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 TETZAVEH:

View Complete List

The Breastplate and the Apron
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5772

Oil and Water
Shlomo Katz - 5774

Maintaining our connection to God
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

A Time to Speak Up
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5759

When Someone Says "Don't Worry About It" It Is Time To Start Worrying
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5772

In the Image of G-d
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5758

ArtScroll

Amalek: Existence and Non-Existence
Rabbi Osher Chaim Levene - 5766

Simple Acceptance
Rabbi Aron Tendler - 5762

First and Best
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5766

> If the Analogy Fits
Rabbi Label Lam - 5760

G-d Sees Shades of Gray
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5764

Many Can Have "Urim" - Power; But Few Have "Tumim" – Power
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5771

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Torah: Not to Be Taken Lightly
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5768

Make Yourself At Home
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5771

Early Warning System
Rabbi Yaakov Menken - 5758

Lots More To The Story
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5770



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