Answering Amen to Ahavas Olam

Answering Amen to Ahavas Olam:[1]

Some Poskim[2] rule that after the [Chazan’s or individual’s[3]] completion of the blessing of Habocher Beam Yisrael Beahava, the congregation [whether they are holding in Birchas Shema or directly prior to Shema[4]] is not to answer Amen.[5] Other Poskim[6] rule that the congregation [that has concluded the blessing and is holding prior to Shema[7]] is to answer Amen just as is done for the blessing of Yotzer Or.[8] The widespread custom in these provinces [of Ashkenaz] is like the latter opinion.[9] The congregation is to thus beware to complete the blessing prior to the Chazan in order so they can answer Amen to it.[10] [However, the widespread Sefaradi custom is not to answer Amen.[11]]

Practical custom-Avoid the dispute: Due to the fact that the answering of Amen is in dispute, various customs have risen regarding how to avoid entering into the dispute altogether. The Chabad custom is for the Chazan [and individual] to conclude the blessing of Habocher Beamo Yisrael Beahava in silent, hence avoiding the need for the congregation to answer Amen.[12] Others[13] are accustomed to conclude the blessing together with the Chazan in order to avoid the need to answer Amen.[14] Others[15] however are not accustomed to avoid the dispute and even initially follow the Ashkenazi custom as stated above.

 

 

Summary:

The Ashkenazi custom is for the congregation to answer Amen to the blessing of Ahavas Olam said by the Chazan. The Sefaradi custom is not to answer Amen. Many however of both Sefaradi and Aashkenazi background conclude the blessing together with the Chazan in order to avoid the need to answer Amen. The Chabad custom is to avoid the situation through having the blessing concluded in silent [by both the Chazan and other individual congregants].

Q&A

According to the Chabad custom, is one who has concluded the blessing prior to Shema to answer Amen for Ahavas Olam in the event that the Chazan [or individual] concluded the blessing aloud?

This matter requires further analysis, although the leaning approach based on the Poskim is that one should answer Amen.[16] Practically, in order to avoid the issue, if one knows the Chazan will conclude the blessing aloud then he is to conclude the blessing together with the Chazan and hence avoid answering Amen according to all.[17]

 

If one is Davening past Zema Kerias Shema, may he even initially answer Amen to the blessing of Ahavas Olam if he has already concluded the blessing and is prior to Shema?[18]

Yes.

 



[1] Admur 59/4

[2] First opinion in Admur ibid; Michaber 59/4; Rambam Brachos 1/17; Ramban Likkutim Rosh Brachos; Rashba; Rabbeinu Yerucham; Hamanhig; Other Rishonim recorded in Beir Hagoleh ibid

[3] Ketzos Hashulchan 19/1

[4] May one answer Amen if he is prior to Birchas Shema: Yes, just as is the law with any other blessing. [Admur 51/5]

[5] The reason: As one is not to make an interval between Kerias Shema and the blessing that precedes it, just as it is forbidden to make an interval between any Mitzvah or pleasure which receives a blessing, and its preceding blessing. [Admur ibid; M”B 59/24]

[6] Second opinion in Admur ibid; Rama 59/4 and 61/3; Rosh; Rameh brought in Tur 61

[7] May one answer Amen if he is in the midst of the blessing of Ahavas Olam: No. It is forbidden to answer Amen in the midst of the blessing. [Admur ibid; Ketzos Hashulchan 19/1] Hence, the above dispute is only relevant in a case that the congregant is holding after the blessing of Habocher but prior to beginning Shema.

[8] The reason: There is no issue over the fact that one is making an interval between the blessing and Kerias Shema being that the blessings of Kerias Shema is not similar to other blessings said prior to Mitzvos, as we do not bless “Asher Kidishanu Bemitzvosav Vetzivanu Likro Kerias Shema.” These blessings are rather individual blessings [notwithstanding the Mitzvah of Shema] that were instituted to be recited before Kerias Shema. [Admur ibid]

[9] Admur ibid and 61/4; Rama ibid; Shaareiy Teshuvah 59/5; M”B 59/25; Glosses of Chasam Sofer ibid

[10] Admur ibid and 61/4; Rama 59/4; Rosh ibid

[11] Michaber ibid; Kaf Hachaim 59/26 and 28; See Ashel Avraham [Popenheim] that the custom is not to answer Amen to any Birchas Kerias Shema.

[12] Sefer Haminhagim p. 25 [English]

The difference between this blessing and Goal Yisrael: Regarding answering Amen for the blessing of Gopal Yisrael prior to Shemoneh Esrei a similar dispute s recorded. In the Siddur [Halacha 27 Raskin] Admur concludes that to avoid the dispute one is to conclude the blessing along with the Chazan. Likewise, in Sefer Haminhagim p. 25 [English] it states that Goal Yisrael is concluded in the normal tone. Vetzaruch Iyun why similar advice was not given here regarding the conclusion of the blessing of Habocheir. Perhaps the reason is because in truth the best advice is as written ere, to avoid concluding the blessing aloud, as not all people can conclude in unity with the Chazan. However by Goal Yisrael one cannot give this advice being everyone is required to begin Shemoneh Esrei at the same time, and hence the Chazan needs to conclude the blessing aloud. Vetzaruch Iyun.

[13] Custom of Sefaradim and majority of Ashkenazi communities, brought in Beis Yosef 59 and so concludes Shelah; Shaareiy Teshuvah 59/5 and M”B 59/25 that so should be done initially despite the ruling of the Rama and Ashkenazi custom. Nonetheless, in the event that one finished the blessing prior to the Chazan, one of Ashkenazi descent is to answer Amen as rules the Rama. [Shaareiy Teshuvah and M”B ibid]

[14] See Siddur Admur [Halacha 27 Raskin] who gives this advice regarding Goal Yisrael

[15] Shulchan Hatahor 60/2 that so applies according to the Arizal; Mishmeres Shalom Minhagim 11

[16] Seemingly, even according to the Chabad custom, in the event that the Chazan concluded the blessing aloud, the congregation is to answer Amen. Accordingly, if one is Davening by a Minyan of a different Nussach, he is to answer Amen. [So rules Admur ibid that so is Minhag Ashkenaz; So also concludes Ketzos Hashulchan 19/1; and so rules Shaareiy Teshuvah 59/5 and M”B 59/25 that although initially one is to avoid the dispute, in the event that one did not avoid it Amen is to be answered.] On the other hand, perhaps since according to our custom we suspect for the opinion that considers Amen a Hefsek, then even Bedieved if one heard the conclusion he is not to answer Amen.  Vetzaruch Iyun

[17] See Siddur Admur [Halacha 27 Raskin] who gives this advice regarding Goal Yisrael

[18] Ashel Avraham Butchach 59; Piskeiy Teshuvos 59/5

Was this article helpful?

Related Articles

Leave A Comment?