I am a kohain living outside Israel where the Ashenazi custom is that we only bless the people (duchan) on Yomim Tovim. Where I live, there are Sefardi shuls where the kohanim duchan on Shabbos and even every day.

Am I allowed to purposefully go to the Sephardi minyan so that I can duchan? (I am not asking here what happens if I was asked to duchan when I was davenning in his shul.)

If you say CYLOR, the Rav of my old shul said that I should not go to duchan. The Rav of my present shul is well known to allow it.

So I am really looking for sources please.

  • Can you reword this so it's less localized - more general knowledge? – Charles Koppelman Nov 14 '12 at 15:51
  • Teshuvot veHahagot 7:19:7-8 – Double AA May 10 '19 at 18:12

I posed this question today to HaRav Shammai Gross Shlit"a. He is one of the Gedolei HaPoskim here in Eretz Yisrael (and happens to be a Cohen as well.) He said while there were poskim that said once the Ashkanazi Kohen is in a Sephardi minyan in chutz l'aretz that does duchen that he may join them. Still one shouldn't lichatchila go to such a shul in order to duchen -- the main reason that it is not the minhag of the Ashakanazim to make Bircas Cohanim the whole year.

He didn't give a particular makor or proof for this aside from the fact that this is not the minhag of the Ashkanazim. I still felt it important to post this answer as he is from the Gedolei HaPoskim.


When a Koehein is called to duchan ("Kohanim!"), there is a mitzvah d'oraysa for him to go up and say the blessings. For somewhat unclear reasons, this practice was abandoned among Ashkenazi Jewry except for on yomim tovim. This means that Kohanim are missing the opportunity to fullfil the mitzvah, but they are not going against the mitzvah as long as they haven't been called. If a Kohein is in a shul where they still duchan, he definitely must go also.

With regards to purposely going to such a shul, it seems like a good idea, since that way you can fullfil the mitzvah. The Gr"a and R' Chayim Volozhiner tried to re-establish Birkas Kohanim, but did not succeed in Europe. (Talmidim of the Gr"a were able to duchan in Israel, where there was no Minhag not to.) So I would assume they would approve of going to a shul that does fullfil that mitzvah.


Reb Sholem Schwadron ZaTza"l went especially for this to Sfaradic shuls when he was outside of Eretz Israel.

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    anybody, welcome to Mi Yodeya! If you know of a source for this please edit it in. That said, I don't know if this is the best proof because R Schwadron was born in Jerusalem, so his personal custom was to duchen every day. Perhaps someone raised in the Diaspora whose personal custom is not to duchen every day would be different. – Double AA Nov 19 '12 at 13:40
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    Was Reb Sholem Schwadron Zatzal a Kohain? I know for a fact that Rabbi Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg Zatzal also would specifically go to a Sefardi Minyan when he was in America, however he did not have to Duchen. Perhaps there may be a difference between a Kohain and a non Kohain. – Gershon Gold Nov 19 '12 at 13:51
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    @GershonGold According to wikipedia he was en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shalom_Schwadron assuming this is the same Shalom Shwadron. – Double AA Nov 21 '12 at 21:19
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    @ Double AA: Thanks for clarifying that. Now if this claim can be authenticated then I would accept this answer. – Gershon Gold Nov 22 '12 at 1:05

Rivivos Efraim 6:57:3 says that an Ashkenazi Kohain that is davening in a Sefardi Minyan should Duchan. He says that Rabbi David Feinstein Shlita and Shaalos U'Teshuvos Mayim Chaim also agree and say that an Ashkenazi Kohain that is davening in a Sefardi Minyan should Duchan.

  • This is a step forward. The teshuva reads, ואמר לו אם מתפלל עמהם אז צריך לעלות . לנש״כ כמותם If he is davenning with them, then he needs to duchan. But it is not my question - which is "Am I allowed to purposefully go to the Sephardi minyan so that I can duchan?" – Avrohom Yitzchok Nov 15 '12 at 21:11
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    From the question: "I am not asking here what happens if I was asked to duchan when I was davenning in [such a] shul." – Double AA Nov 15 '12 at 21:28
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    Rabbi Greenblatt did not tell the questioner "Well perhaps you should not Daven there". That indicates that there is no problem with Davening there. – Gershon Gold Nov 15 '12 at 21:29
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    @GershonGold That's because the case was a person who had to daven there. It says צריך. R Greenblatt's psak could be only in the case where bedieved you had no other place to daven. That doesn't mean you should go there on purpose to duchen. I don't see how this answers the question at all. – Double AA Nov 16 '12 at 8:02

The Stropkover Rebbe Shlit"a bedavka davens with my Sephardi minyan whenever he travels in order to hear Birkat Kohanim.

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    This question is about a Kohain going to Duchen, not about a yisroel going to get the Bracha. – Gershon Gold Nov 26 '12 at 20:40
  • Is your minyan in Israel? Where is the Rebbe traveling to? Is Stopkov a town in eastern Europe, or from Spain? – Double AA Nov 26 '12 at 20:51
  • Gershon, true, but one might say a Kal VaHomer applies. If a Yisrael, who according to both opinions, has no Hiyuv to be blessed, nevertheless went to hear Birkat Kohanim in an unfamiliar setting with an unfamiliar Nusah, then Kol Shekein, a Kohein, who has a Hiyuv according to some opinions to give the beracha, should go to unfamiliar settings in an unfamiliar Nusah to do so. – yaak Nov 26 '12 at 21:43
  • @yaak According to what opinions does a kohein have a chiyuv to go give a bracha if no one in the shul asks him to? I would say the kal vachomer the other way: a yisrael, who isn't breaking his tradition except be shev ve'al ta'aseh because all he is doing is standing there, he can go to the sefardi shul; a kohein who would have to break his tradition bekum ve'aseh, maybe not? – Double AA Nov 26 '12 at 22:19
  • I'm not sure how someone in the shul asking him to changes anything. Nor would I say that an Ashenazi Kohein who blesses or Yisrael who hears the blessing is considered "breaking his tradition". Aderaba. The De'oraita of Ko Tevarechu is there, but the minhag in Ashkenaz changed to not do it. If there is a current minhag to do it, like in E"Y or Minhag Gr"a or Sepharadim, an Ashkenazi who goes there - even beKum Ve'asei - is following Klal Yisrael's original tradition. – yaak Nov 26 '12 at 22:41

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