Whereas one person commonly fulfills the kiddush obligation for the entire table on shabbat and yom tov, I never see anyone fulfill the mitzvah of tefilah by listening to the shaliach tzibur, and responding "amen" after each bracha.

That was the whole purpose of having a shaliach tzibur; to fulfill the mitzvah of tefilah for others.

In our era of easily obtainable siddurim in a multitude of languages, all who attend minyanim regularly are able to pray on their own.

Can the shaliach tzibur still fulfill the mitzvah of tefilah for someone else who hears him?

  • Why wouldn't he be able to?
    – Scimonster
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 9:37
  • I've heard that "we don't do that today" , but I don't know why not. Mima Nafshach: if we have a sha"tz, let him daven for everyone, and if (for whatever reason) he can't daven for everyone, don't have a sha"tz.
    – Jake
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 11:10
  • 1
    related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/16958/759
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 15:04

1 Answer 1


Yes, although a person should only make use of this if they do not know how to recite the Tefillah themselves.

The question would now be whether or not there is anybody who is unable to recite the Tefillah themselves given that it can be recited in any language you understand (or in Hebrew even if you do not understand, such is the special nature of praying in Hebrew, although you are supposed to understand the first b'racha, and the general nature of what the rest of the prayers are about).

With readily available translations into native languages, it is likely that anybody, even who does not know Hebrew, could pick one up and pray themselves.

We always have Chazarat Hashatz because it might embarrass someone if you ask publicly whether there is any individual present who needs it. Also in order to recite the Kedushah prayer and whenever Birkat Kohanim is required and also, I suppose, in case (and this probably applies a lot) anyone who did recite it themselves did so with inappropriate kavana and needs to repeat it anyway.

Sources here: http://www.torah.org/advanced/shulchan-aruch/classes/orachchayim/chapter6a.html

Where does it say you can just opt to rely on the Shaliach Tzibur?

What is does say is:

An individual who was unable to recite it (or who omitted part of it; see 124:10) fulfills his obligation by listening carefully to the leader; see 114:1-2. Even those who recited it individually should listen and answer "Amen" after each blessing (see 124:4-6); for other laws about answering "Amen" see 124:7-9,11-12.

Note "who was unable to recite it".. I haven't got what 124:10 but it says part of it, not all of it, and I assume it means he accidentally left out Yaaleh Veyavo or something else he should have recited, and it was b'di eved not l'hatchila

  • How is this any different than kiddush? I know how to recite kiddush myself, but if I go away for shabbat, I simply listen to the baal habayit make kiddush, I say amen, and he has thus fulfilled my obligation.
    – Jake
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 12:09
  • Kiddush is a declaration, a mitzvah of "zachor". One person makes the declaration and by comprehending and answering "Amen" you have fulfilled a "zachor" - remembrance. In this case, remembering that the 7th day is special (at a time when it is Shabbat)
    – CashCow
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 14:02
  • but why can someone fulfill the rabbinic mitzvah of kiddush for me if I listen and say amen, but not the rabbinic mitzvah of tefilah for me in the same way? (i.e. , why is it only okay if someone missed part of their own tefilah)
    – Jake
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 14:27
  • Probably because hearing someone else recite and saying Amen is "equally good" to saying it yourself, because it has the same meaning. But tefila is more personal, it is about kavana of your prayer not someone else's and you get more kavana reciting it yourself.
    – CashCow
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 14:33
  • @Jake That is really a separate question. The details of this answer are essentially correct AFAICT. Perhaps it could be organized and presented better.
    – Double AA
    Commented Nov 25, 2014 at 14:52

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