THOUGHTS ON THE DAILY DAF
brought to you by Kollel Iyun Hadaf of Har Nof
Rosh Kollel: Rav Mordecai Kornfeld
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1) HALACHAH: WHO CALLS OUT "KOHANIM" FOR BIRKAS KOHANIM
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the "Korei," the one who calls "Kohanim," is
not allowed to call them up until the Tzibur finishes saying "Amen" to the
previous Berachah. The Sifri (Parshas Naso) and the Yerushalmi cited by
Tosfos (38a, DH l'Shnayim) say that the "Korei" who calls up the Kohanim
refers to the "Chazan."
2) WHEN MAY THE KOHANIM TURN AROUND
Who is the "Korei" or "Chazan" who calls up the Kohanim to recite Birkas
(a) RASHI here (and end of 38a) explains that it is the Shali'ach Tzibur who
calls up the Kohanim. This is also the ruling of the RAMBAM (Hilchos Tefilah
HALACHAH: The BEIS YOSEF cites sources that the Maharam himself changed his
practice and ruled that there is no point for the Shali'ach Tzibur to say
"Elokeinu..." when there are Kohanim present. The only reason the Shali'ach
Tzibur says it when there are no Kohanim present is in order to take the
place of the "Yehi Ratzon" prayer which the Kohanim say before reciting
Birkas Kohanim. Since the Kohanim themselves are saying the prayer of "Yehi
Ratzon," there is no point for the Shali'ach Tzibur to say it as well.
Therefore, the SHULCHAN ARUCH (OC 127:10) rules like the Rambam, that the
Shali'ach Tzibur calls out "Kohanim."
(b) However, RABEINU TAM (cited by Tosfos in Berachos 34a, Tosfos DH Lo
Ya'aneh, and by Tosfos ha'Rosh here) rules that it would be an interruption
for the Shali'ach Tzibur to call up the Kohanim to Birkas Kohanim in the
middle of his Shemoneh Esreh. Therefore, someone else should call "Kohanim."
Rabeinu Tam finds support for this from the wording of our Gemara, which
says that the "Korei" calls out "Kohanim," while the "Shali'ach Tzibur"
recites "Sim Shalom," implying that they are two different people.
Regarding the Sifri that says that the "Chazan" calls out "Kohanim," Rabeinu
Tam asserts that the word "Chazan" does not refer to the Shali'ach Tzibur,
but rather to the "Chazan ha'Kneses" (the "Shamash," or the one who takes
care of synagogue matters and other public matters; see Mishnah on 40b).
Rashi apparently distinguishes between Chazan ha'Kneses, which does not
refer to the Shali'ach Tzibur (Rashi in Ta'anis, beginning of 15b) and
"Chazan," which does refer to the Shali'ach Tzibur (like the Aruch writes in
Erech "Chazan," and which is evident from Rashi in Ta'anis 16b, DH Zeh
The ROSH (Megilah 3:21) rules like Rabeinu Tam.
(c) RABEINU YEHUDAH HA'CHASID (Berachos 34a) suggests a compromise. Our
practice is for the Shali'ach Tzibur to say "Elokeinu... Barcheinu
va'Berachah ha'Meshuleshes..." when there are no Kohanim present. The reason
the Shali'ach Tzibur may say that prayer and it is not considered an
interruption in his Shemoneh Esreh is because it is a Tefilah (prayer) and
not just a "Keri'ah" (announcement). Hence, even when there are Kohanim
present, the Shali'ach Tzibur may say "Elokeinu..." quietly as a Tefilah,
and when he gets to the word "Kohanim," he says it out loud in order to call
up the Kohanim. It is not considered an interruption because it is part of
This was the practice of the MAHARAM M'ROTENBURG as cited by the Hagahos
Maimoni (Hilchos Tefilah 14:7).
The REMA, however, mentions the custom for the Shali'ach Tzibur to say
"Elokeinu" quietly until the word "Kohanim" and to say "Kohanim" out loud.
The practice of the VILNA GA'ON, though, was like the opinion of Rabeinu
Tam, that someone else should call up the Kohanim and not the Shali'ach
Tzibur (Ma'aseh Rav #168). Many Ashkenazic synagogues in Eretz Yisrael
follow the practice of the Vilna Ga'on.
QUESTION: The Gemara says that the Kohanim may not turn around after they
have concluded reciting Birkas Kohanim until the Shali'ach Tzibur begins the
blessing of "Sim Shalom."
RASHI (DH l'Akor) presents the procedure of Birkas Kohanim. He writes that
as soon as the Tzibur finishes answering "Amen" to the last Berachah of
Birkas Kohanim, the Kohanim may turn around, and then the Shali'ach Tzibur
begins "Sim Shalom."
Rashi seems to be contradicting the Gemara! How can he say that the Kohanim
may turn around before the Shali'ach Tzibur begins "Sim Shalom," when the
Gemara clearly says that they must wait for him to begin "Sim Shalom" before
they turn around?
ANSWER: The MAHARSHAL writes that according to Rashi, the Gemara means that
the Kohanim turn around at the time that the Shali'ach Tzibur normally
begins "Sim Shalom," which is after the last person in the Tzibur finishes
How, though, did Rashi know to explain the Gemara in this manner and not in
its literal sense?
The D'VAR AVRAHAM (1:31:5) quotes a colleague who found a source for Rashi's
words in the SHE'ILTOS (#125), which says clearly that the Kohanim may not
turn around until the last person in the Tzibur answers "Amen." Rashi either
had that Girsa in our Sugya as well, or, even if he had our Girsa, he
explained the Gemara like the Maharshal, based on what it says in the
She'iltos. The version of the She'iltos seems to be the more logical
practice, since -- after the last "Amen" is finished -- the Berachah of
Birkas Kohanim is completely over, and there is no reason for the Kohanim to
have to wait for the Shali'ach Tzibur to begin "Sim Shalom" before they turn