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When davening with a minyan which is doing "heiche kedushah," some start saying the silent Shmoneh Esreh together with the chazzan. However, the Rama (Orach Chaim 109:2) says that ideally one should not start with the chazzan, but instead wait:

לכתחלה לא יתחיל עד אחר שאמר קדושה והאל הקדוש אלא שאם הוצרך להתחיל מכח שהשעה עוברת או כדי לסמוך גאולה לתפילה דינא הכי

According to this post, when doing "heiche kedushah" one is supposed to start Shmoneh Esreh after Kedushah unless there is no time. Is there any basis for starting Shmoneh Esreh with the chazzan even when there is time, or is this a mistake?

Edit: In this answer,

The standard practice is listed as:

A. Ideally, listen to the chazan complete Kedusha, and then start your own Shmoneh Esrei from the beginning. B. If you're really in a rush, daven along silently with the chazan from the beginning, then everyone continues silently from Ata Chonen.

Students of Rabbi Joseph Dov Soloveitchik (and I believe most Briskers of other influence as well) feel that B is the correct way to do it in all situations.

What is the basis for the Brisker and Sephardic position?

  • According to this answer, the practice is different at Minchah than at Shacharit. – Mike May 27 '15 at 22:22
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    Perhaps so that the chazzan is also yotzei tefilla betzibur(?) – Loewian May 27 '15 at 22:30
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Kaf HaChaim 124:10 brings several opinions that one should start with the Shlicha Tzibbur (against the Rama). He primarily relies on the Arizal to explain this, that Chazaras HaShatz can't happen until there was a silent Tefillah, and if no one starts with the Chazan, it is as if the tefiliah begins out loud. This is the way the Kaf HaChaim holds.

The Yalkut Yosef O.C. 124:5 also says to start with the Shliach Tzibbur and says it is better than the Rama's practice and that it is the established (Sefardic) custom.

Although I don't know the Brisk motivation (I doubt it is the Arizal), I have heard that Nefesh HaRav addresses it.

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It seems that the basis for this practice is the view of the Rambam in Hilchot Tefillah 8:4: וכיצד היא תפלת הציבור יהיה אחד מתפלל בקול רם והכל שומעים. As already noted by Divrei Yirmiyahu, the Rambam implies that the concept of "tefillat ha-tzibbur" relates not to the silent tefillah of individuals praying simultaneously, but to the prayer of the sheliach tzibbur. Divrei Yirmiyahu also notes that the Rambam instituted in Egypt that the congregation should always pray along silently with the chazzan, which is in accordance with his view that the prayer of the chazzan is what creates tefillat ha-tzibbur. Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik explained (Siddur Mesorat HaRav, p. 1212): "The individual, no matter how righteous, has no right to claim anything from God; God owes the individual nothing... The shaliah tzibbur on the other hand, prays on hehalf of the entire congregation..." R. Shternbuch, Mo'adim u-Zemanim, vol. 1, likewise notes the Rambam's position, according to which the primary "communal prayer" is the prayer of the chazzan.

R. Herschel Schachter, Nefesh HaRav, p. 126, records the following:

ונראה דחובת הציבור להתפלל "תפילת הצבור" אין זה רק בכדי שיצאו ידי חובת קדושה, דאפילו אמר החזן "א הויכע קדושה", ושוב התפללו כולם בלחש, מתחייבים שוב לראות שהש"ץ יחזור על התפילה בקול רם. ועי' רמ"א לסי' קכ"ד ס"ב, שכשיש שעת הדחק ואין פנאי להש"ץ לחזור על התפילה ומתפללים "א הויכע קדושה", שהצבור מתפללים עמו מלה במלה בלחש עד לאחר הקל הקדוש. [ועיי"ש במשנה ברורה סק"ח, שאם אין השעה דחוקה כ"כ, שלא יתחילו הצבור רק לאחר שאמר הש"ץ הקל הקדוש. ועיי"ש בכף החיים שדעת כמה אחרונים אינה כן.] ונראה לבאר בדעת הרמ"א, שמן הנכון לומר קדושה באמצע השמונה עשרה שלו, ובשלמא כשיש חזרת ש"ץ והיא נחשבת כתפילת הצבור, והיא מצטרפת לכל המנין, וחשיב כאילו כולם ביחד הגישו תפילה אחת להקב"ה, דוגמת ציבור המגישים קרבן ציבור אחד בעד כולם, הרי נמצא שאמרו קדושה באמצע "תפילת הצבור" שלהם. אך בשעת הדחק שאומרים רק "א הויכע קדושה", בכדי שתהיה הקדושה באמצע השמונה עשרה שלהם, בעינן בדוקא שיתחילו כולם להתפלל מלה במלה עם הש"ץ, וכן נהג רבנו.

R. Schachter argues that Kedushah is supposed to be recited during Shemoneh Esreh. In a case where the chazzan recites chazarat ha-shatz in full, the tzibbur recites kedushah in the middle of Shemoneh Esreh through the "tefillat ha-tzibbur" of the chazzan. But in a case of "a heiche kedushah," the tzibbur should pray along with the chazzan for the first three berachot in order to have kedushah during the Shemoneh Esreh. R. Schachter records that this was in fact the practice of R. Joseph B. Soloveitchik (in accordance with the Kaf ha-Chaim, and against the Mishnah Berurah).

Although R. Moshe Feinstein, (Iggerot Moshe, Orach Chaim 3:9), maintains that praying with the chazzan does not constitute tefillah be-tzibbur, it seems that most acharonim argue, (as enumerated in Piskei Teshuvot, 90:14 note 175), based on the aforementioned Rambam.

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As stated by Einbert, there is textual support to this practice; the thinking behind it is pretty straightforward -- the Gemara says the original point of having a Chazzan's repetition is for those who didn't know the text: they could follow along quietly with the Chazzan and thus fulfil their obligation to pray.

Briskers would therefore tell you that if I follow along with the Chazzan, I'm following the original version of that practice; whereas listen-silently-to-some-and-then-say-everything-my-self is a hybrid not found in the Gemara.

  • See my comment on his answer. Do you have any source for your additional sevara? – wfb May 31 '15 at 16:30
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The Shulchan Aruch (Orach Chaim, 109, 2) states that "If one starts his Tefila with the Shatz, when he reaches Kedusha will say word by word along with him ..." (it is clear from other sections that it is not advisable but here is a reference that it can be done)

And the Ram"o on the spot writes that "Lechatchila" one shold not start with the Shatz at the beginnign, but after Kedusha, unless the time presses or to pin\link Geula to Tefila.

[edit - added interesting opinion of the Ari] An interesting and eccentric observation is the Shita of the Ari HaKadoish, who says that that the Chazarat HaShatz is the actual prayer and the silect Shmone-Esre is only to a Takana in order to give time to the Shatz to rehearse before he starts the laud prayer! [/edit]

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    So if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying there is no basis for the practice of starting with the chazzan where there is no time pressure at mincha? What are you adding to the citation of the Rama in the question? – wfb May 31 '15 at 16:28
  • @wfb - The conclusion ("you are saying there is no basis for the practice of starting with the chazzan where there is no time pressure at mincha") is not my observation, it is the clarification of the Ramo. I am not sure I understand what you mean by the second part ("What are you adding to the citation of the Rama in the question?") – Einbert Alshtein Jun 1 '15 at 6:00
  • Yes, however I already cited the Rama in my question ("ideally one should not start with the chazzan"), so what new material are you presenting to answer the question? – wfb Jun 1 '15 at 14:24

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