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 VAYEITZEI AND CHANUKAH:

View Complete List

Bread Is for Eating
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5767

Shared Responsibility
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5773

Asleep on Hallowed Ground
Rabbi Naftali Reich - 5772

Frumster - Orthodox Jewish Dating

Chanukah Oil: A Real No-Know
Rabbi Eliyahu Hoffmann - 5762

Simple But Unbreakable Faith
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5767

Today's Chanuka Miracle
Rabbi David Begoun - 5766

Looking for a Chavrusah?

History Reenacted
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5767

Be Patient!
Shlomo Katz - 5761

Tower of Strength
Shlomo Katz - 5769

> Shedding Light on the Identity Crisis
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5759

To Fergin or Forget
Rabbi Yochanan Zweig - 5774

Those Small Jars
Rabbi Pinchas Winston - 5758

ArtScroll

The Strong and the Weak
Rabbi Berel Wein - 5767

Designated Eater
Rabbi Mordechai Kamenetzky - 5760

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

The Hasmoneans Take a Stand: A History of Chanukah, Part II
Rabbi Yehudah Prero - 5774



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