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 VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Anti-Semitism: The Original Source
Shlomo Katz - 5764

Thanks for What?
Shlomo Katz - 5774

A Little Oil Goes a Long Way
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5766

> Nurture the Yaakov Avinu Within Ourselves
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5774

Asleep on Hallowed Ground
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

A Lesson In Exile & Redemption
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5762

ArtScroll

A Special Land
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Why Eight Days?
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

'Mehadrin' - An Understanding of the Concept
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5755

Looking for a Chavrusah?

You've Got To Have Heart
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Yosef Recognizes His Brothers
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5773

A Killing Prayer
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5755

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Leaving Ya’akov For Yisroel
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765

Light From Darkness, Take Two
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5766

Chanukah: Lights, Camera, Action!
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5768

O Chanukah, O Chanukah . . .
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5765



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