the prayer refers to kohanim in the plural; the chazzan, therefore, cannot start: “Elokeinu Ve’lokei avoteinu barecheinu ba’beracha ha’meshulet baTorah haketuva al yedei Moshe avdecha ha’amurah mipi Aharon u’banav Kohanim… – Our G-d and the G-d of our fathers, bless us with the three verse blessing in the Torah that was written by the hand of Moses, your servant, that was said by Aaron and his sons.” In theory, however, the blessing still originates with the chazzan, who is in effect serving as Hashem’s representative. A proof to the fact that the chazzan is still beginning Birkat Kohanim lies in the halacha that the kohen has to wait before he proceeds with Birkat Kohanim for the chazzan to conclude Modim, which serves as his cue to begin. In effect, then, the chazzan still calls upon him to bless.

Birkat Kohanim is unique in that it is placed in chazarat hashatz, but is recited by the kohanim, not the chazzan. This mitzvah is for kohanim. However, if there are no kohanim available, the chazzan recites this blessing. Indeed, other than the Yomim Tovim, bnei Ashkenaz in the diaspora do not have the Kohanim duchan. Rather, the chazzan recites the Birkat Kohanim.

Now, one might ask: Is the chazzan a kohen that he may recite this blessing? But that is the din. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 127:2, citing the Rambam, Hilchot Tefillah 15:10) writes that when we do not duchan (either because it is a non-duchaning day or because no kohen is present), the chazzan recites Birkat Kohanim. He notes that when no kohanim are present the chazzan introduces Birkat Kohanim with the words “Elokeinu vE’lokei avoteinu…” as we noted above. Thus, we see that the chazzan, even though he may be a yisrael, has the right to recite Birkat Kohanim. He says “Elokeinu vElokei avoteinu…” because this short tefillah establishes that the source for the blessing of the congregation is Hashem.

The Abudarham (Seder Shacharit Shel Chol, Birkat Kohanim, Hotza’at Usha edition, p.116) notes as follows: “An individual is prohibited from reciting Birkat Kohanim in his [private Amidah] because it was enacted for the congregation [chazarat hashatz] to correspond to nesiyyat kappayyim, and only when there is the minimum quorum of ten, does the chazzan recite it [if there is no kohen present].”

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part VIII)”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Judaism Stories
Reiss-041814-King

Amazingly, each and every blade was green and moist as if it was just freshly cut.

PTI-041814

All the commentaries ask why Hashem focuses on the Exodus as opposed to saying, “I am Hashem who created the entire world.”

Leff-041814

Someone who focuses only on the bones of the Torah makes his bones dry and passionless.

The following is President Obama’s statement on Passover (April 14, 2014). As he has in the past, the President held an official Passover Seder at the White House. Michelle and I send our warmest greetings to all those celebrating Passover in the United States, in Israel, and around the world. On Tuesday, just as we […]

The tendency to rely on human beings rather than G-d has been our curse throughout the centuries.

“Who is wise? One who learns from each person” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)

In Judaism, to be without questions is a sign not of faith, but of lack of depth.

“I’ll try to help as we can,” said Mr. Goodman, “but we already made a special appeal this year. Let me see what other funds we have. I’ll be in touch with you in a day or two.”

Rashi is bothered by the expression Hashem used: “the Jews need only travel.”

Reckoning Time
‘Three Festivals, Even Out Of Order’
(Beizah 19b)

Two husbands were there to instruct us in Texas hold ‘em – and we needed them.

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

A few background principles regarding the prohibitions of chametz mixtures on Pesach may provide some shopping guidance.

According to the Rambam, the k’nas applies to any chametz on Pesach with which one could, in theory, transgress the aveirah – even if no transgression actually occurred.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Questions-Answers-logo

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Why do we start counting sefirat ha’omer in chutz la’aretz on the second night of Pesach when the omer in the times of the Beit Hamikdash was cut on Chol HaMoed?

M. Goldman
(Via E-Mail)

Why does the Jewish leap year always consist of two Adars? Why specifically Adar?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

Why does the Jewish leap year always consist of two Adars? Why specifically Adar?

Menachem
(Via E-Mail)

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-chazzan-and-congregation-part-viii/2012/07/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: