The Abudarham also notes the ruling of the Rif that one shouldn’t answer “Amen” to each of the three berachot if no kohen is duchaning. Some congregations follow the minhag to answer “Kein Yehi Ratzon – so shall it be His will” instead of “Amen.” The Abudarham notes that we only answer “Amen” to the blessing of the one who says a blessing before the mitzvah – i.e., a kohen. The chazzan, on the other hand, recites the Birkat Kohanim without reciting a birkat hamitzvot. Therefore, we do not respond “Amen” to his recital. Still, we see the relative importance of this blessing in its inclusion in the chazarat hashatz of our daily Shacharit and Musaf tefillah (and at Minchah on a fast day), even when there are no kohanim present.
(To be continued)
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.