I have seen the practice of people saying the bracha of Ahava Rabbah along with the chazzan, and going straight into Shema without answering amen. I have also seen people answer amen to this bracha.

Are there sources for either of these practices, or which one might be preferable?

  • 1
    See the Chiddushei HaRamban at the beginning of Berachos
    – wfb
    Jul 24, 2020 at 2:02

1 Answer 1


The Shulchan Aruch 59:4 says not to answer amen after Ahava Rabbah/Olam.

The Rema to 61:3 says that the custom is people finish Ahava Rabbah before the Shatz, so they can answer Amen.

The Mishnah Berurah 59:4 § 25 (linked above) explains that Ahava Rabbah isn't a regular birkas hamitzvah, where you shouldn't speak before doing the mitzvah. It sounds like from him that the Shulchan Aruch disagrees.

The Mishnah Berurah writes that the Achronim agree with the Rema that you should answer amen if you finish before the shatz. However, he finishes by writing:

אך לכתחלה יותר טוב שיסיים בשוה עם הש"ץ ולא יצטרך לענות אמן אחריו

The practice you've observed is based off this Mishnah Berurah. He advises to finish along at the same time as the shatz, so as to not be obligated to say amen, seemingly to avoid this dispute.

  • 3
    This is an innovation of the Mishna Berurah for an ashkenazi to be strict for a non ashkenazi position here. Before him longstanding universal ashkenazi practice was always to say amen.
    – Double AA
    Jul 24, 2020 at 1:46
  • 1
    Notably the suggestion of the Mishna Berurah doesn't actually avoid all dispute, since it's disputed if finishing at the same time as someone else exempts one from saying amen here since it's disputed if an individual says amen after his own blessing here.
    – Double AA
    Jul 24, 2020 at 1:47
  • @DoubleAA I do wonder why the Mishnah Berurah suggests satisfying the Shulchan Aruch in this instance, when he doesn't always try to make everyone happy
    – robev
    Jul 24, 2020 at 1:54
  • The Rosh didn't innovative it?
    – kouty
    Jul 24, 2020 at 1:57
  • It's important to note this discussion only applies to people who fear spacing out while listening to the leader's public presentation of the blessings and are therefore saying along quietly in an undertone. For those fulfilling their obligation with the leader everyone agrees you say amen. For those praying without a minyan, it's a dispute if you say amen to your own blessing, but most say not to. The question here is to which case is this case, where you said it yourself already but are then listening to the leader, more similar to.
    – Double AA
    Jul 24, 2020 at 12:47

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