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The Laws of Responding Amen

The Laws of Responding Amen

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When:

• One should respond Amen whenever he hears another saying a blessing, even if the blessing does not contain G‑d's name, such as the "May the Merciful One be blessed..." in the Grace After Meals1.

• In order to answer Amen, one may either hear the complete blessing, the ending of the blessing, or at least know to which blessing one is answering Amen to. If he does not hear the blessing at all and does not know to which blessing he will be responding, he does not answer Amen2.

• It is appropriate to answer after hearing G‑d's name in a blessing, "blessed is He and blessed is His Name" (Boruch hu uvaruch Shemo). However, since this is only a custom and not an institution of the Rabbis, one may not say it during prayers at points where one may not interrupt, such as during the "praises" (Pesukei dezimrah), even though he would be permitted to interrupt for Amen3.

• One is permitted to answer Amen to any blessing that he hears through a microphone or live hookup4.

• One should answer the Amen immediately after the blessing is completed. One should not answer a "Hurried Amen," that is an Amen which is said before the blessing is even completed. Nor a "orphaned Amen," that is an Amen which was said a while after the blessing was completed. (Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch O.C. 124:1)

When Not:

• It one completes his own blessing at the same time that another person finishes his blessing, one does not answer Amen on the other's blessing, for it appears as if he is saying Amen to his own blessing5.

• One should not answer Amen to an unnecessary blessing. For example, if one washed for a meal and then says a blessing on the vegetable salad (during a meal one does not say a blessing on the various other foods, as it is included in the blessing of bread), that second blessing is considered an unnecessary blessing and no response of Amen is said6.

• Amen is said to a blessing that a child says for something which he needs to say a blessing on such as over food before eating. However, if the child is saying a blessing as part of his learning routine, such as when practicing reading, Amen is not to be said7.

• If someone says a blessing, but changes the text as instituted by the Rabbis, one does not answer Amen8.

• One may answer Amen to a blessing said by a non-Jew, if he hears the complete blessing from beginning to end. If the non-Jew is a believer in idolatry, Amen is not said9.

• Whoever forces himself to be a cantor against the will of the congregation, is not entitled to have Amen answered to his blessing (that he says as the cantor)10.

During Prayers

• One should concentrate well when answering the "Amen Yehei Shmei Rabbah..." in Kaddish, for those who answer "Amen Yehei Shmei..." with the fullest power of concentration will even have their decree of seventy years torn up and given more years of life. Also, this should be said in a loud (not yelling or shouting) voice, for this too achieves the removal of all evil decrees11. The text:

Transliteration: Amein. Y'hay sh'may raba m'vorach l'olam ul'ol'may ol'ma-yuh yis-buh-raych.

Translation: May His great name be blessed forever and for all eternity.

• One who ends the last blessing before the morning Amidah prayer, "Go'al Yisroel," together with the quorum, does not answer Amen.

• In the prayers there are certain exceptions to this rule (that one finishes the same blessing together with another, does not respond Amen), such as the blessing of "May Your name be praised..." (Yishtabach). If the person saying Yishtabach ends at the same time as the cantor, he should answer Amen12.

• If however, he finishes a blessing at the same time as the cantor, but the blessings are different ones, then he responds Amen to the cantor's blessing13.

Footnotes
1.
Alter Rebbe's Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 215:2, 189:6.
2.
ibid 215:2, 124:11.
3.
ibid 124:8.
4.
Shaarei Halacha uMinhag Vol. 1 Page 166
5.
For that reason, on Yom Kippur night one must make sure to finish the blessing of shehecheyanu ("Who has granted us life...") before the chazzan so that he can answer to the cantor's blessing.
6.
Alter Rebbe's Shulchan aruch O.C. 215:3.
7.
ibid 215:2.
8.
ibid.
9.
ibid.
10.
ibid 53:29.
11.
ibid 56:2.
12.
Ibid 51:3.
13.
ibid.
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Eliezer Zalmanov for Chabad.org June 7, 2016

To Ariel The Talmud states that saying "amen" to one's own blessing is considered obnoxious and obscene, and should therefore be avoided. The exception is when it is an actual part of the prayer, such as following the third blessing of Grace After Meals. Reply

Ariel NY June 6, 2016

Is there really a problem if one says Amein in one's own personal prayer recited in the morning and evening? If so, I find that confounding, even distressing. Reply

Anonymous January 4, 2015

hurried amen At what point is the blessing considered concluded? If someone prolongs the last sound of a blessing, should we wait for them? Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org May 23, 2013

To Anonymous Yes, women respond to amen as well. Reply

Anonymous May 23, 2013

amein Do women say amien or just Men? Reply

Chabad.org Staff via mychabad.org October 30, 2012

Source of Amein There is no problem with saying 'amein', please see Where does the term "Amen" come from? for more information. Reply

Anonymous Canyon Country, CA October 29, 2012

Re: Amen Does the word amen come from a pagan custom? Is it proper to say Ah-mein ("so be it")? Reply

Anonymous Jhb, SA October 22, 2012

Amen to my own brocha Why should one not say Amen to his own brocha? Reply

o. badu DONNINTON, TELFORD April 18, 2009

origin of amen i am highly impressed to know that amen does not only mean so be it but it is also a commanding force of nature Reply

Menachem December 6, 2007

re: ay men or ahmein The proper Hebrew pronunciation of the word is Ah-mein. The common English pronunciation is a slightly mangled version of the original. Reply

Anonymous December 6, 2007

amen is ay men and ahmein both acceptable ways of saying amen? Reply

Anonymous San Juan, Trinidad January 5, 2007

Topics on origin of Amen I am always willing to learn new things about the bible and wods I use and this is very new to me so any means of sourcing information I will be willing to accept.

Thank You. Reply

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