Torah.org Home Subscribe Services Support Us
  Page title
Print Version

Email this article to a friend

Unusual Circumstances

Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach was once asked how a person confined to a wheelchair should act in regards to the three steps back. He prefaced his answer commenting that the three steps backward are an integral part of one’s prayer. Whatever circumstances a person finds himself in, he should make every effort to do them properly.

The halachic literature discusses a case of a person who is riding on a horse and cannot dismount to recite Shemoneh Esrei. He is permitted to say Shemoneh Esrei on his horse, and should fulfill the mitzva of taking three steps backward by moving the animal backward (Rema 94,5). In modern-day terms, if a person pulls to the side of the highway to recite Mincha and because of his circumstances must daven in his car, he should reverse the car backwards a distance of three steps after completing his Shemoneh Esrei.

Therefore, ruled Rav Auerbach, if possible the person in the wheelchair should try to move the chair backward the distance of three steps. If he is unable to accomplish this himself, he should ask someone else to move him. In this way, he will properly fulfill the mitzva (as cited in Nishmas Avraham 1: 123,2).

Some authorities rule that when traveling on a plane, bus or subway it is preferable to pray in one’s seat. This situation makes taking three steps backward difficult, for unlike riding on a horse or sitting in a wheelchair, the chair is fixed in place and cannot be moved backward. Nonetheless, if a person is able to stand up to take these steps back at the end of his Shemoneh Esrei, he should do so (Igros Moshe Orach Chaim 4,20).


Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org


 

ARTICLES ON KI SAVO AND ELUL / ROSH HASHANAH:

View Complete List

Allusions to Elul
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

Teshuva 101
Rabbi Naphtali Hoff - 5774

Elul: A Month of Preparation
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

> Bikkurim - Basket Case
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

Personal and Communal Growth
Shlomo Katz - 5761

The World Was Created for Me
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5757

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Soldiers in G-d's Army
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5757

Ideas for Inspiration
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5760

A Lesson in Restraint
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5759

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

G-d Never Forgets
Shlomo Katz - 5760

Teshuva—Paradigm Shift
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5765

To Hear and To See
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5765

ArtScroll

Get the Merchandise
Rabbi Label Lam - 5767

No Atheists in Foxholes
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5761

Leave it Up to the King
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

The Secret To Spiritual Success
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5764



Project Genesis

Torah.org Home


Torah Portion

Jewish Law

Ethics

Texts

Learn the Basics

Seasons

Features

TORAHAUDIO

Ask The Rabbi

Knowledge Base




Help

About Us

Contact Us



Free Book on Geulah!




Torah.org Home
Torah.org HomeCapalon.com Copyright Information