Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Shemoneh Esrei Revisited: Understanding Chazaras Hashatz

Pay Attention

It was a regular Tuesday afternoon in the shul where the Rambam prayed Mincha, during the period when he lived in Egypt. The usual crowd had gathered for services, and a light-hearted atmosphere filled the air. As the shaliach tzibbur repeated Shemoneh Esrei, half the congregation was engaged in small talk, while the rest busied themselves with other matters.

For many years the Rambam had been filled with concern regarding the communityís lack of respect for the repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei. That day his patience ran out, and the Rambam decided that what was going on was a chillul Hashem, a desecration of Hashemís honor. From that day onwards he decreed that Shemoneh Esrei would no longer be repeated in Egypt (as cited in Responsa of the Radvaz 1165).

Almost one thousand years later, we live in an age when technological advances have made information accessible to us almost instantaneously, causing our attention spans to dwindle. If something is not packaged in a five-second sound bite, many people have difficulty finding the patience to hear it out. Listening to the entire repetition of the Shemoneh Esrei seems like an arduous task.

Yet the Zohar writes that the principal mitzva of Shemoneh Esrei is the chazaras hashatz, the prayer leaderís repetition of this prayer. During chazaras hashatz, one member of the minyan represents the entire congregation to bring their prayers before Hashem.

Let us try and understand some of the customs and halachos of this crucial part of the prayer service.


Text Copyright © 2011 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON TETZAVEH AND PURIM:

View Complete List

Brotherly Love at Its Best: Moshe and Aharon
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5775

There is Knowing, and there is Knowing
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5760

The Lesson of "Shmoneh Esrei" Ė 18 Repetitions of "As G-d Commanded"
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5767

ArtScroll

Early Warning System
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

G-d Sees Shades of Gray
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Training One's Disciple So That The Teacher Becomes Obsolete
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Divine Reflections
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5774

Oil and Water
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Make Yourself at Home!
Shlomo Katz - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Shedding Our Skin
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

L'Chaim
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

Parashas Zochor: Doomsday Amalek
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

> Anywhere Else?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5771

Make Yourself At Home
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

We Donít Know!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Knock Before You Enter
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information