Can one switch chazzanim at non-traditional places in the service to accomodate a mourner who came late? For example, Reuven is asked to lead the prayers (say mincha). He says “Ashrei”, “Kaddish” and the quiet Amidah. He looks around to see if sufficient people have finished for him to start the repetition and sees Shimon (who has Yahrzeit that day and came late to prayers) gesticulating that he would like to take over.

For the mitzvah of loving your fellow man as yourself, it seems that Reuven must give way.

Is there any reason why he should not?

  • Why do you assume that Reuven would expect Shimon to give it up for him were their situations reversed? – Double AA Nov 6 '12 at 20:38
  • Also, this seems to be a general question about switching chazzanim at non-traditional places in the service. Are you asking specifically about between the silent amida and its repetition at Mincha? If not, perhaps you should generalize the question. – Double AA Nov 6 '12 at 20:40
  • @DoubleAA (1) Shimon understands that a person has a great pull to daven from the amud on a yahrzeit and he wants what is best for Reuven. – Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 6 '12 at 20:51
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    @DoubleAA (2) - edited question to take note of your comment. I wanted to retain the special circumstance of the mourner – Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 6 '12 at 20:56
  • 2) Thanks 1) Ok but I don't know if that's ואהבת לרעך כמוך if you don't expect him to do it to you. Wanting to do what's best for him is certainly a nice deed and you get 'points' for it, but I don't know that you can say it's obligatory. – Double AA Nov 6 '12 at 23:33

I do not have a source for this answer, but I have seen it done numerous times, that the Chazzan gets switched right before or after the silent Amida.

The closest reference I can find is the Mishna in Brachot (Ch. 5 Mishna 3)

העובר לפני התיבה וטעה, יעבור אחר תחתיו; לא יהא סרבן באותה שעה. מניין הוא מתחיל, מתחילת הברכה שטעה זה

A Chazan who errs (and cannot/may not continue) is replaced (even in the middle of a Bracha). One should not be a refuser (if asked) at that time (to replace him). From where does he start? From the beginning of the Bracha that the 1st one erred in.

So we see that in case of need, one can even replace a Chazzan during the Amida.

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    That's quite a bedieved situation where the chazzan cannot continue. I don't think it is really a good parallel to our case. – Double AA Nov 20 '12 at 13:26
  • I think that that mishnah is specifically because of what it says later (5:5) that if a chazan errs it's a bad sign for his congregants. – b a Dec 21 '12 at 7:00

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