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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Modim’

Who Is Sandy?!

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

“Sandy gives New York a real thrashing!” screamed the headlines. “Hmmm, who exactly is Sandy and why is she thrashing New York,” I wonder. How about this one: (an exact quote) “For all those left homeless, for all those left scared and frightened, there is an enormous lesson from this hurricane – mother nature will do what she wants, when she wants, and our modern world can only bow before it.” Now I am really confused – who is this mother and why is she acting so mean – aren’t mothers supposed to be nice? And more so – what exactly is this “enormous” lesson? Why should I bow to her?

Baruch Hashem, we Torah abiding Jews know the truth. Even though the meteorologists have explained what brought about Hurricane Sandy and the post-tropical superstorm that resulted, we know the cause of all those factors. Hashem, the “Cause of all Causes,” orchestrated this great showing of His Power, and there was a reason for it. We do not have prophets who can tell us which one of the many sins of our world was the basis for the great punishment Hashem inflicted – nor is it our job to point fingers. We must share in the pain and suffering of those who experienced bodily harm or damage to their property, and offer whatever help possible. The outpouring of chesed seen in our communities created a great Kiddush Hashem and is definitely a great zechus for Klal Yisroel. On the other hand, the Gemara in Yevomos (63a) tells us that when punishment comes to the world it is to teach us a lesson. Let us suggest one possible lesson that Hashem was teaching us when He sent Sandy to the East Coast.

The Downside Of Modern Technology

Rav Aryeh Leib Kahn (Rosh Kollel Yad Halevi Kiryat Sefer) once pointed out that with the rapid advancement of modern technology we are in danger of becoming distanced from Hashem. For example, before the advent of cell phones, if you traveled out of town, and suddenly started to worry that perhaps you forgot to turn off the fire under a pot, there was nothing to do other than daven to Hashem that everything will be okay. But now, all you need to do is whip out your cell, call the neighbor and ask them to make sure the fire is out!

The more technology we have, the more we can chas v’sholom, forget Hashem. With our heated and (supposedly) waterproof homes, fitted with gas, electricity, and running water, we feel prepared. This mindset is the antithesis to the reason for our existence, as Hashem created us to become close to Him. The more trust we put in our own actions, the further we become from Hashem. To save us from this serious error and its dreadful results, once in a while Hashem sends us a reminder that He is the one in charge. Sometimes the wakeup call is on a small scale, to an individual in his own private life – and sometimes, like now, it is an extremely painful one to a larger community.

What Can We Put Our Trust In?

In the “olden days,” when night fell, the day ended. But in the modern day, that has changed. Everywhere we go, bright lights make it seem like daytime – we feel that we have conquered the darkness. When we are suddenly thrown into pitch-blackness, we realize that Hashem is the one who is lighting up our nights. When we cannot use all our electric powered appliances and devices, we realize how vulnerable we really are. When a tree comes crashing down on two pedestrians the day after the storm, we remember that we only make it home safely because Hashem is protecting us. And when ferocious winds, which sound like a freight train rattling through the empty streets, hurl objects through the air, we realize what it would be like if Hashem were not usually holding back those winds. When the temperatures begin to drop and the heat does not work, we see that we have no control over the cold. And taking cold showers certainly is not pleasant.

But the lessons don’t stop there. Hashem wanted to show us that He is always “ahead of the game.” Many people weren’t scared of power outages because they had generators to produce their own electricity. But even that doesn’t always help. In some places, the generator was flooded and stopped working. In others, due to the gasoline shortage, there isn’t fuel to power the generator! Many felt secure with their cell phones – they would be affecting by down phone lines – and then the cell phone services were disrupted because cell towers were down.

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

Triple Pray?
‘If He Did Not Say He Must Repeat’
(Shabbos 24a)

Our sugya is the source for some of the most well-known laws in hilchos tefillah: those dictating what a person should do if he forgets to say ya’aleh v’yavo in Shemoneh Esreh on Rosh Chodesh or Chol Hamoed (Shulchan Aruch, O.C. 422:1).

If he notices his mistake before beginning Modim, he should recite ya’aleh v’yavo immediately. If he notices any time between the beginning of Modim and the end of Shemoneh Esreh, he must return to Retzeh and proceed from there. If he is accustomed to reciting petitions such as “Elokai netzor” at the end of Shemoneh Esreh, this is considered part of his Shemoneh Esreh and he may still return to Retzeh. If he only realizes after completing the entire Shemoneh Esreh (even if he has not yet taken three steps back), he must return to the beginning of Shemoneh Esreh.

A Different Mistake Each Time

What about a doubly forgetful person – someone who repeats Shemoneh Esreh because he forgot to say ya’aleh v’yavo and then realizes after his second Shemoneh Esreh that he accidentally said “morid hagesehem” in place of “morid hatal”? Does he need to say Shemoneh Esreh yet a third time?

Did He Or Did He Not?

At the heart of this question lies another one: How do our Sages view a tefillah that lacked ya’aleh v’yavo or any of the other insertions whose omission requires one to repeat Shemoneh Esreh? Do they see it as almost “non-existent” – as if the person had not davened at all? Or perhaps they do consider it a tefillah, but nonetheless, the person must repeat Shemoneh Esreh in order to recite the omitted insertion.

If we take the view that the tefillah is essentially “non-existent” or “worthless” (as if he had not davened), then the person who forgot ya’aleh v’yavo and confused morid hagesehem with morid hatal must daven a third time. However, if we take the view that the Shemoneh Esreh without ya’aleh v’yavo, for example, is still a tefillah, then the person need not daven a third time since each tefillah completed what the other one lacked. (The person did not confuse morid hagesehem with morid hatal in the first tefillah and did say ya’aleh v’yavo in the second tefillah.)

Leading poskim throughout the generations have debated this issue. Many rule that the person in our case need not daven again (Gur Aryeh Yehudah O.C. 17; Mekor Chaim 108; Birkas Habayis 17:29) while others rule that he must (Mateh Efraim 582:21, Magen Giborim 104, Elef Hamagen s.k. 9; Resp. Likutei Tzvi 10; Resp. Maharshag O.C. 1:52; et. al.).

Will This Time Be Any Better?

The author of Yagel Yaakov (O.C. 23) presents a different argument. Even if we were to consider both tefillos invalid, he writes, we should still not instruct this person to daven a third time since if he erred twice, he will most likely err a third time. Only if he is confident that he will certainly not err this time should he daven again.

Contemporary poskim (Levushei Mordechai Tinyana, O.C. 12; Resp. Har Tzvi O.C. 1:54; Minchas Yitzchak 10:40) suggest that a person should daven a third time and make a condition that if he is required to daven again, this Shemoneh Esreh should fulfill his obligation, and if he is not required to daven again, his tefillah should be considered a voluntary tefillas nedavah. All opinions are thereby satisfied.

Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters are published by the Sochachover Kollel of Bnei Brak, led by Rabbi Chaim Dovid Kovalsky. Meoros Hadaf Hayomi Newsletters, in Hebrew and/or English, are available for simcha and memorial dedications and are distributed by e-mail, dafyomi@hadaf-yomi.com.

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.

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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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-chazzan-and-congregation-part-x/2012/08/03/

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