Hazarat Hashatz: What’s the Minhag?

After the Amida of Shaharit ,Minha and Musaf are recited silently by the congregants, the Shaliah Tzibur repeats it aloud so as to fulfil the obligation for anyone who does not know how to pray, and this is known as Hazarat Hashatz (repetition of the Shaliah Tzibur) . There is a common custom in the Moroccan community that the Amida is not repeated at all in certain prayers. When Hazarat Hashatz is not recited, the Amida is recited as follows:When the congregants start their silent Amida, the Hazan recites the first three blessings out loud with the congregants reciting it simultaneously, but silently. The Kedusha is then recited in its normal fashion, after which everyone continues the Amida on their own, silently. Finally, when the Hazan reaches the blessing of “Retze”, he raises his voice once again until the end of the Amida. If other congregants finish the Amida before the Hazan, they thus have the opportunity to recite Modim DeRabanan and to listen to Birkat Kohanim. Besides allowing those who do not know how to pray to fulfil their obligation to pray, the Rosh (Berachot) says that the repetition of the Amida allows the congregants to recite Modim DeRabanan. Nevertheless, as mentioned above, by raising his voice in Retze, the congregants still have the chance to respond to Modim even when the Amida is not repeated. 

Among Moroccan rabbis, there are two approaches to whether or not the Amida need be repeated by the Shaliah Tzibur. However, this discussion is not a recent one nor is it unique to the Moroccan community. The Radbaz (Shu’t HaRadbaz, vol. IV, § 1165) records a debate that took place in his era, between the Egyptian transplants in Tzfat, who followed the Rambam and never repeated the Amida, and the natives of Tzfat who did repeat the Amida. 

Rabbi Moshe Toledano (Shamayim Hadashim, Orah Haim, § 9) based on the Rambam (Teshuvot HaRambam, § 255), suggests nullifying the repetition of the Amida altogether, since many times, there are not enough congregants who actually respond to the repetition, and thus the Shaliah Tzibur’s blessing may be in vain. Rabbi Yosef Messas (Mayim Haim, vol. I, § 41) also was of the opinion that the Amida need not be repeated, and that if it were repeated it was the exception, not the rule. 

On the other hand, Rabbi Shalom Messas (Shemesh Umagen, vol. IV, § 45) writes that the Moroccan community’s dispensation to not repeat the Amida was not based on the ruling of the Rambam, but rather was circumstantial. For example, on Shabbat morning when the prayer is longer than usual and congregants look forward to returning home to eat, the repetition of Musaf could be burdensome, and thus an expedited Musaf would be recited. As well, the Bet Yosef (§ 234) writes that the custom in Spain was to not repeat the Amida of the weekday Minha prayer, since congregants had to return to work and were busy with their affairs. Another circumstance is if the latest time for a prayer to be recited is approaching, then it may be recited without a repetition. Thus, Rabbi Shalom Messas, as well as Rabbi Ovadia Yosef (Halichot Olam, vol. I, § 185) write that when a situation arises that necessitates reciting the Amida without a repetition, only then may it be done. 

Rabbi Baruch Toledano (Kitzur Shulhan Aruch, § 111:5), quoting the Arizal, says that there is great significance to the Shaliah Tzibur repeating the Amida. He therefore suggests a compromise by saying that laypeople, who are busy with their affairs, may skip the Hazarat Hashatz. On the other hand, Torah scholars, yeshiva students and pious people should strive to pray the Amida with Hazarat Hashatz, as was instituted by our Sages. 

Summary:   There are two approaches to Hazarat Hashatz in the Moroccan community.