Are you allowed to answer “Amen” to Kaddish or Kedushah, if you are still in the middle of your own Shemoneh Esrei?

This chart outlines when you are, and are not allowed to respond to the chazzan before completing your personal Shemoneh Esrei.

Halachos of Responding During Shemoneh Esrei

ה׳ שפתי תפתח ופי יגיד תהילתך
After beginning Shemoneh Esrei, you are not permitted to interrupt except:

  1. To deal with a life-threatening situation; or
  2. To find out the halachah regarding how to proceed in Shemoneh Esrei (e.g. if you forgot Ya’aleh V’Yavo and are unsure if you should now repeat Shemoneh Esrei, you may ask the halacha from another person, or look up the halacha in a sefer.)

If you hear the chazzan say Kaddish or Kedusha, remain silent; just listen and do not answer.

שים שלום… ברוך אתה ה׳ המברך את עמו ישראל בשלום

After completing the brachah of שים שלום – recite the passuk of “…יהיו לרצון“ so that you will be ready and permitted to respond to the chazzan’s Kaddish or Kedushah, should the opportunity arise. (It is recommended that you say this first יהיו לרצון even if davening without a minyan, especially if you plan to add in personal requests at the end of Elokai Netzor)

יהיו לרצון אמרי פי והגיון לבי לפניך ה׳ צורי וגאלי
After you finished reciting the passuk of “…יהיו לרצון“ – certain responses are now permitted:

    • “Kadosh Kadosh Kadosh…”
    • “Baruch Kivod…”
    • “Amen” at the end, after HaKeil HaKadosh
    • “Amen Y’hei Sh’mei Rabbah…” (until, but not including, “Yisbarach”)
    • “Amen” to Da’amiran b’almain
    • “Amen”
    • “Modim Anachnu Lach” (Only the first 3 words may be said.)
    • When the Chazzan (or a person getting an aliyah) says: Barchu Es Hashem HaMevorach, you can respond: “Baruch Hashem HaMivorach Li’Olam Va’ed”

אלקי נצור… הושיעה ימינך וענני.
(Insert personal requests here.)
יהיו לרצון אמרי פי והגיון לבי לפניך ה׳ צורי וגאלי

After you finished reciting the passuk of “…יהיו לרצון“ (for the second time),nyou are permitted to say ALL responses to the chazzan (even before you take 3 steps back).

(Take 3 steps backward after you finish saying the “…יהיו לרצון“ passuk in its entirety.)
עשה שלום במרומיו….. יהי רצון… שיבנה בית המקדש… וכשנים קדמוניות
(Take 3 steps forward.)

Note: One may (and should) take one’s time to recite the Shemoneh Esrei, even if doing so will cause one to be unable to respond to Kaddish and Kedushah. There is no need to recite the Shemoneh Esrei quickly in order to be able to respond to Kaddish and Kedushah.