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    In many shuls, the question arises regarding waiting when a rabbi is taking time for shemone esrei and people are getting edgy, since they have to make the train to work or drive the kids to school. If there is a minyan in shul does the public have to wait for the Rabbi to come to the minyan? Does the shatz have to wait for the Rabbi? Is this considered a burden to the public – tircha d’tzibur? How many people need to be available to answer a shatz before he begins chazaras hashatz? If one takes the wrong sefer Torah, should they put it back, or should they lain from that one even though it will cause a delay in the completion of the davening? There are seven aliyos on Shabbos morning; are we allowed to add to this number? These and other issues which may be a burden on the public will be dealt with in this article.

    Burdening The Public

    The Gemorah says that the parsha of Balak is not in krias shema since it would be a burden for the tzibur to say the lengthy selection.

    Waiting For The Rabbi

    Our first discussion on this area of halacha applies to a Rabbi who may be late to shul for the minyan, or is davening a long shemone esrei. The public needs to wait for him to come or finish shemone esrei.

    The Gemorah says that when Rabbi Akiva would shorten his davening to avoid burdening the public. The Pri Megadim says that one who davens too long and is a burden on the tzibur will be punished for it. Davening too long means spending too much time one each word, and being overly lengthy with your supplications.

    The Rama says that if there is a minyan in shul and the Rav is not there yet, the minyan need not wait for him before they start davening. The Magen Avraham says that today we wait for the Rav to come and to finish shemone esrei. One reason is that most congregants daven quickly, while others savor every word. These individuals would not be able to say kedusha with the tzibur since they will be in middle of shemone esrei. Therefore, we wait for the Rav who will daven slowly as well, so these individuals can recite kedusha properly. Others explain that the congregants are mochel the Rabbi for taking a long time to daven, and it is not a bother to the tzibur.

    In any case, if a Rav is being too lengthy in his shemone esrei one does not have to wait for him. If the Rav wishes to take his time, he should motion to the shatz not to wait for him. Some maintain that after he finishes the first yeh’hu l’ratzon before elokay netzor he may take his steps back, and then finish the rest of the elokay netzor. This way the shatz can start his chazaras hashatz.

    Rav Akiva Eiger zt”l is of the opinion that waiting for the Rabbi is extremely important. The Rav should not be mochel on the rule that the tzibur should wait for him, especially on Shabbos when there is a lot of time in the day and people are not rushing to leave shul.

    The Sefer Chassidim says that if a Rav senses that his congregation is waiting for him and this makes him unable to concentrate properly, he can actually take three steps back indicating he is finished so the shatz can start. Then he may return to his place and continue shemone esrei. The steps are not considered a hefsek since there is a slight need for it so the shatz can start chazaras hashatz. Others do not agree with this concept.

    If the Rav stepped out in middle of davening or krias haTorah for some reason the tzibur does not have to wait for him.

    It is disrespectful for a shatz to daven longer than the Rav, and the congregants must wait for the shatz to finish. One who is davening for the amud should make sure to finish his shemone esrei before the Rav.

    If a minyan is known to have a slow davening, then it is not an issue of burdening the public even if it takes longer than usual.

    Shatz Davening Long

    If the shatz davens an extended davening so that people can hear his voice, it is disgusting. If he is happy that Hashem gave him a nice voice and davens to inspire the tzibur then it is permitted. Nevertheless, he should not daven too long since it is a burden on the tzibur. This applies even on Shabbos and Yom Tov without the consent of the tzibur. Even if the tzibur agrees, it should not be too long.

    If it is known that shatz takes a long time, it appears that there is no issue of burdening the public.

    Some have the custom if singing in many different places in davening. This is done to arouse the public to daven with kavanah.

    Many frown upon the new custom of having chazzonim who daven long to show off their voice.

    Waiting to Start Minyan

    Once ten men gather, one does not have to wait for a Rav to begin the minyan. This is true even if there is enough time for krias shema or tefilla. The Mishnah Berurah says the custom is to wait for the Rav since many times after davening the Rav learns with the congregants, if they would daven without him then this may make the learning not take place. On Motzei Shabbos if one does not wait for the Rav to begin they may daven too early.

    In any case the Rav should come to shul early so the minyan does not have to wait for him.

    When to Begin Chazaras Hashatz

    Every shul is faced with the same dilemma. During the week, people need to go to work right after davening. If some people are still davening shemone esrei, is there an obligation to wait until nine people are available to listen to chazaras hashatz? If nine have finished but the majority have not, is it necessary to wait?

    The Shulchan Aruch rules that if one of the ten people who davened with them cannot answer the beracha, he may still count towards a minyan. Some extend this leniency to even four people, as long as six can answer. Others argue that it is mandatory to have nine men plus the shatz.

    The halacha is that there are not nine people who are listening and answering to the chazaras hashatz, it is “close” to being a beracha l’vatala for the shatz.

    There is an apparent contradiction between these two halachos.. Three are a few ways to answer this contradiction:

    Some maintain that nine people are not really required, and the halacha that said it is close to a beracha l’vatala means it is close but is not an actual beracha l’vatala. In cases of need (perhaps when the tzibur is in a rush), one can be lenient. Others say this a weak answer.

    Others say that the halacha does not follow the rule which maintains you need nine to answer in regards to chazaras hashatz .

    The first halacha is talking about kaddish, kedusha, and boruchu. These are permitted even without nine people responding. As long as ten men are present, the shechina is present and kaddish etc can be recited even if not all are listening. The latter halacha is talking about chazaras hashatz.

    Many say that for chazaras hashatz one should make sure that there are nine who have finished shemone esrei besides the shatz, and are listening to chazaras hashatz. If there is a minimal minyan, if one of the nine is davening long he should try to shorten his shemone esrei if he knows the shatz is waiting.

    However, if there is a situation where waiting would result in no minyan at all, since people have to go to work, then one can rely on the lenient opinion above. The same would apply when there is a long davening such as Rosh Chodesh where there is Shacharis and Mussaf, or a day when we recite selichos.

    Many say that one should wait until most of the tzibur is finished before starting chazaras hashatz. Accordingly, if the minyan has thirty people one should wait for most of the minyan to finish shemone esrei (sixteen people) before the shatz begins. One reason for this is that chazaras hashatz was instituted so the tzibur can hear and say kedusha, and if most of the shul is davening then this is not being accomplished. Others explain that the purpose is that the tzibur can answer amen to the berachos of chazaras hashatz.

    In regard to maariv, some permit kaddish with six, although it is better to wait until at least nine are listening.

    There is a discussion in the poskim regarding how a kohen should conduct himself if he is part of a minimum minyan of ten, and he needs to wash his hands (when they duchan). Should he go out, even if this will result in less than nine listening to chazaras hashatz,

    or should he wash his hands earlier?

    If People are Not Listening

    The Mishnah Berurah says that if the chazzan suspects that at least nine people will not listen to chazaras hashatz, he should say before beginning chazaras hashatz that if they don’t answer amen to my berachos it should be a tefillas nedava. Harav Shlomo Zalman Aurbach zt”l practiced this condition in his youth. Others are not sure this would work at all.

    Rolling the Sefer Torah

    The halacha is that the sefer Torah is not rolled in public since it is a burden for the public to wait. The shames or the ba’al koreh should make sure the Sefer Torah is ready to be used and rolled to the proper place. Many are not careful about this, and they should be told.

    If the lanining will be on two different areas of the Torah (such as Shabbos Rosh Chodesh, or Yom Tov), and there is only one sefer Torah in the shul, then it is rolled even if it a burden to the tzibur. The reason is that the tzibur is mochel on the time it takes to roll.

    If there are additional sifrei Torah, then two (or more) are taken out. If the Sefer Torah needs to be rolled, it should be done during the reading from the first one. Others have a custom to roll if necessary during pesukei d’zimrah so the sefer Torah is ready to use when needed.

    Occasionally, the wrong sefer Torah is taken, and the mistake is only discovered after it is already opened on the bimah. What should one do in this situation?

    Returning the first sefer Torah when taking the second out is embarrassing, and this may outweigh the issue of burdening the public. Also, people might say that the first sefer Torah is posul and that is why it is being returned. Others maintain that there is no issue with doing so. Harav Moshe Feinstein zt”l maintains that either option is acceptable. If the tzibur does not care, then the first sefer Torah should be rolled. He says that most people today don’t mind. Others say that one should not return the first sefer because of a disgrace to the sefer Torah.

    Called Kohen But…

    It is very common that a shul has only one kohen. If he is called for an aliyah, and the gabbai did not realize that the kohen is in middle of davening and cannot accept the aliyah (such as krias shema), we do not wait for the kohen to finish since it is a burden for the public. A yisroel takes his place.

    This applies even before the sefer Torah is taken out. The public should not delay taking out the Sefer Torah so the kohen can be ready for the aliyah.

    Choosing Better Sefer Torah

    If an older sefer Torah is in front of the Aron Kodesh, and a nicer one is behind it, one should reach past the older one as long as it is not pasul.

    Adding Aliyahs

    We generally call up seven people to the Torah on Shabbos. It is permitted to add to this number, but one should not burden the public with many additional aliyos.

    Since the custom today is that each person makes their own beracha when getting any aliyah, it is not proper to add berachos by adding aliyos. However, if there is a need to do so like a bris or chosson, it is permitted. In any case there should not be more than ten aliyos. Some maintain that the custom is to add aliyos after seven usuall aliyos have already been called up. Others have the custom not to add to the aliyos on Shabbos.

    When reading two parshios on Shabbos, revii should end the first parsha and start at least three pesukim from the second parsha. Adding aliyos to the second parsha is not an issue.

    The custom is not to add aliyos on Yom Tov (except for simchas Torah). However, if Yom Tov falls on Shabbos we treat it like Shabbos and do add.

    Kel Malei

    When saying a kel malei, one should be careful not to say too many, for the many names is a burden to the public. Rather one should say one kel malei for all names.

    Hallel and Singing

    During the week people are often davening at a specific minyan because they know that if thye daven there they will make it to work on time. On Rosh Chodesh, when reciting hallel most shuls do not sing songs during hallal since the minyan is on a tight schedule. However, some do sing and if the singing is the kind that will be on every paragraph which some actually do, it causes a burnden on the tzibur and may not be done. In addition, since there is singing the minyan takes longer and passes the usual time one is accustomed to finishing and unfortunaetly people leave early and miss kaddish and amen etc. This is the fault of the chazzon who decided to sing each stanza and causes these people to miss out of important aspects of davening. If one wishes to sing and be part of such a minyan he should daven where he knows there is singing and appreciates it, most places do not have such minyanim and assume davening will take minutes longer because of hallel, not many more minutes.