web analytics
July 6, 2015 / 19 Tammuz, 5775
At a Glance
Judaism
Sponsored Post


Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part VIII)


QuestionsandAnswers-logo

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].”

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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

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

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Russia Steps Up in U.S.-led Nuclear Talks with Iran
Latest Judaism Stories
17th_of_Tammuz_(medium)_(english)

17th of Tammuz: Beginning 3 weeks of mourning for the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

Rabbi Avi Weiss

With Ruth, The Torah seems to be stating that children shouldn’t be punished for the sins of parents

Neihaus-070315

Without a foundation, one cannot hope to build a structure.

Torat-Hakehillah-logo-NEW

Why do we have a parsha in Sefer Shemos named after Yisro who was not only a former idolater, but actually served as a priest for Avodah Zarah!

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

This Land Is ‘My’ Land
‘[If The Vow Was Imposed] In The Seventh Year…’
(Nedarim 42b)

The Shulchan Aruch in the very first siman states that one should rise in the morning like a lion, implying that simply rising form bed requires strength of a lion, in line with the Midrash.

Attempts to interpret the message of Hashem in the absence of divine prophecy ultimately may twist that message in unintended ways that can lead to calamitous events.

Suddenly, the pilot’s voice could be heard. He explained that this was a special day for those passengers on board who lived in Israel.

If the sick person is thrust into a situation where he is compelled to face his sickness head on, we who are not yet sick can encourage him by facing it with him.

All agree that Jews ARE different. How? Why? The Bible’s answer is surprising and profound.

What’s the nation of Israel’s purpose in the world? How we can bring God’s blessings into the world?

“Is there a difference between rescuing and other services?” asked Ploni.

To my dismay, I’ve seen that shidduch candidates with money become ALL desirable traits for marriage

Bil’am’s character is complex and nuanced; neither purely good nor purely evil.

More Articles from Rabbi Yaakov Klass
Q-A-Klass-logo

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

Question: Should we wash our hands in the bathroom with soap and water, or by pouring water from a vessel with handles three times, alternating hands? I have heard it said that a vessel is used only in the morning upon awakening. What are the rules pertaining to young children? What is the protocol if no vessel is available? Additionally, may we dry our hands via an electric dryer?

Harry Koenigsberg
(Via E-Mail)

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: