Dukhening in a Musaf Amidah after a Heykhe Qedushah: a version of the concluding three blessings for Kohanim, by Isaac Gantwerk Mayer

There is an ancient custom, dating back to the era of the Temple and possibly earlier, that the kohanim, the children of Aharon, together bless the congregation of Israel with the threefold Priestly Blessing. Among Ashkenazim outside the Land of Israel, this rite, known as “dukhening” (דוכנען), is a rare and solemn occasion, only performed during the repetition of the Musaf service of full festival days (specifically, the first and last two days of Pesaḥ, Shavuot, Rosh haShanah, Yom Kippur, the first two days of Sukkot, and Shmini Atseret).

In some communities, especially in more liberal-leaning circles, the Musaf service is often abbreviated in a form known as the הױכע קדושה Heykhe Ḳedushah – wherein the prayer leader recites the first three blessings in public, and the rest of the Amidah is prayed individually. Since dukhening occurs before the last blessing of Musaf, in communities where the Heykhe Ḳedusha is practiced dukhening is impossible. As well, if no minyan is available there may be no repetition of Musaf at all.

This text is a version of the concluding three blessings (Avodah, Hoda’ah, and Shalom) for kohanim to use during the silent Amidah of a festival Musaf where dukhening is, for one reason or another, impossible. It is largely based on the traditional ritual for dukhening, carefully modified to avoid any brakhah levatalah (unnecessary blessing). The full traditional silent prayers are included, along with the additions. It is a generally accepted halakhah that one is allowed to add personal prayers to the Amidah — in fact, Rabbi Eliezer says that if one fixes his prayers, it is not true prayer (Mishnah Brakhot 4:4)!

Some notes regarding the additions:

  • The added paragraph in the Avodah blessing is exactly the same as the traditional added paragraph in a repetition where dukhening is performed. The altered ḥatimah in this case is preserved because much of the Priestly Blessing ritual, and the kehuna in general, revolves around divine service. Those who follow the custom not to ever use a variant ḥatimah can continue to use the standard “returning the Presence to Zion” if they so prefer.
  • A second paragraph is included in the Hoda’ah which is largely based on the “Modim d’Rabbanan” traditionally recited by the community during the repetition, since said paragraph would usually be not included during a silent personal Amidah but (in the author’s opinion) helps the kohanim get into the mood per se for the blessing. It is grammatically altered to remove every usage of “Modim” in order not to break the rabbinic ordinance that one may not say “Modim” twice (Berakhot 33b). This paragraph could be used outside of this passage’s context – i.e. for any silent Amidah without a repetition – if one desires.
  • As previously mentioned, most of the passages surrounding the blessing itself are taken directly from the standard repetition liturgy, just placed in the subjunctive mood. The Divine Name is removed from the blessing of the priests so as to avoid a brakhah levatalah, and the passage is moved earlier (preceding the introduction rather than directly preceding the blessing). Then a short passage of hope leads into the traditional introduction to the Priestly Blessing, only written in first person for the kohen themself to recite.
  • After the priestly blessing, which is uninterrupted as a personal prayer, three verses from Psalms (41:14, 72:19, 89:53) are included. These three verses end with a repeated “amen.” Since each line of the Priestly Blessing is followed by a communal “amen” if and only if recited while dukhening, this threefold “amen v’amen” in a sense “fills the gap” left by the absence of communal dukhening. This is then followed by a threefold “ken y’hi ratson,” the traditional response for each line of the Priestly Blessing when not recited as a part of dukhening.
  • The concluding paragraph is again taken almost directly from the standard paragraph recited by the kohanim after dukhening, the only difference being the line “We have done as You have requested” removed.

In the translation below, “the Cause” is used in place of the Divine Name YHVH, based on the philosophical idea of God as the Prime Mover and on the interpretation of the Name as a causative form of the copula – “causes to be.”

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

רְצֵה יהוה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ בְּעַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל וּבִתְפִלָּתָם וְהָשֵׁב אֶת־הָעֲבוֹדָה לִדְבִיר בֵּיתֶֽךָ׃ וְאִשֵּׁי יִשְׂרָאֵל וּתְפִלָּתָם בְּאַהֲבָה תְקַבֵּל בְּרָצוֹן וּתְהִי לְרָצוֹן תָּמִיד עֲבוֹדָת יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּֽךָ׃
Find favor, Cause our God, Your people Israel and in their prayers, and return the service to Your innermost holy house. And the fire of Israel and its prayers, accept in love and favor, and may You always favor the service of Israel Your people.

וְתֶעֱרַב עָלֶֽיךָ עֲתִירָתֵֽינוּ כְּעוֹלָה וּכְקׇרְבָּן׃ אָנָּא רַחוּם בְּרַחֲמֶֽיךָ הָרַבִּים הָשֵׁב שְׁכִינָתְךָ לְצִיּוֹן עִירְךָ וְסֵֽדֶר הָעֲבוֹדָה לִירוּשָֽׁלָיִם׃ וְתֶחֱזֶֽינָה עֵינֵֽינוּ בְּשׁוּבְךָ לְצִיּוֹן בְּרַחֲמִים וְשָׁם נַעֲבׇדְךָ בְּיִרְאָה כִּימֵי עוֹלָם וּכְשָׁנִים קַדְמוֹנִיּוֹת׃
And may our petitions be pleasing unto You as a sacrifice and an offering. Please, Merciful One, in Your abounding mercy, return Your Presence to Zion Your city and the system of service to Jerusalem. And may our eyes behold Your return to Zion in mercy, and there we will serve You in awe as in days of old and years of yore.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה שֶׁאוֹתְךָ לְבַדְּךָ בְּיִרְאָה נַעֲבֹד׃
Blessed are You, Cause, to whom alone we in awe serve.

מוֹדִים אֲנַֽחְנוּ לָךְ שָׁאַתָּה הוּא יהוה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵֽינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד׃ צוּר חַיֵּֽינוּ מָגֵן יִשְׁעֵֽנוּ אַתָּה הוּא לְדוֹר וָדוֹר׃ נוֹדֶה לְךָ וּנְסַפֵּר תְּהִלָּתֶֽךָ עַל חַיֵּֽינוּ הַמְּסוּרִים בְּיָדֶֽךָ וְעַל נִשְׁמוֹתֵֽינוּ הַפְּקֻדּוֹת לָךְ וְעַל נִסֶּֽיךָ שֶׁבְּכׇל־יוֹם עִמָּֽנוּ וְעַל נִפְלְאוֹתֶֽיךָ וְטוֹבוֹתֶֽיךָ שֶׁבְּכׇל־עֵת עֶֽרֶב וָבֹֽקֶר וְצׇהֳרָֽיִם׃ 
We give thanks to You, for You are the Cause our God and God of our ancestors forever and ever. Rock of our lives, Shield of our rescues, You are the one in every generation. We thank You and recount Your praises, for our lives held in Your hand, and for our beings commanded by You, and for Your miracles that are with us every day, and for Your wonders and goodness that are at all times, evening and morning and noon.

אַתָּה הוּא אֵל הַהוֹדָאוֹת אֱלֹהֵי כׇל־בָּשָׂר יוֹצְרֵֽנוּ וְיוֹצֵר בְּרֵאשִׁית׃ בְּרָכוֹת וְהוֹדָאוֹת לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ עַל שֶׁהֶחֱיִיתָֽנוּ וְקִיַּמְתָּֽנוּ׃ כֵּן תְּחַיֵּֽנוּ וּתְקַיְּמֵֽנוּ וְתֶאֱסֹף גָּלֻיּוֹתֵֽינוּ לְחַצְרוֹת קׇדְשֶֽׁךָ לִשְׁמוֹר חֻקֶּֽיךָ וְלַעֲשׂוֹת רְצוֹנֶֽךָ וּלְעָבְדְּךָ בְּלֵבָב שָׁלֵם כִּי עָלֵֽינוּ לְהוֹדוֹת לָךְ׃
You are the God of Thanksgiving, the God of all flesh, our Maker, Maker of creation. Blessings and thanksgivings to Your great and holy Name, for You granted us life and sustain us. Thus, you will grant us life and sustain us and gather our exiles to Your holy courtyards, to guard Your laws and fulfill Your favors and serve You with a full heart, for it is upon us to thank You.

הַטּוֹב כִּי לֹא כָלוּ רַחֲמֶֽיךָ וְהַמְרַחֵם כִּי לֹא תַֽמּוּ חֲסָדֶֽיךָ מֵעוֹלָם קִוִּֽינוּ לָךְ׃
The Good one, who has not finished Your mercies, and the Merciful one, who has not concluded Your kindnesses, we have always hoped in You.

וְעַל כֻּלָּם יִתְבָּרַךְ וְיִתְרוֹמַם שִׁמְךָ מַלְכֵּֽנוּ תָּמִיד לְעוֹלָם וָעֵד׃ וְכׇל־הַחַיִּים יוֹדֽוּךָ סֶּֽלָה וִיהַלְלוּ אֶת־שִׁמְךָ בֶּאֱמֶת הָאֵל יְשׁוּעָתֵֽנוּ וְעֶזְרָתֵֽנוּ סֶֽלָה׃
And for all this, Your name is blessed and exalted, Sovereign, always, forever and ever. And all life will thank You eternal, and praise Your name in truth, the God of our rescues and help, eternal.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה הַטּוֹב שִׁמְךָ וּלְךָ נָאֶה לְהוֹדוֹת׃
Blessed are You, Cause, Your Name is Good, and it is right to thank You.

יְהִי רָצוֹן מִלְּפָנֶֽיךָ יהוה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ וֵאלֹהֵֽי אֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵֽינוּ שֶׁתְּקֻיְּמִי הַבְּרָכָה הַהִיא שֶׁצִּוִיתָֽנוּ לְבָרֵךְ אֶת־עַמְךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּאִֽלּוּ מְבֹרֶֽכֶת בְּאֹֽפֶן בְּרָכָה שְׁלֵמָה׃ וְאַף־עַל־פִּי שֶׁאֵינֵֽנוּ לְבָרְכָהּ כְּרָאוּי בַּיּוֹם הַזֶּה תְּהֵא כְּאִֽלּוּ בֵּרַכְנֽוּהָ כְּרָאוּי וְלֹא יְהִי בָּהּ שׁוּם מִכְשׁוֹל וְעָוֹן מֵעָתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם׃
May it be favorable before You, Cause our God and God of our ancestors, to fulfill that blessing with which You commanded us to bless Your people Israel as if blessed in the manner of a complete blessing. And although we cannot bless it as proper on this day, may it be as if we blessed it as proper, and in it no obstacles or sin, from now and forevermore.

בָּרוּךְ אָתָּה אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בִּקְדוּשָּׁתוֹ שֶׁלְאַהֲרֹן וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְבָרֵךְ אֶת־עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאַהֲבָה׃ וּבְכֵן בִּזְמַן שֶׁנּוּשַׁב לַעֲבוֹדָתֵֽנוּ נֹאמַר בְּקוֹל גָּדוֹל וְחָזָק אֶת־הַבְּרָכָה הַזֹּאת הַמְּשֻׁלֶּֽשֶׁת בַּתּוֹרָה הַכְּתוּבָה עַל־יְדֵי מֹשֶׁה עַבְדֶּֽךָ מִפִּֽינוּ וּמִפִּי כׇל־בְּנֵי אֲהָרֹן כֹּהֲנִים עַם קְדוֹשֶֽׁךָ כָּאָמוּר׃
Blessed are You, who made us holy us with the holiness of Aaron, and commanded us to bless his people Israel in love. And thus, in the time when we are returned to our service, we will say in a loud and mighty voice this threefold blessing in the Torah written by the hand of Moses Your servant, from our mouths and from the mouths of all the children of Aaron, kohanim, Your holy people, as it is written:

יְבָרֶכְךָ֥ יְהֹוָ֖ה וְיִשְׁמְרֶֽךָ׃
May the Cause bless you and guard you.

יָאֵ֨ר יְהֹוָ֧ה ׀ פָּנָ֛יו אֵלֶ֖יךָ וִֽיחֻנֶּֽךָּ׃
May the Cause shine Their face towards you and grace you.

יִשָּׂ֨א יְהֹוָ֤ה ׀ פָּנָיו֙ אֵלֶ֔יךָ וְיָשֵׂ֥ם לְךָ֖ שָׁלֽוֹם׃
May the Cause turn Their face towards you and place upon you peace.

בָּ֘ר֤וּךְ יְהֹוָ֨ה ׀ אֱלֹ֘הֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵ֗ל מֵֽ֭הָעוֹלָם וְעַ֥ד הָעוֹלָ֗ם אָ֘מֵ֥ן ׀ וְאָמֵֽן׃
Blessed is the Cause God of Israel, from eternity to eternity, amen and amen.

וּבָר֤וּךְ ׀ שֵׁ֥ם כְּבוֹד֗וֹ לְע֫וֹלָ֥ם וְיִמָּלֵ֣א כְ֭בוֹדוֹ אֶת־כֹּ֥ל הָאָ֗רֶץ אָ֘מֵ֥ן ׀ וְאָמֵֽן׃
And blessed is the Glorious Name forever, whose glory fills all the earth, amen and amen.

בָּר֖וּךְ יְהֹוָ֥ה לְ֝עוֹלָ֗ם אָ֘מֵ֥ן ׀ וְאָמֵֽן׃
Blessed is the Cause forever, amen and amen.

כֵּן יְהִי רָצוֹן וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן וְכֵן יְהִי רָצוֹן׃
Thus may it be favorable, thus may it be favorable, thus may it be favorable.

רִבּֽוֹנוֹ שֶׁלְעוֹלָם עֲשֶׂה עִמָּֽנוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁהִבְטַחְתָּֽנוּ׃ הַשְׁקִֽיפָה מִמְּעוֹן קׇדְשְׁךָ מִן־הַשָּׁמַֽיִם וּבָרֵךְ אֶת־עַמְּךָ אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־הָאֲדָמָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַתָּהּ לָֽנוּ כָּאֲשֶׁר נִשְׁבַּֽעתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וּלְאִמּוֹתֵֽנוּ אֶֽרֶץ זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבָשׁ׃
Our Eternal Master, act with us as You have promised. May You observe from Your holy heights, from the heavens, and bless Your people, Israel, and the land that You gave to us, as promised to our ancestors, a land flowing with milk and honey.

שִׂים שָׁלוֹם טוֹבָה וּבְרָכָה חֵן וָחֶֽסֶד וְרַחֲמִים עָלֵֽינוּ וְעַל כׇּל־יִשׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ׃ בָּרְכֵֽנוּ אָבִֽינוּ כֻּלָּֽנוּ כְּאֶחָד בְּאוֹר פָּנֶֽיךָ כִּי בְאוֹר פָּנֶֽיךָ נָתַתָּ לָּֽנוּ יהוה אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ תוֹרָת חָיִּים וְאַֽהֲבַת חֶֽסֶד וּצְדָקָה וּבְרָכָה וְרָחֲמִים וְחָיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם׃ וְטוֹב בְּעֵינֶֽיךָ לְבָרֵךְ אֶת־עָמְּךָ יִשְׁרָאֵל בְכׇל־עֵת וּבְכׇל־שָׁעָה בִּשׁלוֹמֶֽךָ׃
Place peace, goodness, and blessing, grace, and kindness, and mercy, on us and on all Israel Your people. Bless us, Parent, all of us as one, with the light of Your face, for in the light of Your face You, Cause our God, gave us the Living Torah and a love of kindness and righteousness and blessing and mercy and life and peace. And may it be good in Your eyes to bless Your people Israel al all time and at every hour with Your peace.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה הַמְּבָרֵךְ אֶת־עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּשָּׁלוֹם׃
Blessed are You, Cause, who blesses the people Israel in peace.

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