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111:1. (1) One is obliged to juxtapose mention of the Redemption [the blessing after the Shema refers to the Exodus from Egypt and G-d’s power of redemption] to the Amidah, and one must not interrupt (2) in between (3) even to say Amen after ..Who Redeemed Israel [Goal Yisroel, the conclusion of the blessing following the Shema] (4) or to say any other verse apart from [the opening verse of the Amidah] “G-d, open my lips etc.” {Rama: Some say that it is permitted to answer (5) Amen after Who Redeemed Israel [Goal Yisroel] (6) and this is our custom. Some say that this juxtaposition only applies on weekdays or Yomtov but not on Shabbos, because [the reason for doing so is the juxtaposition of the verses] “G-d will answer on the day of anguish” and “May the uttering of my lips find favour…G-d is my…redeemer”, (7) and Shabbos (8) is not a day of anguish. In my humble opinion it appears that the reason why we should not interrupt on Yomtov is because the holidays are days of judgement as we see in the Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:2 – that on Pesach we are judged on produce, etc. It is good to be strict unless (9) one really needs to interrupt.}

MB 1: One is obliged to juxtapose – But with regards to Musaf and Mincha one may add verses prior to [the verse] “Hashem, open my lips..” but not after it, because this verse is part of the Amidah. It is only because of this that we may insert it between the Redemption and the Amidah [of Shacharis, and it is not considered an interruption], because once the Rabbis instituted it at the beginning of the Amidah it [is treated] in law as part and parcel of the Amidah. Therefore one should not interrupt between it and the Amidah.

MB 2: In between – And even just to wait silently more than the time it takes to say “Peace be with you, my teacher” one should be careful a priori.

MB 3: Even to say Amen – One should also not answer Kaddish or Kedushah, as mentioned above in 66:9; and the reason why Amen is singled out is because [the blessing “Who redeemed Israel”] completes the Blessings of the Shema, so one may have thought that one could answer Amen even after one’s own blessing, as we will see later on in 215:1, so this ruling tells us that because it constitutes an interruption it is forbidden even after [the blessing of] the Chazan.

MB 4: or any other verse – Even at the Evening Service [Maariv] preceding the Amidah one should be careful about this.

MB 5: Amen – But one should not interrupt for “Amen, Yehe Shmei rabah…” [in Kaddish] or Kedusha, because the Amen here is associated with the actual Bracha and therefore does not constitute an interruption, but this is not so with these responses [to Kaddish or Kedusha].

MB 6: And so are we accustomed – Meaning after the Chazan, but not after one’s own [Blessing] and look earlier in Siman 66 in the Rama and MB. [Our current custom actually does not follow this ruling – rather, we try to avoid the problem by concluding our blessing along with the Chazzan. The Chazzan will also often lower his voice at the end of the blessing. — YM]

MB 7: And Shabbos – But not Yomtov, because since this day [of the week, were it not for Yomtov,] would be a day of anguish, the verse “G-d will answer on the day of anguish” following the verse “May the uttering” referring to redemption is indeed appropriate.

MB 8: Is not a day of anguish – The Beis Yosef disagrees with this, because he views these verses as a mere support/intimation [Asmachta], and [really] the main [reason] for the juxtaposition of the Redemption to the Amidah is Rabbinical, because the Rabbis compared the proximity of the Amidah directly after the blessing of redemption to the friend of a king who knocks at the door of the king and the king [himself] comes to welcome him, and if the king sees that [the visitor] has withdrawn and gone away, then he too will withdraw and will no longer approach him when he comes and knocks again. An individual [is considered to] act in the same way when he interrupts between the redemption and the Amidah. It is because of this [reason] that the Rama wrote that it is good to take the stricter view.

MB 9: one really needs to interrupt – That is, it is permitted to answer “Amen, Yehe shmei rabah” [to Kaddish], Kedusha, or Borchu between the redemption and the Amidah on Shabbos even for Shacharis – so wrote the Elyah Rabah and the Pri Megadim and the Shalmei Zibbur. See further in the Biur Halacha.

111:2. When the Chazan repeats the Amidah aloud, (10) he should repeat “G-d, open my lips, that my mouth should utter Your praises” [Hashem, sfosay tiftach, ufi yagid t’hilosecho].

MB 10: He should repeat – Because this verse is associated with the Amidah, as mentioned above. It is good to say it quietly. He need not say other verses but if he wants to he may. The Pri Megadim wrote that the Chazan may not interrupt [to speak] after finishing his silent prayer, if not for a Mitzvah-related issue, such as responding “Amen Yehei shmei rabah” after Kaddish [i.e. if there were another minyan in the building — YM], but for an ordinary matter it would seem not.

Jonathan Chody [email protected]

111:3. One who has not yet recited Shema who encounters a Minyan that is [in the middle of] reciting the Amidah, should not recite the Amidah with the Minyan but should rather (11) recite Shema [first, and then] afterwards recite the Amidah, since adjoining Shema to the Amidah takes precedence [over reciting the Amidah with a Minyan].

MB 11: Recite Shema – Meaning with its blessings. This applies only to the morning prayers (Shacharis), but at night (Maariv) one should recite the Amidah with the Minyan and then recite Shema as written in 136:3.