Question: If one is in the middle of praying the silent Amida and while praying, the Chazzan begins the repetition of the Amida and finally reaches the Kedusha (“Nakdishach Ve’Na’aritzach”), must one reply to the Kedusha although one is in the middle of praying?
The Procedure for One Who Hears Kedusha While Praying
Answer: If one is in the midst of praying the Amida prayer when the congregation reaches the Kedusha, either because one began praying after most of the congregation or because one’s prayer takes slightly longer, one may not answer Kedusha with the congregation; rather, one must stop praying, be silent, and have in mind to fulfill one’s obligation to hear Kedusha with the recitation of the Chazzan. We have already mentioned on several occasions that when one hears anything from the Chazzan and the Chazzan has in mind to have all listeners fulfill their obligation with his recitation, the listener does indeed fulfill his obligation through the Halacha of “one who hears is like the one who recited”. In this way, it will be considered as if the person praying has actually recited the entire text of the Kedusha. Nevertheless, the listener will not raise his heels during the verse of “Kadosh Kadosh” as he is not actually saying it.
When the Chazzan Is Not Set
Hagaon Rabbeinu Yosef Haim writes in his Sefer Od Yosef Hai that when the Poskim write that one who is still in the middle of the silent prayer should be silent and listen to the Chazzan’s recitation of the Kedusha, this only applies when there is a set Chazzan who is well-versed in Halacha and knows that he must have specific intent to have all listeners fulfill their obligation. However, if this Chazzan only serves as Chazzan on an inconsistent basis and is not so knowledgeable in Halacha, he will most likely not have specific intent to have all listeners fulfill their obligation. Thus, in this situation, the one praying silently will not gain much by stopping to pray and remaining silent, for he will not fulfill his obligation anyway. Therefore, he should just continue praying and not pay attention to what is being recited around him by the Chazzan and the congregation. Maran zt”l brings a proof to this opinion from the words of the Sefer Chassidim, who writes: “Once, a certain wise man who would pray a longer silent Amida than the congregation said, ‘Although the congregation answers ‘Amen Yehe Shemeh Rabba’ (even though the Sefer Chassidim is primarily focusing on “Amen Yehe Shemeh Rabba”, the same would apply regarding Kedusha), I do not stop praying to listen and pay attention for those who answer Amen Yehe Shemeh Rabba do not have in mind for me to fulfill my obligation and we rule that the one reciting must have in mind for the listener to fulfill his obligation.’” Other Poskim elaborate on this point as well that when the Chazzan does not have specific intent for all listeners to fulfill their obligation, the listeners do not fulfill their obligation with this Chazzan’s recitation and they need not stop and listen to the Kedusha.
When the Chazzan’s Voice Is Not Heard for the Entire Duration of the Kedusha
Maran zt”l adds that even if there is a permanent Chazzan who is knowledgeable in Halacha, if he cannot be heard for the entire duration of the Kedusha, for instance, because of the replies of the congregation and the like, one still praying would not have to stop and listen to Kedusha, for he would not fulfill his obligation anyway without hearing the entire Kedusha from the Chazzan. Only when the Chazzan possesses a loud enough voice which can be heard over the voices of the congregation should one still praying stop and listen to his recitation of the Kedusha.
When the One Still Praying Finds Himself at the End of the Blessing of “Mechaye Ha’Metim”
All these Halachot apply only when one is in the middle of the silent Amida prayer. However, if one finds himself concluding the blessing of “Mechaye Ha’Metim” in one’s silent prayer while the congregation is starting Kedusha, one should recite Kedusha along with the congregation, for this is the appropriate place for Kedusha to be inserted.
Summary: If one is in the middle of reciting the silent Amida prayer when the congregation reaches the Kedusha portion of the Chazzan’s repetition, one should pause and hear Kedusha from the Chazzan while having in mind to fulfill his obligation with the Chazzan’s recitation. If the Chazzan is not well-versed in Halacha and does not have in mind for those listening to him to fulfill their obligation or if the Chazzan’s voice cannot be heard well for the entire duration of the Kedusha, the one praying need not stop and listen, for he would not fulfill his obligation anyway without hearing the Chazzan’s voice well and the Chazzan having specific intent for his listeners to fulfill their obligation.
However, the aforementioned law is only applicable when one is in the middle of his silent Amida; however, if one sees the congregation starting Kedusha as one is concluding the “Mechaye Ha’Metim” blessing, one should recite the Kedusha along with the congregation.