What is the basis for a kohen who is the shatz to do Birkat Kohanim even if there is more than one kohen present like is done in at least a few Israeli Ashkenazi communities? The Shulchan Aruch states in siman 128, sief 20:

אם ש''צ כהן, אם יש שם כהנים אחרים, (עב) כ''ג] לא ישא (עג) את כפיו

If the shatz is a kohen and there are other kohanim he does not do Birkat Kohanim.

Seemingly this means that if the kohen is the shatz and there are other kohanim present he should not do Birkat Kohanim, yet in some communities the kohen shatz does go up and perform Birkat Kohanim. I checked the commentaries and could not find any answers so maybe other people have heard an answer for why some communities allow a kohen who is shatz do Birkat Kohanim when there are other kohanim present.

  • 1
    Please add punctuation. As asked, this question is difficult to parse due to the lack thereof. – Noach MiFrankfurt Apr 19 '17 at 14:14
  • @NoachMiFrankfurt - Fixed for you. :) – ezra Apr 19 '17 at 15:24
  • Thanks, @ezra, although I think the quote was the least problematic element – Noach MiFrankfurt Apr 19 '17 at 15:25
  • Hint: you might want to read a little further on in the same Siman and maybe look at the Mishna Brurah – TrustMeI'mARabbi Apr 19 '17 at 16:17
  • I think the problem is a concern that the shat'z will get confused switching roles between shat'z and duchenin mode. However, IIRC, I think one opinion mentioned in Mishnah Berurah states that if he is certain that he won't get confused, he may duchen with the other Cohanim. As to why a shul wants the Cohen to be shat'z, it may be as simple as that he has the best voice and the congregation feels that he is the best choice available at that time. (Agreebaly, sometimes the choice for chazzan is shul "politics", which is a poor reason, but, alas, it's done frequently, anyway.) – DanF Apr 20 '17 at 14:55

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