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 LECH LECHA:

View Complete List

Reaching Greatness: Living in the Land of Israel
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5775

Better A Second Time Around
Shlomo Katz - 5767

Avraham Foreshadowed Self-Sacrifice To Make Aliyah
- 5768

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Every Drop Matters
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

An Uplifting Experience
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Take the Initiative!
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Genuine Kindness
Rabbi Shlomo Jarcaig - 5765

Cloudy Vision
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

Spiritual Yichus
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5764

ArtScroll

Rabbi Frand on Parshas Lech Lecha
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5770

Long Distance Call
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5761

Jealousy or Love?
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5760

> The Eternal Port of Entry
Rabbi Label Lam - 5775

To The Place G-d Will Show Us
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

Priorities Confused
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5759

And Swing with All Your Might
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760



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