OUR CUSTOMS (MINHAGIM)
Our custom for the Shabbat Shacharit Amidah is to have Ba'al/at Tefilah recite it entirely out loud, without first having the members of the minyan reading Amidah silently. The Halakhic precedent for this custom is stated by Rabbi Simcha Roth of Bet Midrash Virtuali (click here for more information), in his lessons on the Halakhah of Tefillah:
After the cantor has taken three steps back and stood [for a moment] he begins [to recite] the Amidah out loud from the beginning of the benedictions. [He does this] in order to enable anyone who has not [recited] the Amidah [to fulfill the religious duty]. Everyone stands and listens [to his recitation] and answers Amen after each and every benediction - both those who have [already] fulfilled their duty and those who have not fulfilled their duty. [Rambam, Mishneh Torah, Tefillah 9:3]. Click here to see the Hebrew text of this section.
Having completed our review of the Kedushah we can now turn our attention to the remainder of the cantor's repetition. The cantor repeats the central benediction, Kedushat ha-Yom exactly as it was said by the individual worshippers, so it need not detain us here. The same is true of the fifth benediction, Avodah. The sixth of the seven benedictions is known as Hodayah, Thanksgiving. When the cantor begins to recite this benediction the congregation recites a different version, in an undertone.
The Gemara [Sotah 40a] tells us that the great Amora Rav used to say "We give thanks to You, God our Lord, for thanking You" - line 1 above. His contemporary, Shemu'el, used to say "God of all flesh, for thanking You" - line 2. Rabbi Simai used to say "our Creator and the Author of Creation, for thanking you" - line 3. However, in the Yeshiva of Neharde'a they reported that Rabbi Simai used to say "Blessings and thanks to Your great Name for keeping us in life and sustaining us, for thanking You" - line 4. We are then told that Rav Aĥa bar-Ya'akov used to conclude "So do You keep us in life ... and perform Your pleasure with a perfect heart, for thanking You" - line 5 above. Finally, the Gemara reports that Rav Papa says "therefore we say all of them".
In Tefillah 066 we started discussing the concept of Heuche Kedushah. Elaine Friedland writes:
This [procedure] is permissible because whoever is not 'knowledgeable' [baki] can fulfull his obligation by listening to the cantor and those who are 'knowledgeable' can recite the Amidah, word for word, together with the cantor. I was brought to this pass because the people were not paying attention to what the cantor was saying during the cantor's repetition: some were chatting one with another and others were going outside, leaving the cantor to recite worthless benedictions [berakhah le-vatalah] because no one was listening. Now, when someone who is not knowledgeable see rabbis and others chatting, spitting and generally behaving like someone who is not at prayer during the cantor's repetition he will do likewise...
Plus ça change plus c'est la même chose! Not much has changed in 800 years of synagogue worship. Elaine asks whether it wouldn't be more appropriate for our situation [nowadays] for the Cantor just to sing the initial blessing plus the Kedushah? Personally I disagree, for reasons I set out in Tefillah 067. However, those who wish to avail themselves of the solution suggestion by Elaine can reread what I wrote in Tefillah 067. But please note, this option is not available on Shabbat at Shaĥarit because of the requirement to immediately append Ge'ulah to tefillah (see Tefillah 050 and Tefillah 067, paragraph 8. However, Rambam's solution is, of course, available.
In Tefillah 067 we discussed the Kedushah in the cantor's repetition. Geoff Garber writes: