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

Email this article to a friend

Big and Small Steps

The size of the steps that one takes backward depends on the reason for these steps. The first reason offered is that the person in prayer is like the kohen offering a sacrifice. According to this explanation, one steps backwards putting his toe behind his heel, since this was the way that the kohanim performed the Temple service (Darchei Moshe 123,2).

The second reason given for the steps is that the person in prayer is like a servant departing from his master. The Rema understands that, according to this reason, there is no minimum size of the steps, and even tiny ones are acceptable (Darchei Moshe ibid.). While we generally follow the first opinion, some halachic authorities rely on the other opinion and allow us to take smaller steps if there is limited space in the shul (Mishna Berura citing Bach).

Women did not participate in this service in the Beis Hamikdash; must they be careful about the size of their steps? Some authorities rule that women may rely on the second reason and take smaller steps (Ishei Yisrael 23,215 citing Orach Ne’eman 123,11). Others imply that the established halacha applies to men and women equally, and women must also be exact in the size of their steps (Magen Avraham 123,10).

The Rema warns that according to both views one should not take large steps backward (ibid.). Not only are these strides unfit for the Temple service, but they give the appearance that one is eager to run away from one’s Master (Mishna Berura 123,16). The Shulchan Aruch, however, implies that one may take larger steps back (123,3).


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


 






ARTICLES ON DEVARIM AND THE THREE WEEKS:

View Complete List

Children are a Gift
Rabbi Yissocher Frand - 5762

Golden Opportunities
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Getting Our Manners In Order
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5764

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

The Laws of Kashrus: Is it techinical or something deeper?
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5773

What Are We Missing On Tisha B'Av?
Rabbi Label Lam - 5764

Points to Ponder
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5757

> Kamtza and Bar-Kamtza
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758

Choosing a Vision
- 5768

Seeing HASHEM with Our Hearts
Rabbi Label Lam - 5772

Looking for a Chavrusah?

Manifestations of Mourning
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

The Nine Days of Mourning
Rabbi Dovid Green - 5758

To See or Not to See - That is the Question
Rabbi Yosef Kalatzky - 5762

ArtScroll

The Speech That Never Ends
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5764

The Way to a Person's Soul is Through His Dignity
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5757

Our Father, Our Light
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5758

Shabbos Hosting
Rabbi Yisroel Ciner - 5758



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