Listening to chazaras hashatz is actually like reciting Shemoneh Esrei oneself (Mishna Berura 124,20). Therefore, if possible, a person should stand up while listening (Rema 124,4). Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ruled that if one has difficulty standing, one can sit down for chazaras hashatz, but should try and stand for Kedusha, the start of Modim, and Birkas Kohanim (as cited in Halichos Shlomo 9,35).
If there are not nine people listening when the prayer leader recites his repetition, the blessings are considered almost to be in vain. No matter how many people are present in the shul, since many people have trouble concentrating at that time, each person should consider himself as one of the nine essential listeners. The prayer leader should have in mind that if there are not nine people listening, then his tefilla is a nedava, a voluntary offering (Mishna Berura 124: 17-19).
Text Copyright © 2011 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org