I had always been taught that there should be no gap between Shema and Shmoneh Esreh, to the point where we don't even answer Amen. Yet on Pesach we add Brach Dodi.

Why is this permissible, and would it have made a difference to have it included either before Shma or the beginning of the repetition (as other piyutim are), as those placements do not create a gap in the proximity of Shema and Shmoneh Esrehe?

  • Who is "we" in "[y]et on Pesach we add Brach Dodi"? – Tamir Evan May 5 '14 at 14:16
  • What of Rosh haShannah and Yom Kippur, most add piyutim then. Furthermore, in German minhag schuls, they still say piyutim for all yomim tovim, shabbatot chol hamoed, 4 parshiot, Shabbat HaGadol, as well as some regular shabbatot (Bereishit, Shirah, et c.) – Noach MiFrankfurt May 5 '14 at 21:33
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    My question goes to both "content" and "placement." The Piyutim are largely poetic with both difficult Hebrew and the requirement to know what they are alluding to. Most of the other prayers are more straight-forward. In terms of placement, I could potentially understand if they were placed before Baruch Sh'amar, Barchu, or Yotzer HaMeOrot but these are placed within a long bracha. – cmose May 6 '14 at 16:53
  • (1) If the Hebrew of the Piyutim is difficult for you, and there is a requirement to know what they are alluding to (is there?), doesn't that make it your responsibility to bridge that gap, rather than of the organizers of prayers to add only "straight-forward" sections? (2) More generally your issues of "content" and "placement" seem more like personal preferences than requirements of Halakhah, and have little if anything to do with the actual question you asked (about the Piyut making a gap between Shema and Shemoneh 'Esreh). – Tamir Evan May 9 '14 at 15:14

Firstly one may answer אמן between Shma and the Amida - after saying "אמת". (Source: Kitzur Shulchan Aruch Ch. 16)

As to your question: Piyutim are not an interruption, but an addition! Their theme corresponds to the Bracha they are added in to.

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    Re: Answering Amen between Shema and the Amida: Not all agree that one may answer Amen when the Shali'ach Tzibur says Ga'al Yisrael (if one gets there ahead of him): "עניית אמן על גאל ישראל" on chabad.org.il says no, and Sidur ha-Ge'onim veha-Mequbalim brings opinions both ways. – Tamir Evan May 5 '14 at 15:07
  • You are right, that they are additions, but I would not think of adding extra text, even from Tehilim or Torah within a "long bracha" and I wonder where the authority to adopt this minhag came from. I recall that when certain communities wanted to add the Ten Commandments to the davening, they were told not to...(I need a citation for this!) – cmose May 6 '14 at 16:47
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    @cmose Your citations for the Ten Commandments exclusion might be: sefaria.org/Mishnah_Tamid.5.1 and sefaria.org/berachot.12a . Also Rashi's comments on Berachot 12a and Tamid 32b. I am not sure this is relevant to adding piyutim, though. The reasoning revolves around Minim (sectarians/Christians) and that does not apply to piyutim. – Mike May 7 '14 at 1:53

The reason that "there should be no gap between Shema and Shmoneh Esreh" is to connect Geulah to Tefillah (Berachos 9b). After Berach Dodi is said, the final part of the Geulah blessing is said (ברוך אתה ה' גאל ישראל), followed immediately by Shemoneh Esreh, so there is no pause.

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  • Just because it comes before the bracha does not mean that it is not an inappropriate pause. I could not insert a personal prayer there, so why could I insert a Piyut? – cmose May 6 '14 at 16:57
  • @cmose (1) "Pause" between what and what? When "Brach Dodi" is said the Berakhah of Ge'ulah hasn't ended yet, so there is no prohibited separation from the Tefilah. (2) Why a Piyut can be added into a Berakhah of Qeri'at Shema when a personal prayer can't (to the extent that that is true) is a separate question. – Tamir Evan May 9 '14 at 14:40

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