In most Sidurim there is a Yehi Ratzon at the bottom of Refaeinu that one can add in to pray for one who is sick. I have never heard a Chazzan say it during the Chazaras Hashatz. Suppose a Chazan wants to pray for Shul's list of Cholim. Would he be allowed to say it during the loud Shemona Esrei? If yes then why is it not done? If not what is the reason?

2 Answers 2


In the Dvar Torah distributed last week by The Rabbi Sacks Legacy, Rabbi Lord Sacks zatzal says:

If the prayers were instituted by the patriarchs, then their origin is prophetic. If they were established to replace the sacrifices, then their provenance is priestly. Priests were forbidden to act spontaneously, but Prophets did so as a matter of course. Someone who saw prayer as priestly would, like Rabban Gamliel, emphasise the importance of a precise text. One who saw it as prophetic would, like Rabbi Eliezer as understood by the Talmud Yerushalmi, value spontaneity and each day try to say something new. Tradition eventually resolved the matter in a most remarkable way. We say each Amidah twice, once privately and silently in the tradition of the Prophets, then a second time publicly and collectively by the shaliach tzibbur, the “reader’s repetition”, in the tradition of a Priest offering a sacrifice at the Temple. (It is easy to understand why there is no reader’s repetition in the Maariv service: there was no sacrifice at night-time). During the silent Amidah we are permitted to add extra words of our own. During the repetition we are not. That is because Prophets acted spontaneously, but Priests did not.


First of all, I would think that this would fall under the general טרחא דצבורא category - a Chazzan does not wait for people taking too long to daven or to respond amen to continue with chazzaras hashatz (O.C. 124:3 Rama), so I assume adding in a litany of cholim would also be included.

That being said, the rules of adding (even in one's personal Shemoneh Esrei) would be somewhat restrictive to the Yehi Ratzon as we have it-

If the sick people on the list are not his "own" sick (חולה בתוך ביתו), rather he is praying for כל ישראל, then it must be said in לשון רבים, plural communal tense, and must be said at the end of the blessing (O.C. 119:1 quoting Rabbeinu Yona), as opposed to the Yehi Ratzon as we have it.

  • Would we take "choleh b'toch beito" from your final paragraph literally? Must the person live in the house of the one praying? Is "beito" metaphorical to mean only his family, but not for example his chevruta (as Beit Aharon refers to all kohanim, whether they lived in Aaron's house or not) Or does it mean only the sick he personally knows, but not an entire list of people to whom he has no special connection? (I guess I should probably just ask this as a question on its own)
    – Ze'ev
    Mar 6, 2015 at 19:06
  • 1
    If the Shul is willing to list them all aloud during a Mi Shebeirach later on (as many do), why would this be worse?
    – Double AA
    Nov 10, 2016 at 19:39
  • @DoubleAA Just my own feeling, but I would think they are different. No one has an obligation to pay attention while the gabai rattles them off. During chazaras hashat"z, we are supposed to be paying attention. Dec 8, 2016 at 5:37

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