The Artscroll סדורים (prayer books) — "Ashkenaz" and "Sefard" editions, Hebrew-English and Hebrew-only editions, at the morning and evening prayers for holidays, Saturdays, and weekdays — indicate that some congregations say a paragraph starting "יתברך" while the leader stretches out his recitation of pre-"שמע""ברכו".

Really? Who?

I'm relatively young, and have not been to loads and loads of different Ashkenazic synagogues, but have been to a number, including those that pray nusach Ashk'naz and those that pray nusach S'farad and those that pray nusach Ari, chasidic (of various sects) and 'yeshivish' (of various yeshivas, and the yeshivas themselves) and 'yekke' and mizrachi and other, in Israel and the States and elsewhere, and have never AFAIR seen this done.

Has anyone seen it? Or have a reliable report of its being done (nowadays)? Or have a reliable source that indicates that no one does it?

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    Good point. Never seen it either. – Shalom Oct 4 '10 at 16:44
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    Interestingly, many (most?) standard siddurim record this custom as if it were the normal practice. At least Artscroll toned it down to "some" congregations. But you're right, I wonder if anyone does it anymore. – Dave Oct 4 '10 at 19:33
  • The siddur that I use (siddur vilna) doesn't even have it. – jake Jun 2 '11 at 21:16
  • I have always passively wondered this as well. – WAF Jun 3 '11 at 13:32
  • Whenever I remember to, I personally recite this prayer quickly and quietly during the proper time for its recital. I don't know why most congregations don't recite it. I encourage anyone who is my friend to say it (but only if they specifically ask me about it). – Adam Mosheh Jul 22 '12 at 18:09

Tur (O.C. 57) says that the custom everywhere is for the cong. to say יתברך וכו when the chazzan says Borchu, but it's really better not to say it, so that the people will pay attention to what the chazzan is saying. He notes further that Rav Amram Gaon does not bring this prayer, though the Rosh in a Teshuvah writes that he heard that it is said "in all places." Beis Yosef also notes that Rambam and others do not cite it.

While Shulchan Aruch does not mention anything about it, Rama does cite the custom. However, the Acharonim say that it should not be recited unless the chazzan sings Borchu long enough for it to be said without speaking over the chazzan. Hence, even those who have this custom cannot practice it unless they are in a congregation that shares the minhag and will sing Borchu.

Its appearence in our siddurim would thus seem לענ"ד to be a carryover from earlier times when it was indeed commonly recited, whereas nowadays it is not recited due to the position of the Tur et al. and the concern of the Acharonim.

  • Thank you for the information, Dave. Upvoted, but not accepted, as it answers my question only in the negative ("nowadays it is not recited") sans evidence. I'm still looking for anyone who can point to a congregation that does say it (if, of course, such exists, or a reliable source that says there is no such). – msh210 Oct 5 '10 at 15:24
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    Incidentally, Dave, you write "Rama does cite the custom. However, the Acharonim say that it should not be recited unless the chazzan sings Borchu long". Does that mean we should be saying it on Rosh Hashana and Yom Kipur? (Obviously, I'm not looking for a p'sak here: CYLOR. Just something to think about.) – msh210 Oct 7 '10 at 19:44
  • I haven't heard it sung that long even on RH and YK. But your point is taken. – Dave Oct 8 '10 at 4:30
  • Since no one's posted a more definitive answer despite the offer of a bounty, I'll accept this one, while still hoping. – msh210 Jun 10 '11 at 16:37
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    @msh210 - The following very interesting post (treasuresofashkenaz.wordpress.com/2011/09/19/…) mentions that the Sefer Shorashei Minhag Ashkenaz has an extensive treatment of this topic. I haven't seen it, though. – Dave Dec 21 '11 at 4:12

מנהג אשכנז is to lengthen the recital of ברכו. It is also practised among some ספרדים (as explained in ספר כתר שם טוב). Though many ספרי הלכה speak of being 'מאריך בברכו', especially at certain times (e.g. מוצאי שבת), nevertheless it seems to have all but disappeared, except for the special elongated ברכו chanted on לילי ימים נוראים. See the שערי תשובה רצג:ב which mentions the great סגולה to be מאריך when saying 'ברוך ד׳ המברך לעולם ועד" on מוצאי שבת (in the name of הלכות גדולות,‎ ברכי יוסף,‎ רבי חיים ויטאל, and רב האי גאון‎).

  • Thank you for the information; +1. This answers my question (it is still recited) only to the extent it cites כתר שם טוב. Can you flesh out what he says, please? – msh210 May 18 '12 at 14:47

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