Is there any law that a person below the age of 20 cannot lead the congregation at tefillat Musaf?

I heard someone (Not a Rabbi but a self-learner) doing a shiur, that since the half shekel at the time of the Mishkan was contributed only by men over 20, and tefillat Musaf can be alluded to the same, and because of that reason, a boy below the age of 20 couldn't do the same.

I don't know whether he was saying what he was thinking or whatsoever. But is there any contradiction to his statement?

  • שו"ע טו"ח סימן תקפא - וִידַקְדְּקוּ לַחֲזֹר אַחַר שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר הַיּוֹתֵר הָגוּן וְהַיּוֹתֵר גָּדוֹל בְּתוֹרָה וּמַעֲשִׂים שֶׁאֶפְשָׁר לִמְצֹא, שֶׁיִּתְפַּלֵּל סְלִיחוֹת וְיָמִים נוֹרָאִים; וְשֶׁיְּהֵא בֶּן שְׁלֹשִים שָׁנִים, גַּם שֶׁיְּהֵא נָשׂוּי (כָּל בּוֹ). מִיהוּ כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּשֵׁרִים הֵם, רַק שֶׁיִּהְיֶה מְרֻצֶּה לַקָּהָל Mar 15, 2018 at 12:17

1 Answer 1


R Akiva Eiger (responsum #9 (old series), citing the controversial Besamim Rosh #89) argues that women are exempt from Musaf because they are exempt from the half-Shekel tax.

R Yitzchak Elchanan Spektor (Beit Yitzchak OC #20) rejected this argument because then not only women, but even Kohanim, Leviyim and those under 20 would also be exempt, which he thought couldn't be true.

Similarly, R Baruch Epstein (Torah Temimah, footnote to Exodus 32:13) writes that according to R Eiger men under the age of 20 should not lead the services for Musaf since they may not be obligated, but he remains astounded at that conclusion ("והוא דבר חדש ונפלא מאוד, וצ"ע רב").

  • (Common practice indeed does not distinguish Musaf from, say, Shacharit in terms of obligation for all Jews.)
    – Double AA
    Mar 15, 2018 at 14:59
  • R. Hershel Schachter discussed this issue in a shiur available here. Start listening at around 27:32. (Pinging @RhHaokip)
    – Joel K
    Mar 15, 2018 at 15:23

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