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April 24, 2014 / 24 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Modim’

Q & A: Chazzan And Congregation (Part I)

Wednesday, May 9th, 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), based on the Mechaber (ad loc.), states as follows: “After the congregation has finished the silent Shmoneh Esreh, the chazzan repeats it in a loud voice so that people who do not know how to pray can listen to the prayer of the chazzan and thus fulfill their obligation [to pray]. However, one who is thoroughly knowledgeable does not fulfill his obligation by means of the chazzan’s repetition. Even someone who does not know how to pray only discharges his obligation when in the company of a congregation, where there are nine individuals listening to and concentrating on the blessings of the chazzan and responding ‘Amen’ [after each blessing].”

The source of this halacha is Gemara Rosh Hashana (33b-34a) where the sages and Rabban Gamliel dispute whose obligation the chazzan discharges by repeating Shmoneh Esreh. The sages rule that the chazzan only discharges the obligation of people who do not how to pray themselves. Rabban Gamliel rules that the chazzan discharges the obligation of everyone.

The Gemara records: “The sages asked Rabban Gamliel, ‘According to your view, why should individuals pray quietly [if the chazzan will in any event discharge their obligation with chazaras hashatz]?’ He responded, ‘To give the chazzan time to organize his prayer.” Rabban Gamliel asked the sages, “According to your view, why should the chazzan descend before the ark [to say chazaras hashatz if he doesn’t discharge the congregation’s obligation to pray]? They replied, “For people unversed and unable to fulfill their obligation by themselves.” Rabban Gamliel responded, “Just as he discharges the obligation of one who is unversed, so can he discharge the obligation of one who is versed.”

Naturally, for the chazzan to discharge the obligation of people who do not how to daven properly, there needs to be a minyan present. He is fulfilling the obligation of tefillah b’tzibbur, as the Talmud (Megillah 23b) explains. Without a minyan, we do not recite Shema in Birkat Keriat Shema publicly, the chazzan does not say chazaras hashatz, kohanim do not say Birkat Kohanim, the Torah and Haftarah are not read etc.

Tosafot (Rosh Hashanah 34b s.v. “Kach motzi et habaki”) cites the Ba’al Halachot Gedolot, who rules that an individual who forgot to say Ya’aleh Veyavo during Shemoneh Esreh on Rosh Chodesh should concentrate on the chazzan’s repetition, from beginning to end. In this manner, he will discharge his obligation even though he is versed in prayer.

Tosafot dispute this ruling citing Rabin in the Gemara who, in the name of R. Yaakov and R. Shimon Chassida, argues that Rabban Gamliel only ruled that the chazzan discharges the obligation of workers in the fields who are restrained despite their own desire to participate in communal prayer since they are occupied with their labor and have no choice. The chazzan does not, however, discharge the obligation of city dwellers/workers who have some leeway in scheduling breaks during their working hours. They must pray themselves and cannot rely on the chazzan.

Tosafot, in the end, reconcile the ruling of the Ba’al Halachot Gedolot with that of Rabban Gamliel (according to Rabin) and states that the rule that the chazzan does not discharge the obligation of city dwellers/workers only applies if they did not pray at all. If they did pray, even if they do not understand, their obligations of tefillah b’tzibur are discharged by listening to chazaras hashatz. The Aruch Hashulchan (Orach Chayim 124:2) cites many authorities who rule accordingly – that those who do not understand but are present for tefillah are no worse than those who, due to circumstances beyond their control, work in the fields. Thus, the chazzan can discharge their obligation with chazaras hashatz.

(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 yklass@jewishpress.com.

Q & A: The Gabbai’s Dilemma (Part I)

Wednesday, February 11th, 2004
QUESTION: If the rabbi of a shul (or a minyan) does not indicate to the sheliach tzibbur to go ahead at the end of the Shema or at the beginning of Chazarat HaShatz (the Reader’s Repetition), should the gabbai tell him to go ahead or does he wait until the rabbi finishes? To which should greater consideration be given by the gabbai: kibbud HaRav or tircha detzibbura?
Steven Littwin
Riverdale, New York
ANSWER: In order to fully understand the issues involved, we have to face another matter which you did not mention but which is crucial to this discussion.The Mishna (Rosh Hashana 33b) states as follows: “… Just as the sheliach tzibbur [the chazzan] is required [to pray], so is each and every individual [in the congregation] required [to pray]. Rabban Gamaliel opines that the sheliach tzibbur fulfills the congregation’s obligation.”

The Gemara (34b) states that the Sages asked R. Gamaliel, “According to your view, why does the congregation pray [first]? R. Gamaliel answered, “So that the sheliach tzibbur may have the time to prepare for his prayers [in advance of Chazarat HaShatz].” R. Gamaliel then challenged the Sages, “According to you, why does the sheliach tzibbur go down before the Aron Kodesh [for the Reader's Repetition]?” They responded, “In order to fulfill the prayer obligation of those who are not proficient [in prayer].”

R. Gamaliel answered, “Just as he fulfills the obligation of those who are not proficient, so does he also fulfill it for those who are proficient.”

The Gemara seeks to differentiate between the daily tefilla (the Shemoneh Esreh) and the tefilla of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, when all are deemed “not proficient.” In this case the Sages would agree with R. Gamaliel; but as for the rest of the tefillot throughout the year, in which most people are considered proficient, they would disagree. In fact, the Gemara concludes that even R. Gamaliel requires all to pray individually throughout the year, in addition to having the chazzan repeat the Shemoneh Esreh.

R. Yosef Caro rules this way, as he states, “When the congregation conclude their (Amida) prayers, the chazzan repeats the Amida, and if there is any individual who is not proficient in prayer, he should pay attention to what the chazzan says and he has thus fulfilled the requirement. And whoever fulfills the requirement in that manner must pay attention from the beginning to the end” (Orach Chayyim 124:1). It is thus proper to follow every word in the siddur along with the chazzan.

The Magen Avraham (ad loc.) notes that one who is proficient in prayer has not fulfilled his prayer requirement by listening to the chazzan. If such is the case, why do we have the chazzan repeat the Shemoneh Esreh at all? Rambam, in a responsum cited by Abudarham in the seder for Shacharit, explains that in this way we observe the enactment of the Sages, and it is therefore not considered a blessing uttered in vain, as the Sages did not require us to check each individual as to whether he is proficient or not.

The Rosh (Megilla 3:7) points out that regarding the chazzan’s repetition of the Shemoneh Esreh ? and the problem of uttering a blessing in vain ? we can refer to the Gemara (Berachot 21a). R. Yochanan states, “Would that a person would go on praying the entire day.” The Rosh also makes the crucial remark that the chazzan repeats the Amida in order that the congregation recite Kedusha and the Modim deRabbanan.

The Gaon R. Moshe Stern, the Debreciner Rav, zt”l, said concerning the above quoted Rosh (Responsa Ba’er Moshe Vol. 4:9): “I have been asked numerous times regarding those who pray (the Amida) for an extensive period of time in order to concentrate properly – at the minimum long enough to understand the meaning of the words – but along the way they lose the opportunity to say Kedusha at almost every tefilla. Would they be permitted to begin saying the Shemoneh Esreh ahead of the congregation so that they will be able to conclude their Amida before the chazzan reaches the Kedusha?

“I answered that it is permissible to do so. It is far better to do so than (at Shacharit) to wait at Shira Chadasha, standing quietly until after the Kedusha or (even) until Shome’a Tefilla or Modim (and then start the Amida), because in so doing they will lose the opportunity to answer ‘Amen, Yehei Shemei Rabbah etc.’ – which is even of greater importance than Kedusha.”

Having so ruled, Rav Stern then fully discusses the issue, citing the Gemara in Berachot (28b) which states, to the contrary, that “it is prohibited for one to start the Amida before the congregation is ready to start (their prayer). We also find that the Mechaber (Orach Chayyim 90:10) rules that one may not start his Amida before the congregation prays.”

In the course of his discussion Rav Stern seeks to resolve the contradiction with Me’iri (Berachot 27a s.v. “Yitba’er”), whom he quotes and explains: in cases where the congregational prayer has the opposite effect in that it disturbs one’s concentration, we have a basis to permit (starting earlier). The Me’iri states that it has become the custom of some Sages to pray on their own and then come to shul to hear the Kaddish and all other parts of the prayer that require a quorum of ten men. He cites other views as well, such as the Aruch HaShulchan (Orach Chayyim 109:5), who opines that it is far better to start together with the congregation. If they reach Kedusha before he concludes, he should stand quietly and listen – as he obviously cannot answer – and when they conclude the Kedusha, he should then continue [his own prayer].

The Aruch HaShulchan resolves this problem as follows (op. cit. 104:13): “… They (stop) while still in their (personal) tefilla, and they listen (to the chazzan as he says Kedusha or Amen, Yehei Shemei Rabbah, etc.) with concentration, and thus it is considered ‘Shome’a ke’oneh,’ and it is deemed as if they are answering…”

Rav Stern cites the differing view of Responsa Amudei Esh (3:7), which is that one may never start the Amida before the congregation. If he is afraid to miss Kedusha, Modim, etc., he is considered to be compelled beyond his control, an anuss, and is thus blameless. He is then absolved of the requirement to recite these passages.

R. Stern also cites views that agree with Aruch HaShulchan and allow one to start the Amida ahead of the congregation. One such view is found in Responsa Pri Tevuah (Siman 68). There, a novel reasoning concludes that since part of this Amida would anyway overlap the congregation’s recital, the individual’s Amida would be considered part of tefilla betzibbur.

Responsa Yaskil Avdi (Vol 1. Orach Chayyim 3) is brought into the discussion by R. Stern as well in support of his ruling. In Ohel Mo’ed it is stated that such was the practice of “kedoshei elyon,” the very righteous. This way the congregation would not have to wait for them to finish.

We see from the above discussion that utmost importance is placed on including each and every member of the congregation in the chazzan’s repetition. However, the problem of tircha detzibbura, hardship for the community, remains an issue, as precious time may be spent waiting. The gabbai has, indeed, a difficult situation to resolve.

(To be continued)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/ask-the-rabbi/q-a-the-gabbais-dilemma-part-i/2004/02/11/

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