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 KI SAVO AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Be a New Person
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5763

The Judgment
Shlomo Katz - 5759

To Hear and To See
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

Looking for a Chavrusah?

The Secret to Our Survival
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

Overlook It When You've Been Wronged
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5759

Lessons on Prayer
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

ArtScroll

Can We Face this Day Alone?
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5760

To Begin--to Cook from Within
Rabbi Label Lam - 5766

Those are the Questions?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5765

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Spark is There
Rabbi Label Lam - 5768

It's a Mitzvah to Be Happy
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Spiritual Climates
Shlomo Katz - 5773

> The Today Show
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5756

The Ever-Present
Rabbi Label Lam - 5774

Hanging onto Holiness by a Thread
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5760

Counting Our Blessings
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762



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