In many siddurim, the text indicates a position, toward the end of each normal paragraph of prayer, where the Chazzan is supposed to start reading aloud, so that everyone knows when it's time to go on to the next paragraph. Does anyone know where these positions come from? Are they from tradition, or just pragmatic choices by each siddur publisher?

4 Answers 4


Rabbeinu Yehudah Hachasid writes in Sefer Chasidim (reish nun alef) that the job of the Shaliach Tzibbur is to wait until most of the kehal has finished one paragraph and then he starts the next. He says that what we do is a mistake that was propagated by arrogant mishoririm (chazzanim) who wanted to be heard. The correct hanhagah still exists by some groups of chasidim, particularly Karlin.

  • What is the Karlin hanhagah?
    – Chanoch
    Commented Mar 18, 2010 at 14:28
  • 1
    During karbonos and pisukei dizimra everyone says each paragraph and when it sounds like most of the tzibbur has finished the S"T loudly starts the next paragraph. The exception is by any bracha (such as the end of baruch she'amar) or any responsive piece (such as kedusha in birchos k"s). Also any piece that is the end before a kaddish is ended by the s"t so that the tzibbur will be ready for kaddish.
    – Yahu
    Commented Mar 18, 2010 at 19:46
  • Where in Sefer Chasidim does he write this?
    – Double AA
    Commented Apr 8, 2014 at 15:14
  • @Double AA , in ose reish nun aleph. (Pg reish yud tes in the Mossad HaRav Kook edition.)
    – Yahu
    Commented May 13, 2014 at 23:24

Not sure. The artscroll "diamond" is believed to be their modification of the crosses found in ... other groups' prayer books.

Printed after the Rambam's Halachot of Prayer are his text of the siddur, which includes some notes of his on what the chazzan says out loud in kedusha.

When it comes to Psukei D'Zimra, you really don't need a chazzan anyhow, it's just to keep pace, so it's less an issue. (I believe Chaim Berlin Yeshiva to this day has no chazzan for psukei d'zimra.) Also less of an issue for many Sephardi communities in which the chazzan reads everything out loud anyhow.

  • Anecdotally, I believe the same is true of Philadelphia Yeshiva.
    – WAF
    Commented Mar 16, 2010 at 13:55
  • ...and the Lakewood HaNetz minyan.
    – Yahu
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 15:37
  • In fact, in the Middle Ages פסוקי דזמרא was read responsively by חזן and קהל in a similar fashion to קבלת שבת (at least how yekkes do it) hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=47352&st=&pgnum=70 Commented Oct 29, 2017 at 13:21

There are a few places where it "matters", but in most cases, it's just the custom (not even a minhag per se) that people follow. Some places where the order and timing actually matters:

  • The end of the shema: the chazan repeats [not waits and says later] hashem elokeichem emes [machlokes whether the Chazan should say emes the first time [in which case the 248 words end with ... hashem elokeichem emes. hashem elokeichem, and the second emes is part of emes v'yatziv / emes v'emunhah] or not [in which case the 248 words end with hashem elokeichem. hashem elokeichem emes]. The first seems to be the common custom, although I believe the Gr"a says the second
  • Parts of Hallel, where the chazan and the tzibbur have a praise / response segment: the chazan says hodu lashem ki tov / yomar nah yisroel / etc and the tzibbur responds hodu lashem etc. to each.
  • shir hakavod (aka anim zemiros) and shir hayichud are examples of places where the chazan and tzibbur also have designated "roles"

This isn't exactly an answer, but there are places where the shali'ach tzibur, by all rights, should really NOT read aloud. For example, in the middle of the "paragraph" Vay'varech David, at the words ומצאת את לבבו נאמן לפניך, which is the middle of a pasuk and therefore not the end of anything.

  • 2
    The reason for the break there is because there is an old custom that when there is a Bris Milah in the Beis Haknesses for the s"t to start from vicharos imo haBris to read out loud and have the tzibbur respond. Although there is an halachic issue with such a custom, namely chopping up a verse, the custom is ancient.
    – Yahu
    Commented Apr 1, 2010 at 15:43
  • @Yahu - I have heard it before, but is there a written source for that custom when there is a Brit Milah ceremony? Commented Jun 11, 2012 at 15:42

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