- Question: [Tuesday, 8th Kisleiv, 5781]
If by Nesias Kapayim there is only one Kohan who went up to Duchan what is the Chazzan to read when he reaches the section of Kohanim? Should he say the entire paragraph of Elokeinu out loud as usual, or should he say it quietly, or should he not say it at all?
According to Ashkenazi custom it is to be said quietly. It certainly is not to be said out loud due to that we do not recite the word Kohanim out loud when there is only one Kohen.
Explanation: There is a difference in this matter between Ashkenazim and Sephardim. According to the Ashkenazim, one always recites the prayer of Elokeinu, even when there is Nesias Kapayim and even if there is only one Kohen present, while according to the Sephardic custom, it is never recited when there is Nesias Kapayim, and is only recited if there are no Kohanim which are going to Duchan. Nonetheless, even amongst Ashkenazim, amongst those Ashkenazi Israeli communities which Duchan daily, there are those who follow the Sephardic custom not to say Elokeinu at all [not even quietly] anytime that there is Nesias Kapayim. Now that this has been clarified regarding the Ashkenazi custom, we need to clarify regarding whether the prayer of Elokeinu should be said out loud or silently. So regarding this matter there is a difference between whether there is one or two Kohanim present by the Duchan. If there is only one Kohen present, then it for certain should only be said silently [even though there are some Poskim who argue that even in such a case one may say it aloud], and if there are two Kohanim present than some say it out loud and then when they reach the word Kohanim they say it in a much louder voice, while some say it quietly and simply say the word Kohanim out loud. Based on the rulings of Admur in his Siddur, what is to follow the former custom regarding when there are two Kohanim present and read the entire Elokeinu out loud and when the word Kohanim is reached it is to be said in an even louder voice. However, when there is only one Kohen present than the entire Elokeinu is said silently.
Sources: Re: Chazan saying Elokeinu even when there is only one Kohen by the Duchan: See Levush 128; P”M 128 A”A 13 [that may say even out loud]; Ataz 128:10 that so is the custom to say quietly even when there is only one Kohen; M”B 128:38; Likkutei Maharich 3 Seder Nesias Kapayim; Piskeiy Teshuvos 128:32 footnote 148 and 152 regarding saying out loud even in such a case; Regarding the general difference in this matter between Sephardim and Ashkenazim: See Michaber 128:10; Admur 128:16; Ketzis Hashulchan 23:8 footnote 14; Piskeiy Teshuvos 128:32; Regarding the Chabad custom: See Admur ibid; Siddur Admur; Piskeiy Hasiddur 84