[Avodah] barchu

Akiva Miller akivagmiller at gmail.com
Sun Apr 15 15:35:12 PDT 2018

R' Joel Rich asked:
> According to the S"A 139:7, after the oleh "commands" the
> community to bless HKB"H before reading the Torah, the
> congregation responds "baruch hashem hamevorach l’olam vaed"
> and the oleh the repeats the phrase in order to be included
> with the congregation of blessers. Why does he wait and not
> utter the phrase with the congregation?

Incidentally, the same situation and question applies by the Borchu
prior to Birchos Krias Shema, as per S"A 57:1.

I can't bring any source, but in my mind, the simple answer is that if
the oleh would say it together with the congragation, he might not be
heard. The delay is to insure that no one mistakenly thinks that the
oleh is excluding himself.

I was going to ask a related question about Kaddish that has bothered
me for some time. Namely: When the Kaddish-sayer says "Yhei Shmei
Raba" himself, why does Mishne Brurah 56:2 tell him to say it

But I am *not* going to ask that question, because RJR's post has
forced me to compare these tefilos carefully, and I have found a
difference that might help to answer his question.

RJR was very correct when he used the word "command" to describe what
the oleh is saying. The word "Borchu" is indeed the tzivui/imperative
form of the verb. But no comparable command exists in Kaddish.

Yes, the Kaddish-leader does command them "v'imru", but he even
specifies what it is that he wants them to say. Namely, a simple
"amen". And so they do. May I suggest that the "Yhei Shmei Raba" is an
impromptu addition, that the tzibur adds of their own accord, NOT
commanded to do so by the Kaddish-leader. Thus, there is no fear of
causing any illusions that he is somehow excluding himself. Indeed, he
himself added to the praise by saying "Yisborach v'yishtabach", which
(one might say) is simply an expanded version of "Yhei Shmei Raba".

So I guess the real question on MB 56:2 is not why the leader says
Yhei quietly instead of loudly, but perhaps we could ask whether the
leader really needs to say Yhei at all.

Akiva Miller

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