Many people have the custom to recite the prayer "Ana B'choach" after the initial six chapters of Tehillim said in Kabbalas Shabbos and before "Lecha Dodi". Based on the fact that it references certain uncommon names of God and that the custom's origin seems to be the Sh'la, I would identify this prayer as being of a kabbalistic nature.

Now, I don't know if this has basis, but I've always felt that kabbalistic practices should be kept to one's self as private practices. This is why, although I personally do not recite the prayer, I think it is proper that it is not customarily recited out loud, but rather quietly in an undertone.

However, this past week, the chazzan of the minyan I was praying with decided to have everyone sing it out loud in unison to a popular tune. This made me extremely uneasy.

So I ask: Is there anything really wrong with what this chazzan did? Is there a reason why the prevalent custom is to recite it quietly and individually?

  • Comments from the down-voters, if you please?
    – jake
    Feb 13, 2012 at 1:49
  • 2
    The author is R' Nehunya Ben Hakana (a tanna), and the special intentions are from the Arizal. Feb 13, 2012 at 2:39
  • @HachamGabriel, Yes indeed. I meant that the custom of reciting it on Friday night before Lecha Dodi seems to originate with the Sh'la.
    – jake
    Feb 13, 2012 at 2:48
  • I'm not 100% sure about that... Feb 13, 2012 at 2:51
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    re: "but I've always felt that kabbalistic practices should be kept to one's self as private practices" So you don't do the other 6 sections of Kabbalat Shabbat either then? The whole custom is Kabalistic practice!!!
    – avi
    Feb 13, 2012 at 8:20

2 Answers 2


Harav Musafi Shelit"a says in his lecture (Ana Bechoah) that the entire point is to have the special intentions while reciting the words. However, the Haye Adam doesn't hold of people in that generation (Kal Wahomer now) intending on the Arizal's intention.

Of course, as the Ben Ish Hai writes in his Sefer Emunat Atich, before intending the Kabalistic intentions, you must understand the simple meaning of the words.

Therefor, as long as they have the Peshat in mind, it is okay to recite prayer aloud.


Just found this Q&A 16167 from Harav Musafi Shelit"a

שאלה - 16167 לכבוד הרב שלום רב יש מנגינה שנפוצה בציבור, שרים את "אנא בכח גדולת ימינך" במנגינה, וחוזרים על חלק מהמילים, האם יש בזה בעיה? תשובה אין בעיה במנגינה וגם במה שחוזרים עליה, יש בעיה בשיבושי הלשון שם בשבא נע ונח ודגש ורפה וחבל.‏

He says there is no problem to sing it and even when you repeat the words. However, if you change the Shva Na into Nah there is a problem

  • So is the reason that people generally do it quietly to themselves because that is more proper, or it's just like people say the rest of kabbalas shabbos to themselves (besides for the chazzan's parts and Lecha Dodi)? And what about the "Baruch Shem..." at the end?
    – jake
    Feb 13, 2012 at 2:53
  • @jake it's just like the other parts of Kabalas Shabbos. About the Baruch Shem Inyan, some Posekim hold you can say it aloud even, but some disagree (in general). Feb 13, 2012 at 2:55

The Chabad minhag is to specifically say this prayer quietly. I know for sure sources mention saying it quietly during the Kabbolas Shabbos prayer, but have not seen any sources regarding conduct during other services.

http://chabad-il.org/hit/hit212.htm#6 (in Hebrew)

In the new print of Tehillas Hashem published by Kehos, this law is brought down.

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