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Mishna Berura Summaries

Siman 53 – The Chazzan

  1. Stand for Yishtabach and when saying the 15 praises. Be very careful not to interrupt between them. They do not need to be said all in one breath. (MB1)
  1. If you aren’t the chazzan and you finish up to Yishtabach before the chazzan, you should say Yishtabach immediately and don’t wait for him. This also applies on Shabbos. (MB9)
  1. The Chazzan should wait in silence for a minyan just before Yishtabach. He can pause for a half hour, then say Yishtabach and Kaddish immediately afterward. If he already said Yishtabach, he must say three pesukim of Pesukay D’zimra in order to have something for the Kaddish to be recited upon. (Rama3 – MB11)
  1. A person may pause in the middle of his Pesukay D’zimra because of oiness up until a half hour without having to go back to the beginning. (MB10)
  1. If a chazzan does not regularly learn Torah, his prayers are an abomination. (MB 18)
  1. A bar mitzvah boy who doesn’t have a nice voice but understands the tefillos, is a preferred shalich tzibbor over a seasoned chazzan who is ignorant – even if the people want the chazzan. (Rama 5)
  1. Once a boy turns 13 years old you can rely on the majority that he has grown two pubic hairs, and therefore appoint him as chazzan. This is only if you hold that Tefilla is a rabbinic mitzva. (MB25)
  1. A kotton cannot be motzi the tzibbor even for Borchu. (MB 32)
  1. A boy who’s Bo Bayom falls out on Shabbos is not yet qualified to lead the Maariv when the tzibbbor is daavening Friday before dark for toseffes Shabbos. (MB 33)
  1. If a boy is born on Rosh Hashana, late in the day, he becomes Bar Mitzvah on the night of Rosh Hashana of his 14th year. (MB33)
  1. A chazzan who drags out the daavening with his beautiful voice – if it is because he has a joy to be able to praise Hashem with such sweetness, he gets a beracha – but if it is just because he has joy to sound his voice to others, it’s a disgrace. (ShA11)
  1. Someone with a beautiful voice should reserve it to sing only to Hakadosh Baruch Hu and not other songs. (MB34)
  1. Clear your mouth from phlegm and saliva, then daaven. (MB 34)
  1. A person who pronounces א and ע the same way should not be the chazzan unless everyone speaks that way. The same applies to someone who pronounces ה and ח the same, or ש and ס the same. (ShA12-MB37)
  1. Anyone who cannot annunciate the letters properly (e.g. stutters) should not be the chazzan. (MB37)
  1. When you are asked to be the chazzan, you should refuse at first. When asked again, refuse but get ready. The third time, stand and accept. (ShA16)
  1. If you are being asked by a great man to be the chazzan, don’t refuse at all. (ShA16)
  1. If for any reason the chazzan stops in the middle of the tefilla and you are asked to replace him, do not refuse at all. (ShA17)
  1. A ger may say “elokay avosaynu”. (MB50)
  1. The baal koray must be loved by the congregation and he must love them. It is forbidden for the baal koray to think and direct any of the curses towards any one during his reading. (MB58)
  2. Being a baal tefilla for a deceased parent is a bigger mitzva than saying Kaddish. (MB 59)
  1. It is a mitzva for a congregation to allow a mourner to be the chazzan as long as he is able to pronounce the letters properly.  (MB60)
  1. It is a mitzva for one who is mourning a parent to be the chazzan – it gives nachas to the deceased and saves them from Gehinnom. However, never fight over this or any other mitzva with the congregation. (MB 60,61)
  1. It is a grievous sin for a community to live without a rav to pasken halachos for them. (BeH “shliach tzibbor”)
  1. It is ugly behavior for anyone to threaten another that he will inform upon him to the gentile authorities. (MB77)
  1. A chazzan who uses foul language or who sings goyisha-religious songs should be told not to. (Rama 25-MB82)
  1. It is proper conduct for each individual to daaven from a siddur. Certainly a chazzan should do so. (MB87)

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