Monday, March 11, 2013

Parting one's feet during the amidah


The Talmud mentions that we stand with our legs aligned when reciting the amidah, to mimic the malachim, who are described in Yechezkel 1:7 as having "a single, straight leg."

The Talmudic commentary "Talmidei d'Rabbeinu Yonah" to Berachot 10b does note that some people had a practice of pointing their toes somewhat outward, to fulfill another part of that biblical verse, which describes the feet of the malach is being "like that of a calf", implying a split hoof. However, this was explicitly rejected by every major halachic authority from that time and onward. Therefore, one who is physically capable should keep his feet entirely together.

One whose ancestors or whose rebbe customarily separates his feet should nonetheless change his practice to follow the mainstream view; the rejected view cited in Talmidei d'Rabbeinu Yonah does not qualify as a legitimate custom, because of its explicit rejection by halachic authorities.

(Rav Moshe Feinstein, Igrot Moshe Orach Chaim 5:37:5)

Have a great day,

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