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16 – Birkot Keriat Shema

01 – The Significance of the Berachot

The Chachamim instituted the recital of three berachot with Keriat Shema of Shacharit, two before the Shema and one after it (Mishnah, Berachot 11a). These berachot add to the content of Keriat Shema, including praise and thanksgiving to Hashem for creating and ruling over the world.

In Keriat Shema we say “Hashem Echad” (“Hashem is One”), denoting that He is the single entity that constitutes and fills the whole world with His oneness. In the first berachah of Keriat Shema, we expand on this foundation. By praising Him for the light that is renewed daily, we extol Hashem, “Who constantly renews the events of creation every day.” In order to emphasize His all-encompassing domain, we mention that He also created the darkness. At night, in the parallel berachah, together with the praise that He is “Ma’ariv aravim” (“the One Who brings on evening”), we add that he is “Borei yom valaylah” (“the Creator of day and night”). Hence, in the first berachah, our belief in God’s unity is given more expanded expression.

Opening with the words “Shema Yisrael” (“Hear O Israel”) expresses our belief that God’s unity is revealed to the world via the nation of Israel, which was expressly created for that purpose. This idea is expanded upon in the second berachah, in which we thank Hashem for the love that He feels for us and for giving us the Torah. We pray that we merit understanding the Torah and fulfill it with love, thereby revealing Hashem’s Name in the world.

Hashem Elokeinu” (“Hashem our God”) means that Hashem is omnipotent and rules over the world according to His will. His control of the world, with all its forces and components, was revealed most clearly in the exodus from Egypt, which is mentioned at the end of Keriat Shema. This, too, is revealed through the nation of Israel. In the third berachah we expand on this foundation and praise Hashem, “You are the first and You are the last, and aside from You we have no king, redeemer, or savior. From Egypt You redeemed us…” Additionally, we mention the slaying of the firstborn in Egypt and the splitting of the Sea. We then conclude, “Blessed are You, Hashem, Who redeems Israel.”

We see, therefore, that all three berachot are a continuation of, and an expansion on, the foundations of faith that are found in Keriat Shema.

Although the proper order that the Chachamim established is to say Keriat Shema with its berachot, nevertheless, one’s neglect to recite one of them does not prevent him from fulfilling the mitzvah of the other. If a person recites Shema without its berachot he still fulfills the mitzvah of Keriat Shema, and if he recites the berachot without saying Keriat Shema he still fulfills the mitzvah of reciting the berachot. Similarly, one’s neglect to recite one berachah does not hamper the recital of the others. Therefore, if a person recites one of the berachot, he fulfills his obligation over the blessing which he recites. All the more so, reciting the berachot in the wrong order does not prevent one from fulfilling his obligation to say them, so if someone mistakenly recites the second berachah before the first, he still fulfills his obligation. However, l’chatchilah, one must recite all the berachot together in the order that the Chachamim established.[1]

[1]. The first berachah, “Yotzer HaMe’orot,” opens with the word “Baruch” and the berachot that follow, although they are long, do not begin with “Baruch” since they are considered to be a continuation of the first berachah. The fact that l’chatchilah they must be recited together with Keriat Shema is agreed upon by all opinions. According to the Gra and those of similar opinion, this matter is simple. It seems that even the reasoning behind the ruling of the Ra’ah and the Shulchan Aruch, who write that one should fulfill his obligation of Keriat Shema by having kavanah when reciting Keriat Shema of the Korbanot, is that by the time the congregation prays, it is too late, and there is concern that the time to recite Keriat Shema will pass. However, were there no such case, all opinions agree that it is best to fulfill the obligation of Keriat Shema with its berachot.
Likewise, this can be learned from the law that a person who is uncertain as to whether or not he recited Keriat Shema and its berachot must also repeat the berachot. At first glance this is problematic, for when there is doubt concerning berachot we are lenient and we refrain from reciting them (safek berachot l’hakel). However, since the berachot are part of the fulfillment of the mitzvah of Keriat Shema, the law regarding the berachot follows Keriat Shema, see Mishnah Berurah 67:4, based on the Rashba. This can also be inferred from the law regarding a person whose profession is Torah learning, for although he is exempt from prayer, he is obligated to recite Keriat Shema and its berachot (Mishnah Berurah 106:6).

02 – The Link between Pesukei d’Zimrah and Birkot Keriat Shema

Upon the conclusion of Pesukei d’Zimrah and Yishtabach, the chazan recites Half-Kaddish. As we know, the virtue of the Kaddish is very great, and the Chachamim praise those who respond Amen to it with kavanah (see further in this book 23:6). The Chachamim instituted its recital at the conclusion of every stage of the prayer service in order to end each step in supreme sanctity, and from that holiness to continue on to the next stage of prayer. This Half-Kaddish creates a break between Pesukei d’Zimrah (corresponding to the world of yetzirah) and Keriat Shema and its berachot (which correspond to the world of beriah).

One may not interrupt by speaking between Pesukei d’Zimrah and Birkot Keriat Shema. Someone who does interrupt commits a sin, since Pesukei d’Zimrah serves as a preparation for prayer (Shulchan Aruch 54:3).

If a group of people praying reaches the end of Pesukei d’Zimrah and they do not yet have a minyan, they should stop after Yishtabach and wait for a minyan. They may learn Torah in the meantime. L’chatchilah, they should study silently, so they do not interrupt their prayer by speaking. However, one who cannot learn without actually uttering the words may learn by saying them, since, for the sake of a mitzvah, it is permissible to interrupt between Yishtabach and Barchu. The chazan should wait before Yishtabach for ten men to assemble so that he can say Yishtabach, and afterwards, Half-Kaddish. If he already concluded Yishtabach, after ten men have already gathered he should recite three verses of Scripture so that the Kaddish will apply to them and subsequently recite Half-Kaddish (Mishnah Berurah 53:10-11).

When the gabbai must relay an urgent message to the congregation, either pertaining to the needs of the community or for the sake of a mitzvah, and it is impossible to delay the announcement until after the prayer service, he may announce it between Yishtabach and Kaddish. Afterwards, the chazan recites a few verses and Kaddish. However, if the Kaddish was already recited, it is forbidden to interrupt even for the sake of a mitzvah, and he must wait until after Kaddish titkabal to make the announcements (Shulchan Aruch, Rama 54:3; 57:2; Mishnah Berurah 54:6).

03 – Barchu

After the Kaddish, the chazan says, “Barchu et Hashem hamevorach” (“Bless Hashem Who is blessed”). The congregation responds, “Baruch Hashem hamevorach l’olam va’ed” (“Blessed is Hashem, Who is blessed for all eternity”), and the chazan repeats the congregation’s line, saying, “Baruch Hashem hamevorach l’olam va’ed” (Shulchan Aruch 57:1).

The primary purpose of Barchu is to introduce Birkot Keriat Shema, for by declaring “Barchu,” the chazan invites the congregation to recite Birkot Keriat Shema. Even though it can also be recited as praise in itself, like when Barchu is recited at the conclusion of the prayer service, nevertheless, the essence of its establishment was to introduce Birkot Keriat Shema. Therefore, every person must finish saying Pesukei d’Zimrah and Yishtabach before Barchu so that immediately after Barchu he can begin Birkot Keriat Shema. It is best to even skip Az Yashir in order to start Birkot Keriat Shema with the congregation. Still, whoever did not yet succeed in saying the berachah of Yishtabach, even if he already responded to Barchu, must conclude Yishtabach and only afterwards continue with Birkot Keriat Shema.[2]

There are varying customs with regard to standing when responding to Kaddish and Barchu. According to the minhag of most Sephardim, there is no need to stand up while answering matters of sanctity, but one who is already standing must remain that way for Kaddish and Barchu (Maharil, Kaf HaChaim 56:20; 146:20-21; Yechaveh Da’at 3:4). Most Ashkenazim are accustomed to standing while responding to Kaddish and Barchu which are matters of sanctity (Mishnah Berurah 54:7-8; 146:18). However, concerning Barchu which requires a short answer, many Ashkenazim have the custom that if they are already sitting, such as for Torah reading, or before Ma’ariv, they do not completely stand up, rather they only rise slightly from their chairs when responding. This is similar to the custom many people have when answering a zimun with ten men.

When the chazan says the word “Barchu” he bows a bit, and when saying “Hashem” he straightens himself. Regarding the congregation, there are different customs. There are those accustomed to bowing down completely, those who bow slightly, and those who don’t bow at all. Every person should follow his family’s minhag. When people with different minhagim pray together, it is proper that everyone bows slightly (see further in this book chapter 17, note 3).

[2]. Mishnah Berurah 54:14. He adds that a person who is after Barchu is considered like one who is in the middle of a passage. If tallit and tefillin are brought to him, he must postpone putting them on until the end of the berachah, as clarified in note 4 of this chapter.
See Beit Yosef 69 who writes that some say that concerning Perisat Shema the chazan must recite Birkat Yotzer Or in addition to Barchu, even if he already said it, because one may not recite Barchu without saying at least one berachah after it. So writes the Mahari Abuhav, whose words are clarified in the Mishnah Berurah 69:3. However, Darkei Moshe writes that one may say Barchu without reciting a subsequent berachah. That is the customary practice at the end of the prayer service; Barchu is recited without a berachah. Nevertheless, as we learned, the essence of Barchu is to introduce Birkot Keriat Shema.

04 – Kedushat Yotzer and Responding Amen to the Berachot

Birkat Yotzer Or is praise to Hashem, “Who constantly renews the acts of creation daily.” Over time, liturgy was added to this berachah; there is a special poem for weekdays and a special poem for Shabbat. Not only do we praise Hashem, but even angels and Seraphim, which are sublime spiritual creations, bless, praise, glorify, sanctify, revere, and proclaim the sovereignty of His Name, Blessed Be He, and say, “Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh, Hashem Tzevakot, melo kol ha’aretz kevodo” (“Holy, holy, holy, is Hashem, Master of Hosts, the whole world is filled with His glory”), and “Baruch kevod Hashem mimekomo” (“Blessed is the glory of Hashem from His place”). Their praise is included in Birkat Yotzer HaMe’orot.

The Rishonim disagree as to whether an individual may say Kedushat HaMalachim (“Kadosh, kadosh, kadosh…”) in Birkat Yotzer. There are those who say that these verses are matters of sanctity, just like Kedushah in Chazarat HaShatz, and therefore, whoever prays individually is prohibited from reciting them (Ran, Rabbeinu Yerucham). On the other hand, others say that this is not an ordinary Kedushah, but rather a description of how angels sanctify Hashem’s Name, and therefore, even an individual can say the verses (Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah, Rosh). In order to avoid uncertainty, it is best for a person praying individually to recite the verses of Kedushah as if reading from the Torah, in the melody of cantillation signs, because according to all opinions, an individual is allowed to learn them, and in that way he also fulfills his obligation (Terumat HaDeshen, Shulchan Aruch 59:3). It is not necessary to know the exact cantillation signs (ta’amei hamikra); rather, the main idea is that he tries to recite the words somewhat in cantillation to appear as if he is reading from the Prophets (Nevi’im).[3]

Some poskim rule that the congregation must respond Amen upon hearing the chazan recite Birkot Keriat Shema (Rosh), whereas others maintain that Amen may not be answered, so as not to interrupt between the berachot and Keriat Shema (Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah, based on the Rambam).

In practice, the minhag of the Sephardim is that one who is reciting Birkot Keriat Shema does not answer Amen after the chazan, for that is considered to be an interruption (hefsek). In order not to encounter uncertainty, l’chatchilah it is proper to conclude the berachah along with the chazan or slightly afterwards, and in that way, according to all opinions, it is unnecessary to respond Amen. In any case, even one who finishes before the chazan does not respond Amen.

The minhag of the Ashkenazim is to answer Amen after Birkat Yotzer HaMe’orot in Shacharit, and after both Birkot HaMa’ariv Aravim and Ga’al Yisrael in Ma’ariv. However, regarding the berachah immediately before Keriat Shema, one should try to conclude it with the chazan or slightly after him, so that it will not be necessary to answer Amen and cause an interruption between the berachah and Keriat Shema. Nevertheless, one who already finished reciting the berachah and heard the chazan say it must answer Amen (Mishnah Berurah 59:24-25; Kaf HaChaim 26:28).

[3]. The Mishnah Berurah 59:10 writes based on the Pri Chadash that if he is praying individually and a congregation in the vicinity is praying at a different place in the prayer service, the individual may say Kedushat Yotzer in the regular manner. Kaf HaChaim 21 writes based on Ma’amar Mordechai that even in such a case it should be read with cantillation signs.

05 – Responding to Matters of Sanctity in Birkot Keriat Shema

In the opinion of Maharam of Rotenberg, while reciting Keriat Shema and its berachot, one may not interrupt to respond to Kaddish and Kedushah, for since he is already engaged in the praise of God, he is prohibited from interrupting to answer another matter of praise. However, according to the majority of the Rishonim (Talmidei Rabbeinu Yonah, Rosh), for the sake of great praises recited in a congregation, a person is permitted to interrupt even in the middle of Birkot Keriat Shema, and that is the halachah (Shulchan Aruch 66:3).

When interrupting, one may only respond to the most important parts of prayer. In Kaddish there are those who say that he may only answer, “Yehei Shemei rabbah mevorach l’alam…” (“May His great Name be blessed forever and ever”). Likewise, he answers Amen after “da’amiran b’alma v’imru Amen” (“that we utter in the world and say Amen”), which is the conclusion of the main part of the Kaddish (Mishnah Berurah 66:17). Others say that he may answer all five Amens that one normally answers in the main part of the Kaddish, which is called Half-Kaddish; however, the ensuing additions are not considered to be the essence of the Kaddish, and he may not interrupt to answer Amen after them (Kaf HaChaim 66:23; and see further in this book 23:14).

In Kedushah, he may only answer by reciting the verses “Kadosh…” and “Baruch…,” the essence of the response to Kedushah (Mishnah Berurah 66:17; Yalkut Yosef 66:2). There are those who say that he may also respond to the verse “Yimloch…” (Aruch HaShulchan 66:6; Kaf HaChaim 18), and that is the widespread custom. However, he must refrain from reciting the introductory words that the chazan says before every verse.

He may respond to Barchu, “Baruch Hashem hamevorach l’olam va’ed.” (“Blessed is Hashem, Who is blessed for all eternity.”) At Modim of the Amidah repetition, he bows down and answers, “Modim anachnu lach” (“We thank you”) and nothing more.

According to the Ashkenazic minhag, one may answer Amen to the berachot, “HaKel HaKadosh” and “Shomeya Tefillah,” which conclude the berachot of praise, and the berachot of request. According to the Sephardic minhag, the law regarding those particular berachot is similar to other berachot, and one does not respond to them.

Concerning this law, there is no difference between being in the middle of a berachah or paragraph, and being between berachot or paragraphs.

All answers are permitted only in the middle of the berachot or after their conclusion. However, once a person says “Baruch Attah Hashem” at the end of the berachah, and there only remain a few words to conclude the berachah, he may not interrupt at all (Bei’ur Halachah 66:3). Similarly, when reciting the verses “Shema Yisrael” and “Baruch Shem kevod…” in which one accepts upon himself the yoke of Heaven, one may not interrupt for anything, for the ruling regarding them is like that of the Amidah, which we do not interrupt at all (Shulchan Aruch 66:1).

In any case of uncertainty, it is best not to answer, for according to many poskim, even if it is permissible to answer, there is no obligation to respond.[4]

[4]. The Torat Chaim (Sofer) 66:8 writes that it is not an obligation to respond, rather one is permitted to do so, as written in Shut Yad Eliyahu and the Maharshag. See Yabia Omer part 1, 5:7 and part 8, 6:1-2. Halichot Shlomo 6:12 writes that even in Pesukei d’Zimrah one is permitted to answer but is not obligated to do so. Additionally, we already learned that according to Maharam of Rotenberg, it is forbidden to answer either Kaddish or Kedushah in the middle of Birkot Keriat Shema, and although the halachah does not follow his opinion, nevertheless, in a situation of uncertainty, one may take his opinion into account and not respond. Concerning the question of whether or not it is preferable for a person to respond, the answer depends. If he is praying in a minyan, and he will hear all the matters of sanctity anyway, then if responding will disturb his concentration, it is best that he does not answer. However, if the people are standing for Kedushah, he must be sure not to appear as though he is separating himself from the congregation, and therefore he must stand with his legs together when they do, and likewise bow at Modim. If another opportunity will not arise to hear Kaddish and Kedushah, it is best that he answers with them (see Mishnah Berurah 66:51). See the laws of Pesukei d’Zimrah in this book, chapter 14:4, and note 7.The Mishnah Berurah 66:23 mentions different opinions regarding whether one is allowed to respond Amen to berachot while in between the passages. Although he tends to agree that one may respond, I have not mentioned this, based on the rule that in a case of uncertainty, “shev v’al ta’aseh adif,” sitting and not performing an action is preferable. The Igrot Moshe, Orach Chaim, part 4, 21:2 rules that one responds Amen to the Kohanim who are reciting the verses of Birkat Kohanim, since the Bei’ur Halachah 128 states that this Amen is a biblical obligation. One who must relieve himself must do so and wash his hands, although he recites Asher Yatzar only after he finishes the Amidah (Mishnah Berurah 66:23). If he is called up to the Torah, according to the Shulchan Aruch 66:4 he does not ascend, although according to the Ashkenazic poskim he does. Even according to the Ashkenazic custom, if he suspects that he will be called up, it is best that he leave the synagogue beforehand (Mishnah Berurah 66:26). If he is in the middle of reciting Pesukei d’Zimrah, the law is more lenient, and if he is called he ascends. If he is the only Kohen or Levi present, he can be called l’chatchilah, as explained in chapter 14:5 of this book.

If a person did not have tallit and tefillin, and they are brought to him after he already began reciting Birkot Keriat Shema, but before he reaches Shema, he must wait until the conclusion of the berachah. According to the Shulchan Aruch, he wraps himself in the tallit and puts on the tefillin with a berachah. According to the Rama, he recites the berachot on the tefillin, but wraps himself in his tallit without reciting the berachah, since there is no obligation to wrap himself in a tallit for Keriat Shema. If the tallit and tefillin were brought to him after he already reached Keriat Shema, there is discussion among the poskim about how to put on tefillin in the middle of a passage so that he will not appear as someone who is giving false testimony even regarding one verse of Keriat Shema. Still, it seems that he can decide in his heart to repeat that same passage from the beginning and then he will be considered as one who is between passages, allowing him to recite the blessing on the tefillin according to all opinions. As an added precaution, he can continue reading until the end of the passage like one who reads the Torah, then put on tefillin with a berachah, and then go back to read with kavanah from the beginning of that same passage. By doing so, he evades the dispute between the Shulchan Aruch and the Rama and he will not lose out on saying the second berachah that is recited according to Minhag Ashkenazim, which he would miss if he were to put on the tefillin in the middle of the passage (see Mishnah Berurah 66:47). If his tallit and tefillin are brought to him in the middle of the Emet V’Yatziv berachah, according to the Shulchan Aruch, he wraps himself in the tallit and he puts on his tefillin without a berachah. According to the Rama, he recites the blessings on his tefillin. The Mishnah Berurah 66:47 writes that it is correct to recite only the “Lehaniachberachah. If the tallit and tefillin were brought to him between Ga’al Yisrael and the Amidah, he puts on tefillin without a berachah and does not wrap himself in his tallit, so as not to interrupt between redemption and prayer (Shulchan Aruch 66:8).

06 – Interruption for a Respected Person

In order to prevent insult, the Chachamim permitted saying “Shalom” in the middle of Keriat Shema and its berachot to a person of exceptional distinction. Therefore, one who is in the middle of reciting Birkot Keriat Shema, or one of the paragraphs of Shema, and sees a person whom he is commanded to revere, such as his father, his rabbi, or a prominent Torah leader of the generation, he may initiate a greeting to him. If he sees a respected person, like a talmid chacham (Torah scholar), a wealthy person, or a person of another status, he may not initiate a greeting. However, if the distinguished person says hello to him, he may respond.

If he is in between passages, meaning between berachot or between paragraphs, the ruling is more lenient. In such a case, one is permitted to initiate an interruption in order to say “Shalom” to a respected person. If he is greeted, he may respond to any person (Shulchan Aruch 66:1; Mishnah Berurah and Kaf HaChaim). In the middle of the verses “Shema Yisrael” and “Baruch Shem” one must not interrupt, unless the situation is life-threatening.

The poskim write that since it is accepted nowadays not to interrupt in the middle of prayer, distinguished people are not insulted when they are not greeted. Therefore, no permission is granted to interrupt in the middle of Keriat Shema and its berachot in order to address a distinguished person or a person who must be revered (Mishnah Berurah 66:2, based on Sefer HaChinuch). However, if someone who does not understand the value of prayer approaches the person praying, and if not answering him will likely cause insult, it is permitted to initiate a greeting to him. Similarly, a ba’al teshuvah, whose parents do not understand the value of his prayer, is permitted to say “Shalom” to them and nothing more.

A person is allowed to interrupt by talking in the middle of Keriat Shema and its berachot in order to prevent himself from bodily harm or monetary loss, although it is preferable, if possible, to finish the paragraph or berachah (see Bei’ur Halachah 66:1 “O”). Likewise, a rabbi who receives an urgent question is allowed to reply between paragraphs and berachot (Aruch HaShulchan 66:4).

One who is reciting Keriat Shema and its berachot should stand if a talmid chacham passes in front of him (Birkei Yosef, Yoreh De’ah 244:1). However, while accepting the yoke of Heaven in the verse “Shema” and “Baruch Shem,” one may not get up. There is an opinion that it is preferable not to stand at all while reciting Shema (Tzitz Eliezer 14:10).

One who sees his friend committing a sin should signal to him in order to stop him. However, if his friend does not take the hint, he must interrupt Keriat Shema and its berachot to tell him to stop transgressing, for if the Chachamim permitted the interruption of Keriat Shema and its berachot for the respect of a human being, all the more so for the respect of Heaven (Ritva, Kaf HaChaim 66:7).

It is not appropriate to collect tzedakah in the middle of Birkot Keriat Shema, so as not to disturb the kavanah of the people praying. Nevertheless, if an honest poor person requests tzedakah, one is permitted to comply (Halichot Shlomo 7:4).

07 – Adjoining Redemption to Prayer

Even though the recital of Keriat Shema and its berachot, and the recital of the Amidah prayer are two separate mitzvot, one must connect them, and it is forbidden to interrupt between them. The Chachamim state that anyone who adjoins redemption to prayer merits life in the World to Come (Berachot 4b). If he adjoins them while praying vatikin, he is promised that he will not be harmed that whole day (Berachot 9b, and Tosafot there). One who interrupts between redemption and prayer is considered similar to a king’s beloved, who comes and knocks on the king’s door. When the king emerges to find out what his beloved desires, he has already left to take care of another matter. The mention of Israel’s redemption from Egypt is akin to the knock on the king’s door, because the redemption demonstrates the great love HaKadosh Baruch Hu has for Israel. Therefore, the Exodus from Egypt is considered as the engagement between HaKadosh Baruch Hu and Israel. Distractions are forbidden. Out of the special closeness expressed in the redemption, we must maintain the state of devotion sparked by prayer and request that Hashem bless and redeem us, just as He redeemed us from Egypt (see Yerushalmi Berachot chapter 1, halachah 1).

Even if a person hears Kaddish or Kedushah between redemption and prayer, he may not answer (Shulchan Aruch 66:9). One may not interrupt at all, even silently, between redemption and prayer.[5]

Many chazanim are accustomed to concluding Birkat Ga’al Yisrael quietly so that people will not answer Amen. The reason for this is that some say that one who finished Birkat Ga’al Yisrael, but did not yet start the Amidah, and heard the chazan’s conclusion of Ga’al Yisrael must answer Amen. They maintain that it is not considered to be an interruption (hefsek), since answering Amen to Ga’al Yisrael is a continuation of one’s involvement in redemption (Rama). However, others maintain that even answering Amen to Birkat Ga’al Yisrael constitutes an interruption between redemption and prayer (Shulchan Aruch). Therefore, in order to spare the congregation from uncertainty, some chazanim conclude the berachah silently, so that no one can answer Amen. Others are less concerned and conclude Birkat Ga’al Yisrael in a regular voice. At a time when there were people in the congregation who fulfilled their obligation by hearing the chazan, the chazan was required to recite the whole berachah out loud.[6]

One who arrives late, when the congregation is about to begin the Amidah, must recite the prayers in the correct order and adjoin redemption to prayer. Despite the fact that he will miss praying with the congregation, it is preferable that he prays in the proper order, since the adjoining of redemption to prayer is preferable to prayer in a minyan. However, concerning Ma’ariv, the law is different (Shulchan Aruch 236:3; and see further in this book 25:4).

According to the majority of poskim, on Shabbat it is less necessary to adjoin redemption to prayer. Therefore if one hears Kaddish or Kedushah between redemption and prayer, he should respond to it.[7]

[5]. If he hears Kaddish or Kedushah while he is between the berachah of redemption and the Amidah, according to the Tehillah L’David 111:1, he remains silent and listens like one who hears it in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei, and his listening will be considered like a response. So writes the Yalkut Yosef 111:2. Sha’arei Teshuvah 66:13 rules that it is forbidden to interrupt even silently and that the law regarding interruption between redemption and prayer is more stringent than an interruption in the middle of Shemoneh Esrei, and so writes the Kaf HaChaim 66:39. It seems that since according to the majority of poskim there is no obligation to respond when one is engaged in the recital of Birkot Keriat Shema, and all the more so in the Amidah, therefore it is best that he start Shemoneh Esrei without waiting.

If he must hear the Kaddish and Kedushah because he will not have another opportunity to respond to them, he should practice according to the Shulchan Aruch 66:9; waiting at the words “Shirah chadashah” and answering. Regarding one who was brought tallit and tefillin in the middle of Birkat Ga’al Yisrael, see end of note4 in this chapter.

[6]. The Shulchan Aruch 111:1, based on the Zohar, rules that an Amen recited after the Ga’al Yisrael berachah is considered to be an interruption, although according to the Tur and the Rama it is not. Nevertheless, the Mishnah Berurah 66:35 writes that it is good to refrain from putting oneself in a position of uncertainty by concluding the berachah of Ga’al Yisrael together with the chazan. It is best that one who finishes before him already starts saying the words, “Hashem sefatai tiftach….” In that way, even according to the Rama he will not need to say Amen. The Aruch HaShulchan (who lived in Ashkenaz) 111:2 writes that in any case, even if he did not start the Amidah, the custom is not to answer Amen. Concerning the minhag to finish Ga’al Yisrael quietly, see Beit Baruch 20:56 who expresses doubt concerning this. However, there are others who praise the custom; see Ishei Yisrael 17 note 83.

[7]. According to Hagahot Ashiri and the Maharil, on Shabbat there is less of a need to adjoin redemption to prayer since, according to the extrapolation from the verse, the obligation to adjoin them is only on a day of distress. But on Shabbat, which is not deemed a day of distress, it is unnecessary to do so. The Beit Yosef writes that their words seem reasonable. However, the Rama 111:1 writes that it is best l’chatchilah to be stringent and adjoin them also on Shabbat, although in times of need it is unnecessary. Kaf HaChaim 111:9 writes that the law regarding Shabbat is like that of weekdays. However, the Mishnah Berurah 9, Bei’ur Halachah there, and Yalkut Yosef 111:5 write that if a person hears Kaddish or Kedushah between redemption and prayer on Shabbat, he should respond. However, if he arrives late, he does not pray with the congregation, saying Keriat Shema and its berachot afterwards, as is customary to do in Ma’ariv. Rather he prays in the correct order so that he can adjoin redemption to prayer.

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