1 678

The proper wording of sefiras ha'omer
The Mechaber writes out the proper wording for to be said for sefiras ha'omer.  "Today is one day..." is followed by "Today is two days..." etc., until the seventh day, when the words "which is one week" are added. On the eighth day we say "Today is eight days, which is one week and one day...", and the rest of the days and weeks are counted in a similar manner. The Rama adds the word ba'omer at the end of each phrase. The Mishnah Berurah observes that most poskim spell the word with a lamed-la'omer-and this, indeed, is the version of the Arizal. Nevertheless, the Gra and Chazon Ish stick with ba'omer. In an effort to fulfill both customs, there are people who count twice-once with la'omer and once with ba'omer.
(סעיף א וס"ק ח; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 30)

 Hilchos Tefilla 128 (page 9)
מסעיף יד עד אמצע סעיף יח ואחר

Birkas Kohanim in a Normal Voice
A Frail Kohein
The Beracha Should be Recited Independently

Birkas kohanim in a normal voice
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 who is speaking with his friends. Ideally, the kohein should speak in a way that the entire shul can hear him. If it is a large shul, he should raise his voice loud enough to be heard by those far away from him. A kohein with a soft or hoarse voice that cannot be heard by at least nine people standing nearby should leave the shul before Retzei and not recite the beracha.
( סעיף יד וס"ק נ ו־נג; ביאורים ומוספים, 72)
A frail kohein
The kohanim must elevate their hands when reciting the beracha. A kohein who is unable to keep his hands elevated for the entire beracha may lower them between words. The kohanim are supposed to stand when reciting the beracha. 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. A kohein who cannot stand or lift his hands at all during the recitation of the beracha should leave the shul at Retzei and not remain for birkas kohanim.
( סעיף יד וס"ק נא-נב; ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 69-70)
The beracha should be recited independently
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: 1) Birkas kohanim is supposed to be recited in a normal voice, as one person talking to another. This voice requirement cannot be fulfilled through shomea k'oneh. 2)   Birkas kohanim is in the same class as Shemoneh Esrei, which should not be recited on behalf of those who are able to daven on their own. 3) There is a rule that shomea k'oneh does not apply to blessings that must be recited in Lashon Hakodesh.
( ביאורים ומוספים דרשו, 66)

  • The minhag is that the kohanim begin the beracha facing front and turn around to face the congregation either before the word vetzivanu (He commanded us) or b'ahavah (lovingly).
  • Birkas kohanim is also known as nesias kapayim-"raised hands" because the kohanim must raise their hands to recite the beracha. The poskim discuss whether they must lift the entire arm or if is sufficient for them to lift just their hands.
  • The pesukim of birkas kohanim must be read to the kohanim word by word, preferably from a text. If the kohanim recite the beracha without hearing the words first the mitzva is fulfilled.

  • Listening to birkas kohanim in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei

  • A chazan who is a kohein

  • Waiting for Amein



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.