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Starting Maariv before chazzan starts

Question:

If the minyan for Maariv davens way too fast that I will not be able to start Shemone Esrei with them, is it permissible to start saying the first two brachos of Maariv before they start Barchu and I would answer Barchu right before I start Shema?

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

Yes, you can do this. In fact, this is the way R Volbe zt”l said to daven when a person is davening with a minyan that davens too quick to be to daven properly and also start Shemona Esrei together with the tzibbur.

There are a few things though that you will have to be careful about. Being that you might be in middle of a bracha when the chazzan starts saying kaddish (if the minyan is davening nusach Sefard), you may only answer to “amen yehei shmei rabba mevorach l’olam u’lomei ulmaya” and the amen after “da’ameron b’olma”, and the rest of kaddish you can’t answer. You may answer to borchu. Make sure that you are not middle of the posuk Shema… until after boruch shem…” because during those 12 words we are not allowed to answer even borchu of Amen yehai shmei rabba. Additionally, you will not answer amen after hama’ariv arovim, if you are in middle of a perek, but only if you are between perakim. The “between perakim” are, 1. between the first and the second bracha, 2. between the second bracha to shema, 3. between the first parsha of shema and the second, 4. between the words “kimei hashomayim al ha’aretz” and “vayomer”.

Hashem should help that you should be zoche to daven with kavana!

Sources:

O:CH 66-1, 3, M:B 66-12, 17.

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