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T H E PI RCH EI SH OSH AN I M T EFI L L A PROJECT

The Roadmap t o Prayer


Lesson 20
Pirchei Shoshanim 2005
This shiur may not be reproduced in any f orm without permission of the copyright hol der
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Chazoras Hashat z, Kedusha, Birchos Kohanim,
Amen, Talking in Shul
Chazoras Hashat z on n:n " y
The Chazzans Repet it ion of
Shemoneh Esrei
Af ter the mi nyan f inishes reciting the quiet Shemoneh E srei , the chazzan begins the
repetition of the entire Shemoneh E srei by Tefi ll as Shachari s as well as by T efi ll as M incha.
By M aari v there is no repetition.
Why Shemoneh Esrei is Repeat ed
There are a number of reasons why the Shemoneh E srei is repeated. The primary
reason is because there may be some people who would like to daven Shemoneh E srei
but are unable to do so because they cannot read. This was quite common in the
time of the T almud when many people were not very literate and they were even
unf amiliar with the regular daily prayers. At that time, the A nshei Knesses H agedolah
(the Men of the Great Assembly) instituted that the chazzan repeat the Shemoneh E srei
out loud so that anyone who didnt know how to daven would be able to listen to
Chazoras H ashatz and discharge their obligation (be yotzei ) by listening. I t is necessary
to have a mi nyan present in order f or anyone to be yotzei by listening. Additionally,
anyone who is capable of davening on their own cannot discharge their obligation in
prayer just by listening to Chazoras H ashatz.
The Tur mentions another reason f or Chazoras H ashatz. He says that it was necessary
to repeat the Shemoneh E srei so that the chazzan coul d recite Kedusha and also the verses
(Pesuk im) of Bi rchos Kohanim.
The A ruch H ashulchan explains that we recite Chazoras H ashatz nowadays mainly
because of the reason of the Tur. Once we are repeating it f or the reason of Kedusha
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and Bi rchos Kohani m we recite the entire middle part as well even if we know that
everyone present knows how to daven.
According to k abbalah Rabbi Moshe K ordevaro ztl writes that the f ull ef f ects of our
daily prayers are not realized until the chazzan repeats the Shemoneh Esrei.
Someone t hat Li st ens t o Chazor as Hashat z for t he purpose of ful fi l l i ng
hi s obl i gat i on
Since one purpose f or Chazoras H ashatz is to help others that dont know how to
pray f ulf ill their obligation (be motzee). Such a person should do the f ollowing in
order to f ulf ill his obligation of Prayer.
He should take three steps backward and f orward at the start of Shemoneh
E srei and place his f eet together while standing
He should bow at the usual points one bows during Shemoneh E srei
He should listen to every word and answer A men to each bracha
He should not answer Baruch H u uvaruch shemo, since one only uses this
response when one is not f ulf illing ones obligation through listening to the
bracha
He should recite Kedusha along with the congregation
He should listen to the M odi m of the chazzan and not recite M odi m
derabbanan that the congregation says
I f the chazzan does not recite M odi m out loud, he should recite M odi m
himself
At the end of Chazoras H ashatz he should recite Y ihyu l eratzon and E lok aye
N etzor himself as usual and take three steps backwards etc.
The Chazzan and Chazoras Hashat z
The chazzan recites H ashem sefasaye ti ftach etc. quietly bef ore starting the recitation of
Shemoneh E srei . He should take three steps backwards and f orwards bef ore starting
Chazoras H ashatz as usual, unless someone standing Shemoneh E srei behind him is
blocking him. Some opinions allow the chazzan to take three steps backwards even
then. The chazzan proceeds to recite Chazoras H ashatz out loud, having in mind to be
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motzee (f ulfill the obligation) whoever desires to be yotzei (f ulf ill) his obligation by
listening to Chazoras H ashatz.
Ni ne Peopl e Li st eni ng
Unlike by Kaddi sh, it is necessary f or at least nine people to listen to Chazoras H ashatz
in order to f ulf ill the mi tzvah properly. I f less than nine people respond to the shal i ach
tzi bburs repetition, it is very likely to be wasteful brochos. Therefore, it is advisable f or
someone who is concerned that the tzi bbur will not f ollow along, he should recite the
Shemoneh E srei as a T efi llas nedava (voluntary prayer) if necessary.
The Congregat i ons Responsi bi l i t y
I t is incumbent upon the congregation to be sure to follow along with the shal i ach
tzi bbur during Chazoras H ashatz. I t is recommended to follow along in a Si ddur
(Prayer Book) so that one will not be distracted. I t is important not to be seduced by
ones religiosity to study T orah or recite T ehi lli m or other prayers during that time. I f
necessary, one may leave the shul (synagogue) brief ly to study something or to recite
a prayer if there are another nine individuals listening intently.
Kedusha Different Versions and t heir Origins
The f irst insertion to Shemoneh E srei unique to Chazoras H ashatz is Kedusha. I t is
recited daily at Shachari s and also at M i ncha. I t consists of the following verses.
no+p : :5o nc:
u :y a | n o n o + _ p : , n u o + p _ n o u o 5
u: n n o a , | a : +_ : _ y an 5_ 5 , n : n : p
: _ n :
o+ p , o+ p , o+ p , n a x , y : n : 5 : n
+a 5 .
|: a u n n y : : n :
np n n +a 5 |: a .
:n : an 5 | o + p : a + a :
u :y : |: n , x | _ n:_ , :+ :+ : , n : : _ n .
o " y : | : + x + x_ : :+ :+ : , | n o + p u n x : n_ x : :
o + p_ : , |_ n a o , : n:_ , u :y : on : : o n
+ y , n n o+ p :+ x | : n : 5 . n n |: a ,
o+ p_ n : n ) oya " n : o+ p_ n | : n_ n . (
no+p : u+:oc +:oc nc:
| x :_ y_ : | o + p_ : , p o : _ o +c _ n o u_ y : 5 o + ,
n o + p | : u o : _ o n _ n , | a : +_ : _ y an 5 _ 5 , : p
: _ n n : n :
o+ p , o+ p , o+ p , n a x , y : n : 5 : n
+a 5 .
u : n u n a _ o n u n n y : :
np n n +a 5 |: a .
: a + a :n : an 5 | o + p :
u :y : |: n , x | _ n:_ , :+ :+ : , n : : _ n .
o " y : o+ p | n o o+ p n n , u : 5 a u o+ p
n : c | : : _ n . n n o+ p :+ x | : n : 5 . |: a
n n , n o+ p _ n : ) oya " n : o+ p _ n | : n_ n . (
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Nekadeish es shimcha
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or Nakdishach venaaritzach
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Kadosh, Kadosh,
Kadosh Baruch Kevode Yimloch Hashem leolam
The prevalent custom is f or the chazzan to start and the congregation responds ahead
bef ore the chazzan f inishes each verse. According to H al acha only the chazzan would
recite the f irst stanza of N ak dishach/ N ek adei sh as it serves only as an invitation to the
congregants to come together f or the purpose of saying the verses of Kedusha. The
main verses of Kedusha are Kadosh etc. Baruch k evode and Y i mloch. I n practice, it is
customary for the entire congregation to join together in saying the f irst stanza of
N ak dishach/ N ek adei sh anyway
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.
There are dif f ering customs whether the congregation adds the words leumassam
meshabchi m veomri m af ter Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadoshand uvdi vrei k odshecha k asuv lei mor
af ter Baruch Kevode The chazzan def initely recites those words. Also, according to
some the chazzan continues with A tta k adosh af ter Kedusha, while according to others
L edor ledor naggi d etc is recited.
The prayer of Kedusha is recited while standing with both f eet placed together as one as
we do f or Shemoneh E srei . When we say Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadosh we lif t ourselves by the
heels of our f eet three times.
Kadosh (Hol y) t hree t i mes
The Shelah writes that the three ref erences to G-ds holiness ref er to 1) H ashems
omnipotence in the Heavenly spheres, 2) in our present physical world, and 3) that He
will continue His existence forever and ever. This is how the T argum
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explains this verse
(pasuk ) and we say this expressly in the vah letzi yone prayer towards the end of
Shachari s (The Morning Prayer).
These three ref erences correspond to H ashem M elech, H ashem M al ach, H ashem Y iml och
l eol am vaed. H ashem M el ech (is presently king) ref ers to His dominion over events in the
present world we live in. H ashem M al ach (was king) at t he beginning bef ore we existed
ref erring to His dominion over spiritual spheres. H ashem Y iml och leol am vaed (will be
king f orever) corresponds to the last ref erence mentioned above. The Highest f orm of
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N usach A shk enaz
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N usach Sefard
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A ruch H ashul chan 125:2
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Y eshaya 6: 3
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Kedusha is the Kedusha of Kesser
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. The A budraham notes that the numerical value of Kesser
in Hebrew is the same as H ashem M elech, H ashem M alach, H ashem Y i mloch leolam vaed.
:n5 = ' - n ' - ' - n : n | . ' - n ' - ' - n : n | . ' - n ' - ' - n : n y : | + y u :
6
Kedusha on Shabbos and Yom Tov
On Shabbos and Yom Tov Kedusha still retains its basic f ormat as outlined above
except that it is expanded a little. Please ref er to your Si dduri m (prayer books) f or the
additions. I t has become commonplace f or the chazzan to sing the f inal stanza of
Kedusha in a melodious tune although it is not necessary.
By Mussaf Di fferent t han t he Ot her Kedushos
By T efi llas M ussaf, Kedusha begins with a dif f erent introduction by Sephardi m, A shk enazim
and N usach Sefard. I t begins with Kesser yitnu lecha |: :n :n5 according to custom
of Sephardi m and also N usach Sefard. According to A shk enaz it begins with Naaritzcha
venakdishcha |x:y: |o+p: .
I n addition to this, an additional stanza was added which begins with Shema Y i srael
H ashem E lok ei nu H ashem E chad + ::o yno ' + :p: ' +n .
Historically, this was added in during the middle of the f if th century, when the Persian
K ing Y ezdegerd I I
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prohibited such open allegiance to G-d. To this end, they installed
guards in the major synagogues to assure that the Jews would not recite Kri as Shema .
The Jews in f act did not recite the Shema in the usual portion of davening. However,
since on Shabbos and Y om T ov the prayers took a long time, the guards usually lef t by
the time they passed the usual place of Shema. Seeing this opportunity to recite Shema
in public, they introduced it at the end of each Kedusha def ying the evil decree.
Event ually, H ashem sent a snake into K ing Y ezdegerd I I chambers and killed him. Af ter
his Divinely ordained death, the decree was annulled. The Sages decided to retain this
as part of the M ussaf Kedusha as a tribute to the miracle of their salvation f rom this evil
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This Kedusha is discussed f urther into this lesson
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A budraham
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This Y ezdegard I I was a grandson of Y ezdegard I who was an upright individual that valued the Jewish f aith and
honored its leaders. (See Gemora Kesubos daf 61a, Z evachim 19a)
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decree. Since by Shachari s we anyway recite the Shema and not by M ussaf, they chose
M ussaf to retain the recital of Shema in Kedusha
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.
Ful l Devot i on
The Sefer Y esode V eshoresh H aavodah points out that the holy A ri ztl was very
met iculous by Shema Y israel of Kedusha to accept perf orming H ashems T orah and M itzvos
even if it means giving up our lives al Ki ddush H ashem (to sanctif y G-ds Holy Name)
just as we do by Kri as Shema. Therefore when saying H ashem E chad (G-d is the One
and Only) one should think in ones mind that he is giving up his lif e f or H ashems
honor. As one continues the stanza of H u E lok ei nu H u A vinu (He is our G-d He is our
f ather) one should rejoice in having the opportunity of doing H ashems servi ce (A vodas
H ashem) and for having the resolve to even give up ones own lif e if necessary f or such
an exalted G-d.
Kesser The Crown Jewel:
Highest level of Kedusha
nun xap n:yn :nn |: :n :n5 . + :y :n:o nn5 o:o |: no+p u:5 +n
:n n : n :p |a: ,
n o+p o+p o+p ' +a5 y:n :5 :n nax
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:n |:a unny: uo:nn uynon pn :+ :+x oy: :pa
n +a5 |:a ' npnn
1 0
5:n |npnn a:pa xa |:nn nn |: :n: u5nn 5 ::y |:nn :yon yon :
5on :na :na . unx: nx:: :+ :+: |:y u:o: |na o+pnn :+xnn . ::y
|p+x non ++ on |y :oa :nn :a+5 |n5:na n::n , n |:n ' u:y: |p:
np::n :+ :+: x
The Kedushas Kesser of M ussaf on Shabbos and Yom Tov that is recited by Sephardim as
well by N usach Sefard dates back to bef ore the time of the Geonim (the above version
is f rom the Siddur of Rav Amram Gaon, and Rav Natrenaee Gaon who brings this
version f rom the 2 ancient yeshivos of Bavel -Babylon) who recited this special version
that is a tremendous high level praise to H ashem.
From the version of the Geonim, it is evident that they said Kedushas Kesser by Shachari s
on Shabbos and by M ussaf they said Kesser as well but they also recited Pamayi m beahavah
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Shibal ei H al ek et Simon 45
9
+ : :n:vc: ,' :
10
+ : :x;:n: ' : " : + .
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Shema omri m (two times lovingly they recite Shema etc.) which is f or the additional
stanza of Shema Yisrael that is added to M ussaf.
cn
: n 5 | : : n ' - n ' - ' - n :_ p :n_ n u 5 : _ n : n : y _ n . n u _ n xa p : : o | n_ y u y :
+ _ n_ : _ n n : n : p | a : +_ : _ y :n n : a +_ 5 o : _ o | : n o + p u : 5 :
p " n - o+ p o+ p o+ p ' - n ' - ' - n a x p +a 5 y : n : 5 : n n :
n - +a 5 u :y : n . x :_ y_ n : +a 5 up n n n : n u : _ o n : o n . u n n y :
u : n u n a _ o n :
p " n - +a 5 |: a ' - n ' - ' - n np n n :
n - n_ y : n_ n_ : a o n np n n . ou + _ n_ n_ n u_ y n + n n u : 5 a : pa a : y n .
u : n y _ n o n a_ n a u _ n_ y_ o :
p " n - : n:_ n n : : o y _ n o ' - n ' - ' - n + n :
n - :_ n p : a n : . : y on n : 5 : _ n n . : o : : x : y o n n
:n : _ n : 5 : y : n : o n_ n_ : a : y n o_ . u 5 : n n : n o : 5 n : _ n u 5 n n : x n
: : p u :
p " n - : _ ' - n ' - ' - n :_ p u 5 :
n - :n : an 5 | o + p : a + a :
p " n - |: n ' - n ' - ' - n u :y : . :_ _p :+ :+ : x | . n : : _ n :
However, the M achzor V i tri ye mentions that there is a dif ference bet ween the Shabbos
morning Kedusha and the M ussaf Kedusha that in the morning the ending f or Baruch
Kevode begins with M i mk omecha (from Your place) and at M ussaf it begins M i mk omo
(f rom His place. He explains that the version of Shachari s implies that Bnei Y i srael are
aware where the Divine Presence resides while at M ussaf it implies that even Bnei Y i srael
are not aware where the Divine Presence can be found. The reason is that af ter exalting
H ashem through the Shachari s Kedusha, H ashems sanctity is raised to such a sublime level
that even Bnei Y israel can no longer discern where the D ivine Presence dwells. For this
reason on Y om Ki ppur, all the Kedushas are like by M ussaf since the entire day is so
elevated we immediately are not able to grasp where the Divine Presence dwells.
The Z ohar writes that the Kedusha of Kesser is very exalted and it is a prayer that
encompasses all other prayers as well. I n Chassidic writings, the Z ohar is understood to
mean that the Kedusha of Kesser has the unique power to uplif t all other prayers to be
f avorably accepted by H ashem. The T efi lla of Kesser is considered a key to the
acceptance of all prayers of the week. I n accordance to what we learned previously that
the praise of H ashem on Shabbos is empowered to Bnei Y i srael and not the M alachi m, it
is understandable how this prayer can elevate the weekday prayers to be accepted by
H ashem. I n Kabbalah it is written that the prayers of Bnei Y israel are elevated to a level of
Kesser to become so to speak a jewel in the crown of H ashem. I n our prayer service to
H ashem, we in a sense Coronate H ashem as our K ing through prayer and accepting His
Dominion in our everyday af fairs. This concept is mentioned in Chagi ga D af 13b as
well. This concept is also f ound in H al acha with regard to reciting Kedushas Kesser on
Rosh Chodesh (Festival of the N ew Moon). I t states in Orach Chaim Si mon 25:13 that
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the custom is to remove ones T efi lli n on Rosh Chodesh bef ore T efi llas M ussaf. The
Rama adds that this is only in those places that recite Kedushas Kesser by M ussaf.
However, it is the custom to remove them even in those congregations that do not
recite Kedushas Kesser by M ussaf.
We see f rom this H al acha that the elevated state of Kedushas Kesser is so great that it
replaces the Kedusha of Tefi lli n that the sign of T efi lli n which signif ies our subservience to
H ashem can be removed when we recite Kedushas Kesser which is in itself a declaration of
H ashems sovereignty and dominion.
The Underl yi ng Di fference bet ween Kesser and t he rest of t he Kedushos
The A ruch H ashulchan writes that usually, the Kedusha begins with an invitation of
N ek adei sh or N ak dishach which both essentially mean that the chazzan is calling upon the
congregation to recite Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh etc. Baruch Kevode etc. According to the
original institution of Kedusha, only the chazzan would recite the opening phrase of
N ek adei sh/ N ak dishach. The congregation would respond with Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh etc.
Baruch Kevodeetc.
One might ask, if the main parts of Kedusha are the two above-mentioned phrases, how
does Kedushas Kesser exceed the regular Kedusha in its level of praise? The only dif ference
of Kesser is its introduction which mentions the great level of praise attained by Bnei
Y i srael that their service to H ashem is in ef f ect crowning H ashem (so to speak).
The Kolbo notes that in the N usach (version) of N ak dishach of Sephardi m and N usach
Sefard, as well as the N usach of N ek adei sh of N usach A shk enaz emphasize that our praise
concurs with the praise of the M alachi m and is secondary to theirs. However, on
Shabbos by M ussaf by the Kedusha of Kesser, we speak of the multitude of Heavenly
angels that can only recite the praise of Kedusha af ter it is recited by Bnei Y i srael, implying
that the M alachi m are secondary to us in this praise.
The Kolbo answers this question with the M edrash that explains the verse in Y echezk el
that ref ers to M alachi m as having 6 wings, i.e. they are only permitted to praise H ashem
during the 6 days of the week. However, on Shabbos, only Bnei Y israel are permitted to
take the lead in praising and exalting H ashem. This is denoted in the verse in Tehillim
M i k naf haaretz zemi ros shamanu tzvi latzaddi k From the wings of the f irmament we
heard songs of splendor of the righteous
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Hence on Shabbos we recite Kedushas
Kesser which signif ies the primacy of Bnei Y i srael in praising H ashem.
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Yeshaya 24:16
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According to the Kolbo, perhaps the underlying dif f erence is - who is taking the
initiative to praise H ashem with these select praises of Kedusha. As the Kolbo tells us, the
essential dif ference of Kedusha on Shabbos and Kedusha during the week is who the
primary initiator of this praise is. During the week it is the M alachi m. On Shabbos it is
Bnei Y i srael . That is why Kedushas Kesser is essentially greater, since the f eat of Mankind
to reach higher levels than M alachi m is the greatest accomplishment.
Rav Amram Gaon brings a beautif ul M edrash about the greatness of the praises of
Kedusha. The M edrash begins with a vision of destruction and devastation. The Beis
Hamikdash is destroyed, Jews are murdered, the Holy places are in the hands of our
enemies etc. I t seems as if all hope is lost f or Bnei Y i srael . Then there is another vision
f rom the Heavenly Gates of Salvation and the Heavenly Gates of Consolation. There
we see a chamber with beautifully woven attire being prepared by the Heavenly angels,
with gorgeous crowns and then a most strikingly magnificent crown that is f ar more
beautif ul than any of the other crowns. The regular crowns (Kesser) are for the
Tzaddikim of each generation and for the kings of the Davidic dynasty as well as the
other kings of I srael. The other crown is reserved f or D ovid H amel ech who will wear this
to ascend a magnif icent throne opposite the Divine Presence and will recite unusually
beautif ul praises to G-d. Apparently, hope is not lost and the f uture promises great
spiritual achievement. The M edrash continues how f iery sparks go f orth to meet D ovi d
H amel ech f ollowed by the Davidic kings f ollowed by the I sraelite kings etc. D ovi d
H amel ech ascends his tall throne and begins saying such beautif ul praises that were never
heard by mankind. Af terwards Dovid says the pasuk of Yimloch H ashem leolam
(H ashem should reign f orever etc.) and as soon as Dovid says that, the highest Malach
recites K adosh K adosh K adosh and then the other M alachi m join in with thunderous
excitement, Baruch kevode H ashem M i mk omo.
From this we catch a glimpse of the beauty of the elevated praise of Kedusha.
On a Public Fast
On a day of f asting, an additional prayer is added to the Shachari s and M i ncha Shemoneh
E srei . This prayer is the A nei nu ::y prayer. I t is inserted into the quiet Shemoneh E srei of
the individuals as an addition to the prayer of Shema k ol ei nu yno ::p . However,
during Chazoras H ashatz, the chazzan inserts it after the bracha of Reei (nah) beanyei nu n:
) : ( ::ya . I t is said as an additional separate bracha which brings the total count of
brochos in this Shemoneh E srei to 20. I f the chazzan f orgot to recite this bracha at this point,
it is no longer recited as a separate bracha but as an addition to Shema k olei nu o yn ::p
as by the congregations quiet recitation of the Shemoneh E srei . I f the chazzan f orgot to
add it there, he just continues Shemoneh E srei without reciting it. An individual that
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f orgets to say it by Shema k olei nu yno ::p should recite just bef ore E lok aye N etzor
:x: p:. Even if it was omitted completely, the Shemoneh E srei is still valid.
Otherwise, the chazzan should not insert any additional prayers to Shemoneh E srei even
those that an individual would add.
Modim and Modim Derabbanan
When the chazzan reaches M odi m in Chazoras H ashatz, the congregation responds with
what is called M odi m D eRabbanan that is taken f rom the various T efi l l os recorded by the
Gemara in M esechta Sotah. The Gemara there mentions many T efi llos which were
composed by dif f erent Rabbanan - thus its name - M odi m deRabbanan (gratitude of the
Sages).
The chazzan should recite the entire M odi m out loud while the congregation recites the
M odi m deRabbanan. The reason why the congregation recites M odi m deRabbanan even
though they usually are supposed to be yotzei with the chazzans recitation, the
A budraham explains that when one owes a Thank You, it ought to come personally
f rom each individual and not through a messenger - by listening and accepting
someone elses prayer. One who sends a messenger to thank someone on his behalf
can later deny that he ever sent a messenger. Therefore, we have to personally give
special thanks and praise to H ashem by the prayer of M odim. However the rest of prayer
is mostly praises or requests, which can be done through a messenger.
Still, one who is f ulf illing his obligation of Shemoneh E srei through listening to the
Shali ach T zi bbur repeating Shemoneh E srei does not recite M odi m D eRabbanan himself ;
rather he just listens to the Shali ach T zi bbur recite the regular M odi m as he does f or the
rest of Shemoneh E srei .
Birchas Kohanim u:n5 n5:a
on " y :n :
: n:_ n: : na_ , : 5 : a n 5 : a_ a n o : o n_ n n :n_ a n an 5 _ n : _ y + n on
| + a_ y , n :n_ n o n :_ n : a u : _ n5 , u_ y | o+ p , :n 5 .
| 5 : a | : n o . ) :np - 5 n x : (
: : o | : | : n . ) :np - 5 n x : (
o : o | : u o | : u: o
1 2
. ) :np - 5 n x : (
12
Numbers/ Bami dbar 6:24-26
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The next item that the Shali ach T zi bbur adds to the Shemoneh E srei is Bi rchas Kohani m, the
blessings of Y evorechecha, Y aei r and Y issa o | 5 : a , : , . The congregants respond by
saying Kei n yehi ratzon 5 n x : (so shall be His will) af ter each pasuk (Torah verse).
The sefer (book) Y esode V eshoresh H aavodah writes that the chazzan should recite these
pesuk i m (Torah verses) as a heartf elt blessing to the congregation and not just as a
recitation of Torah verses. Thats why the congregation responds Kei n yehi ratzon 5 n
x : (so shall be His will).
The Shali ach T zi bbur recites this whenever the Kohanim do not D uchen with N esi as
Kappayi m. I n the Diaspora, this is recited daily, including Shabbos except f or f estivals
(Y omi m T ovi m). Then the Kohanim are called up to give their blessing to the congregation
by standing in the f ront, turning towards the congregants with their hands raised over
their shoulders enveloped in their T allei si m and reciting the pesuk i m (Torah verses) of
Y evorechecha, Y aei r and Y issa o | 5 : a , : , word by word, out loud. I n this case the
congregants must respond A men at the end of each the three verses (Pesuk i m). The
custom is f or the chazzan to read each word aloud for the Kohanim to repeat.
Amen: It s Meaning & t he Proper Way t o Respond
While the chazzan is reciting Chazoras H ashatz and the congregation listens to his
recitation intently, what is the Kavanah (intent) one should have when responding A men
to the brochos. The word A men in Jewish lif e is very signif icant. I t is associated with
acquiring a portion in the World to Come f or any youngster that recites A men. The
Chof etz Chaim ztl once commented on a wicked persons unusually good f ortune,
Who knows? Maybe he is getting repaid in this world f or answering A men when he
was a youngster?
The word A men is an acronym f or the words Kei l M elech N eeman * : n * |: : * n
(H ashem the trustworthy king). I t also is related to the word E munah n:n (f aith).
Sometimes when we answer A men we are expressing our belief and f aith in that
particular proclamation. Other times A men is expressing a f ervent hope that the
blessing come to f ruition. Sometimes both meanings are implied.
I t is important to concentrate and realize what its meaning is each time it is said. This
requires that one hear and understand the bracha one is responding to as well as training
oneself to f ocus on listening to each and every bracha one responds to during the
course of T efi lla. This requires much training and ef f ort to break the natural habit of
responding A men by rote. On the other hand, it presents us with a daily challenge and
opportunity to give T efi lla deeper meaning and help us continue to grow and reach
greater heights in our closeness with H ashem through prayer. Perhaps this can be
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another way of explaining what Chazal meant that Gadol haoneh A men yosei r mi n
hamevorach |:ann n :n n n:yn :+x (Greater is the one that answers A men, even
more than the one reciting the blessing). This is perhaps because the one responding
requires greater ef f ort to tune in and f ocus himself on the f ull meaning of the bracha
and responding with the appropriate Kavanah (intent).
The f ollowing is a part ial list of brochos with its appropriate meaning for A men:
For Bi rchos H aneheni n (i.e. Blessings f or pleasures), Bi rchos H ami tzvos (i.e. Blessings
f or M i tzvos), Bi rchos H ashachar, Baruch Sheomar, Y isht abach, H ak ei l H ak adosh and all
other blessings of praise - A men means that it is true and conf irms our belief in the
praise expressed in the bracha.
For Kaddish, Bonei Y erushalayi m (Who will rebuild Jerusalem), E s T zemach D ovi d
avdecha (The sprouting of Your servant David), Retzei and other similar prayers that
beseech H ashem to f ulf ill an appeal - A men means a prayer that H ashem should f ulf ill
our request
For Selach lanu (Forgive us), Refaei nu (Heal us) and other similar blessings that
praise H ashem and also beseech Him -A men takes on both of the above meanings.
L L a a w w s s u : + u : +
One should respond A men accurately at the end of each bracha, not too soon and
not too late.
The chazzan should be sure to wait f or most of the congregants to respond A men
bef ore proceeding to the next bracha.
The proper way to pronounce A men is to put emphasis on the second half of the
word, to say it long enough to have in mind Kei l M el ech N eeman but not to drag it
out longer.
One that didnt hear the bracha cannot answer A men unless one is aware which
bracha was just recited.
I I n n t t i i m m a a t t i i o o n n s s n: n:
I t is benef icial to answer 91 times A men daily equal to the numerical value of the
Hebrew letters of n; A lef = 1, n M em= 40, N un= 50, (91).
A men has the same numerical value as H ashem E lok ei nu -
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n = 9 1 ) = 9 1 = 6 5 + 2 6 ( ' - n ' - ' - n = ' 2 6 + ' - ' + ' - : ' - ' = 6 5
(A vraham zak ei n) ba bayamim(And Abraham) was old coming with days
:::: : ;: (cn:x:) The last letters spell Amen -
This hints to us that one who is caref ul to answer A men will merit longevity.
Rav Eliyahu Lopian ztl, the famous tzaddik who was known for his
tremendous piety and pureness of character was once traveling by train in
Eretz Yisrael. On this train there was also a group of secular Israeli
policemen. When Rav Eliyahu came out of the restroom and was ready to
recite the bracha of Asher Yatzar, he first summoned one of the officers to
gather all the officers to listen to his bracha and answer Amen intently. The
officers obliged and upon hearing Rav Eliyahu complete the bracha, they
promptly returned to their seats. Soon afterwards, a strange thing occurred.
The train all of a sudden came to a screeching halt and the officers all
hurried out somewhere onto the tracks. There was a big commotion, but no
one really new what was going on. After a short while, the officers re-
boarded the train with a look of astonishment clearly evident on their faces.
Apparently, a terrorist had planted explosives on the tracks with the intent of
blowing the train up, as it passes over the explosives. Somehow, the train
managed to stop just before riding over the explosives and the officers were
able to secure the area and get rid of the explosives. They all seemed to
understand quite well that their train escaped imminent danger unscathed
through the merit of answering Amen to the bracha of the tzaddik. That
bracha ends with the words Baruch Atta Hashem Rofei kol basar umafli
laassos (the Healer of all flesh and his works are amazing). Amen, affirmed
their inner belief in Hashem and worked for them, wonders!
W hen one responds A men i t i s consi dered as i f one
hi mself reci ted the blessi ng.
One should not respond Baruch H u uvaruch
Shemo to a bracha whi ch hi s i ntenti on i s to
di scharge hi s obli gati on.
I f f or example, one is listening to someone recite Ki ddush on Shabbos and ones
intention is to f ulfill ones own obligation by listening to this person recite Ki ddush, one
must pay attention to every word of Ki ddush and answer A men at the appropriate
endings of each bracha. Additionally, the one who is reciting Ki ddush should specif ically
have in mind to be motzee (discharge that individuals obligation) and the one listening
should have in mind to be yotzei (f ulf ill) his obligation of Ki ddush. The intention of the
13
Blessed is He and blessed is His Name
A men and Baruch H u uvaruch
Shemo
n , no |:a n |:a
1 3
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one who is reciting to be motzee and the one who is list ening to be yotzei is mandatory.
Additionally, the listener should have in mind both by the bracha of Borei Pri H agefen
oxn :o :a and by the bracha M ek adesh H ashabbos naon o+pn, that A men is af f irming
that what was said is true and that he believes it f ully.
I n this case one must be caref ul not to respond Baruch H u uvaruch Shemo |:a n |:a
no, since one needs to be yotzei with this persons Ki ddush.
One who intends to be yotzei and listened to the bracha but didnt respond A men, is still yotzei .
I n the case of Chazoras H ashatz, answering A men is necessary f or the listeners even
though they do not need to be yotzei the brochos of Shemoneh E srei in order to validate the
Chazoras H ashatz which requires a mi nyan. One should have in mind by each bracha
where he answers A men that he is af f irming his belief in the particular thought
expressed in that bracha. For example, by the bracha of Refaei nu :o:, he should aff irm
with his A men that H ashem is the true Healer of all illnesses. By Barei ch alei nu ::y |:a
one should concentrate by A men that H ashem is our only source of Parnassah
(sustenance). I f someone needed to be yotzei by listening to the Chazoras H ashatz then
one is required to answer only A men and not Baruch H u uvaruch Shemo.
Increasi ng our Prayer Threefol d
Rebbe Y ochanan
14
said I wish one would pray all day long! The following concept is
one way of f ulf illing this dictum.
The A budraham writes that one who davens Shemoneh E srei and listens intently to
Chazoras H ashatz and answers A men to all the brochos is considered as if he davened
three T efi llos (prayers). Once when he himself davened. Another time when he
responds A men to each bracha it is as if he said each bracha. A third time is because the
one who responds A men is considered greater than the one reciting the blessing.
Answeri ng Amen t o Brochos of Shemoneh Esrei of an Indi vi dual
I f an individual recites Shemoneh E srei, one must be caref ul to recite it quietly. Although
one must verbalize each word of Shemoneh E srei and it is insuff icient to just read
Shemoneh E srei in ones mind, still, the individuals Shemoneh E srei is called T efi l l a bel achash
on:a n:on (the quiet T efi lla) and it must be recited quietly. I f an individual is davening
Shemoneh E srei in an audible tone, there is a question whether one may answer A men to
their bracha. The Chochmas Shl omo
15
maintains that one should answer A men. However,
14
See Gemara Berachos 21a and commentaries that this refers only to a voluntary Shemoneh E srei - T efill asN edava
15
Notes to Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim Simon 124: 4
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the sefer (book) H ali chos Shlomo quotes that Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztl came to
the conclusion against answering A men since the original institution of this Shemoneh
E srei was not f or others to hear and theref ore one is not meant to respond to these
brochos even if he hears them f rom another individual. Only the Chazoras H ashatz was
instituted to be recited out loud for the purpose to be mot zeethose who need it.
An i ndi vi dual who is reci t i ng Shemoneh Esrei whi l e t he chazzan is
reci t i ng Chazoras Hashat z
A common occurrence that presents many diff iculties is when someone is still in the
middle of davening Shemoneh E srei while the chazzan is reciting Chazoras H ashatz.. We
know that when someone is in the middle of Shemoneh E srei one must not interrupt it
by talking even f or the sake of a mi tzvah or f or the sake of another T efi lla. Theref ore, if
one were to hear the chazzan reciting Kaddi sh
16
Kedusha or Borchu it would be f orbidden
f or him to respond. Rather, the individual should remain silent and listen intently to the
chazzan recite these prayers, and f ulf ill his obligations (be yotzei ) by listening based on
the H al acha of Shomeah Ke' oneh yno n:y5 (listening -with i ntenti on to fulfil l an obl igati on - is
as if reciting). One should do this in the middle of Shemoneh E srei for Kaddi sh, Kedusha,
Borchu, A men yehei shemei rabba, A men to H ak ei l H ak adosh and to Shomeah T efi lla.
I f one is reciting Shemoneh E srei together with the Shali ach T zi bbur, one may recite
Kedusha together with the congregation at the beginning of the third bracha - A tta Kadosh
o+p nn, which is where the chazzan recites Kedusha during Chazoras H ashatz.
The Closing for t he Shaliach Tzibbur
The Shali ach T zi bbur concludes the Chazoras H ashatz with the f inal bracha of Shemoneh
E srei Si m Shalom u:o uo.
There is a question whether the Shali ach T zi bbur recites Y ihyu l eratzon af ter he concludes
his T efi lla
17
.
According to the Shela and also according to the Gra, the chazzan says the verse (pasuk )
Y ihyu l eratzon at the end of Chazoras H ashatz quietly.
I t seems logical that according to the opinion mentioned earlier that the verse (pasuk )
Y ihyu l eratzon is still part of the Shemoneh E srei instituted by the A nshei Knesses H agedolah it
16
I .e. A men yehei shemey rabba until the f inal A men of daamiran beolma
17
Orach Chaim Simon 123: 6 and M agen A vraham sk 14
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should be recited by the chazzan at the end of Chazoras H ashatz just like the verse
(pasuk) H ashem sefasaye ti ftach that one recites at the beginning of Chazoras H ashatz.
I t is not necessary f or the chazzan to take three steps back af ter f inishing the Chazoras
H ashatz. This is because he can rely on the Kaddi sh T i sk abel
18
af ter vah letzi yone which
is said af ter Chazoras H ashatz where he takes three steps back
19
.
I t is possible f or someone to be the chazzan f or Chazoras H ashatz even though he has
not yet davened the quiet Shemoneh E srei . I n this case, the Rama rules that he should
take three steps back af ter completing (E lok aye netzor
20
) Chazoras H ashatz. He will then
take three steps back again after Kaddish T i sk abel which will count toward the prayer on
behalf of the tzi bbur (congregation)
21
.
A Word about Talking in Shul
We have seen that it is necessary to f ocus intent ly on Chazoras H ashatz to make sure
that at least nine individuals f ollow along so that the repetition is not considered a
bracha l evatal ah n:ua: n5:a. We also learned that answering A men requires concentration
as its meaning changes from bracha to bracha. I t is theref ore self understood that one
should not engage in idle talk while praying in shul since it will def initely interf ere with
his ability to pray properly as well as to answer A men with the proper Kavanah.
Aside f rom the obvious detriment to ones concentration on Prayer, there are H alachi c
issues involved with talking in shul as well.
The Mechaber
22
writes:
In a Beis Knesses (synagogue) or in a Beis Medrash (Torah study-hall) one
must avoid frivolous behavior such as laughter, mockery and idle-talk etc.
The M i shna Berura
23
elaborates:
18
This Kaddi sh inserts a prayer that H ashem should accept our prayers favorably
19
Magen Avraham 123:11
20
I bid. s k 13 mentions that in this case he recites E l ok aye netzor f or his personal obligation in this prayer
21
I bid. and see also Pri Megadim A ishel A vraham 14
22
Orach Chaim Simon 151: 1
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One may not talk idle-talk i.e. talk relating to business matters or the like which
one may speak outside of these places. Plain idle-talk which is a waste of time
is f orbidden any place, not only in a Bei s Knesses or in a Bei s M edrash.
I t goes without saying that one must not degrade the sanctity of the shul by
speaking ill and derogatory words about others. Nor should anyone def ile a
shul by causing conf lict, strif e and quarreling. Not only is this a disgrace to G-d
Who dwells His Divine Presence in shuls that are considered to be a M i k dash
M eat - a miniature Bei s H ami k dash. One cannot compare the gravity of
someone acting this way in the street to someone doing so in a shul with tot al
disregard to the sanctity of the location. Such behavior is not only inherently
detestable but it leads to f ar worse ills. Many times the animosity engendered
by such behavior leads to f ighting, cursing and even malicious inf orming to
government of f icials causing great harm and Chi l l ul H ashem (desecration of
H ashems honor). All this is due to the initial breach of talking in shul . Therefore,
one who strengthens himself in this respect will strengthen others along with
him bringing much calm and tranquility to the shul environment and will
promote concentration by prayer which will lead to much good. Concentrating
on the meaning of prayer and its laws is a good f irst step in this direction.
The Det ri ment of Tal ki ng i n Shul
One shouldnt take the issue of speaking in shul lightly. The Posk i m
24
(Experts in Jewish
Law) cite the Semak that warns that idle-talk in shul s cause that they eventually will turn
into houses of idol-worship (churches). The Tosef os Yom Tov who lived in the time
of the Crusaders composed a special prayer (M i sheberach |:ao n) praising anyone who
is caref ul not speak any idle-talk at the time of prayer, blessing them with all the
blessings of the T orah, wishing them great success in raising their children with health,
and Torah values and f inding their prospective mates etc.
The same Tosef os Yom Tov
25
is of tentimes quoted as lamenting the ills of talking in
shul as the blame f or the terrible pogroms and killings that were going on in his
generation. Many people have said the same regarding the recent Holocaust of
European Jewry. Unfortunately, it is quite common f or people to take of fence to such
23
I bid. k 2
24
I bid. k 1
25
R Yom Tov Lipman H aLevi Heller Tosef ot Yom Tov Born: Wallerstein, Germany, 1579. Died: Cracow, Poland, 1654.
Notes: Talmudist and Halachist. Rabbi of Vienna, Prague, and Cracow. Author of Tosefot Yom Tov, a commentary on the
Mishneh and Maadanei Melech/Royal Morsels, a commentary on the Piskei HaRosh which he considered the binding legal
code. Dedicated great efforts to alleviate the plight of agunot after the Chmielnicki massacres (1648-9). A student of the Maharal
of Prague.
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remarks as they consider them f eeble attempts to explain the reason why G-d brought
upon us such a Holocaust. We will not attempt to explain the reason for the Holocaust
as it is beyond the purview of these lessons. However, we will of f er an explanation
given by Rav Mattisyahu Solomon shl i ta of Gateshead - Lakewood who put the words
of the Tosef os Yom Tov into proper perspective. He explained it as f ollows:
We are well aware of the power of Tefilla. As the wicked Balak already
acknowledged noa n5 ::o, Klal Yisraels power is with their mouths.
When we are faced with danger, we daven. When we are standing at deaths
doorstep, we daven. Theres never a time that we cannot daven to Hashem
and be saved. As a matter of fact, the Rambam writes that one who does not
daven at a time of peril, is downright cruel.
When Klal Yisrael is faced with annihilation, there is still hope if one can still
pray. If for some reason even the power of prayer has been taken from us,
then Chas veshalom u:o cn, G-d forbid, we are doomed.
What the Tosefos Yom Tov expressed with regard to the state of affairs in the
shuls in his day may very well be that it was not the primary cause of their
troubles, but if the people themselves destroyed the sanctity of their
synagogues, then they have for all intent and purpose destroyed their own
power of prayer. Without the power of prayer, what is there for us to hang on
to for dear life if we can no longer communicate directly with our Creator.
This effectively strangled us at a time we needed so much to be close to our
Creator. Let us not repeat our mistake. Let us keep the sanctity of our shuls;
let us keep the sanctity of prayer; let us keep an open-line of communication
with our Creator!
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Quest ions:
1) What is the reason the chazzan repeats the Shemoneh E srei ?
2) What other benef it is there f rom the Chazoras H ashatz?
3) What minimum requirement must be f ulfilled f or the Chazoras H ashatz to
be valid?
4) What does saying 3 times Kadosh by Kedusha represent?
5) Why do we recite Shema Y i srael by the Kedusha of M ussaf?
6) Where is the pref erred place f or the chazzan to insert the prayer of A nei nu
and where is it recited if he missed it? How will it dif f er?
7) Why does the congregation say M odi m D eRabbanan?
8) What particular advice does the sefer Y esode veShoresh H aavodah have f or the
chazzan reciting the verses (Pesuk i m) of Bi rchos Kohani m?
9) What are the 2 meanings of A men?
10) I n order f or someone to be motzee another individual with a M i tzvah such
as Ki ddush, what must be intended?
11) I f one is in the middle of davening Shemoneh E srei when one hears Kaddi sh,
Kedusha or Borchu, what is the appropriate way to fulf ill his obligation
(yotzei)?
12) How does the chazzan conclude Chazoras H ashatz?
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Answers:
1) The reason it was instituted was because there were many individuals that were
unlearned who did not know how to daven and needed to f ulf ill their obligation
through the Shali ach T zi bburs Shemoneh E srei .
2) D uri ng Chazoras H ashatz we add Kedusha and pesuk i m of Bi rchos Kohanim.
3) At least 9 individuals should f ollow along listening and responding A men to the
brochos of Chazoras H ashatz.
4) I t represents that H ashem is omnipotent in Heaven and also on Earth. I t also
af f irms H ashems true eternal and inf inite existence.
5) I t started when the it was decreed that Shema Y israel should not be recited publicly
in shul . They installed guards to assure that the Jews keep the decree. Eventually,
they realized that these guards were gone by M ussaf so the Sages instated reciting it
there.
6) Between Reei N ah Banyei nu and Refaei nu as a separate bracha. Otherwise it is recited
by the bracha of Shema Kolei nu but without f orming its own separate bracha.
7) Since it is incumbent on the individual to give personal thanks to H ashem; not
through an agent.
8) He should say it as a blessing and not just a recital of pesuk i m.
9) We af f irm our belief in something that it is true (related to the word E munah f aith)
or we pray for H ashem to do something f or us in the f uture because H ashem is
trustworthy to f ulf ill His promise (Kei l M elech neeman).
10) The one who perf orms the mi tzvah should have in mind that he is helping another
individual f ulf ill his obligation in this mi tzvah. The one who needs to f ulfill the
mi tzvah should have in mind that he is now f ulf illing his obligation in the mi tzvah.
11) By quietly listening and f ulf illing his obligation though Shomeah Keoneh (listening is
like reciting).
12) He says the verse Y i hyu leratzon etc. but does not take 3 steps back at this point.