SHELI'AḤ ẒIBBUR (Heb. שְׁלִיחַ צִבּוּר; "envoy or messenger of the community"), designation of a person who in public synagogue worship officiates as reader and cantor (see also *Ḥazzan). The main function of the sheli'aḥ ẓibbur is to lead the congregants in communal worship by repeating aloud the benedictions of certain parts of the prayers or the introductions to them, certain doxologies (e.g., *Barekhu), and the *Amidah; by reciting the intermediary *Kaddish prayers; and by leading the congregants in the recital of responsive readings and hymns. The Shulḥan Arukh (OḤ 53:4–9) lists the qualifications required of a sheli'aḥ ẓibbur: (1) humility, (2) acceptability to the congregation, (3) knowledge of the rules of prayer and the proper pronunciation of the Hebrew text, (4) an agreeable voice, (5) proper dress, (6) a beard. The requirement of a beard is, however, waived except for the High Holy Days (Magen Avraham to Sh. Ar., OḤ 53:6). Except for the recital of hymns and psalms (e.g., *Pesukei de-Zimra) only a male after *bar mitzvah age may officiate.
Elbogen, Gottesdienst, 488–502.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.