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 Hilchos Tefilla 128 (page 10)
 מאמצע הסעיף ואחר עד אמצע סעיף כ וכיצד

Listening to Birkas Kohanim in the Middle of Shemoneh Esrei
A Chazan Who is a Kohein
Waiting for Amein

Listening to birkas kohanim in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei
The poskim discuss whether someone davening Shemoneh Esrei should pause to listen to birkas kohanim. All agree that if he completed Modim along with the chazan he should listen to the beracha. (According to some poskim, listening is optional.) He should not respond Amein to the beracha of "to bless His nation Yisrael with love," and the poskim discuss whether he should answer Amein to the pesukim. If the chazan is reading from a siddur, he may respond Amein after the pesukim because the interruption will not confuse him, but he should not respond to the beracha of "to lovingly bless His nation Yisrael" since he is in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei.
( סעיף יט, ס"ק עא ושעה"צ ס"ק סב; וראה שם ס"ק סא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 81)
A chazan who is a kohein
If the chazan is a kohein, he should not recite birkas kohanim if other kohanim are present. He may recite the berachos if there are no other kohanim (according to some poskim, if there is only one other kohein) and he is sure that he will be able to properly resume the tefilla when done (e.g. he is praying from a siddur).  According to some poskim, it is preferable for a kohein who is mourning his father or mother to recite birkas kohanim rather than serve as chazan. Therefore, if other kohanim are present, he should not serve as chazan unless he will be able to recite the beracha at a different time (e.g. a later minyan or Musaf). According to other poskim, an aveil may recite the beracha when serving as chazan provided that he will not get confused.
( סעיף כ, ס"ק עב ו־עו, ושעה"צ ס"ק סא; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 82-84)
Waiting for Amein
Every member of the congregation must hear every word of birkas kohanim. Therefore, the kohanim may not start the pesukim of birkas kohanim until the congregation completes the Amein to the preceding beracha. In communities where the kohanim pronounce the first word yivarechicha without a prompt from the chazan, they must wait until the entire congregation completed the response before they may begin. In communities where the chazan prompts the kohanim with the first word, the chazan should wait until most of the congregation completes the response before beginning. Likewise, the kohanim should wait until the chazan completes each word before reciting it, and the chazan should wait until the kohanim have completed each word before beginning the next one.
( סעיף יח וס"ק סה ו־סח)

  • The Torah uses the expression "speak to them" when discussing the mitzva of birkas kohanim. Chazal explained this to mean that the kohein must speak in an audible voice, like someone speaking with friends.
  • A kohein who is unable to keep his hands elevated for the entire beracha may lower them between words. A kohein may lean on something if he would not fall if it was removed. If he is unable to stand, he may lean on something [even if he would fall without it] between uttering the words.
  • Each kohein must recite the beracha independently. The Acharonim provide several reasons why the rule of shomea k'oneh (hearing is like saying) cannot be applied to birkas kohanim.

  • Avoiding distractions

  • A beracha on a borrowed talllis

  • Does a chazan kohein move to the front?



PLEASE NOTE:  The information in this email is for learning purposes only. Please review the Mishna Berura and Biurim U'Musafim before making a halachic decision. Hebrew words are occasionally transliterated to enable a smoother reading of the text. Common Ashkenazi pronunciation is generally used in these cases.