On the morning of Simchas Torah, in the synagogue I attend, we recite Birkas Kohanim during Shacharis rather than Musaf. I asked around, and was told that because many people make Kiddush before Musaf, the custom is to recite Birkas Kohanim before drinking alchohol.

I have seen some support for this. I believe that in the Mishneh Berurah, at the end of the discussion of Simchas Torah, there is some remark about drinking and Birkas Kohanim.

On other holidays, during Birkas Kohanim, the Kohanim chant a wordless tune near the end of each of the blessings, and while they chant the congregation recite a text. This whole business is omitted on Shabbos, because (I’m told) it is considered a personal request. It is also omitted on Simchas Torah. When I asked around, I was told (in a tentative way) that perhaps the omission on Simchas Torah has to do with the switch from Musaf to Shacharis.


  1. I’m not sure I understand the logic that allows us to say the prayers of Musaf itself, but not the Birkas Kohanim, after drinking. It has to do somehow with the status of the Birkas Kohanim as being "from the Torah"?

  2. In at least some non-Shabbos-Simchas-Torah-Shacharis-&-Musaf services, why don’t the Kohanim chant, and why doesn’t the congregation say the associated text?

  • They said chanted where I davened. Although they said it at mussaf.
    – robev
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:17
  • The chant relates to the saying of the paragraph about dreams. No paragraphs no chanting.
    – rosends
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:30
  • related judaism.stackexchange.com/q/10987/759
    – Double AA
    Oct 24, 2017 at 13:14
  • Re your assumption mentioned at the end of 1 - the Musaph sacrifice was also Torah mandated. And, one of the reasons for having Musaph prayers is that it is a substitute for not being able to offer sacrifices. I get your point that Birkat Kohanim is "directly" Torah mandated, so it has a "hiher precedent" than Musaph does.
    – DanF
    Oct 24, 2017 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


I can answer question 1:

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 128:38 rules that a Kohen cannot say Birkas Kohanim after drinking a small amount of wine (either a revi'is neat in one shot or more than a revi'is diluted or in two or more shots).

Mishna Berura there explains that this is because Birkas Kohanim is comparable to the Temple service where the Torah forbids an intoxicated Kohen to serve - see Vayikra 10:9.

  • I suddenly wonder: can I only accept one answer? Maybe I should have posted my two question separately, so that I can accept two answers?
    – Chaim
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:17
  • @Chaim - we usually discourage more than 1 question at a time. Oct 24, 2017 at 12:26
  • @Chaim You can always place a bounty for the purpose of awarding another answer.
    – DanF
    Oct 24, 2017 at 14:30
  • @DannySchoemann Aderaba, it's better to post separate questions separately, rather than in one post. We discourage more than 1 question at a time in a single post.
    – Scimonster
    Oct 24, 2017 at 19:22

The Halacha - in סימן קכח - דיני נשיאת כפים ואיזה דברים הפוסלים בכהן is that a Cohen chugged a Revi'is of wine or drank more than a Revi'is in multiple sips cannot do Birkas Kohanim until he sobers up.

לח שָׁתָה רְבִיעִית יַיִן בְּבַת אַחַת, לֹא יִשָּׂא אֶת כַּפָּיו; שְׁתָאוֹ בִּשְׁנֵי פְּעָמִים, אוֹ שֶׁנָּתַן לְתוֹכוֹ מְעַט מַיִם, מֻתָּר; וְאִם שָׁתָה יוֹתֵר מֵרְבִיעִית, אַף עַל פִּי שֶׁהוּא מָזוּג וַאֲפִלּוּ שְׁתָאוֹ בְּכַמָּה פְּעָמִים, לֹא יִשָּׂא אֶת כַּפָּיו עַד שֶׁיָּסִיר יֵינוֹ מֵעָלָיו

However, while one shouldn't pray unless one is sober, if one did pray it's acceptable, unless one is so drunk that one is incapable of standing in front of authority.

שָׁתָה יַיִן כְּדֵי רְבִיעִית, אַל יִתְפַּלֵּל עַד שֶׁיָּסִיר יֵינוֹ; וְאִם שָׁתָה יוֹתֵר, אִם הוּא יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ, אִם הִתְפַּלֵּל תְּפִלָּתוֹ תְּפִלָּה, וְאִם אֵינוֹ יָכוֹל לְדַבֵּר לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ, אִם הִתְפַּלֵּל תְּפִלָּתוֹ תּוֹעֵבָה וְצָרִיךְ לַחֲזֹר וּלְהִתְפַּלֵּל כְּשֶׁיָּסִיר יֵינוֹ מֵעָלָיו

The details are in סימן צט - דין שתוי ושכור לתפלה - where it's also defined what is considered "sobering up", including a long walk or a nap.

דֶּרֶךְ מִיל, וְשֵׁנָה כָּל שֶׁהוּא, מְפִיגִין אֶת הַיַּיִן; וְהָנֵי מִלֵּי כְּשֶׁשָּׁתָה רְבִיעִית, אֲבָל אִם שָׁתָה יוֹתֵר, כָּל שֶׁכֵּן שֶׁשֵּׁנָה מְשַׁכַּרְתּוֹ וְדֶרֶךְ טוֹרַדְתּוֹ; וְהָנֵי מִלֵּי בִּמְהַלֵּךְ בְּרַגְלָיו, אֲבָל רוֹכֵב, וַדַּאי דֶּרֶךְ מְפִיגָה הַיַּיִן

The chanting is not mentioned in halacha and would be based on local custom. In many parts of Israel that do Birkas Kohanim at Shachris and Mussaf all year round, but only chant at Mussaf on Yom Tov unless it's Shabbat.

The reason being as you proposed, apparently.

  • I'm not sure I follow the last two paragraphs. I meant to ask why chanting should be limited to Musaf rather than Shacharis. Your explanation is that it's a custom, meaning that we don't know why the custom is like this?
    – Chaim
    Oct 24, 2017 at 12:28
  • @Chaim - that's correct. Books like the Luach Dvar B'Itoh "blame" it on Minhag, and don't bring any sources, which is unusual (and means there aren't any that we know of) Oct 24, 2017 at 12:37
  • @DannySchoemann Could you find evidence that the switch to shacharit was due to the concern that some make the kiddush before mussaf? Oct 24, 2017 at 12:41
  • 1
    @Kazibácsi - sure - See Kitzur Shulchan Aruch סימן קלח who says so explicitly בְּיוֹם שִׂמְחַת תּוֹרָה, נוֹהֲגִין בְּהַרְבֵּה מְקוֹמוֹת, שֶׁהַכֹּהֲנִים נוֹשְׂאִים כַּפֵּיהֶם בִּתְפִלַּת שַׁחֲרִית וְלֹא בַּמּוּסָף, מִֹשּׁוּם דְּבַמּוּסָף יֵשׁ חֲשַׁשׁ שִׁכְרוּת. וְאֵין אוֹמְרִים וְתֵעָרֵב בִּתְפִלַּת שַׁחֲרִית - toratemetfreeware.com/online/f_00561.html#HtmpReportNum0259_L5 Oct 24, 2017 at 13:02
  • @DannySchoemann I would add this to the beginning of the answer! Oct 24, 2017 at 13:12

You must log in to answer this question.

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