On days when the Kohanim Duchan, why do the Kohanim only do it once (during Mussaf) and not in each Shemoneh Esrei?

[revised question]

  • Can you explain your question, please? To me, "Duchan" and "Birkat Kohanim" seem to be synonyms: they refer to the same thing, and that thing is of necessity in sh'mone esre.
    – msh210
    Commented Oct 4, 2011 at 22:11
  • nevermind, that answers my question. I was confused why we do the chazan/kein yehi ratzon version in shacharit when we actually duchan with kohanim in mussaf. it's because its required for each shmone esrei, I thought it was just once a day. but that does raise another question I'll have to ask; on days when the Kohanim Duchan, why do the Kohanim only do it once and not in each Shomneh Esrei?
    – zaq
    Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 0:33
  • @zaq that's a very good question. Can you edit this question into that other question? Or just give me the go-ahead...
    – yydl
    Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 1:41
  • I'm confused... Why do you think they don't do birkat kohanim in Shacharit? Perhaps the kohen simply arrived too late (that has happened by us in the past :) )?
    – AviD
    Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 10:13
  • @AviD, In the Machzor, Shacharit just has the chazan/kein yehi ratzon version for when the Kohanim don't Duchan, and only Mussaf has the Kohen version. From experience, I've only seen the Kohanim Duchan only once a day, even when there is a Kohen there. (That originally lead me to think the requirement was to do birkat kohanim only once a day, msh210 clarified that for me.)
    – zaq
    Commented Oct 5, 2011 at 14:15

1 Answer 1


Rema (Orach Chaim 128:44) says that since the point of the Ashkenazic custom to limit Birkas Kohanim to Yom Tov is so that the blessing should be given in a joyous frame of mind, then it is done only at Musaf, since then people are especially happy at the impending prospect of the Yom Tov meal.

(Yom Kippur, of course, is the exception. I believe there are indeed Ashkenazic congregations that have Birkas Kohanim at Ne'ilah as well, provided of course that it's not too late in the day. Not sure about Minchah.)

  • It would be forbidden at Mincha! Perhaps you are referring to Yom Kippur Shacharit?
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 9:14
  • @DoubleAA: why would it be forbidden at Minchah? The kohanim won't have drunk before it (unlike a regular Yom Tov).
    – Alex
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 14:40
  • The Shulchan Aruch makes an explicit lo plug in 129:1 and IIRC he's quoting straight from the gemara in Taanit. However, since as you say there is no real chashash, were a kohen to go up anyway, we don't remove him (129:2); but he shouldn't go up lechatchila.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 18:28
  • The rama in the seif you quote explicitly discusses different minhagim about shacharit even in chu"l.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jun 1, 2012 at 18:29

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