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 NOACH:

View Complete List

Free Time
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

A Wasted Tragedy
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5762

What Was Noach's Greatest Legacy?
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

> In a Heartbeat
Rabbi Label Lam - 5769

Never Underestimate the Power of Prayer
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Worlds Apart
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Meaningful Speech
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

Wine and Window Washers
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5770

Unity With Caution
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

People In Stone Houses Shouldn
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5773

The Roots of Evil
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5768

A World is Built!
Rabbi Label Lam - 5762

ArtScroll

Love versus Fear
Shlomo Katz - 5763

Window to the World
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5762

Generation to Generation
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5759

Back To The Daily Grind
Shlomo Katz - 5765



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