1 “This2 is what the Alter Rebbe writes in his Siddur:3 ‘When one interrupts [one’s prayers in the course of Shema and the blessings which precede and follow it] for the sake of joining in the congregational response of] Modim [DeRabbanan,4 one should bow and say no more than the words, מודים אנחנו לך].

“ ‘When one interrupts [the same passages] for the sake of [joining in the congregational responses of] Kaddish,5 [one should recite the response, אמן, יהא שמה רבה...יתברך; one should then listen to the sheliach tzibbur as he continues his recital of Kaddish as far as [דאמירן בעלמא] ואמרו אמן, and respond אמן; but from תתקבל onwards one should not respond אמן, for the addition of this text is no more than a custom.

“ ‘[When one interrupts the same passages for the sake of joining in the congregational responses of] Kedushah,6 one should say only [the sentences beginning קדוש and ברוך; the sentence beginning ימלך is likewise a basic component of Kedushah.] However, the texts which are added on Shabbos are not an integral part of Kedushah, and are therefore not recited by a worshiper who has reached a point in the prayers at which he may not make any inessential interpolations.’

“A close reading of the above text leads me to two conclusions: (a) the Alter Rebbe puts the conclusion of Modim and the additions to Kedushah on an equal footing; (b) when one is at a point in the prayers at which one may not interrupt himself, these passages are not recited — and if so, this is likewise the case when one is saying Pesukei DeZimrah.

“It is certainly justifiable to draw conclusions from the precise wording of the text, as witness a later passage in the same paragraph: ‘[But in the case of other blessings (apart from the blessings over the Reading of the Torah) one does not respond Amen] in the course of Shema and the blessings which precede and follow it, [even in the intervals between its paragraphs — except for the Amen that follows הא-ל הקדוש and the Amen that follows שומע תפילה, for these two responses have the halachic status of a davar shebikedushah (“a holy statement”), and are made even in the middle of a verse]. In the course of Pesukei DeZimrah, however, i.e., from Baruch SheAmar to Yishtabach inclusive, one may respond Amen, [even when one is in the middle of a chapter].’

“This passage implies that herein lies the only difference between the law governing a response interpolated in Pesukei DeZimrah and the law governing a response interpolated in the blessings before and after Kerias Shema. (Incidentally, this distinction could be explained by the fact that in a way the response of Amen is itself, like Pesukei DeZimrah, an expression of praise; cf. the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch 51:5.)

“Although, as will soon be indicated, it is perhaps possible to deduce an alternative conclusion from the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch, his Siddur is the later [and therefore the binding] authority, as is well known, and as is noted too by the Tzemach Tzedek in his Chiddushim on the Mishnayos, p. 46d.

“I was nevertheless somewhat hesitant, for it seems to me that the Alter Rebbe goes to great lengths to avert stating new laws that have not been recorded by earlier poskim, even though he has derived them through a close reading of earlier authorities. (This resembles the practice of the Rif and the Rambam, as may be seen by reading their guiding principles.) On this, see the Introduction of the Alter Rebbe to his Shulchan Aruch.

“It could therefore be argued that in his Siddur, too, he recorded only those laws (on the responses permitted during Pesukei DeZimrah) that had already been stated explicitly, and not those which he had deduced through his own scrutiny of the sources.

“I have observed that some people are accustomed to extend their interruption [during Pesukei DeZimrah] to include the whole of Modim [DeRabbanan]. They find authority for this by noting exactly [what is covered by] the following passage in the Alter Rebbe’s Shulchan Aruch 66:5: ‘When one interrupts [his prayers] for the sake of [joining in the congregational response of] Modim [DeRabbanan, he should bow and say no more than the words, מודים אנחנו לך], for this suffices [to ensure that he should not appear to renounce the One to Whom his friends are bowing and to Whom they are expressing their grateful acknowledgment]. When one interrupts [his prayers] for the sake of [joining in the congregational response of] Barchu, [he should say no more than ברוך ה' המברך לעולם ועד], and not the text that begins with the words יתברך וישתבח,7 for reciting this is no more than a custom. In fact, even Pesukei DeZimrah should not be interrupted in order to say this.’

“Since this last sentence does not appear in connection with Modim, the above-mentioned people draw the conclusion that one may interrupt Pesukei DeZimrah in order to respond Modim [DeRabbanan with the congregation].

“It seems to me that R. Avraham Chayim Naeh cites this view in Ketzos HaShulchan, on the authority of Eliyah Rabbah.

“Moreover, I have observed that some people are accustomed — this is said to have been the custom in [the yeshivos of] Tomchei Temimim in Poland — to [interrupt their prayers to the extent of] saying the whole of Modim and the whole of Kedushah. This appears to be the view of Chayei Adam, Principle 20, and of Derech HaChayim, sec. 30.

“As far as a practical ruling is concerned: My revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], said in response to my query that when saying Pesukei DeZimrah one should [join the congregation in reciting] the whole of Kedushah and the whole of Modim. [In Kaddish,] however, one should not respond with any Amen that follows תתקבל.

* * *

“As to the question of whether one should interrupt oneself during Pesukei DeZimrah in order to say בריך שמה8 or וזאת התורה,9 I have not seen the works that you mention, namely, Knesses Yisrael and the responsa entitled Pri HaSadeh.

“Since, however, nowhere does the Alter Rebbe mention such a possibility, it is obvious that we Chabad chassidim should not adopt this practice.

“One of the temimim once told me that he had heard it said in the name of the Rebbe [Rashab] that one should interrupt oneself [while saying PesukeiDeZimrah] in order to say בריך שמה. I put this query to my revered father-in-law, the Rebbe [Rayatz], who told me that this was an unreliable report, and that one should not make this interruption.

“By the way: The source for the recital of בריך שמה is the Zohar II, 206a. The Shulchan Aruch, however, does not cite this source. It is surprising that the Alter Rebbe likewise does not mention it in his Shulchan Aruch, sec. 282, even though in a number of places he quotes the Magen Avraham, who does cite this practice of reciting בריך שמה in sec. 282. It is however possible that the Alter Rebbe noted the above source in sec. 138, which is no longer extant.

“As is known, there are a number of varying views concerning the recitation of בריך שמה. According to one view, (that of the Ramaz, as cited in Shaarei Teshuvah, sec. 488,) it belongs primarily to the Minchah service of Shabbos. Others hold that its primary place is Shacharis on Shabbos. (This is the view of the Magen Avraham, loc. cit., in the name of the AriZal. This view is likewise recorded in Pri Etz Chayim, in sec. 19 of the section on Shabbos, and in Shaar HaKavanos. In fact the author of Nagid U’Metzaveh concludes his treatment of the subject with the following words: ‘At any rate, it is not forbidden to recite it on weekdays as well.’) Some hold that the latter statement applies to Minchah on Shabbos. (This is the view of Nitzutzei Oros in the Zohar, loc. cit.) Finally, there are those who write that there is a custom of reciting it as well at the Reading of the Torah on Yom-Tov and on weekdays. (This view appears in Pri Megadim, sec. 282; in Baer Heitev, loc. cit., in the name of the AriZal; and in Shaarei Teshuvah, loc. cit.) Accordingly, those who hold that one does not make this interruption in Pesukei DeZimrah must of course draw a distinction between the recitation of בריך שמה on Shabbos and its recitation on Yom-Tov or on weekdays.”