Leading Kabbalat Shabbat Prayers

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Dear Rabbi Simon,

What is your opinion on an under-age boy (ie, not yet bar mitzvah) leading the tefillah for Kabbalat Shabbat? Even though it might not be preferable nor encouraged, is there an issue with that?

All the best!

Justin

Dear Justin,

TY for your Q. Inasmuch as the Kabbalat Shabbat service is not part of the essential prayers as enumerated in the Talmud and the Codes (such as Rambam), there is certainly no prohibition per se. One can appreciate and even laud the educational value of the idea. The main issue, as I see it, is one of kevod ha-tzibur [honour of the congregation]. Does is dishonour the congregation when the prayers are led by a child? Does it imply that there is no adult capable of filling this role? Does he in fact have the skill to lead the prayers in a melodious and pleasing manner, or is it primarily an opportunity for him to perform and his parents to kvell? Also, will such a minhag have the effect of promoting women or girls in the same role?

Despite these reservations, in principle I can see the value in it and IMO there may be a place for it, depending on the circumstances.

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Questions and Answers

Ask the Rabbi: Quinoa on Pesach
Dear Rabbi Simon,
Where do you stand on quinoa (and the kitniyot ban) for Pesach?
Many thanks,
Tzippy
***
Dear Tzippy,
In line with other American authorities, I am in favour of quinoa. Although I reject completely the voices (mostly from Israel) seeking to abolish the ban on kitniyot entirely, IMO we do not need to include in the prohibition pseudo-grains that were unknown in the Old World until modern times. Best to buy with a Pesach hechsher though, to be free of any possible wheat contamination.
Rabbi Rashi Simon
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