What is the role of a Cantor?

When and why did the Cantor come into place?

  • Are you asking about the cantor's role as the assigned prayer leader, or the one who sings and leads in the musical/cantorial nature of services? – rosends Mar 31 '16 at 15:12
  • @Danno Everything,the nature of the cantors role compared to the worship in The Temple in jerusalem – Aigle Mar 31 '16 at 15:14
  • 5
    I don't understand the connection between a cantor and the Temple. – Double AA Mar 31 '16 at 15:27
  • Your title asks for his role. The questions itself does, too, but then immediately answers that and asks something else entirely, an historical question. I fear people are going to not understand exactly what you want to know (indeed, I don't understand exactly what you want to know) and answer a question you don't seek the answer to, so I'm closing this to answers so you can clarify what exactly you seek to know. – msh210 Mar 31 '16 at 15:45
  • 1
    I can't retract my vote. But, prior to reopening, see if judaism.stackexchange.com/q/64553/5275 may be a duplicate. – DanF Mar 31 '16 at 18:38

I believe it is realted to the fact that years back many people didnt know how to read or didnt own a siddur so the chazzan was the one who read on behalf of the kehal


The Leviim had the role of singing in the Beit Hamikdash.

Today being a cantor in a synagogue is not directly related to the job of singing by the Leviim but simply a function of a person whose profession is to lead davening.

  • Granted, I need to wait until OP clarifies his question. But, I think your answer addresses only the singing role of the cantor. I think this is a secondary role, though an important one. The original purpose was as Shaliach Tzibbur, which, originated b/c few people knew how to read the tefilla, esp. Amidah. That's why Chazarat Hashat"z originated. – DanF Mar 31 '16 at 16:04
  • How do you know there wasn't a shliach tzibur before the repitition of the amidah was made? Also "leading davening" includes that as well as the shemona esre is the main part of davening – Dude Mar 31 '16 at 16:17
  • I'm sure the cantor was there prior to repetition of Amidah. But, perhaps, since the Amidah seems to be the central part of the prayer, that may have been the cantor's main reason for being there. – DanF Mar 31 '16 at 18:29
  • @DanF I am not sure that a cantor pre-dated when the repetition was institued. When (roughly) do you think that occurred? – Mike Apr 5 '16 at 4:41

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .