I recall hearing something about how in Mussaf of Yom Kippur, Nusach Ashkenaz kneels for each of the three confessions (Cohen Gadol on bull; all Cohanim on bull; everyone on goat). Nusach Sefard adds one when the people hear "Lashem chatas" (declared on the other goat). I don't recall the reason suggested for this. Thoughts please?

  • 1
    It's been a while since YK and I don't have my machzor handy, but IIRC we (nusach S'farad) don't kneel there, although the text says the people present at the time kneeled.
    – msh210
    Aug 4, 2011 at 19:10

1 Answer 1


Beis Yosef (Orach Chaim 621) cites various sources in the Gemara that say that the people bowed and prostrated themselves each of the ten times that the Kohen Gadol uttered Hashem's Four-Lettered Name (three each for the confessions, and one when designating the goat for Hashem). On this basis, then, he states (following Avudraham) that the paragraph Vehakohanim, describing how they did so, should be said then too, for a total of four times during the Avodah.

So Nusach Sefard follows the Beis Yosef.

Nusach Ari (as arranged by R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi) takes something of a middle ground: it has Vehakohanim four times, but with a notation at the one for "LaHashem chatas" that "here it is not necessary to kneel." The commentary Shaar Hakollel explains that this is based on sources (including the Zohar) that specifically relate the bowing to the word תטהרו, which the Kohen Gadol said only during the confessions.

  • Right; even in Nusach Ashkenaz it says "the people heard and said baruch shem kvod malchuso", so we acknowledge that THEY kneeled for "lashem Chatas"; I suppose it's a question of whether WE kneel only for confessions, or for all mentionings of the Name. (I think the shiur I'd heard suggested al pi drush/mussar that even the declaration "lashem chatas" is introspective too.)
    – Shalom
    Sep 20, 2010 at 15:23
  • Does it? The Nusach Ashkenaz I'm looking at just says צותתיו ענו וברכו את השם - "his listeners replied and blessed Hashem," with no mention of kneeling.
    – Alex
    Sep 20, 2010 at 15:46
  • Alex you're correct; but I assume whenever they heard and said Baruch Shem Kvod Malchuso, kneeling was part of the process too.
    – Shalom
    Sep 21, 2010 at 14:28

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