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 Hilchos Berachos 54-55 (page 170)
 מאמצע סעיף ג וכן מי שלא היה עד סימן נה אמצע סעיף א ואין אומרים

Barechu is the Beginning of Birchos Kriyas Shema
The Beracha Starts with Barechu
Devarim Sheb'kedusha

Barechu is the beginning of birchos Kriyas Shema
Chazal instituted that the berachos before Kriyas Shema (both at night and in the morning) begin with Barechu, an invitation to the congregation to proclaim "Baruch Hashem...." The congregation is supposed to respond accordingly and then jointly begin birchos Kriyas Shema. Some poskim note that people who start davening late and are still in the middle of pesukei d'zimra when the chazan says Barechu show disregard for Chazal's mandates because they are unable to begin birchos Kriyas Shema immediately after Barechu.
( סימן נד, ס"ק יג; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 17)

The beracha starts with Barechu
Once someone responds to Barechu, it is as though he started birchos Kriyas Shema. Some poskim recommend that a person who is not ready to begin birchos Kriyas Shema (e.g. he is still in the middle of pesukei d'zimra) should bear in mind that he does not wish to begin the berachos by responding to Barechu. Having made that stipulation, he does not automatically have to advance to those berachos (and thereby forfeit his ability to complete pesukei d'zimra). Similarly, the Barechu of ma'ariv is linked to the beracha of Hama'ariv Aravim .
( סימן נד, סעיף ג, ס"ק יג-יד, ושעה"צ ס"ק יט; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 20)
Devarim sheb'kedusha
Anything classified as a davar sheb'kedusha may only be said with a minyan of ten adult men. Devarim sheb'kedusha include: kaddish, kedusha, barechu, chazaras hashatz, kriyas haTorah and Birchas Kohanim. There is a discussion in the poskim as to whether the minyan must be present during the recitation of the pesukim or tefillos upon which the kaddish is said. Some poskim always require the minyan; others do not require the minyan during the studying or davening leading up to the kaddish. There is an opinion that differentiates between most situations (for which the minyan must be present earlier) and the kaddish following pesukei d'zimra and birchos Kriyas Shema of ma'ariv (for which the minyan need not be present during davening).
( סימן נה, סעיף א וס"ק ב; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 10; וראה שם, 5)


  • It is recommended that everyone daven from a siddur. A siddur helps with proper pronunciation and aids with kavanah.  It is also advisable to follow chazaras hashatz in the siddur.


  • It is forbidden to speak between Yishtabach and the beracha of Yotzer Or.  It is permissible to interrupt if necessary for a mitzva or communal need.  For example, there is a custom based on the Arizal to recite the kapitel Shir Hama'alos Mima'makim during the Aseres Yemei Teshuva.


  • Kaddish may be recited after completing Shemoneh Esrei, the public readings of Tanach, and the study of certain sections of the Oral Torah


  • Beginning chazaras hashatz if the minyan will disband

  • If the minyan disbanded in middle of chazaras hashatz

  • Counting an artificial man as part of a minyan


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.