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Can a kohen serve as chazzan for mussaf on days when there is birchas kohanim? If so, what is the proper procedure for him to follow?

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I'd note that this would apply to shacharit in Sephardic (and Israeli) minyanim too, and there it applies every single day. – Ze'ev Felsen Dec 24 '12 at 5:31
up vote 4 down vote accepted

If I'm reading Shulchan Aruch 128:20, 22, 25, with Mishna B'rura, correctly, the rule is as follows. But contact your local, orthodox rabbi for any practical cases.

Is the shatz (leader, "chazan") the only kohen, or are there others?

  • If he's the only one, and he has a sidur, he should step toward the duchan at "r'tze", go on the duchan for birkas kohanim, do birkas kohanim facing the congregation, return to his place, and complete the amida.
  • If there is another kohen, then no one should tell the shatz to wash his hands or to do birkas kohanim. Did anyone?
    • If so, he should do as described above in the "If he's one only one" paragraph.
    • If not, he should not do birkas kohanim.

In all cases, someone not a kohen should prompt the kohanim and say "kohanim" (though not "elokenu..."); however, if no one present is able to who's not a kohen then the shatz should prompt the kohanim and say the introduction, unless he's doing birkas kohanim.

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That should be 128:20. – Chanoch Apr 21 '11 at 18:36
Sure should. Thanks. I've fixed it now. – msh210 Apr 21 '11 at 19:05
Msh, perhaps you can paraphrase. – YDK Apr 21 '11 at 23:41
R'YDK, all right: done. – msh210 Apr 22 '11 at 3:28
I seem to recall a preference for a Yisrael (as opposed to a Levi) to be the prompter. – Double AA Oct 15 '12 at 17:19

The Sephardic mesora is that the Sha"tz who is a Kohen covers his eyes and stays silent for the duration of the prayer, as he is essentially taking himself out of the room. Then a non-Kohen calls out "Kohanim!" and leads the entire Birkat Kohanim.

I am not sure what happens when the sha"tz is the ONLY Kohen in the room. He probably says the "Barekhenu baBerakha..." as the Ashkenazim do.

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Most Israeli Shuls, even Askhenazi ones, go by this minhag. – Zvi Aug 10 '11 at 13:51

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