On various occasions I have heard somebody in shul declare that they have a chiyyuv to daven - an obligation, that is, to serve as sheliach hatzibbur: to represent the congregation in their leading of tefillah. To be honest, I've never actually understood what constitutes this chiyyuv, and have guessed (though am probably wrong) that it relates to an obligation to say the amidah twice.

Is there really such a thing as a "chiyyuv to daven"? When does a person possess this obligation, and how much of the davening does it require them to lead? I have only ever heard people say this during shacharit, but does it apply to mincha (and to maariv) as well? Can it be limited to mussaf, on a day when mussaf is read?

Secondly, what happens if there is more than one person in shul with this chiyyuv? Is there a scale of obligations, with some chiyyuvim trumping others, or are all obligations equal?


1 Answer 1


Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 204:4 records a custom to lead the prayers during the time when a mourner is saying Kaddish. This is the "obligation" you are hearing about.

In terms of which ones trump others, the rules in practice are to follow the same rules as with Kaddish itself (see here and here). In larger communities you will see people try to make a second Minyian when they lose out on the preferences.

It applies to Mincha and Maariv as well, but it doesn't apply to Shabbos and Yom Tov and (I don't think this is universal) days when Musaf is said (my observation) - except for a Yartzeit, where it applies in all those cases (see here #5), even Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur (although the standard Gabbi response seems to be "G-d made you an orphan, not a Chazzan, so no.").

  • Yishai, in response to your last point, I've davened in schuls where a jahrzeit had caused a great tircha with his attempts to properly follow the nusach (if you've davened in my town's Chabad on a weekday, there's a good chance that this will happen) Apr 28, 2015 at 23:39
  • Although a person is paying membership this only allows him to say kaddish. To daven before the amud (lead the davvening) he also has to be 'mruzeh l'kahal'. Just because he is a chiyuv others dont have to suffer.
    – cham
    Apr 29, 2015 at 8:13

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