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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Birkat Kohanim’

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part XIV)

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

Question: What should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? Some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices?

A Devoted Reader
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 124:1) explains that a chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashanah 33b-34a).

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 125:1) states that congregants should not recite Nakdishach [Nekadesh] together with the chazzan; rather they should remain silent and concentrate on the chazzan’s recitation until he finishes that portion, at which point they should say, “Kadosh, kadosh…” The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk1) explains that congregants should remain quiet because the chazzan is their messenger, and if they say Nakdishach along with him, he no longer appears as their messenger.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that one not appear as a denier of G-d to whom the congregation is praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Horav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation must listen to Modim of the chazzan and compares the question of what congregants should do during Modim to the question of what congregants should do during Birkat Kohanim, as discussed in Sotah 39b-40a. Rabbi Soloveitchick suggested that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim out loud, pause for the congregants’ Modim D’Rabbanan, and then continue with his Modim blessing out loud.

Birkat Kohanim is part of chazaras hashatz but is said by kohanim (unless none are present in which case the chazzan says it). One prayer recited during Birkat Kohanim is “Ribono shel olam,” which the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1, citing Berachot 55b) states should be said by anyone who has a dream which he doesn’t understand. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 128:58) says this prayer should be recited while the kohanim are melodiously drawing out the last word of each verse.

He and the Aruch Hashulchan also discuss saying the “Adir bamarom” prayer at this time. The Aruch Hashulchan, clarifying Berachot 55b, explains that someone who cannot complete “Ribono shel olam” in time should say the shorter “Adir Bamarom,” while Taz and Magen Avraham say the shorter prayer is recited after the longer, time permitting. The Aruch Hashulchan concludes, based on the Rif and Rosh that the congregation should say “Adir Bamarom” during the drawn-out last word.

During Birkat Kohanim, the kohanim should look downward so as not to interrupt their concentration. The congregation should likewise concentrate and face, but do not to gaze upon, the kohanim, who customarily spread out a tallit over their heads. Some also cover their hands (see Rema, Bet Yosef, and Tur, Orach Chayim 128:23). The Mechaber (128:24, citing Sotah 38b) writes that people standing behind the kohanim are not included in their blessing.

* * * * *

The Mishnah Berurah (to Orach Chayim 128:24) in his Bi’ur Halacha commentary (s.v. “afilu mechitza shel barzel…”) cites Elyah Rabbah, who mentions the ruling (in Orach Chayim 55:20) that there can be no separation between the person saying and the person responding to Kaddish and Kedushah. The Elyah Rabbah asserts that the same rule should apply to Birkat Kohanim. If a wall separates people from the kohanim, those beyond the wall should not be included in the berachah.

The Mishnah Berurah, however, cites Sefer Ha’Eshkol which states that the law is different for Birkat Kohanim regarding people in the fields and have no need to answer “Amen” to the berachah. What, then, is the basis of the Elyah Rabbah’s opinion that the standard rule of separation does apply to Birkat Kohanim? The Mishnah Berurah speculates that perhaps the Elyah Rabbah was referring to a case where people were either in the synagogue’s courtyard or outside but quite close to the synagogue. These people are too close to the synagogue to be considered anusim and faultless and therefore are not included in Birkat Kohanim.

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part XIII)

Thursday, August 23rd, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shemoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices?

A Devoted Reader
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 124:1) explains that a chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashanah 33b-34a).

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 125:1) states that congregants should not recite Nakdishach [Nekadesh] together with the chazzan; rather they should remain silent and concentrate on the chazzan’s recitation until he finishes that portion, at which point they should say, “Kadosh, kadosh…” The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk1) explains that congregants should remain quiet because the chazzan is their messenger, and if they say Nakdishach along with him, he no longer appears as their messenger.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that one not appear as a denier of G-d to whom the congregation is praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Horav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation must listen to Modim of the chazzan and compares the question of what congregants should do during Modim to the question of what congregants should do during Birkat Kohanim, as discussed in Sotah 39b-40a. Rabbi Soloveitchick suggested that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim out loud, pause for the congregants’ Modim D’Rabbanan, and then continue with his Modim blessing out loud.

Birkat Kohanim is part of chazaras hashatz but is said by kohanim (unless none are present in which case the chazzan says it). One prayer recited during Birkat Kohanim is “Ribono shel olam,” which the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1, citing Berachot 55b) states should be said by anyone who has a dream which he doesn’t understand. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 128:58) says this prayer should be recited while the kohanim are melodiously drawing out the last word of each verse. He and the Aruch Hashulchan also discuss saying the “Adir bamarom” prayer at this time.

Now we turn to an important matter that relates to the actual procedure of Nesiat Kappayim.

* * * * *

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 128:23) states: “When [the kohanim] bless the people, they should not to look [about] and should not interrupt their concentration. Rather, they should look downward just as they do when in the midst of prayer. The congregation [as well] should concentrate on the blessing as they and the kohanim face each other and they should [take care] not to gaze upon the kohanim.”

The Rema (in his glosses, ad loc., citing the Bet Yosef in his longer commentary to the Tur) adds: “The kohanim should also gaze upon their own hands [when duchaning]. Therefore, it has become the custom for the kohanim to spread out the tallit over their faces with their hands outstretched from under the tallit. The Rema also notes that there are places where the kohanim keep their hands under the tallit so that the congregation not gaze upon them.”

The Mishnah Berurah (op cit. 128:89-92) explains that a momentary gaze is technically permitted. Only when the Holy Temple stood, when the kohanim would bless using the shem ha’meforash, and the shechinah was upon them, was there a prohibition to gaze even for a moment. Nevertheless, it has become the custom not to gaze upon the kohanim even nowadays as a remembrance of former times when we possessed the Holy Temple. Just like the congregation shouldn’t look at the kohanim, so too the kohanim should not to gaze upon the congregation as it will interrupt their concentration. Citing the Darkei Moshe (the Rema’s short commentary to the Tur), the Mishnah Berurah notes our present custom of people covering their faces with the tallit to avoid looking at the kohanim.

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part XII)

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shemoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices?

A Devoted Reader
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 124:1) explains that a chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashanah 33b-34a).

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 125:1) states that congregants should not recite Nakdishach [Nekadesh] together with the chazzan; rather they should remain silent and concentrate on the chazzan’s recitation until he finishes that portion, at which point they should say, “Kadosh, kadosh…” The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk1) explains that congregants should remain quiet because the chazzan is their messenger, and if they say Nakdishach along with him, he no longer appears as their messenger.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that one not appear as a denier of G-d to whom the congregation is praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Horav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation must listen to Modim of the chazzan and compares the question of what congregants should do during Modim to the question of what congregants should do during Birkat Kohanim, as discussed in Sotah 39b-40a. Rabbi Soloveitchick suggested that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim out loud, pause for the congregants’ Modim D’Rabbanan, and then continue with his Modim blessing out loud.

Birkat Kohanim is part of chazaras hashatz but is said by kohanim (unless none are present in which case the chazzan says it). One prayer recited during Birkat Kohanim is “Ribono shel olam,” which the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1, citing Berachot 55b) states should be said by anyone who has a dream which he doesn’t understand. The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 128:58) says this prayer should be recited while the kohanim are melodiously drawing out the last word of each verse.

* * * * *

The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 130:1) writes of an additional prayer, “Adir bamarom –You are majestic on high,” that is proper for congregations to recite during the kohanim’s melodious extension of the final word of the Birkat Kohanim blessing. Of course, one should only recite this prayer if one will finish it in time to say “Amen” to the blessing. Is “Adir bamarom” an additional prayer to “Ribono shel olam”? Or is it a replacement prayer? The Gemara (Berachot 55b) states, “If, however, he cannot [complete “Ribono shel olam” in time] he should say this, “Adir bamarom.”

The Aruch Hashulchan (Rabbi Yechiel Michel Epstein, the chief rabbi of Navardok) understands this Gemara simply – that “Adir bamarom” replaces “Ribono shel olam.” However, he notes that authorities like the Taz and Magen Avraham interpret the Gemara differently and write, “If, however, [the kohanim] have still not concluded, [the individual congregant] should also say “Adir bamarom.”

Rabbi Epstein, citing Elyah Rabbah in the name of Agudah (whose view coincides with the Aruch Hashulchan) writes that that when there is little time, one may substitute the shorter “Adir bamarom” for the longer “Ribono shel olam.” Yet, he concludes (infra. sk3): “Our custom is that when the kohanim [conclude and] turn away their faces, all say “Adir bamarom,” even though this seems to be inconsistent with the Gemara’s text, as our custom is based upon the amended texts of both the Rif and Rosh.”

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part XI)

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shemoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices?

A Devoted Reader
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 124:1) explains that a chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashanah 33b-34a).

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 125:1) states that congregants should not recite Nakdishach [Nekadesh] together with the chazzan; rather they should remain silent and concentrate on the chazzan’s recitation until he finishes that portion, at which point they should say, “Kadosh, kadosh…” The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk1) explains that congregants should remain quiet because the chazzan is their messenger, and if they say Nakdishach along with him, he no longer appears as their messenger.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that he not appear as a denier of G-d to whom they are praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Horav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation must listen to Modim of the chazzan and compares the question of what congregants should do during Modim to the question of what congregants should do during Birkat Kohanim, as discussed in Sotah 39b-40a. Rabbi Soloveitchick suggested that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim out loud, pause for the congregants’ Modim D’Rabbanan, and then continue with his Modim blessing out loud.

Birkat Kohanim is part of chazaras hashatz but is said by kohanim (unless none are present in which case the chazzan says it). One prayer recited during Birkat Kohanim is “Ribono shel olam,” which the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1, citing Berachot 55b) states should be said by anyone who has a dream which he doesn’t understand.

* * * * *

The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 128:58) notes that the accepted procedure during Birkat Kohanim is for the kohanim to draw out the concluding word of each of its three verses – “ve’yishmerecha,” “v’ychuneka,” and “shalom” – because each verse represents a separate blessing. It is proper for those in the congregation who say “Ribono shel olam” to do so while the kohanim are melodiously drawing out the last word of each verse.

The Shulchan Aruch Harav notes that the refuah one derives from saying “Ribono shel olam” is only effective if said during Birkat Kohanim. And yet, as long as the kohanim have not fully articulated that last word of each verse, it would seem that Birkat Kohanim is still in process, and the halacha is that the congregation must listen attentively to what the kohanim are saying during Birkat Kohanim and cannot speak or even recite another prayer. How, then, can one ever say the “Ribono shel olam” prayer?

The Shulchan Aruch Harav answers that when the kohanim reach the concluding word of each verse, that blessing is considered complete insofar as the congregation’s requirement to listen and concentrate on their words. Since, however, the congregation has not yet responded with “Amen” to the blessing (since the kohanim are still in midst of melodiously chanting the last word), the blessing is not considered fully complete and one can say the “Ribono shel olam” prayer.

The Shulchan Aruch Harav notes that only the congregation should recite “Ribono shel olam,” not the makreh (the one leading the kohanim), since he will be distracted and confused if he does so. A chazzan serving as the makreh should not recite “Ribono shel olam” because he will also be making a hefsek in his tefillah if he does.

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part X)

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shemoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices?

A Devoted Reader
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 124:1) explains that a chazzan repeats Shemoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashanah 33b-34a).

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 125:1) states that congregants should not recite Nakdishach [Nekadesh] together with the chazzan; rather they should remain silent and concentrate on the chazzan’s recitation until he finishes that portion, at which point they should say, “Kadosh, kadosh…” The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk1) explains that congregants should remain quiet because the chazzan is their messenger, and if they say Nakdishach along with him, he no longer appears as their messenger.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that he not appear as a denier of G-d to whom they are praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Horav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation must listen to Modim of the chazzan and compares the question of what congregants should do during Modim to the question of what congregants should do during Birkat Kohanim, as discussed in Sotah 39b-40a. Rabbi Soloveitchick suggested that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim out loud, pause for the congregants’ Modim D’Rabbanan, and then continue with his Modim blessing out loud.

Birkat Kohanim is part of chazaras hashatz but is said by kohanim (unless none are present in which case the chazzan says it). Bnei Ashkenaz in the diaspora do not have kohanim duchan other than on yomim tovim. The chazzan says it otherwise. We only answer “Amen,” however, when kohanim say it (Orach Chayim 127:2, citing the Rambam, Hilchot Tefillah 15:10). One prayer recited during Birkat Kohanim is “Ribono shel olam,” which the Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1, citing Berachot 55b) states should be saud by anyone who has a dream which he doesn’t understand.

We continue to discuss appropriate tefillot that can be recited by congregants during Birkat Kohanim.

* * *

We noted (see Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chayim 130:1-7) that in the diaspora bnei Ashkenaz duchan only on festivals. The Mishnah Berurah, in his Bi’ur Halacha commentary (citing Machtzit Hashekel), presents the following interesting and very relevant question. We explained last week that everyone says the “Ribono shel olam” prayer concerning dreams during Birkat Kohanim since it is impossible that one has not dreamt in the months since the last festival. However, what about the second day of yom tov which we observe in the diaspora due to s’feika d’yoma? Surely, many people do not dream the night of the first day of the festival. Why, then, should they say “Ribono shel olam” prayer on the second day if they’ve already said it on the first day? The Mishnah Berurah notes that the common practice is for everyone to say “Ribono shel olam” on the second day as well and suggests that this is perhaps because of other people who may have dreamt about us. Hence, a person should not start from the beginning of “Ribono shel olam” and say “I dreamt a dream and I do not know what it relates.” Rather, he should start from “Yehi ratzon – May it be pleasing to You that all dreams…” since this section also talks of dreams that other people may have dreamt about us.

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part IX)

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shmoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices?

A Devoted Reader
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 124:1) explains that a chazzan repeats Shmoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashana 33b-34a).

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 125:1) states that congregants should not recite Nakdishach [Nekadesh] together with the chazzan; rather they should remain silent and concentrate on the chazzan’s recitation until he finishes that portion, at which point they should say, “Kadosh, kadosh…” The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk1) explains that congregants should remain quiet because the chazzan is their messenger, and if they say Nakdishach along with him, he no longer appears as their messenger.

Many do not follow the correct responsive procedure for Kedushah, and since the practice is widespread, it may have to be overlooked (Berachot 45a). If the congregants will miss z’man tefillah, however, the Rema (Orach Chayim 124:2) writes that they should quietly recite along with the chazzan until after Kedushah. At least one person who already prayed, even a child, should answer “Amen” to the chazzan’s blessings to substantiates the shlichut of the chazzan. Those praying with the chazzan may not respond “Amen.”

Another prayer style when time is pressing is as follows: The chazzan begins the Amidah, and after “HaKel HaKadosh,” everyone begins their silent Amidah (while the chazzan continues quietly with his own Amidah). (See Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chayim 124 sk8.) This procedure is commonly performed for Mincha, especially in yeshivot.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that he not appear as a denier of G-d to whom they are praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Horav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation must listen to Modim of the chazzan and compares the question of what congregants should do during Modim to the question of what congregants should do during during Birkat Kohanim, as discussed in Sotah 39b-40a. Rabbi Soloveitchick suggested that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim out loud, pause for the congregants’ Modim D’Rabbanan, and then continue with his Modim blessing out loud.

Birkat Kohanim is part of chazaras hashatz but is said by kohanim (unless none are present in which case the chazzan says it). Bnei Ashkenaz in the diaspora do not have kohanim duchan other than on yomim tovim. The chazzan says it all other times. We only answer “Amen,” however, when kohanim say it (Orach Chayim 127:2, citing the Rambam, Hilchot Tefillah 15:10).

We now discuss the prayer “Ribbono Shel Olam” that the congregation recites during Birkat Kohanim.

* * * * *

Answer: The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 130:1) states, “One who has a dream, and does not understand what he saw, should stand before the kohanim at the time they go up to the duchan and recite as follows: ‘Ribbono shel olam… Master of the world, I am yours and my dreams are yours.’ ”

The full text, as found in Berachot 55b, continues, “I dreamt a dream, and I do not know what it relates. Whether I dreamt regarding myself, or whether my fellow dreamt about me, or whether I dreamt about others – if the dreams are good, strengthen them and support them like the dreams of Joseph the righteous. If they are in need of healing, heal them like the waters of Marah that were healed through the hand of Moses our teacher and like Miriam [who was cured] from her tzora’at, like [King] Hezekiah [who was cured] from his sickness and like the waters of Jericho [that were healed] by Elisha. And just as You turned the curse of the wicked Balaam into a blessing, so turn all my dreams into something good for me.”

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part VIII)

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Question: I understand that at a minyan, the chazzan is required to repeat Shmoneh Esreh out loud so that people who may not know how to daven can fulfill their obligation to daven with the chazzan’s repetition. What, however, should the chazzan do when he reaches Kedushah and Modim? I hear some chazzanim say every word of Kedushah out loud and some only say the last part of the middle two phrases out loud. As far as the congregation is concerned, I hear some congregants say every word of Kedushah and some say only the last part. Finally, some chazzanim and congregants say Modim during chazaras hashatz out loud and some say it quietly. What is the source for these various practices?

A Devoted Reader
(Via E-Mail)

Answer: The Shulchan Aruch Harav (Orach Chayim 124:1) explains that a chazzan repeats Shmoneh Esreh out loud to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who can’t pray on their own (see Rosh Hashana 33b-34a).

The Mechaber (Orach Chayim 125:1) states that congregants should not recite Nakdishach [Nekadesh] together with the chazzan; rather they should remain silent and concentrate on the chazzan’s recitation until he finishes that portion, at which point they should say, “Kadosh, kadosh…” The Mishnah Berurah (ad loc. sk1) explains that congregants should remain quiet because the chazzan is their messenger, and if they say Nakdishach along with him, he no longer appears as their messenger.

Many do not follow the correct responsive procedure for Kedushah, and since the practice is widespread, it may have to be overlooked (Berachot 45a). If the congregants will miss z’man tefillah, however, the Rema (Orach Chayim 124:2) writes that they should quietly recite along with the chazzan until after Kedushah. At least one person who already prayed, even a child, should answer “Amen” to the chazzan’s blessings to substantiates the shlichut of the chazzan. Those praying with the chazzan may not respond “Amen.”

Another prayer style when time is pressing is as follows: The chazzan begins the Amidah, and after “HaKel HaKadosh,” everyone begins their silent Amidah (while the chazzan continues quietly with his own Amidah). (See Mishnah Berurah, Orach Chayim 124 sk8.) This procedure is commonly performed for Mincha, especially in yeshivot.

The tefillah of Modim within the Amidah is so important that Berachot 21b instructs one who arrives late (after kedushah, explains Orach Chayim 109:1) to begin praying only if he will conclude before the chazzan reaches Modim. The Mishnah Berurah (sk2) notes that this applies to a latecomer in middle of birkat keriat Shema attempting to catch up to the minyan and debating whether he should start his personal Amidah after the congregants have started theirs. Tosafot explain that one must bow with the congregation at Modim in order that he not appear as a denier of G-d to whom they are praying (see Rabbenu Tam, Tosafot s.v. “ad sh’lo yagia…” Berachot 21b).

Modim D’Rabbanan is discussed in the Gemara in Sotah. Rav offers a text to recite for Modim and Shmuel, R. Simai, and R. Acha b. R.Yaakov all add more verses to recite. R. Papa says to recite them all – hence the name “Modim D’Rabbanan,” the Modim of (all) the Sages. Our Modim text also includes additions by sages listed in the Jerusalem Talmud (Berachot 1:5).

Rabbi Soloveitchik (as cited in Nefesh Horav by Rabbi Herschel Schachter, p. 128-129) notes that the congregation must listen to Modim of the chazzan. Rabbi Soloveitchick acknowledges the similarity between the recitation of Modim D’Rabbanan and the practice of reciting pesukim during Birkat Kohanim, discussed in Sotah 39b-40a. He cites R. Chanina b. R. Pappa, who argued against doing so, as does the Tur (Orach Chayim 128). Others favor the practice. Rabbi Soloveitchick suggested that the chazzan recite the beginning of Modim out loud, pause for the congregants’ Modim D’Rabbanan, and then continue with his Modim blessing out loud.

Sefer Kol Bo (siman 11, hilchot tefillah) points out that the gematria of Modim equals 100, corresponding to the 100 blessings that a Jew is required to say every day (Mechaber, Orach Chayim 46:3, also see Tur ad loc. who attributes this enactment to King David). I pointed out that the number of words in the opening paragraph of Modim added to the number of words in Modim D’Rabbanan (Nusach Sefard, exclusive of the concluding blessing) also yields the number 100. These gematriyos hint at the importance and efficacy of reciting Modim.

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

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