The Berachah Of Me'ein Sheva

The Daily Halacha Moment - Me'ein Sheva📙


״כל השונה הלכות בכל יום - מובטח לו שהוא בן ‎העולם הבא״ (נידה עג ע״א, מגילה כח:)


“Anyone who studies Halachot every day is guaranteed that he is destined for the world-to-come” (Megilla 28b, Niddah 73a)


Question:

What is the Berachah of Me'ein Sheva and why do we say it?


Answer:

The Chachamim established that a berachah consisting of an abridged version of the Shabbat Amidah must be said by the chazzan after the quiet Amidah. The reason for this establishment was because in the days of the Talmud the synagogues were situated in the fields outside of the city. This posed a danger to people who came late and needed extra time to finish praying because they would be left alone after the prayers have finished. Therefore, the Chachamim established to lengthen the prayers slightly in order to give everyone time to conclude praying together and be able to walk back to the city together. Even though this reasoning does not apply nowadays, since our synagogues are situated in the cities that we live in, nevertheless

the establishment of reciting Me’ein Sheva remains in place. [1]


The berachah of Me’ein Sheva may only be recited by the chazzan and not the congregants or when praying alone. [2] Some communities have the custom to recite out loud the last few words of every sentence. However, there is no obligation to do so. [3]

The berachah of Me’ein Sheva is only recited in an established bet hakenesset, and not if one is making a private minyan in one’s home, such as in the home of an avel, even if there is a sefer torah present. It is customary to treat the Old City of Yerushalayim as a bet hakenesset and even private minyanim may recite the berachah of Me’ein Sheva anywhere in the Old City. [4] Nonetheless, a minyan who only prays together on Shabbat, and not during the week, but has a sefer Torah in the room, may recite Me’ein Sheva. [5]


Sources:

[1]. See Rashi, Shabbat 24b; Tur §268; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 1, p. 339.

[2]. Shulchan Aruch 268:8; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 1, pp. 367, 387; Levyat Chen 269:8.

[3]. See Kaf HaChayim 268:41 who states that it is possible that some had a custom to do so in order to keep the congregation’s concentration on what the chazzan is reciting. See also in Halachah Berurah, vol. 16, p. 84.

[4]. Shulchan Aruch 268:10; Chazon Ovadia, Shabbat, vol. 1, p. 373; Yabia Omer, vol. 4, O.C. §21, new edition in footnote 1; ibid., vol. 9, O.C. 108:127; Yalkut Yosef, Shabbat, book 1, vol. 2, p. 541; Shemesh U’Magen

3:61. Unlike the opinion of the Ben Ish Chai, Vayera, 2:10 who states that the Me’ein Sheva should be recited in the house of a chattan or an Avel, even though there usually is not a minyan in those places on a constant basis.

[5]. Halachah Berurah, vol. 16, p. 100.


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